Veterans Benefits Information

...online guide to VA benefits

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

Hoosier Legionnaires, lawmakers unite to support homeless veterans

E-mail Print PDF

Data from the Department of Veterans Affairs shows that the homeless veterans population in the state of Indiana has increased by 6 percent in the last year. As a result, anywhere from 300-400 homeless or at-risk veterans visit the food pantry at the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation (HVAF) in downtown Indianapolis every month.

Together, the American Legion Department of Indiana and state lawmakers are helping those veterans in need by creating 500 care packages filled with non-perishable food and toiletries.

“Who better to take care of homeless veterans than veterans who understand the struggle when you transition out of the military, essentially leaving behind your second family, and you have to recreate yourself and assimilate back into civilian society,” said Department of Indiana Adjutant John Crosby.

The Helping Our Hoosier Heroes Donation Drive brought Legion leadership and Legion Family members from across the state to the fourth floor of the Indiana Statehouse the morning of Feb. 10 to fill grocery bags with the 3,000 care items stacked on tables. HVAF will be one of four shelter destinations to receive the care packages for homeless veterans statewide.

“This is coming at a really great time for us because our donations are down for the pantry and demand is high,” said Ashlee Walls, vice president of Advancement at HVAF.

The opportunity for the Department of Indiana and state lawmakers to work together arrived when homeless veterans issues became the charitable cause for the House legislative year.

“We are just overwhelmed by the service of Hoosiers to our nation. So policymakers want to do everything that we can to help support those who served our nation and served our state as well,” said Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives Brian Bosma. “We all understand the importance of encouraging that (military) service and supporting our veterans. So we were thrilled that The American Legion of Indiana stepped forward and said, ‘We’ll help you with this.’”

Donations for the care packages poured in from the Legion Family, lawmakers and community. “There’s been a lot of community effort come together for this,” Crosby said.

As House Democrats and Republicans came out of legislative session, Legionnaires walked around the tables with them to fill grocery bags, discuss homeless veterans issues and get their picture taken.

“They appreciate what we stand for, what we do, what we’ve done and they want to help us help others,” said Tommy Goul, a Dessert Storm Air Force veteran and member of Post 437 in Selma, Ind. “Anytime we can give back to veterans is great. And anytime I get a chance to be a part of this, I’m all in for it.”

The homeless veterans initiative at the Statehouse also served as an opportunity for members to discuss American Legion initiatives, legislative priorities and membership. Indiana American Legion 10th District Commander Ron Patterson spoke with Rep. Steve Davisson’s about the need for more county service officers to help veterans with their benefits claims. Crosby said currently the Department of Indiana represents about 63,000 of the 85,000 service-connected disabled veterans with claims.

“These care packages will help (the homeless veterans) for a few days, but the bigger idea here is that we get them in touch with a service officer and show them that there is help out there to get off the street and get rehabilitated,” Crosby said.

During their conversation, Patterson learned that Davisson’s son, Jay, is a disabled veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan war who currently is a full-time caregiver for his wife who has a terminal brain tumor. Patterson extended the invitation to invite Jay and his wife into the Legion Family by paying for his dues. “We will help take care of him,” Patterson said.

Davisson handed Patterson a business card to make the Legion Family connection happen.

“A lot of good things are going on here,” said Department of Indiana Commander Allen Connelly. “(The Helping Our Hoosier Heroes Donation Drive) really helps to shine a light on the veteran community and problems with homelessness.”


Read More
 

This 2015 Boys Nation president won on Jeopardy!

E-mail Print PDF

Aravind “Vinny” Byju, who served as American Legion Boys Nation president in 2015, can add another accolade to his resume — Jeopardy! champion.

Byju, a native of Florida and a student at Harvard University, won the Feb. 10 episode of the long-running TV quiz show despite being in third place after each of the first two rounds.

Byju entered Final Jeopardy with $6,200, trailing returning champion Gauravi Shah ($11,800) and challenger Natalie Hadjiloukas ($12,800). But Shah and Hadjiloukas both made big wagers, and when all three contestants missed the answer, Byju ended up winning, with $3,399.

The Final Jeopardy clue, in the category “Sports Terms,” was: “A member of the British Amateur Athletic Club wrote this 1867 set of 12 regulations whose name honors nobleman John Sholto Douglas.” The correct question was, “What are the Marquis of Queensbury rules?”

Byju was unable to successfully defend his title in the Feb. 11 episode, as he was again in third place after each round. All three contestants were correct in Final Jeopardy, and Byju added another $1,000 to his winnings with his third-place finish.

The Feb. 11 Final Jeopardy clue, in the category “American History,” was: “After statesman & banker Robert Morris turned down a job offer from George Washington, this man took the job.” The correct question was, “Who is Alexander Hamilton?”

Byju drew a laugh from host Alex Trebek during the Feb. 11 episode, when Trebek noted that Byju was studying government. “With a view to doing what?” Trebek asked. “Not government,” Byju answered with a smile.


Read More
 

Veterans outreach coming to Oklahoma

E-mail Print PDF

Department of Oklahoma Legion Family members are teaming up to conduct a district revitalization and veterans outreach effort Feb. 13-15 in and around Kay County and Ponca City, Okla. Legion Family members will be on hand to discuss veterans benefits, the Legion’s legislative efforts, membership opportunities and service to the community.

The effort will take place from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Feb. 13-15 at Huff-Minor American Legion Post 14, 106 S. 4th St., Ponca City.

A veterans service officer will be available to discuss claims and other Department of Veterans Affairs benefits-related questions.


Read More
 

For Many Who Cleaned Up a Nuclear Mess, a Key Ruling Comes Too Late

E-mail Print PDF
Air Force veterans who dealt with a Cold War-era atomic accident in Spain won the right to sue collectively for health benefits — but not before many had lost battles with cancer.

Read More
 

Indiana Legion post hosting veterans outreach effort

E-mail Print PDF

Department of Indiana Legion Family members are teaming up to conduct a district revitalization and veterans outreach effort Feb. 15-17 in and around Bartholomew, Brown, Dearborn, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Lawrence, Orange, Ripley, Scott, Switzerland, and Washington counties. Legion Family members will be on hand to discuss veterans benefits, the Legion’s legislative efforts, membership opportunities and service to the community.

The effort will take place all three days from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at American Legion Post 33, 515 X St., Bedford.

A veterans service officer will be available to discuss claims and other Department of Veterans Affairs benefits-related questions.


Read More
 


Page 3 of 2606


Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at www.archives.gov