Archives for June 2014

Senior Veterans Going for the Gold – One More Time



A senior man in a swimming pool smiles

Recreation therapy fills a special need in the lives of older patients.










The 2014 National Veterans Golden Age Games will take place June 28-July 2 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the foothills of the Ozark Mountains on the campus of the University of Arkansas.


It’s the premier senior adaptive rehabilitation program in the United States and the only national multi-event sports and recreational seniors’ competition program designed to improve the quality of life for all older Veterans, including those with a wide range of abilities and disabilities.


The competitive events include air rifle, bowling, cycling, field (discus, shot, javelin), golf, horseshoes, mind sports (checkers, dominoes), nine-ball, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis and track, with demonstration sport badminton.



A senior man throws a horse shoe

James McDonough, 89, pitches horseshoes at the Golden Age Games.


James McDonough of Denver is a Veteran of the Coast Guard and brought soldiers ashore during the Normandy landings (D-Day) June 6, 1944. He is extremely active and prepares for the games year round. He will be participating in javelin, horseshoes, bowling, and table tennis this year. He will be 89 on June 24.


According to Carla Carmichael, “The National Veteran Golden Age Games provide opportunities for Veterans to compete in sports and recreational events. An active lifestyle is critical to promoting health and independence while preventing illness or disability and prolonging quality of life.”


National Director of the Golden Age Games, Carmichael added, “Recreational and other rehab therapists at local medical centers work with the Veteran to participate based on rehabilitative goals established individually.”


Sports and fitness are vital ingredients of VA’s National Rehabilitation Special Events. Physical activity and friendly competition engage the mind as well as the body and recreation therapy fills a special need in the lives of older patients at VA health centers across the country. VA research and clinical experience verify that physical activity is particularly important to the health, recovery and overall quality of life for older people.


 No matter what, make the effort. I can make the effort. 


A few of the “stars” from the 2013 games


Robert “Sparky” Sparkes, a 94 year-old World War II U.S. Army Air Corps Veteran, works out and trains year-round, hiked the Appalachian Trail between Georgia to Maine three times since the age of 60 and inspires teammates daily with a positive attitude and will to compete.


Army Veteran Gael Keshoemaker experienced a stroke two years ago and faced speech and other significant physical challenges. In 2013, she participated in bowling as well as shuffleboard, table tennis and horseshoes. Her motto is, “No matter what, make the effort. I can make the effort.”


Dale Hosler, 83-year old Korean War Army Veteran, enjoys living a healthy lifestyle. He works out at least three times a week lifting weights and using cardio equipment and focuses on conditioning and strength training. “I look forward to it all year so I’m ready to participate.”



A woman in a wheelchair bowls

Judy Ruiz bowling at the Golden Age Games


Judy Ruiz, Marine Corps Veteran, lost her ability to work as a result of multiple sclerosis. She previously did not participate in sports but now feels that because of them, she has more hand and eye coordination, physical strength and range of motion. “Rehabilitative sports are great physically, mentally and socially. It’s good for the mind, body and soul.”


Read their stories (Inspiring Stories on the bottom of the page) and more about The National Veterans Golden Age Games.






Source Article from http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/2014/June/Senior-Veterans-Going-for-the-Gold-One-More-Time.asp

IAVA Reacts to New Nominee For Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs

IAVA Reacts to New Nominee For Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org

New York, NY (June 29, 2014) – Tomorrow, President Obama will nominate former Procter and Gamble chief executive and West Point graduate Robert McDonald as Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA). 

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff released the following statement after the announcement: 

“This is definitely a surprising pick. McDonald is not a name that was on anyone’s radar over the last few weeks,” said Rieckhoff. “His branding background may prove helpful, because there are few organizations in America with a worse reputation with its customers than the VA right now. He’s been away from the military for quite a while, and will have to move quickly to show he is committed to and understands the post-9/11 generation of veterans. We look forward to hearing from him soon and working together to support our vets. At the same time, we hope the President will move quickly to implement the seven remaining recommendations that make up IAVA’s Eight Point “Marshall Plan” to restore confidence in the VA.”

Rieckhoff continued, “For many of our returning men and women in uniform, this year will be life-changing as they transition back to civilian life and the war in Afghanistan winds down. In addition to reforming the VA healthcare system, combating veteran suicide and improving access to mental health care are major priorities for our community. As the new VA chief, McDonald has the ability to revitalize a broken system and alter the status quo, however without a contemporary background in our community, he will need to reach to VSOs and other leading advocates for vets. The White House did not reach out to VSOs during their search process and we hope they will now. The VA cannot do it alone. The new Secretary will need the full support of the President, Department of Defense, Congress and the entire federal bureaucracy.” 

In early June, IAVA unveiled a “Marshall Plan” for veterans: eight steps the Obama Administration and Congress can take now to restore confidence in the VA. The first step was to appoint a post-9/11 veteran, or someone very familiar with the veteran community, as the new head of the VA. Among the steps are recommendations from IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda. IAVA urges Congress and the President to enact all of the recommendations from the plan. 

Note to media: Email press@iava.org or call 212-982-9699 for an interview with IAVA leadership. 

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator. 

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IAVA Calls on President to Meet with Vets and Leaders of the VSO Community

IAVA Calls on President to Meet with Vets and Leaders of the VSO Community

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org


New York, NY (June 27, 2014) – As Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson and Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors plan to update President Obama on the VA scandal this afternoon, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) urges the President to meet with Veteran Service Organizations to discuss restoring confidence within the VA. Earlier this week, the VA came under fire after the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) sent a report detailing systemic problems of veterans care to the White House.  

Gibson was named Acting Secretary nearly four weeks ago after Eric Shinseki resigned following reports of wrongdoing and mismanagement at several VA hospitals and clinics across the country. 

In early June, IAVA unveiled a “Marshall Plan” for veterans: eight steps the Obama Administration and Congress can take now to restore confidence in the VA. Among the steps are recommendations from IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda. IAVA urges Congress and the President to enact all of the recommendations from the plan. 

“For nearly a month the President has been publicly silent on this growing controversy,” said IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff. “Especially on PTSD Awareness Day, it is even more urgent that the Administration lead on enacting real change into the VA. This is not a one-man solution. The President needs to hear firsthand from leaders within the VSO community and meet with vets outside the Beltway to hear the challenges our community is facing. A well-informed leadership is key to rectifying the egregious corruption plaguing the VA. We hope to work with the Administration to help lay the path forward for a 21st Century VA our veterans deserve.”  

Note to media: Please contact press@IAVA.org to schedule an interview with IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator.

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VA Announces $5 Million in Grants to Aid Homeless Veterans With Special Needs








VA Announces $5 Million in Grants to Aid Homeless Veterans With Special Needs

June 26, 2014





Printable Version




 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


June 26, 2014                                                             


 


VA Announces $5 Million in Grants to Aid Homeless Veterans With Special Needs


 WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is making renewed funding available to 25 organizations in 11 states that provide transitional housing and supportive services to homeless Veterans with special needs.  The Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD) Special Need Grants – totaling $5 million to grantees – will allow the organizations to continue providing housing and necessary services to homeless Veterans from any or all of the following groups with special needs: women, frail elderly, terminally ill, chronically mentally ill and individuals who care for minor dependents.


 “We will continue our work until no Veteran has to sleep on the streets,” said Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson. “We have made significant progress toward our goal to end Veterans’ homelessness.  That progress would not have occurred without the important work of GPD Special Need grantees and other local partners.” 


 VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program provides funds to community agencies that provide services to homeless Veterans.  The program promotes the development and provision of supportive housing and services with the goal of helping homeless Veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and income and gain greater self-determination.


 A national count in 2013 of homeless persons in the United States revealed there were 57,849 homeless Veterans. While still large, this number represents a 24-percent decline since January 2010.  In support of President Obama and VA’s goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2015, VA committed more than $1 billion in fiscal year 2014 to strengthen programs that prevent and treat the issues that can lead to Veteran homelessness.


 To review the Notice of Funding Availability for the GPD Special Need grant, visit the website of the National Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program at www.va.gov/homeless/GPD.ASP. The deadline for submitting proposals will be July 16, 2014.


 


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Source Article from http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=2569

VA Announces $5 Million in Grants to Aid Homeless Veterans With Special Needs








VA Announces $5 Million in Grants to Aid Homeless Veterans With Special Needs

June 26, 2014





Printable Version




 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


June 26, 2014                                                             


 


VA Announces $5 Million in Grants to Aid Homeless Veterans With Special Needs


 WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced that it is making renewed funding available to 25 organizations in 11 states that provide transitional housing and supportive services to homeless Veterans with special needs.  The Grant and Per Diem Program (GPD) Special Need Grants – totaling $5 million to grantees – will allow the organizations to continue providing housing and necessary services to homeless Veterans from any or all of the following groups with special needs: women, frail elderly, terminally ill, chronically mentally ill and individuals who care for minor dependents.


 “We will continue our work until no Veteran has to sleep on the streets,” said Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson. “We have made significant progress toward our goal to end Veterans’ homelessness.  That progress would not have occurred without the important work of GPD Special Need grantees and other local partners.” 


 VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program provides funds to community agencies that provide services to homeless Veterans.  The program promotes the development and provision of supportive housing and services with the goal of helping homeless Veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and income and gain greater self-determination.


 A national count in 2013 of homeless persons in the United States revealed there were 57,849 homeless Veterans. While still large, this number represents a 24-percent decline since January 2010.  In support of President Obama and VA’s goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2015, VA committed more than $1 billion in fiscal year 2014 to strengthen programs that prevent and treat the issues that can lead to Veteran homelessness.


 To review the Notice of Funding Availability for the GPD Special Need grant, visit the website of the National Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program at www.va.gov/homeless/GPD.ASP. The deadline for submitting proposals will be July 16, 2014.


 


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I Cannot Be This Person



Close up of a woman with an angry expression

Marine Veteran Laura Hendrixon










In observance of PTSD Awareness Month: June 2014, Inside Veterans Health, in collaboration with VA’s National Center for PTSD, presents the following profile of a Veteran who is living with PTSD and turning her life around with treatment.


Finding it hard to be home alone or feel comfortable in public places, Marine Veteran and MST survivor Laura Hendrixon is determined to get better for her family.


Laura Hendrixon had always thought PTSD came only after combat exposure — until it happened to her. “After being in the Marines for a year and a half, I was sexually assaulted by another Marine who was also a co-worker and a friend of mine,” she said. “It’s embarrassing to talk about, but I don’t want to be scared anymore. I want to be stronger.”


The trauma affected her so much that she was afraid to take a shower when she was home alone. “…I would basically be in panic mode the whole time,” she said. “I would think …‘Oh my gosh, I want to get a shower, but I can’t get a shower because I’m home by myself and if I’m in the shower, I’m not going to be able to hear if somebody comes in the house.’ I would get scared to the point that I wouldn’t close my eyes when I’m taking a shower.”


Laura was diagnosed with PTSD. Her VA doctor suggested she get into treatment. “I finally had a doctor point out to me that, you know, it would be really good if I went through this treatment,” she recalled. “I knew I needed to do it because I can’t wait to have kids and I was like, “I cannot be this person with kids. I’m going to, like, wrap them up in bubble wrap.”


 It’s embarrassing to talk about, but I don’t want to be scared anymore. I want to be stronger. 


Laura’s treatment at VA was a form of talk therapy called Prolonged Exposure (PE). In PE, the goal is for the patient to have less fear about her memories. It is based on the idea that people learn to fear thoughts, feelings and situations that remind them of a past traumatic event. By talking about her trauma repeatedly in a safe environment with a therapist, the patient learns to get control of her thoughts and feelings about the trauma. She learns that she does not have to be afraid of her memories.


“I made a list of things I needed to be able to do: make left-hand turns, ride in an elevator, go somewhere by myself, get showers. It’s like, I need to learn how to deal with this stuff, now,” she explained. “It was very difficult at first. I had to go back to that moment and, you know, describe exactly how I felt, emotions and fears and everything about the moment. It did get easier. You actually record yourself and then you listen to it, so in some way it tricks your brain into accepting that this did happen to me and, you know, I’m going to be OK and it’s going to get better.”


Laura also credits her husband for much of the progress she has made. “My husband is a lifesaver,” she said. “We’re going to counseling together and they’re helping us talk through some of the daily struggles that I have with PTSD. He’s so good for me; he encourages me to do things I’m not comfortable with. I definitely plan to keep moving forward with it. I’m always thinking, like, “Just do it!” I can do all kinds of stuff.”


You can see the entire AboutFace video profile of Laura Hendrixon.


For more information on PTSD and ways to raise awareness of this mental health problem during June and throughout the year, professionals and members of the public can visit the National Center for PTSD website. This site offers resources such as:


  • PTSD Coach Online and the award-winning PTSD Coach mobile app, which provide self-help symptom-management tools. The app is always with you when you need it.
  • PTSD Continuing Education opportunities for providers, including PTSD 101 Courses, on the best practices in PTSD treatment (CEs/CMEs offered).
  • AboutFace: Online videos of Veterans talking about how PTSD treatment can turn your life around.
  • For continued involvement, please subscribe to the PTSD Monthly Update. Stay up to date on new information about PTSD and trauma year round.




Source Article from http://www.va.gov/health/NewsFeatures/2014/June/I-Cannot-Be-This-Person.asp

New York Times- 2 V.A. Officials to Leave Posts as Agency Seeks to Remake Itself and Rebuild Trust

New York Times- 2 V.A. Officials to Leave Posts as Agency Seeks to Remake Itself and Rebuild Trust

The Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday that two senior officials would be leaving their posts as the department’s acting secretary moved to remake the agency and rebuild trust amid a scandal over falsified waiting lists that were used at many hospitals to hide delays faced by veterans.

The two officials are Dr. Robert L. Jesse, who has been serving as the department’s acting under secretary for health, and Will A. Gunn, the department’s general counsel.

Dr. Jesse had stepped in last month as what is effectively the department’s head of health care, replacing Dr. Robert A. Petzel, who was ousted by Eric Shinseki, the Veterans Affairs secretary, just months before he was scheduled to retire. Mr. Shinseki himself stepped down two weeks later.

Dr. Jesse, who had served as the department’s principal deputy under secretary for health since 2010, had critics on Capitol Hill. Just last week, he had come under fire from the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Representative Jeff Miller, Republican of Florida, for what Mr. Miller characterized as “misleading” testimony this year about whether an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the Veterans Affairs medical center in Pittsburgh had been caused by problems with hospital equipment or by human error.
Dr. Jesse will be succeeded by Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, who has served at the department since August as the assistant deputy under secretary for health for quality, safety and value.

The department’s principal deputy general counsel, Tammy Kennedy, will step in after Mr. Gunn’s departure to serve as acting general counsel.

In a statement, Sloan D. Gibson, who was named acting Veterans Affairs secretary one month ago after Mr. Shinseki’s departure, said Dr. Clancy “will be charged with the department’s top priority — getting veterans off wait lists and in to see their doctors,” while the department looks for a permanent under secretary for health.
“She will also lead our efforts on immediate, national reforms to accelerate access to care and restore trust among our veterans, and I’m grateful to her for taking on this critical role,” Mr. Gibson added.

Tom Tarantino, the chief policy officer for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, said of the resignations, “Hopefully this is a symbol of a change in the V.A.’s accountability culture.”

The department also said that Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, who is the chief medical officer and president of clinical services for the Hospital Corporation of America, will be taking a leave of absence to serve on a short-term assignment as a senior adviser to Mr. Gibson.

Dr. Perlin had previously served as the department’s under secretary for health during the administration of President George W. Bush.

[link]

IAVA Leaders Meet with Senator Kelly Ayotte

IAVA Leaders Meet with Senator Kelly Ayotte

CONTACT: Gretchen Andersen (212) 982-9699 or press@iava.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

IAVA Leaders Meet with Senator Kelly Ayotte

New Hampshire Senator shows she has vets’ back 

Washington DC (June 24, 2014) – Today, leaders of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) – CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff, Legislative Director Alex Nicholson and Legislative Associate Lauren Augustine – met with Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) about the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal, combating veteran suicide, military retirement cuts and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) among other priorities for veterans in 2014. 

“IAVA thanks Senator Ayotte for meeting with our team today,” said Rieckhoff. “We applaud her support and strong leadership as more brave men and women in uniform return home this year. As a military spouse, Senator Ayotte has a unique perspective of our community and veterans issues. She has proven to have our back, especially on critical issues such as repealing cuts that would have reduced military retirement benefits and leading on CRPD. We look forward to working closely with Senator Ayotte and her staff to improve the lives of veterans and their families throughout New Hampshire and across the country.”

From left to right: Alex Nicholson, Legislative Director; Paul Rieckhoff, CEO and Founder; Senator Kelly Ayotte and Lauren Augustine, Legislative Associate

There are over 110,000 veterans in New Hampshire, including 11,500 who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan. 

New Hampshire veterans face a number of critical challenges. More than 273,000 veterans are stuck in the VA backlog, including more than 660 who are waiting more than 125 days for a claim. The average wait time here is 130.4 days.

In New Hampshire, as well as across the country, suicide is a top concern for new veterans: at least 22 veterans die by suicide every day. Senator Ayotte and IAVA discussed effective measures to combat suicide among America’s troops and veterans, including the Suicide Prevention for America’s Veterans Act (SAV Act). 

IAVA also conversed with Senator Kelly Ayotte about IAVA’s ‘Marshall Plan’ for veterans. In early June, IAVA unveiled eight steps the Obama Administration and Congress can take now to restore confidence in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Among the steps are recommendations from IAVA’s 2014 Policy Agenda. IAVA urged Congress and the President to enact all of the recommendations from the plan.

Note to media: Please contact press@IAVA.org to schedule an interview with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or IAVA leadership.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (www.IAVA.org) is the nation’s first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its 10th year anniversary, IAVA recently received the highest rating – four-stars – from Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator. 

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VA Announces Personnel Actions








VA Announces Personnel Actions

June 25, 2014





Printable Version




June 25, 2014             


VA Announces Personnel Actions


 WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced several personnel actions aimed at accelerating Veterans’ access to quality health care and rebuilding the trust of America’s Veterans.


 At the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Leadership Summit this week in Washington, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson announced that, effective July 2, Dr. Carolyn Clancy will be named interim Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Dr. Clancy will spearhead the Department’s immediate efforts to accelerate Veterans’ access to care.


 “Dr. Carolyn Clancy is a leader and a real innovator when it comes to Veterans’ health care quality and safety.  As we conduct our search for an Under Secretary for Health, there’s no one better to take on the issues we face,” said Acting Secretary Gibson.  “Dr. Clancy will be charged with the Department’s top priority – getting Veterans off of wait lists and in to see their doctors.  She will also lead our efforts on immediate, national reforms to accelerate access to care and restore trust among our Veterans, and I’m grateful to her for taking on this critical role.”


 Dr. Clancy has been at VA since August of 2013, serving as the Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Quality, Safety and Value.  Prior to her appointment at VA, Dr. Clancy, a general internist, served as Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). 


 Dr. Robert L. Jesse, current Acting Under Secretary for Health, will complete his four-year term as Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Health on July 2nd.  A commission of health care experts and industry leaders is currently assessing candidates for recommendation to the Secretary and President on a permanent Under Secretary. 


 The Department today also announced that Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, Chief Medical Officer and President, Clinical Services for Hospital Corporation of America, will commence a short term assignment at VA as a Senior Advisor to the Acting Secretary.   Dr. Perlin, who previously served as VA Under Secretary for Health, is also chair-elect of the American Hospital Association.  Dr. Perlin will be taking a leave of absence from his current duties.


 “We’re pleased to welcome this exceptional leader back to VA,” Gibson added.  “I look forward to the contributions of Dr. Perlin who is recognized for his national healthcare leadership roles, as part of the VA team as we continue our work towards accelerating access to care and rebuilding trust with Veterans.”


 Additionally, Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson accepted the resignation of Will A. Gunn, General Counsel for the Department of Veterans Affairs, effective July 3.  Principal Deputy General Counsel Tammy Kennedy will serve as Acting General Counsel. 


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VA Celebrates 70th Anniversary of the Original ‘GI Bill’








VA Celebrates 70th Anniversary of the Original “GI Bill”

June 23, 2014





Printable Version




 


June 23, 2014                                                 


 


VA Celebrates 70th Anniversary of the Original “GI Bill”


Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944 created Home Loan, Education and Vocational Training Benefits


 


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is celebrating 70 years of investment in the education and economic prosperity of America’s Servicemembers and Veterans. The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the “GI Bill” was enacted on June 22, 1944. The law provided a wide range of benefits for Veterans returning from World War II, including low-cost home loans, education and vocational training. The original GI Bill was heralded as a success and major contributor to America’s stock of human capital that sped long-term economic growth across the Nation. Today, a new group of Veterans is accessing the Post-9/11 GI Bill and other education benefits, following in their footsteps.


Roughly 8 million out of 16 million World War II Veterans used their GI Bill education benefit. Subsequent legislation expanded and extended similar “GI Bill” benefits to generations that followed, including Veterans of the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars as well as those serving during peacetime. Passage of the Post-9/11 GI Bill provided this important benefit to our newest generation of Veterans, including activated members of the National Guard and Reserve components. 


This newest generation includes Veterans like Jennifer Martin, who after serving 8 years in the United States Marine Corps, used her Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology from the University of the District of Columbia.  Jennifer is now conducting research at the VA Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, as part of her Doctoral studies at Gallaudet University. Upon graduation, she hopes to work with Veterans who suffer from hearing loss and tinnitus.


 


VA provides a variety of education and training benefits for Veterans pursuing a wide range of education goals – including certificate programs, post-secondary degrees and work-study programs. Since August 2009, VA has paid out more than $41 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to fund the education of 1.2 million beneficiaries. New online tools on the GI Bill website help Veterans learn more about their vocational aptitudes and select an education institution and training program that are right for them.


“In the 70 years since the original GI Bill was signed into law in 1944, VA has provided millions of Veterans and their families with low-cost home loans, education and vocational training,” said Allison A. Hickey, VA’s Under Secretary for Benefits. “VA is committed to ensuring today’s Veterans have every opportunity to achieve their goals, and the GI Bill is one big way in which we are delivering on that commitment.”


VA’s housing benefits, which began as part of the original GI Bill, include programs to help Veterans purchase, repair, retain, and adapt homes. Over 20 million VA home loans have been guaranteed, and nearly 90 percent of these loans are made with no down payment.  Through VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program, career counseling, training, employment, and job-placement services are provided to transitioning Servicemembers and service-disabled Veterans.


VA education and training benefits are a key resource for Veterans transitioning from military service to the civilian workforce. The new eBenefits Veterans Employment Center is the first online interagency website that brings together, in one place, public and private job opportunities, as well as resume-building and other career tools. Through the online eBenefits portal, Veterans, transitioning Servicemembers and spouses are connected to high quality career choices by matching their identified skills with available public and private job opportunities. They can easily access this and other online resources, as well as register or upgrade to a free Premium account, at www.ebenefits.va.gov.


 


 


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