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Veterans' News From VFW Post 516

Farmingdale Observer - 9/20/2017

September Marks Suicide Prevention Month: Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and the only cause in the top ten that continues to increase rather than decrease in prevalence. While death by suicide is an American issue, it overwhelmingly affects the veteran population, with an average of 20 veterans dying by suicide each day. The VFW has teamed up with five organizations for the VFW Mental Wellness Campaign, including Give an Hour, Campaign to Change Direction, One Mind, PatientsLikeMe and the Elizabeth Dole Foundation. Together our organizations strive to prevent suicide by raising awareness about mental wellness and foster community engagement to improve research and provide intervention for those who need it. VFW posts across the globe have held events to change the stigma surrounding mental wellness while supporting fellow veterans in their community. The next major event for Posts will be held Oct. 29. Learn more about the VFW's Mental Wellness Campaign by visiting its website(tabs: assistance/mental-wellness). If you are having a mental health emergency, call the Veteran Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1, or learn more here ( www.veteranscrisisline. net).

VFW Clarifies New VA Decision-

Ready Claims Initiative: The VA announced its new Decision- Ready Claims (DRC) initiative, which promises to deliver faster rating decisions to veterans. On the surface, any new option for veterans to access their benefits may sound good, but the reality is that the new program actually puts more responsibility on the veteran to develop the claim before submission-a task VA usually handles on a veteran's behalf. While this may help some veterans with more simple claims or veterans who require flexible timelines to gather evidence, VFW Service Officers know that DRC will not be the best option for many clients. The VFW encourages all veterans considering filing a claim to have an honest discussion with their accredited VFW service officer to determine the best course of action. Learn more about the nuances of the DRC program (

www.militarytimes.www.militarytimes.com/veterans/2017/09/07/new-va-claims-process-promisesdecisions- within-30-days).

TRICARE Fee Increase: Last year's National Defense Authorization Act increased TRICARE costs for military retirees who enter the military after Jan. 1, 2018, and their families. Current military retirees and their family members are exempt from these cost increases, but a proposal which was currently advanced by the Senate would remove this exemption. This proposal would result in higher TRICARE fees for military retirees, including pharmacy co-payments, which are already three times higher than they were in 2011, and enrollment costs for certain plans, such as the new Select plan, would nearly triple. The VFW believes that there is an inherent cost to fielding a professional, all-volunteer military, and the promise of a modest stipend immediately upon retirement and inexpensive health care are keys to retaining our best and brightest service members. The VFW needs your help in defeating this harmful proposal which would require military retirees to pay more for their earned health care. Take action here: ( www.capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert).

Disaster Resources: Disasters, such as hurricanes Harvey and Irma, can cause disruptions in veteran services, such as GI Bill benefits or prescription refills. TRICARE and the Department of Veterans Affairs have published information and guidance on impacts to services and resources for those in the affected areas ( www.tricare.mil.Resources/disaster- Info/DisasterALERTS/09_05_17_ PuertoR or www.tricare.mil/Resources/DisasterInfo/DisasterAlerts/08_24_17_Texas_H).

For information on VA clinic status and pharmacy benefits, visit www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/hurricane-irma or www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/hurricane-harvey. For information on VA education benefits, visit www.benefits.va.gov/GIBILL/news.asp. Let's all say a prayer for those stuck in the hurricanes. For Post info, call VFW Membership Chairman Bob at 516-694-5539.


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