Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Computers Reading Doctors' Notes?

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With electronic health records, computers have proven their worth in tracking, sorting and displaying data. A new study by research from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) showed computers that scan doctors' notes can reduce dangerous complications after surgery.

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Informational Report- Community Based Outpatient Clinic Cyclical Reports Fiscal Year 2012 (9/20/2011)

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The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) began a systematic review of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) community based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) in FY 2009. The purpose of this report is to describe the study design of the CBOC reviews for October 2011 through September 2012. The report describes the CBOC inspection process which consists of four components: (1) CBOC site-specific information gathering and review, (2) medical record reviews for determining compliance with VHA and The Joint Commission standards and regulations, (3) on-site inspections, and (4) CBOC contract review.

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Legion praised for Veterans Court resolution

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In a recent press release, the National Association of Drug Court Professionals' Justice For Vets said it was "honored" that support for the Veterans Treatment Courts was included in one of the 23 passed by The American Legion during its 2011 National Convention in Minneapolis.

Among other things, Resolution No. 109 urges Congress to continue to fund the establishment and expansion of Veterans Treatment Courts, and recommends the various Legion departments and posts provide non-monetary assistance and support to veteran treatment courts by having department service officers serve on the Veteran Treatment Court or having volunteers provide information on VA benefits and services.

"The American Legion is committed to help returning servicemembers in Veterans Treatment Courts to access their VA benefits," said Jacob Gadd, deputy director of the Legion's Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division. "We have more than 2,000 professionally trained service officers across the country, and we look forward to working with Justice For Vets to provide valuable training for our service officers to be active with Veteran Treatment Courts in their communities."

Veterans Treatment Courts operate similar to Drug Courts but serve only military veterans suffering from substance abuse and/or mental illness. They promote sobriety, recovery and stability through a coordinated response that involves cooperation and collaboration with the traditional community and criminal justice partners found in Drug Courts, with the addition of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs health care networks, the Veterans' Benefits Administration, state veterans agencies/departments, volunteer veteran mentors, veterans service organizations and veterans' family support groups. Since the first Veterans Treatment Court launched in January 2008, approximately 80 programs have been created with hundreds more being planned.

"The American Legion has been one of the mainstays of Veterans Treatment Court," said former Tulsa County Veterans Treatment Court Judge Sarah Smith. "Their members have enthusiastically embraced our program since its inception and helped numerous participants file claims, reinstate benefits and navigate the VA. Their encouragement, professionalism, and support have been a tremendous asset to our veterans and our team. All courts should reach out to The American Legion and other veterans service organizations in their community."

"So many veterans benefit by having Service Officers in court navigate and cut the red tape to receive the disability compensation, vocational rehabilitation, education benefits and other services earned through their time in our Armed Forces," said Matt Stiner, Justice For Vets Director of Development and Outreach. "With 14,000 posts worldwide, I have no doubt that all Veterans Treatment Courts have an American Legion Post within reach. We are profoundly proud of their support and look forward to seeing more Veterans Treatment Courts partnering with The American Legion to better serve our veterans."

For questions about Veteran Treatment Courts, please contact the VA&R Division at (202)861-2700 or via email.


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Fishing for Freedom

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In Lake Ramona, Ga., volunteers and military supporters commemorated the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by honoring some of the men and women who fought against the terrorist groups behind the tragedy. Almost 100 servicemembers, National Guardsmen and Gold Star family members participated in Fishing for Freedom - an event that honored the veterans of the current wars by taking them out for a day of fishing. The Fifth District of the Legion's Department of Georgia helped coordinate and support the Sept. 10 outing.

"This activity not only touched other lives but touched my life forever. We must do more," said Carlis Baker, event organizer and member of Post 143 in Carrollton, Ga.

Veterans and wounded warriors - some of whom drove as long as five hours to participate - were the guests of the Walters family, owners of Lake Ramona. Members of the family volunteered their time at the event and gave participants fishing equipment. All day, 10 fishing boats shuttled attendees around the lake, and food and drinks were provided.

Legionnaires from Georgia's Fifth District volunteered and participated, along with members of the Sons of The American Legion and Auxiliary. A Georgia National Guard unit assembled fishing poles, and local JROTC cadets coordinated parking and performed a flag ceremony at the onset of the event.

"I was extremely impressed with the event that Carlis and his team put on - so very professional and well executed and for me personally, very moving," J.R. Ince, owner of a tackle manufacturing company in nearby Canton, Ga. "I was in tears a few times. Actually talking with these folks, and seeing the devastating sadness in the eyes and voices of the kids, is so much different than just hearing about the family tragedies on the evening news."

The Walters family and the Fifth District of Georgia plan on hosting another Fishing for Freedom event March 25, 2012, where an additional 25 military families are expected to attend.

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Conference attendees left with an agenda

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The American Legion's fifth annual Children & Youth Conference, held Sept. 16-18 in Indianapolis, focused on the overall well-being of today's youth, especially military children. Between presentations from Child Welfare grant recipients to Legion financial assistance programs, Legion family attendees walked away with ideas on how to better protect and support our nation's children and youth.

In particular, thanks to Sesame Workshop, attendees became aware of ways to assist the more than 12,000 military children grieving the loss of a parent.

Sesame Workshop's program, "Talk, Listen, Connect," is a bilingual multimedia initiative that helps military children through challenging transitions such as deployments, homecomings, changes and grief. During the conference, attendees were educated on "Talk, Listen, Connect: When Families Grieve."

"When Families Grieve" is an outreach kit that helps children reduce anxiety, sadness and/or confusion they may be experiencing with the loss of a parent. The kit comes in two family versions, military and non-military, and contains a parent/caregiver guide, a children's storybook and a DVD that features a Muppet story and live-action family documentaries. To order a free kit, please email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it and specify which version is needed. For additional materials on sharing and talking, finding comfort and moving forward, visit

Further presentations were conducted on how to fill out the Legion's Temporary Financial Assistance forms, help military children become involved in extracurricular activities, prevent Internet crimes against children, and educate childhood cancer survivors of long-term effects. Visit in the coming weeks to read more about these presentations.

For those unable to attend the 2011 Children & Youth Conference, PowerPoint presentations can be downloaded by clicking here.  

















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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.