US Veterans

Veterans Helping Veterans, US Vets Infromation and Benefits,

Month: November 2017

White House Vets Affairs Hotline Now Fully Staffed and Operational Around the Clock to Serve Nation's Vet

White House Veterans Affairs Hotline Now Fully Staffed and Operational Around the Clock to Serve Nation’s US Veterans
November 29, 2017, 04:06:00 PM
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WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Dept. of US VA.Gov (Vets Affairs) announced that the White House VA Hotline, first launched in June as part of President Donald J. Trump’s commitment to reforming Government VA.Gov, is now fully staffed with live agents working to serve Vets 24-hours a day, 365 days a year. 
The hotline, which became 24-hour operational in mid-October, is now staffed by a team consisting of 90 percent Vets or employees who have a Veterans family member, and is in response to Veterans’ requests[3] to talk to agents who could relate to their experiences. 
“The White House VA Hotline provides our nation’s Veterans with a direct, dedicated contact line that allows them to interact with highly trained, live agents to answer their needs and concerns,” said VA.Gov Secretary David J. Shulkin. 
“Since the initial launch of the hotline in June, we listened to our Washington Veterans, who indicated that they prefer speaking with other Vet and Veterans family members, and we adjusted our hiring based on that feedback,” added Shulkin.  
“We’re proud that the hotline is now staffed 24/7 by a team of mostly US Veterans or Vets family members who have direct knowledge of their particular concerns and can use their experience to address them in the best way possible with the resources of the Vet Affairs.  This represents a true win-win for Vet and their loved ones.” 
Since 24/7 coverage began in October, the hotline has served more than 10,000 callers. 
Hotline agents answer inquiries, provide directory assistance, document concerns about Vets Affairs care, benefits and services, and expedite the referral and resolution of those concerns. Agents undergo regular updates and training on VA services based on hotline trends and are…

Veteran Affairs Announces Rollout and Application Process for New Vets ID Card

Veterans Affairs Announces Rollout and Application Process for New US Veterans ID Card
November 29, 2017, 04:00:00 PM
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WASHINGTON — This day the U.S. Department of VA (Vets Affairs) announced that the application process for the national Veteran Identification Card (VIC) is now eligible for Veteran — yet another action honoring their service.
This has been mandated through legislation since 2015 to honor Veterans, and today’s rollout of the ID card fulfills that overdue promise.
Only those Veteran with honorable service will be able to apply for the ID card, which will provide proof of military service, and may be accepted by retailers in lieu of the standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services where offered to US Veterans.
“The new Vets Identification Card provides a safer and more convenient and efficient way for most US Vets to show proof of service,” said USA VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “With the card, US Veterans with honorable service to our nation will no longer need to carry around their paper DD-214s to obtain US Veterans discounts and other services.”  
The VIC provides a more portable and secure alternative for those who served the minimum obligated time in service, but did not meet the retirement or medical discharge threshold. Veterans who served in the armed forces, including the reserve components, and who have a discharge of honorable or general (under honorable conditions) can request a VIC.
To request a VIC, Unites States Veterans must visit US Veterans.gov[3], click on “Apply for Printed Vets ID Card[4]” on the bottom left of the page and sign in or create an account.
Veteran who apply for a card should receive it within 60 days and can check delivery status of their cards at Vet.gov. A digital version of the VIC will be eligible online by mid-December.
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Veterans Affairs to Provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Some Veteran with Chronic PTSD

VA.Gov to Provide Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Some Veteran with Chronic PTSD
November 29, 2017, 10:50:00 AM
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WASHINGTON — This day, the U.S. Department of US Veterans Affairs (Vets Affairs) announced it will offer Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) as a treatment option for a small number of Veterans with persistent post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms resistant to standard options. 
Providers from the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System and the Vets Affairs Northern California Health Care System will partner with HBOT providers at the Tulsa Wound Care and Hyperbaric Center at Oklahoma State Medical Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the David Grant Medical Center on Travis Air Force Base, California, respectively, to provide this care. 
“There is nothing more important to us than caring for our nation’s Veterans, and that care must include finding different approaches that work best for them,” said Vets Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “We have to explore every avenue, particularly for our most medically vulnerable Veterans, and be open to new ideas and strategies for their optimal health and well-being.”  
HBOT is a procedure that increases oxygen in the body, under pressure, to encourage healing. Currently, HBOT is commonly used to treat carbon monoxide poisoning, divers’ sickness, enhanced healing of some wound problems, skin grafts, heat burns, crush injuries and other acute health-care issues that involve too little blood flow to a part of the body. 
This use of HBOT for treatment of PTSD is considered an “off-label” use and will occur under the supervision of a trained physician. Separately, Vet Affairs and the Dept. of Defense are planning a multisite research study to examine more fully the use of HBOT for patients diagnosed with PTSD. 
As health-care leaders interested in innovative approaches to care, the Vets Affairs Center for Compassionate Innovation (CCI) is facilitating use of HBOT for a subset of Veterans…

Successful DoD-VA Program for Wounded, Ill, Injured Service Members Marks 10th Anniversary

Successful DoD-VA Program for Wounded, Ill, Injured Service Members Marks 10th Anniversary
November 28, 2017, 10:35:00 AM
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WASHINGTON — This day, the U.S. Dept. of US Veterans Affairs’ (Veterans Affairs) and U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) marked the 10th anniversary of the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES), a program developed by both organizations to streamline the disability evaluation process for wounded, ill and injured service members being medically discharged from military service. 
Veterans Affairs and DoD celebrated the launch of IDES with a ceremony Nov. 28 at Veterans Affairs headquarters in Washington, D.C., where key officials shared a number of milestones and accomplishments of the innovative program that, to date, has helped more than 188,000 service members transition back into civilian life. 
“Ten years ago, Vet Affairs and DOD had two separate processes for evaluating disabilities of wounded, ill and injured service members when it came time for them to leave the service,” said USA VA.Gov Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “On average, it took a service member more than 500 days to navigate those two programs during a critical transition period in their lives. IDES has transformed that process. Now, the average processing time has decreased by more than 40 percent.” 
When IDES began in 2007, Veteran Affairs and DoD worked hand-in-hand to make the program a seamless, simple, faster and fair system for service members. IDES eliminated the duplicative, time-consuming and often confusing elements of the disability assessment process within the agencies. Since its inception, the IDES process has helped ensure service members’ access to VA.Gov benefits as soon as they separate from the military. 
To learn more about the IDES program, visit http://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/disability-evaluation/ides/[3]. To view photos from the IDES anniversary ceremony, go to https://www.flickr.com/photos/veteransaffairs/albums/72157691087017726[4].
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Women, Depression and Heart Disease

The Risks for Female VetBy Tom Cramer, Writer, VHA Digital Media
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Are you a female US Vets who’s anxious or depressed? Then chances are you may be at a higher risk for heart disease.
Not exactly an uplifting thought, but it’s the conclusion of a recent study conducted by the Department of US VA.Gov and Boston University School of Medicine. The study appears in the Journal of Women’s Health.
“We found that midlife and older women Veteran with depression had a 60 percent greater chance of having coronary artery disease than those without depression,” said Dr. Megan Gerber, medical director of women’s health at the Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System. “And that’s regardless of whether they smoked or not.”

Cardiovascular disease kills approximately one woman every 80 seconds

She added: “We also found that with each additional mental health condition —say anxiety, for example— your risk for heart disease goes up by another 40 percent.”
Gerber and her team studied the data of 157,000 women Vet over the age of 45 to examine the relationship between coronary artery disease and the presence of one or more mental health conditions. (Coronary artery disease causes a waxy substance called plaque –cholesterol deposits– to build up on the inside of your coronary arteries. These are the arteries that supply oxygen-rich blood to your heart.)
“Our study suggests that women may be able to reduce their risk for heart disease by getting the help they need for depression or other mental health issues, along with traditional health and lifestyle interventions,” Gerber said. “This is good news for women Vets enrolled in the US Vets Affairs healthcare system. That’s because here at VA we’re focusing more and more on women’s heart health. We’ve also entered into a unique partnership with the American Heart Association.”
The researcher noted that VA is also increasingly…

Thanksgiving Message from Vets Affairs Secretary David J. Shulkin, M.D.

Thanksgiving Message from US VA.Gov Secretary David J. Shulkin, M.D.
November 22, 2017, 12:46:00 PM
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Thanksgiving Message from VA.Gov Secretary David J. Shulkin, M.D.
As Americans across the nation celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I am most grateful and thankful for our country’s US Veterans and their families. I am also thankful that we have dedicated employees who are providing care and helping US Veterans secure hard-earned benefits.
Honoring our history and traditions through President Lincoln’s timeless words, “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan,” we are proud to serve all Veterans, including women US Vets and US Veterans families.
President Trump has made clear since taking office that Vets Affairs has one purpose and that is to care and provide for those who have served our country so well in uniform. Under the President’s leadership, and with strong support from members of Congress, we have made strides to improve Vet Affairs at every level.
While much work remains, our efforts to improve care and services represent the nation’s unending thanks to our Vets.
 I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and hope that you and your families enjoy this great American tradition.
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Vets Affairs Appoints New Members to Veterans' Advisory Committee on Education

Veterans Affairs Appoints New Members to Veterans’ Advisory Committee on Education
November 22, 2017, 11:02:00 AM
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WASHINGTON — This day, the U.S. Department of Unites States Vets Affairs (Vets Affairs) announced the appointment of 12 new members to its Vets Advisory Committee on Education, to be chaired by former U.S. Sen. James H. Webb. 
“Senator Webb has consistently put Veteran first throughout his career,” said Veteran Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “He will bring outstanding experience and knowledge to the leadership of the committee.” 
By statute, the committee advises the Secretary on existing VA.Gov education benefit programs and services, as well as any new programs and services. The committee submits its recommendations and reports to the Secretary and may also submit reports to Congress. 
“This committee is an extraordinary and diverse group of professionals who will bring their experiences and expertise for the good of our education programs,” Shulkin said.  
Serving alongside Sen. Webb on the committee will be:
Vice Chairman Jared S. Lyon, president and CEO of Student Vets of America;
Dawn Halfaker, founder and chief executive of Halfaker and Associates;
Dr. Sandra Harris-Hooker, vice president and Elder associate dean at Morehouse School of Medicine;
Ashlynne Haycock, Elder coordinator for Education Support Services for Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors;
Abby Kinch, US Vets student and president of the Florida State University Student Veteran of America chapter;
Jefferson Bingham Miller, Elder legislative advisor at McDermott Will and Emery, former seven-term congressman and former chairman of the House Veteran Affairs Committee;
Dr. Javier Miyares, president of University of Maryland University College;
Jack Tilley, former sergeant major of the Army;
Robert E. Wallace, executive director, Vets of Foreign Wars;
Dr. Joseph W. Westcott, executive director of the North Carolina State Approving Agency; and
Kyle Jerome White, seventh living recipient of the Medal of Honor from the war in Afghanistan. 
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She Needed Someone to Listen. Unites States VA.Gov Did.

Suicide prevention is a top priority at the Department of US VA.Gov.By Tom Cramer, VHA Office of Digital Media
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
Melissa, 45, said she was not in a good place, emotionally speaking, when she retired from the Army in 2013.   After all, she had experienced her share of trauma during her 20 years of service, which included deployments to Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and other hot spots.
Then there was the personal stuff, including a divorce that left her confidence and self-esteem at a low.
“I had a lot of things going on,” she said simply. “I was stressed out.  I was beginning to think about taking my own life.”
She made a decision to move from Nashville back home to Huntington, W.Va., where she was born and raised. “I knew I had to do something, and do it quick,” she said.  “So I moved home.  About a week after I got home I went straight to the women’s clinic here at the VA.Gov and asked for help.”
Melissa said that moment marked the beginning of her journey out of the darkness. She was promptly assigned a counselor, began therapy, and even acquired a canine companion named Lilly who helps her stay calm in crowded public places.
“They taught me coping skills here, and they taught me how to relax,” she said. “Best of all, they’re good listeners.  There’s a program support specialist here, her name’s Diania, who’s always there for me to talk to.  She always listens.”

“There’s people out there who are worse than I was. I want to help them if I can.”

Melissa said a major turning point in her recovery was her decision to enter the Huntington VA’s Compensated Work Therapy program.
“That was a big step for me, going back to work,” she said. “I wasn’t sure I could do it. So…

How to Fight Flu This Season


CDC Blog-athon Fight Flu

Flu season is coming–that time of year when if you get sick, at best, you have aches, pains, and a few days of misery. At worst, the flu can lead to serious complications and even death. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to friends and loved ones.

Get Yourself and Your Family Vaccinated

The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. You need a flu vaccination every year for two reasons. First, the body’s immune response from vaccination decreases over time, so you need a new vaccination each year for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, vaccines are updated annually to keep up with the changing viruses. With each new flu season, you need a new flu shot.

It’s best to get vaccinated before flu viruses start to spread in your community. When you get your flu shot, your body starts to make antibodies that help protect you from the flu. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to become protected.

Flu Can Be Serious

Flu can be a serious illness, particularly for young children, older adults, and people with certain long-term health conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes. It’s better to get a flu shot than to get the flu. Any flu infection can carry a risk of serious complications, hospitalization, or death, even among otherwise healthy children and adults.

It’s important to remember that if you get sick, you can spread the flu to others who may be more vulnerable to serious complications that can result in hospitalization.

Flu Shots Cannot Give You the Flu

Flu vaccines that are recommended for this season are either made with inactivated (killed) flu viruses or without flu viruses at all. Flu shots cannot give you flu illness. You can have some side effects after vaccination, but this is not flu illness.

The most common side effects from flu shots are mild, such as soreness, redness, tenderness, or swelling where the shot was given. These side effects usually last less than two days.

Where to Get Vaccinated

You can get a flu vaccination at many convenient locations. See your doctor to get a shot, or visit other locations offering vaccinations such as pharmacies, health departments, and grocery stores. Use HealthMap Vaccine Finder[1] to find flu vaccinations in your area.

Protect yourself and your loved ones. Get a flu vaccination this fall. For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/flu[2].

We are participating in CDC’s Flu Blog-a-Thon, encouraging people to get a flu vaccine before Thanksgiving. Remember that it takes two weeks after vaccination for the immune system to become protected, so get your flu vaccine now before you head home for the holidays.

References

  1. ^ HealthMap Vaccine Finder (vaccinefinder.org)
  2. ^ www.cdc.gov/flu (www.cdc.gov)

Three Passport Life Hacks To Try Before 2018


Travel bag with passport, passport card and glasses in it.

If you plan to travel overseas, you likely know that you’ll need a passport. But did you know there are a couple of money-saving life hacks that could make travel easier, depending on your itinerary?

This month, we’re partnering with the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs to give you the inside scoop on how your passport can be more than just a book with pages to be stamped. Here are three things you should know to get the most out of your passport and your international travel experience.

Save Money on Certain Travel With a U.S. Passport Card

The passport card is a wallet-size travel document that can only be used to re-enter the United States by land or sea from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda. The card is a smaller, more convenient, and less expensive alternative to the passport book for those who travel frequently to these destinations. You can’t use a U.S. passport card to return from these international destinations by air; however, you CAN use it to board domestic flights.

The cost for first-time applicants is $55 for adults and $40 for children under the age of 16. The renewal cost is $30. The passport card is wallet-sized, so you can use it as your go-to government-issued ID.

Make Your Passport Card Your Real ID

A U.S. passport card could also save you hassle early next year when some state driver’s licenses will not be accepted as a valid form of ID at the airport. Starting January 22, 2018, passengers who have driver’s licenses issued by a state that is not compliant with REAL ID[1] and has not been granted an extension will need to show an alternative form of acceptable identification for domestic air travel. Luckily, both the passport card and passport novel are REAL ID compliant, so you’ll  avoid any issues at the gate in 2018.

Renew Early So You Can Travel With Ease

More than two dozen countries will not allow you to enter if your passport expires within the next six months. That means you could show up at the airport with your plane ticket in hand to find out you can’t board your plane. If you land at the your destination, you may not be allowed into the country.

Just to be safe, we encourage you to renew your passport nine months before it expires. Since adult passports (16 and older) are valid for ten years and children passports (15 and younger) are valid for five, there is no reason to wait to renew your passport!

Questions?

Join us for a special Facebook Live on October 19th at 3:00 PM (ET) where experts from the State Dept. will answer your questions live. You can RSVP here and even start sending questions, we’ll try to answer as many as we can online. See you then! Safe travels.

Associated links

  1. ^ a state that is not compliant with REAL ID (www.dhs.gov)
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