AMVETS in Action

Category: Press Release

VA Secretary, Lawmakers Swayed by AMVETS’ Campaign Against Cuts to VA Disability Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(703) 628-9621
jhoellwarth@amvets.org

AMVETS National Headquarters, June 14, 2017 – Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin backed away Wednesday from a proposal to cut Individual Unemployability benefits for disabled veterans during a Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing that followed weeks of efforts by AMVETS to kill the measure in its crib.

“As I began to listen to veterans and their concerns and [Veterans Service Organizations] in particular, it became clear that this would be hurting some veterans. This would be a takeaway from veterans who can’t afford to have those benefits taken away,” Shulkin told the Senate committee. “I am not going to be supporting policies that hurt veterans, so I would look forward to figuring out how we can do things better.”

Shulkin’s testimony directly follows an entire day during which AMVETS leadership visited all 100 Senate offices to advocate against the cuts and a letter signed by 57 members of Congress sent to Shulkin Monday citing and underscoring AMVETS’s concerns about rescinding benefits to 225,000 of our nation’s most vulnerable veterans.

The VA’s initial budget recommendation proposed to eliminate the Individual Employability benefit for veterans aged 65 and older. This benefit currently pays 60- to 90-percent disabled veterans at the 100 percent disabled rate if their service-connected disability prevents them from working. The justification for this proposal has been that veterans 65 are eligible for Social Security instead. But the veterans receiving this benefit are precisely those who have been unable to work because of their service-connected disability and are therefore able to collect very little from Social Security, if anything at all.

As a result of AMVETS’s advocacy and as of the end of Wednesday’s hearing, this change now seems unlikely to ever become law.

In conversation with Veterans Service Organization representatives toward the end of the hearing, Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson referred to the proposed cuts to Individual Unemployability benefits as “a non-starter” and acknowledged that “anyone else will pretty much tell you it’s a non-starter, too.”

AMVETS is the nation’s largest and oldest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org

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AMVETS Deeply Concerned by President’s Proposed Cuts to Veteran Benefits

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(703) 628-9621
jhoellwarth@amvets.org

AMVETS Deeply Concerned by President’s Proposed Cuts to Veteran Benefits

AMVETS National Headquarters, May 24, 2017 – While AMVETS (American Veterans) is thankful for President Trump’s proposed 6 percent increase in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ fiscal year 2018 discretionary budget, AMVETS leadership is deeply concerned by the proposed cuts to earned benefits for perhaps the most vulnerable segment of the veterans population.

The Trump administration’s budget proposal contains a provision to cut Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits for seriously service connected disabled veterans aged 65 and older. This would steal a large percentage of a wounded, injured or ill veteran’s compensation.

The argument for this cut is that these senior citizens would be eligible for Social Security retirement benefits at age 65. That argument is flawed because these veterans have largely been disabled, out of the work force and not paying into Social Security for many years before reaching 65. Many have been severely disabled as a result of their military service and unable to work since the day of their discharge.

Such a misguided move would wrongly take away about $1,200 a month from a single veteran rated at 90 percent disabled and already determined to be unable to work because or his or her military service. The monetary loss rapidly increases for veterans with lower disability ratings. In all, this proposal threatens to strip benefits from more than 225,000 senior citizen veterans who’ve been seriously disabled as a result of their military service.

AMVETS strongly opposes this proposed cut and calls for its immediate withdrawal.

This cut, along with cuts to Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA) for veterans, is being used to assure funding for a “choice” program that has yet to be adequately developed, let alone tested and proven.

About AMVETS
AMVETS is the nation’s largest and oldest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years.
amvets.org

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AMVETS Reacts To President Trump’s Executive Order on VA Accountability

For Immediate Release

Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(703) 628-9621
jhoellwarth@amvets.org

AMVETS Reacts To President Trump’s Executive Order on VA Accountability

AMVETS National Headquarters, April 27, 2017 – The executive order President Donald Trump signed today directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection is a welcomed and necessary move toward encouraging whistleblowers and eliminating problem employees within the department, AMVETS (American Veterans) National Executive Director Joe Chenelly announced today.

“The VA has some of the most dedicated people in the American workforce, but the agency has been plagued by legal inability to hold accountable a very small number of bad actors disgracing the agency. AMVETS hopes this new effort finally gives leadership the resources and authority it needs to rid the VA of those who are doing veterans harm. In the same vein, we hope this enables Secretary Shulkin and his team to recruit and retain the very best,” Chenelly said. “We are encouraged that this effort focuses on protecting and supporting brave whistleblowers who step up when they see something wrong. Hopefully this is real reform that rewards courage and integrity while stomping out whistleblower reprisal.”

About AMVETS
AMVETS is the largest and oldest Congressionally chartered veterans service organization open to and fighting for all veterans who have honorably served in the United States armed forces, including the Reserve and National Guard.

Media interested in speaking with Chenelly may contact AMVETS Communications Director John Hoellwarth at the phone number and e-mail address listed above.

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New AMVETS Post Launched In Oyster Bay

For Immediate Release

Contact: Wendy Goldstein

wendy@wlcommunication.com

(516) 375-2946

AMVETS “Veterans Helping Veterans” Launches New Post in Oyster Bay

Oyster Bay, NY – AMVETS (American Veterans), a national organization that represents, supports and assists veterans and their families, has established a new post in Oyster Bay, NY. The charter was formally presented to AMVETS North Shore Veterans Memorial Post 21 at the American Legion Hall in Oyster Bay April 18.

The new AMVETS post already has approximately 50 members. It is presently conducting a food drive to benefit veterans’ food pantries and preparing care packages for deployed service members.

“The new post is a welcome addition to this north shore community,” said founding Post Commander Richard G. DeJesu, former Commander of the New York State AMVETS Department and a resident of Oyster Bay. “The AMVETS Post gives our returning veterans a place where they can find camaraderie and friendship, and the opportunity for continued service and engagement through activities aimed at helping other veterans.”

AMVETS welcomes active duty military and honorably discharged veterans from all military branches and time periods and does not require combat or wartime service. Membership eligibility includes service in the National Guard and Reserves.

AMVETS North Shore Veterans Memorial Post 21 meets on the first Wednesday of every month at 7:00 p.m. at the American Legion Hall located at 120 South Street in Oyster Bay. The next meeting will be Wednesday, May 3, 2017.

As one of America’s leading veterans service organizations, AMVETS has a proud history of assisting veterans and sponsoring programs that serve our country and its citizens.

Services provided by AMVETS include:

  • Hospital visits to brighten the lives of hospitalized veterans. Visits include talking, playing cards and even watching television with sick and disabled veterans to alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Visits to and support of families of deployed and hospitalized veterans.
  • Educational scholarships to veterans to help them complete their education.
  • Trained national service officers (NSOs) accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs and funded by the AMVETS National Service Foundation provide sound advice and prompt action on compensation claims at no charge to veterans.

Over the years, AMVETS has been at the forefront of public policy related to national defense, services for homeless veterans, adequate funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans’ employment and training, POW/MIA accountability and flag protection.

AMVETS has more than 250,000 members across the U.S. The organization’s mission is to enhance and safeguard the entitlements for all American Veterans who have served honorably and to improve the quality of life for them, their families, and the communities where they live through leadership, advocacy and services.

For additional information about AMVETS North Shore Veterans Memorial Post 21, please visit www.facebook.com/AMVETSnorthshorePost21, email wendy@wlgcommunication.com or call Commander DeJesu at (516) 220-9954.

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AMVETS ‘Because We Care’ Day

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Miles Migliara

National Publications Editor

AMVETS (American Veterans)

 (573) 528-4219

migs@amvets.org

AMVETS ‘Because We Care’ Day

AMVETS National Headquarters, March 27, 2017 – AMVETS (American Veterans) will be distributing personal care kits to their comrades at the Veteran Affairs Medical Centers throughout the country April 5th as part of “Because We Care” Day.
U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin is scheduled to attend “Because We Care” Day at the VA Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

“The event is an opportunity for AMVET posts, across the nation, to extend our support to a VA system that continually enhances veteran care,” said AMVETS National Commander Harold Chapman.

AMVETS volunteers provided more 110,000 hours of service at VA Medical Centers, all across America in 2016. Based on the Independent Sector formula for calculating the value of volunteer hours, AMVETS has provided over 4.5 million dollars worth of services to the government in assisting to provide quality care for out nation’s heroes.

 

A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s Armed Forces, AMVETS provides not only support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, but also community services that enhance the quality of life for our nation’s citizens.

AMVETS is the nation’s largest and oldest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org

 

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AMVETS Partners with The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Miles Migliara
National Publications Editor
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(301) 459-9600
media@amvets.org

AMVETS Partners with The United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration

AMVETS National Headquarters, March 28,2017 – AMVETS (American Veterans) is proud to announce our partnership with the Vietnam War Commemoration to recognize and respect the members of our Armed Forces who served during the Vietnam war.

“Unfortunately, our military did not receive a warm welcome when they came back to the states from Vietnam. In fact, they faced hostility and conflict when it came to employment and the pursuit of The American Dream,” said AMVETS National Commander Harold Chapman. “A partnership with the Commemoration signifies a change in how perceive that era in history, and hopefully sets a precedent for how servicemen and women experience homecoming in the future.”

Being the most inclusive veteran service organization, AMVETS seeks to further support a generation of our military that was extended very little gratitude upon their arrival home. Through this collaboration, we seek to provide those veterans with the honor and appreciation earned through their undying service to their country.

If you wish to interview Commander Chapman or any AMVETS representative, please contact us through media@amvets.org.

About AMVETS
AMVETS is the nation’s largest and oldest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org

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AMVETS is pleasantly surprised with President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead VA

Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(301) 683-4035

American Veterans (AMVETS) is pleasantly surprised with President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“In the absence of clarity about who was to lead the VA, we grew more than a little concerned that political considerations might undermine veterans’ best interests,” said AMVETS Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “But this wise decision by President-elect Trump validates what we’ve long known and said – that the Veterans Health Administration is on the right track despite a prolonged, concerted smear campaign aimed at dismantling and privatizing veterans care. We applaud the transition team’s diligence.”

Since the election, AMVETS has been calling for continuity in leadership to protect and sustain the crucial improvement already underway within the VA. Dr. Shulkin is a strong leader who’s been a driving force behind these modernizations and improvements.

“While our membership has been clear in its preference to have a veteran leading the VA, I am heartened by the fact that Dr. Shulkin seems to legitimately ‘get it.’ Even as the undersecretary for VHA, Dr. Shulkin has continued to personally see patients in an admirable effort to stay in touch with veterans and caregivers,” said Chenelly.

AMVETS is looking forward to the confirmation process and will be paying close attention.

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AMVETS is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About VA Secretary Position

For Immediate Release
Contact: John Hoellwarth
National Communications Director
AMVETS (American Veterans)
(301) 683-4035
jhoellwarth@amvets.org

AMVETS is ‘Deeply Concerned’ About VA Secretary Position

AMVETS National Headquarters, Jan. 9th, 2017 – American Veterans (AMVETS) is deeply concerned that the incoming administration, less than two weeks before President-elect Donald J. Trump’s inauguration, has yet to provide any clarity on who will lead the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) once he takes office.

“We cannot afford any lapse in leadership at the VA, especially at the Secretary level,” said AMVETS National Executive Director Joe Chenelly. “Millions of American Veterans receive necessary, earned care and benefits from the VA every day. The transition between administrations naturally brings uncertainty, but that must be minimized with a timely decision by the incoming president regarding the VA Secretary.”

“We, the veterans’ community, have been patient because we want this decision to be made wisely, with all of the facts taken into account. We realize a lot of misinformation has been spread over the past year-plus, and that takes time to cut through. We do not want to rush this, but timeliness is crucial,” Chenelly said. “A lot of important work on behalf of veterans may go to waste if the wrong decision is made or if it takes too long to decide.”

Last August, Mr. Trump addressed AMVETS’ national convention by video.

“We listened as President-elect Trump said veterans would receive the care and benefits they earned and need if he were elected. We met with his staff before the election, and we’ve twice met with his transition team after the election. We want and need President-elect Trump to make the right decisions on leadership and direction. We’ve offered our full assistance, including a standing offer to travel to New York City to meet with him. We are marching in his inauguration parade. We want him to be successful in fulfilling his promise to veterans. But we will hold him accountable if he does not,” Chenelly said.

AMVETS is among a group of the nation’s most experienced veterans’ organizations, collectively representing more than 5 million veterans. Weeks ago, they collectively requested a meeting with President-elect Trump, offering their counsel as he decides who should lead the VA moving forward. That request has gone unanswered.

Today AMVETS asks all who want what’s best for our nation’s heroes to call on President-elect Trump to meet directly with the veterans’ service organizations as soon as possible.

About AMVETS
AMVETS is the nation’s largest and oldest Congressionally-chartered veterans service organization that is open to and fights for all veterans who served honorably, including reservists & guardsmen. AMVETS has been a nonpartisan advocate for veterans and their families for more than 70 years. amvets.org

2016 Fall Sweepstakes Winners

Lanham, MD, November 14, 2016 — AMVETS selected the 10 lucky sweepstakes winners from thousands of entries from around the country for prizes ranging from $500 to the $10,000 grand prize. The drawing took place today at the AMVETS National Headquarters in Lanham, MD.

Proceeds from the sweepstakes will help support AMVETS’ continuing mission to deliver quality of life programs for veterans and their families.

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2016 AMVETS Veterans Day Sweepstakes:

  • $10,000.00 – Mr. & Mrs. William Carter of Huntley, IL
  • $5,000.00 – Mr. George Ben Johnson of Seabeck, WA
  • $2,500.00 – Mr. John M Evers of Iselin, NJ
  • $1,000.00 – Mr. Thomas J. Melvin of Millsboro, DE
  • $500.00 – Mrs. Betty D. Kelm of Bowling Green, KY
  • $500.00 – Mrs. M. Bissinger of Ormond Beach, FL
  • $500.00 – Mr. Charles Kelley of Davie, FL
  • $500.00 – Ms. Marlene Kearns of Pittsburgh, PA
  • $500.00 – Mr. James L. Lutz of Eastlake, OH
  • $500.00 – Mr. Robert Zellner of Green Bay, WI

About AMVETS:
A leader since 1944 in preserving the freedoms secured by America’s armed forces, AMVETS provides support for veterans and the active military in procuring their earned entitlements, as well as community service and legislative reform that enhances the quality of life for this nation’s citizens and veterans alike. AMVETS is one of the largest congressionally-chartered veterans’ service organizations in the United States, and includes members from each branch of the military, including the National Guard and Reserves. To learn more visit www.amvets.org.

‘Walking Dead’ Star to Represent American Veterans

Award-winning Actress Kerry Cahill partners with AMVETS to continue her father’s legacy of helping veterans obtain the help they need. Kerry Cahill’s father, Michael Cahill, was killed in the terrorist attack at Fort Hood.

Kerry Cahill addresses the crowd at AMVETS' 2016 National Convention
Kerry Cahill addresses the crowd at AMVETS’ 2016 National Convention
WASHINGTON, DC (October 31, 2016) – Actress and veterans’ advocate Kerry Cahill, star of AMC’s “The Walking Dead” Season 7, which premiered Oct. 23, has joined American Veterans (AMVETS) as its official spokesperson.

Cahill’s relationship with AMVETS and her fierce advocacy for veterans stem from the tragic loss of her father, Army veteran Michael Cahill, who was killed in 2009 during the now-infamous terrorist attack on Fort Hood, Texas, while treating pre- and post-deployment soldiers as a physician’s assistant at the Soldier Readiness Program there.

Cahill said, “I am excited to be working with AMVETS, it’s one of the oldest and most inclusive veteran’s organizations. They have a dedication to service, and I will carry that mantle as well. My dad’s mission was simple, get every soldier, every patient, every veteran the care they needed. I will be continuing that mission. I’m excited to be able to be a megaphone for the men and women that have fought so hard for us. They fought for us; I will fight for them.”

In her capacity as AMVETS’s spokesperson, Cahill will be actively engaging the media and the public to advocate for veterans and raise awareness about the issues they face, such as lowering an alarming rate of suicide that claims one veteran every 72 minutes.

About Kerry Cahill
Born in Helena, Montana, Kerry Cahill grew up an army brat in small rural towns of Montana, Oregon, and Texas. Cahill studied Drama at Loyola University New Orleans; the British American Drama Academy Oxford; and Queen’s University Belfast, later moving to Chicago to study with Second City, the Profiles Theater, and Rick Snyder. Cahill’s film break came under the direction of Werner Herzog in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. Her film career has continued to gain momentum as she has worked alongside Reese Witherspoon, Paul Walker, Uzo Aduba, and Woody Harrelson. She appeared alongside Jason Clark in Terminator Genisys and had a significant role in the recent film Free State of Jones with director Gary Ross and actor Matthew McConaughey. Cahill can now be seen on one of television’s hottest shows, The Walking Dead. Having filmed projects such as By Way of Helena, Showing Roots, ZOO, and Free State of Jones, Cahill continues her upward climb to A-list status and is recognized as an award-winning actress that plays strong characters next to some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

For more information about Kerry Cahill please contact her publicist Tracie Hovey at 202-248-5003.

Original Source: Actress and Advocate: ‘Walking Dead’ Star to Represent American Veterans