Veterans Memorial Post 347

Post Service Officer-Dennis Storey

From your Post Service Officer:

Thank you for allowing me to stay on as your Post Service Officer and VA Liaison for another year.  For the time being I plan to keep the Monday morning schedule. I am also available Monday afternoons, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Villages VA Outpatient clinic (Room 163) by appointment only. My phone number down there is (352) 674-5097 and email djstorey@davfla.com.  I am also a licensed Notary for the State of Florida. I also do one on one sessions with the Veteran and Spouse to help with burial and benefits planning. Stop in and see me for an appointment.

There still seems to be some questions about eligibility for VA Health Care.  The VA Health Care Program is put into place to care for Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability and very low-income Veterans (typically below Social Security benefits).  A Service-Connected Disability is defined A service-connected disability is a condition (i.e., injury, illness, or disorder) that VA determines resulted from (or emerged during) your military service. Your disability must be service connected to be eligible for VA disability benefits and monthly compensation. This requires a medical opinion and/or treatment records either from a licensed Doctor (either VA or Private Physician) linking your condition to an event that occurred while on Active Duty. A medical opinion, or NEXUS, from your Physician would help solidify your case but is not an absolute requirement but we do need some medical diagnosis and progress notes.

Legislative Update

Five New Veteran-Related Bills signed into Law

Good news! On June 7, five important veteran-related bills were signed by the president and became public law. The Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas SERVICE Act – named after Marine Corps Officer Kate Thomas, who served near a burn pit in Iraq and died of breast cancer – expands eligibility for VA mammography screening to veterans who served in locations associated with toxic exposures. (P.L. 117-133)

The Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program Restoration and Recovery Act gives VA the authority to restore important education benefits to veterans who were unable to complete a course or program as a result of the closure of an educational institution or the disapproval of a program by the state approving agency or the VA. (P.L. 117-138)

The Making Advances in Mammography and Medical Options for Veterans Act (MAMMO Act) strengthens and expands access to high-quality breast cancer screenings and life-saving cancer care for veterans nationwide. (P.L. 117-135)

The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) Extension Act extends a program that compensates individuals who were exposed to radiation from atomic weapons testing, or uranium mining or processing, and who subsequently developed specified cancers or other medical conditions. (P.L. 117-139)

The Strengthening Oversight for Veterans Act gives the VA’s Office of Inspector General the authority to subpoena witnesses as necessary to carry out the duties of the office. (P.L. 117-136)

All of these bills were supported by both the American Legion and the Disabled American Veterans.

In addition, on May 18, the U.S. House of Representative passed several other supported bills, which are now being considered by the Senate.

These include:

DAV is closely following these bills and will make efforts to ensure their passage by the U.S. Senate.

Bill Update on H.R 3967:  Honoring our PACT Act

On June 16, 2022, in a bipartisan vote of 84 -14, the Senate passed H.R. 3967, the Honoring our PACT Act. It is now up to the House to reconsider and pass this historic comprehensive toxic exposure legislation that will impact all generations of veterans. Over 60 veteran and military service organizations support the Honoring Our PACT Act.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Mark Takano and Ranking Member Mike Bost both support this truly comprehensive measure and step forward in addressing the long lasting impact of toxic exposures.

The House will be voting on the Honoring Our PACT Act this week. If the House votes to pass the Honoring the PACT Act, it will go to the President for signature. Please contact your Representative today, as our fellow veterans and their families cannot afford to wait.

Senate Bill 2884: The Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act of 2018

Calls for the VA to create a debt notice letter, with the assistance of veteran’s service organizations, written in plain language to include a clear explanation of all options available to the veteran. The VA would also be required to develop a method that allows veterans to receive the debt notice via email as well as by standard mail.

“Currently, VA debt letters are not written in easy-to-understand language and often lack an explanation of why the debt was created,” said DAV National Service Director Jim Marszalek. “Many veterans do not understand the reason for the debt, their options after notification, and in many instances, do not receive the notice in a timely manner. Enactment of S. 2884 would provide veterans with a clear explanation about the debt and allow them to receive a more expedient notice via email.

August, 2022

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First of all, congratulations to the new incoming Post Officers!  As I was asked to stay on as your Veterans Services  Officer, I look forward to being your liaison to the Veterans Administration. Thank you for  indulging me on a much-needed vacation! I am back, refreshed and ready for another year of service.

Just a heads up, I may be changing my day at the post to Wednesdays but need to clear it with the lounge manager (who    graciously allows me to use the game room in the lounge) and the new Post Commander. I will let you know if and when that happens.   For the time being, I am still available at the Post and the Commander on Monday mornings for walk in until about 11. I typically cannot do claims at the Post but can consult on any Veteran matter.  If I cannot answer your question, I will refer you to someone who can.  If you need a disability claim filed, I will make you an   appointment to come to my office at the Villages VA   Outpatient Clinic. You may also call me at the clinic at (352) 674-5097. I am there Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Thursday. My partner is at the clinic on Wednesday and Friday.

Your Veterans Service Officer is an official Notary for the State of Florida so I can   notarize documents. I am available on  Monday mornings and at the VA Clinic Monday 1:00 PM, Tuesday and Thursday (352) 674-5097. If you need that service, please call the front office at (352) 753-2099 or my  office at the VA Clinic. I am on one of two Florida State Licensed  Notaries at the Legion. Sheldon Gotesky is the other     Licensed Notary.

A legislative update: A couple of legislative bills involving Veterans:

Bill Update on H.R 3967:  Honoring our PACT Act

On June 16, 2022, in a bipartisan vote of   84 -14, the Senate passed H.R. 3967, the Honoring our PACT Act. It is now up to the House to reconsider and pass this historic comprehensive toxic exposure legislation that will impact all generations of veterans. Over 60 veteran and military service      organizations support the Honoring Our PACT Act.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee     Chairman Mark Takano and Ranking   Member Mike Bost both support this truly comprehensive measure and step forward in addressing the long lasting impact of  toxic exposures.

The House will be voting on the Honoring Our PACT Act this week. If the House votes to pass the Honoring the PACT Act, it will go to the President for signature. Please contact your Representative today, as our fellow veterans and their  families cannot afford to wait.

 Senate Bill 2884: The Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act of 2018

Calls for the VA to create a debt notice  letter, with the assistance of veterans     service organizations, written in plain language to include a clear explanation of all options available to the veteran. The VA would also be required to develop a method that allows veterans to receive the debt  notice via email as well as by standard mail.

“Currently, VA debt letters are not written in easy to understand language and often lack an explanation of why the debt was        created,” said DAV National Service       Director Jim Marszalek. “Many veterans do not understand the reason for the debt, their options after notification, and in many    instances, do not receive the notice in a timely manner. Enactment of S. 2884 would provide veterans with a clear explanation about the debt and allow them to receive a more expedient notice via email.”

DAV applauds the efforts to simplify the debt notice process and supports this    legislation in concurrence with DAV Resolution Number 171, implemented at the most recent DAV and Auxiliary National Convention in Reno, Nev.—which calls for an improved debt notification process.

July 2022

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