Veterans Benefits Information guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs honors Wheaton resident as its ‘Veteran of the Month’

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CHICAGO –The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) this Thursday (September 29th) will honor Ken McNatt, a Wheaton resident and U.S. Naval Reserves veteran, as its September 2011 “Veteran of the Month” during a ceremony at the Milton Township offices in Wheaton, Ill.

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Data breach hits military hospitals, clinics

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On Sept. 14, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) reported a data breach involving personally identifiable and protected health information impacting an estimated 4.9 million military clinic and hospital patients. The information was contained on backup tapes from an electronic health-care record used in the military health system to capture patient data from 1992 through Sept. 7, and may include Social Security numbers, addresses and phone numbers, and some personal health data such as clinical notes, laboratory tests and prescriptions. There is no financial data, such as credit card or bank account information, on the backup tapes.

The risk of harm to patients is judged to be low despite the data elements involved, since retrieving the data on the tapes would require knowledge of and access to specific hardware and software and knowledge of the system and data structure. The incident is being investigated and additional information will be published as soon as it is available. Meanwhile, both SAIC and TRICARE Management Activity are reviewing current data protection security policies and procedures to prevent similar breaches in the future.

Anyone who suspects that they were impacted by this incident is urged to take steps to protect their personal information and should be guided by the Federal Trade Commission here.

Concerned patients may contact the SAIC Incident Response Call Center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Time at (855) 366-0140 (United States) or by calling collect at (952) 556-8312 (international).

For more information about the breach, click here.

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Health Care Leaders Discuss Next Generation of Quality and Value Metrics

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Top health care industry leaders from around the country joined for a two-day roundtable discussion about the next generation of health care quality and value metrics. The meeting allowed leaders to compare and contrast how they use metrics to enhance quality of care and value for patients.

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IDVA to host ‘Helping Our Hometown Heroes’ veterans benefits fair October 7th in Sterling

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CHICAGO – The Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs (IDVA) is hosting a free Helping Our Hometown Heroes benefits fair for veterans on Friday, October 7th at the Northland Mall at 2900 E Lincolnway in Sterling, Ill. The fair will bring federal, state and local agencies and organizations together in one location.

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Avoid TFA funding being delayed, denied

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Since its establishment in 1925, The American Legion Temporary Financial Assistance program has awarded cash grants to minor children of veterans eligible for American Legion membership. These grants are used toward providing basic needs for children, such as shelter, utilities, food, clothing and medical. Since 9/11, $5 million has been distributed to families in need.

However, TFA applications are oftentimes submitted incomplete to The American Legion National Headquarters, causing a delay in the funding process or even denial. Therefore, during the Legion's recent fifth annual Children & Youth Conference in Indianapolis, a number of items to remember when filling out the application were mentioned to avoid any conflicts.

1. The application should be filled out by a case investigator, which is anyone at the post level. After completion, appropriate signatures must be obtained from the case investigator, applicant and either the department service, adjutant or children & youth chairperson. If any of these signatures are bypassed, the application will be sent back marked "incomplete," causing further delay in funding.
2. To be eligible for the grant, the child(ren) must be 17 years or younger, or under the age of 20 and still enrolled in approved high school courses, unmarried and living at home full time. Also, the child(ren) must be the biological or in legal custody of a veteran who is, or would have been, eligible to become a member of The American Legion. However, membership is not required to apply for the grant.
3. Don't leave blank or overlook any questions on the application - the applicant's story must be explained in full detail or the grant could be denied due to lack of important information.
4. Under "financial information" on the form, list entire amount of family household income. A commonly left-off item is financial earnings from a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend. As far as the Legion is concerned, they too are contributing to household bills.
5. Do not put "NA" when filling out questions under "other assistance." Make sure the applicant has exhausted all military and non-military resources available to them (i.e., food stamps) because the TFA grant is just that - temporary. If the applicant has not made contact with other resources, that could have bearing whether or not he or she is granted TFA.
6. When requesting for a bill to be paid, the applicant must submit the most current bill and all creditor information must be filled out.
7. Every case gets reviewed immediately. If approved, a check can be mailed as quickly as two days and if not approved, a letter is faxed back to the department stating "incomplete" or "denied" with an explanation why. In either case, the applicant should be contacted for an explanation to the missing details needed for approval.
8. TFA applications should not be available for download on any department's website. If it is, applicants have the ability to fill out and submit the application, bypassing all proper channels needed for a grant to be approved.

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