2011-06-06 UPDATE for Pennsylvania Real Estate Tax Exemption for 100% Disabled Veterans
 

ATTENTION 100% Disabled Vets.  Your income level has been incresed to $81,340 !!

Purpose: To provide real estate tax exemption for any honorably discharged veteran who is 100% disabled, a resident of the Commonwealth and has a financial need.

Veteran’s eligibility criteria:

  • Served in the military honorably
  • Served during established war service dates as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs The following decorations can also be used to establish wartime service: Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or Navy Expeditionary Medal.
  • Must have a 100% permanent and total service-connected disability rating by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs or as the result of military service the veteran is blind or paraplegic or has sustained the loss of two or more limbs
  • Blind: Visual acuity of three-sixtieths or ten two-hundredths, or less normal Vision
  • Paraplegic: The bilateral paralysis of the upper or lower extremities of the body
  • Must be a resident of the Commonwealth
  • Must occupy the real estate as his/her principal dwelling
  • Dwelling is owned solely by the veteran or as an estate in the entirety
  • Must prove financial need:
  • Veteran must prove financial need according to the criteria established by the State Veterans Commission if their annual income exceeds $81,340

Applicants with an annual income of $81,340 or less are given a rebuttable presumption to have a need for the exemption

**Upon the death of a qualified veteran, tax exemption may pass on to the unmarried surviving spouse if financial need can be shown.  Legislation:  Constitution: Article VIII, Section 2(c) (Establishes requirement to prove “Financial Need”)

Statute: Chapter 89, Title 51 Chapter 89, Title 51 (Amended)

Procedures: Chapter 5, Title 43

Where to apply?  Contact the County Veterans Affairs Director in the county you reside to apply for this program. If you live in Montgomery County Pennsylvania, contact the office below:

Montgomery County Veterans Affairs Office
Director John Nowak
Human Services Center
1430 Dekalb St 2nd Floor
Norristown PA 19401

Office Phone 610 278 3285
FAX610-278-5935

Office hours are M-F 830 am to 415 PM
Applicants are requested to show up prior to 2PM

How is financial need established?  An applicant whose gross annual income exceeds $81,340 will be considered to have a financial need for the exemption when the applicant’s allowable expenses exceed the applicant’s household income. The applicant’s monthly household expenses will be calculated to include a cost of living allowance and dependent’s allowance.

What happens after the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs certifies a “financial need” for the Disabled Veterans Tax Exemption and eligibility criteria has been verified?  The Board for the Assessment and Revision of Taxes will grant the tax exemption. Cases that have been granted tax exemption will be reviewed periodically (every 5 years) to determine continued need for exemption from certain real estate property taxes.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
2011-06-06 The Latest VA Burial Benefits Information
 
 
Here are the latest rules and benefits available to veterans as of January 2011.  Click below and print the PDF document.  The first eleven pages has the important information. 
 
Pages 12 through 16 are lists of the VA National Cemeteries. 
 
The closest VA Cemetery to our area in the one at Washington's Crossing.  Pictures and info at the bottom of this page.  
 
 
 
Their official contact information is as follows:
 
Washington Crossing Cemetery
Darrin White - Director 215-504-5610

830 Highland Rd
Newtown, PA 18940-2902
 
 
 
 
 
2010-12-24 New diseases that are related to Agent Orange exposure
 
This information has been publicized already, but it is worth repeating.
 
The VA has added new diseases that are related to Agent Orange exposure, which is a "given" if you served in Vietnam in any area. They do this from time to time but they never tell anyone who is not in the loop.  This latest adjustment has them proactive and the VA reaching out to veterans who might be eligible for additional benefits.  For those of you with VA disability ratings, it opens up the opportunity to get your rating at 100% or more if you fall into these new categories and you have a form of "unemployability" factored in to your rating. 
 
This could be vital if you pass away unexpectedly and may determine whether your dependents will be eligible to continue certain benefits after your passing.  We're not spring chickens anymore and it's time to get your affairs in order if need be.  Parkinson's Disease, Ischemic Heart Disease, and the two forms of leukemia (hairy cell and chronic B cell) are added now.  In addition, they mention chloracne, soft tissue sarcoma, and several others.
 
I would urge any of you who might just think you have a claim or qualify to follow up on it and ask if nothing else next time you see your health care provider.  If you don't do it for yourself, do it for your family so they can receive the benefits you earned for them with your service to this country. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Veterans Benefits Websites
 
Appeals http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch05.doc
Board of Veteran's Appeals
http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/
CARES Commission
http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/
CARES Draft National Plan
http://www1.va.gov/cares/page.cfm?pg=105
Center for Minority Veterans
http://www1.va.gov/centerforminorityveterans/
Center for Veterans Enterprise
http://www.vetbiz.gov/default2.htm
Center for Women Veterans
http://www1.va.gov/womenvet/
Clarification in VA healthcare for Gulf War Veterans
http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000016.html
Classified Records Amer Gulf War Veterans Assoc
http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000011.html Comp Disab Assoc w/ the Gulf War Service http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/part6%20/ch07.doc
Compensation Rate Tables
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp01.htm
Department of Veterans Affairs Home Page
http://www.va.gov/
Directory of Veterans Service Organizations
http://www1.va.gov/vso/index.cfm?template=view
Disability Examination Worksheets Index, Comp
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm
Due Process
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch02.doc
Duty to Assist
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch01.doc
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/
Emergency, Non-emergency, and Fee Basis Care
http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf
Environmental Agents
http://www1.va.gov/environagents/
Environmental Agents M10
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1002
Establishing Combat Veteran Eligibility
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=315
EVALUATION PROTOCOL FOR GULF WAR AND IRAQI FREEDOM VETERANS WITH POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM (DU)
http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHandbook1303122304.DOC and http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1158
See also, Depleted Uranium Fact Sheet
http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DepletedUraniumFAQSheet.doc
EVALUATION PROTOCOL FOR NON-GULF WAR VETERANS WITH POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM (DU)
http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHANDBOOKNONGW130340304.DOC
Fee Basis, PRIORITY FOR OUTPATIENT MEDICAL SERVICES AND INPATIENT HOSPITAL CARE
http://www1.va..gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=206 Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependants 2005 http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf OR, http://www1.va..gov/opa/vadocs/current_benefits.htm
Forms and Records Request
http://www.va.gov/vaforms/
General Compensation Provisions
http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter11_subchaptervi_.html
Geriatrics and Extended Care
http://www1.va.gov/geriatricsshg/
Guideline for Chronic Pain and Fatigue MUS-CPG
http://www.oqp.med.va.gov/cpg/cpgn/mus/mus_base.htm
Guide to Gulf War Veteran's Health
http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/VHIgulfwar.pdf
Gulf War Subject Index
http://www1.va.gov/GulfWar/page.cfm?pg=7&template=main&letter=A
Gulf War Veteran's Illnesses Q & As
http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/GWIllnessesQandAsIB1041.pdf
Hearings http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch04.doc
Homeless Veterans
http://www1.va.gov/homeless/
HSR&D Home
http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/
Index to Disability Examination Worksheets C&P exams
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/index.htm
Ionizing Radiation
http://www1.va.gov/irad/
Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom Veterans VBA
http://www.vba.va.gov/EFIF/
M 10 for spouses and children <
http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1007
M10 Part III Change 1
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1008
M21-1 Table of Contents
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/M21_1.html
Mental Disorders, Schedule of Ratings
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_130...DOC
Mental Health Program Guidelines
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1094
Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers
http://www.mirecc.med.va.gov/
MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Centers of Excellence
http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp
My Health e Vet
http://www.myhealth.va.gov/
NASDVA.COM
http://nasdva.com/
National Association of State Directors
http://www.nasdva.com/
National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
http://www.nchpdp.med.va.gov/postdeploymentlinks.asp
Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders, Schedule of Ratings
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38cfr/bookc/part4/s4%5F124a.doc
OMI (Office of Medical Inspector)
http://www.omi.cio.med.va.gov/
Online VA Form 10-10EZ
https://www.1010ez..med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/
Parkinson's Disease and Related Neurodegenerative Disorders
http://www1.va.gov/resdev/funding/solicitations/docs/parkinsons.pdf
and,
http://www1.va.gov/padrecc/
Peacetime Disability Compensation
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+38USC1131
Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death
http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapteri_.html and, http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapterii_.html
and,
http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapteriii_.html
Persian Gulf Registry
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1003
This program is now referred to as Gulf War Registry Program (to include Operation Iraqi Freedom) as of March 7, 2005:
http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1232
Persian Gulf Registry Referral Centers
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1006
Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Research 1999, Annual Report To Congress
http://www1.va.gov/resdev/1999_Gulf_War_Veterans'_Illnesses_Appendices.doc Persian Gulf Veterans' Illnesses Research 2002, Annual Report To Congress http://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/gulf_war_2002/GulfWarRpt02.pdf
Phase I PGR
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1004
Phase II PGR
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1005
Policy Manual Index
http://www.va.gov/publ/direc/eds/edsmps.htm
Power of Attorney
http://www.warms.vba..va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch03.doc Project 112 (Including Project SHAD) http://www1.va.gov/shad/
Prosthetics Eligibility
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=337
Public Health and Environmental Hazards Home Page
http://www.vethealth.cio.med.va.gov/
Public Health/SARS
http://www..publichealth.va.gov/SARS/
Publications Manuals
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/publications.cfm?Pub=4
Publications and Reports
http://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/pubs_individual.cfm?webpage=gulf_war.htm
Records Center and Vault Homepage
http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/default.html
Records Center and Vault Site Map
http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/sitemap.html
REQUEST FOR AND CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION FROM CLAIMANT'S RECORDS
http://www.forms.va.gov/va/Internet/VARF/getformharness.asp?formName=3288-form.xft
Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses April 11, 2002
http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/Minutes_April112002.doc
Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses
http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/ReportandRecommendations_2004.pdf
Research and Development
http://www.appc1.va.gov/resdev/programs/all_programs.cfm
Survivor's and Dependents' Educational Assistance
http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partiii_chapter35_.html
Title 38 Index Parts 0-17
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfrv1_02.tpl
Part 18
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfrv2_02.tpl
Title 38 Part 3 Adjudication Subpart Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr3_main_02.tpl
Title 38 Pensions, Bonuses & Veterans Relief (also § 3.317 Compensation for certain disabilities due to undiagnosed illnesses found here)
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr3_main_02.tpl Title 38 PART 4--SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES Subpart B--DISABILITY RATINGS
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=ab7641afd195c84a49a2067dbbcf95c0&rgn=div6&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.5.2&idno=38
Title 38 § 4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on un employability of the individual. PART 4 SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES Subpart General Policy in Rating
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&rgn=div8&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.5.1..96.11&idno=38
U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
http://www.vetapp.gov/
VA Best Practice Manual for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
http://www.avapl.org/pub/PTSD%20Manual%20final%206.pdf
VA Fact Sheet
http://www1.va.gov/opa/fact/gwfs.html
VA Health Care Eligibility
http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/home/hecmain.asp
VA INSTITUTING GLOBAL ASSESSMENT OF FUNCTION (GAF)
http://www.avapl.org/gaf/gaf.html
VA Life Insurance Handbook Chapter 3
http://www.insurance.va.gov/inForceGliSite/GLIhandbook/glibookletch3.htm#310
VA Loan Lending Limits and Jumbo Loans
http://valoans.com/va_facts_limits.cfm
VA MS Research
http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp
VA National Hepatitis C Program
http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/
VA Office of Research and Development
http://www1.va.gov/resdev/
VA Trainee Pocket Card on Gulf War
http://www.va.gov/OAA/pocketcard/gulfwar.asp
VA WMD EMSHG
http://www1.va.gov/emshg/
VA WRIISC-DC
http://www.va.gov/WRIISC-DC/
VAOIG Hotline Telephone Number and Address
http://www.va..gov/oig/hotline/hotline3 .htm
Vet Center Eligibility - Readjustment Counseling Service
http://www.va.gov/rcs/Eligibility.htm
Veterans Benefits Administration Main Web Page
http://www.vba.va.gov/
Veterans Legal and Benefits Information
http://valaw.org/
VHA Forms, Publications, Manuals
http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/
VHA Programs - Clinical Programs & Initiatives
http://www1.va.gov/health_benefits/page.cfm?pg=13 http://webmaila.juno.com/webmail/new/UrlBlockedError.aspx>
VHA Public Health Strategic Health Care Group Home Page http: //
www.publichealth.va.gov/
VHI Guide to Gulf War Veterans Health
http://www1.va.gov/vhi_ind_study/gulfwar/istudy/index.asp
Vocational Rehabilitation
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/
Vocational Rehabilitation Subsistence
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/InterSubsistencefy04.doc
VONAPP online
http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp
WARMS - 38 CFR Book C
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/bookc.html
Wartime Disability Compensation
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+38USC1110
War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center - New Jersey
http://www.wri.med.va.gov/
Welcome to the GI Bill Web Site
http://www.gibill.va.gov/
What VA Social Workers Do
http://www1.va.gov/socialwork/page.cfm?pg=3
WRIISC Patient Eligibility
http://www.illegion.org/va1.html 
 
 
 
2010-08-09  VA rule on Agent Orange, heart disease due soon

A new compensation rule for Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and B-cell leukemias should be out within 30 days, based on a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals.
 
Veterans Affairs Department officials had missed a 90-day deadline set by Congress to publish the compensation rule, saying they had to wait for a review by the White House’s Office of Management and Budget.
 
But several veterans advocacy groups argued that the required review was negated in light of the mandatory deadline, and the court agreed.
 
The ruling is important because a projected 200,000 veterans can’t receive benefits until VA publishes the rule, and because the onslaught of veterans claiming benefits for ischemic heart disease — common among older Americans — is expected to bog down the benefits claims process for everyone. Veterans groups have said VA adjudicators need to begin work on those claims as soon as possible.
 
 
2010-08-08  VA Simplifies Benefits Application Again
 

As part of Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki's effort to streamline access to benefits, VA officials have removed the signature requirement for veterans who electronically submit an online 10-10EZ "Application for Health Benefits."

"This singular action will reduce days, if not weeks, for veterans who apply online to access their hard-earned medical benefits and upholds the promise to reduce access barriers to needed care for this nation's veterans," Secretary Shinseki said.

Previously, veterans filling out the online application were required to print a copy, sign it and send to their local medical center or wait for a copy to be mailed to them for signature and mailing before enrollment into the VA health care system could occur.

For additional information, go to this VA website or call VA's toll-free number at 877-222-VETS (8387). The online form is available here.

 

 
2010-07-23  Grand Opening for new Vet Center  
 
We attended the grand opening at the new Vet Center at 314 East Johnson Highway in Norristown..  The goal for this center is to provide a broad range of counseling, outreach and referral services to eligible veterans in order to help them make a satisfying readjustment to post war civilian life.  It is open to vets from Vietnam to the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  The staff is as follows:
 
  • Deborah Jessman LSW - Team Leader                           215-823-5800x17053
  • Allison Stanco MS, NCC Readjustment Counselor         215-823-5800x17052
  • Allan Schweizer M Ed LMJJ Readjustment Counselor    215-823-5800x17054
  • Tiffany Johnson Readjustment Counselor Assistant        215-823-5800x17053
 
 
 
 
 
2010-07-04  NEW Washington Crossing National Cemetery
 
 Over the July 4th weekend, we visited the Washington Crossing National Cemetery in Newtown, Pa and took a few pictures.   I also added a news video at the bottom of this article.  If you want to GPS the address and location of the cemetery, it is:
 
600 Highland Rd.
Newtown, PA 18940
 
With the opening of this new national shrine, many thousands of Pennsylvania and New Jersey Veterans and their families will have interment options available nearby, in a setting that is worthy of their service, said Secretary Shinseki. “Providing lasting tributes to their sacrifices is one of VA’s most honorable missions, and one we are proud to fulfill.
 
 
Administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the new 205-acre national cemetery in the Philadelphia area will serve Veterans’ needs for at least the next 50 years. The cemetery, which will serve approximately 580,000 Veterans in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, is located in Bucks County, north of Philadelphia, about three miles northwest of Interstate 95 and less than three miles from Washington Crossing Historic Park.
 
VA has completed a 12-acre early burial area with temporary facilities, which will be followed by a second, larger construction stage of the project.  When that stage is completed, the 64-acre development will provide 15,500 full-casket gravesites, including 15,100 pre-placed crypts, 6,500 in-ground cremation sites and 4,100 columbarium niches.
 
The new cemetery will also include an administration and public information center complex and public restrooms, a maintenance facility, a cemetery entrance area, a flag assembly area and committal shelters for funeral services. Other infrastructure design elements include roadways, landscaping, utilities and irrigation.
 
The state’s other VA cemeteries are Philadelphia National Cemetery, Indiantown Gap National Cemetery and the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies. The Philadelphia National Cemetery no longer has burial space.
 
Veterans with a discharge issued under conditions other than dishonorable, their spouses and eligible dependent children can be buried in a VA national cemetery. Also eligible are military personnel who die on active duty, their spouses and eligible dependents. Other burial benefits available for all eligible Veterans, regardless of whether they are buried in a national cemetery or a private cemetery, include a burial flag, a Presidential Memorial Certificate and a government headstone or marker. Families of eligible decedents may also order a memorial headstone or marker when remains are not available for interment.
 
Information on VA burial benefits can be obtained from national cemetery offices, from the Internet at www.cem.va.gov  or by calling VA regional offices toll-free at (800) 827-1000.
 
 
For information on Washington Crossing National Cemetery, call the cemetery office at (215) 504-5610. To make burial arrangements at the time of need, call the national cemetery scheduling office at (800) 535-1117.
 
The new 205-acre national cemetery in southeastern Pennsylvania will serve veterans’ needs for the next 50 years. The cemetery is located in Bucks County, north of the city of Philadelphia, about three miles northwest of Interstate 95, and less than three miles from Washington Crossing Historic Park.
 
Guy - Webmaster 
 
 
 
 
 
VA Opens New Vet Center Montgomery Counties
 
 
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs recently opened two new vet centers in Montgomery County to deal with the influx of returning service members from the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The new centers are under the administrative direction of the Philadelphia VA Medical Center.
 
 
The new center is located at 314 East Johnson Highway in Norristown. The addition of the new vet center brings the total number of centers in the Philadelphia area to four and 11 centers across Pennsylvania. Vet Centers provide readjustment counseling for service members returning from a combat environment. They are non-medical facilities and only provide outpatient services. Those veterans needing medical treatment or who have serious issues resulting from either Traumatic Brain Injury or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are referred to the nearest VA Medical Center for treatment.
 
 
“We do a lot with PTSD,” remarks Terry Luper, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Manager.
They also provide services such as sexual trauma counseling for any military member who suffered a sexual trauma while on duty. The center offers family counseling, as the VA is faced with more family situations as a result of these military deployments. Families of service members killed while on active duty can receive bereavement counseling from the center, regardless of whether the military member was killed as a result of hostile action or an accident. In order to determine where to place new vet centers, the VA looks at the veteran population in each county. Counties that have at least 35,000 veterans qualify for a vet center.
 
 
Another vet center is expected to open in Lancaster later this year.
 
Contact the Norristown Vet Center at 1-800-949-1001, ext. 7053.
 
 
New Option for Veterans Headstones
 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki announced June 29, 2010 that the VA is now offering bronze medallions to attach to existing, privately purchased headstones or markers, signifying a deceased's status as a veteran. The new item can be furnished instead of a traditional government headstone or marker for veterans whose death occurred on or after Nov. 1, 1990, and whose grave in a private cemetery is marked with a privately purchased headstone or marker. Under federal law, eligible veterans buried in a private cemetery are entitled to either a government-furnished grave marker or the new medallion, but not both. Veterans buried in a national or state veterans cemetery will receive a government headstone or marker of the standard design authorized at that cemetery.
 
 
 
The medallion is available in three sizes: 5 inches, 3 inches and 1½ inches in width. Each bronze medallion features the image of a folded burial flag adorned with laurels and is inscribed with the word "Veteran" at the top and the branch of service at the bottom. More information about VA-furnished headstones, markers and medallions can be found at this
website. VA is currently developing an application form for ordering the medallion. Until it is available, applicants may use the form for ordering government headstones and markers, VA Form 40-1330.
 
 
 
VA Makes Filing Claims Easier
 
The VA has reduced the paperwork and is expediting the process for veterans seeking compensation for disabilities related to their military service. The new forms on VA's website include a shortened VA Form 21-526 for veterans applying for the first time to VA for disability compensation or pension benefits. VA provides compensation, pension, education, loan guaranty, vocational rehabilitation, employment, and insurance benefits to veterans and their families through 57 VA regional offices. For additional information, visit the VA website or call VA's toll free benefits number at 1-800-827-1000.
 
 
 
VA's My HealtheVet
 
My HealtheVet is the Department of Veterans' Affairs' e-health website that offers veterans, active duty Soldiers, their dependents and caregivers anywhere, anytime Internet access to VA health care information and services. Registering and using My HealtheVet is easy, and it is free. Veterans who receive care at a VA facility should ask about In-Person Authentication or "IPA." Registered My HealtheVet users who are VA patients and have completed the IPA process will be able to view the names of their VA prescriptions, access their personal VA Wellness Reminders, and communicate with their providers through Secure Messaging as that benefit is delivered to each facility. For more information, visit the HealtheVet Web page.

 

Attention Gulf War Veterans - Rarely Used Gulf War Bonus

Bonus to Pennsylvania Veterans of the Gulf War Conflict from the

Pennsylvania Bureau of Veterans Affairs

Eligible Pennsylvania residents who are veterans of the Persian Gulf Conflict will receive $75.00 for each month (or fraction thereof) they served in the theater of operations up to a maximum of $525.00.

Five thousand dollars ($5000) will be paid on behalf of the veterans who died in active service in the Persian Gulf Theater.   In addition, $5000.00 will paid to any Persian Gulf veteran who was a prisoner of war.

Contact the Pennsylvania Department of Military Affairs, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville PA 17003.  Phone 717-861-8901.  You can also contact your local Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

 

Who can be buried in Arlington National Cemetery?   

Arlington National Cemetery does not make prearrangements. However, upon the passing of the veteran or veteran's spouse, the surviving spouse or personal representative should contact a local funeral home to arrange for any desired services in the home town. While the surviving spouse or personal representative is at the funeral home, the funeral director should telephone the Interment Office at Arlington National Cemetery (703) 607-8585 to arrange for the interment service. Before scheduling the service, the cemetery staff will need to determine the eligibility of the deceased. Upon verification of eligibility, they will schedule the interment. You can assist in the process ahead of time by making sure you have the proper documentation and your survivor(s) know where to locate that information. The key document required is your DD-214 (discharge/separation from the military). The DD-214 generally provides all required information for verifying eligibility. The Web site www.arlingtoncemetery.org  contains detailed information on the documentation required for verification of eligibility. Funeral honors available to eligible retirees, (regardless of interment at Arlington) consist of a minimum of two uniformed armed forces members (one from the service of the deceased), the folding and presentation of the American flag, and ceremonial bugle or a recording of “Taps” if a bugler is unavailable.

 
It is important to understand military funeral honors are not automatic. The next of kin must request the honors and the funeral director must contact DoD by calling (877) 645-4667. For information about Chaplain Services at the Cemetery, contact the following: Air Force Chaplain (703) 607-8954; Navy Chaplain (703) 607-8960; Army Chaplain (703) 607-8959. Funeral services are provided Mon thru Fri, except federal holidays, during the hours 9:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. Family and friends should arrive at the cemetery approximately one half hour prior to the scheduled service time and must provide their own transportation for funeral services at the Cemetery. They will be required to drive from the administration building or chapel to the gravesite. The cemetery is open year round (365 days) for visitation from 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. 1 OCT thru 31 MAR and 8:00 a.m. through 7:00 p.m. 1 APR thru 30 SEP. 

Starting in 2009, the Army allows full military funeral honors at Arlington for all soldiers killed in action. Full military honors include a caisson, band, colors team and an escort platoon in addition to the standard honors of a firing party, bugler and chaplain. In the past, the caisson was available only for officers killed in action because of limited availability. The persons specified below are eligible for ground burial in Arlington National Cemetery. The last period of active duty of former members of the Armed Forces must have ended honorably. Interment may be casketed or cremated remains.

 
• Any active duty member of the Armed Forces (except those members serving on active duty for training only).
• Any veteran who is retired from active military service with the Armed Forces.
• Any veteran who is retired from the Reserves is eligible upon reaching age 60 and drawing retired pay; and who served a period of active duty (other than for training).
• Any former member of the Armed Forces separated honorably prior to 1 OCT 49 for medical reasons and who was rated at 30% or greater disabled effective on the day of discharge.
• Any former member of the Armed Forces who has been awarded one of the following decorations: Medal of Honor; Distinguished Service Cross (Navy Cross or Air Force Cross);  Distinguished Service Medal;  Silver Star;  Purple Heart.
• The President of the United States or any former President of the United States.
• Any former member of the Armed Forces who served on active duty (other than for training) and who held any of the following positions:
a. An elective office of the U.S. Government
b. Office of the Chief Justice of the United States or of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
c. An office listed, at the time the person held the position, in 5 USC 5312 or 5313 (Levels I and II of the Executive Schedule).
d. The chief of a mission who was at any time during his/her tenure classified in Class I under the provisions of Section 411, Act of 13 AUG 46, 60 Stat. 1002, as amended (22 USC 866) or as listed in State Department memorandum dated 21 MAR 88.
 
• Any former prisoner of war who, while a prisoner of war, served honorably in the active military, naval, or air service, whose last period of military, naval or air service terminated honorably and who died on or after 30 NOV 93
• The spouse, widow or widower, minor child, or permanently dependent child, and certain unmarried adult children of any of the above eligible veterans.
• The surviving spouse, minor child, or permanently dependent child of any person already buried in ANC.
• The parents of a minor child, or permanently dependent child whose remains, based on the eligibility of a parent, are already buried in ANC.
• The widow or widower of:
a. A member of the Armed Forces who was lost or buried at sea or officially determined to be missing in action.
b. A member of the Armed Forces who is interred in a US military cemetery overseas that is maintained by the American Battle Monuments Commission.
c. A member of the Armed Forces who is interred in Arlington National Cemetery as part of a group burial.
Note: A spouse divorced from the primary eligible, or widowed and remarried, is not eligible for interment.
Provided certain conditions are met, a former member of the Armed Forces may be buried in the same grave with a close relative who is already buried and is the primary eligible. [Source: MOAA News Exchange 17 Dec 08 ++]
 

 

December 08, 2008 2009 VA Benefits

If you are military veteran with a service-related disability you may qualify for over $3,100 in monthly benefits. These benefits are paid to veterans who have injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. These benefits are tax-free. Check out the updated rates and benefits for veterans.
 
VA Disability Compensation Rates
 

06/20/2008   NEW GI Bill Benefit Update:

The new "Post 9/11 GI Bill" will soon be heading for the President’s desk. This new benefit will give servicemembers and veterans who have served on active-duty since Sept. 11, 2001, a new education benefits package worth up to roughly $3,000 a month. The same legislation includes a change to the current Montgomery GI Bill that will increase the monthly payment to $1,321 a month -- a total benefit of more than $47,000. The new law also enables servicemembers to transfer their GI Bill benefit to their dependents.      Get more information on the "Post 9/11 GI Bill"

 

 

PENNSYLVANIA BUREAU FOR VETERANS AFFAIRS

Pennsylvania provides many benefits for Veterans and their families.  Click on the highlighted Department of Veterans Affairs links.

This bureau is responsible for the administration and management of all veterans’ programs, the state veterans’ homes and Scotland School for Veterans’ Children within the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. The Bureau for Veterans Affairs, by legislative mandate, is the official liaison between federal, state and local government agencies on all matters concerning veterans’ benefits. The adjutant general administers the Bureau for Veterans Affairs through the deputy adjutant general-Veterans Affairs.

The Pennsylvania State Veterans Home System

Pennsylvania Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home – Located in Erie, authority of the State Legislature P.L. 62 established this home June 3, 1885. The home’s capacity is 175 beds: 75 nursing care beds and 100 personal care beds. Its purpose is to provide multi-level care for indigent, invalid and disabled Pennsylvania veterans. The adjutant general, through the Bureau for Veterans Affairs, is responsible for management of the home. A 15-member advisory council advises the adjutant general as to the management, operation and services at the home.

 

Hollidaysburg Veterans’ Home – Located in Hollidaysburg, this home was established by authority of the State Legislature P.L. 211 Sept. 28, 1976. The home’s capacity is 514 beds: 270 nursing care beds, 101 personal care beds, 66 domiciliary beds, and a dementia unit with 77 beds. Its purpose is identical to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home described above. It also has an advisory council.

 

Southeastern Veterans’ Cener – Located in Spring City, this home was established by authority of the State Legislature Act 1986-7 Feb. 14, 1986. Expansion in 1993 raised the home’s bed capacity to 304 beds: 160 nursing care beds, 26 personal care beds, 86 domiciliary beds and 32 dementia beds. Its purpose is identical to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home described above. It also has an advisory council.

 

Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center – This home is located in Scranton. Act 1988-113 authorized it Oct. 21, 1988. Construction was completed in 1993. The home has 200 beds: 160 nursing care beds, 16 personal care beds and 24 dementia beds. Its purpose is identical to the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home described above. It also has an advisory council.

Southwestern Veterans’ Center – This home is located in Pittsburgh. It was dedicated July 14, 1997. The center provides 236 beds: 160 nursing care beds, 32 personal care beds and 44 dementia beds. Its purpose is identical to the other homes discussed above. It also has an advisory council.

Delaware Valley Veterans’ Center – This home, newest in the state system, is located in northeast Philadelphia. This sixth home for Pennsylvania veterans opened Nov. 1, 2002. The center provides 170 beds: 100 nursing care beds, 41 personal care beds, and 30 dementia beds. Its purpose is identical to the other homes discussed above. It also has an advisory council.

Scotland School for Veterans’ Children – Established in 1895, the School was transferred from the Department of Education to the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs July 1, 1996. It is located on 186 acres in northern Franklin County near Chambersburg. Its 350 students live on campus during the school year. Scotland School offers education from grades 3-12.

 

To be eligible for admission, children must meet the following qualifications: (1) the natural parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, must be an honorably discharged veteran from the military or have died while on active duty; (2) parents or legal guardian must have resided in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a continuous period of three years immediately prior to the time of application; (3) children must be within the 8-15 years age range. Further information can be obtained from the Director of Admissions, Scotland School for Veterans’ Children, Scotland, Pa. 17201; phone (717) 264-7187, ext. 699.

Exemption – Any honorably discharged 100 percent service-connected veteran with war time service who is a resident of the Commonwealth shall be exempt from the payment of all real estate taxes levied upon any building, including the land upon which it stands, occupied by the veteran as a principal dwelling, under specified conditions providing they demonstrate financial need.

Emergency Assistance – Provides financial aid on an emergency and temporary basis (not to exceed three months in a 12-month period) to veterans, their widows, infant children, or dependents who reside in Pennsylvania and have lost income within the last 180 days for the necessities of life under specified conditions.

Blind Veterans Pension – Provides for a pension of $150 per month for a person who served in the military of the United States or women’s organization officially connected therewith, who gave the Commonwealth as his/her place of residence when entering the military and while performing duties connected with the service suffered an injury or incurred a disease, which resulted in loss of vision under specified conditions.

Paralyzed Veterans Pension – Provides for a pension of $150 per month for any person separated under honorable conditions from the armed forces of the United States who gave the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as his/her place of residence at time of entering the armed forces qualifying under specified conditions.

Educational Gratuity – Payment of educational gratuities are for children of honorably discharged veterans who have been certified by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having wartime service-connected disabilities rated as total and permanent or children of veterans who have died of war service-connected disabilities or died in service during a period of war or armed conflict under specified conditions.

 

Pennsylvania Veterans Service Officer Support

More detailed information can be obtained by contacting the Bureau for Veterans Affairs at Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, Fort Indiantown Gap, Annville, Pa. 17003-5002  (717) 861-8901

Bureau For Veterans Affairs

Bldg S-0-47, FTIG
Annville, PA 17003
Driving Directions
Phone: 1-800-547-2838
Fax: (717) 861-8589
Email:
bfoster@state.pa.us

 

James H. Seader

Montgomery County Director

PO Box 311, 1430 DeKalb St. Noristown, PA 19404-0311

Monday-Friday  8:30AM - 4:15PM

 

 

Frequently Asked Agent Orange Questions

 

 

Diabetes linked to Agent Orange exposure