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ITEMS OF INTEREST - VETERANS


Off Station Party for Veterans from VA Lyons and East Orange

On October 26, 2018 our annual event for veterans at VA Lyons and East Orange was held at the Post home. 66 Veterans and staff attended the event. The event was organized by the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 91 and supported by 10 AFJROTC Cadets from Mt Olive High School, 10 members of American Legion Post 91, and 2 members from American Legion Riders Chapter 91. Members of Squadron 91 cooked roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, and green beans for our guests. A DJ was in the house for karaoke and dance music. After dessert Veterans were provided a goodie bag as they returned back to the VA facilities.

Great event and many thanks to Unit 91 ALA!


DEPARTMENT OF NEW JERSEY

EMPLOYMENT, HOMELESSNESS & EDUCATION RESOURCES

The following will provide a summary of most veteran related resources to guide and inform our Post, County and Department leaders and members, in support of all veterans.  The Department Employment, Homeless & Education Committee is available for assistance, but after our members and respective chairpersons pursue the help needed.  The individual veteran must also take the necessary steps to help themselves.

See http://njamericanlegion.org/joblistings.html, for all Employment, Homeless & Education information, bulletins and events. 

 

GENERAL NJ SUPPORT

  • Request for Military Records

The New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs maintains and archives many military records of current and former members of the New Jersey Army and Air National Guard.  Additionally, the Department maintains and archives numerous discharge records of former Service Members of Active Duty and Reserve Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force who were residents of the State of New Jersey upon discharge from the military.  A copy of a Service Member’s discharge records are normally sent to the State that the Service Member called home on the day after his/her discharge. The State from where a Service Member was born, trained and/or discharged from does not guarantee that the Department would have these records.  Please note that the Department did not start receiving these discharge records until after 1995 or later.  See for additional information - http://www.nj.gov/military/veterans/.

For further information see - https://www.state.nj.us/military/iasd/request-military-records/.  Also visit the National Personnel Records Center website for your records request.  You can also call 866-272-6272, or write The National Archives and Records Administration, 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.

  • A PowerPoint presentation is available for additional information.
  • Veteran Peer Support - Veteran Peer Support does not fix anything, but it offers an opportunity for a Veteran caller to normalize and relate. At times, it is seen that sharing can foster the insight to other strengths as a basis for the peer support experience.
  • Family Support - The helpline offers support to family members that may be experiencing a difficult situation. For example, a family member who experiences a loved returning home from a combat deployment may be confused of how to go about supporting their loved. Veteran Peers are available who have participated in overseas deployments.
  • Case Management - Four steps are involved in reciprocal peer support which are: connection, information gathering, case management, and affirmation and praise. Case management pertains to individuals looking to be linked to community resources. Once linked, we like to keep in touch to see if the resource was helpful and what are the goals.
  • SUICIDE - If you see any veteran that is having a hard time coping with their normal daily lives and/or cannot “fit” or adjust to society or is saying they want to take their life, please call the VA’s Military and Veterans Confidential Help Line at 1-800-273-8255, PRESS 1!  Or text 838255.  For all other non-life-threatening veteran affairs matters call the NJ’s funded VET2VET Confidential Peer Support at 1-866-838-7654, staffed by veterans 24/7.

 

VA RELATED SERVICES

  • VA (Veteran Administration) Services

 

  • Veterans Justice Outreach Program.  The aim of the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) program is to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and extended incarceration among Veterans by ensuring that eligible, justice-involved Veterans have timely access to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) services, as clinically indicated. VJO specialists provide direct outreach, assessment and case management for justice-involved Veterans in local courts and jails and liaison with local justice system partners.  https://www.va.gov/homeless/vjo.asp.

 

  • Community Based Outpatient Clinics:  A Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) is a VA-operated clinic or a VA-funded or reimbursed health care facility or site that is geographically distinct or separate from the parent medical facility.
  • Vet Centers - are community-based counseling centers that provide a wide range of social and psychological services including professional readjustment counseling to Veterans and families, military sexual trauma counseling, and bereavement counseling for families who experience an active duty death.
  • All VA Benefits. –According to the 2012 U.S. Census brief, the Veteran population ages 65 or older numbered more than 12.4 million. These Veterans served in conflicts around the world including World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and even in the Persian Gulf War. As Veterans age, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will provide benefits and services that address a variety of issues including the changing health risks they face and financial challenges through VA benefits.  - https://www..benefits.va.gov/PERSONA/index.asp.
  • Health Care for Re-entry Veterans Services and Resources.  Most Veterans who are in jail or prison will eventually reenter the community. VA’s HCRV program is designed to promote success and prevent homelessness among Veterans returning home after incarceration – https://www.va.gov/homeless/reentry.asp.
  • Veterans Needing Fiduciary Services.  The fiduciary program provides oversight of VA’s most vulnerable beneficiaries who are unable to manage their VA benefits because of injury, disease, the infirmities of advanced age, or being under 18 years of age. VA appoints fiduciaries who manage VA benefits for these beneficiaries and conducts oversight of VA-appointed fiduciaries to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the beneficiaries they serve.  https://www.va.gov/opa/publications/benefits_book/benefits_chap10.asp.

 

Employment

 

  • GIGO Fund – GI Go Fund aids all military veterans, with a focus on veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, by helping them find employment, access housing, and secure their education and health benefits.  See -
  • Veteran Employment Information for Employers.  Veterans served our country well. You can help honor their service – and benefit your business - by employing them. Veterans have a proven track record of dependability, teamwork, and individual problem solving from their military experience that can be put to work in your organization. Hiring service-connected Veterans could also qualify you for sizable tax benefits and other incentives from the federal government. Providing jobs for homeless Veterans is one of the most important things you can do to help those who served our country.  https://www.va.gov/homeless/employment_programs.asp#two.
  • Employment Opportunities for Veteran.  The Homeless Veteran Supported Employment Program (HVSEP) provides vocational assistance, job development and placement, and ongoing supports to improve employment outcomes among homeless Veterans and Veterans at-risk of homelessness. Formerly homeless Veterans who have been trained as Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists (VRSs) provide these services. 

https://www.va.gov/homeless/employment_programs.asp#one.

  • The Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) is an employment focused competitive grant program of the Department of Labor, Veterans' Employment and Training Service (DOL-VETS), the only federal grant to focus exclusively on competitive employment for homeless veterans.  https://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/hvrp/.
  • Companies that Hire Ex-offenders and Felons. 

http://www.jailtojob.com/companies-hire-felons.html.

  • Local Veterans' Employment Representatives Local Veterans' Employment Representatives (LVERs) are state employees located in state employment offices to provide assistance to Veterans supervising the provision of all services to Veterans furnished by employment service employees, including counseling, testing, and identifying training and employment opportunities.  DVOP -Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists develop job and training opportunities for Veterans, with special emphasis on Veterans with service-connected disabilities.  DVOP specialists provide direct services to Veterans enabling them to be competitive in the labor market. They provide outreach and offer assistance to disabled and other Veterans by promoting community and employer support for employment and training opportunities, including apprenticeship and on-the-job training.  https://www.nj.gov/parole/docs/veterans/NJDOLWDVeteranEmploymentBrochure.pdf.
  • NJ H2H (Helmets to Hardhats) offers veterans preparation for successful application to any of New Jersey's registered apprenticeship programs in the building and construction trades.  http://www.njbctc.org/h2h/.

 

Homelessness & Financial Assistance

 

  • National Call Center (NCCHV) assists homeless Veterans, at-risk Veterans, their families, and other interested parties with linkages to appropriate VA and community- based resources. The call center provides trained VA staff members 24 hours a day, seven days a week to assess a caller’s needs and connect them to appropriate resources. The call center can be accessed by dialing 1-877-4AID VET (1-877-424-3838). NCCHV Chat enables Veterans, their families and friends to go on-line where they can anonymously chat with an information and referral specialist by visiting the www.va.gov/homeless webpage, clicking on the Help for Homeless Veteran badge, and then the Chat Online tab on the right side of the webpage.  See https://www.va.gov/homeless/nationalcallcenter.asp.  
  • VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program provides funds to non-profit community agencies providing transitional housing (up to 24 months) and/or offering services to homeless Veterans, such as case management, education, crisis intervention, counseling, and services targeted towards specialized populations including homeless women Veterans. The goal of the program is to help homeless Veterans achieve residential stability, increase their skill levels and/or income, and obtain greater self-determination. For more information, please visit: www.va.gov/homeless/gpd.asp
  • The Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) Program is designed to rapidly re-house homeless Veteran families and prevent homelessness for those at imminent risk due to a housing crisis. Funds are granted to private non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that will assist very low-income Veteran families by providing a range of supportive services designed to promote housing stability. To meet this goal, grantees (private non- profit organizations and consumer cooperatives) provide eligible Veteran families with outreach, case management, and assistance in obtaining VA and other benefits, which may include: health care services; daily living services; personal financial planning services ; transportation services; fiduciary and payee services; legal services; child care services; and housing counseling services. In addition, grantees also provide time-limited payments to third parties (e.g., landlords, utility companies, moving companies, and licensed child care providers) if these payments help Veterans’ families stay in or acquire permanent housing on a sustainable basis. To locate a SSVF provider in your community, please visit http://www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf.asp and look for the list of current year SSVF providers or call VA’s National call Center for Homeless Veterans at 1-888-4AIDVET (1-888-424-3838).

 

Service Providers

(Also see https://www.va.gov/homeless/ssvf/index.asp, for the VA’s SSVF program, which some of the following providers receive funding.  The list changes annually.)

 

LEGAL

  • NJ Veterans Diversion Program - The New Jersey’s Veterans Diversion Program offers access to counseling services for drugs or alcohol, job placement assistance, medical services and potential VA benefits to justice system-involved Veterans.  https://www.nj.gov/military/veterans/diversion-program/.
  • NJ Attorney Generals’ Offices of Division of Civil Rights (DCR) and Consumer Affairs (DCA).  DCR seminars started several years ago, and the first DCA “table top” took place at the Business Workshop in Camden County.   Veterans have separate and distinct civil rights.  See http://www.nj.gov/oag/dcr/index.html, or call 609-984-3136 (Trenton), 856-614-2563 (Camden), 973 648-4826 (Newark).  See http://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/, or call 800-242-5846 for any consumer affairs matters. 


White Paper on Veteran Homelessness

While dated a few years the paper captures some very interesting observations on how the VA and HUD consider/handle the issue. Please follow the link below to access the study (PDF)

 mail Study


 


 

Income Tax Exemption for Veterans

New for Tax Year 2017. You are eligible for a $3,000 exemption on your Income Tax return if you are a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States by the last day of the tax year. Your spouse (or civil union partner) is also eligible for an exemption if he/she is a veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances and you are filing a joint return. This exemption is in addition to any other exemptions you are entitled to claim and is available on both the resident and nonresident returns. You cannot claim this exemption for a domestic partner or for your dependents. 

Providing Documentation
You must provide a copy of Form DD-214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, the first time you claim the exemption. This form does not need to be provided each year. The United States National Archives and Records Administration can assist with obtaining a copy of your DD-214.

You can certify for the exemption by sending a copy of your DD-214 and Veteran Exemption Submission Form to the Division before you file, which may help process your return faster. To certify:

  • Mail a copy of your DD-214 and Veteran Exemption Submission Form to: The New Jersey Division of Taxation, Veteran Exemption, PO Box 440, Trenton, NJ 08646-0440; or

If you do not certify before you file for the exemption, you will need to submit a copy of your DD-214 when you file using:

  • A Paper Return. Enclose a copy of your DD-214 with your return;
  • NJ Fill’nFile. Upload your DD-214, along with all of your other documentation, into the repository;
  • Other Electronic Filing Methods. If you file your return using NJ WebFile, third-party software (such as TurboTax), or you have a tax professional who electronically submits your return, you can send a copy of your DD-214 and Veteran Exemption Submission Formusing one of the three certification methods listed above.
Last Updated: Thursday, 11/09/17
 
http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/taxation/newexemptionveterans.shtml

 


 

Colleagues and Fellow Veterans,

 

The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) lowers your interest rate by refinancing your existing VA home loan. During FY17, VA guaranteed over 190,000 home loans under this program. In FY 2017, there were nearly 1,500 lenders that participate in the VA Home Loan program.

 

Regrettably, some lenders have taken advantage of Servicemembers and Veterans with VA home loans in the past. They have sent unsolicited offers to refinance VA mortgages with misleading advertising. If you have a VA home loan, there is a good chance you have already come into contact with unsolicited offers which appear official and may sound too good to be true.

 

The VA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have issued their first Warning Order to Servicemembers and Veterans who currently have a VA home loan, as we have found that some of you are being targeted with misleading advertising.

 

Understand that certain advertised benefits, such as no out-of-pocket closing costs, skipped mortgage payments, and escrow refunds, are costs that are generally added to your loan and increase the overall principal balance. These are all red flags that may indicate that the loan is less likely to benefit you. Before you proceed with a VA mortgage refinance, be sure to consider the long-term and short-term benefits and consequences of refinancing your loan.

 

If you are contacted to refinance your VA mortgage, carefully consider your options and ask questions: 

  • Does a lower interest rate extend the term (i.e., 30-year fixed rate to another 30-year fixed rate)?
  • What are the financial implications when choosing between a fixed term and an adjustable rate mortgage loan?
  • What is your total payback for the new loan vs. the original loan?
  • Do offers of skipped payments or cash back ultimately get added to my loan amount?

If you have a problem with a VA mortgage refinance or other mortgage issues, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). Please also see VA/CFPB’s blog on this topic at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/cfpb-and-va-warno-va-refinancing-offers-sound-too-good-be-true/.

 

We are working hard, along with other government agencies, to identify, stop, and prevent illegal and misleading advertising related to VA mortgages and refinancing. If you have questions that aren’t being answered by your lender, please get a second opinion from another lender, or call a VA loan specialist who is available to assist you from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday at (877) 827-3702.

 

As always, thank you for your service. 

 

Regards,

 

Curtis L. Coy

Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity

Veterans Benefits Administration

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Washington, DC 20420

VA Core Values:  Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)  

 


 

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DoD Releases Clarifying Guidance to Veterans Regarding Discharges and Military Records

08/28/2017 04:57 PM CDT

 


IMMEDIATE RELEASE

No. NR-311-17
Aug. 28, 2017

 

 

DoD Releases Clarifying Guidance to Veterans Regarding Discharges and Military Records

 

The Department of Defense today released clarifying guidance for discharges and military records reviews. In the past few years, the department has issued guidance for consideration of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) but there remained some questions about how the guidance applied to sexual assault, sexual harassment, or mental health conditions other than PTSD. This guidance fills in the gaps and resolves any confusion that veterans or the review boards may have had, and it ensures a fair and equitable review of separations for all veterans.  The guidance has been forwarded to a number of Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and Military Service Organizations (MSOs) in order to spread the news to as many veterans as possible.


Veterans who desire a correction to their service record or who believe their discharge was unjust, erroneous, or warrants an upgrade, are encouraged to apply for review.  

For discharge upgrades, if the discharge was less than 15 years ago, the veteran should complete DD Form 293 (http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0293.pdf) and send it to their service’s DRB (the address is on the form).  For discharges over 15 years ago, the veteran should complete the DD Form 149 (http://www.esd.whs.mil/Portals/54/Documents/DD/forms/dd/dd0149.pdf) and send it to their service’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form).  


For corrections of records other than discharges, veterans should complete the DD Form 149 and submit their request to their service’s BCM/NR (the address is on the form).   

Key information to include in requests:

In preparing an application for relief related to a mental health condition, PTSD, TBI, sexual assault or sexual harassment, the veteran should answer the four questions identified in the clarifying guidance released today.  Additionally, the veteran should include or identify any supporting evidence.  Examples of the types of evidence that may be helpful are included in the clarifying guidance.  Lastly, it is helpful, but not always required, to submit copies of the veteran’s applicable service records.  The more information provided, the better the boards can understand the circumstances of the discharge.  


Personnel records for veterans who served after 1997 should be accessible online and are usually retrievable within hours of a request through the Defense Personnel Records Information Retrieval System (DPRIS).  To obtain one’s personnel records from DPRIS, go to https://www.dpris.dod.mil/, then select “Individual Veteran Access” on the left side of the website and follow the instructions.  Veterans will need to register for a logon and verify their current mailing address before requesting records.  The whole process usually takes less than 10 minutes.  Those who served prior to 1997 or for whom electronic records are not available from DPRIS, can request their records from the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) using the eVetRecs website at: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/.  
For other information or assistance:

Air Force BCMR
Website: http://www.afpc.af.mil/board-for-correction-of-military-records
Phone: 240-612-5379 
E-mail: usaf.pentagon.saf-mr.mbx.saf-mrbc@mail.mil

Air Force DRB: 
Website: http://www.afpc.af.mil/Air-Force-Discharge-Review-Board/
Phone: 240-612-0995 
E-mail: usaf.pentagon.saf-mr.mbx.saf-mrb@mail.mil

Army BCMR: 
Website: http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/
E-mail: army.arbainquiry@mail.mil

Army DRB:  
Website: http://arba.army.pentagon.mil/
E-mail: army.arbainquiry@mail.mil

Navy BCNR:  
Website: http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/bcnr/Pages/home.aspx 
Phone: 703-607-6111
E-mail: BCNR_Application@navy.mil

Navy DRB: 
Website: http://www.secnav.navy.mil/mra/CORB/Pages/NDRB/default.aspx 
Phone: 202-685-6600
E-mail: NDRB@navy.mil
 

To submit feedback on policies or processes:

Send an e-mail to osd.pentagon.ousd-p-r.mbx.legal-policy@mail.mil, or mail your feedback to Office of Legal Policy at:


Office of Legal Policy
Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel & Readiness)
4000 Defense Pentagon
Washington, DC 20301-4000