Information Bulletin

 

 

 

Disabled American Veterans, Department of Ohio

35 E. Chestnut St., PO Box 15099, Columbus, OH  43215-8099 Phone (614) 221-3582   FAX (614) 221-4822   E-mail:  ohiodavadjutant@ameritech.net

Website:  www.ohiodav.org                                                                                                               March, 2008

 


ROBERT BERTSCHY

Department Commander

 

Thousands of disabled vets face real needs that government programs can’t meet. Responding are volunteers from the DAV and the Auxiliary – joined by growing numbers of other Americans.

 

            Like all medical facilities, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics need volunteers. These volunteers are needed because many hospitalized vets have no family or friends, and they are very far from home.

 

            What volunteers do for patients at VA medical facilities can be as basic, and as important, as just being a friend in the trying days of illness and therapy. DAV and Auxiliary VA Voluntary Service (VAVS) volunteers bring a touch home….        

a personal contact with the world outside the hospital walls….the feeling that patients are remembered, that they’re still a part of the community.

 

            These volunteers perform a wide range of duties. Some enjoy direct contact with patients; participate in recreational programs and other activities on the wards. Other volunteers assist the VA’s professional staff in several ways that involve little patient contact. No matter what your inclination may be, there’s a volunteer role you’ll enjoy. And you’ll show our country’s hospitalized vets you’re grateful for their sacrifices.

 

            Another way of volunteering is the DAV Transportation Network. The DAV Transportation Network is one of the ways many veterans are able to get to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities for needed treatment. They’re men and women who answered our country’s call in times of war. Many lost limbs, sight, hearing, or good health. And, many live a great distance from a VA hospital.

 

            With fixed incomes, the cost of transportation to a VA hospital is just too high. They’re left with two choices. They could go without the treatment they need, or skimp on food or other necessities to pay for transportation.

 

            Veterans disabled in our nation’s service should never face such dire options. So DAV and Auxiliary volunteers respond, driving vets to and from VA hospitals and clinics. Other grateful Americans are helping too.

 

            The network is administered by DAV Hospital Service Coordinators (HSCs) at the VA’s 172 medical centers. The DAV has also donated vans, where needed, to make the program work. All DAV van drivers are volunteers who do not receive pay for volunteering to drive.

 

            If you would like to become a DAV volunteer please contact your DAV Voluntary Service Representative (VAVS-Rep), your VA Medical Center (VAMC) Voluntary Services office or your nearest VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic. When talking with your DAV VAVS Rep please ask them about the new DAV Local Volunteer Assistance Program (LVAP). DAV LVAP is an opportunity for volunteers to serve veterans in their local communities.    Final Thought: Volunteering to serve veterans is very rewarding. Volunteering is very rewarding. DAV “SERVICE TO VETERANS. “  Please note: Ohio Veterans Service Commission  county offices may provide transportation for veterans VA medical appointments.

           

 

IMPORTANT NUMBERS

 

Natl. Hdqrs., DAV                  (877) 426-2838

NSO Office, Cleveland          (216) 522-3507

NSO Office, Cincinnati           (513) 684-2676

Washington Office, DAV        (202) 554-3501

Cincinnati HSC,

Sheila Clements          (513) 475-6443

Mike Shaw                  (513) 475-6443

Dayton HSC,                          (937) 268-6511

            Gene McCorkle          Ext. 2962

Wade Park HSC,                    (216) 791-3800

Walter Dryja                Ext. 3395

Chillicothe HSC                      (740) 773-1141

James Keller               Ext. 7916

Columbus Clinic,                     (614) 257-5487

            Michael Hackworth    

Brecksville HSC,                    (440) 526-3030

            Don Branford              Ext. 7353

Warren Clinic                          (330) 392-0311

Youngstown Clinic                  (330) 70-9200

                                                Ext. 105

Veterans Administration          1-800-827-1000

 

DATES TO REMEMBER

 

March 2-5, 2008             DAV Mid-Winter Conference, Crystal Gateway Marriott, Arlington, VA

March 9, 2008               4th District Meeting, Defiance Chapter #36, 14292 St. Rt. 111, at 2 p.m., Defiance, Ohio.

March 29, 2008              2nd District Meeting, Dayton VA, lunch at 12 noon and meeting to begin at 1 p.m., Building 305, Multi-purpose room, Dayton, Ohio.

April 6, 2008                  8th District Meeting, Bellaire Chapter #117, Lunch at 1 p.m. and meeting to begin at 2 p.m.,  3134 Guernsey St., Bellaire.

April 6, 2008                  10th District Meeting, Senior Center, 4656 W. Broad St., Columbus, meeting to begin at 1:30 p.m.

April 12, 2008                Testimonial Dinner Auxiliary Commander Dorothy Clark, Holiday Inn Eastgate, Cincinnati, Ohio

April 13, 2008                3rd District Meeting, Van Wert Chapter #54, VFW Post 5803, 111 N. Shannon St., Meeting to begin at 1 p.m., lunch will follow, Van Wert.

April 13, 2008                5th District Meeting, VFW Post, 3494 Ashland Road, Mansfield, Ohio at 1 p.m.  Chapter #21 will serve lunch after the business meeting.

April 19, 2008                Testimonial Dinner Commander Robert Bertschy, Holiday Inn, Canton, 4520 Everhard Rd., NW, Canton, OH

April 26, 2008                9th District Meeting, Jackson Chapter #45, 170 Pearl Street, Jackson, Lunch at noon with the meeting to follow.

April 27, 2008                6th District Meeting, Brooklyn-Parma Chapter #116, at 2 p.m., 6617 Ridge Rd., Parma, Ohio.

April 27, 2008                7th District Meeting, Alliance Chapter #50, 9540 McCallum Ave., at 2 p.m., Alliance, Ohio

May 2-3, 2008               Forget-Me-Not, H.B. “Doc” Riley Chapter #51, Ironton and Coal Grove consecutively, Ohio

May 10, 2008                1st District Meeting, St. Timothy Episcopal Church, 8101 Beachmont Ave., Meeting to begin at noon, Cincinnati, Ohio

May 30, 2008                DAV Day at the Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati, Ohio

June 5-8, 2008               DAV Department Convention, The Crowne Plaza, Dublin, Ohio

August 8-9-10, 2008       Forget-Me-Not Drive, Salem Chapter #122, Salem, Ohio

August 9-12, 2008         DAV National Convention,

                                    Bally’s Hotel, Las Vegas.

October 10-12, 2008      DAV Department Fall Conference, The Crowne Plaza, Dublin, Ohio.

June 4-7, 2009               DAV Department Convention,

                                    The Crowne Plaza, Dublin, Ohio.

October 9-11, 2009        DAV Department Fall Conference, The Crowne Plaza, Dublin, Ohio.

June 10-13, 2010           DAV Department Convention,

                                    The Crowne Plaza, Dublin, Ohio.

October 8-10, 2010        DAV Department Fall Conference, The Crowne Plaza, Dublin, Ohio.

 

TESTIMONIAL DINNER FOR AUXILIARY COMMANDER DOROTHY CLARK

 

            The Testimonial Dinner for Auxiliary Commander Dorothy Clark will be held Saturday, April 12, 2008 at the Holiday Inn Eastgate, Cincinnati, Ohio beginning at 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.  Dinner will be served at 7:00 p.m.

 

            The menu will consist of a choice of grilled chicken breast or roast prime rib of beef, salad, seasonal vegetables, dessert, rolls, coffee or tea.  A vegetarian dinner will also be available.  The cost of the dinner is $35.00 per person. 

 

            Please mail your reservations to Sally Keller, 2726 Montchateau Drive, Cincinnati, Ohio 45244.  Reservation deadline is March 22, 2008.

 

NOTE OF THANKS

 

I wish to thank all of my DAV and DAVA family members for their support after my vehicle accident.  I appreciated visitors to the hospital, and the cards, letters, flowers and prayers sent to comfort me. My strength is renewed through your blessings, and I hope to see all of you soon. Again, thank you very much.

 

Herman W. Morton, PDC

 

NOTES FROM YOUR STATE ADJUTANT

 

Thought  For March: Some people are like buttons – They have no purpose until they become attached to something useful.

 

TAX DEDUCTIONS:  Many disabled veterans, and disabled people in general, think there is no reason to file tax returns.  However, even though VA disability compensation is not taxable and not reportable, there are times when it is to your advantage to file your federal income tax form.  For instance, in order to receive your economic stimulus rebate check you are required to

file a tax return for tax year 2007.   In other words, low income workers who had at least $3,000 in earned income but do not otherwise earn enough to be required to file a federal tax return must file a return in order to get the stimulus payment.

 

The Economic Stimulus Law passed in February, 2008 contains a special provision allowing Social Security and certain VA Benefits as well as certain Railroad Retirement Benefits to count towards the “earned income” requirement of $3,000 and thereby qualify for the stimulus payment.  SSI (Supplemental Security Income) does not count as qualifying income for the stimulus payment.  Liberty Tax Service is offering to file Tax Returns free of charge for all taxpayers who don’t meet regular filing requirements but, do receive Social Security, VA or other benefits and need assistance in filing a return to receive the stimulus tax payment.  To locate a Liberty Tax Service Office:  http://www.libertytax.com

 

Other organizations providing free tax preparation for low income and elderly taxpayers and those needing help with the Stimulus Program are:  Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program:  1-800-906-9887;  AARP  is at: 1-888-227-7669 or:  www.aarp.org

 

OHIO ATTORNEY ASKS HIGH COURT TO ALLOW SMOKING IN VETERANS’ AND FRATERNAL PRIVATE CLUBS:

 

Attorney General Marc Dann has asked the Ohio Supreme Court to carve out an exemption for Fraternal and Veterans’ Clubs from the law that bans indoor smoking in almost all public Places.  Mr. Dann filed a brief on behalf of the Ohio Dept of Health asking Supreme Court Justices to reverse a unanimous decision from the 10th District Court of Appeals.  He said That, if the Supreme Court agrees to hear the case, he would point out that voters plainly intended to allow the exemption because the ballot language provided for such exemption.

 

“Clearly the voters sent a message:  Ban most smoking, but allow private clubs a choice,” Mr. Dann said in a news release.  In his initial filing of the brief, Mr. Dann told justices that lower court nullification of the private club exemption has had devastating effects on clubs that believe they should qualify, especially those of veterans’ organizations.  Stay tuned!

 

TOWN HALL MEETINGS:  Operation Ohio Helps Its Own – These meetings give opportunity for Ohio DAV Chapters to participate and help provide support for our Troops and their families prior to and during deployments.  I encourage all Chapter Members and Officers to attend and do your best to assist troops and their families with much needed help.

 

March 5, 2008, 7:00 – 9:00 PM               Medina Performing Arts Center

            777 East Union Street

Medina, OH 44256

 

March 13, 2008, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

            Hocking College Student Center

            3301 Hocking Parkway

            Nelsonville, OH 45764

 

March 18, 1008, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

            Dublin Scioto High School

            4000 Hard Road

            Dublin, OH 43016

 

April 1, 2008, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

            Owens Community College

            Performing Arts Auditorium

            30335 Oregon Rd

            Perrysburg, OH 43451

 

April 15, 2008, 7:00 – 9:00 PM                Kettering Government Center

            3600 Shroyer Rd                                                           Kettering, OH 45429

 

May 20, 2008, 7:00 – 9:00 PM

            First Church of God

3100 Princeton Rd

            Hamilton, OH 45011

 

I hope everyone is keeping warm and staying safe while driving in this crazy Ohio weather.

 

And, as always, keep our troops in your prayers as they  fight the good fight in the war on terrorism.  And, never forget  FREEDOM IS NOT FREE!

Individual Unemployability

Leslie James, NSO

 

It is possible that veteran’s can be paid at the 100 percent compensation rate and not actually be evaluated as 100 percent disabling.  How can this be done and what can veterans do to help themselves obtain this benefit?

 

The Department of Veterans Affairs can pay veterans 100 percent compensation, even if their evaluations do not combine to 100 percent, if it can be shown that a veteran’s service-connected disabilities and ONLY their service-connected disabilities preclude them from gainful employment.  In order for a veteran to be entitled to receive Individual Unemployability (IU), they must have (1) one service-connected disability that is rated at 60 percent or more, or, (2) if there are two or more service-connected disabilities, there shall be at least one disability rated at 40 percent or more, and sufficient additional service-connected disabilities to bring the combined rating to 70 percent or more. If a veteran does not have one disability that is rated 60 percent or more or does not have a combined evaluation of 70 percent with at least one disability rated 40 percent, the VA can consider the following as one disability to meet those requirements:

 

(1)           Disabilities of one or both upper extremities, or of one or both lower extremities, including the bilateral factor, if applicable,

(2)           Disabilities resulting from common etiology or a single accident,

(3)           Disabilities affecting a single body system, e.g. orthopedic, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular-renal, neuropsychiatric,

(4)           Multiple injuries incurred in action, or

(5)           Multiple disabilities incurred as a prisoner of war.

For example, if a veteran’s only service-connected disability is a cardiovascular condition and it is rated as 60 percent, then the first requirement is met.

If a veteran is service-connected for a psychiatric disorder at 50 percent and a back condition at 40 percent, the combined evaluation would be 70 percent and the veteran would meet the second requirement because the combined evaluation is 70 percent and at least one of the disabilities is rated at 40 percent.

Once a veteran has met these requirements, it is absolutely imperative that the veteran complete VA Form 21-8940, (Veteran’s Application for Increased Compensation based on Individual Unemployability) before the VA will even consider granting this benefit.  In the past, the VA could grant IU without this application, but now the application must be completed, signed, and be in the veteran’s claim folder.  We have seen many claims for IU denied because the veteran did not complete and return this form.

How can veterans help themselves acquire this benefit? There are several ways.  They can try to get a letter from either their last employer or an employer stating they left their last job because of their service-connected disability or the employer will not hire them because of their service-connected disability.  If they can’t get that type of letter they can try to get a letter from an employer stating they will not hire them for insurance purposes or a letter stating they will not hire them for any reason.  By getting these types of letters it provides evidence that the veteran is trying to obtain employment but will not be hired because of their disabilities and it makes it more difficult for the VA to deny the claim.  If a veteran is receiving Social Security Disability for their service-connected disabilities the VA needs to know this so they can obtain those records.  However, a decision by Social Security is not binding on the VA. Once all the evidence is received by the VA a decision will be made and if IU is granted the veteran’s disability evaluation may not change but they can be paid at the 100 percent rate because the VA has determined they can’t work because of their service-connected disabilities.  Remember, whether a veteran is receiving compensation at the 100 percent rate because of the severity of their disability or because of Individual Unemployability, the amount of money is the same and if either rating is considered to be permanent in nature, the veteran and his dependents receive the same ancillary benefits.

As National Service Officers, we always get asked, “If I am receiving Individual Unemployability can I work”.  The answer we usually give is yes and no.  Yes, because if a veteran is working and the work is considered to be marginal employment, it will not stop them from receiving their IU.  Marginal employment shall not be considered substantially gainful employment. Marginal employment generally shall be deemed to exist when a veteran's earned annual income does not exceed the amount established by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, as the poverty threshold for one person. Marginal employment may also be held to exist, on a facts found basis (includes but is not limited to employment in a protected environment such as a family business or sheltered workshop), when earned annual income exceeds the poverty threshold. Consideration shall be given in all claims to the nature of the employment and the reason for termination.

No, because the VA has the authority to check with the Internal Revenue Service to see how much earned income a veteran has received and if the veteran has earned income above the poverty level there is a very good chance IU will be taken away by the VA.  Secondly, even if the veteran’s employment is considered to be marginal in nature, the VA may determine an examination is in order to see if the veteran is capable of maintaining gainful employment.  The sole reason the VA grants IU is because the veteran is not capable of maintaining gainful employment and you must be very careful and think about the consequences of what you might lose before you decide to go back to work.

As always, if anybody has any questions, please contact us at your convenience.

 

Leslie A. James

Supervisory National Service Officer