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Did You Know?

Forces To Flyers Program

Did you know the U.S. Department of Transportation has a new program for veterans who want to be commercial pilots?  The “Forces to Flyers” program is a three-year research initiative led by the Department of Transportation and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center. A veteran can enter the program and get a private pilot’s license, then use their GI Bill for the remainder of the program. The veteran must have a first-class medical certificate, a student certificate, and a letter of reference from a previous or current commanding officer, teacher/instructor/professor, or supervisor/manager. Under the program, flight schools must deduct $13,526 from the cost of the training. To learn more about the Forces to Flyers program visit your nearest VSO.

     

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

     

U.S. Air Force Seeking Retired Veterans

Did you know the U.S. Air Force (USAF) has a shortage of pilots and related officer flight personnel?   The Air Force has expanded plans to not only welcome back retired pilots into active duty staff positions, but also combat system officers and air battle managers in certain Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC). To help alleviate this shortage, the Air Force is encouraging retirees from the 11X, 12X and 13B AFSC’s to apply for the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty (VRRAD) program. For more information visit your nearest recruiting station.

      

Chemical Compensation for Veterans

Did you know Project 112/SHAD (Shipboard Hazard and Defense) is the name of the program for both shipboard and land-based biological and chemical testing conducted by the U.S. military between 1962 – 1973?  VA will provide physical examinations to veterans who participated in the testing. Veterans will receive medical care free of charge for conditions related to exposure.

 

Veterans may be eligible for disability compensation if they have a service-related disability and were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.  VA does not presume by regulation that any specific disabilities are related to participation in Project 112/SHAD. Veterans’ claims are decided on a case-by-case basis.

     

   

  

  

  

  

  

    

      

   

     

VA presumes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) diagnosed in all Veterans with 90 days or more continuous active military service is related to their service, although ALS is not related to Project 112/SHAD.  Surviving spouses, dependent children and dependent parents of veterans who died from health problems related to participation in Project 112/SHAD may be eligible for health care, compensation, education, and home loan benefits.

        

See Potential Exposures

   

Final Regulation to Aid Korean War Veterans

Did you know veterans exposed to herbicides while serving along the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in Korea will have an easier path to access quality health care and benefits under a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) final regulation that expanded the dates when illnesses caused by herbicide exposure can be presumed to be related to Agent Orange?                                     

                                     

Under the final regulation published in the Federal Register, VA will presume herbicide exposure for any veteran who served between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971, in a unit determined by VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) to have operated in an area in or near the Korean DMZ in which herbicides were applied.                                                 

                                                 

Previously, VA recognized that Agent Orange exposure could only be conceded to veterans who served in certain units along the Korean DMZ between April 1968 and July 1969.

                                                        

In practical terms, eligible veterans who have specific illnesses VA presumes to be associated with herbicide exposure do not have to prove an association between their illness and their military service.  This “presumption” simplifies and speeds up the application process for benefits and ensures that veterans receive the benefits they deserve.  VA encourages veterans with covered service in Korea who have medical conditions that may be related to Agent Orange to submit their applications for access to VA health care and compensation as soon as possible so the agency can begin processing their claims.                                   

                                      

Veterans may visit a local Veteran Service Officer (VSO) to get a more complete understanding of how to file a claim for presumptive conditions related to herbicide exposure, as well as what evidence is needed by VA to make a decision about disability compensation or survivors benefits. 

     

VA Programs Pays Part of Your Rent

Did you know the VA Shallow Subsidy initiative program provides low-income veterans a fixed rental subsidy for up to two years?  The program is supported in the following areas:

  • California: Alameda (including Oakland), Contra Costa, Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Clara
  • District of Columbia: Washington
  • Hawaii: Honolulu
  • Illinois: Cook County
  • New York: New York City and Bronx, Queens, Kings and Richmond counties
  • Washington: Seattle

   

Veterans who live in any of the targeted communities who wish to be considered for the program should visit the Homeless Programs Office at their local VA medical center or contact the National Call Center for Homeless Veterans at 877-4AID-VET (877-424-3838).

COVID-19 Booster Shots

Did you know some veterans, spouses, and caregivers can receive Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine booster shots from VA?  In line with recommendations from the FDA and CDC, only people who have already received a full series of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at least six months ago have been authorized to receive a Pfizer booster shot.

       

Loyalty Program for Veterans 

Did you know Choice Privileges, the award-winning loyalty program from Choice Hotels International, Inc., is launching a new rate for military personnel, veterans, their dependents, and members of government and military-oriented associations, when booking leisure stays?  Active duty service members and veterans can save up to 12% when booking at participating Choice-branded hotels, and the new offering builds upon the company's commitment to giving back to those that give so much to the country.

   

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

           

Enhanced Pension

Did you know that VA’s Aid & Attendance and Housebound benefits, or enhanced pension, can boost your pension payments? If you need help with daily activities, or if you are housebound, you may qualify for an increased monthly pension.  Aid & Attendance benefits help cover the cost of in-home care, assisted living, or a nursing home. Benefits are available to qualifying low-income and net worth, wartime, and disabled veterans, as well as their surviving spouses who are in nursing homes or who need help with everyday tasks, like dressing, bathing, or eating.

        

Claims Backlog

Did you know as of October 11, 2021, there were more than 204,000 backlog disability claims in an inventory of 603,000 total disability claims?  VA identified more than 70,000 disability claims to review for additional entitlement stemming from the presumptive relationship between Agent Orange and Parkinsonism, bladder cancer and hypothyroidism. Many of these will enter the backlog in October 2021 which is projected to reach 260,000 pending claims.

      

Yoga Helps

Did you know that one of the greatest benefits of yoga is that it can help ease chronic pain?  Yoga helps with arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraines, lower back pain, and other types of pain.

   

   

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

               

U.S. Very Concerned

Did you know the United States is “very concerned” about China’s development of hypersonic technology?  The U.S. disarmament ambassador, Robert Wood, reports that Beijing had recently launched a hypersonic missile with a nuclear capacity.

       

Discharge Status

Did you know since World War II, more than two million service members have been discharged from U.S. military with a discharge status other than “honorable discharge.”  Having a discharge that falls below a certain level can impact a veteran’s access to pensions, GI Bill education benefits, health care benefits, insurance or home loans, as well as carrying a negative stigma.

           

Social Security Benefits for Active Duty Troops

Did you know Social Security is an important resource for military members who return home with injuries?  Active duty military service members who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they’re unable to work due to a disabling condition.  Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits.