Guest Blog: Make It Count

By Student Veterans Association President and CEO, D. Wayne Robinson.

As you settle into the new semester, make it count by lending a helping hand

20140817_SVASeattle2014-62[1]By the time you’re reading this, classes have started up on college campuses around the country and the semester is in full swing. The scene is much the same as in years previous: syllabi have been handed out and summarily discarded, students justify ignoring the professor with a PowerPoint presentation they’ll wait to open until the night before the final, and the lecture halls have stratified themselves into the barely conscious in back, and overly alert and eager in the front.

You may notice one difference, however. Around campus and in among the mixed enthusiasm in the classroom are a handful of veterans. You may also notice that that handful is just a little bit larger than the few you spotted last semester, and the one before. This is no coincidence, and it isn’t unique to your campus.

Since the attacks of September 11 2001, close to 3 million veterans have served in our armed forces[1], and all will soon have returned to their homes and communities. Of those, roughly a third have been and are expected to take advantage of their GI Bill™ benefits[2]. That’s a lot of degree-seeking veterans, and chances are, they’ll end up being your partner on a group project, or the guy who holds open the lecture hall door for you.

With the passage of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, student veterans have their pick of any public institution nationwide, as long as they take advantage of their benefits and enroll within three years of service separation.  This has dramatically broadened their educational options, which means that the handful you encounter now will soon fill out more of the classrooms around campus.

SVA-Leadership-Conference-San-Diego-20140809-289[1]As the presence of this population grows, so too does the need for on-campus, veteran-focused resources. We at SVA stress the importance of peer-based support through our ground-up chapter structure employed on 1,100 campuses nationwide (and growing), and projects such as our VetCenter Initiative. While camaraderie and shared experience is indispensable to the long-term success of student veterans, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Some of these veterans will come with wounds both visible and invisible, with internal struggles and physical barriers, but all will need you to go that extra mile.

These struggles and disabilities look different for each veteran, and often are not visible. This can be aggravated when environmental barriers and a lack of on-campus supports prevent physical, academic, and social access to veterans who aren’t always aware of their disabilities. Add intensive military training that inhibits self-care and negative stereotypes into the mix, and the formula for failure is complete. With a bit of mindfulness, however, equal access need no longer be accommodated.

A truly veteran-supportive campus is one where both familiar faces with familiar experiences can be counted upon to empathize, and unfamiliar faces with vastly different backgrounds are willing to strive for understanding and cooperation. A kind word, a friendly nod, or a heartfelt handshake can speak volumes to a struggling student veteran.

The same can be said of the campus’ administration. Support services provided in a non-stigmatizing, encompassing manner can make a world of difference. “The key to engagement lies with positioning support services as part of a team effort for all students to achieve success, not as a remedial effort for individuals expected to fail,” says The NASPA Foundation, in a study[3] demonstrating that the content of service programs matter just as much as the delivery.

With backing from peers, and a welcoming student body and accommodating administration, student veterans have the tools to make sure they have the same opportunity to hang their prohibitively expensive diploma in a $14 frame as everyone else. So, whether it’s on the way to class, cramming in the library, or grabbing some lunch in the dining hall, make your semester count by lending a hand to a student veteran.

For more information on our programs and initiatives, or to find a chapter near you, please visit http://www.studentveterans.org.

DVNF CEO Issues New Report on Progress Made Since His Arrival

Before joining DVNF, I saw an organization with loads of potential, but a need for more structure, more transparency, and more efficiency.

DVNF had several items that needed to be addressed, and I believe that in the first six months of my tenure as CEO, we have made significant strides in improving the entire organization.

Some issues remain works in progress, but after 6 months since I took the reins of DVNF, I am pleased to report substantial progress has been made in every facet of the organization!

1. Wrote a business plan for DVNF

I really wanted to get the organization’s ducks in a row, so to speak. In addition to the many important changes we needed it make, it was crucial to have a well-developed business plan for the organization.

This business plan contains our vision for where we hope to be in the coming years, both programmatically and financially. One of the major determining factors of the organization’s growth is the success of our Benefits and Resources Navigation program. If it becomes as successful as I believe, DVNF will indeed have a bright future.

2. Created a new organizational chart to reflect the growing needs of DVNF

When I began my initial evaluation of the organization’s many parts, it became clear that there was a need for greater coordination and clearer lines of authority and accountability. The organizational structure was simply not keeping up with our increasing activity.

Now, we have an organizational chart that creates greater role clarity and management accountability, which will be particularly important as we continue building out our program activities and growing the staff.

3. Created & implemented a new core of operations known as Benefits & Resources Navigation (BaRN)

During my time as the Wounded Warrior Regiment Sergeant Major in the Marines, I became well-versed in the benefits that service members are eligible for, as well as the many resources outside the VA that seek to help active duty military and veterans.

Fortunately and unfortunately, there are so many resources available to men and women who have served that they often don’t know where to look if they have a pressing need. There were other times that I noticed these individuals weren’t always clear on how to ask for help.

That’s why I created BaRN. I wanted to have “Navigators” in the office who could evaluate the circumstances of a veteran and work with some of the veteran’s local resources who are equipped to address many needs they frequently have.

As part of this, I also:

  • Evaluated all programs and policies
  • Wrote desktop procedures for all programs
  • Hired a new Office Manager, who has:

-Developed a new filing system

-Developed new office management procedures

-Evaluated & created new QuickBooks procedures

4. Hired many new staff members. All staff members are trained to be HIPAA compliant due to the delicate nature of the needs of the veterans we serve.

Everyone on our staff is trained in HIPAA rules and procedures, not only as a legal safeguard, but also as a measure of good faith. We want the veterans who approach DVNF to put their trust in our staff, and know that we won’t be careless with their personal information.

5. Hired two Navigators in the last six months. Both Navigators are trained in:

Non-Medical Case Management
HIPAA
PTSD recognition
TBI recognition
Tri-Care medical organization
Marriage & Family
Recovery Care Coordinators (RCC)

Not only are our Navigators well trained, they are also extremely patient and caring individuals. I am so pleased at how their hard work is making a real difference in the lives of veterans, and I know that these veterans are very appreciative as well.

6. Hired DVNF’s first Development Director

As mentioned previously, the main priority was to make our fundraising strategy more efficient and more transparent. That’s why I hired Barfonce Baldwin.

She is an established professional with over 10 years of experience in nonprofit fundraising and development. Her mandate is to sustain a strong and viable donor cultivation program and to develop new sources of revenue, including major donors, foundation grants and corporate gifts. She hit the ground running and has already proved to be an indispensible asset to DVNF’s present and future of helping veterans in need.

7. Increased DVNF’s program giving:

Grants to Provide Stability: Our GPS program provides funding to qualified veterans when they are in a temporary financial setback. This year, we have already helped close to 50 veterans in dire need. Many of which have been able to escape the risk of becoming homeless.
Wellness & Morale Program: This program send basic items such as clothing, food, water, and health and hygiene supplies to Stand Down Events and homeless shelters around the country. The program is currently up more than 35% from last year.
BaRN: Since the program launched in October 2013, DVNF has helped more than 86 veterans. To see the impact this program has had on the lives of veterans, take a look at http://www.dvnf.org/have-you-been-helped-by-dvnf/.

8. Redesigned DVNF’s Website:

The face of an organization is its website, and DVNF needed a big time facelift! We have now launched a new website to make it more manageable, more aesthetic, and just better overall.

We also added new services on the website to help people use our website as their own personal resource for what they are looking for. Veterans can now find some basic benefits and resources information they may find useful.

9. Developed New Relationships:

We are collaborating with a new retail startup company, G.I. Joe Coffee. They are a veteran-owned, veteran-operated company that wants their business to be of benefit to veterans.

G.I. Joe is donating money to DVNF from select bags of their coffee, which will go to programs that benefit veterans. We are proud to call them a friend and corporate sponsor and are excited about the possibilities of this relationship.

We have also embarked on an important project with the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL) at the University of Pittsburgh. Under the leadership of Dr. Rory Cooper, HERL has done work and research that has directly impacted countless numbers of disabled veterans. When I heard that HERL needed a new piece of manufacturing equipment to further their development of state of the art wheelchairs and other adaptive devices, I told Dr. Cooper that he could count on DVNF.

Our goal is to raise $50,000 for HERL so they can continue improving the quality of life for so many people.

10. Gold Sponsor for the Marine Corps Trials, DVNF provided:

300 Hygiene Kits
300 Sheets & Pillow Cases (Bedding)
300 Athletic Towels
Gift Cards totaling $10,000
Final total: More than $30,000

It has been a fast-paced and lively 6 months at DVNF. I feel that we are now on track to becoming one of the most trusted names in helping the men and women who have served in our armed forces.

I am committed to making DVNF accountable in every aspect of its business. I truly look forward to the next 6 months, and beyond!

Thank you,

Joseph VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret.)
CEO, DVNF

 

Military Appreciation Month – Roy E.

May is Military Appreciation Month, and DVNF encourages everyone to reflect on how important the men and women who have served have been to our safety and freedom. And thanks to your support, we have been able to help so many veterans overcome challenges they often face after leaving the military.

This month, as part of how much we appreciate your commitment to helping veterans, we want to send the actual words of veterans whose lives you have impacted!

Roy E. – 70% Disabled U.S. Army Veteran

RoyE

“The Disabled Veterans National Foundation truly cares about the military veterans. This was very evident from the first contact I had with this organization. The person that assisted me with my case was Mary Moore. I felt like this organization really cared because Mary personally reached out to me spent the time and fully explained the process and everything that should be done clearly.

“Also appreciated was the service each time I called in, was able to get Ms. Moore on the phone, or got a quick response. I am very grateful for this organization and the help they were able to provide with my rent. I was going through a financial hardship due to hospital visits and this organization helped me when other organizations did not so I am very grateful for this. This organization really went above and beyond to provide great customer service and assistance and I thank them for their support.”

In honor of Military Appreciation Month, we encourage you to take part in our effort to help more veterans just like Roy!

Newest Vet Suicide Report a Cause for Alarm

I recently read the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) most recent Suicide Data Report. After going through it a couple of times, I felt a tremendous sadness come over me.

There were many alarming and noteworthy points in the report, but the one that made me feel sick was that there have been increases in suicides among veterans aged 18-24.

This cannot continue. Our youngest veterans have undergone more than we could truly imagine. For many, their combat experiences have been plagued with tragedy, which spanned multiple deployments.

What has been much different for them in comparison with many other generations of veterans is that a lot of today’s returning troops are coming home to a tough job market in the middle of a down economy.

Now, we see in this report that they are committing suicide at a devastating rate. Actually, the spike in the suicide rate between 2009 and 2010 was absolutely unbelievable. Suicides in the male, 18-24 year-old demographic increased from 46.1 per 100,000 in 2009 to an alarming 72.6 per 100,000 in 2010.

That trend continued to increase in 2011, with 79.1 suicides per 100,000. Female veterans under 30 have also seen an increase in suicides.

However, the report also featured some relatively positive news. Male VHA users over 30 have seen a decrease in suicide rate. More significantly, VHA users with mental health conditions have also seen a decrease in suicide rate, which is a likely indicator that those getting treatment are getting the help they need.

What everyone should take from this report is that suicide amongst veterans is a very real thing. It is not some sensationalized cautionary tale. It is rather a warning to all of us that when you see someone with warning signs of suicide, do what you can to help them.

Often times, veterans do not want to acknowledge the fact that something is wrong. They want to “tough it out.” We are here to tell you that this is not a physical ailment that you can simply overcome by sheer will. It is a tragic instance in which those who do not seek treatment feel that this is their only way out.

There is help out there! If you are a veteran having thoughts of suicide, please visit http://veteranscrisisline.net, call 1-800-273-8255 (press 1) or send a text message to 838255. There, you will receive confidential support.

Similarly, if you are a family member or friend of a veteran in need, do not hesitate to visit http://veteranscrisisline.net as well! They can instruct you on what to do.

VCL-CMYK

The first part, however, is recognizing the signs of crisis. The Veterans Crisis Line says you should look for these signs of crisis:

Sometimes a crisis may involve thoughts of suicide. Learn to recognize these warning signs:

  • Hopelessness, feeling like there’s no way out
  • Anxiety, agitation, sleeplessness, or mood swings
  • Feeling like there is no reason to live
  • Rage or anger
  • Engaging in risky activities without thinking
  • Increasing alcohol or drug abuse
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

The following signs require immediate attention:

  • Thinking about hurting or killing yourself
  • Looking for ways to kill yourself
  • Talking about death, dying, or suicide
  • Self-destructive behavior such as drug abuse, weapons, etc.

If you are a Veteran or know a Veteran who is experiencing any of these signs, call the Veterans Crisis Line immediately. Responders are standing by to help. There are qualified support specialists available 24 hours a day, 7-days a week, every day of the year.

We should all do our part to reach out to anyone in crisis! This is a national crisis and we all need to do what we can to help veterans so they don’t become another statistic.

So please, share this post and this information with people that you know! You may not think it matters, but it is very possible that someone you share this with could be the very person who needs it most!

Joe VanFonda (Sgt. Maj. Ret.)
CEO, DVNF

13 Important Resources for Veterans’ Health Needs

On behalf of DVNF, I want to wish all a happy New Year! I know that times are tough for many, and I believe it is important that every veteran should know about resources that are available to them.

So let’s kick of the New Year with some valuable information on programs and services that are available through the Veterans Health Administration (VHA). In this post, I have included the VA’s top 13 links for veteran services.

As DVNF’S CEO, I think it is important for veterans to know what types of services are out there. That’s why we can use your help in spreading the word about these services to veterans. So please read and share!

Semper Fi
Joe VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret)
CEO/DVNF

Here is a quick list of links to the many programs available to our Veterans. If you know a Veteran, we hope you will print out this list (pdf) and give it to them.

  • It may be a homeless Vet you pass on the street every day — you can suggest they take the list to a public library computer to learn what VA has to help them.
  • It may be a young Vet recently returning from a combat zone, who is not aware of the benefits he or she is entitled to.

There are many potential opportunities for you to help Veterans make the connection to the services VA has for them, benefits they have earned! In addition to the doctors and nurses who provide our Vets with high-quality health care, VHA has many programs to help Vets reach their optimal health. 

Veterans!  Here are 13 of the top links for VA services. Use these health support services to maintain your physical and mental wellness:

Health Benefits
www.va.gov/healthbenefits
Start here to learn what VA health benefits you are elligible for and apply for care.
Helpful Phone Numbers
Health Benefits: 877-222-VETS (8387)
Other VA Benefits: 800-827-1000
Homeless Services: 877-424-3838
Compensated Work Therapy
www.cwt.va.gov
A vocational rehabilitation program to match and support work ready veterans in competitive jobs.
Disease Prevention
www.prevention.va.gov
Advocating for health promotion, disease prevention, and health education for our nation’s Veterans.
Geriatrics & Extended Care
www.va.gov/geriatrics
Geriatric and extended care services for Veterans including non-institutional and institutional options.
Homeless Services
www.va.gov/homeless
To end Veteran homelessness within the next five years, VA offers a variety of resources, programs and benefits to assist Veterans who are homeless.
Mental Health
www.mentalhealth.va.gov
Maintaining and improving the health and well-being of Veterans through excellence in health care, social services, education, and research.
MyHealtheVet
www.myhealth.va.gov
Anywhere, anytime Internet access to VA health care information and services.
National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
www.ptsd.va.gov
VA’s center of excellence for research and education on the prevention, understanding and treatment of posttraumatic stress disorder.
Readjustment Counseling (Vet Centers)
www.vetcenter.va.gov
Offers services to Veterans and their families to aid their successful transition from military to civilian life.
Rural Health
www.ruralhealth.va.gov
Improving access and quality of care for Veterans living in rural areas.
Substance Abuse Programs
www.mentalhealth.va.gov/substanceabuse.asp
Treatments addressing problems related to substance use, from unhealthy use of alcohol to life-threatening addictions.
Veterans Crisis Line
veteranscrisisline.net
The Veterans Crisis Line (Dial 1-800-273-8255 and press 1) is a toll-free, confidential phone support line that connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring VA responders.
Women Veterans Health Care
www.womenshealth.va.gov
Implementing positive changes in providing care for all women Veterans.

DVNF CEO Provides Information on Veterans Dental Benefits

DVNF’s CEO, Joe VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret), speaks about Benefits and Resources: 

“When I decided to accept my current position with DVNF I knew the immediate needs our disabled veterans wanted; they wanted transparent services, so I created a new initiative for DVNF know as”Benefits and Resources Navigation,” or “BaRN.”  Our trained Navigators will help any veteran in need with the benefits and resources available to them within the Department of Veterans Affairs throughout our nation.  DVNF will continue to publish information on Benefits and Resources for our veterans in need.  Below, you will find some great information in regards to Dental Benefits for Veterans. Please read and visit this website.”

Best,

Joe VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret)
CEO
DVNF

Dental Benefits for Veterans

Dental benefits are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) according to law. In some instances, VA is authorized to provide extensive dental care, while in other cases treatment may be limited. This Fact Sheet describes dental eligibility criteria and contains information to assist Veterans in understanding their eligibility for VA dental care.

The eligibility for outpatient dental care is not the same as for most other VA medical benefits and is categorized into classes. If you are eligible for VA dental care under Class I, IIC, or IV you are eligible for any necessary dental care to maintain or restore oral health and masticatory function, including repeat care. Other classes have time and/or service limitations.

If you:

You are eligible for:

Through

Have a service-connected compensable dental disability or condition.

Any needed dental care

Class I

Are a former prisoner of war.

Any needed dental care.

Class IIC

Have service-connected disabilities rated 100% disabling, or are unemployable and paid
at the 100% rate due to service- connected conditions.

Any needed dental care. [Please
note: Veterans paid at the 100% rate based on a temporary rating, such as extended hospitalization for a service- connected disability, convalescence
or pre-stabilization are not eligible for comprehensive outpatient dental services based on this temporary rating].

Class IV

Apply for dental care within 180 days of discharge or release (under conditions other than dishonorable) from a period of active duty of 90 days or more during the Persian Gulf War era.

One-time dental care if your DD214 certificate of discharge does not indicate that a complete dental examination and all appropriate dental treatment had been rendered prior to discharge.*

Class II

If you:

You are eligible for:

Through

Have a service-connected noncompensable dental condition or disability resulting from combat wounds or service trauma.

Any dental care necessary to provide
and maintain a functioning dentition. A Dental Trauma Rating (VA Form 10-564-D) or VA Regional Office Rating Decision letter (VA Form 10-7131) identifies the tooth/teeth that are trauma rated.

Class IIA

Have a dental condition clinically determined by VA to be associated with and aggravating a service-connected medical condition.

Dental care to treat the oral conditions that are determined by a VA dental professional to have a direct and material detrimental effect to your service connected medical condition.

Class III

Are actively engaged in a 38 USC Chapter 31 vocational rehabilitation program.

Dental care to the extent necessary as determined by a VA dental professional to:

  • Make possible your entrance into arehabilitation program
  • Achieve the goals of your vocationalrehabilitation program
  • Prevent interruption of yourrehabilitation program
  • Hasten the return to a rehabilitationprogram if you are in interrupted orleave status
  • Hasten the return to a rehabilitationprogram of a Veteran placed indiscontinued status because of illness, injury or a dental condition, or
  • Secure and adjust to employment during the period of employment assistance, or enable you to achieve maximum independence in daily living.

Class V

Are receiving VA care or are scheduled for inpatient care
and require dental care for a condition complicating a medical condition currently under treatment.

Dental care to treat the oral conditions that are determined by a VA dental professional to complicate your medical condition currently under treatment.

Class VI

Are an enrolled Veteran who may be homeless and receiving care under VHA Directive 2007-039.

A one-time course of dental care that is determined medically necessary to relieve pain, assist you to gain employment, or treat moderate, severe, or complicated and severe gingival and periodontal conditions.

Class IIB

* Note: Public Law 83 enacted June 16, 1955, amended Veterans’ eligibility for outpatient dental services. As a result, any Veteran who received a dental award letter from VBA dated before 1955 in which VBA determined the dental conditions to be noncompensable are no longer eligible for Class II outpatient dental treatment.

Veterans receiving hospital, nursing home, or domiciliary care will be provided dental services that are professionally determined by a VA dentist, in consultation with the referring physician, to be essential to the management of the patient’s medical condition under active treatment.

For more information about eligibility for VA medical and dental benefits, contact VA at 1-877-222-VETS (8387)

DVNF Executive Director’s Benefits Tips

As you may know, DVNF is in the beginning stages of implement its new Benefits and Resources Navigation (BaRN) initiative. As part of this, DVNF Executive Director Joseph VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret) will begin to offer helpful tips for veterans who are looking for resources or assistance with the VA system.

* * *

October 28, 2013

Joseph VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret), Executive Director for DVNF, continues to push the phrase “Knowledge is Power” out to our Disabled Veterans, and Veterans alike.

“Imagine if all our Disabled Veterans & Veterans alike unite together on identifying our homeless veterans and help them navigate through this difficult matrix of our Department of Veterans Affairs. Honestly, you would be saving our American Heroes, and many need to be saved.

“Please reach out to the National Call Center for the Homeless. It’s confidential and it’s the right thing to do. We as veterans are all cut from the same cloth, sewn from the same fabric of our American Flag.”

For more information please continue to read below:

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) has founded a National Call Center for Homeless Veterans hotline to ensure that homeless Veterans or Veterans at-risk for homelessness have free, 24/7 access to trained counselors. The hotline is intended to assist homeless Veterans and their families, VA Medical Centers, federal, state and local partners, community agencies, service providers  and others in the community.  To be connected with a trained VA staff member call 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838).

  • Call for yourself or someone else
  • Free and confidential
  • Trained VA counselors to assist
  • Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • We have information about VA homeless programs and mental health services in your area that can help you.

What will happen when I call?

  • You will be connected to a trained VA staff member.
  • Hotline staff will conduct a brief screen to assess your needs.
  • Homeless Veterans will be connected with the Homeless Point of Contact at the nearest VA facility.
  • Family members and non-VA providers calling on behalf of a homeless Veteran will be provided with information regarding the homeless programs and services available.

Contact information will be requested so that staff may follow-up.

* * *

October 22, 2013

DVNF’s Executive Director Joseph VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret) explains that the residue from the carnage of war will stay with every veteran who served for the rest of his/her life.
“What we absorb on the battlefield can be indescribable; we tend to suppress our emotions as we move forward in order to accomplish our mission. However, when we return home our decompression begins. This is where our resiliency is tested. This is where our family members see our frustration and pain that is associated with trying to let go and move on.  This is where our loved ones become our sounding board, hoping that they hold onto us telling us we will be ok.
 
“Let’s take the burden off of our loved ones. If you are suffering from PTSD, or even think you might be, please reach out to the provided resources that are at your finger tips.  I previously explained that knowledge is power, so I will continue to educate our disabled veterans and veterans alike with the resources that are available for their very survival.”
This is reliable information that is free and private. Please download this app and begin the journey of understanding so you can start the healing process of dealing with the painful memories of war when returning home.

Mobile App: PTSD Coach

PTSD Coach has now been downloaded over 100,000 times in 74 countries around the world.

The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that commonly occur after trauma. Features include:

  • Reliable information on PTSD and treatments that work.
  • Tools for screening and tracking your symptoms.
  • Convenient, easy-to-use skills to help you handle stress symptoms.
  • Direct links to support and help.
  • Always with you when you need it.

Download the mobile app

Free PTSD Coach download from:
iTunes (iOS)* and Google Play (Android)*

Now available for Canada (in French) and other versions on iTunes.

Also see PTSD Coach ONLINE: 17 tools to choose from available as desktop version.

How to use PTSD Coach

Together with professional medical treatment, PTSD Coach provides you dependable resources you can trust. If you have, or think you might have PTSD, this app is for you. Family and friends can also learn from this app.

PTSD Coach was created by the VA’s National Center for PTSD and the DoD’s National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

NOTE: PTSD is a serious mental health condition that often requires professional evaluation and treatment. PTSD Coach is not intended to replace needed professional care.

The questionnaire used in PTSD Coach, the PTSD Checklist (PCL), is a reliable and valid self-report measure used across VA, DoD, and in the community, but it is not intended to replace professional evaluation.

Providing you with facts and self-help skills based on research.

Privacy and security

Any data created by the user of this app are only as secure as the phone/device itself. Use the security features on your device if you are concerned about the privacy of your information. Users are free to share data, but as the self-monitoring data belong to each user, HIPAA concerns do not apply while the data is stored or shared. If the user were to transmit or share data with a health care provider, the provider must then comply with HIPAA rules.

* * *

October 10, 2013

Executive Director Joseph VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret) explains:

Knowledge is power! We will educate our disabled veterans and our transitioning service members with the tools needed in order to understand the Veterans Integrated System Network within their state of residence.  And by understanding this complex system by the knowledge we share each disabled veteran can self-advocate for their own immediate care.

Did you know…

Disability Benefits Questionnaires (DBQs) are downloadable forms for veterans to use in the disability evaluation process. DBQs can help speed the processing of compensation and pension claims.

DBQs allow veterans and servicemembers to have more control over the disability claims process by giving them the option of completing an examination with their own healthcare providers instead of at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.

DBQs enable private health care providers to capture important information needed by VA to accurately evaluate and promptly decide veterans’ claims for benefits.

More than 70 DBQs are available that use check boxes and standardized language to streamline the process. DBQs average about seven pages in length. Veterans are responsible for any fees their private providers may charge for completing a DBQ.

Visit the DBQ Website for more information.

How to Find and Submit a DBQ

The DBQ process involves four steps:

Access the form online at http://benefits.va.gov/disabilityexams and download it;

Have your healthcare provider complete the form;

Save a copy for your records; and

Submit the form to VA.

Note:  Remember, knowledge is power and it starts now!

I have enclosed a website that will help you, called eBenefits;  its personalized workspace, called “My Dashboard” provides quick access to eBenefits tools. Using eBenefits tools, each veteran can complete various tasks.  It can help veterans apply for benefits “and, medical care”, by downloading their DD 214, view their benefits status, in addition to other actions as needed. This workspace is available to ALL veterans once they have created an eBenefits account.

Also, please create an online account with the (VA) My HealtheVet website https://www.myhealth.va.gov/index.html.

My HealtheVet is VA’s online personal health record. It was designed for Veterans, active duty service members, their dependents and caregivers. My HealtheVet helps veterans partner with your health care team. It provides veterans opportunities and tools to make informed decisions and manage their health care.

Create an account and register!

Best,

Joseph VanFonda (SgtMaj Ret)
Executive Director
DVNF

* * *

October 9, 2013

Benefits & Resources Navigation (BaRN)

“EASIEST WAY TO CHECK ON PENDING CLAIM OR APPEAL BY CONNECTING TO VA.”

Haven’t heard back from the VA in months about your claim?

How many times have you called the VA 1-800 number and ended up on hold for 30 minutes before hanging up? Are you getting lost in the maze of recordings?

I want to let you know about an easy way to get a call back rather than wait.

  • Call 1-800-827-1000
  • Wait for the first recording to start then push “1”.
  • Wait for the next response to start then push “1” again.
  • Wait for the recording to come on the third time then push “0”.

You will now be connected to call-back recording.

This works 24/7.

Please try it!

Note: You can also request for a response in writing.

Joseph VanFonda
Executive Director
DVNF