AMVETS in Action

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AMVETS Meet with Congressman Bishop to Promote Goldstar Legislation

AMVETS MEET WITH CONGRESSMAN BISHOP TO
HELP PROMOTE GOLDSTAR DADS LEGISLATION

By Patrick Mitchell
NYS Sons 1st Vice Commander


Pictured (Left-Right); Patrick Mitchell, 1st Vice Commander NYS Sons of AMVETS; Brian Crosby, Commander NYS Sons of AMVETS; Bill Clemens, Past Commander NYS Sons of AMVETS; John Mitchell Jr., AMVETS National Commander; Congressman Tim Bishop; Harold Chapman, AMVETS National Finance Chairman; Steve Kazmierski, Commander NYS AMVETS; and Ed Teller Past Commander DAV 190.

On October 8, National, State, and Local AMVETS Members assembled at Congressman Tim Bishop’s office to help promote Gold Star Dads Legislation. The Gold Star Fathers Act (H.R. 1832) sponsored by Congressman Bishop and co-sponsored by Congressman Walter Jones of North Carolina is attempting to recognize Gold Star Dads as a nonprofit organization consisting of the fathers of service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the United States.

The Gold Star Fathers Act of 2013 will allow for fathers of certain disabled or deceased veterans to be granted “preference eligible” status when applying for civil service jobs in recognition of the sacrifices they and their loved ones have made for the country. This legislation provides tangible benefits for fathers and will help recognize the loss shared by parents.

Congressman Bishop also spoke about the REVAMP Act (H.R. 2142), which is legislation that will attempt to make Veteran Services Organizations eligible for up to $200,000 in grants to renovate their meeting halls. Congressman Bishop also spoke about the Helping Veterans Exposed to Toxic Chemicals Act (H.R. 2510). This “burn pits” bill will create three centers of excellence for the treatment, diagnosis, and study of the effects of open air burn pit exposure.

AMVETS would like to thank Congressman Bishop for taking the time to help us advance legislation that will help our veterans. We hope to continue meeting to further inform those in the veteran community what efforts are being made to increase benefits for them.

It's Time!

During the 69 National Convention the Long Range Planning committee determined that it was time to embark upon a Long Range Plan and charged the staff to facilitate the process. That process has been initiated and it will unfold over the next twelve months, culminating in a review and adoption by our delegates during the 2014 AMVETS National Convention in Memphis, TN. I am respectfully asking that each of you give some genuine, deliberate and thoughtful consideration towards engaging and supporting this critically important process. All of our leaders and members will have an opportunity to participate in the process and provide their observations, and ideas, on what they would like included in the dialogue. Your first of many such opportunities is just a click away! Click on the “Take Feedback Survey and your responses will be considered, along with thousands of others. Your identity will not be captured. Thank you in advance for your cooperation and please share this opportunity with all of your AMVETS contacts.

John H. Mitchell, Jr.,
AMVETS National Commander

Shutdown Abandons Veterans Families

AmVets Demands Accountability as Government Shutdown Abandons Veterans Families

AMVETS National Executive Director Stewart Hickey

This government is out of control, the control of the American people. When we cannot take care of the families of our war dead, families who have sacrificed their children, husbands, wives, etc., on the altar of freedom and liberty then we have ceased to function as a republic. While the Department of Defense has money to call 350,000 employees back to work, and buy a $47,000 mechanical bull, they don’t have the funding for our fallen families. What does this say about our priorities as a nation; what does it say about the DoD? Are our children merely tools for the DoD to use, break and throw away when they no longer “work”? I am furious about how we as a nation are mistreating these families; this is a national disgrace unfolding before our very eyes. I believe that whoever made this decision should be removed from their position immediately. This is such a travesty that I am barely able to remain civil when I think about it. My three sons enlisted in the Marine Corps out of high school to fight the Global War on Terror. Every time I hear of an American killed in action I am saddened because I know it could as easily have been one of my sons; I feel for the families but to have this insult hurled at them by the very government their children were serving transgresses politics, decency, bureaucracy or any conceivable excuse. This is gross incompetence and negligence. Again, I call for accountability and the removal of those responsible for this national travesty. Those responsible obviously don’t have concern for our citizens who serve our nation in the armed forces.

30 Ways in 30 Days

Thank a Military Hero

Tell us how much you value our U.S. military members and veterans!

Submit your idea to thank a military “hero”—an active-duty service member or veteran (individual or group) in the 30 Ways in 30 Days to Thank a Military Hero promotion. If your idea is selected, University of Phoenix Military Division and Phoenix Patriot magazine will fulfill and activate your idea (up to a value of $1,500) for a deserving military member/veteran/organization in YOUR name!

University of Phoenix will also donate $1,500 IN YOUR NAME to one of four nonprofit military organizations of your choosing: AMVETS, American Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces Giving Program, Pat Tillman Foundation or Wounded Warrior Project.

Now, submit your idea—and thank a military hero today!

AmVets supports America's "Greatest Generation" right to visit their memorials

AmVets supports America’s “Greatest Generation” right to visit their memorials

A group of “Greatest Generation” veterans who traveled to the World War II Memorial on Tuesday, as part of the Honor Flight Program, found the entrance to their memorial gated off and were denied access until they decided the Japanese or Germans couldn’t stop them during the war and they weren’t about to let some metal barricades and the U.S. Park Police stop them now.

The nearly 200 veterans, participating in the second to last Honor Flight, with the last one scheduled in November, were visiting their memorial to honor the sacrifices made by themselves and their brothers, but due to the partial government shutdown, the site was closed.

After a few disheartening minutes the sound of bagpipes began playing and the barricades were removed. The veterans swept past the park police and blockades. Their incursion into the memorial, reminiscent of their valiant efforts on the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima, brought tears to the eyes of many in attendance and allowed them to fulfill their commitment to visit the open air monument.

A U.S. Park Police officer stood by as the veterans made their way into the memorial and commented that he was not going to enforce the “no stopping or standing” sign for a group of WWII veterans. The officer was not the only official that aided in their storming of the site.

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.), a Marine Corps veteran himself, vowed that he would not let the National Police keep the veterans from their planned visit. He was also joined by several more members of Congress, including Congressman Bill Huizenga, who stated that he had not seen a better example of civil disobedience than this in Washington in a long while.

Information Resources During Government Shutdown

» Downlaod the Veterans Field Guide to Government Shutdown

Services to Veterans not impacted by potential lapse in appropriations

  • Military Sexual Trauma Counseling
  • Readjustment Counseling Services (Vet Centers)
  • Interments in National Cemeteries will continue, but may be on a reduced schedule. Contact NCA’s Scheduling Office at 1-800-535-1117
  • My HealtheVet – All Services
  • Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted
  • NCA will process applications for headstones, markers, medallions
  • Insurance Processing
  • Home Loan Processing
  • NCA will notify VBA of death for benefit actions
  • VBA Call Centers will be operational except for education
  • Acquisitions Logistics Center will accept and fill prosthetics supply orders
  • Office of Small and Disadvantaged Small Businesses
  • Veterans Crisis Line

Operational National Phone Numbers for Veterans

  • VA National Call Center: 1-800-827-1000
  • All VA Medical Facilities & Services: (411 or http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/division_
    flsh.asp?dnum=1)
  • Coaching into Care Call Center for Family Members of Veterans: 1-888-823-7458
  • Debt Management Center: (Collection of Non-Medical Debts): 1-800-827-0648
  • Homeless Prevention Line: 1-877-4AID VET (877-424-3838)
  • Home Loans: 1-888-244-6711
  • Insurance: 1-800-669-8477
  • Mammography Helpline: 1-888-492-7844
  • Meds by Mail: 1-888-385-0235 (or) 1-866-229-7389
  • National Caregiver Support Line: 1-855-260-3274
  • NCA’s Scheduling Office: 1-800-535-1117
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Women Veterans Call Center: 1-855-VA-WOMEN (1-855-829-6636)
  • Federal Service for the Deaf: 711
  • Vet Center Combat Call Center: 1-877-WAR-VETS
  • Discrimination: 1-888-737-3361
  • Denver Acquisition and Logistics Center: 1-303-273-6200
  • Health Benefits Customer Service: 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
  • CHAMPVA: 1-800-733-8387
  • Children of Women Vietnam Veterans; Foreign Medical Program; Spina Bifida Health Care Program: 1-877-345-8179 (or) 1-888-820-1756

All VA medical facilities and clinics will remain fully operational, including:

  1. Inpatient Care
  2. Outpatient Care
  3. Prescriptions
  4. Surgeries
  5. Dental Treatment
  6. Extended Care
  7. Mental Health Care
  8. Nursing Home Care
  9. Special Health Care Services for Women Veterans
  10. Vet Centers

Services to Veterans impacted by potential lapse in appropriations

  • VBA Regional Offices public contact services will not be available
  • No decisions on claims appeals or motions will be issued by the Board of Veterans Appeals
  • Freedom of Information Act queries will not be processed
  • Privacy Act requests will not be processed
  • VA’s homepage (www.va.gov) will be updated intermittently
  • VA’s main and hospital Social Media Web sites will be updated intermittently (Facebook, Twitter, Blog, etc.)
  • Recruiting and hiring of Veteran job applicants will cease with the exception of the Veterans Health Administration
  • Presidential Memorial certificates will not be processed
  • Interments at National Cemeteries will be conducted on a reduced schedule
  • Overseas Military coordinator operations will be suspended
  • VA Secretary correspondence with Veterans and VSOs suspended
  • Outreach and Public Awareness Activities
  • VetSuccess on Campus suspended
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Education Counseling will be limited
  • VBA will not be able to continue overtime for claims processors
  • Claims processing and payments in the compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation programs are anticipated to continue through late October. However, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, claims processing and payments in these programs would be suspended when available funding is exhausted

Suspended National Phone Numbers

  • Billing Issues: 1-866-842-4357
  • Education Benefits: 1-888-442-4551
  • Consumer Affairs: 202-461-7402
  • Income Verification and Means Testing: 1-800-929-8387
  • Inspector General Hotline: 1-800-488-8244
  • Special Issues: Gulf War/Agent Orange/Project SHAD/Mustard Agents and Lewisite/Ionizing Radiation 1-800-749-8387
  • Status of Headstones and Markers: 1-800-697-6947
  • Whistle Blower Reprisal: 1-800-872-9855

VA call centers and hotlines will cease to function, including:

  1. VBA Education Call Center 1-888-442-4551
  2. Inspector General Hotline suspended 1-800-488-8244
  3. Consumer Affairs (consumeraffairs@va.gov; VA’s home page “Contact Us” function and 202-461-7402 will be suspended)
  4. Congressional Liaison Veterans queries suspended

Arthur W. Klingel, Jr.

In Loving Memory
Arthur W. Klingel, Jr.
Past National Commander of AMVETS
1994-95

Arthur W. Klingel, Jr., was installed as AMVETS National Commander on August 20, 1994, during the organization’s 50th national convention in Buffalo, NY.

A U.S. Navy veteran who joined AMVETS in 1971, Commander Klingel was a member of Post 88 in Massapequa, NY. He has held a number of key offices within AMVETS, including national first vice commander for membership, National District I commander and national judge advocate. He has also served as New York department commander and commander of Post 88.

Commander Klingel, an attorney, was sole proprietor of the law practice Arthur W. Klingel, Jr. located in Massapequa. He also served as general counsel and on the board of directors for Walter Dorwin Teague and Associates, Inc., the oldest and largest industrial design firm in the United States, based in New York City and Seattle, Wash.

Long active in the veterans community, Commander Klingel also held membership in the Disabled American Veterans. He lived with his wife, Elizabeth, in Melville, NY.

AmVets Ladies Auxiliary Jewelry Fund Raiser

Jewelry Fund Raiser

Give a gift to a loved one and benefit the Ladies Auxiliary!

Combo #1: Special Price for AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary Earring Set $58.88 Includes 2 Sets of Charms and a Pair of Nickel Free 1/2″ Hoops (Regular price $69.83)

Combo #2: Special Price for AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary Medallion $89.95 Includes Push and Pull Necklace and Ladies Auxiliary Logo Crystal Medallion (Regular price $109.90)

Combo #3: Special Price for AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary $139.95 (Regular Price $179.73) Includes the Complete Earring and Medallion Set saving you $39.78

The holidays are coming, checkout this great AMVETS Ladies Jewelry.

  • 25% of your purchase on all items will be donated to the AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary.
  • Order online at www.ladyjayne.com
  • Make sure to add the code LA to the end of your name, so credit is given (example Mary Smith, LA)

» Download the Order Form

Medicare and Healthcare Reform

What you need to know

You’ve probably heard a lot about healthcare reform. It’s in the news just about every day. That’s why we want to help you understand Medicare and healthcare reform.

Humana is a Medicare Advantage organization and a stand-alone prescription drug plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in a Humana plan depends on contract renewal.

» Download the brochure – PDF File (1.2 MB)

If you qualify for Medicare, here are three things you need to know:

  1. Healthcare reform marketplaces, also called exchanges, have nothing to do with Medicare. They’re for people under age 65 who don’t qualify for Medicare.
  2. Healthcare reform doesn’t affect the enrollment process for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans.
  3. Medicare’s open enrollment period will still run from Oct. 15 – Dec. 7. That’s the time when you can enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare prescription drug plan or select a different plan.

    Don’t confuse the healthcare reform marketplace or exchange open enrollment period from Oct. 1–March 31 with Medicare open enrollment. Both begin in October, but the marketplaces or exchanges are not for people with Medicare.

Answers to Common Questions About Medicare and Healthcare Reform

Q: What is healthcare reform?

A: Healthcare reform, in general, refers to the Affordable Care Act, a federal law that – among other things – provides access to health insurance coverage for people not eligible for Medicare.

Q: What do I need to know about marketplaces, also called exchanges?

A: Healthcare reform marketplaces or exchanges have nothing to do with Medicare. The law creates new marketplaces or exchanges to help people under age 65 and small businesses shop for health insurance. You may hear a lot about marketplaces or exchanges this fall.

Health insurance companies and federal and state governments will advertise to let people know about them because the marketplace or exchange open enrollment period also starts in October. This doesn’t affect people with Medicare.

Q: Is my Medicare coverage in danger?

A: No. Medicare coverage is protected.

Q: I’ve heard about a tax penalty if I don’t buy coverage. Do I have to worry about that?

A: No. If you have Medicare coverage, this penalty doesn’t affect you.

Q: When can I enroll in a Medicare Advantage or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan?

A: Medicare’s annual open enrollment period runs Oct. 15 – Dec. 7.

Q: Do I have to re-enroll in my Medicare Advantage, supplement plan or Medicare Part D prescription drug plan through the healthcare reform marketplace or exchange?

A: No. The marketplaces or exchanges are not for people with Medicare.

Q: Where can I find a Medicare Advantage plan, Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or a Medicare Supplement plan?

A: Through www.medicare.gov or directly through health insurance companies that offer those plans. Please note that Medicare Supplement plans are not subject to the same annual enrollment period limitations.

Q: Does the Affordable Care Act affect the cost of my prescriptions?

A: You could save money on prescription drugs if covered by a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan or Medicare Advantage plan with prescription drug coverage. The law slowly closes the “donut hole” coverage gap.

In 2014, when you reach the donut hole, you’ll receive a deep discount on Part D-covered brand-name drugs. You’ll also save on generics. These discounts are applied automatically at the pharmacy counter – you do not have to do anything to get them.

Q: Will my doctor continue to accept Medicare under the Affordable Care Act?

A: It would be best to talk directly to your doctor.

Q: How can I tell if I have a good Medicare Advantage plan?

A: The Federal Medicare agency has a “5-Star” quality rating system for Medicare Advantage plans. You can use the star rating to check your plan’s performance. The rating system gives insurance companies a strong incentive to improve your care. Check your plan’s rating at www.medicare.gov.