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For the past few decades, it’s not uncommon to hear about our fellow American citizens losing faith in the government. Take Congress for example: A recent survey showed that the current public confidence in Congress is just slightly above 10%. This is more than 30 points down from what the results were in 1986. Congress found by fixing and changing partnerships that formed the Congress what it known to be today has changed the public’s perception of government. They have since utilized organizations to help expand knowledge and compassion concerning veterans. With Honor is part of an organization that has US military roots. With Honors provides guidance and strategic support to the new generations of veterans who are more than ready to run for any public office, especially in Congress. They accept Democrats, Republicans and Independents, the candidates only have to pledge that they will govern based on principles and not on politics. Veterans in the congress are known to be more disciplined and offer a special sense of duty to their responsibilities. As today only 19% are in Congress, which is the lowest in history. Aspiring for a political seat can be challenging for a veteran, mostly due to finances or location from home district. Nevertheless, the generation of veterans in the Congress has been working hard and so far have shown great promise in leading our country. Come 2018, more than 100 veterans have made their intentions public of running for U.S House seats. With Honor plans on making sure the most capable and promising veterans are able to run. They pray for a golden opportunity for these next generation of veterans to be able to serve the country again.
November is National Veterans and Military Families Month. A recent survey report by AARP reports that veterans are suffering as victims of scams twice as often as the other members of the public. In the last five years, military personnel or veterans have lost double what civilians have in terms of cash. Veterans are being targeted because they are considered to be more vulnerable due to a combination of technology and patriotism. A scenario could go like this: A veteran could feel more comfortable talking over the phone with somebody who claims to be a veteran. Since they feel more comfortable, they may ask fewer questions when asked to donate some money for a scam charity that claims to offer support to veterans. A national campaign, Operations Protect Veterans, will soon be launched so as to help veterans be more aware of scams. You can learn more at the following website: www.aarp.org/ProtectVeterans. Also in the works are organizations that will have volunteers operating a 24 hour long telephone bank in a program known as the “reverse boiler room." Vets will be getting calls with important tips and information on how to protect themselves instead of getting calls from the con artists and crooks. About 80% of veterans encountered scams that were targeted specifically for veterans or the military. Here are some tips to help yourself maneuver through this day and age of scams: Be on the lookout for benefit buyout offers, despite your financial situation do not be tempted to take loan or cash in exchange for your future disability or pension payouts. It’s a very expensive way of borrowing money. Fundraising that are intended to benefit telemarketers instead of veterans. Before you make any donation to a group do some extensive research on the organization. We have investment advisers who claim to offer additional government benefits if you overhaul your investment holdings. Contact your local veterans’ office for clarification on all the veterans’ benefits that you are eligible to get.Con artists will pretend to be a veteran, someone working for the VA or some big well known veteran organization. The correct number of the Veterans Choice Program is 866-606-8198.  
Veterans Day will be celebrated November 10th and to the many veterans in the country, it will be an important day. Although not everyone in America will celebrate, it’s important to ask why! I’m going to answer the following questions: What is the importance of Veterans to the society? Why should every American appreciate a veteran? November 11th happens to be Armistice Day, the anniversary of the day in 1919 when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, ending World War I. Americans have since celebrated this day in honor of all those who fought in this war. After World War II, Armistice Day became Veterans Day. Today, some confuse Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The former is purposely to honor all those who have given their lives in the service of the nation. The latter honors everyone who has ever served, both living and dead. Veterans give us a chance to appreciate and honor those who served and lived. It is more than just wearing ball caps written “U.S. Marine” or “U.S. Army” Veterans often have several issues to deal with socially, medically and economically. It does fall to us as a society to make sure that they fit back into the fold without feeling like an outcast.  Many have also managed to successfully join the society, startup companies, ministries, nonprofits. So as you celebrate Veterans Day, say more than a “Thanks for your service” to the veterans you will encounter. Make this year’s Veterans Day be a little different.  
It was announced that military veterans, as early as December 1st, could see an increase in their payout.  The increase for an average recipient could be approximated to having an extra $300 in a single year. This could be one of the biggest gains for the Veteran community in a period of at least six years. The plan will be very beneficial to the military veterans as it will boost their cost of living. Rep. Mike R-III, who is the chairman of a sub-committee of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affair, led the effort of passing the bill. The plan had however been introduced earlier in the year, March, by Bost, the chairman of the Sub-Committee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs. Last week, Bost gave a statement following the legislation approval by the Senate, saying that he is very proud to have carried the bill that is to be on providence to cost of living adjustments to the nation’s veterans and their families or dependents. Upon approval by our president, the change can been seen on  recipients check as early as January. The senate passed the legislation last week unanimously, after the approval of an identical law bill in the House during last summer. Disabled American Veterans group is pleased about the upcoming expected change regarding veteran’s checks. It is a very important adjustment for them as some of our veterans are on fixed pay and looking forward to the increase.
The chairman of the House Veteran’s Affair Committee is looking forward to meet and engage in conversation with past and current veterans who are enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs health care. They also are committing to meet with veterans who have used the facility in the previous two years or even assigned to the facility VA care physician. They hope to meet with these veterans by October 2018. The House primary care providers will be responsible of the veteran’s basic health consultation and care needs. Additionally, they are trained to refer some of them to specialists. These specialists could be from a variety of sources. Some have working relationship with the VA and some can be found outside networks of private sector specialists and doctors. The Private Sector providers will be contracted to stand in until the VA recruits enough physicians to serve the veterans, if need be. Earlier this week, the three largest and most recognized veteran service organizations agreed with the committee Chairman, Rep. Phil Roe when he commented that he did not find any part of his draft legislation to be in replacement of the controversial ‘choice’ program. The Choice program gives driving distance to the closest VA Centre and then gives time for the VA to wait for appointments. The committee chairman, Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn., says that it’s a gift to be able to see that the VA thriving in its role of being the central coordinator of care for enrolled veteran patients sustained and restored.
Demands and complains of the VA motto being outdated, sexist and exclusionary are given by a group of veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq, and want the Department of Veterans Affairs work on it. The organization having an approximate of 425,000 members, the Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans of America is advocating the whole year for its expanding services for the women veterans among them. Earlier this week, the veteran group renewed its effort by writing a letter to the Veterans Affairs secretary, David Shulkin and appealed to the lawmakers and the other VA officials in the department. They believe the effort will challenge the motto and women will be recognized more. The Executive Director of IAVA, Allison Jaslow said that the top priority of IAVA this year is to increase the recognition and support for the female veterans. She continued to explain about how a key component of the priority has been on the Veteran Affairs department, seeking them for a change in the motto that can embrace equality among both sexes, especially that now that one of the arguably challenges veterans come across are cultural barriers. Many of the women veterans feel invisible because of that. The VA motto since the year 1959, has been a quote deprived from the former president, Abraham Lincoln. “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” The letter to the VA sectary, Shulkin, on Tuesday, he was addressed that the department should replace the outdated motto with something that contains an inclusive message and mission that would acknowledge and recognize women veterans among them. A VA spokesman, Curt Cashour responded to the IAVA criticism of the VA motto and said that the VA has been having the utmost respect for the sacrifices and services of all the veterans among them, and that included even the female veterans. He later said that Lincoln’s words are just Lincoln’s words. Jaslow said that the IAVA has not yet brought to the table the suggestion of motto replacement, but its replacement would need make a reflection and representation of the total population of veterans. The VA data has it that out of the 21 million veterans in the nation, among them are two million women.      
Ever since the creation of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ office in 1925, they have always been credited with major medical advancements and achievements. On top of the accomplishments list: having made the first successful liver transplant, shingles vaccine and the cardiac pacemaker. The Achievements have won the hearts of a group of lawmakers and are confident that the VA researchers can find out more on marijuana if they shift some attention to it. The highest ranked and enlisted soldier to have served in the Congress led the Lawmakers on the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs to call upon the initiation of the research by the VA into the efficacy of medical marijuana. Last week on Thursday, the Lawmakers cited in a letter to the VA secretary, David Shulkin, that the opioid crisis in the country and the growth in demand from the majority of the veterans and also major veterans service organizations that wish for cannabis to be legally available and used in treatment in chronic pains and post-traumatic stress disorders among patients. The veteran’s Lawmakers wrote the VA research into medical cannabis as “integral to the advancement of health care for veterans and the nation.” In the letter, the Lawmakers wrote about the VA research that there is a possibility research that can help inform not only veterans but every one’s care. This was confirmed by the press secretary for Democrats on the Committee, Griffin Anderson. The signatories of the letter on Thursday included nine Democrats and an independent. They are: Rep. Tim Walz, who is the ranking Democrat on the Committee and former Command Sergeant Major with the Minnesota Army National Guard, Reps.  Scott Peters, D-Calif., Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., Mark Takano, D-Calif., Ann Kuster, D-N.H., Kilili Sablan, I-Northern Mariana islands, Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, Kathleen Rice, D-NY., Julia Brownley, D-Calif., and J. Luis Correa, D-Calif.
A veteran is defined by any person that has served their country in a time of war. There are many, many, veterans that have given up their lives for the sake of our country. The very least we can do is honor them and offer them services, whether it be in life or death. The list of issues that veterans are susceptible to is growing. Poverty, homelessness, lack of substantial health care are just a few issues, among others. There are approximately 21.8 billion veterans currently navigating post service life. For those that have given the ultimate sacrifice, it is our duty to care for them in death. They have taken extraordinary measures for us to be safe and we should return the favor by ensuring that their body will be taken care of how they wanted them to be. All veterans have the legal right to be buried in a national cemetery. Unless specified, their headstone is made of marble or granite. No charges will be incurred when opening or closing the grave, a vault or liner, or setting the marker in a national cemetery. Additionally, markers are made available, with options to add personal effects. In the standard setting, the inscriptions show the veteran’s name, branch of service, year of birth, year of death, but often includes an emblem of belief, rank, and any decorations earned. At an additional cost, extra items can be included like nicknames and terms of endearment, however they have to be approved by the VA. A United States flag is provided, during the burial at no cost. The flag is used to drape the casket and for a cremation it will accompany the urn of a deceased Veteran who had served honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces. This is done to honor all the memories of the Veteran’s military service to his or her country. For veterans who had dishonorably discharged the VA will furnish a burial flag for memorialization. When the VA offers the flag for the burial of a veteran or a service member, the next of kin is given the flag by the department as a keepsake. This is after it has been used in the burial. When there is no next of kin then a close friend of the deceased will be given the flag but only if they make a request for it. Families of veterans can donate the flags, if they so choose. There is an option to be buried at sea, which is an option for all  veterans and close dependents. The option is offered by the US Coast Guard and the Navy. A flag must be there and if it was supplied by the family, it will be returned to them, but if supplied by the Navy it will not be given to the family. The only challenge with the sea burial is that it’s done at the convenience of the military personnel and the family might not have a chance to witness the burial. In the United States we are constantly revising to ensure that our loved ones (and their families!) are receiving the most honorable burial as well as making sure that the process is respectful. It is not a perfect system, but it is an answer to assuage the grief that permeates a death.  
A veteran is eligible for several benefits through the government. The benefits the veteran receive include the following but aren’t limited to,  disability compensation, pension, education and training, loans, healthcare, insurance, and vocational rehabilitation, employment, and a proper burial. There’s a type of pension that’s entitled  Aid and Attendance. The program offers help for elderly or disabled veterans who can’t adequately take care of themselves. The pension is to assist in paying for their long-term care: home care, nursing homes or assisted living. This benefit is paid to the veteran monthly together with their pension and cannot be offered without the pension benefits. The government realizes that elderly veterans are in need of another person to do personal functions needed for everyday living like bathing, feeding, dressing, attending to the wants of nature, adjusting prosthetic devices, or protecting themselves from the potential dangers of one’s daily living environment. There is also another type of pension that is called the Housebound Benefits. This extra monthly monetary pension allowance can be added to a veteran’s monthly pension if the veteran is confined to their immediate premises due to permanent disability. The other qualification would be that their annual family net income should be below the limits that are set by law, the limits are as follows: wartime service veteran with no dependents: below $15,773 and  w artime service veteran with one dependent: below $19,770. Many elderly veterans are not quite aware of the difference between these two benefits that are available to them, the Aid & Attendance and the Housebound Pension. The main difference between these two is the care and also the payment rates. In order to get an Aid and Attendance pension, the concerned veteran must need assistance to perform the daily living activities like dressing or bathing. While for the Housebound pension, he or she must be confined substantially in their immediate premise due to permanent disability. The VA benefits for the elderly are able to cater for a portion of expenses of the nursing home care. This is only if the veteran or the surviving spouse has been catering for the expenses from their pocket. Though you will find in some rare cases, where assisted living expenses are not reimbursed by the insurance company, that’s when the VA pension comes in to assist and allow the veteran or the surviving spouse to live an affordable comfortable and assisted living. The VA can also give caregivers (spouses or close family members) tax free monetary assistance that is supposed to assist them to care of the veterans or the surviving spouse. The claimant though must be able to meet the eligibility requirements that have been set by the VA in order to get the money. The veterans are not limited to pick a VA facility, they can pick any nursing home that they deem to be most convenient to them. Also, the provider doesn’t need to be a VA certified one, and any physician is able to document the care that is needed by the claimant. The nursing facilities costs will then be catered for by the VA Department, which applies to veterans and living spouses who are in independent living or assisted living. One option for housing is state-owned veteran homes. The VA’s are licensed through the state. and are able to meet the skilled or intermediate nursing services that are offered in the private sector nursing homes in their state.  Some of the services that are offered by the Veterans’ homes include but aren’t limited to being help with bathing and dressing, meal prep, medication reminders, transportation, companionship, housekeeping and more! In the United States, we are constantly revising to ensure that our veterans are receiving the most honorable living situations and quality of life.
Last Tuesday more than 30 veterans who fought in the Vietnam War and are living in Germany were given pins by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post. This was done as a tribute and recognition of their service. The pins are just a small part of the commemoration effort being made to the Vietnam War veterans that was signed into effect by the former President of the United States, Barack Obama back in 2012.  All this was done so as to recognize the troops who fought in Vietnam and most of the times received unwelcoming U.S. public when they came back home. The veterans were awarded at the Grafenwoehr Veterans Appreciation Day event on base. James Joyce, VFW Tower Post 10692 commander, commented during the event that the Vietnam veterans for many years have gone unrecognized by many. The event took place at the U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria. The garrison is associated with more than 1,600 veterans of wars, starting from the WWII to the modern day conflicts. Most of the veterans who had been deployed in Germany had opted to remain in the country, and among them was Baldemar Guevera, who met his wife when he was stationed here with the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Amberg. Guevera commented that nowadays the military men and women in the US are well loved and the situation has greatly improved compared to their times. He appreciated the government for showing more respect and making plenty of effort in acknowledging what the veterans did and what the current service members are doing.   The VFW staff engaged actively with the veterans during the ceremony, active duty soldiers who are stationed on the particular base also had a chance to interact with the veterans and each had something to share about their experience.