NEWS FROM THE VA: Because of your input, changes coming at VA

All gave some…some gave all: Flags line all the graves at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, in Augusta. (photo by Kevin Giguere, Central Maine)

Gary Kennedyby Gary Kennedy

For all of you who follow our veteran related articles and respond, we thank you for your great response and will answer your comments and concern in the order received.

* There are many issues both positive and negative that affect our veterans. We look forward to your input and we will try to find favorable solutions and information for all that participates.

* I am happy to report that because of our input with VA Togus, the release of information section has reopened. Your response and our action were pivotal in getting the job done. It looked like the new director was getting off on the wrong foot, but perhaps we need to reassess our previous opinion. Now the Veteran Service Organizations (VSO’s) will be able to once again move rapidly with veterans issues by being able to collect Veteran medical information in an expeditious manner.

* Another positive will take affect nationally and that is the cost of living adjustment (COLA) which is evaluated each year along side of the Social Security (COLA). These are usually the same if given at all. This past October 9, 2018, President Donald Trump endorsed Public Law 115-258 which provides an increase in VA benefits by 2.8 percent. This takes affect this December 1 and will be seen in the January 1 check. Also the dependent and indemnity compensation (DIC) for veteran’s survivors will receive the same. This is suppose to protect against inflation.

*Also we have talked about National Guard in the past and it is felt by some of us that they have been given an unfair shake. When you look at a National Guard training record you will see orders for basic training which entails 88 days of active duty. It has gone without question it seems by Service Organizations. This period is two days short of VA medical benefits which requires 90 days. Can you see the pattern here? I certainly can and have taken action by doing a test case to bring it out in the open.

When I served in the Army I was in the regulars and served 90 days in basic plus. So, I would be qualified to be reviewed for medical benefits. In my opinion this is a government way of having their cake and eating it as well. This is a terribly unfair practice by the powers that be.

The guard was originally meant to be a “State Militia and was eventually taken over by the federal government. Some of the guard has been activated to go and fight on foreign soil. Those guardsmen have been compensated. The others were standing by; yet they are not qualified for VA benefits because of two days. We are hoping to change that. We will have some answers in the near future and if we are successful thousands of National Guardsman can come forward. Wish us luck and let us know what you think.

Also, I will mention something in closing that most of you don’t know and that is; some veterans have been plagued with infertility. In vitro fertilization is now a possibility if you qualify. I know that is very important to some of us. Talk to your primary care provider.

Take care fellow veterans and keep the faith. There are people out there that are fighting for you. Thank you for your service and God be with you. Yours in Service.


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