“Proud to Serve Those Who Have Served” January/February 2007 David Priem, Veterans Service Officer Susan Wherley, Veterans Service Clerk/Transportation st 555 West 1 Street, Waconia, MN 55387 (952) 442-2323 (952) 442-7650 E-mail: email@example.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Fax: (952) 442-3025 Veterans Service Officer On October 3rd, 2006 the Carver County Board appointed me as the new Carver County Veterans Service Officer. Prior to accepting this position I was a facility manager for Property Resources Management Co, in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. I am U.S. Army Sergeant Major retired having completed more than 20 years of military service. My most recent duty assignment was as the brigade operations sergeant major for the 34th Infantry Support Command, Minnesota Army National Guard. I received my bachelor’s degree in management and network administration from Crown College, St Bonifacious, in May 2002. My family and I have been residents of Chanhassen since 1989. I have been with my wife Joan for 31 years, we have two daughters, Katie who resides in Denver Colorado, and Kelly a senior at Minnetonka High School. I feel privileged to be the Veterans Service Officer, and learn something new every day. It has been very rewarding to assist the veterans here and I look forward to meeting many new veterans. Gulf War Presumptive Disease Update VA officials announced December 18, 2006 that Veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War who have disabilities from undiagnosed illnesses will continue to qualify for veteran’s benefits and health care until December 31, 2011. Initially, undiagnosed illnesses were covered for two years. But that time limit has been extended several times, with the secretary of veteran’s affairs getting discretion to set the period for presumptive coverage. Prior to the VA’s December 18th announcement, the latest cutoff for undiagnosed illnesses among Gulf War Veterans had been December 31, 2006. Lifesaving List Are you a list-maker? Did you know one particular list could save your life? According to Carol Bills, Patient Safety Officer at the VA Midwest Health Care Network, you should never leave home without a list of all the medications you take. Carry a list of all medications (including dosages and frequency) and drug allergies with you Show the list to every health care provider at every appointment. Clean out your medicine cabinet regularly and discard outdated medications. Doctors need this information, especially when prescribing a new drug, or they may prescribe a medication that contains the same or a similar drug as one you are currently taking. Cold or allergy drugs and common OTC anti-inflammatory medicines are examples. The ingredients in some decongestants can interact with certain prescription drugs or cause a patient to receive a double dosage of something. What else should be on your list? Aspirin should be listed, particularly if you take it every day, because it thins the blood. Your doctor also needs to know what vitamins you take, as well as any herbal drugs. Having dosages written down is important, too, as is knowing which medications you’ve already taken on a particular day. In an effort to keep patient medication information current, you may have to answer questions multiple times in the same visit to a health care provider. At some facilities the nurse may ask you about your medications before you see the doctor. Then the doctor may ask you, and later the pharmacist may ask again. Simply expect VA staff to ask about your medications, including those purchased OTC or prescribed by a physician outside the VA network. “If nobody asks, tell them”. Taking your list to all doctor visits is critical, whether visiting a VA facility or another provider, also ensure you have your list when you travel. Remember that in case of a car accident you may be taken to an emergency care facility that doesn’t have access to your medical records. If have your list that physician has immediate access to your medications. If you have general questions about drug interactions, call your doctor or pharmacist at your VA Medical Center or Clinic. Governor Introduces Military and Veterans Support Legislation Package Continuing his commitment to members of the military and veterans, Governor Tim Pawlenty today announced an historic $74.8 million Military and Veterans Support Package to assist veterans, active military members and their families. “The brave men and women in the military raise their hands and courageously serve all of us. We owe them our appreciation and respect in our words and our deeds. This Military and Veterans Support Package strongly sends that message,” Governor Pawlenty said. The Governor’s proposal includes two dozen initiatives. The two largest items are a 100% exemption from state income tax for military pay and military pensions and a Minnesota GI Bill that will provide education benefits to thousands of veterans and their dependents. The $74.8 million package of initiatives will be included in the Governor’s budget proposal later this month. Disability Compensation — 2007 Rates The following is a list of disability compensation amounts for veterans who have a service connected disability. These rates were effective December 1, 2006. The rates change annually with a cost of living increase. Additional compensation is given to those veterans who are 30% or more for each dependent. 10 percent . . . $115.00 60 percent . . . $901.00 20 percent . . . $225.00 70 percent . . . $1135.00 30 percent . . . $348.00 80 percent . . . $1319.00 40 percent . . . $501.00 90 percent . . . $1483.00 50 percent . . . $712.00 100 percent . . . $2471.00 Additional Payments for Dependents Veterans whose service-connected disabilities are rated at 30 percent or more are entitled to additional allowances for dependents. Depending upon the disability rating of the veteran, monthly allowances for a spouse range from $40 to $135, and for a dependent child, $27 to $91. Additional amounts are provided for each additional child and there is a higher scale for children in school after age 18. State Soldiers Assistance Program (SSAP) The State of Minnesota State Soldier's Assistance Program provides cash assistance in the form of shelter payments (rent and mortgage), utilities, and personal needs (dental and optical) grants to veterans who are unable to work as a result of temporary disability. Minimum Qualifications: Must be a veteran as defined by Minnesota Statute 197.447 Must be a Minnesota Resident as defined by Minnesota Statute 197.05 (b) Income and assets are below the Schedule of Maximum Allowances published by the MN DVA Optical Assistance Limited to once per year Veterans and dependents may receive up to $400.00 for an eye exam and prescription eyewear. Veterans and dependents applying for optical assistance must provide the name, address, and telephone number of the optical clinic where they will seek treatment, and the Optical Assistance Letters will be addressed to one specific provider. MN DVA pays the optical provider directly once they have received an itemized invoice. Dental Assistance There are three separate dental assistance programs. ROUTINE: Maximum assistance is $1000.00 per eligible person per year, and covers basic and routine services, normal tooth extractions, crowns and bridges. EXTRACTIONS IN PREPARATION FOR DENTURES: Up to $2000.00 lifetime limit (pre- approval required by MN DVA) Covers extractions in preparation for dentures. DENTURES: One time use up to $3000.00 lifetime limit (pre-approval required by MN DVA) Covers initial or replacement dentures. Subsistence Assistance (Temporary Disability) The subsistence program provides cash assistance to veterans and their dependents when the veteran is temporarily disabled, unable to work for at least 30 days, or may have become permanently disabled and has filed for long term assistance (such as social security and VA benefits) and are awaiting a decision on their claim. In addition to personal needs grants, the department may pay shelter costs, utilities, and health insurance premiums. Subsistence assistance is limited to 6 months. Education Assistance A one time grant is available for Minnesota veterans who have exhausted their federal resources. The grant may be used only for accredited institutions in the state. There is also a state War Orphan education benefit available to children of Minnesota residents who were killed in action or died of a service connected condition. TAPS The following is a list of veterans who recently joined their comrades who have gone before them. Al Heidorn Waconia Leo Edward Kruse Chaska Melvin G. Wiemerslage Chaska Norman L. “Snuff” Johnson Jr. Chaska Jack B. Stangby Waconia Note: Please notify our office if you know of a veteran who passes.
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