Veterans Memorial Post 347

Post Service Officer-Dennis Storey

I hope you all had a great Christmas and a Joyous New Year.

The Disabled American Veterans Chapter is having their annual Golf Tournament fundraiser at the Stonecrest Country Club on January 21, 2023. The cost is 360.00 for a foursome or 100.00 for a single player.  This includes green fees/cart/ and a pasta lunch.  They are raising money to purchase a new van to transport Veterans from the Villages VA Outpatient Clinic to the Gainesville VA Hospital. This is a free service for Veterans! If you  would like to play, please see your Post Service Officer, Dennis Storey.

I am available at the Post on Monday mornings for walk in. Although I cannot do claims at the Post but can consult on any Veteran matter.  I also will meet with both Veteran and Spouse to discuss any benefits concerns you both may have.  If I cannot answer your question, I will refer you to someone who can.  If you need a disability claim filed, I will make you an appointment to come to my office at the Villages VA Outpatient Clinic. You may also call me at the clinic at (352) 674-5097. I am there Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Thursday. My partner is at the clinic on Wednesday and Friday.

Your PSO is also an official Notary for the State of Florida so can notarize documents. I am available on Monday mornings and at the VA Clinic Monday PM, Tuesday and Thursday. I am on one of two at the Legion. Sheldon Gotesky is the other Notary.

I am getting a lot of questions on how a VA disability rating is calculated.  IT is called “VA-Math” and below is an example.

Let’s say the Veteran has the following service-connected disability ratings:

· 30% rating for a back injury

· 20% rating for right shoulder injury

· 10% for hearing loss.

10% for right knee

Calculate Combined Disability Ratings using VA Math

The VA uses a descending efficiency scale for its calculations. The VA will give each injury or illness a numerical rating. 

When it comes time to determine the overall rating, the VA will start with the highest rating, then work its way down. You will always begin with an efficiency rating of 100. Each new disability gives you a new baseline.

We start by racking and stacking the disabilities. In the example above, we have ratings of 30%, 20%, 10% and 10%. We start with the 30%, then factor in the 20%, the 10% then the final 10%. 

Again, we aren’t subtracting here; we’re doing VA math. 

You start with your efficiency rate of 100, multiply it by your disability rating, then subtract the result from your original rating. 

In this case, you would multiply 30% times 100 and get 30. You subtract that from 100 and come up with 70. 

Your new efficiency rating is 70, and your disability rating is 30. 

This is the starting point for the next calculation. You repeat the process for the next rating. You take 20%, multiply it by 70, and come up with 14. You subtract 14 from 70, and you get 56. 

Your new efficiency rating is 56, and your disability rating is 44. You repeat the process for each additional disability rating.

The VA rounds final ratings to the nearest 10 (ex: 56% disability would be 60%, 54% would be 50%).  Approximately symbols (?) in the example above indicate rounding to the nearest whole number.

JANUARY 2023

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This is the last newsletter article of 2022 and I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends!  Buckle up…Christmas in coming!

I am available at the Post on Monday mornings for walk in. Although I cannot do claims at the Post but can consult on any Veteran matter.  I also will meet with both Veteran and Spouse to discuss any benefits concerns you both may have.  If I cannot answer your question, I will refer you to someone who can.  If you need a disability claim filed, I will make you an appointment to come to my office at the Villages VA Outpatient Clinic. You may also call me at the clinic at (352) 674-5097. I am there Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Thursday. My partner is at the clinic on Wednesday and Friday.

Your PSO is also an official Notary for the State of Florida so can notarize documents. I am available on Monday mornings and at the VA Clinic Monday PM, Tuesday and Thursday. I am on one of two at the Legion. Sheldon Gotesky is the other Notary.

Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Act

The latest I learned from this at the American Legion Service Officer training session this month is that the VA is accepting claims for the presumptive’s inherent with the Camp Lejeune Toxic exposure act but as of right now, they are not prepared to pay the claim as yet.  Also, the other nuance is that should you chose to enter the lawsuit, you will NOT be able to collect both the VA claim and any monies awarded in the lawsuit so weigh your decision carefully.

If you have any questions concerning this, please contact me and I can help you weigh your choices.

DECEMBER 2022

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I am available at the Post on Monday mornings for walk in. I typically cannot do claims at the Post but can consult on any Veteran matter.  If I cannot answer your question, I will refer you to someone who can.  If you need a disability claim filed, I will make you an appointment to come to my office at the Villages VA Outpatient Clinic. You may also call me at the clinic at (352) 674-5097. I am there Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Thursday. My partner is at the clinic on Wednesday and Friday.

Your PSO is also an official Notary for the State of Florida so can notarize documents. I am available on Monday mornings and at the VA Clinic Monday PM, Tuesday and Thursday. I am on one of two at the Legion. Sheldon Gotesky is the other Notary.

Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Act

I know I wrote on this last month but I think it is important enough to keep in one more month!

I am sure most of have heard the Lawyers on Television trying to get your business on a class-action law suite concerning the Dry Cleaners Benzene leaks into the Marine Corps (and surrounding community) drinking water system.   How Did the Water Get Contaminated, you ask?  Waste spills, improper waste disposal, and leaking storage tanks all contributed to the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River. In the 1980s, it was discovered that some of the water distribution systems on the base were contaminated with dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals. These chemicals include:

 Several cancer’s have been linked to the water.  If you were a Service Member, family member or employee working in the Camp Legune area between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, and have contracted any of the cancer’s, please see your Post or Department Service Officer prior to contacting the law firms.  We can advise you as to your options. Some of the Cancer’s and other defects include:

Adult Leukemia, Aplastic Anemia or Other Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Appendix cancer, Bile duct cancer, Birth Defects, Bladder Cancer, Brain cancer, Breast Cancer, Cardiac (Heart Related) Birth Defect, Cervical Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Colorectal Cancer, End-stage renal disease, Esophageal Cancer, Female Infertility, Fetal death, Gallbladder cancer, Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver Disease), Hodgkin’s Disease, Intestinal cancer, Kidney Cancer, Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Major fetal malformations, Leukemia, Miscarriage, Multiple Myeloma, Multiple Sclerosis, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Ovarian Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Prostate Cancer, Renal Toxicity (Nephrotoxicity), Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis), Soft tissue cancer, Spinal cancer, Thyroid cancer and Other types of Cancer’s. As you can see, the list is long.

Also, many of these lawyers are calling Veteran’s masking their caller-id’s as coming from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  VA will NOT call you concerning this!

If you have any questions concerning this, please contact your Post Service Officer

A couple of legislative issues concerning Veterans

 

NOVEMBER 2022

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I am available at the Post on Monday mornings for walk in. I typically cannot do claims at the Post but can consult on any Veteran matter.  If I cannot answer your question, I will refer you to someone who can.  If you need a disability claim filed, I will make you an appointment to come to my office at the Villages VA Outpatient Clinic. You may also call me at the clinic at (352) 674-5097. I am there Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Thursday. My partner is at the clinic on Wednesday and Friday.

Your PSO is also an official Notary for the State of Florida so can notarize documents. I am available on Monday mornings and at the VA Clinic Monday PM, Tuesday and Thursday. I am on one of two at the Legion. Sheldon Gotesky is the other Notary.

Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water Act

I am sure most of have heard the Lawyers on Television trying to get your business on a class-action law suite concerning the Dry Cleaners Benzene leaks into the Marine Corps (and surrounding community) drinking water system.  How Did the Water Get Contaminated, you ask?  Waste spills,Improper waste disposal, and leaking storage tanks all contributed to the water contamination issue at Camp Lejeune and MCAS New River. In the 1980s, it was discovered that some of the water distribution systems on the base were contaminated with dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals. These chemicals include:

· Perchloroethylene (PCE) – found in dry-cleaning solvent

· Trichloroethylene (TCE) – found in degreasing agent

· Benzene – found in gasoline

Vinyl chloride – used in the production of plastics

 Several cancer’s have been linked to the water.  If you were a Service Member, family member or employee working in the Camp Lejeune area   between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987, and have contracted any of the cancer’s, please see your Post or Department Service Officer prior to   contacting the law firms.  We can advise you as to your options. Some of the Cancer’s and other defects include:

Adult Leukemia, Aplastic Anemia or Other Myelodysplastic Syndromes, Appendix cancer, Bile duct cancer, Birth Defects, Bladder Cancer, Brain cancer, Breast Cancer, Cardiac (Heart Related) Birth Defect, Cervical Cancer, Chronic Kidney Disease, Colorectal Cancer, End-stage renal disease, Esophageal Cancer, Female Infertility, Fetal death, Gallbladder cancer, Hepatic Steatosis (Fatty Liver Disease), Hodgkin’s Disease,Intestinal cancer, Kidney Cancer, Liver Cancer, Lung Cancer, Major fetal malformations, Leukemia, Miscarriage, Multiple Myeloma, Multiple Sclerosis, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, Ovarian Cancer, Pancreatic Cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, Prostate Cancer, Renal Toxicity (Nephrotoxicity), Scleroderma (Systemic Sclerosis), Soft tissue cancer, Spinal cancer, Thyroid cancer and Other types of Cancer’s. As you can see, the list is long.

Also, many of these lawyers are calling Veteran’s masking their caller-id’s as coming from the Department of Veterans Affairs.  VA will NOT call you concerning this.

PACT ACT Legislation

We are continuing to process claims with regards to the PACT Act.  Only 2 presumptives were included with respect to Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange exposure; Hypertension (processing claims as of January 1, 2026 (with no retro-pay) and MGUS.  Burn Pit exposure was not included in Vietnam Veterans portion of the bill.  Burn Pits only included in Middle-East service.

October, 2022

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For the time being I plan to keep the Monday morning schedule. I am also available Monday afternoons, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Villages VA Outpatient clinic (Room 163) by appointment only. My phone number down there is (352) 674-5097 and email djstorey@davfla.com.  I am also a licensed Notary for the State of Florida. I also do one on one sessions with the Veteran and Spouse to help with burial and benefits planning. Stop in and see me for an appointment.

PACT Act

The biggest thing this month is the passing and signing of the PACT Act which included two new presumptive’s for Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam. However, the devil is in the details. The presumptives include Monoclonal Gammopathy of Undetermined Significance (MGUS) which is effective October 1, 2022. The Nehmer Act does apply for this which means there may be some retro-pay involved. We were not so lucky with Hypertension which was also added. This will not be effective until October 1, 2026, and Nehmer does NOT apply. There will be NO retro-pay for Hypertension.  The bill also extends the exposure area to the following:

Thailand: from January 9, 1962-June 30, 1976.

Laos: from December 1, 1965-September 30, 1969.

Cambodia: from April 16, 1969-April 30, 1969.

Guam or American Samoa: from January 9, 1962-July 31, 1980.

Johnston Atoll: from January 1, 1972-September 30, 1977.

The Toxic Exposure (burn-pit) portion of the bill only covers the Middle East on or after August 2, 1990, and Afghanistan and outlying areas on or after September 11, 2001.

This included many Cancers and Bronchial and Sinusitis issues.  The Bill also includes Radiation Risk activities in the Eniwetok Atoll cleanup during the period from January 1, 1977-December 31, 1980.

Onsite participation in the cleanup of a B52 Bomber which crashed with a refueling plane that released four thermonuclear weapons in Thule Greenland (from January 17, 1966-March 31, 1967) and a similar crash in Polomares, Spain (from January 21, 1968-September 25, 1968)

I have the complete bill and the Disabled American Veterans synopsis of the bill if any one would like to read it.

September, 2022

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Thank you for allowing me to stay on as your Post Service Officer and VA Liaison for another year.  For the time being I plan to keep the Monday morning schedule. I am also available Monday afternoons, Tuesdays and Thursdays at the Villages VA Outpatient clinic (Room 163) by appointment only. My phone number down there is (352) 674-5097 and email djstorey@davfla.com.  I am also a licensed Notary for the State of Florida. I also do one on one sessions with the Veteran and Spouse to help with burial and benefits planning. Stop in and see me for an appointment.

There still seems to be some questions about eligibility for VA Health Care.  The VA Health Care Program is put into place to care for Veterans with a Service-Connected Disability and very low-income Veterans (typically below Social Security benefits).  A Service-Connected Disability is defined A service-connected disability is a condition (i.e., injury, illness, or disorder) that VA determines resulted from (or emerged during) your military service. Your disability must be service connected to be eligible for VA disability benefits and monthly compensation. This requires a medical opinion and/or treatment records either from a licensed Doctor (either VA or Private Physician) linking your condition to an event that occurred while on Active Duty. A medical opinion, or NEXUS, from your Physician would help solidify your case but is not an absolute requirement but we do need some medical diagnosis and progress notes.

 

August, 2022

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First of all, congratulations to the new incoming Post Officers!  As I was asked to stay on as your Veterans Services  Officer, I look forward to being your liaison to the Veterans Administration. Thank you for  indulging me on a much-needed vacation! I am back, refreshed and ready for another year of service.

Just a heads up, I may be changing my day at the post to Wednesdays but need to clear it with the lounge manager (who graciously allows me to use the game room in the lounge) and the new Post Commander. I will let you know if and when that happens.   For the time being, I am still available at the Post and the Commander on Monday mornings for walk in until about 11. I typically cannot do claims at the Post but can consult on any Veteran matter.  If I cannot answer your question, I will refer you to someone who can.  If you need a disability claim filed, I will make you an   appointment to come to my office at the Villages VA   Outpatient Clinic. You may also call me at the clinic at (352) 674-5097. I am there Monday afternoon, Tuesday and Thursday. My partner is at the clinic on Wednesday and Friday.

Your Veterans Service Officer is an official Notary for the State of Florida so I can   notarize documents. I am available on  Monday mornings and at the VA Clinic Monday 1:00 PM, Tuesday and Thursday (352) 674-5097. If you need that service, please call the front office at (352) 753-2099 or my  office at the VA Clinic. I am on one of two Florida State Licensed  Notaries at the Legion. Sheldon Gotesky is the other     Licensed Notary.

A legislative update: A couple of legislative bills involving Veterans:

Bill Update on H.R 3967:  Honoring our PACT Act

On June 16, 2022, in a bipartisan vote of   84 -14, the Senate passed H.R. 3967, the Honoring our PACT Act. It is now up to the House to reconsider and pass this historic comprehensive toxic exposure legislation that will impact all generations of veterans. Over 60 veteran and military service      organizations support the Honoring Our PACT Act.

House Veterans’ Affairs Committee     Chairman Mark Takano and Ranking   Member Mike Bost both support this truly comprehensive measure and step forward in addressing the long lasting impact of  toxic exposures.

The House will be voting on the Honoring Our PACT Act this week. If the House votes to pass the Honoring the PACT Act, it will go to the President for signature. Please contact your Representative today, as our fellow veterans and their  families cannot afford to wait.

 Senate Bill 2884: The Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act of 2018

Calls for the VA to create a debt notice  letter, with the assistance of veterans     service organizations, written in plain language to include a clear explanation of all options available to the veteran. The VA would also be required to develop a method that allows veterans to receive the debt  notice via email as well as by standard mail.

“Currently, VA debt letters are not written in easy to understand language and often lack an explanation of why the debt was created,” said DAV National Service       Director Jim Marszalek. “Many veterans do not understand the reason for the debt, their options after notification, and in many    instances, do not receive the notice in a timely manner. Enactment of S. 2884 would provide veterans with a clear explanation about the debt and allow them to receive a more expedient notice via email.”

DAV applauds the efforts to simplify the debt notice process and supports this legislation in concurrence with DAV Resolution Number 171, implemented at the most recent DAV and Auxiliary National Convention in Reno, Nev.—which calls for an improved debt notification process.

July 2022

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