If you know a veteran, please forward this issue to him or her as it provides important updates, resources, and information.
In this Update:
Veterans: Now is a good time to review and update benefits
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) says that the start of the year is a good time for veterans to meet with an accredited veteran service officer to ensure they are receiving or maximizing the benefits they have earned through their service and sacrifice while in unform.
Safeguarding military paperwork, especially the DD-214, which is used to verify military service, is an important first step for securing benefits. Filing these documents for free at the county courthouse is an easy way to secure them until needed, which can often be decades into the future. Anyone needing assistance locating their military documentation can call the DMVA at 800-547-2838 or email RA-REQ@pa.gov.
Farmer veteran grant recipients announced
During Military Appreciation Day at the 107th Pennsylvania Farm Show, the first recipients of the PA Farm Bill’s Farmer Veteran Grant program were announced.
This Farmer Veteran Grant program is available through the Agriculture Business Development Center which was created by the PA Farm Bill. Through the PA Farm Bill, the Department of Agriculture awarded $200,000 to two veterans’ service organizations – Community Partnership Inc. (Butler, Butler County) and Pennsylvania Veteran Farming Network (Greensburg, Westmoreland County) – which are offering the farmer veteran grants.
Grants of up to $10,000 have been awarded for various agricultural business needs including the purchase of cattle handling equipment, hay storage, value-added processing equipment for chicken, livestock watering equipment and construction of a farm store, among other projects.
The 11 recipients of the grants are:
Financial assistance for eligible children of veterans
The Department of Military and Veterans Affairs reminds veterans with children that financial assistance is available to those attending post-high school education or training at an approved institution in the commonwealth through its Educational Gratuity Program.
The program supports children of honorably discharged veterans who have 100% service-connected disabilities and served during a period of war or armed conflict, or children of veterans who die or died in service during a period of war or armed conflict. To be eligible, a child of a veteran must be between the ages of 16 and 23, living within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania five years prior to application and must attend a school within the commonwealth. All applicants must have a financial need.
Payments will not exceed $500 per term or semester per qualified child to each approved educational institution over a total of eight terms or semesters. Read more here about the program’s criteria, eligibility, and needed documentation.
Veterans in suicidal crisis can seek free emergency health care
As of Jan. 17, veterans in acute suicidal crisis can go to any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost, including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days. Veterans do not need to be enrolled in the VA system to use this benefit.
This expansion of care is intended to help prevent veteran suicide by guaranteeing no cost, world-class care to veterans in times of crisis.
It’s also important to note that it is expected to increase access to acute suicide care for up to nine million veterans who are not currently enrolled in the VA.
Eligible individuals, regardless of VA enrollment status, are:
U.S. Small Business Administration to host virtual information hour with veterans
Did you know that veterans own roughly 9% of all small businesses in the United States and employ more than 5 million Americans?
Veteran entrepreneurs play an essential role in the U.S. economy, and a new offering from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Pittsburgh District Office will allow participants will learn how the SBA can assist the veteran community in their path toward entrepreneurship.
The SBA Pittsburgh District Office will hold “SBA Hour with Veterans” virtual seminars to discuss resources and programs the SBA provides for active duty, reservists and national guard, and veterans of all eras.
Registrants will receive an email from Pittsburgh District SBA with login instructions prior to the brief. You can select a date and sign up for a briefing here.
Registration is open for PA VFW annual women veterans retreat March 24-26
Each spring, the Pennsylvania Department of VFW hosts a Women Veterans Retreat at little or no cost to participants thanks to donations from VFW posts and districts.
This year’s retreat will be held March 24-26 (March is Women Veterans Month) at the Pittsburgh Mariott North, 100 Cranberry Woods Dr, Cranberry Twp, PA 16066.
The retreat is an opportunity for women veterans of all services and eras to gather in camaraderie to honor the dedication and sacrifices of all women who served and are serving today. The weekend focuses on services and opportunities available to women veterans.
What are vet centers?
VA vet centers provide free and confidential readjustment counseling for war-zone veterans and their families, from World War II to the current Global War on Terror.
Vet centers are small, non-medical, counseling centers conveniently located in our region. They’re staffed by highly trained counselors and team members dedicated to seeing you through the challenges that come with managing life during and after the military.
Our region is served by the York Vet Center, which is one of 12 vet centers in Pennsylvania and more than 300 across the country. Whether you come in for one-on-one counseling or to participate in a group session, at vet centers you can form social connections, try new things and build a support system with people who understand you and want to help you succeed.
Who is eligible to receive services at vet centers?
Vet center services are available to veterans at no cost, regardless of discharge character, and without the need to be enrolled in VA health care or having a service-connected disability. If you are a veteran or service member, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, you can access vet center services if you:
Contacting your local vet center
Even if you are unsure if you meet the criteria to receive services from a vet center, please contact a center.
Center services are also available to family members when their participation would support the growth and goals of the veteran or active-duty service member. If you consider them family, so does your local center. Bereavement services are also available to family members of veterans who were receiving vet center services at the time of the veteran’s death, and to the families of service members who died while serving on active duty.
Vet center locations in Pennsylvania are:
For more information, please visit www.vetcenter.va.gov.
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