Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Wong presents plaque to Walcoff

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On Sept. 26, National Commander Fang Wong and Jacob Gadd, the Legion's deputy director for Healthcare, attended the retirement and award ceremony in honor of Michael Walcoff, deputy under secretary, Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Walcoff served in increasing responsibilities in his 37 years of public service for VA, beginning in 1974 as a veterans claims examiner and later working as director of field offices, areas and associate deputy under secretary for Field Operations. As VBA's deputy under secretary, Walcoff directed VA's disability compensation, pension, education, home loan guaranty and other programs throughout the 57 VA regional offices.

Wong and Gadd presented Walcoff with a plaque to recognize his 37 years of public service and thank him for his work to benefit the nation's veterans on behalf of The American Legion.

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Looking After the Soldier, Back Home and Damaged

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The physical and emotional injuries suffered by those who served in Afghanistan and Iraq take a painful toll on spouses, parents and other family members.

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Community Based Outpatient Clinic Reviews: San Antonio (North Central Federal Clinic) and Uvalde, TX; Tyler, TX Alamogordo and Artesia, NM; Bellemont and Kingman, AZ (9/26/2011)

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The VA Office of Inspector General reviewed seven Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs) during the week of June 20, 2011. CBOCs were reviewed in Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 17 at San Antonio (North Central Federal Clinic) and Uvalde, TX; and Tyler, TX; and, in VISN 18 at Alamogordo and Artesia, NM; and Bellemont and Kingman, AZ. The parent facilities of these CBOCs are South Texas Veterans Healthcare System (HCS), VA North Texas HCS, New Mexico VA HCS, and Northern Arizona VA HCS, respectively. The purpose of the review was to assess whether CBOCs are operated in a manner that provides veterans with consistent, safe, high-quality health care. The review covered the following focused topic areas: mental health continuity of care, short-term fee basis care, women’s health, credentialing and privileging, skills competency, environment and emergency management, Primary Care Management Module, and contracts. OIG noted opportunities for improvement and made a total of 45 recommendations to the VISN and facility managers.

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VA extending retroactive injury benefits

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The Department of Veterans Affairs is extending retroactive traumatic injury benefits to servicemembers who suffered qualifying injuries during the period Oct. 7, 2001, to Nov. 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic location where the injuries occurred.

Effective Oct. 1, the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) Traumatic Injury Protection benefit, known as TSGLI, will be payable for all qualifying injuries incurred during this period. This retroactive benefit is payable whether or not the servicemember had SGLI coverage at the time of the injury.

The Veterans' Benefits Improvement Act of 2010, passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in October of 2010, removes the requirement that injuries during this period be incurred in Operations Enduring or Iraqi Freedom - welcome news for the many servicemembers who suffered serious traumatic injuries while serving stateside or in other areas outside of OEF/OIF during this time period who previously were not eligible for TSGLI.

TSGLI provides a payment ranging from $25,000 to $100,000 to servicemembers sustaining certain severe traumatic injuries resulting in a range of losses, including amputations; limb salvage; paralysis; burns; loss of sight, hearing or speech; facial reconstruction; 15-day continuous hospitalization; coma; and loss of activities of daily living due to traumatic brain injury or other traumatic injuries.

National Guard and reserve members who were injured during the retroactive period and suffered a qualifying loss are also eligible for a TSGLI payment, even if the cause was not related to military service, such as a civilian automobile accident or severe injury which occurred while working around their home.

National Guard and reserve members make up more than 40 percent of the total force which has been deployed since 9/11. Those who are no longer in the National Guard or reserves can also apply as long as their injury occurred while they were in service.

VA is working with the Department of Defense to publicize this change in the TSGLI law. Additionally, all of the branches of service are identifying any claims previously denied because the injury was not incurred in OEF/OIF and reaching out to those individuals.

Although applications are currently being accepted by branch of service TSGLI offices, benefits will not be paid until Oct. 1, the effective date of the law.

For more information or to apply for a TSGLI payment, servicemembers and veterans can click here or contact their branch of service TSGLI Office, Concat information is available at above link.


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Quinn Administration Honors Families of Fallen Illinois Heroes with Gold Star Mother’s Day Ceremony - Mothers of fallen soldiers honored with Gold Star Banners

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CHICAGO – Gold Star Banners were presented today to 10 Illinois mothers whose sons died in combat while serving their country in the Global War on Terror. More than 70 Illinois Gold Star families, who lost family members on active duty since Sept. 11, 2001, attended the ceremony at Chicago’s Cultural Center.

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