Primary caregivers stipend approved

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Primary in-home caregivers to severely wounded veterans of current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be paid a stipend by the Department of Veterans Affairs, under a bill Congress has passed unanimously. The stipend, payable to a spouse, parent, child, friend or even a hired caregiver, will be based on […]

Military feature: Schools have veterans affairs certification officials

By Liliana Castillo: Freedom New Mexico Clovis Community College and Eastern New Mexico University have veterans affairs certification officials on staff. James Smith at CCC and Margaret Estrada at ENMU said they enjoy helping veterans navigate the extensive GI Bill. “I feel like each veteran has earned these benefits so it’s an honor for me […]

Schools offer GI Bill assistance

Cannon Connections photo: Liliana Castillo Margaret Estrada, Veterans Affairs representative at Eastern New Mexico University, helps Matthew Viamontes, a junior criminal justice major and disabled Marine veteran. By Liliana Castillo: Cannon Connections Both Clovis Community College and Eastern New Mexico University have veterans affairs certification officials on staff. James Smith at CCC and Margaret Estrada […]

Diseases linked to herbicide exposure in Vietnam expanded

By Tom Philpott: Military Update About 86,000 Vietnam War veterans, their surviving spouses or estates will be eligible for retroactive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs — an average of 11.4 years for veterans and 9.6 years for survivors — under a draft VA rule to expand by three the number of diseases […]

Veterans’ stories sought

I never knew Glen Hubbard Stevens. My granddad’s little brother died 15 years before I was born. A newspaper obituary reports Sgt. Stevens was killed in action on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and that’s what’s inspired me to learn more about him. A real hero among us Stevens’? Imagine that. Records show my great uncle […]

Health reform protects military benefits

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Republican lawmakers raised the specter of military families and survivors of veterans seeing health care costs rise as a result of the national health reform law that President Obama signed March 23. But the threat was never more than a notion and it is fading away. That’s the consensus among […]

My turn: I want to hear veterans’ stories

I never knew Glen Hubbard Stevens. My granddad’s little brother died 15 years before I was born. A newspaper obituary reports Sgt. Stevens, a paratrooper, was killed in action on D-Day, June 6, 1944. That’s what’s inspired me to learn more about him this year, the 65th anniversary of the end of World War II. […]

Help for veterans available

Freedom New Mexico Veteran Service Officer George Vargas of the New Mexico Department of Veteran Services is available to help current and former service members, their families and their surviving spouses 9:30 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m. every other Thursday at the Portales Senior Center at 501 N Industrial Drive. His next visit is […]

Claims should be filed now

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist Tens of thousands of Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B cell leukemia should file claims now with the Department of Veterans Affairs for disability compensation, not wait until VA publishes a regulation officially linking these diseases to wartime service. Advocacy groups are urging the swift filing […]

Military increasing awareness of benefits

milupdate@aol.com Despite billions of additional dollars pumped into veterans’ benefits in recent years, many military personnel still leave service unaware of their VA benefits or of programs set up to help them transition to civilian life, a senior Defense official and veteran advocates testified Wednesday. Noel C. Koch, deputy under secretary of defense for wounded […]

Local veterans aid airmen overseas

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Courtesy photo: Senior Master Sgt. Patrick Hudson, USAF, U.S. Forces Korea Airmen at Yongsan Army Garrison in Seoul, South Korea had two dryers for 40 people until Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3280 in Clovis donated $500 for the airmen to purchase two new dryers. By Liliana Castillo: Cannon Connections When airmen around him in […]

PTSD disability ratings increased

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist More than 4300 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans who were diagnosed in service as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, but got low military disability ratings, have won an agreement with the Department of Defense to upgrade those ratings retroactively to 50 percent. The higher rating will represent an important win […]

Veterans cautious of health reform

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist As House and Senate Democrats negotiate a final compromise national health care reform bill, military people across the nation — and their advocates in Washington D.C. — remain vigilant for side effects. The Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders have tried to reassure military members, retirees and veterans that national […]

Stop-loss vets eligible for payment

By Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist About 185,000 veterans who were forced by wartime “stop loss” orders to serve on active duty after enlistment contracts had expired, or past their approved retirement dates, are due a retroactive special payment of $500 for each extra month they served. But these veterans must apply by Oct. 21 to […]

Old veterans daunted with current wars

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist A small group of U.S. war veterans, the age difference among them as wide as 70 years, gathered this month at American Legion Post 177 in Fairfax, Va., for a special event at the annual Veterans Day Community Fair. They had agreed to participate in a “living history,” co-hosted by […]

Female veterans face unique issues

By Anna Crook: Guest columnist The recent tragedy at the Fort Hood Army Post in Texas reminds us just how much we value and appreciate the men and women who bravely serve our nation. This Army post houses soldiers who have returned from deployment in the Middle East and others who will travel to combat […]

Homeland Security unveils new job site for veterans

By Fred W. Baker III: American Forces Press Service

Senator holding up veterans benefits

By Tom Philpott: PNT columnist More than a month after a new fiscal year began Oct. 1, the House and Senate are still pressing to pass a group of bills to improve veterans’ benefits and health programs, rolling them together in “omnibus” legislative packets. The omnibus bills can then be shaped by final compromises between […]

Executive order aimed at veterans

White House photo: Pete Souza President Barack Obama signs an executive order on the employment of veterans in the federal government Nov. 9 in the Oval Office. By Jim Garamone: American Forces Press Service WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama signed an executive order Nov. 9 aimed at hiring more veterans to work in the federal […]