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Veterans Initiative

The Veterans Initiative Needs Your Help

Objects taken from the battlefields of Vietnam are more than souvenirs or war trophies. Maps, stories, after-action reports, pictures, military items may have a story that could result in finding the location of missing war dead. Can you help?

Contact the Veterans Initiative at:

Veterans Initiative
Vietnam Veterans Of America
8719 Colesville Rd., Suite 100
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910
vi@vva.org 


“Healing PTSD” Stamp Released

The USPS “Healing PTSD” Stamp Will Raise Money for Veterans

The U.S. Postal Service has just issued a “Healing PTSD” semipostal stamp that will raise money to be distributed to the VA for the National Center for PTSD. The First-class stamps will sell for 65 cents, a ten-cent premium over the standard price. A semipostal stamp is one designed to fund causes in the public interest, and in this case, that interest is Post-traumatic Stress. The extra money will be donated to the cause.
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State Benefit Finder

From Sea to Shining Sea: State-level Benefits for Veterans

Center for New American Security released its state benefits finder on November 11. While services from nonprofit organizations and federal agencies are widely known, benefits offered by states to veterans are less so. State-level benefits, though extensive, vary widely and are often difficult to identify. With this State Veteran Benefit Finder, CNAS makes information about 1,814 identified benefits easily searchable. This tool allows users to filter state-level veteran benefits by type of benefit, beneficiary, and state to identify benefits for which they may be eligible, providing a unique and invaluable reference. The accompanying report offers analysis of trends in state-level benefits and includes recommendations for an array of key stakeholders, from veterans to those who serve them across domains.

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VA To Compensate Blue Water Navy Veterans

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is preparing to process Agent Orange exposure claims for “Blue Water Navy” Veterans who served offshore of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975.

These Veterans may be eligible for presumption of herbicide exposure through Public Law 116-23, Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which was signed into law June 25, 2019, and goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020. They may also qualify for a presumption of service connection if they have a disease that is recognized as being associated with herbicide exposure.

The bipartisan Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act gives VA until Jan. 1, 2020, to begin deciding Blue Water Navy related claims. By staying claims decisions until that date, VA is complying with the law that Congress wrote and passed.

“VA is dedicated to ensuring that all Veterans receive the benefits they have earned,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “We are working to ensure that we have the proper resources in place to meet the needs of our Blue Water Veteran community and minimize the impact on all Veterans filing for disability compensation.”

Blue Water Navy Veterans are encouraged to submit disability compensation claims for conditions presumed to be related to Agent Orange exposure. Veterans over age 85 or with life-threatening illnesses will have priority in claims processing.

Veterans who previously were denied for an Agent Orange related presumptive condition can file a new claim based on the change in law. Eligible survivors of deceased Blue Water Navy Veterans also may benefit from the new law and may file claims for benefits based on the Veterans’ service.

The new law affects Veterans who served on a vessel operating not more than 12 nautical miles seaward from the demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia, as defined in Public Law 116-23. An estimated 420,000 to 560,000 Vietnam-era Veterans may be considered Blue Water Navy Veterans.

Claims in appeals may be disbursed as early as January 1, 2020.


VA Health Care Data for iPhone

In honor of Veterans Month this November, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is rolling out nationwide access for Veterans to their VA health data, alongside their health records from other health care providers in one place, in the Health Records section of the Health app for iPhone.

Now, patients will be able to see their medical information from various participating institutions, including VA, organized into one view. The view covers allergies, conditions, immunizations, lab results, medications and procedures and vitals. Veterans will also receive notifications when their data is updated.

“We have delivered Veterans an innovative new way to easily and securely access their health information,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Veterans deserve access to their health data at any time and in one place, and with Health Records on the Health app, VA has pushed the Veterans experience forward.”

This capability was developed through VA’s Veterans Health Application Programming Interface (Veterans Health API), first revealed in February, and has topped 2,000 users. The Veterans Health API allows private sector organizations to create and deploy innovative digital applications that help Veterans access their health records in new ways. Health Records data is encrypted and protected with the user’s iPhone passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.

Beyond this effort with Apple, VA plans to partner with other organizations to bring similar capabilities to other mobile platforms.