VFW Action Corps Weekly, October 19, 2018

October 19, 2018

In This Issue:

1. Vietnam War Marine Receives Medal of Honor

2. Important Notice for Overseas Voters

3. The Commission on Military, National, and Public Service Seeks Input

4. VFW Speaks at Veterans Education Panel

5. VFW Participates in Air Force Leadership Roundtable

6. DHA MSO/VSO Working Group

7. VA Provides Adoption, IVF

8. Holiday Overseas Mail Deadlines Approaching

9. MIA Update

To view this week’s edition, click here: http://www.vfw.org/actioncorpsweekly.


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Week Ending Sunday, October 21, 2018

Volume 9, Issue 41



Bad Paper Discharge requests for review and upgrade numbers about 26,000 with about 14,000 of those being with the Army. And a member of Congress wants to combine all branches of service review boards to expedite the process.

Although the Navy says it won’t produce any better or faster results, I’d have to agree with that comment, but putting more people on each branch of Service review boards would!

The discharge upgrade requests have come under extra congressional scrutiny in recent years as advocates have found growing evidence of troops dismissed with dishonorable or other-than-honorable status because of misconduct caused by undiagnosed war wounds, mental health issues or mishandled sexual assault claims.

Many have been dishonorably discharged to expedite paperwork, create less paperwork, and reduce possibilities of having to pay out benefits through the VA for various problems such as mental health issues and sexual assault claims which in all reality has created an even bigger mountain of paperwork.

Veterans fighting for benefits and medical and mental healthcare, and fighting the DoD to get their discharges upgraded. So who or what did it save since it’s costing way more now to review each persons records individually to make determinations as to whether or not an upgrade in discharge is warranted?

Seems to me the higher up’s in the Military were working hand in hand with members of Congress, trying their best to find more ways to waste taxpayer money, and prevent having to pay out to all those who served and have more than earned the right to benefits and care!

Michigan has been in the news lately about a shortage of “Benefits Experts”, meaning Service Officers!

I believe this is a nationwide crisis, not just in one or two states. I also feel that those who are service officers fall into two categories, those “who truly care” and go the extra mile, and those who “are there for a paycheck!”

I can say this after many years of talking with Veterans, many having to re-work their claim, or assist them on their appeals and thoroughly listening to them and what was said and done prior. But the one thing I do emphasize most is that if you’re filing a claim, TAKE CHARGE of your own future medical care and benefits, participate in your claim, don’t expect any Service Officer to do it all for you.

Be diligent, keep copies of all medical records, never give originals to anyone ever, keep a log with the date, time, action (whether a phone call, dr’s visit, C&P, everything including time of meals, medications taken and dosage taken, side effects from medications, did you inform your dr., etc.) so that in the future should there be any problem you will have a track record of keeping notes and detailed information to back up your claim.

If you’ve filed a claim, yes it does take time to process, but keep in touch with your Service Officer at least once a month, and document the time, date, and if you spoke to him/her or left a voice message. It’s really important to keep that daily journal.

This weeks newsletter will be missing things that we’d normally put in as I am in the process of just taking a couple of days for myself. So I will close this section for now.

On behalf of our Volunteers nationwide and myself, we wish you and your family good health! And have a great weekend!

Jim Davis


Prepare for TRICARE Open Season: Compare TRICARE Plan Costs with Cost Comparison Tool

Do you have questions about your TRICARE costs? Your health care costs depend on your health plan, and who you are. If you’re an active duty family member enrolled in TRICARE Prime, for example, you’ll pay different costs than a retiree enrolled in TRICARE Select. To help you make informed choices, you can view and compare costs between TRICARE plans using the TRICARE Compare Cost Tool.

Read the full article here.


VA study on cholesterol genetics could lead to new treatments for heart disease, diabetes

WASHINGTON — In the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) drive to help improve lives of Veterans through health care discovery and innovation, a team led by VA researchers recently identified three genetic mutations that govern cholesterol levels, which could lead to the development of new drugs to treat cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Detailed results of the study can be found in the Oct. 1 issue of Nature Genetics, a scientific journal.

“This is fantastic news, not just for Veterans, but for all Americans suffering from these diseases,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “VA researchers have been improving the lives of Veterans and all Americans through health care discovery and innovation for decades. Their groundbreaking research has resulted in three Nobel prizes and numerous other national and international honors.”

Using data from VA’s Million Veteran Program(MVP), the researchers found that three genes — PDE3B, PCSK9 and ANGPTL4 — could be targets for treatment of heart disease, abdominal aortic aneurysm and diabetes, respectively. VA research showed that those with specific mutations to the genes had better cholesterol and triglyceride levels than those without the mutations.

The PDE3B mutation appears to protect against heart disease. A mutation in PCSK9 seems to decrease the risk not only of heart disease, but also abdominal aortic aneurysm — a condition in which the aorta is enlarged, which could lead it to rupture and cause life-threatening bleeding. The ANGPTL4 mutation was linked to lower risk of Type 2 diabetes. The research was supported by VA, the National Institutes of Health and Stanford’s Department of Medicine.

MVP is a national, voluntary research program funded by VA’s Office of Research and Development. MVP partners with Veterans receiving care in the Veterans Health Administration to study how genes affect health. As of late September 2018, MVP had enrolled more than 700,000 Veterans. It is already one of the world’s largest databases of health and genomic information.

The Nature Genetics publication is one of the first major papers describing scientific findings from MVP. The publication highlights the power of researchers having access to data from large numbers of individuals. In this instance, researchers were able to identify several novel genetic factors that affect people’s blood lipid [cholesterol and triglyceride] levels. Such findings may lead to new approaches to diagnose people at risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as identify candidate therapeutic targets.

To learn more about VA research, including MVP, visit www.research.va.gov.

Remember Those who Served

Senate Leaves Town

Even though it was scheduled to be in session a couple more weeks, the Senate went into recess last week and ended business until after the elections in November. Although only one-third of the Senate is up for election (which happens every two years) a number of the contests are very close and, as is true in the House, control is up for grabs.

Congress is scheduled to return on November 13 and begin a short “lame duck” session, since some members will have been defeated while others are retiring and new people will have been elected to fill those seats. However, the newly elected members will not take their seats until January, so the current office holders still can pass legislation.

There will be a number of important issues to be dealt with when they return, chief among them being the funding of approximately 30 percent of the government for the remainder of FY 2019. The immigration issue, as well as funding of the President’s border wall, will also be part of the issues being debated and it could be a controversial lame duck session, especially if party control of one body or the other changes.

As we’ve said for the past couple of weeks, we do not anticipate any more legislation pertaining to veterans or military people to pass this year. The one major issue that is still technically alive is the Blue Water Navy VA presumption bill, but as we’ve also speculated, it is tied up in the Senate and is not likely to pass this year because of its controversial funding mechanism.

TREA will be fighting next year for passage of a similar bill, and hopefully a new way to fund it will be found.

Source: TREA

VFC Website-002

The Veterans-For-Change website has been under construction since day one back in 2009 and every day since then. The looks pretty much stay the same, but in the background constant improvement and change is being done to make our website the most user friendly “One-Stop-Shop” website to find almost everything you might have tried to find searching the internet.

Almost a hundred people have been involved; collecting web links to documents now houses on the VFC website, collecting thousands of web links for various issues, illnesses and benefits. Creating forums for all eras of service and two forums one just for men and one just for woman where you can go question, comment, share medical and personal concerns, what ever you’d like it to be.

We also have a forum with for Mental Health and are currently seeking a new Licensed Mental Health Worker, where you can seek help or just ask questions.

We average 2,600 hits per day, and downloads average 1,884 per day with a total 4,440,643visitors as of Friday.

If you subscribe you will have full access to the entire website and best of all it’s FREE of charge! You just need a valid E-mail address so the system can send you a confirmation E-Mail. Once received, click on the link to be authorized automatically.


• Documents Library with over 16,662 documents on-line (Updated: 08/27/18)
• FAQ’s with more than 1,600 FAQ’s and answers
• Multiple Forums
o Afghanistan Veterans
o FMP – Foreign Medial Program
o Gulf War & Desert Storm Veterans
o Iraq Veterans
o Korean Veterans
o Men Veterans Forum
o Mental Health for Veterans (Counselor Needed)
o Political Issues
o Suggestion Box
o The Mess Hall
o VA Hospitals and Medical Centers
o Veteran Affairs
o Vietnam Veterans
o Welcome Mat
o Women Veterans Forum
o WW II Veterans
• Job Postings
• Memorial Pages (Updated: 01/11/18)
• News (Articles On-Line: 7,859)
• Polls
• Web Links, more than 4,288, Added 268 New Links (Updated: 10/01/18)

If you have a submission for the memorial pages, E-Mail: Jim.Davis@veterans-for-change.org


ECHO Benefit Year Changes to Calendar Year

Do you have a family member who gets supplemental services through the TRICARE Extended Care Health Option (ECHO) program? If so, you need to know that beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, the ECHO benefit cap will apply to covered costs during a calendar year and not a fiscal year. The calendar year runs from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31.

Read the full article here.

Bobby Ross-006

Cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) Increase for 2019 Passed into Law

On October 9, 2018, President Trump signed Public Law 115-258, which provides a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase of 2.8 percent, effective December 1, 2018, for veterans disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for survivors and certain other benefits.

VA compensation and DIC benefits are retrospectively paid on the first of each month, for the previous month. This means that the 2.8 COLA increase effective December 1, 2018, will not be included until the January 1, 2019 payment. This increase matches the COLA provided to Social Security recipients.

This COLA benefits injured and ill veterans, their families and survivors by helping to maintain the value of VA benefits against inflation. Without annual COLAs, many disabled veterans, who sacrificed their own health and family life for the good of our nation, may not be able to maintain the quality of life they deserve.

We thank Representative Mike Bost (IL), Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs for introducing HR 4958, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2018 and Congress for final passage of the bill on September 25, 2018.

Likewise, we appreciate your support for service-disabled veterans and your grassroots efforts in the DAV Commander’s Action Network, which helped get this critical legislation enacted. Please share this information on all of your social media sites. Thank you for all you do for America’s veterans and their families.

This alert is for your information only. No further action is required at this time.

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Hope For Heroes – Donation Drive 2018

Join Thanks To Yanks in supporting HOPE FOR HEROES Donation drive for Veterans and deployed Troops November 8 – November 11th Thanks To Yanks is pleased to be sponsoring the annual Hope for Heroes Donation Drive from November 8-11 th , 2018. This donation drive will be collecting items for veterans residing at various Veteran […]

Support the Violence Against Women Veterans Act

In a letter of support sent to Representative Nydia Velazquez, AMVETS made it strongly clear that we support the enactment of H.R. 6869, the Violence Against Women Veterans Act. We believe passage of this law will address the longstanding problem of domestic violence among veterans who deserve our best efforts to ensure they have viable options when faced with […]

LA Times Quote of the day – priceless!

The LA times has one good reporter! Dianne Feinstein: ” All vets are mentally ill in some way and government should prevent them from owning firearms.” Yep, – she really said it on Thursday in a meeting in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee… And the quote below from the LA Times is priceless. Sometimes even […]

Read “The Rural Connection” Fall 2018 Issue

Rural Mental Health Care This issue of “The Rural Connection” focuses on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) efforts to provide innovative health care delivery options to rural Veterans, particularly in the area of rural mental health. One in every five Servicemembers returns from combat with at least one serious mental health issue. With only […]

Newsletter : TREA Newsletter (10/16/2018)

October 16, 2018     Inside this issue TREA “The Enlisted Association” Washington Update • Senate Leaves Town • COLA for 2019 Announced • Tyndall Air Force Base Devastated • Important Message for Student Veterans TREA “The Enlisted Association” Washington Update Senate Leaves Town Even though it was scheduled to be in session a couple more weeks, the Senate went […]

RAO BULLETIN 15 OCT 2018 Availability Notice (Veteran News)

PDF Edition (Note:  Yahoo working on their html attachment problem)     THIS RETIREE ACTIVITIES OFFICE BULLETIN CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES   Pg                   Article                                                Subject .                                                   * DOD *                                                   . 04 == Marines in Power —- (More Now than Ever Before) 05 == COLA FY 2020 —- (Could Be Larger than FY 2019) 06 == MAVNI Program [12] —- (500+ Immigrant Enlistees […]

Boston Celtic Game State Honor Guard

The State Honor Guard will be posting colors for the Boston Celtic’s at the TD Garden, Monday October 22 against the Orlando Magic 7pm start we will be on National TV on NESN please put in out to AMVETS Members thanks see you Wednesday night