The following news updates and fact sheets are provided by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
August 17, 2017 Forever GI Bill- Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act
The President signed into law the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act also known as the “Forever GI Bill,” which will bring significant changes to Veterans education benefits. The law is named after the American Legion national commander who wrote the original GI Bill language in 1944, and will allow more Veterans to use the GI Bill and more time to use it. Some of the changes will go into effect immediately, and some are written to go into effect shortly after. Read more here.
March 14, 2017 Camp Lejeune presumptive diseases
As part of VA’s ongoing commitment to provide quality care to Veterans, the Department of Veterans Affairs has established a presumption of service connection for eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Active duty, reserve, and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune or MCAS New River, N.C. for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) from August 1, 1953, through December 31, 1987, may be eligible for disability benefits. The presumption rule was published on January 13, 2017, and is effective either 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, or following conclusion of the 60-day Congressional Review, whichever is later. Read more here.
The presumptive diseases are:
- Adult leukemia
- Aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes
- Bladder cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and
- Parkinson’s disease
June 30, 2016 USVA releases new health care application to help remove access barriers
Beginning June 30, 2016, Veterans applying for health care will be directed to health care application on vets.gov. Unlike the online 10-10EZ and previous applications, this form does not require special software to open, nor does it need to be printed by the Veteran or VA staff to be processed. The new application is for Veterans who have not previously applied for VA health care. The 10-10EZ (paper form) will still be in the forms database, so Veterans and third parties serving Veterans can access the form to print it out. However, the expectation is that anyone seeking to apply for care eligibility online will use the online application, or call the number listed on vets.gov. Read more here.
February 11, 2016 The Mobile Vet Center Provides Outreach Schedule to Southern Maryland
The Mobile Vet Center is equipped to provide the same services you will find in a brick and mortar Vet Center. The Mobile Vet Center provides readjustment counseling to eligible veterans and their families in the effort to make a successful transition from military to civilian life. Types of services include:
- Individual and group counseling for Veterans and their families
- Family counseling for military related issues
- Bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death
- Military sexual trauma counseling and referral
- Outreach and education including PDHRA, community events, etc.
- Substance abuse assessment and referral
- Employment assessment & referral
- VBA benefits explanation and referral
- Screening & referral for medical issues including TBI, depression, etc.
If you, or a family member, served in any combat zone and received a military campaign ribbon (Vietnam, Southwest Asia, OEF, OIF, etc.) than your family is eligible for Vet Center services. Learn more about Vet Center services by calling 877-WAR-VETS (927-8387) or by visiting the Vet Center website.
The Mobile Vet Center is stationed in Southern Maryland on the following days:
3rd Wednesday of every month 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Walmart California MD
3rd Thursday of every month 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Waldorf West Branch Library Waldorf MD
3rd Friday of every month 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM – Walmart Prince Frederick MD
February 5, 2016 Presumptions of service connection updated for those who served in waterways and “Blue Water” Navy
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (USVA) has updated Agent Orange and presumptions of service connection for those who served in waterways and “Blue Water” Navy. We want you have this fact sheet and the frequently asked questions section so you will be able answer questions from Veterans and their families.
- For information concerning exposure to herbicides during Vietnam service visit the USVA’s Public Health website.
- Navy Veterans can find information here.
- VA maintains a public database of ships known to have operated for some period of time on the inland waterways.
March 24, 2015 USVA now requires use of standardized claim and appeal forms
The US Department of Veterans Affairs now requires the use of standardized claim and appeal forms, which brings USVA processes in line with those of other government agencies. There are two claim actions that now require standardized forms: Applications for Veterans or Survivors disability compensation or pension and Notices of Disagreement with any aspect of VA’s decision on a disability claim. Read more here: USVA Fact Sheet.
Please contact your closest MDVA Service Office with questions about this change. For a full description of this program and office locations, please visit the MDVA Service Program.