Seminole Co. Veterans News

September 2017 Veterans’ Monthly Newsletter

This Veterans Newsletter is compiled and provided by the Seminole County Veteran’s Services Office.  Its intent is to keep Seminole County Veterans informed about their rights, benefits, and news of interest.  It is non-political and, except where noted, all articles are excerpted from outside sources.  Local events honoring/supporting Veterans will be included as made available.  You are encouraged to provide feedback and recommendations, as this is your Newsletter.  Together with my small Team, I hope you find it both valuable and interesting.

Ed Burford, Seminole County Veterans Services Officer

Ed Sends – What a month!!  I hope you all have recovered from Hurricane Irma and suffered no major damage.  Two of the three Veterans Services Officers mobilized to the Seminole County Emergency Operations Center on September 7th and was not released back to our normal duties until September 22nd.  Being away for that long is making catch up a continued progress in work.  Remember if you had damage you can still register with FEMA at this website, Additionally, this office will have limited manning from October 2 – 6 as we are in mandated training.  Thank you for your patience during this period. 


  1. CG National Retiree Help Desk
  2. Annual Express Scripts Consent Coming
  3. Vets Benefits, Military Pay Would Likely Continue in Shutdown
  4. Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act
  5. New Law Streamlining VA Claim Appeals Eases Some Protections
  6. VA staffing new White House VA Hotline Principally with Veterans
  7. National Veterans Crisis Line,
  8. VA Releases Suicide
  9. VA Benefits after Irma
  10. VA Removes Burdensome Red Tape to Increase Access to Care
  11. VA Caregiver Support Line
  12. VA Mental Health Services
  13. Here’s How Harvey Is Impacting Military
  14. Are Vets Healthier Than Non-Vets?
  15. Free Vaccinations at Walgreens
  16. Predicting PTSD Before it Happens
  17. Illinois Veteran Found Guilty Of Stolen Valor After Lying To Get VA Disability
  18. Vets With ‘Bad Paper’ Discharges Get Good News In New DoD Guidance
  19. Read This If You Want to Give a Military Dog a Fur-Ever Home
  20. 5 Offenders Who Received Creative Punishments For Stolen Valor
  21. 5 Things You Can Take from the Battlefield to the Boardroom
  22. The Skill All Employers Need
  23. Hurricanes and the GI Bill


  1. CG National Retiree Help | Week of August 28, 2017, The Coast Guard’s National Retiree Help Desk (NRHD) Help Desk is available to assist and/or to answer any questions that a retiree or a retiree spouse has regarding benefits (other than those relating to pay), health care issues, assistance in obtaining important forms and/or papers, etc. Call 1-833-224-6743 (toll free) or e-mail Questions concerning pay should be directed to the Pay & Personnel Center’s Retiree and Annuitant Services(PPC (RAS) Branch at 1-800-772-8724.
  1. Annual Express Scripts Consent | Week of August 28, 2017, Beginning Sept. 1, 2017, Express Scripts will need annual consent from patients who want to receive automatic refills of their maintenance medications enrolled in TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery. This means that just before one of your prescriptions runs out of refills, Express Scripts will reach out to you to know if you would like your doctor to be contacted to renew the prescription and if you would like to continue in the Automatic Refill program.  Read more.
  1. Vets Benefits, Military Pay Would Likely Continue in | 25 Aug 2017 | The threat of a government shutdown next month due to a back-and-forth between the White House and Congress over the budget, the debt ceiling and the border wall has once again raised the issue of whether veterans benefitsand military pay would be protected.  The last time a government shutdown briefly loomed in April over the budget and Congressional continuing resolutions, Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David Shulkin stressed that there would be no impact on veterans benefits because of the way the VA is funded. Read more.
  1. Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization | Week of August 28, 2017, President Trump recently signed legislation at the American Legion’s National Convention that will go a long way toward fixing the beleaguered Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) appeals process. The VeteransAppeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 creates three appeals ‘lanes.’ Veterans would choose the one that best suits his or her needs. (Ed sends- We are awaiting on implementation instructions) Read more.
  1. New Law Streamlining VA Claim Appeals Eases Some ProtectionsMOAA, August 31, 2017 Every major veteran service organization – except Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) – supported legislation, signed into law last week, to reform a woefully clogged process for deciding appeals of veterans’ disability claims.  Even VVA concedes the new “three-lane” option for appealing claims, when implemented via regulation a year or more from now, will produce speedier appeal decisions and begin to reverse what continues to be a steadily rising backlog of appeals, soon to surpass a stunning 500,000.  Every veteran appealing a claim knows something is wrong with a system that, on average, takes three years to get a final decision. The VA says some veterans are waiting six years or more.  Read more.
  1. VA staffing new White House VA Hotline Principally with Veterans, VA News Release, August 11, 2017,Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced that the two-month pilot phase of the new White House VA Hotline that began in June has demonstrated that Veterans calling the hotline respond best when their calls are answered by fellow Veterans and others with first-hand experience on their issues.  (Ed sends – The phone line is 855-948-2311).  Read more.
  1. National Veterans Crisis Line, VA News Release, September 21, 2017, Dear Fellow Veterans and Colleagues,  A brief request and a favor.  Right now, while you’re reading this … put this in your phone.  National Veterans Crisis Line, 800-273-8255.   You never know when you or a Veteran you know might need some help, right now.  Now you have a number that can help.

Thank you.

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”)


  1. VA Releases SuicideData | Week of September 25, 2017, The Department of VeteransAffairs (VA) has released findings from its analysis of veteran suicide data for 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.   Read more.
  1. VA Benefits after Irma, | Week of September 25, 2017, VA has mechanisms to help veteransreceive their benefit payments if their normal mail cannot be delivered.  VA has guidancefor Veteran borrowers who are participating in the VA home loan program and have experienced a natural disaster. Veterans participating in VR&E services programs may be eligible for up to two additional months of the Employment Adjustment Allowance. Contact your assigned VR&E counselor. VA will consider school attendance as continuous and payments will not be affected.  Read more.


  1. VA Removes Burdensome Red Tape to Increase Access to CareInside Sources, August 24, 2017, Imagine the day that you can see your medical provider from anywhere in the country including from the comfort of your own home. You wouldn’t have to take a full day off of work, travel long distances, or spend hours in a hospital waiting room. Thanks to the age of smart phones and other advanced technology, that day has come. And it couldn’t have come at a more critical moment. Unlike the private sector, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is uniquely positioned to leverage telehealth technology to its full potential. VA provides more telehealth than any other health system in the country. Last year, more than 700,000 veterans received telehealth services — with nearly half living in rural areas.  Read more.
  1. VA Caregiver Support | Week of August 28, 2017, Help is just a phone call away. VA’s Caregiver Support Line at 1-855-260-3274 is a great resource for a caregiver of any Veteran. The Support Line is staffed by caring, licensed professionals who can help you to learn about available care and support programs, access services through VA, and connect you with a Caregiver Support Coordinator at your local VA medical center. The Caregiver Support Line also offers monthly telephone discussions on a variety of self-care and other topics such as relaxation, anger management, and long-term care planning.  Read more.


  1. VA Mental Health Services | Week of September 18, 2017, Veterans enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care receive high-quality mental health services, including inpatient and outpatient care for depression, readjustment, substance use disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma and more. Veterans can learn more about VA mental health services and how to apply for VA health care at or by visiting the Veterans’ Mental Health Services and Coverage webpage. If you or a Veteran you know is in crisis or having thoughts of suicide, call the VeteransCrisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and press 1. Read more.
  1. Here’s How Harvey Is Impacting Military, VeteranBenefits | 29 Aug 2017 | With America’s fourth-largest city under water, up to 13 million people impacted across Texas and Louisiana and at least 15 deaths, Hurricane Harvey is wreaking havoc across the southern U.S.  If you’re a military family member, retiree or veteran in the impacted areas, several military and VA benefits have been temporarily changed in response to the ongoing crisis.  Read more.


  1. Are Vets Healthier Than Non-Vets?MOAA, November 10, 2016, On Nov. 10, America’s Health Rankings, in partnership with MOAA and United Health Foundation, released the 2016 Health of Those Who Have Served Report. The timing was tied to Veterans Day.  The report compares selected health measures of veterans with those of non-veteran civilians in the same age and demographic groups.  The report focused on those who have served on active duty in the U.S. armed forces in Regular, National Guard, or Reserve status. The analysis addressed 24 indicators of health behaviors, health outcomes, and utilization of key health care services.  Read more.
  1. Free Vaccinations at | Week of September 25, 2017, VHA has again teamed up with national retail pharmacy Walgreens to provide no-cost quadrivalent flu vaccinations for enrolled veterans. All veterans who are currently enrolled in VA care may walk into any of the over 8,000 Walgreens nationally and the Reade pharmacies in the New York metropolitan area to receive a vaccination at no cost.  Read more
  1. Predicting PTSD Before it | Week of August 28, 2017, The National Center for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has six operational priorities. One of the most critical of those is trying to predict potential sufferers of post-traumatic stress disorder before they actually do. The center’s executive director, Paula Schnurr, recently told members of The American Legion’s Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission that the Department of Veterans Affairs center is trying to establish biomarkers for PTSD ‘to predict who develops PTSD, to diagnose PTSD, to predict treatment outcome and measure treatment response.  Read more.
  1. Illinois Veteran Found Guilty Of Stolen Valor After Lying To Get VA DisabilityTask & Purpose, August 29, 2017,  A 67-year-old veteran from Geneseo, Illinois, pleaded guilty to stolen valor charges on Aug. 22, after misleading the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Justice announced.  William R. Jones was charged with theft of government funds and making false statements about his military service. In his hearing, statements and documents revealed that Jones, who enlisted in the Air National Guard in 1971, lied about serving in “Southeast Asia or Republic of Vietnam (RVN) theater of combat operations or in any other theater of combat operations.”  Read more.
  1. Vets With ‘Bad Paper’ Discharges Get Good News In New DoD Guidance Task & Purpose, August 29, 2017New guidance from the Pentagon offers some veterans with “bad paper” discharges more direction on their eligibility for a record review and upgrade.  The Defense Department announced late on Aug. 28 that it will direct each service’s review board to consider new “liberal” criteria to give vets “a reasonable opportunity to establish the extenuating circumstances of their discharge” — particularly if the vet received a less-than-honorable discharge while suffering from the effects of traumatic brain injury or post-traumatic stress disorder from military operations, sexual assault, or sexual harassment.  Read more.
  1. Read This If You Want to Give a Military Dog a Fur-Ever via The Los Angeles Times | 28 Aug 2017 | If the movie “Megan Leavey” made you ponder giving a forever home to a four-legged hero, the good news is that there are programs in place to make that happen. But when it comes to military working dogs, the adoption process is, well, a whole different animal from simply popping by the pound and picking one up. So much so, in fact, that the information packet provided by the U.S. military’s adoption program includes a reality checklist to be completed as part of the application process.  Read more.


  1. 5 Offenders Who Received Creative Punishments For Stolen Valor Task & Purpose, April 24, 2015, Nowadays, individuals accused of falsely claiming to have served in the military or received military decorations are easily and swiftly humiliated in videos popping up all over the internet. They are ridiculed and chastised for committing acts of so-called “stolen valor” — taking credit for serving in the military, or receiving a medal, that they never earned.  Read more.
  2. 5 Things You Can Take from the Battlefield to the Boardroom,, August 28, 2017, In 2016, about 250,000 members of the U.S. military transitioned from military service to the civilian sector, adding to the more than 10 million veterans already in the workforce. The U.S. Armed Forces are one of the best “feeder programs” to companies as few organizations teach leadership, discipline, accountability, organization, and teamwork like the military.  Read more.
  1. The Skill All Employers | Week of August 28, 2017, Communication and writing skills are in high demand by recruiters and employers. Employers want strong writers. Here are tips to becoming a better writer: (1) assess your writing and your desired job field and consider enrolling in a community college writing class; (2) read a lot of good writing, particularly in your desired career field; (3) join a career mentoring network; (4) be visual and conversational in your writing; and (5) carefully revise.  Read more.
  1. Hurricanes and the GI | Week of September 11, 2017, If you are attending school on the GI Bill and your school was or is temporarily closed due to Hurricane Harvey, VA considers your attendance continuous and your payments will continue as normal. If you are using the Post-9/11 GI Bill or the Survivors and Dependents Educational Assistance Program, as long as your enrollment was submitted by your school, no further action is necessary to receive continued payment. If you are using the Montgomery GI Bill or REAP, continue to verify your attendance by calling 1-877-VACERT until further notice as if your school did not close. If your school is open but you are unable to attend due to this event, contact your School Certifying Official to prevent possible overpayments.  Read more


Newsletter from your local Seminole County Veterans’ Services Office Staff. 

Thank you for your service to our Country! 

It Takes the Strength of a Warrior to Ask for Help

The journey after military service can be a difficult one. If you are Veteran in crisis or know of one who is, please call the VA’s 24/7 Suicide Prevention Line at

1–800–273–TALK (8255)

to speak with a trained counselor, or find a Crisis Center near you.


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