American Veteran News 03.30.16

VA OFFERS SPECIAL PENSION BENEFIT TO DISABLED VETS AND SPOUSES — TASK & PURPOSE — The VA’s “Aid & Attendance” pension benefit offsets financial burdens felt by disabled veterans or surviving spouses.

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers a relatively unknown pension benefit called “Aid & Attendance” that helps offset the cost of living for disabled veterans who can’t work, or surviving spouses who require long-term care.

The reason for designating Aid & Attendance as a pension benefit is that many veterans or their single surviving spouses can be eligible for these funds in addition to previously earned post-service pensions. It is for veterans and spouses who have disabilities that require the aid and attendance of a caregiver or are housebound.

Through this benefit, an increased monthly amount will be added to monthly pension amount when a veteran, his or her spouse, or both are confined to home because of permanent disability.


PINELLAS MAN ADMITS HE PRETENDED TO BE BLIND TO GET BENEFITS — TAMPA BAY ONLINE — A military veteran is facing a possible federal prison sentence after he admitted Monday that he lied about being blind to collect government benefits.

Although he claimed he couldn’t drive or even get around without help, the veteran actually worked as a mailroom clerk and drove for years.

The veteran, Gary W. Gray, 67, of Kenneth City, suffered a service-related eye injury while serving in the Army between 1968 and 1970.

Over the years, he collected Veterans Administration benefits, claiming his disability — hypertensive retinopathy — worsened after a stroke to the point he was almost totally blind.


THREE VA EXECUTIVES RECEIVE LONG OVERDUE PUNISHMENT — DISABLEDVETERANS.ORG — Three VA executives recently received punishment for fraudulent and dishonest behavior that many veterans and American taxpayers believed was long overdue.

Last week, VA announced it would punish Danny Pummill, Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves for their collective conspiracy to orchestrate job movements and relocation pay shams.

VA announced it would suspend Danny Pummill without pay for his involvement in facilitating the relocation scheme. Pummill took over Veterans Benefits Administration after Allison Hickey resigned. Hickey resigned once the moving pay scandal heated up.

Both Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves would receive a pay cut equal to 10 percent of their base salary. This means Diana Rubens would receive an $18,000 cut off the top of her $181, 497 salary. Kim Graves would get a cut of $17,300 from her curiously generous salary of $173,949.


THESE 15 HIREPURPOSE PARTNERS WERE JUST NAMED THE ‘BEST FOR VETS’ EMPLOYERS OF 2016 — TASK & PURPOSE — These 15 Hirepurpose partners represent the most veteran-friendly companies of 2016.

Military Times released its seventh annual “Best for Vets” list of employers on March 21, representing those companies that are actively recruiting, hiring, and empowering veterans within their organization.

Among the ranked companies, veterans comprised more than 13% of the employee populations and more than 17% of new hires. Further more than 75% have a military affinity group within the company.

“Hiring veterans isn’t charity; this population brings an incredible amount of talent, experience, and insight to the private sector,” said Hirepurpose CEO and Marine Corps veteran Zach Iscol. “Hirepurpose is proud to partner with companies who understand this and have built company cultures that embrace veterans and the skills they bring to the table.”


EVENTS PLANNED TO COMMEMORATE VIETNAM VETERANS DURING 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF WAR — BALTIMORE SUN — Army Capt. George Shoener was 27 when he came home in 1971 after a year in Vietnam. Others on the flight warned that returning soldiers weren’t always welcomed, and they suggested he change from his jungle fatigues.

In Washington state, he disembarked wearing a polo shirt and slacks.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is planning to offer the welcome and tribute that many who fought in Vietnam never received. The department has designated March 29 a day to recognize the veterans and their families with ceremonies across Maryland.

“There were no celebrations. We just came home and were told to be quiet and move on with our lives,” said Shoener, now a 73-year-old retired lieutenant colonel living in Easton. “I didn’t wear my uniform again for two years.”


MCCAIN CALLS FOR UNIVERSAL, PERMANENT VA CHOICE CARD — AZ CENTRAL — John McCain unveiled a new action plan for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs at a Monday town hall in Phoenix, declaring that after nearly two years of reform efforts “our veterans still have not gotten the care they need and deserve.”

The Republican senator’s new initiative calls for the VA Choice Card — which allows some patients to obtain private care at the department’s expense — to be made universal and permanent.

In the aftermath of a 2014 scandal over delayed care for veterans, the Choice Cards were authorized by Congress for use by veterans stuck on months-long wait lists for VA doctor appointments, and by those who lived more than 40 miles from a veterans hospital or clinic. McCain said those limitations should be dissolved so all veterans can get care from non-VA providers. He also ripped the federal agency for failing to educate employees and veterans so they can take advantage of the existing Choice Card.


SENATOR WARNER RESPONDS TO BRAIN INJURY INVESTIGATION — WVEC — NORFOLK, VA. – A U.S. Senator is getting involved after a 13News Now investigation uncovered veterans might not be getting the medical care and benefits they have earned.

Sen. Mark Warner said we need to know if Veterans Affairs hospitals are allowing vets to see the proper medical specialists to diagnose Traumatic Brain Injuries.

We brought our story to Sen. Warner when we couldn’t seem to get uniform answers from the VAs in our area. We have been trying to find out whether or not the people vets are trusting to diagnose brain injuries are qualified to do so. Warner told us his office is now investigating.


SENATORS DEMAND ANSWERS WHEN MORE THAN 200,000 VETS ARE STRIPPED OF SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS — BIZPAC REVIEW — Two Republican senators are outraged and demanding answers to why hundreds of thousands of veterans are now essentially barred from owning firearms.

As of now, veterans who have been assigned as a fiduciary trustee are reported to the FBI as being “mentally defective,” Guns.com reported.

Beginning in December of 2015, more than 260,000 veterans have been reported to the database which basically makes it impossible for them to own a gun, according to Guns.com.


MOUTHMOBILE BRINGS FREE DENTAL CARE TO VETERANS — MILITARY TIMES — Veterans who can’t afford to make regular trips to the dentist may now have an alternative — the dentists are coming to them.

Aspen Dental, a nationwide network of locally owned and operated dental practices, and Got Your 6, a nonprofit dedicated to empowering veterans to strengthen communities, have teamed up for the Healthy Mouth Movement, which includes a “MouthMobile” that will stop at more than 30 cities across the country over the next several months.

The dental clinic on wheels offers care ranging from a regular cleaning to a set of dentures.


FORMER GITMO GUARD FROM MONTCO WANTS TO BE MS. VETERAN AMERICA — PHILLY.COM — As an 18-year-old military police officer at Guantánamo Bay’s prison, Erica Walsh was one of the few women tasked with guarding detainees.

Erica Walsh, an Army veteran who started her own business, gives encouragement to one of her Dub Fitness clients during an evening workout at her fitness center in King of Prussia.

Some were terror suspects linked to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks – the same attacks that spurred Walsh to enlist. For 12 hours a day, they rained down abuse on her from their cells.

But Walsh, a Montgomery County resident, who admits she cried as a child when she saw roadkill, developed a thick skin and inner strength. Her fortitude grew at similar posts in Iraq and at the maximum security prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

“Being a woman in a man’s army, people are constantly nay-saying you,” said Walsh, who served for eight years in the Army and now studies health and physical education as a junior at West Chester University. “I want little girls to see they can do anything they want to do.”


VETERANS HONORED IN PINNING CEREMONY ON VIETNAM VETERANS DAY — WSLS — SALEM (WSLS10)– Vietnam Veterans will be honored at a special pinning ceremony tonight in honor of Vietnam Veterans Day. On March 29, 1973, the last combat soldiers left Vietnam and one year later, March 29 was declared Vietnam Veterans Day by President Richard Nixon.

Tonight a big commemoration ceremony will take place at the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center to thank and honor the men and women who served our country during the Vietnam War era. Every veteran who served on active duty between November 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975 is invited, regardless of where they were stationed.

This is one of several events in our area that’s been held over the past few years in an effort to give out the commemorative lapel pins. Every veteran that served during that time period is eligible to receive one of the pins as a thank you from our community and the nation. Today’s ceremony is hosted by the Salem VA Medical Center and the Veterans Benefits Administration.

To THE VETERANS VOICE

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