Intro

Welcome to our Big News section for all the latest news concerning Military Disability.

We'll do our best to keep you up to date on everything that could affect your disability. Since the majority of our news will cover legal issues that can be dragged out for a long time, if you'd like an update on an issue, let us know, and we'll do what we can.

Please feel free to comment and submit questions. We want to give you the information you need, so help us by letting us know what you want to know.

This page is strictly for the latest and upcoming news. If you are looking for specific information about the disability system or your disability, see our Military Disability Blog: Advice From the Big Guy or our website, www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com, for all the answers you'll need.

Monday, September 12, 2016

New Veterinary Benefits for Service Dogs of Veterans with Mental Disorders

On August 18, 2016, the VA announced their newest pilot program. The Service Dogs Benefit Pilot will provide veterinary benefits for service dogs approved for disabled veterans with mental disorders with a chronic impairment that limits their mobility.

The VA already provides veterinary benefits for guide dogs belonging to veterans with impaired hearing, vision, or mobility. This pilot program will extend these benefits to veterans with mental disorders for whom a service dog has been determined to provide the best way for that veteran to live independently.

Service dogs are specially trained to perform tasks or services for a specific person who has a disability which makes it impossible for them to do the task or work on their own so they can live independently. This specialized training is what makes service dogs different from comfort animals or pets. In order to qualify for the veterinary benefits, a service dog must have been trained according to VA regulations by a group or organization accredited by Assistance Dogs International.


Medical care provided under the veterinary service benefits include annual wellness visits, immunizations, dental care, screenings, urgent or emergency care, prescriptions, and other treatments that help the dog provide service to the veteran. For more information on the VA’s service dog program, please go to http://www.prosthetics.va.gov/ServiceAndGuideDogs.asp.


Tuesday, September 6, 2016

September is Suicide Prevention Month

September is Suicide Prevention Month and the VA is kicking off its new campaign, #BeThere, by asking family, friends, co-workers, employers—basically the entire community—to #BeThere for our veterans and service members with simple caring acts to help reduce the risk of suicide.

Dr. Caitlin Thompson, Director of VA Office of Suicide Prevention, said, “You don’t have to be a trained professional to support someone who may be going through a difficult time. We want to let people know that things they do every day, like calling an old friend or checking in with a neighbor, are strong preventive factors for suicide because they help people feel less alone. That’s what this campaign is about—encouraging people to be there for each other.”

The VA hopes that the #BeThere campaign will help make people aware of the many resources available through the VA for veterans and service members at risk for suicide or who are struggling with mental health issues.

In addition, the VA is launching a new program this month called REACH VET, which will help identify vulnerable veterans under VA care and get them the help they need before they reach crisis mode.

All of the resources listed below are available to ANY veteran or service member. You do NOT need to be registered or enrolled with the VA to use these services.

- The Veterans Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day. You may call 1-800-273-8255 and then press 1, you can text 838255, or chat online at VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat.
- The Veterans Center Combat Call Centers are also available 24/7 to combat veterans or service members serving in a combat area. These call centers are staffed by other combat veterans. Call 1-877-WAR-VETS (927-8387). 
- The Suicide Prevention Month website is  VeteransCrisisLine.net/BeThere.
- A Suicide Prevention Month Tool Kit that can be used to help spread the word in your community about veteran suicide prevention is available at veteranscrisisline.net/spreadtheword.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health issues or thinking about suicide, we urge you to talk to someone you know or contact any of the crisis lines listed above. Most communities also have local crisis lines that you can use. Help is available—just ask.