Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Veterans Benefits Information

One Day, Three Events, Seven Falsehoods From Trump

E-mail Print PDF
President Trump repeated misstatements about the Iran deal, jobs and health care — and uttered new falsehoods about Lebanon and veterans.

Read More

Department Spotlight: Arkansas helps veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned

E-mail Print PDF

American Legion Department Adjutants like Arkansas’ Doyle Batey are often drawn upon to help veterans receive the benefits they’ve earned through their service.

Take for instance the case of Johnny Dixon. A veteran of the Korean War, Dixon, of Alma, Ark., drew on The American Legion’s assistance to address an issue with those benefits.

Dixon served in the 24th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division. He was wounded in combat and sent to Japan for treatment.

That’s when the issue arose. Per a letter from Batey to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Dixon’s request for an earlier effective date of payment of benefits "was denied due to the fact that he did not have proof of service in Korea or evidence of being wounded in combat.”

The problem was that Dixon’s discharge papers failed to indicate he was a combat wounded veteran and his DD-214 mistakenly listed his service as Japan. And the fire at the National Personnel Records destroyed all of Dixon’s personnel and medical records, Batey wrote.

Dixon had originally requested benefits in a claim in Aug. 1979. In 2004, he reopened his claim after his Army casualty report was found. Dixon received a correction of military records and was issued a DD-215 noting the awarding of the Purple Heart, National Defense Service Medal, Republic of Korea-Korean War Service Medal and the Korean Service Medal.

Dixon and his wife, Doris, thanked Batey for his help in a letter. “We appreciate your kindness and assistance you’ve shown us. … I can only say ‘Love you man and God bless you,’” they wrote.

Read More

Boys Nation Day 5: Representing the best of the best

E-mail Print PDF

Tuesday is Election Day at American Legion Boys Nation. But first, there’s Senate business to address.

7:50 a.m. — The senators take over flag-raising duties, with Illinois’ Marc Antonucci and Samuel Ward, Maryland’s Jared Walker, New Jersey’s Chris Zuniga and New Mexico’s Eric Howe presenting the colors, and South Dakota’s Nathaniel Pekas performing “To the Colors.” Their first time goes off without a hitch, drawing praise from program staff. (West Virginia's Kaden Stenger plays the trumpet at the evening's flag-lowering ceremony, giving the Boys Nation Color Guard two musicians to draw from).

8 a.m. — The senators are back in session to continue introducing bills and resolutions.

9:08 a.m. — The session recesses for guest speaker David Azerrad, director of the B. Kenneth Simon Center for Principles and Politics, The Heritage Foundation, who will receive The American Legion National Education Award at next month’s 99th national convention. He talks about the principles upon which the United States were founded, including the affirmation that human beings are capable of governing themselves.

9:55 a.m. — Back to the committees for the senators, with many taking time beforehand to ask Azerrad more questions.

12:30 p.m. — More bills and more committee work. Among the legislation passed so far by the Senate and awaiting the president: a bill to protect student privacy on social media in schools; a student loan reform bill which would allow reduced interest rates for students with majors in fields with many job openings; and a resolution to recognize June 12 annually as Pulse Day in remembrance of the Orlando nightclub shooting. A bill to set up a national prescription drug database and a bill to create an organization to provide employment and economic opportunities for refugees fail to pass the Senate.

2:55 p.m.—Before the presidential and vice presidential debates, Program Director Mike Buss calls on Washington’s Benjamin Crosby, the 2016 American Legion oratorical champion, to talk to his fellow senators about the contest.

National Americanism Commission Chairman Richard Anderson also addresses the senators. He wishes the senators well and urges them to take two things back home with them: “What you take with you in your heart and what you take with you on your résumé.”

The presidential candidates are Federalist Blake Barclay of Florida and Nationalist Darius Thomas of Alabama. The 50-minute debate features questions submitted by their fellow senators, on topics ranging from the war on drugs, illegal immigration, and media bias to Russian election interference and options for confronting North Korea’s nuclear program. The vice presidential debate follows, as Federalist Jay Blackburn of Tennessee and Nationalist Decker Paulmeier of South Carolina address questions on the opioid crisis, the loss of blue-collar jobs and Social Security.

6:05 p.m. — Director of Activities Bob Turner talks to the senators about The American Legion and its various programs, his experience as national commander in 1990-91, and the trip they’ll be taking to the White House on Wednesday. He also encourages the senators to thank their sponsor posts and share their experience with next year’s potential Boys Staters.

“Help us to increase the size of the Boys State program,” Turner says.

6:45 p.m. — Election night begins with party representatives, Nationalist Mike Albright of Oklahoma and Federalist Sam Butler of Wisconsin, talking about their respective platforms. South Carolina’s William Galloway and Pennsylvania’s Corey Eisert-Wlodarczyk speak in support of Barclay while Mississippi’s Garret Smith enthusiastically introduces Thomas.

After the candidates give their final speeches, it’s time to vote for the president of Boys Nation 2017. The senators first vote via electronic clicker, then come up via state to announce their vote both to their fellow senators and thousands watching on Facebook Live.

Thomas is elected president; he’ll become the only Nationalist among the four elected officials as Blackburn is elected vice president, joining fellow Federalists Eisert-Wlodarczyk, the president pro tempore, and Daniel Meaney of Connecticut, the secretary of the senate.

“I was actually doubting myself for a little bit,” Thomas says of his decision to run for president. “But I ended up deciding to run the day before, for the nomination, and I drafted a speech that night, I wrote what my heart was telling me to write. It worked out in the end.

“… To know that I was elected out of all of them, it makes it even more fulfilling and it makes me even more humble. To know that they’re the best of the best and they elected me to represent them, it just humbles me and I’m so thankful for it,” Thomas adds.

Blackburn says his win is humbling as well.

“Honestly, I had no idea what this program was until about December, when my guidance counselor came to me and asked me if I would like to go,” Blackburn says. “Honestly, I was kind of dreading it because I had no idea what it entailed. But now going through this program … it’s just an amazing program.”

The senators celebrate the election with a group photo, urging Turner to join them. Then it’s off to section meetings before lights out; a long Wednesday awaits.

Follow the happenings at American Legion Boys Nation 2017 here on and on social media using the hashtag #2017BoysNation.

Read More

'We figure this is our job'

E-mail Print PDF

When heavy rains started pelting the town of Pearl City, Ill., on July 21, it started what became the town’s fourth flood in 14 years. And for the fourth time in 14 years, American Legion Post 1014 opened its doors to the community.

Post 1014 began serving three daily meals the day after the flooding started and has been doing so for almost a week. But the post also is providing community residents with much-needed supplies as they begin the process of cleaning up their homes.

“This is our fourth flood since 2002, and we’ve opened up (during the floods) every year,” said Roger Jacobs, who serves as Post 1014’s building manager and historian. "We figure this is our job. We figure we should be doing it. Our motto is to help people, and that’s why we do it.”

After the rains began, flood waters rose to over a foot higher than they did during a 2010 flood. Property was damaged, and some residents had to evacuate their homes as more than three feet of water poured into their houses.

Post 1014 began serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as doubling as a donation center for those who wanted to help. And if someone comes into the post wanting to help a flood victim, the post is directing them somewhere to provide that help.

“We’ve had people donate food, money and supplies,” Post 1014 Commander Dale Lapp said. “The donations coming in have been phenomenal.”

On July 22 alone, the Legion served 200 people for dinner and two days later another 90. Jacobs and Post Treasurer Bill Leibenstein have been at the post from 6:30 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m. each day, while other Legionnaires and Auxiliary members have been helping out regularly.

Churches and other organizations also have been providing meals for the post to serve.

“We’re a close-knit (town),” Jacobs said. “And when people come in, they’re glad we’re here. They’ve made so many comments saying what a good job the Legion is doing – providing meals and helping out, doing different jobs that we can do.

“We just feel obligated to do something for them. And we’re having a good time with it.”

Read More

Legion, stakeholder groups aim to address military-to-healthcare credentialing

E-mail Print PDF

The American Legion National Veterans Employment and Education (VE&E) Division hosted a Military to Healthcare Credentialing Roundtable on June 28 to address employment challenges facing America’s servicemembers and veterans, as well as discuss strategies to meet their needs well into the 21st century.

The objective of the roundtable, held at the Legion’s Washington, D.C., office, was to support veterans’ employment initiatives by bringing together key stakeholders, senior leaders and policymakers, along with experts from the credentialing field in health and emergency medical services.

“This was the first roundtable where we really put a laser focus on a specific issue: emergency medical care,” American Legion Veterans Employment and Education Assistant Director John Kamin said. “Doing so allowed us to explore unique solutions, as well as track the life cycle, from advanced individual training to civilian job placement. There were several opportunities discovered as well as challenges, so it paid off to have a discussion.”

Lisa Lutz, president and co-founder of Solutions for Information Design, LLC, a company that specializes in research and analysis for social science policy, has worked with the Legion on credentialing since the 1990s. Some of the first research on how to alleviate barriers to servicemembers and veterans on credentialing has highlighted many complexities.

According to Lutz, credentialing is a relatively new form of establishing workplace competency. There are still some issues that have not been fully addressed, as very little research has been done on tracking the outcomes of credentialing both in the civilian and military sectors.

“For each of the military services, we have something called the COOL Program, which is Credentialing Opportunities On-Line Program,” said Lutz. “The idea is to encourage them to get that credential while they’re in the military so that when they ultimately transition out of the service, they’ll have that in hand. The credential serves as a way of documenting the fact that their military skills are on par with their civilian counterparts.”

For Lutz, the bottom line is that society really can’t afford to not recognize that training when individuals leave the military and want to join the civilian work force. She said The American Legion is uniquely positioned to bring together the right stakeholders as it continues to address the credentialing.

“Employers like to hire veterans, but they have a difficult time translating their military education and training and experience,” she said. “Most of all, what the services have hung their hat on in terms of promoting credentialing, is professionalization of the force.”

From radiology to dentistry and everything in between, Kamin said health care is one of the largest employment fields. In order to address the specific challenges that America’s servicemembers are currently facing, holistic strategies have to be identified to best suit their needs well into the 21st century.

“What was discovered in our roundtable is that there are intrinsic and technical skillsets that servicemembers have learned from the battlefield. This allows for more specialized positions in emergency medical care than what was previously the status quo,” Kamin said. “We’re also pleased to see the (Department of Veterans Affairs) invest in that idea by allowing it to be a springboard for other positions within the VA. The military is doing an extraordinary job consolidating its medical training. I think the challenge is getting the industry to catch up with them.”

Lutz said her hope is that each stakeholder group better understands what its role can be, and increase its awareness of how to implement best practices.

“This is really a wonderful venue to focus on the health care occupational areas,” said Lutz. “Having all of these stakeholders from (the credentialing field) is a great opportunity to discuss how we can reduce the barriers. The main thing is to learn from what’s been done. We’re highlighting some of the key best practices that have been put in place. I think that’s really the hope – if you find that one certification agency has done something to promote a military servicemember being able to get credentialed, then maybe another agency, state or academic institution can model their program after that.”

Read More
  • «
  •  Start 
  •  Prev 
  •  1 
  •  2 
  •  3 
  •  4 
  •  5 
  •  6 
  •  7 
  •  8 
  •  9 
  •  10 
  •  Next 
  •  End 
  • »

Page 1 of 1995