Archives for posts with tag: Veterans Independence Plus benefit

In honor of Veterans Day, I am re-posting a memo from the Social Security Administration…

Every Veterans Day, the nation honors the brave men and women who risk their lives to protect our country and the freedoms we cherish. Social Security honors veterans and active duty members of the military every day by giving them the support they deserve. A vital part of that is administering the Social Security disability program.

For those who return home with injuries, Social Security is a resource they can turn to for disability benefits. Social Security’s Wounded Warriors website is at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors.

The Wounded Warriors website has answers to many commonly asked questions, and shares other useful information about disability benefits, including how veterans can receive expedited processing of disability claims. Benefits available through Social Security are different from those available from the Department of Veterans Affairs and require a separate application.

The expedited process is available to military service members who become disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, regardless of where the disability occurs.

Even active duty military who continue to receive pay while in a hospital or on medical leave should consider applying for disability benefits if they’re unable to work due to a disabling condition. Active duty status and receipt of military pay doesn’t necessarily prevent payment of Social Security disability benefits. Although a person can’t receive Social Security disability benefits while engaging in substantial work for pay or profit, receipt of military payments should never stop someone from applying for disability benefits from Social Security.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

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Re-posting a timely entry from the Social Security Administration…I think we all know someone fighting or surviving cancer…

In 2016, more than a million people will be diagnosed with cancer around the world. This alarming statistic affects the young, the elderly, and families everywhere. On June 5, 2016, we observe National Cancer Survivors Day in the United States. In support of this day, Social Security encourages getting checkups to provide early detection, raise awareness through education, and recognize the survivors who have gone through this battle or are still living with the disease.

Social Security stands strong in our support of the fight against cancer. We offer services to patients dealing with this disease through our disability program and our Compassionate Allowances program. Compassionate Allowances are cases with medical conditions so severe they obviously meet Social Security’s disability standards, allowing us to process the cases quickly with minimal medical information. Many cancers are on our Compassionate Allowance list.

There’s no special application or form you need to submit for Compassionate Allowances. Simply apply for disability benefits using the standard Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) application. Once we identify you as having a Compassionate Allowances condition, we’ll expedite your disability application.

Social Security establishes new Compassionate Allowances conditions using information received at public outreach hearings, from the Social Security and Disability Determination Services communities, from medical and scientific experts, and from data based on our research. If you think you qualify for disability benefits based on a Compassionate Allowances condition, please visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov to apply for benefits.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Many Veterans returning from war time service suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Consider these facts:

— More than 2 million men and women have served in the military since 2001 during our nation’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
— 37,000 Massachusetts men and women have served in Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts, including branches of National Guard and Reservists.
— Approximately half of these enlisted veterans are deployed more than once, and many more than five times.
— There are many, many more current service members with families than in our nation’s past.

Symptoms of combat stress can occur anytime after returning home, and if the symptoms don’t go away, it’s important for individual service men and women to seek help. Do you know a veteran, or family friend, with behavioral symptoms which may include: difficulty concentrating, trouble sleeping, fatigue, constantly feeling on alert, feeling numb, feeling irritable, avoiding people and places that are stressful? Are they showcasing signs of memory problems, lack of concentration, and general anxiety?

As our veterans return to their communities following service deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, they attempt to adjust to a new and different civilian life. For many veterans and families, there is a medical need for clinical care, counselling, and support services in order to deal with the invisible wounds of war.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

For anyone who has known a returning wartime veteran in recent years, there is an awareness and great concern over the condition known as “post traumatic stress disorder”. Veterans young and old, male and female, who are subjected to the stress of combat can experience great difficulty in the process of re-adjustment to civilian life. And many are forced to deal with an “invisible wound.”

Coming home after a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan is challenging for everyone, and most service members and veterans will experience some signs of stress. But for many people, symptoms of combat stress get worse. For some, signs of combat stress or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) may not appear for several months after they come home.

    Veterans and family members are affected.

It is estimated that one in three returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are vulnerable to post combat stress and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI), which are the result of exposure to explosions in the war theater which produce blast fields and blast waves which affect the biological functions of the body.

Post traumatic stress disorder, or combat stress, are terms used to describe the conditions which affects hundreds of thousands of veterans. Many military personnel returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grapple with combat stress and/or traumatic brain injury. This is normal…it is the human body’s reaction to a traumatic event. But our veterans need professional, medical help to live a normal, healthy life.

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– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Information worthy of reflection and personal engagement…I am forwarding a portion of a note from the Veterans Administration:

Perhaps the greatest value of a life is to spend it for something that lives after it. On Memorial Day, we honor and remember more than a million Veterans who lost their lives on our behalf to defend our Nation. We also thank their families who supported them and helped make it possible to have the freedoms we enjoy today.

A little background and history: Just a few years after the Civil War ended, “Decoration Day” was established (originally celebrated on May 30th) with the purpose of decorating the graves with flowers of those who died in war. In 1868, Maj. Gen. John A. Logan, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), admonished: “We should guard their graves with sacred vigilance. … Let pleasant paths invite the coming and going of reverent visitors and fond mourners. Let no neglect, no ravages of time, testify to the present or to the coming generations that we have forgotten as a people the cost of a free and undivided republic.” In 1966, Memorial Day was declared a national holiday.

In December 2000, “The National Moment of Remembrance Act,” Public Law (P.L.) 106-579, was signed into law, to ensure the sacrifices of America’s fallen heroes are never forgotten. As a result of this law, all Americans are encouraged to give something back to our country. Additionally, we are encouraged to pause wherever we are at 3 p.m. local time on Memorial Day for a minute of silence to remember and honor those who have died in service to the Nation. We hope you will join us as we remember and honor our Veterans.

Thank you for sharing in our pursuit to accomplish the mission given us by President Abraham Lincoln “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan”. Today, due to medical advances, more of our Veterans return home, but require great care. Thanks to your support and partnership, we are able to serve the needs of more of these valiant men and women.

As we notice the flowers blooming around us this season, may we be reminded of the sacrifice our Veterans made to secure a better life for each of us.

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Author Note: Many volunteers and veterans in all our towns will be honoring veterans with gravesite flowers this weekend. If you are interested in volunteering to help, please contact your local Veteran Services Officer (usually can be reached at your local town hall.)

– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Navigating and understanding the range and breadth of benefits and benefit programs available through the Veterans Administration can be extremely difficult, if not mind-numbing. Over the next several weeks, I will attempt to provide an overview and definition of specific Veteran benefits and how they are categorized.

Disability Compensation:
In simple terms, the VA provides degrees of financial compensation for those Veterans who were disabled during service. Disability compensation is a monthly tax-free benefit paid to Veterans who are at least 10% disabled because of injuries or diseases that were incurred in or aggravated during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training. A disability can apply to physical conditions, such as a chronic knee condition, as well as a mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Under certain circumstances, the VA may conclude that certain current disabilities were caused by service, even if there is no specific evidence proving this in your particular claim. For example, Vietnam Veterans and agent orange. Each and every Veteran who was stationed in Vietnam is considered exposed to agent orange, which has presumptive health consequences including certain forms of cancer, type II diabetes, ischemic heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Presumed Disability:
Certain conditions are considered “presumed disability” by the Veterans Administration:
– Former prisoners of war
– Veterans who have certain chronic or tropical diseases that become evident within a specific period of time after discharge from service
– Veterans who were exposed to ionizing radiation, mustard gas, or Lewisite while in service
– Veterans who were exposed to certain herbicides, such as by serving in Vietnam
– Veterans who served in Southwest Asia during the Gulf War

Much more detailed information is available on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website: http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/
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– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com

Veterans Directed Home and Community Based Services, referred to as “Independence Plus” can cover a wide range of goods and services, but there are limitations. For example, the following are not covered through “Independence Plus”…

— Any service duplication. That is, a service benefit which the veteran already receives from the Veteran Administration
— Monthly rent, mortgage payments, or room and board
— Personal items, living expenses, and services not related to one’s disability or independence
— Experimental treatments which have not been medically approved by the Veteran Administration

Participants in the “Independence Plus” program receive a monthly budget to use for their personal care and relevant supplies in place of receiving the same from the VA Health Care system. To be clear, the veteran authorizes the agency to pay service providers on his or her behalf, but does not personally receive the cash payments.

“Independence Plus” is a program still in various stages of development in different states across the country. As is often the case, participation requirements may change as the program matures. In Massachusetts, this program started in 2009 and is being rolled out through local VA Medical Centers. Currently, “Independence Plus” is being managed and administered out of Bedford, MA.

Any/all veteran applicants should contact their local VA Medical Center to learn more specific details concerning their care requirements, and to determine final eligibility.

– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com