Veterans Hotline: Caucus delays American Legion meeting

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Ed Wilkinson

The March 16 American Legion meeting was canceled because of caucus meetings and the post commander having surgery that day. The Legion will meet on its regular day in April, the third Tuesday of every month.

VA in need of input

Veterans Affairs will start a new initiative to solicit private sector input on the proposed “fast track” veterans claim process for service-connected illnesses because of Agent Orange exposure during Vietnam.

With the latest, fastest and most reliable technology, VA hopes to change the manual processing of these claims to an automated process that meets the needs of today’s veterans in a more timely manner.

Three new presumptive illnesses have emerged in the past year. They are: Parkinson’s disease, ischemic heart disease and B-cell leukemia.

In practical terms, veterans who served in Vietnam during the war and who have one of the illnesses covered by the “presumption of service connection” do not have to prove an association between their medical problems and military service.

The VA is going to publish a formal request to Federal Business Opportunities for private-sector corporations to propose automated solutions for the parts of the claims process that take the longest amount of time.

With this new approach, VA expects to shorten the time it takes to gather evidence, which now takes an average of 90 days.

Once the claim is fully developed and all pertinent information is gathered, the VA will be able to more quickly decide the claim and process the award, if granted.

Pick up a copy of the Veterans Guide at office

I have copies of the 2010 Western Slope Veterans Guide. The Grand Junction Free Press publishes the guide, which is full of useful information pertaining to veterans.

Come by my office and pick up a copy.

Historical, national dates to remember

• March 7, 1966 — U.S. launches heaviest air raids of Vietnam War.

• March 9, 1945 — U.S. launches bombing offensive against Japan. About 2,000 tons of bombs incinerated 16 square miles around Tokyo.

• March 11, 1942 — General McArthur pulls out of the Philippines per president Franklin D. Roosevelt as American defenses collapse.

• March 14, 1915 — German cruiser Dresden sinks.

• March 16, 1802 — U.S. Military Academy established.

• March 19, 2003 — War in Iraq begins

For information on these programs and/or other veterans’ benefits, call or stop in the Moffat County VSO office at 480 Barclay St., west of the Bank of Colorado parking lot. Call 970-824-3246 or fax 970-824-7108. E-mail veterans@moffatcounty.net. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. Other times can be arranged by appointment only. Bring a copy of your separation papers (DD-214) for application for VA programs and for filing at our office.

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