Veterans-For-Change NEWSLETTER

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Week Ending Sunday, May 13, 2018

Volume 9, Issue 19

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Over the past few months I’ve been talking to people, reading more, and doing more research on Autism and Asperger syndrome which is the higher functioning end of Autism.

Although I don’t know a lot as of yet, I do know a few people who have served in the military and even admitted upfront they were diagnosed with one or the other and were still accepted into the military, and in the past few weeks I’ve wondered as was posed to me, how many had one or the other who “slipped” through the cracks and were able to serve.

Made me really think about it, and one movie came to mind and made me wonder was the intent to show that those with Autism or Asperger could serve, that was Forest Gump. Another movie was suggested which I’ve not had a chance to get a copy of yet, but that there was a soldier who although again it was not specifically mentioned for either Autism or Asperger was Full Metal Jacket.

I have a close friend who was in the Army who has Asperger Syndrome and did serve for several years before he was “disarmed” while over seas pending being sent home for discharge. And from what I learned it only happened because one of the medic’s or doctors knew the signs and reported him, and although it was made known at enlistment time he was deemed a danger, returned home and discharged.

Makes me wonder more than I had before, how many have served, how many retired from service and it was never known or never discovered, or just simply over looked/ignored? On top of that how many have served and had children born with Autism or Asperger Syndrome and maybe was due to chemical exposure either from service over seas, or many of the chemical contaminants on base.

I have been talking for a few months now with Lt Bobby Ross, and we’re joining forces to bring his organization Autistic Farmers of America which can provide a safe, healthy environment in which to live and learn how to farm.

If you or someone you know has or is serving who is affected by Autism or Asperger Syndrome, or you have a child with either of these illnesses, please, send me your story.

Now on a huge bright note I offer my most sincerest of CONGRATULATIONS to both Commander John Wells, and all his Blue Water Navy members!

The bill they had worked on for so long and so very hard finally passed the mark-up stage and will hopefully go to the House Floor very soon for a Vote.

The fight is not over yet, and we so desperately need everyone’s help to please call your Congressman’s office and kindly ask for their YES vote on H.R. 299.

The fact that after all these years a bill has made it through committee, made it through mark-up and is now ready to go to the floor proves beyond any doubt that when you speak out in unison that VETERANS can accomplish anything!

Again, Congratulations Commander Wells, and all Blue Water Navy Vets who all together made it happen! And much more success in the coming future!

On a sadder note, last week I brought to your attention our Director of Operation Mail Call became really sick a couple of months ago.

Sadly, the news as each day passes gets worse and worse!

The doctors caring for Betty Hidalgo-Rabuse have brought in additional cancer specialists, and more tests were run, more CT Scans, more PET Scans, more X-Rays, etc have only proven to produce more bad news. And in this last round of tests, not only did they confirm the cancer is in her bones, but also her cervix and now pancreas.

Betty is stage 4 Cancer, and the prediction for her life expectancy has been greatly reduced and is now between 3 months and maybe a year.

I’m constantly on the phone with her husband James Rabuse this has truly been a very difficult journey for them both as they were just married in May 2017.

The plan is to transport Betty from the hospital in San Francisco to a local hospital near their home in Merced where she will under go six weeks of chemo therapy, and once that is completed she will then be transported to Hospice where she will remain.

Betty as I said before did so much for our troops sending out care packages every single week and we gathered cards and letters to include in the packages.

James is still asking for assistance, but now is looking to raise funds to help with after life costs for memorial services and cremation. So if you’re able to, I’m sure he would be extremely grateful for what you can do.

On behalf of our Volunteers nationwide and myself, we wish you and your family good health!

Respectfully,
Jim Davis
Founder
Jim.Davis@Veterans-For-Change.org

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House Committee Passes VA Mission Act

On Tuesday, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs passed H.R. 5674, the VA Mission Act of 2018. The bill will now move to the House floor for a vote before it can go to the Senate. This bill would consolidate all VA community care programs, improve administrative issues with the current Choice Program, invest in crucially needed improvements for VA health care and expand VA’s caregiver program to veterans of all eras. The VFW urges its members and supporters to contact their members of Congress and tell them to vote YES on H.R. 5674 and pass this legislation before Memorial Day. Read a summary and urge your representatives to support this bill.

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Take Action

We Need Your Help to Pass Caregiver Legislation

Please Help Us Pass Critical Legislation to Expand Caregiver Benefits and Strengthen Veterans Health Care
Next week the House of Representatives is expected to vote on legislation that would expand caregiver benefits to pre-9/11 veterans as well as begin a major reform to strengthen the VA health care system. The legislation, H.R. 5674, the VA MISSION Act of 2018, was developed in collaboration with DAV and other VSOs; has strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate; and just passed the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee with a strong bipartisan vote of 20 to 2. This bill is supported by virtually every major veterans organization, including DAV, VFW and The American Legion. Now we need to ensure that every Member of Congress understands how important this legislation is to DAV members, their families and caregivers.

As you know, DAV has long advocated for extending comprehensive caregiver benefits to veterans injured and ill prior to September 11, 2001. Thanks to all of your efforts supporting our Unsung Heroes Initiative over the past year, this legislation would take major strides to provide equity to thousands of family caregivers currently ineligible for that benefit because they served prior to 9/11. This will be the most important vote for caregivers in almost a decade and we must be certain that Congress hears our voices.

The legislation would also consolidate VA’s community care programs and develop integrated networks of VA and community providers to supplement, not supplant VA health care, so that all enrolled veterans have timely access to quality medical care. In addition, it would provide VA with new tools to hire and retain quality health care professionals to expand VA’s internal capacity. Finally, the bill would require the development of a long-term plan to realign and modernize VA’s health care infrastructure so that its hospitals and clinics are located where veterans will need them in the future.

Please use the prepared electronic letter, or draft your own, to urge your Member of Congress to support and vote for H.R. 5674, the VA MISSION Act.

Thanks for your continuing support of America’s injured and ill veterans, their families and caregivers.

Take Action

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Remember Those who Served
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Items Sought for Veterans Time Capsule at County Veterans Park

LA QUINTA – Supervisor V. Manuel Perez invites veterans, veterans organizations, military service and support organizations, and community members to place items into a special veterans time capsule that will be part of Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park.

Items are needed by Tuesday, May 22.

The time capsule will be placed in the tribute site at Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park, which will be dedicated at 7 p.m. May 25.

“Lake Cahuilla Veterans Regional Park is the first park in our county park system named in honor of veterans, and I’m very proud that veterans have had a major part in its design and features,” said Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “The veterans time capsule was one of the suggestions that was brought forth by local veterans that we are incorporating. We want as many veterans and organizations to take part in this historic occasion.”

Supervisor Perez engaged the Palm Springs Air Museum for professional assistance in curating items for the time capsule. Frank Castner, the museum’s volunteer librarian and archivist, volunteered to assist the county in this effort. The gifted items will be processed, recorded, assigned archive numbers and placed in protective materials to preserve them 40 years from now, when the time capsule will be unearthed and opened.
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Everyone is invited to submit an item into the time capsule.

Items should be small, thin and veteran-centric. They can include individual keepsakes such as photographs, medals and family letters, membership rosters, newspaper articles, or resolutions from organizations, federal and state representatives, cities and special districts.

Approximately 50 letters to veterans written by students from Benjamin Franklin Elementary School in La Quinta will be included in the time capsule.

To donate an item for the veterans time capsule, bring it to the Palm Springs Air Museum Library, located in Palm Springs, 745 N. Gene Autry Trail. Deliveries should be made between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday or Friday.

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Widows Still Irked by SBP Offset

The RAND Corporation recently released a report on the military’s Survivor Benefit Plan. The Congressionally mandated report concludes that the SBP is “well-structured to provide survivor benefits” and the benefits “compare well with those of public and private plans.” However, the 64,000 surviving spouses who continue to see their SBP cut or eliminated due to an offset of the Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) may not agree with the glowing report. Read this week’s Military Update to get the complete story of how the SBP-DIC Offset impacts surviving family members.

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VFC Website

The Veterans-For-Change website has been under construction since day one back in 2009 and every day since then. The looks pretty much stay the same, but in the background constant improvement and change is being done to make our website the most user friendly “One-Stop-Shop” website to find almost everything you might have tried to find searching the internet.

Almost a hundred people have been involved; collecting web links to documents now houses on the VFC website, collecting thousands of web links for various issues, illnesses and benefits. Creating forums for all eras of service and two forums one just for men and one just for woman where you can go question, comment, share medical and personal concerns, what ever you’d like it to be.

We also have a forum with a licensed Mental Health Worker, again where you can seek help or just ask questions.

We average 2,100 hits per day, and downloads average 1,200 per day with a total 4,064,690 visitors as of Friday.

If you subscribe you will have full access to the entire website and best of all it’s FREE of charge! You just need a valid E-mail address so the system can send you a confirmation E-Mail. Once received, click on the link to be authorized automatically.

www.veterans-for-change.org

• Documents Library with over 16,387 documents on-line (Updated: 02/20/18)
• FAQ’s with more than 1,600 FAQ’s and answers
• Multiple Forums
o Afghanistan Veterans
o FMP – Foreign Medial Program
o Gulf War & Desert Storm Veterans
o Iraq Veterans
o Korean Veterans
o Men Veterans Forum
o Mental Health for Veterans (Counselor Needed)
o Political Issues
o Suggestion Box
o The Mess Hall
o VA Hospitals and Medical Centers
o Veteran Affairs
o Vietnam Veterans
o Welcome Mat
o Women Veterans Forum
o WW II Veterans
• Job Postings
• Memorial Pages (Updated: 01/11/18)
• News (Articles On-Line: 7,350)
• Polls
• Web Links, more than 3,645, Added 12 New Links (Updated: 04/24/18)

If you have a submission for the memorial pages, E-Mail: Jim.Davis@veterans-for-change.org

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Suspending Your Social Security Benefit

QUESTION: I am age 67 and began collecting Social Security a couple of years ago. However, I am planning to return to work with a significant salary. Can I suspend my Social Security benefit for now?

ANSWER: Since you have reached your full retirement age for Social Security (66 years, 2 months), you are allowed to suspend your benefit until age 70. For each month that your benefit is suspended, you will earn a delayed retirement credit which should increase the benefit you claim when you cancel the suspension OR reach the age 70, whichever occurs first. Social Security will automatically reinstate your benefit at age 70 if you don’t reinstate it yourself before then.

If you plan to return to work with a significant salary that requires Social Security withholding, the primary insurance amount used to compute your benefit will also most likely increase. Keep in mind, once your benefit is suspended, any benefits payable to current family members based on your Social Security work record would also be suspended until you reinstate your benefit.

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Vietnam Veteran’s wife Diagnosed with Stage 4 Cancer Needs help!

Hello my name is James Rabuse. I am a Vietnam Era Veteran. I am retired on SSI and Disability. I come to you with some bad news and just ask for prayers and help as my wife Betty is going through a lot of pain

Betty and I were married on May 27, 2017. About a month ago Betty took seriously ill, and was transferred from Atwater, CA to a Hospital in San Francisco, CA where they diagnosed her with stage 4 cancer. As you know travel, gas to and from the hospital, room and, board, and parking fees gets costly. In order for my wife to get the best possible care while she is still here, this treatment needs to get done.

Betty has been a very active Veteran volunteer being director of Operation Mail Call for Veterans-For-Change after losing her son’s father in the Vietnam War, then she also lost her oldest grandson to the Afghanistan War.

She tirelessly with her own time and money supported our troops over seas with care packages being sent out every week for almost six and a half years using her own money, donated socks, t-shirts, personal care items, DVD’s, gag gifts, plus cards and letters you all have provided.

Betty did this with her love for all our servicemen in the military for many years. It is time we give back to Betty for all that she done for our troops!

Any donation will be appreciated and help towards traveling from Atwater, CA to San Francisco, CA and other expenses. At this time the date for her to return home is undetermined.

We Thank you in advanced for any donations made, and god bless you.

James Rabuse

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House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Passes Choice Program Overhaul

Yesterday the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee (HVAC) passed, on a 20-2 vote, H.R. 5520, the Veterans Affairs Maintaining Internal Systems and Strengthening Integrated Outside Networks (MISSION) Act, which expands veterans access to private sector health care.

The bill got a huge boost from a letter signed by TREA: The Enlisted Association and 36 other veteran service organizations (VSOs) and other stakeholders sent a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to support it. We believe that HR 5520 represents ‘a balanced approach to ensuring timely access to care while continuing to strengthen the VA health care system.’
Just two Democrats on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee voted against the consolidation of the VA’s community care programs into one, one of which was HVAC Ranking Member Tim Walz (D-MN), who is a Life Member of TREA: The Enlisted Association.

Ranking Member Walz said “he supported 95 percent of the measure, but had concerns about how its provisions would unfold in future years.” The VA MISSION Act, for example, would fund the new private sector health care program through the regular discretionary budgeting process. While Walz supported that funding stream, he issued an amendment to shield it from potential cuts when budget caps are reinstated. All three Walz amendments were voted down by the full committee.

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