Veterans Benefits Information

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Veterans Benefits Information

Help us observe Memorial Day virtually

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The coronavirus pandemic already has led to the cancellation of Memorial Day events, including some coordinated by American Legion posts. As social distancing has become the best defense against the virus, more cancellations are expected, limiting how Americans can honor those who died while in service to our nation.

Because of that, The American Legion will provide a safe venue to observe Memorial Day: social media. We’re asking our American Legion Family members – and those outside of the organization – to share with us the names of those you will honor and remember on Memorial Day. Our plan is to compile a list and then begin sharing them regularly via our social media channels over Memorial Day Weekend.

Here’s what we need:

• The servicemember’s name, along with the submitter’s relationship to the servicemember;

• Year entering and year leaving the military;

• Branch of service; and

• A photo of the servicemember, either in uniform or civilian clothes.

Information can be submitted via Legiontown through the category Virtual Memorial Day. Submissions will be shared via Facebook and Twitter starting May 22. Follow along either social media platform using the hashtag #VirtualMemorialDay.


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The Answer: What is The American Legion?

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On April 2, viewers of one of the nation's most popular and longest-running game shows got a clue about The American Legion.

The nation's largest veterans organization was featured during the airing of the show in the "This and That" category as a $200 clue. Contestants were given the information "This All-'American' Veterans' Organization Was Chartered by Congress in September 1919."

Contestant Tiffany Eisenhauer answered correctly.


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March Impact Report: Legion steps up in the face of pandemic

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American Legion National Commander Edward N. Scheiberling observed in 1945, as World War II was grinding into its final months, that The American Legion has “demonstrated to the world … the power of the American people when they face a grave emergency.” Seventy-five years later, The American Legion is demonstrating that power again.

Posts worldwide have been actively checking on veterans, feeding children, buying supplies and assisting in hundreds of ways as their communities endure the difficulties of sheltering at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and the deadly COVID-19 infection.

Meanwhile, The American Legion National Headquarters has continued to fulfill its core mission by representing veterans in their VA appeals cases, providing Temporary Financial Assistance grants to military and veteran families with minor children at home and helping veterans find jobs.

Click here to see the March 2020 American Legion Membership Impact Report, as well as reports from past months.


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N.C. post’s first blood drive ‘amazingly successful’

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By all accounts, the first blood drive coordinated by American Legion Post 41 in Troutman, N.C., was “amazing successful.”

Before the April 4 event, all 36 donor slots were filled. Overall, 38 donors contributed 34 units of blood during a time when the American Red Cross has determined “an urgent need for blood donations” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lee McDaniel, Post 401’s sergeant at arms, served as coordinator for the blood drive. He had planned the event before COVID-19 had entered the United States. But as the virus spread, the urgency grew.

“Even though it is not something I can donate to, this is the mission that I had,” said McDaniel, who is unable to donate himself because he was in England in the 1980s during Mad Cow Disease. “Just being able to organize it and bring people together who are able to donate to complete the mission was very rewarding and satisfying to me. The Red Cross staffers who were there were amazed at how well our first blood drive went.”

The American Legion has supported such Red Cross efforts for decades. In 1942, The American Legion launched its Blood Donor program that encourages individual blood donations and post blood drives. American Legion National Commander Bill Oxford, who donated eight gallons of blood in his lifetime, delivered that message in a video released last week.

“Please consider a blood donation to support these efforts,” said Oxford, from his home in North Carolina. “Additionally, I would encourage American Legion posts to consider working with your local Red Cross to promote — or even host — a blood drive.”

Amid the coronavirus, the Red Cross has instituted new safety procedures to ensure the safety of donors, volunteers and the blood being donated. Among the new protocols is checking for fevers of all potential donors before they enter the facility. In Troutman, no one failed the temperature checkpoint.

“We had a pretty good system going to ensure safety,” said McDaniel, who envisions the post organizing twice-annual blood drives going forward.

He explained that a donor would first walk to the front entrance where a volunteer performed the temperature check. Once the donor passed, they would walk into the post’s foyer area, which served as a waiting room for up to two people at a time. From there, donors would proceed to the main hall one at a time to the check-in area, then wait until they were called to the opposite end of the hall to complete a form about their health history. One at a time, donors would then be led to where they would give blood.

The approximately dozen or so volunteers — American Legion members, Red Cross volunteers and civilians — all wore face masks and gloves throughout the 5 ½-hour drive. Additionally, the Red Cross follows traditional safety procedures such as changing gloves frequently, disinfecting donor-touched areas and sterilizing tools before each donation.

Efforts by American Legion posts, members and others has been appreciated by the Red Cross.

“A sufficient and safe blood supply is a community responsibility to help ensure we have blood products available for patients in need,” American Red Cross National Partnerships Director Donna M. Morrissey said. “The American Red Cross thanks The American Legion from the bottom of our hearts for the ongoing support. We applaud your courage and strength to give blood during this worldwide health crisis.”


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COVID-19 stimulus bill provides nearly $20B to VA

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The United States Senate unanimously passed a $2.2 trillion relief package designed to alleviate some of the impact of the economic fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This will deliver urgently needed relief," President Donald Trump said as he signed the bill into law.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) will provide direct payments to Americans, expansion of unemployment insurance, aid to large and small businesses, and significant funding for the healthcare industry.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will receive $19.6 billion in additional funding to fight the pandemic. The majority of the money allocated to VA will go directly to the Veterans Health Administration. This funding will provide essential medical services, including vital medical and protective equipment, testing kits, personal protective equipment (PPE), and medical supplies to support growing demand for health-care services at VA facilities and through telehealth services. Provisions in the bill require VA to provide PPE to all home health-care workers serving veterans at home and in the community. To support VA staff working overtime during the COVID-19 pandemic, the CARES Act waives pay caps for VA staff so they can be fully compensated for hours served.

The funding provided by the CARES Act will ensure VA is able to provide additional care and support for the most vulnerable veterans, including through programs assisting those who are homeless or at-risk of homelessnes, as well as within VA-run nursing homes and community living centers.

The most notable change in how veterans are able to receive VA health care during the pandemic is the expansion of telehealth services. Funds to bolster telehealth capabilities through increased telework and call center capabilities will deliver health care and mental health services while helping mitigate the risk of virus transmission. VA is also authorized to enter into agreements with telecommunications companies in order to provide broadband services for veterans so they can receive tele-mental healthcare.

To do your part in flattening the curve in the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • Practice social distancing

  • Get a flu shot

  • Keep your hands clean by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

  • Avoid people who are sick

  • Stay home and away from others when sick

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with tissues or your arm/sleeve. Dispose of tissues in the trash.

  • Keep surfaces clean using disinfecting wipes

  • Check the CDC advisories prior to planning travel

 

For the latest VA updates on coronavirus and common-sense tips on preventing the spread of disease, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/n-coronavirus/.

Stay informed on message from American Legion National Commander James W. "Bill" Oxford and other news stories regarding the coronavirus at www.legion.org/coronavirus.


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Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at www.archives.gov