THE NORTHEASTERN POST 459 SERVICE OFFICER PAGE
Our American Legion Service Officers are specially trained to provide expert assistance, free of charge, to veterans and their families. While the majority of our service officers' work involves applications for VA benefits, our compassionate professionals also provide information, referrals and resources on education, employment and business, death benefits, and other important topics.
OUR SERVICE OFFICER TEAM
• Jim Hause: (616) 477-4651, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Jerry Dennis: (616) 901-1667, email: email@example.com
WHAT TO DO BEFORE A VETERAN DIES - A GUIDE TO PRE-PLANNING
One of the eventualities in life that spouses and families of veterans must face is the death of their loved one who has served America in uniform. To help ease the burden of their loved ones, veterans can make preparations in advance.
HEALTH CARE BENEFITS
A person who served in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable may qualify for VA health care benefits. Reservists and National Guard members may also qualify for VA health care benefits if they were called to active duty (other than for training only) by a Federal order and completed the full period for which they were called or ordered to active duty.
Minimum Duty Requirements: Veterans who enlisted after Sept. 7, 1980 or who entered active duty after Oct. 16, 1981, must have serve 24 months or the full period for which they were called to active duty in order to be eligible. This minimum duty requirement may not apply to Veterans discharged for hardship, early out or a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
To receive VA Healthcare, Veterans must be first enrolled in the VA Healthcare System. Veterans can apply for VA Healthcare through one of the following three options:
1. Veterans can enroll in person at the Wyoming VA Health Care Center. When enrolling in person, Veterans will be asked to complete VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits. To help expedite the enrollment process, Veterans are encouraged to bring a copy of their discharge paperwork (DD Form 214) and information about their combined household finances.
2. Veterans can enroll electronically by completing the online VA Form 10-10EZ, Application for Health Benefits, which is available on the VA website at: www.va.gov/healthbenefits/apply.
3. Veterans can enroll by mail after completing VA Form 10-10EZ. To obtain a copy, Veterans can visit the Wyoming VA Health Care Center, go online, pick one up at any community-based outpatient clinic or contact the Eligibility and Enrollment Center for the Wyoming VA Health Care Center at (616) 249-5300 Ext. 30366; Toll Free (888) 841-4572. Once completed, the form should be mailed to:
Wyoming VA Health Care Center
5838 Metro Way
Wyoming, MI 49519
If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don't need to take additional steps to meet the health care law coverage standard.
VA Affordable Care Act and You
If you are enrolled in any of VA’s programs below, you have coverage under the standards of the health care law:
Veteran’s health care program
Civilian Health and Medical program (CHAMPVA)
Spina bifida health care program
You don’t need to do anything more. The health care law does not change your VA benefits or out-of-pocket costs. You can continue to enjoy VA health care, which means you have:
Medical care rated among the best in the U.S.
Immediate benefits of health care coverage. Veterans may apply for VA health care enrollment at any time.
No enrollment fee, monthly premiums, or deductibles. Most Veterans have no out-of-pocket costs. Some Veterans may have to pay small copayments for health care or prescription drugs.
More than 1,700 places available to get your care. This means your coverage can go with you if you travel or move.
Met the new requirement to have health care coverage that meets the minimum standard.
The goal of the VA health care system is to achieve excellence in patient care and customer satisfaction. VA’s medical mission is singular — to serve veterans by providing the highest quality health care available anywhere in the world. America’s veterans deserve nothing less.
If you haven't enrolled in the VA Healthcare System, do not hesitate. You can apply on line at https://www.vets.gov/health-care/apply or call 877-222-VETS (8387) to apply by phone.
Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses
Gulf War Veterans qualify for VA compensation if the ailments appeared anytime during active duty in Southwest Asia theater of operations, which includes the Persian Gulf War and the Iraq War, up to 31 Dec 2016. The compensable conditions are:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Functional gastrointestinal disorders
- Undiagnosed illnesses
Unfortunately, VA does not recognize service in Afghanistan as service in Southwest Asia.
For more information, visit www.publichealth.va.gov Go to "Military Exposures" and then "Gulf War Veterans Illnesses"
Eligibility and Contacts
To determine your eligibility for healthcare benefits, call 1-800-827-1000 or visit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits.
Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service may be eligible for a variety of VA benefits, including compensation for diseases associated with exposure. Your dependents and survivors also may be eligible for benefits.
ELIGIBILITY - SERVICE IN VIET NAM OR KOREA
VA presumes that Veterans were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides if they served.
In Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975, including brief visits ashore or service aboard a ship that operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam
In or near the Korean demilitarized zone anytime between April 1, 1968 and August 31, 1971
If you fall into either category listed above, you do not have to show that you were exposed to Agent Orange to be eligible for disability compensation for diseases VA presumes are associated with it. Check the list of U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships that operated in Vietnam to confirm whether your service aboard a ship allows VA to concede you were exposed to Agent Orange.
Even if you did not serve in Vietnam or the Korean demilitarized zone during the specified time periods, you can still apply for disability compensation if you were exposed to an herbicide while in the military and believe it led to the onset of a disease. This includes:
Veterans who served on or near the perimeters of military bases in Thailand during the Vietnam era,
Veterans who served where herbicides were tested and stored outside Vietnam,
Veterans who were crew members on C-123 planes flown after the Vietnam War,
Veterans associated with Department of Defense (DOD) projects to test, dispose of, or store herbicides in the U.S.
If eligible, you must prove that you were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during your military service to be eligible for service-connection for diseases VA presumes are related to Agent Orange exposure.
Exception: Blue Water Veterans with non-Hodgkin's may be granted service-connection without showing inland waterway service or that they set foot in Vietnam. This is because VA also recognizes non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as a related to service in Vietnam or the waters offshore or Vietnam during the Vietnam Era.
WHAT ARE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY BENEFITS?
Social Security Disability benefits (SSDI) are not an entitlement benefit; you must pay into the Social Security system in order to be eligible to receive them. Typically a service member must have either served or worked five out of the past ten years to qualify for a benefit. Social Security Disability benefits are reserved for individuals who can no longer work full time and have a medical condition that prevents them from doing so that will last at least a one year period.
I ALREADY RECEIVE BENEFITS FROM THE VA, CAN I STILL RECEIVE SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY?
Yes. There is no offset between VA service connected benefits and Social Security Disability.