o Legislation Affecting Veterans:

H.R. 2074, would require a comprehensive policy on reporting and tracking sexual assault incidents and other safety incidents that occur at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities H.R. 1855, the “Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services’ Improvements Act of 2011,” if enacted, would ensure that long-term rehabilitative care becomes a primary component of health-care services provided to veterans who have sustained traumatic brain injury (TBI). Two bills involved veterans’ service dogs—H.R. 1154, the “Veterans Equal Treatment for Service Dogs Act,” and H.R. 198, the “Veterans Dog Training Therapy Act.” H.R. 1154 would prevent the VA from prohibiting the use of service dogs on VA property. Of the bills introduced, five—H.R. 1154, H.R. 1855, H.R. 2074, H.R. 2530, and H.R. 2646—have been favorably reported by the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Subcommittee on Health to the full committee H.R. 543, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2013, was introduced on February 15, 2013, by Representative Christopher Gibson (NY). This bill would amend title 38, United States Code, to expand the presumptions for service connection relating to the exposure to herbicides containing dioxin, including Agent Orange. This legislation would extend existing eligibility to certain veterans who served in the vicinity of the Republic of Vietnam, including the inland waterways, ports, harbors, and waters offshore or territorial seas of such Republic, as well as the airspace above

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Small Business Administration

SBA Offers Two-Day Training for Veteran Entrepreneurs

 “Military veterans make great small business owners and Oklahoma counts on small business to drive our economy,” said Dottie Overal, Small Business Administration (SBA) Oklahoma District Director. “There is no better time than Veteran’s Small Business Week to encourage veterans to start a small business. Our Tulsa Boots to Business: Rebootworkshop will provide two days of intense business training for veterans interested in starting a small business.”

The SBA Oklahoma District office will offer Boots to Business: Reboot, an entrepreneurship training course for veterans in Tulsa November 4-5. The two-day class will be held from 8:30 am – 4 pm at the Tulsa Tech Training Center, Lemley Memorial Campus, 3638 S Memorial Drive, Tulsa, OK 74145 in Training Room #3.  There is no cost to veterans and their spouses.

“Graduates of the two-day course in Tulsa will be eligible for an eight-week online course to further develop their business,” Overal said.  “We are proud that Oklahoma is one of the first states to offer this program locally from our District office.  We appreciate the support of the Tulsa Technology Center and the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers in delivering this curriculum”

Boots to Business: Reboot, will introduce veterans to the fundamentals of business ownership, and lead participants through the key steps for evaluating business concepts and developing a business plan.  The program will also introduce participating Veterans to a network of lifetime business support available locally across the U.S. by introducing them to SBA’s network of Veteran Business Outreach Centers, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers and SCORE Counselors.

Boots to Business: Reboot adapts the curriculum from the SBA-sponsored Boots to Business: From Service to Startup, a worldwide program offered as a component of the Department of Defense’s redesigned Transition Assistance Program (TAP) renamed Transition GPS.  SBA currently provides Boots to Business: From Service to Startup at Tinker AFB, Ft. Sill and Vance AFB for transitioning military members.

Following the two-day training, participants will also be eligible to register for “Foundations of Entrepreneurship” an eight-week, online course that offers in-depth instruction on the elements of a business plan and techniques and tips for starting a business.   After completing Boots to Business: Reboot, participants will have the tools and knowledge they need to identify a business opportunity, draft a business plan, connect with local resources and launch their small businesses.

Online registration for veterans is available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/boots-to-business-reboot-tickets-13737724905.  For more information contact Larry Weatherford, SBA Veterans Business Development Officer, at 405/609-8012 or Larry.Weatherford@sba.gov.

The Oklahoma District Office of the SBA is responsible for providing businesses with tools for enhancing and growing their businesses. It also oversees the delivery of SBA’s programs throughout the states such as:

Free counseling, advice and information on starting a business through SCORE, the Oklahoma Small Business Development Centers, and the Women’s Business Center.  These organizations also conduct training events throughout the district.

  • Financial assistance for new or existing businesses through guaranteed loans made by area bank and non-bank lenders.
  • Business development assistance via the 8(a) program, available to businesses owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals.
  • Veterans assistance through the Boots to Business program and dedicated lending programs for Veterans

For more information on any of these programs, contact the Oklahoma District office at 405/609-8000.


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Ramone Valdez Memorial Service

The memorial service for Veteran Advocate Ramone Valdez will be held at the Midwest City Elks lodge on November 2, 2014 at 1400. Ramone was an active veterans advocate for many years belonging to multiple organizations and volunteering numerous hours in support of veterans. He will be missed.

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VA Notification: Final Regulations for Camp Lejeune Veterans and Coverage of Certain Costs for Family Members:

From a September 23 VA Fact Sheet: Since the passage of “Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012,” VA has enrolled and provided health care to those veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between January 1, 1957, and December 31, 1987. From 1957 to 1987, people living or working at Camp Lejeune were potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with chemicals known as volatile compounds, including industrial solvents and benzene from fuels.

The law provides that veterans stationed at Camp Lejeune between 1957 and 1987 will be eligible to receive health care through VA, and exposed family members will be reimbursed for healthcare costs, for the following medical conditions: 1. Esophageal cancer; 2. Lung cancer; 3. Breast cancer; 4. Bladder cancer; 5. Kidney cancer; 6. Leukemia; 7. Multiple myeloma; 8. Myelodysplastic syndromes, 9. Renal toxicity; 10. Hepatitis steatosis; 11. Female infertility; 12. Miscarriage; 13. Scleroderma; 14. Neurobehavioral effects; and 15. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The published regulations now allow VA to reimburse eligible Camp Lejeune family members for out-of-pocket healthcare costs related to any of the 15 covered medical conditions listed in the 2012 Act. Under that law, VA can reimburse costs from March 26, 2013, onwards. Family members can start applying 30 days after the regulation publication date. For more information about VA’s Camp Lejeune program, including eligibility and how to apply, visit http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/

or call 1-877-222-8387.

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Understanding the Veteran’s Choice Card:

President Obama signed into law the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 in response to mounting concerns of access barriers for veterans seeking health care.

As part of this new legislation, all veterans enrolled in the VA health care system as of Aug. 1, 2014 as well as those who served in combat will receive a “Veterans Choice Card,” but the department estimates roughly 700,000 will be allowed to use it based on the criteria.

As outlined, eligible veterans who experience time and distance delays such as being unable to obtain an appointment at a VA facility within 30 days or those living more than 40 miles from a VA facility would be given the opportunity to use the card and receive care under this program.

The guidance states all care must be pre-authorized and coordinated by VA. Any outside care providers must also meet certain requirements, including having a provider agreement with VA and Medicare certification. Certain veterans are also expected to pay private providers any previously established VA co-pays and cost-shares, deductibles and co-pays required by their private insurance

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Victim or Criminal?

Communities weigh how to deal with battle-scarred soldiers who do wrong after coming home

From The Washington Post

Compassion or conviction – that’s the choice more and more communities across the country are facing as “the effects of 12 years of war are increasingly seeping into the American legal system.

The vast majority of veterans who have suffered mental wounds in combat do not commit crimes, but post-traumatic stress disorder has been found to increase the risk of criminal behavior, especially when combined with alcohol, family stress or feelings of anger. Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who reported problems with PTSD and alcohol were seven times as likely to engage in acts of “severe violence” than veterans with neither of those problems, according to a 2014 study conducted by researchers affiliated with the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Another study by the same research team found that 23 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with PTSD and irritability issues had been arrested since returning home from combat, compared with a 9 percent arrest rate for all of the 1,400 veterans in the survey.”


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 Veteran Homelessness

The veteran homelessness population is made up of veterans who served in several different conflicts, ranging from World War II to the recent conflicts. Though research indicates that veterans who served in the late Vietnam and post-Vietnam era are at greatest risk of homelessness, veterans returning from the recent conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq often have severe disabilities, including traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that are known to be correlated with homelessness. And as the military evolves, so too do the challenges. Homeless women veterans, for instance, are far more common now than in any other time in the past.

As with the general homeless population, rapid re-housing and Housing First strategies are critical for many veterans experiencing homelessness. However, those veterans with the most severe physical and mental health disabilities – often caused by their military service – require permanent housing with supportive services.

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 Suicide & Mental Health

What is most troubling is our limited understanding of veteran suicide. The VA does not regularly release data on the number of veterans that commit suicide and there is almost no information about veteran suicide among the 47 percent of veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom who never interact with the VA.

A critical step to understanding how we can stop veteran and service member suicide is to understand that suicide itself is not the whole issue. Suicide is the tragic conclusion of the failure to address the spectrum of challenges confronting returning veterans. And, they are not just mental health injuries; they include the challenges in finding employment, reintegrating to family and community life and many others. Fighting suicide is not just about preventing the act of suicide; it is providing a soft and productive landing for our veterans when they return home

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National Commander Hope

October 1st Will Mark the One-Year Anniversary of the Government Shutdown
Now is the Time for Congress to Pass the Putting Veterans Funding First Act.
October 1, 2014 will mark a full year since the budget battles created a stalemate that halted the federal government in its tracks, leaving thousands of veterans literally locked out of VA benefits offices.  With less than 10 legislative days left for Congress to pass a budget before the new fiscal year begins on October 1, the threat of yet another government shutdown is still a possibility.
Time and again – especially in recent years, we have seen how partisan bickering and political gridlock have threatened the ability of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to meet the needs of our nation’s heroes.  The failure of Congress and Presidents to assure sufficient, timely and predictable funding has and will continue to hamper the VA and threaten our promises to the men and women who served unless we act now. 
Over the past quarter-century, veterans appropriations bills have been passed on time only three years. For the other 22 years, the VA has had to wait days, weeks and often months before knowing what its funding would be. And it keeps getting worse – over the past four years, veterans appropriations were delayed by an average of 116 days.
In 2009, with strong, bipartisan support, Congress passed and the President signed the historic Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act, which funds the VA medical care budget one year in advance, thereby shielding VA hospitals and clinics from disruptions caused by unrelated, political budget fights or government shutdowns.
While advance funding kept veterans hospitals and clinics open during the shutdown, other parts of the VA do not have such protection, including information technology, research, construction, claims processing and burials at national cemeteries.  As a result, when the government shut down last fall, work stopped on more than 250,000 disability claims awaiting appeals, research projects were threatened, and even burials at national cemeteries were scaled back.
Had the shutdown continued for even a few more weeks, even mandatory obligations of the federal government, including disability compensation and pension payments to veterans and their survivors, would have stopped.  More than four million wounded, injured ill and poor veterans rely on these payments – for some, their primary or only source of income.
Fortunately, there is commonsense legislation that would insulate VA and veterans from the harmful effects of future shutdowns or temporary continuing resolutions. The Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013 (H.R. 813, S. 932) is bipartisan legislation that would extend advance appropriations to all VA discretionary programs. The bill has been passed out of both chambers’ Veterans’ Affairs Committees, and we urge both the House and Senate leadership to schedule a vote this year either as a stand-alone bill, or as part of a larger package of veterans’ benefits.
It’s time to change how Washington pays for veterans programs by putting veterans funding first.  America’s heroes deserve no less.  

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Veteran Career Fair

Recruit Military is hosting a Job fair for veterans.  Anyone who has served on active duty, in the National Guard, or in the Reserves is invited to attend this event in order to find a new career.

Pre-register here: https://events.recruitmilitary.com/events/oklahoma-city-all-veterans-job-fair-september-4-2014

Recruit Military Oklahoma City area events provide many great career options for veterans and their spouses. The companies attending have hundreds of open positions they are recruiting for, and many more companies will be added in the weeks ahead. Some of the companies are below, and a full listing can be found here.

  • Seventy Seven Energy
  • Allied Oil & Gas Services
  • Seagate Technology
  • McDonald’s Corporation
  • Vinnell Arabia
  • Rush Enterprises
  • First Command
  • Mitchell Consulting Services Group
  • Scott-Macon Equipment and more

If you have space in your office, please print and post this flyer for all to see: https://events.recruitmilitary.com/uploads/event/attendee_poster/638/9-4-14_Oklahoma_City__OK_Printable_Flyer_HIres.pdf.

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