General Information
Home
The Commission
News for Seneca County Veterans
Post Events and News

VA Benefits -
   • Medical Care
   • Service Connected       Compensation
   • Non-Service      Connected Pension
   • Family Member      Benefits
   • Secret” VA Benefit
   • Rate Tables

Ohio Benefits -
   • Ohio War Orphan      Scholarship
   • MIRF
   • Other Benefits

Financial Assistance
Transportation
Office Staff
FAQ's
Links
Contact

News for Seneca County Veterans 

Camp Lejeune Presumptive Conditions - CALL US FIRST!!

Recently there have been many commercials aired and attorney's reaching out to help veterans file a lawsuit against the government based upon the passing of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act. This bill allows certain individuals to sue and recover damages for harm from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. This action is available only to individuals who were exposed to contaminated water for at least 30 days. This bill allows certain individuals to sue and recover damages for harm from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987. This action is available only to individuals who were exposed to contaminated water for at least 30 days.

The Seneca County Veterans office wants an opportunity to investigate the possibility of assisting you before you pay the attorney. 

The presumption of service connection applies to active-duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, and are diagnosed with any of the following conditions: Adult leukemia, Aplastic anemia, and other myelodysplastic syndromes, Bladder cancer, Kidney cancer, Liver cancer, Multiple myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease. Veterans who are experiencing other health conditions that they think may be related to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune are encouraged to contact their primary care provider and to file a claim. VA reviews and decides disability compensation claims on a case-by-case basis. The area included in this presumption is all of Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, including satellite camps and housing areas. 

If you have questions or would like to file a claim for any of the above conditions call our office,  we will be happy to assist you or your family members with the process.

National Parks Lifetime Pass

On Veterans Day 2022, the National Park Service will unveil a lifetime pass providing free entrance to national parks for Veterans and their families. The Interagency Military Lifetime Pass waives entrance fees for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and standard amenity recreation fees for the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites for current military service members and their dependents, Veterans and Gold Star Families.

Veterans and their families have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which host activities to fit any lifestyle—from serene to high octane, including hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing, camping, and much more.

The Military Pass has been expanded to include a pass that does not expire for Veterans and Gold Star Family members. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 authorized a free lifetime pass to national parks and other federal recreational lands for eligible Veterans and Gold Star Families. In recent years, they were able to receive annual passes.

Are you eligible?

For purposes of this program, a Veteran is identified as an individual who has served in the United States Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserve, and is able to present one of the following forms of valid (unexpired) identification:

Gold Star Families are next of kin of a member of the United States Armed Forces who lost his or her life in a “qualifying situation,” such as a war, an international terrorist attack, or a military operation outside of the United States while serving with the United States Armed Forces.

On Veterans Day 2022, the National Park Service will unveil a lifetime pass providing free entrance to national parks for Veterans and their families. The Interagency Military Lifetime Pass waives entrance fees for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and standard amenity recreation fees for the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers sites for current military service members and their dependents, Veterans and Gold Star Families.

Veterans and their families have free access to approximately 2,000 public locations spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, which host activities to fit any lifestyle—from serene to high octane, including hiking, fishing, paddling, biking, hunting, stargazing, camping, and much more.

The Military Pass has been expanded to include a pass that does not expire for Veterans and Gold Star Family members. The National Defense Authorization Act of 2022 authorized a free lifetime pass to national parks and other federal recreational lands for eligible Veterans and Gold Star Families. In recent years, they were able to receive annual passes.

2022 PACT ACT: UNDERSTANDING HEALTH CARE ELIGIBILITY AND BENEFITS

NOW THAT PACT ACT HAS PASSED, HOW SOON WILL VETERANS SEE THEIR BENEFITS? 

ALL VETERANS WHO LEFT THE RANKS IN SUMMER 2017 OR LATER WILL HAVE THEIR HEALTHCARE ELIGIBILITY AUTOMATICALLY EXTENDED. VETERANS WHO LEFT BETWEEN SUMMER 2014 AND SUMMER 2017 WILL BE ABLE TO APPLY FOR ADDITIONAL YEARS OF HEALTH CARE COVERAGE, ENDING AT 10 YEARS AFTER THE DATE THEY SEPARATED.

THE BENEFITS FOR COMPENSATION CLAIMS FOR INDIVIDUAL ILLNESSES WILL TAKE LONGER TO PROCESS. THE LAW CALLS FOR VA TO ADD 23 NEW CONDITIONS TO THE LIST OF BURN PIT PRESUMPTIVE ILLNESSES INCLUDING ASTHMA, CHRONIC BRONCHITIS AND BRAIN CANCER BUT THOSE WILL BE PHASED IN OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS.

PLEASE CALL OUR OFFICE IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR WOULD LIKE TO INVESTIGATE BENEFITS.

If you receive a suspicious email from the Department of Veterans Affairs, DO NOT open the email or click on any attachments or links. VA does not send emails asking for personal information, threatening emails, or emails claiming to take adverse actions on claimants or beneficiaries (jail or lawsuits). If you receive any of these emails or are in doubt about any communications appearing to be from VA, please contact VA directly at 1 (800) 827-1000.

Phishing is a type of cyber-attack where the attacker sends a message designed to deceive a person and convince them to reveal sensitive information to the attacker. It is the most common means attackers use to gain unauthorized access to a device to obtain sensitive information.

Phishing emails can come from an unfamiliar sender or familiar looking sender with an email address that is off by a few letters. Additionally, phishing emails can include large or “too good to be true” offers or attachments.

The VA takes the security of Veterans seriously.  Always reach out to our office if you have questions about correspondence from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

VIETNAM COMMEMORATIVE DINNER

There was a Vietnam Commemorative dinner held on October 26, 2022.  Please call our office to make a reservation for the next one.   If you served or have lost a loved one who served during the Vietnam war, please consider attending a Commemorative Dinner.  There should be many future dinners.

2022 Seneca County Veteran of the Year

Gregg Cole of Republic, OH has been selected as the 2022 Seneca County Veteran of the Year.  The presentation of his award took place at the VFW in Green Springs on November 10, 2022.  A social hour began at 5:00, dinner was served at 6:00 followed by a short program.  

Blue Water Navy veterans who Previously filed for Compensation Benefits

A Federal court ruled that the Department of Veterans Affairs must pay retroactive benefits for Agent Orange related health problems to Navy veterans who served on ships off Vietnam’s coast. These payments will honor the terms of a 1991 settlement between the VA and veterans.  Blue Water Navy veterans do not need to file new claims to request benefits; veterans who filed Agent Orange related claims in the past will now have those claims automatically reviewed. (Note this is a change from the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act that Congress passed in 2019, which required Blue Water veterans to file a new claim to be considered for benefits.)

Amendment to Dates of In Country Vietnam Service

SEC. 2001. REVISION OF DEFINITION OF VIETNAM ERA FOR PURPOSES OF THE LAWS ADMINISTERED BY THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS.

Section 101(29)(A) of title 38, United States Code, is amended by striking “February 28, 1961” and inserting “November 1, 1955”.

For veterans who served in the country of Vietnam during this newly established time period it opens eligibility for VA benefits they may not have been eligible for previously.

Please reach out to this office for direction when dealing with claims issues regarding this change as there are VA laws regulating the application of this change.  

SCAMS

With our daily lives becoming almost completely digital, scammers are working overtime trying to steal your personal information!!  Remember that The Social Security Administration, your banking institution, Unemployment and The Department of Veterans Affairs will all send you information by USPS, or an e-mail you have established with them.  They normally don't call on the phone.  Please be aware of any suspicious inquiries regarding your personal information. 

The Social Security Administration will not suspend your social security number (this example is from an actual call my spouse received twice).

When a real financial institution identifies what it believes are suspicious and unauthorized charges on an account, it will text or email the account-holder and ask them to verify the purchases not call on the telephone! If the account-holder says any of the charges are illegitimate, the old card will be immediately canceled and a new one will be issued.  The financial institution has no need to ask for the CV2 security code on the card because it already has the information.

If a caller from the bank tells you they need the CV2 code to freeze the card, you can bet it's a scam.

If you have doubts, hang up and call your bank, the SSA, or the VA directly!

Flag City Honor Flight

We have received word that Flag City Honor Flight is resuming flights!  Please be sure to submit an application if you would like to travel along with a group of veterans who served just like you to visit the memorials and monuments in your honor.  You may obtain an application online or from our office, just give us a call!

Ohio War Orphans Scholarship

The Ohio War Orphans Scholarship Program awards tuition assistance to the children of deceased or severely disabled Ohio veterans who served in the armed forces during a period of declared war or conflict.  To receive War Orphans Scholarship benefits, a student must be enrolled for full-time undergraduate study and pursuing an associate or bachelor's degree at an eligible Ohio college or university. Ohio residency is required. Applicants must be under the age of 25.  Scholarship benefits cover a portion of instructional and general fee charges at two and four-year public institutions and a portion of these charges at eligible private colleges and universities.  The application deadline is May 15th of every year. The deadline for the 2023-2024 academic year is May 15, 2023.  A complete application MUST be received or postmarked by May 15th in order to be considered for the scholarship for the 2023-2024 academic year.

Transportation to VA Medical Appointments

This office transports veterans to the VA clinic in Toledo and to the VA Medical Center in Ann Arbor Monday through Friday.  We do ask you to make every effort to schedule your appointments between 9:00 until 1:00.  You must allow 48 working hours in order for office personnel to coordinate your pick up time and allow for communication of details for your trip.  The drivers are on the road and you will need to leave a message for them with the following information, your name, telephone number, date of appointment and time and which clinic it is scheduled for.

VA Dental Care

In the office we often hear the question "Why can't I receive dental care through the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system?"  This is the answer;  All Veterans are not eligible for dental services per Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) §§1710(c), 1712 and Title 38 Code of Federal Regulation (C.F.R.) 17.160 – 17.166. Eligibility includes, Prisoners of War, Veterans rated 100% service-connected disability, or Veterans who received dental injuries due combat or service trauma.  The good news is if you are not eligible, Veterans enrolled in VA health care may purchase dental insurance at a reduced cost through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP).  Insurance providers include Met-life and Delta Dental.  Contact your clinic to inquire about enrollment.

PREPARE YOUR LOVED ONES

Sometimes difficult conversations are very important to have with your loved ones. No one wants to think about it, let alone discuss it, but helping your loved ones to be better prepared for when you die is one of the most important conversations you can have. Ensure your loved ones know where to locate your discharge papers and any insurance policies you may hold.  Talk about your burial wishes and possibly pre-arrange for your burial.  When the day does come, your loved ones will probably not be thinking clearly and this type of preparation could reduce some of the stress during this time for them.  Also, please be sure to instruct them to contact this office to investigate any benefits they might be eligible for based upon your military service.

Flag Cases

The Seneca County Veteran Service Commission tries to ensure that spouses of deceased veterans of Seneca County receive a flag case for the burial flag. Cases are not provided to other family members, however cases are available for purchase at various merchants in the area.

Ohio Veterans Bonus

The deadline to apply for the Persian Gulf (8/2/1990-3/3/1991) or Iraq (3/19/2003-12/31/2011) bonus has expired.

Veterans or Active Service Members who have not received a Bonus for service after October 7, 2001 (in locations: Anywhere else in the World, or service in Afghanistan) may apply.  An undeleted copy of discharge papers or other documentation for active duty service members, and an Ohio driver’s license will be needed for the application.  Please call our office if you have questions or would like to set an appointment to apply.  You may also visit the Ohio Department of Veterans Services website for more information.

 MILITARY RETIREES –

Two things going on right now that affect retirees.  First, know that even if you (and/or your spouse) continue working beyond the age of 65, you MUST sign up for Medicare Part B at age 65 or you will lose TRICARE benefits.  TRICARE benefits end at age 65, and you are converted to TRICARE For Life ONLY if you have Medicare Parts A and B.  So, if you want, keep working, but get hold of Social Security and get signed up for Medicare B at age 65.

DONATION SCAMS AGAIN

Not to knock any particular agency or organization - but, be very careful with your donations.  You should NOT be coerced, or subject to forceful solicitation.  You have every right to ask for information regarding their home office locations, points of contact, and annual reports that are required by law and which show where the money has gone.  You are free to donate to whomever you choose - but, you are also free not to donate.  Always do some investigating into how much the intended recipients may receive from your donation and how much will be applied to the "overhead" costs of the non-profit you may be donating to.

Our recommendation would be this - keep your donations LOCAL.  The Seneca County United Veterans Council and Fostoria United Veterans provide funeral details for veterans locally and are funded only by donation and reimbursement. The Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky is another excellent choice for donations, the recreation funds are obtained only from donations, no state monies are used for activities. 

 

  Please Note the following!

DIRECT DEPOSIT IS MANDATORY NO MORE PAPER CHECKS WILL BE ISSUED!  when filing claims for compensation or pension be sure to have your account information available or bring a VOID check with you.

          Claims Followup - VA does not send our office copies - call us when you hear from them!!!!!!!!!!

          Check our transportation page - PLEASE schedule your VA appointments according to our van schedule if you plan to use the van!  And, please call our transportation number - 419 443 7949 to schedule.

          We ask that you call ahead and schedule an appointment if possible - we will handle walk-ins as much as possible but it is better for all concerned if we can schedule an appointment.  It will probably save you an extra trip!

          When you call our office - you will often get our voice mail.  We do not answer phone calls when we are working with a claimant.  Please understand that we are giving our clients our total attention for the time needed to work their claims.  We will do the same for you when you come into our office.  So, when you get the voice mail, leave us a mesage with your phone number and you will get called back, usually the same day.