Key Veterans Bills Include New Burn Pit Registry in 2013

United States Capitol west

On Thursday, January 10th President Barack Obama signed key veterans’ bills into law.  One of the bills was the Improving Transparency in Education Opportunities for Veterans Act (HR 4057), which was crafted by the VFW.   The bill ensures that the VA will offer quality consumer information and consumer protections for student-veterans.  Another key bill, S. 3202, is a comprehensive bill that improves cemetery protections for grieving families of veterans and also:

Here is a list of all bills signed recently signed into law that relate to and either directly or indirectly affect veterans issues:

H.R. 1339, which designates the City of Salem, Massachusetts, as the birthplace of the U.S. National Guard;

H.R. 4053, the “Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012,” which clarifies requirements for Federal agencies to use improper payment information to determine program or award eligibility; establishes a Do Not Pay Initiative; and expands OMB responsibilities in the effort to eliminate and recover improper payments;

H.R. 4057, which requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a comprehensive policy for providing information regarding higher education and training programs to veterans and members of the Armed Forces;

H.R. 6620, the “Former Presidents Protection Act of 2012,” which restores lifetime Secret Service protection of former Presidents who did not serve as President prior to January 1, 1997, and their spouses; and provides for protection of all children of former Presidents until they become 16 years of age;

S. 3202, the “Dignified Burial and Other Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2012,” which amends authorities of the Department of Veterans Affairs related to: cemetery matters; health care; and miscellaneous matters.


Welcome to Clark Veteran Cemetery Restoration Association

HUD-VASH Voucher Program Aims to Stop Homeless Veterans Epidemic

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are working together to provide the fastest and most complete service possible to those who served our country who now need housing assistance.  Housing vouchers known as HUD-VASH are now available that can help veterans resolve their housing situation if they are in danger of becoming homeless.

The first step is to locate the VA center closest to you, register, and explain your circumstances. If you are a low-income veteran, the VA will refer you to the local housing authority nearest you that offers the HUD-VASH vouchers. These housing vouchers are funded by HUD, coordinated by the VA and administered by local housing agencies.  They allow veterans to live in the place of their choice.

The basic eligibility requirements are determined initially by the VA, as the veteran must be eligible for VA medical services and his or her economic situation should be classified under the definition of homeless as defined by law. Read all the details here.

The person must participate actively in obtaining services to help stabilize his or her situation. A requirement for participation is to accept the assistance of a social worker to help with handling your case, whether that is related to physical or mental disabilities. The most vulnerable veterans are ideal candidates for this program.

The next step is to contact the housing authority, who determines whether or not the veteran’s income level meets the program requirements.   The housing authority also verifies that the veteran and any immediate family member residing with him/her are not known sex offenders, which automatically disqualifies the person.

Once the eligibility process is determined, the veteran receives a list of homes whose owners are interested in renting to people with housing vouchers.  The veteran can select the property he or she wants, provided the owner agrees to receive payment for the rent on a contract with the housing authority and the tenant. The property must pass inspection to verify that it is habitable and sanitary housing.

If you need help, do not wait. Call the National Center for Homeless Veterans Assistance at 1-877-424-3838.

How to Fast Track your Agent Orange Claim

AGENT ORANGE Fast Track Claims Processing System

With recent reports of VA Disability Claim backlogs approaching the 1 million mark, and an average 125 day wait, this is valuable information for Agent Orange exposed veterans filing claims for the first time.

The Agent Orange Fast Track Claims Processing System is a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website that is dedicated to processing claims for Vietnam Veterans who are filing first-time service connection claims for any of the following conditions:

Exposed veterans can use the website to apply for disability benefits for these conditions if they served in the Republic of Vietnam or in-land waterways between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975.  Veterans who have previously applied for service connection for these conditions, or who wish to apply for service connection for any additional conditions,  should apply using the traditional claims process at the nearest VA Regional Office or visit the Department of Veterans Affairs website.

Agent Orange Fast Track has many features to expedite the claims process.

  • You can submit an application for benefits and evidence supporting your claim;
  • You can view your claim status;
  • You can view a list of evidence VA has received;
  • Your physician can submit evidence online; and can also send hardcopy evidence to the Fast Track Claims Processing System.

UPDATE: All veterans can now electronically file and submit copies of medical evidence in support of their claim. See the VA eBenefits for more information.

National Veterans Golden Age Games 2012 in St. Louis, MO

May 31st -June 5, 2012 in St. Louis, MO

Athletes at the Arch

The 26th National Veterans Golden Age Games will be held in St. Louis, MO! The Games will be held May 31 – June 5 offering exciting competition for Veterans age 55 and older who receive care at the VA.

More than 700 Veterans have registered to compete in this national event, which is one of the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation programs in the United States. It is the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.

The National Veterans Golden Age Games is also one of the most progressive and adaptive rehabilitative senior sports programs in the world, offering 14 different sports and recreational activities including:

Air Rifle, Bowling, Cycling, 9-Ball, Checkers, Croquet, Dominos,  Golf, Horseshoes, Table Tennis, Shot Put, Discus, Shuffleboard,  and Swimming….Learn More >


Special Events

Interested in creative arts or attending a sports clinic? Check out these VA sponsored special events that are coming up soon.