Veterans Benefits Information

...online guide to VA benefits

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Veterans Benefits Information

New Law Change Increases Insurance Coverage for Veterans

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Some Veterans covered under the Veterans Group Life Insurance program (VGLI) now have the opportunity to increase their coverage to the current maximum coverage under the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance (SGLI) program.

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Largest Annual Wheelchair Sports Event in the World Returning to Richmond this June

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Registration is open for the 32nd National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the largest annual wheelchair sports event in the world. More than 500 Veterans from across the United States, Puerto Rico and Great Britain are expected to compete in the Games, taking place June 25-30, 2012, in Richmond, Va. - the site of the very first National Veterans Wheelchair Games held in 1981.

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VA extends Gulf War filing deadline

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The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the presumptive period for Persian Gulf War veterans to file claims for undiagnosed illnesses. The new deadline is Dec. 31, 2016. About 700,000 troops deployed overseas in 1990-1991 in support of operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm. Of this number, VA estimates that 25-35 percent have undiagnosed and chronic multi-symptom illnesses, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome and concentration problems. Verna Jones, director of The American Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division, said that VA’s decision to extend the presumptive period for Gulf War veterans is most welcome. “But we want Congress to give these veterans an indefinite extension," she said. "Many of them were exposed to hazardous environments that may still cause illness in the future. Their opportunity to file VA disability claims should not be tied to a specific date.” Jacob Gadd, the Legion’s deputy director for health care, said that research continues to be conducted on the environmental exposure of Gulf War veterans. “The causes and symptoms of several illnesses these veterans suffer from are still poorly understood. We need more long-term studies.” Last year, The American Legion passed a resolution (http://www.legion.org/documents/resolutions/2010N099.pdf) that urged Congress to reinstate and extend indefinitely the presumptive period of service connection for Gulf War veterans with undiagnosed illnesses. The American Legion encourages Gulf War veterans to contact one of its department service officers (http://www.legion.org/veteransbenefits/departmentofficers) for assistance in filing a VA claim for any potential injury or illness relating to their service. Veterans who served in the Persian Gulf War between Aug. 2, 1990 and Nov. 11, 1998 are eligible to apply for enrollment in Priority Group 6 of VA’s health-care system. VA is conducting a comprehensive Gulf War Examination Registry to evaluate any long-term health problems relating to environmental exposure. For more information, contact the Legion’s Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Division at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or go to VA’s Gulf War Illnesses website (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/gulfwar/).

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Comfort from a canine friend

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Thanks to a $49,500 Child Welfare Foundation grant, the GI Josh Dog program is about to touch a lot of military children’s lives. Created by Sons of The American Legion’s Detachment of Arizona, the GI Josh dog is a stuffed animal wearing a camouflage bandana, meant to comfort the child of a deployed servicemember. Each dog comes with a book titled “I’ll Be OK.” Currently, GI Josh dogs can be purchased online at www.joshandfriends.com, but they’ll soon be available exclusively through the Legion – in a box bearing the Legion’s emblem – for $26, including shipping and handling. During the National Executive Committee’s Fall Meetings, the CWF voted to award grants to 18 nonprofit organizations that contribute to the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being of children, including the Legion’s Department of Arizona and SAL’s Detachment of Arizona for the GI Josh Dog program. The grant covers the GI Josh program’s start-up costs. Detachment of Arizona Adjutant Jeff Frain came up with the idea for GI Josh about two years ago. and Since then, SAL members have raised enough money to donate nearly 1,000 dogs to military personnel scheduled for deployment. “The positive response from both the troops and their families is overwhelming,” said Frain, who belongs to Squadron 27. “They are grateful that we care about their children’s well-being.”

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Military spouses invited to D.C. job fair

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On Jan. 13, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will host a career and hiring forum for military spouses in Washington D.C. at the Walter E. Washington Center. More than 100 employers will be on hand to network with and review résumés in what figures to be one of the biggest job fairs ever offered to military husbands and wives. The American Legion will maintain a booth at the event, which is cosponsored by NBC News, Capital One, Events DC, and other corporate and nonprofit entities. Employers from the Beltway area and all over the nation will be present, and some will be conducting on-site interviews. Other services will be provided for attendees, such as resume and interview coaching. The American Legion will have a booth at the career fair, where Legion staff will accept résumés, and discuss Legion programs and other employment, business options. Those who plan to attend the event can pre-register at hoh.greatjob.net and upload their résumé so it can be easily accessed by employers. Pre-registration also gives the attendee a chance to win a designer suit and makeover. For more information, visit the registration website or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Did you know?

Military Funeral Honors ceremonies must be scheduled in advance.

The law requires that every eligible veteran receive a military funeral honors ceremony, which includes the folding and presentation of the United States flag and the playing of “taps,” upon the family’s request. This Department of Defense program calls for the funeral director to request military funeral honors on behalf of the veteran’s family.