Richard Chasse Sr
Jean Scholar
Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States
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Events
Event is designed to commemerate Viet Nam Veterans (In Country and Era) service.  We will have service providers available to assist in obtaiin health care, benefits, etc. Join us on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Grand Rapids Armory in Grand Rapids MN. Invite a Veteran to come with you. (go to facebook page for more info)

Join us for the 30th Annul Military Ball at the Deer River Vets Club on April 2, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. All past and curent Military Service Members and their spouses are welcome. Wear all, some or none of your Military Service Uniform. (post this flyer)

Are you a Disabled Veteran and would you like to hunt turkeys, well fill out this application to be eligible for the Annual MN Veterans-Physically Disabled Veteran Turkey Hunt. Space is limited and applications are due by April 1, 2016. Happy hunting.

Memstats and Post Rosters - should/do they match and they will rarely match. This is how it works:  
1. On July 1st of every year, ALL Annual (continuous) members are listed as UNPAID until they pay the current year’s Dues.
2. They may still be members in ‘good standing’ but for Membership Contest purposes, they are listed as UNPAID until they pay the current (2016) year Dues.
3. If they go past their ‘Anniversary’ date, they will be listed as EXPIRED and are no longer members in ‘good standing’.
4. This is how the National Organization determines when a Post makes 100% and they have always used this method. They continue to use this system even after going to Subscription Dues.
5. Finally, as clarification, Annual members WILL NOT count on the Memstats Report until they pay their ‘current’ years Dues.
(excerpt from February 2016 General Orders - submitted by Department Membership Chairman)

Dreams for Veterans serves our nation’s military communities by giving back to terminally ill veterans and their families through the fulfillment of a final dream.
Final wishes range from basic need items (like a working appliance or mobility scooter) to bedside reunions, final vacations with family, “meet and greets” with personal heroes or reconnecting with aspects of former military service.
A dream not only serves the recipient, but also brings comfort and peace to caregivers, loved ones, hospice professionals, veterans affairs and service officers, and all those they serve in communities across the nation.
We serve veterans in all 50 states and partner with America’s hospice professionals and veterans organizations to meet the unique needs of our nation’s veterans. Visit their website at http://www.dreamfoundation.org/veterans

If you're ever in the Little Falls MN area, make sure to check out the Minnesota Military Museum. The Minnesota Military Museum seeks to strengthen public understanding of how armed conflicts and military institutions have shaped our state and national experience.  They do this by documenting, preserving, and explaining military history as it was lived by the people of Minnesota.  They also function as a major repository in Minnesota for historical artifacts and records of a military nature. Check out their website at http://www.mnmilitarymuseum.org/ for more information and take a virtual tour.

The Free Urns for Veterans group is a Minnesota non-profit organization. The founders made urns out of quality oak wood and offer them to veterans families free of charge. Each urn has the veteran's name, rank, life dates, and military service seal. More information is at www.freeurnsforveterans.org. The organization relies 100 percent on donations. It is run by volunteers with no paid staff. You can email at free.urns@gmail.com.

Commanders & Quartermasters,  Please make sure your Post has reviewed and addressed the possible Data Security Issue.

 The following was received today from VFW National Headquarters:

It was just brought to our attention that there was an unauthorized access into the Form 990 Online and e-Postcard systems.  The systems are operated through the Urban Institute.  The Urban Institute partnered with the IRS on these systems.  Please see below for details and instructions.

SECURITY ALERT:
Unauthorized parties have gained access to Form 990 Online. If you are a user of this site, we encourage you to change your password immediately. Please go here for details and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

February 24, 2015

 To Users of 990 and e-Postcard (990-N):

 The Urban Institute’s National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) recently discovered that an unauthorized party or parties have accessed the Form 990 Online and e-Postcard filing systems for nonprofit organizations. This unauthorized access affected nonprofit users of IRS Forms 990, 990-EZ, and 990-N (e-Postcard). In addition, it affected users of Form 8868 extensions and filings for charitable organizations in Hawaii, Michigan, and New York.

 We regret to inform you that the username, first and last name, email address, IP address, phone number, and password associated with your nonprofit organization were compromised in this incident.

 Once we discovered the attack, we contacted the IRS and made every effort to secure the systems and user accounts. We are working with law enforcement agencies as they conduct an investigation. In addition, we have retained a leading cyber security firm to help us analyze the situation and strengthen security.

 Currently we believe no information from the filings themselves was compromised. These forms do not contain Social Security numbers, credit card data, or individual tax filer information, so such sensitive information was not available to the hackers. Copies of the 990 returns, including the e-Postcard, are public documents that are released by the IRS.

 If you use the same password for your organization’s Form 990 Online and e-Postcard that you do for other websites or applications, we strongly encourage you to change it immediately in each of those instances, as well as on these systems.

To change your password on the Form 990, click here.

 To change your password on the e-Postcard, click here.

 To enhance security, all users accessing the Form 990 Online and e-Postcard systems are required to change their passwords upon logging in, or were when they logged in most recently. We encourage you to be alert for unusual or suspicious emails and use caution when clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown senders.   

 We sincerely apologize for this disruption and any inconvenience this incident may cause you. We have a strong commitment to privacy and data security, and we are continuing to do everything we can to protect against future attacks. Our investigation is ongoing, and we will let you know if it reveals new information that is relevant to your account.

If you have any questions, please visit our FAQ where you can obtain further information. While you can’t reply directly to this email, you can email us at security@form990.org or call 1-800-564-9110 if you have more questions.

Sincerely,

 Elizabeth T. Boris
Director, Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy at the Urban Institute

There is a Veteran's Informational meeting on February 25, 2015 (Wednesday) at 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Veterans on the Lake Resort. At 10:00 Sherry Rodriguez (CVSO) will cover Veterans Benefits. At 11:00 Michael Rosecrans (VAMC) will discuss the Choice Card. There is a Luncheon at noon. All Veterans are welcome to come.

VFW Commander-in-Chief John Stroud and Ladies Auxiliary VFW National President Ann Panteleakos are joining forces during the 2014-2015 year to support the VFW’s premier program: National Veterans Service (NVS).

The goal? To raise $1 million for the program.

Here are updated details on how the funds will be used:

Operating Changing Lives is the joint program conceived by National Commander- in- Chief John Stroud and National President Ann Panteleakos. Both national leaders are focused on doing everything possible to help not just recently discharged veterans but deserving veterans of every generation. As the military begins to dramatically downsize our military forces, we need to shift our focus and resources exponentially to assist the increasing number of separating service members.

The Veterans Service Office program is the foundation that the VFW and its Auxiliary was built upon and defines us most as advocacy organizations. The effort to support Operation Changing Lives is vital to expanding and maintaining a program that reaches virtually every generation of veteran as well as their families. The dollars raised will be used exclusively for the training or hiring of veterans to work in a BDD or other Service Officer Capacity for the purpose of providing essential services, as well as helping with expanding Benefits Delivery at Discharge sites ( BDD sites), located on select U.S. military bases around the country. BDD educates service members regarding VA or other entitlements they are eligible for upon transitioning to civilian life. BDD Service Officers also assist in initiating VA claims. The information and/or assistance service members receive at BDD sites could help immediately upon discharge, or conceivably many years into the future, whenever the need may arise.

   Rest assured, your efforts in supporting this important initiative will help provide veterans and their families a path toward securing educational benefits, VA compensation, medical care and family services and ultimately helping those who deserve it most live a full and productive life-something that our veterans have earned and deserve.

Please consider donating to Operation Changing Lives because that's what we do, change the lives of our veterans and their families in a positive way.

PizPor - Comedian/Magician, along with 2 other comedians (Dennis Carney and Carol Vnuk) will be putting on a show on Saturday, October 25th at the Cloquet VFW. Come early for the meal and stay for the show. This will also be a fundraiser for the Northland Honor Flight. See flyer for details.

2015 Veterans Appreciation Ride

The Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association and Minnesota Snowmobile Education and Advancement Fund will hold their 7th Annual Veterans Appreciation Snowmobile Ride on Saturday, January 10, 2015 in Silver Bay, MN.  The ride is provided as a token of  appreciation to the veterans who have given part of their lives to serve all of us.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner and one night's lodging will be provided to the attendees and 20 snowmobiles will be available to those that want to to try snowmobiling.  Others are invited to come along and bring their own snowmobile.  All veterans and active duty military personnel are welcome to attend.  Visit MnUSA website for more information, posters and photos.

Silver Bay Halloween Party 2014

This year the annual VFW and Auxiliary Halloween party will be at Silver Bay on Friday October 31st. The costume theme this year is Hippy Halloween. Print flyer for more details.

MACV Stand Down

All Veterans Welcome! On August 21, 2014 at the Miners Memorial Building in Virginia, join Northland Veterans for Stand Down put on by MACV. There are a lot of FREE SERVICES available for Veterans. Print this flyer for times, location and the list of free services.

VFW Commander-in-Chief Visit 2014

The V.F.W. National Commander-in-Chief will be visiting Posts throughout the State the week of May 27, 2014.
Please check for a day and time when he will be at a Post near year and make a trip out to see him!

Let's give him a Great Minnesota Welcome!!!

Attention ALL Minnesota V.F.W. Members

Have you attend OTI in the Past?  Think you've 'been there' and 'done that'?
You Haven't been to OTI until you've come to OTI 2014!
Have you Never been to OTI?  Wondering how to help your Post be successful?
OR... Simply want to know more about what Posts do/ should be doing?
Then you Can't Miss OTI 2014!

What IS OTI??
Department of Minnesota's Officer Training Institute
Did you know this is our 29th Year?!?
We have created a whole new class format for OTI 2014

At OTI 2014 You Will...
  • Explore all V.F.W. Manuals & Resources available to you
  • Recieve ACTUAL Copies of almost all Manual & Resources (neatly placed in a binder)
  • Take home a CD of these Manuals & Resources (great for printing copies of forms)
  • Get information on all V.F.W. Programs, Events and Activities
  • Learn where to find answers to all of your questions throughout the year (anytime- day or night)
  • Participate in Q & A
  • Share ideas with your Comrades during a fantastic lunch and snack
ALL of this and much more!

NO need to bring ANYTHING...
just yourself and a willingness to learn how to be the best V.F.W. Member & Officer you can be!
Reserve your spot early to be sure we have materials ready for you (A handy OTI Registration Form, Schedule and Housing Form is attached)
DATE: Thursday, June 5th, 2014
TIME:  8:00 am - 3:30 pm
PLACE: Best Western Kelly Inn, St Cloud, MN

      Save YOUR Spot TODAY!         

VMH 5K Fun Run

Participate in a short 5K Fun Run to benefit Veterans Memorial Hall, starting at the Twig Bakery in Duluth. Awards will be given to the top racers in each age group.

Legal Clinic for Veterans

MACV invites you to participate in a FREE Drop-In Legal Clinic for Veterans at the American Legion West Duluth. See flyer for details.

Joining Community Forces - MN

You are cordially invited to the Joining Community Forces – Minnesota (JCF-MN). The goal of JCF-MN is to collaborate and synchronize community resources to support Veterans, Servicemembers, and their Families. How to register

Career Fair Preparation Workshop for Veterans

Attached is a flyer for a Career Fair Preparation Workshop for Veterans that is coming up on May 5th at the Minnesota WorkForce Center - Duluth. There will be an HR Representative from Minnesota Power - Allete as a guest speaker.

5th Annual Northland Job Fair

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, May 7th, for the 5th Annual Northland Job Fair!
More than 70 employers from northern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin will have displays and details about open and future opportunities. Job seekers can visit one-on-one with resume and job search experts, learn about education opportunities, network with employers and possibly interview for positions on site. Also, we will have resume critique and interview snapshot (practice) in our Resource Area.
The event will be open exclusively to veterans, students and interns from 10 to 11 a.m. and to all job seekers from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.   Here is the current list of exhibitors.
This list will be updated on this link weekly... http://mn.gov/deed/events/NJF14/index.jsp

Senate File 1982 - Comprehensive Veterans' and Health Benefits Package

Subject: VFW Legislative Alert: Urge Senate to Pass S. 1982 - Comprehensive Veterans' and Health Benefits Package Today!
VFW Legislative Alert: Urge Senate to Pass S. 1982 - Comprehensive Veterans' and Health Benefits Package Today!
Background: S. 1982, the Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 is the most comprehensive veterans' legislation to be introduced in decades. It addresses many of the VFW's legislative priority goals, but remains stalled in the Senate.
While Congress is on recess, we ask all of our members and advocates to once again take action by sending a letter, calling or attending a town hall meeting with your Senators. Ask them to support and pass this sweeping legislation when they return to Washington.
If signed into law, the bill would expand and improve health care and benefit services to all generations of veterans and their families. Most notably, it would expand the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans; offer in-state tuition protection for recently-transitioned veterans; reauthorize the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP); improve access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military; and authorize construction of more than 20 Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOC's) to serve veterans in their communities.
Action Needed: Send a letter, call or meet with your Senators - urge them to support and pass S. 1982, the Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014. Tell them that this historic legislation will provide vital services to all generations of veterans and their families.  Remind them we are a nation still at war, and veterans are still in need of the critical services this legislation will provide.
For contact information, to include State office locations and DC phone numbers, visit our webiste - www.vfw.org and click on Action Corps - Get to Know Your Elected Officials.

VA Rates High on Patient Satisfaction in National Survey

The 2013 ACSI assesses the satisfaction of Veterans who have recently been patients at the VA.  Since 1994, the ACSI has been a national indicator of patient evaluations of the quality of goods and services, including health care, available to U.S. residents.  They review customer feedback for both the public and private sectors. Read more...

MN House File 2557 - Veterans Home Eligibility

Please contact your Legislators today regarding Minnesota House File 2557 - Veterans Home Eligibility (and the Senate version of the Bill - SF 2406)
The following video was made by Tom Johnson, Quartermaster of Hopkins VFW Post #425 http://2putt.it/1fVAC7S
This is great, a must see.
From Your VFW Department Legislative Chairman,
Rich Zierdt

Pioneer Press request for Memorial Day project from VFW Posts

The Press is requesting help from the VFW, and in turn area post commanders, to see if they might reach out to their members for an upcoming Memorial Day story.

We’re hoping to interview Minnesota veterans concerning service members -- preferably from Minnesota, though that's not a requirement -- who did not return from a War or Conflict. This would be a profile of fallen or missing service members whom area veterans served with directly. We’d like to allow veterans to express memories of those service members in their own words.

If you, or any veteran you know, would be interested in participating in this story, please call Tad Vezner, a staff writer at the St. Paul Pioneer Press, at (651) 228-5461 or email him at tvezner@pioneerpress.com.
Thank you for any assistance you may be able to give.

Request to VFW Posts: Support MN Army National Guard Officer Candidate Graduates

DEPARTMENTS OF THE ARMY AND THE AIR FORCE MINNESOTA ARMY NATIONAL GUARD
1ST Battalion (W/OCS) 175TH Regiment (Regional Training Institute)
15000 Highway 115, Camp Ripley
Little Falls, Minnesota 56345-4173

7 January 2014
Dear VFW Post Commander,

My name is Officer Candidate Jonathan Groeneweg and I write to you on behalf of the Minnesota Army National Guard Officer Candidate School Class 58. We need your assistance! Class 58 requests donations to help fund our End of Cycle dining out event. This event will be held July 2014 in Camp Ripley; the raised funds will go towards the meals for all whom attend, in addition to the gifts to the VIP’s in attendance, and a Legacy gift to the Regional Training Institute. Class 58 requests each VFW post to donate at least $100.00 but will accept any amount your post deems appropriate.
This dining event has been an Officer Candidate School tradition since 1957. Next summer my peers and I will be proud to represent the 58th graduating class in the Minnesota Army National Guard Officer Candidate School. With the help of the VFW, our class will have the opportunity to carry on with this great tradition.
If you and your Post decide to support our OCS Class, please mail your donation directly to First Advantage Bank (9950 Foley Blvd NW, Coon Rapids, MN 55433) - check or money order payable to OCS Class 58 checking account number 10003280.  If you decide to support us financially or have any questions please contact me at groeneweg.jonathan@gmail.com or call my cell, 952-412-2548.  For our planning purposes we’d really appreciate it if you contacted us with your intention either way.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Very Respectfully,
JONATHAN GROENEWEG
Officer Candidate, MNARNG
Class 58 Finance& Fundraising Chairperson

VFW Addresses Cyber Attack

On February 12, VFW National Headquarters received notification that vfw.org security platforms had been breached and a malicious code was installed within the VFW website. This code would allow a malware download to those vfw.org visitors using Internet Explorer 9 or 10. VFW immediately identified the issue and is currently working with federal law enforcement and a cyber-security response team to locate the source of the attack and determine the extent of the event.

Again, this attack only targeted users visiting vfw.org using the older Internet Explorer versions 9 or 10.  Anyone who visited the website through Internet Explorer 11, or through another web browser, would not have been exposed to the malware.

There was no threat to the security of donors’ personal information, and at this point there is no indication that any member data was compromised. VFW will continue to investigate the matter and work to ensure this remains an isolated event.  
  Be assured, keeping VFW members’ private information secure is our top priority and we are taking every necessary precaution to ensure that information remains safe.

Thank you,
John E. Hamilton
Adjutant General
406 W. 34th St.
Kansas City, MO 64111

816-968-1110 (voice)
816-968-1157 (fax)

Veterans Day on the Hill

Join VFW and Auxiliary Members at the Rotunda at the Minnesota State Capitol on Monday, March 17, 2014 (See Attachment for more details)

Submit Your Patriotic Photo for the V.F.W. Charitable Assoc. 2015 Calendar Raffle

Submit your photos for the 2015 Calendar Raffle Patriotic Photo Contest (See Attachment for more details)

Submit Your Post for the Home Depot Improvement Grant


(See Attachment to Apply)
The Home Depot (HD) has just opened their Community Impact Grants cycle which will be in effect until August 15, 2014. There will likely be 2-3 rounds for submission during that time frame.

VFW Posts can receive up to $5,000 to fix up their Post building! Although of course there are no guarantees (so please be mindful of that) I encourage all Posts to apply ASAP if you desire to remodel your building.  

To begin the process, click on the following link: http://homedepotfoundation.org/page/applying-for-a-grant
YOU WILL COMPLETE THIS APPLICATION DIRECTLY VIA THE INTERNET ONLY
(no telephone calls to HD, emails or written submissions will be accepted nor will you be able to turn this application in at your local HD store).
PLEASE OPEN AND CAREFULLY READ THE PDF ATTACHMENT TO THIS EMAIL AS IT WILL WALK YOU STEP-BY-STEP THROUGH THE PROCESS.
I have tried to make the instructions as simple as possible using actual computer screen shots. Any deviation from this guide will most likely result in not being able to submit the application.
ALSO PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THE TAX ID INSTRUCTIONS SECTION. You will use the Employee Identification Number (EIN) of your Post and upload the Post's 501(c)(19) IRS determination letter at the end of the application. If you cannot locate the Post's 501(c)(19) letter let me know as I can give you instructions on how to request a duplicate copy from the IRS.

If you receive funding it will come in the form of Home Depot gift cards that can be used to buy materials at your local HD store. You will need to recruit Post members or other community volunteers to do the work. The project must be completed within 6 months. You will also be required to submit a final report. You should also be willing to include stories and before-and-after photos of the project. Failure to do so will negatively impact your Post's ability to receive any future funding from The Home Depot.

After submission of the application, you should receive an email response usually in six weeks letting you know if you received the grant.  

I wish each of you the BEST OF LUCK!

Should you have any questions and or concerns, please contact me directly, Richard Freiburghouse, Manager - VFW Foundation, at (816) 968-1124 or rfreiburghouse@vfw.org

Richard G. Freiburghouse
Manager, Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation
VFW National Headquarters Building
406 West 34th Street, Suite 920
Kansas City, MO 64111
p: 816-968-1124 f: 816-968-2789

VFW Supports Sanders Bill

S. 1950 expands VA services and eliminates COLA penalty

WASHINGTON (January 23, 2014) - The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States has thrown its support behind a bill introduced by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chairman because it fulfills a number of VFW legislative priorities that benefit all generations of veterans and their families, and it eliminates the cost-of-living adjustment penalty on military retirees.
S. 1950, the "Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Restoration Act of 2014," was introduced last week by Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and VFW National Commander William A. Thien is calling it "The most comprehensive veterans' legislation to be introduced in decades."
In a letter of support, Thien said the bill expands the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans, something the VFW has been advocating since the law was signed in 2010. It provides advance appropriations for all mandatory accounts, which ensures disabled veterans, survivors and GI Bill student-veterans will continue to receive their monthly payments regardless of future government shutdowns. S. 1950 improves and expands education and training programs to allow veterans to receive in-state tuition rates, extends the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, improves mental healthcare access to veterans and families, expands military sexual trauma treatment services, authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to proceed with contracts to build community-based outpatient clinics that have been on hold, and mandates that VA provide a comprehensive assessment of its capital infrastructure and how it will address its deficiencies. The bill also eliminates the 1 percent COLA penalty on working age military retirees younger than age 62.

The VFW national commander is now pledging to work with Senator Sanders to get other senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle to support S. 1950. "Now is the time for every member of Congress to support those who have served and sacrificed the most for our nation," he said.

To urge your members of Congress to support S. 1950, and to read the VFW's letter of support to Senator Sanders, click here or go to http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2014-Articles/VFW-Legislative-Alert--Urge-Passage-of-Comprehensive-Veterans--and-Health-Benefits-Package-Today!/.

VFW Legislative Alert:

Urge Passage of Comprehensive Veterans' and Health Benefits Package Today!
Background: Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman, Bernie Sanders intorduced the Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Resotration Act of 2014. The bill, S. 1950, is the most comprehensive veterans legislation to be introduced in decades. It addresses many of the VFW's legislative priority goals, including a full repeal of the military retiree one percent COLA reduction that penalizes working-age military retirees and their families.

If signed into law, this sweeping legislation would expand and improve health care and benefit services to all generations of veterans and their families. Most notably, it would expand the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans and provide advance appropriations to ensure monthly compensation and pension as well as education payments are protected from future budget battles. The bill also offers in-state tuition protection for recently transitioned veterans, improves access to mental health and treatment for victims of sexual assault in the military, and autrhorizes construction of more than 20 Community Bases Outpatient Clinics to serve veterans in rural and remote communities.

Action Needed:
Call and email your Senators today. urge them to pass S. 1950, the Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Restoration Act of 2014. Tell them that this historic legislation will provide vital services to all generations of veterans and their families. Remind them that past, present and furture veterans have earned the critical services this legislation will provide.
To read VFW Commander-in-Chief Bill Thien's letter of support click here: http://www.vfw.org/uploadedFiles/2784_001.pdf

VFW Supports Sanders Bill

S. 1950 expands VA services and eliminates COLA penalty

WASHINGTON (January 23, 2014) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States has thrown its support behind a bill introduced by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee chairman because it fulfills a number of VFW legislative priorities that benefit all generations of veterans and their families, and it eliminates the cost-of-living adjustment penalty on military retirees.

S. 1950, the “Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Restoration Act of 2014,” was introduced last week by Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and VFW National Commander William A. Thien is calling it “The most comprehensive veterans’ legislation to be introduced in decades.”
In a letter of support, Thien said the bill expands the current caregiver law to include all generations of veterans, something the VFW has been advocating since the law was signed in 2010. It provides advance appropriations for all mandatory accounts, which ensures disabled veterans, survivors and GI Bill student-veterans will continue to receive their monthly payments regardless of future government shutdowns. S. 1950 improves and expands education and training programs to allow veterans to receive in-state tuition rates, extends the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, improves mental healthcare access to veterans and families, expands military sexual trauma treatment services, authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to proceed with contracts to build community-based outpatient clinics that have been on hold, and mandates that VA provide a comprehensive assessment of its capital infrastructure and how it will address its deficiencies. The bill also eliminates the 1 percent COLA penalty on working age military retirees younger than age 62.

The VFW national commander is now pledging to work with Senator Sanders to get other senators and congressmen from both sides of the aisle to support S. 1950. “Now is the time for every member of Congress to support those who have served and sacrificed the most for our nation,” he said.

To urge your members of Congress to support S. 1950, and to read the VFW’s letter of support to Senator Sanders, click here or go to http://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2014-Articles/VFW-Legislative-Alert--Urge-Passage-of-Comprehensive-Veterans--and-Health-Benefits-Package-Today!/.

Veterans Service Organizations Concerned About Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Groups Call for Advance Appropriations for All VA Accounts

January 16, 2014 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, the co-authors of The Independent Budget — AMVETS, DAV, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Veterans of Foreign Wars—expressed concern with the funding provided for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in the FY 2014 Omnibus Appropriations bill being considered in the House and Senate. The omnibus bill provides funding levels for FY 2014 and advance appropriations for VA medical care accounts for FY 2015 that virtually mirror the recommendations of the Administration made in April 2013.

“Unfortunately, this budget agreement contains the same inadequate funding levels proposed by the Administration for infrastructure and medical and prosthetic research. Congress needs to dramatically increase annual appropriations required to repair, renovate and replace essential VA medical facilities as well as boost funding for life-saving and life-changing biomedical research programs.”

AMVETS
National Commander John Mitchell expressed the organization’s disappointment with the Omnibus bill: “It is very disappointing that we are fully three months into the new fiscal year and critical funding needed to maintain services in the VA has yet to be provided.”

While the veterans organizations doubt that the funding levels for medical care for FY 2014 and the advance appropriations for FY 2015 are sufficient to meet the continually growing demand on the VA, they expressed serious concerns with the reduction of funding particularly for Major Construction, as well as similar cuts in Medical Facilities. The Omnibus bill provides only $342 million for Major Construction, nearly $800 million less than what The Independent Budget for FY 2014 recommends, and billions less than the true need for construction funding. Additionally, the bill would slash funding for Medical Facilities, reducing that account by nearly $500 million.

DAV
National Commander Joseph W. Johnston urged the following: “Unfortunately, this budget agreement contains the same inadequate funding levels proposed by the Administration for infrastructure and medical and prosthetic research. Congress needs to dramatically increase annual appropriations required to repair, renovate and replace essential VA medical facilities as well as boost funding for life-saving and life-changing biomedical research programs.”

While the veterans groups appreciate the modest increases provide Medical Services and the Veterans Benefits Administration, as well as Information Technology, they emphasized that more must be done. Specifically, the organizations have called for passage of legislation in the House and Senate (H.R. 813 and S. 932, respectively) that would make all of the accounts of the VA advance appropriations. Currently, only the medical care accounts are funded through advance appropriations.

Paralyzed Veterans’ National President Bill Lawson stated the following: “The last couple of years have clearly shown the benefits to the VA of having the health care system funded by advance appropriations. The VA health care system has been shielded from the severe negative consequences of political gridlock that ultimately led to a partial government shutdown last fall. It is time that the rest of the VA is afforded the same protection.”

The organizations will release the 28th edition of The Independent Budget —a comprehensive budget and policy document written by veterans for veterans—in February 2014. The document will once again call for sufficient, timely and predictable funding to be provided for all VA programs. Additionally, it will emphasize the need to end the partisan warfare that has jeopardized the health care and benefits of the men and women who have served and sacrificed for this country.

VFW
National Commander William A. Thien expressed the following: “Our organizations and the millions of veterans we represent will no longer tolerate Congress leveraging veterans’ health and wellbeing to achieve unrelated political ends. It is time for Congress to put the interests of veterans and their families ahead of their own.” http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20140116005207/en/Veterans-Service-Organizations-Concerned-Omnibus-Appropriations-Bill#.UtfqsXx3tMw
    

About:
AMVETS—a leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s Armed Forces—provides not only support for veterans and the active military in procuring receipt of their earned entitlements, but also community services that enhance the quality of life for this nation’s citizens. www.amvets.org

DAV
empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at www.dav.org.

Paralyzed Veterans of America
was founded by a group of seriously injured American heroes from the “Greatest Generation” of World War II. They created a non-profit organization to meet the challenges that they faced back in the 1940s — from a medical community not ready to treat them, to an inaccessible world. For more than 66 years, Paralyzed Veterans national office and 34 chapters across the nation have been making America a better place for all veterans and people with disabilities. www.pva.org

The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S.
is a nonprofit veterans’ service organization composed of combat veterans and eligible members from the active, Guard and Reserve force. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans’ organization, with almost 2 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in 7,200 VFW Posts worldwide. For more information or to join, visit the organization’s Web site at www.vfw.org.

Contacts
AMVETS: Andrew Keirn, 607-745-5499
DAV: David E. Autry, 202-314-5219
Paralyzed Veterans: Doug Larkin, 202-416-7686
VFW: Joe Davis, 202-608-8357

VFW Legislative Alert



Background: The House and Senate Budget Committees have reached a deal within the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J.Res 59) that includes a proposal to cut future cost of living adjustments (COLA) by one percent for military retirees under age 62.  The VFW calculates that this will have a devastating impact on retirement benefits for retirees and survivors and jeopardizes the future value of military career benefits, and adversely effects recruitment, retention and our national security.

Action
Needed:  Call and email your legislators today and urge them to oppose any provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 (H.J. Res. 89), that tries to balance the budget on the backs of our military retirees. Tell them that current and future service men and women are watching.


VA Marketing Fraud Alert

VA Marketing Fraud Alert... Note "...the VA will 'Never' ask for credit card or banking information over the phone."
ALL:
The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a fraud alert about a marketing scam that is targeting veterans who misdial the VA National Call Center (800-827-1000) or the GI Bill Call Center (888-442-4551) phone numbers.  A marketing company created two phone numbers that differ from the real VA numbers by one digit.  If a veteran misdials and calls the bogus number, the answering party will offer a gift card and try to obtain sensitive personal data, to include credit card information.  Please note that the VA will "never" ask for credit card or banking information over the phone.

The two bogus numbers are 800-872-1000 and 888-442-4511.  Please forward this information to all your members, Posts and friends, and share it on your websites.  The bottom line is make sure you know who you are talking to before providing personal information over the phone.  The VA has notified law enforcement authorities.  

For a list of toll-free VA phone numbers, go to the VA's Inquiry Routing & Information System webpage at https://iris.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1703.

Regards,

Joe Davis
Public Affairs Director
VFW Washington Office

VA Offers Dental Insurance Program

WASHINGTON (Nov. 15, 2013) - VA is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible Veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance beginning Nov. 15, VA officials announced today.

 "VA continues to explore innovative ways to help Veterans get access to the care and services they have earned and deserve," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "This new dental program is another example of VA creating partnerships with the private sector to deliver a range of high-quality care at an affordable cost, for our Nation's Veterans."

More than 8 million Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care can choose to purchase one of the offered dental plans.  This three-year pilot has been designed for Veterans with no dental coverage, or those eligible for VA dental care who would like to purchase additional coverage.  Participation will not affect entitlement to VA dental services and treatment.  

There are no eligibility limitations based on service-connected disability rating or enrollment priority assignment.  People interested in participating may complete an application online through either Delta Dental, www.deltadentalvadip.org, or MetLife, www.metlife.com/vadip beginning Nov. 15.  Coverage for this new dental insurance will begin Jan. 1, 2014, and will be available throughout the United States and its territories.

Also eligible for the new benefits are nearly 400,000 spouses and dependent children who are reimbursed for most medical expenses under VA’s CHAMPVA program.  Generally, CHAMPVA participants are spouses, survivors or dependent children of Veterans officially rated as “permanently and totally” disabled by a service-connected condition.

Dental services under the new program vary by plan and include diagnostic, preventive, surgical, emergency and endodontic/restorative treatment.  Enrollment in the VA Dental Insurance Plan (VADIP) is voluntary.  Participants are responsible for all premiums, which range from $8.65 to $52.90 per month for individual plans.  Copayments and other charges may apply.

Historically VA’s free dental services have gone to Veterans with dental problems connected to a medical condition that’s officially certified as “service connected.”  Free dental services will continue for those Veterans.  

For more information on VADIP, visit www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vadip, or contact Delta Dental at 1-855-370-3303 or MetLife at 1-888-310-1681. Veterans who are not enrolled in the VA health care system can apply at any time by visiting www.va.gov/healthbenefits/enroll, calling 1-877-222-VETS (8387) or visiting their local VA health care facility.

VFW Commander-in-Chief introduces VFW Spokesperson


Dear Comrades,
As you know, Lou Diamond Phillips has come on board as the VFW’s official spokesperson. I know I speak for a lot of people when I say how excited I am to have him spreading the word about the VFW mission. As a renowned entertainer, I’m certain he’ll introduce the VFW and our work to a whole new audience.
He recently recorded several outstanding radio public service announcements for our great organization, and I’m pleased to share these with you. VFW National Headquarters has placed them to air in some large markets around the country, but I want these to be shared with every single American–coast-to-coast.
Please download these PSAs, and work with your local radio stations to get them aired in your city. Because the VFW is a nonprofit, many stations will not charge to air them.
You or a representative of your radio station can download the files here: https://vfw.sharefile.com/d/s20d3b62619b46fab. These are large files and may take several minutes to download to your computer.

I greatly appreciate your assistance with this endeavor. Your efforts are crucial to ensuring the VFW mission is shared with patriotic Americans around the country.
Remember, the VFW is about Serving the Deserving—America’s Veterans.
No One Does More For Veterans than the VFW!

Yours in comradeship,

Bill Thien
VFW Commander-in-Chief
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