To obtain help from a VA financial counselor, veterans can call VA
toll-free at 1-877-827-3702. Information about VA's home loan guaranty program can be obtained at www.homeloans.va.gov http://www.homeloans.va.gov/.
U.S. Department of Labor Initiative Aids Employment of Veterans With
Traumatic Brain Injury and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The U.S. Department of Labor today announced a new online resource to
help employers in their employment of veterans with traumatic brain injury(TBI)
and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), two increasingly common battlefield conditions. The new America's Heroes at Work Web site (http://www.AmericasHeroesAtWork.gov) provides information about TBI and PTSD as well as tools and guidance on how to implement workplaceaccommodationsand other services that benefit affected individuals. In addition, the
Website includes the toll-free phone number of the Job Accommodati on Network,
which employers can call to receive personal assistance relating to job
accommodations for veterans with disabilities.
"This America's Heroes at Work initiative focuses on the employment
challenges of returning service members who are living with traumatic
brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder," said Secretary of Labor
Elaine L. Chao. "One of the best ways we can help these courageous men and
women and honor their sacrifice is to help them return to full, productive
lives through work. Employment can also play a role in their recovery."
Chao unveiled the initiative at the National Press Club, along with a
number of federal and private partners including: representatives from the
Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Society
for Human Resource Management.
Although their injuries may not be visible, people with TBI or PTSD may
facesome difficulties--especially with respect to employment. In many cases,
a few reasonable workplace supports can help resolve these issues. Through
America's Heroes at Work, employers can leverage a variety of promising
practices, such as job coaching and mentoring programs to create a
positive, successful workplace experience for disabled veterans and non-veteran
employees, such as first responders, who have experienced traumatic
events. America's Heroes at Work is managed jointly by the Department of Labor's
Office of Disability Employment Policy and Veterans' Employment and
Training Service, in collaboration with other federal agencies engaged in TBI and
PTSD programs, including the Department of Defense, the Department of
Veterans Affairs, the Department of Health and Human Services,
the Department of Education, and the Social Security Administration.
U.S. Department of Labor releases are accessible on the Internet at
The information in this news release will be made
available in alternate format (large print, Braille, audio tape or disc)
from the COAST office upon request. Please specify which news release
when placing your request at 202-693-7828 or TTY 202-693-7755. The Labor
Department is committed to providing America's employers and employees
with easy access to understandable information on how to comply with its laws
and regulations. For more information, please visit
PH for PTS?
The recent Pentagon's decision not to issue a Purple Heart medal to those suffering from PTS was expected, but still very disappointing. In doing so, the Pentagon (unintentionally, I believe) has added to the burden that those who have suffered wounds of the mind carry with them everyday.
Stating that it is not a wound intentionally caused by the enemy from an ʽoutside force or agent,' is bogus. That is like trying to say that when a group of combatants are injured by a bomb or mortar, that those injured by the bigger pieces of shrapnel are more important than those who are injured by the smaller pieces.
Just because there is no "bloodshed" doesn't mean they do not 'bleed'. They bleed inside and their bleeding goes on for a much longer time than a typical wound. For some, that wound is ripped open on a daily basis. For others, not as often, but no less significant.
Those with PTS are only asking for recognition and respect for their wound - the unseen, invisible consequence of combat. Recognizing it as a wound would go a long way in taking away the stigma that is currently attached to the diagnosis of PTSD. This stigma hinders, even prevents those who need help to seek it or to get it. The lack of respect for this wound means that most who have it feel that it is somehow less worthy or matters less than a typical wound. That is so wrong. And those feelings make their wound so much worse. Combat PTS/battlefield stress needs to be recognized as a distinct combat wound, such as TBI is known. That alone will go a long way in taking away the stigma, embarrassment, and guilt (all undeserved) associated with PTS. If not the Purple Heart, then it should be another medal.
No matter the disappointments and setbacks, The Silver Star Families of America will continue in our mission of getting the recognition and treatment our wounded and ill servicemembers/veterans deserve. At the heart of SSFoA and interwoven into the fabric of the Silver Star Banner and Flag are these sentiments:
We recognize and honor the sacrifice you have made
and continue to make every day
WE WILL NEVER FORGET
"Innovation Competition" Begins at Veterans Affairs
VA Employees Asked to Submit Recommendations for Transforming Service to
WASHINGTON (Sept. 10, 2009) - To speed its transformation into a 21st
Century organization that is Veteran-centric, results-oriented and
forward-looking, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has launched
one of the largest innovation competitions in the agency's history. The
competition solicits ideas from VA employees and co-located Veterans
Service Organizations who are on the front lines of the Veterans
Benefits Administration (VBA) and encourages them to submit entries
addressing everything from claims processing times to better process
"The men and women of VA know that many Veterans are often asked to wait
too long for the critical services they have earned while defending our
Nation," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said. "These
employees who grapple with the claims process every day have the first
hand knowledge and experience necessary to help us understand
inefficiencies and improve the system. We are confident that our team
will come forward with many creative and original ways to accelerate
processes and better deliver services for our nation's Veterans."
The on-line proposal period began on Tuesday, Sept, 8, and will conclude
after Veterans Day. Employees from the agency's 57 regional offices
have been encouraged by the Secretary to submit entries via a secure
online platform. At the close of the competition, VA administrators
from each regional office will select the winning ideas, which will be
reviewed by a team chaired by Patrick W. Dunne, the VA Under Secretary
for Benefits. The final selections will receive full funding for
project development and execution at the Regional Offices submitting the
President Obama announced the innovation competition while speaking to
the Veterans of Foreign Wars in August. "We're going to fund the best
ideas and put them into action, all with a simple mission: cut those
backlogs, slash those wait times, deliver your benefits sooner," said
VA and the White House will share the winning entries with the public