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Disabled American Veterans

Department of Florida

Newsletter
By Al Linden
Executive Director


As of January 31, 2014 our membership was 59,727.
The goal for life membership goal is 62 more life members.




Commander Guy Diffenbaugh’s Message

Greetings! I’m halfway through my tour as your Commander and can tell you that it has been a pleasure serving with the best veterans in the DAV.

We just had a very successful Mid Winter Conference graduating 160+ Service Officers, which I believe is the largest class we have ever had.
Congratulations to all and thank you for doing what we do better than any veteran service organization - outstanding service to all veterans.
The Officer Training was also excellent and prepared all for success.

The other good news is that the new Crystal River Chapter is in full expansion mode and the Chapter that was close to its demise is recharged, refueled and ready to be DAV again.
Keep up the good work, serve veterans, recruit and put a “full court press” on your Congressional representation.



As you all know DAV has been fighting against the recently enacted 1% COLA cut for military retirees under the age of 62.
The Omnibus bill removed Chapter 61 Medical retirees and SBP widows from this unfair cut.
But all the remaining retirees under the age of 62 (and those in the future) will be affected by the cut.
For an E-7 retiring at the age of 40 this will mean a lifetime loss of approximately $83,000!!!



DAV National Midwinter Conference

The National Midwinter Conference will be held at the Crystal Gateway Marriot in Arlington, Va from Feb 23-26, 2014.
The conference agenda includes workshops and seminars that will give an in-depth perspective in the crucial issues facing injured and ill veterans and their families.

Join National Commander Joseph Johnston as he delivers DAV’s Legislative Presentation to Congress.

One of DAV’s top priorities is advance funding of all VA’s programs and services- not just health care. We must ensure our ours benefits and infrastructure don't fall victim to budget stalemates year after year



Also be reminded that Chapter Annual Financial Reports are due by September 30 each year.

Last year two chapters are in suspension for not having the report in on time and still have not submitted an acceptable report yet.

Chapter Officers Reports are due within 10 days after installation each year or when changes are made.

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BALANCE SHEET
As of January 31, 2014
TOTAL ASSETS $1,557,441
TOTAL LIABILITIES $55,558


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TOTAL LIABILITIES and FUND BALANCES $1,557,441
FUND BALANCES
Bay Pines VAVS $750
Gainesville VAVS 0
Tampa VAVS $0
Lake City VAVS $1249
WPB VAVS $0
MiamiVAVS $0
Orlando VAVS $2500
Eglin CBOC $0




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or

The new DAV emblem which you will see on all DAV publications and ads.

BRAND STYLEBOOK in PDF




BOOKS: VERY FEW CHAPTERS ARE TAKING ADVANTANGE OF THE LEE GREENWOOD GIFT BOOK "GOD BLESS THE USA".
WHAT AN EASY WAY FOR YOUR CHAPTER TO MAKE MONEY.
YOU MUST HAVE BOOKS ON HAND AT YOUR CHAPTER, AND USE THEM EVERY TIME YOU HAVE A FUNCTION AT YOUR CHAPTER OR COMMUNITY.
THE BOOKS WILL SELL IF YOU PRESENT. BOOKS COST YOUR CHAPTER $1.50 AND CAN EASILY BE SOLD FOR $5.00.
100 BOOKS SOLD WILL NEW YOUR CHAPTER $350.00. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GET APPROVAL FROM THE DEPARTMENT OR PAY 10%.
PLEASE CALL OR EMAIL ME AT davl50jack@gail.com, or 352-250-4743. I ALSO HAVE ABOUT 600 OF HIS BIOGRAPHY, SAME DEAL.

MEMBERSHIP


WE HAVE 4 1/2 MONTHS LEFT BEFORE OUR DEPARTMENT CONVENTION. IT'S TIME TO STEP UP YOUR RECRUITING EFFORTS. THERE ARE THREE WAYS A PROSPECTIVE MEMBER CAN JOIN.
1. PAY FULL LIFE MEMBERSHIP.
2. PAY PART TIME MEMBERSHIP WITH A MINIMUN PAYMENT OF $40.00, WITH THE BALANCE T0 BE PAID WITHWIN 3 YEARS.
3. APPLY ON LINE AT BY GOING TO www.dav.org, AND CLICK APPLY ON LINE NOW. BE SURE TO PROVIDE NOT ONLY YOUR NAME AS SPONSOR BUT PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR MEMBERSHIP CODE. THIS ALLOWS PROSPECTIVE MEMBERS TO APPLY FOR MEMBERSHIP BY EXTABLISHING REOCCURRING ELECTRONIC PAYMENTS, WITH AS LITTLE AS $10.00 MINIMUM INSTALLMENTS PAID VIA CREDIT CARD. DSO'S AND CSO'S SHOULD USE THE CONTACT BRIEF FOR EVERY VETERAN YOU TALK TO. ONE OF THE QUESTIONS YOU WILL ASK, "ARE YOU A MEMBER OF THE DAV". THE VETERANS WILL EITHER TELL ASK YOU HOW TO JOIN, HE IS ALREADY A MEMBER OR NO. YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO SIGN UP A NEW MEMBER OR GET A TRANSFER.



FROM: Anthony L. Baskerville, National Membership Director

SUBJECT: MEMBERSHIP DUES

In November 2012, the National Membership Department began testing a new online billing product that allows prospective members to apply for Membership by establishing reoccurring monthly electronic payments, with as little as $10 minimum installments paid via credit card.

Due to the positive response to this payment method and the great potential to convert more part-life members to full-life members, the National Executive Committee has approved continuation of this temporary exception to Sections 11.4 and 11.9 - Membership Dues-- of the National Constitution and Bylaws through the 2014 National Convention. In doing so they’ve allowed us to expand testing to allow all DAV recruiters and National Service Officers to use this recruiting tool.

This expansion will allow for a greater test market and additional time to determine if this method of recruitment will result in a higher rate of new members becoming full paid life members.

The process of establishing reoccurring monthly electronic payments is administered through a third party and is strictly for online use ONLY!
ALL PAYMENTS REFERRED TO THE MEMBERSHIP DEPARTMENT THROUGH THE US POSTAL SERVICE STILL REQUIRE A MINIMUM DOWN PAYMENT OF $40.00.

To take advantage of this opportunity, you and prospective members can access our website at http://www.dav.org and click http://www.dav.org/join apply online now.
Be sure to provide not only your name as sponsor but please include your membership code number.

DAV is concerned about the security of its members’ personal information and is Payment Card industry (PCI) Data Security Compliant.
As such, you are urged to strictly adhere to the above instructions.

Should you have have any questings. feel free to call me toll free. 888-986-8313.



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Florida Membersip
January 31, 2014






Florida Legislation
December 31, 2013


The Olando VA Medical Centers

The Olando VA Medical Centers hospital and outpatient facility opening has again been delayed, Oilando Business Joumal has learned.
At a press brieing with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson Jan. 21, Nelson said the new target date for opening is now December 2014, not Septenber as was previously reported.
But, Nelson said, offcials are confident that the December date will hold.

"The secretary is making a nassive push to ensure that it won't go beyond Nelson said, referring to retired U.S. Army Gen. Eric K Shinseki, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Related: Timothy Liezert's monumental task: Work around hospital delays by opening Orlando VA in phase

Nelson said that, from the VA’s perspedive, the oontrador is moving too slowly, with only 600 workers on the site.
From the contractors perspective, the VA isn't providing direction and has nade too many changes.

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Senate bill would improve health care, pensions for veterans

S. 1950, the Veterans Health and Benefits and Retirement Restoration Act of 2014
A new piece of legislation before the U.S. Senate would restore pensions for military retirees, among other sweeping changes designed to improve the lives of the nation's veterans.

The Comprehensive Veterans Health and Bene?ts and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 includes provisions to improve health care, reduce the backlog of disability claims, expand access to education bene?ts for veterans and their survivors and provide for more job opportunities.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs, introduced the bill last week. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., who wrote several of the provisions, met with veterans and advocates Thursday at the American Legion Hayes-Velhage Post 96 in West Hartford to discuss it.

"lt's the most comprehensive and complete veterans' bill in recent history, covering everything from health care to education to employment to disability claims," Blumenthal said in an interview.

Provisions include expanding access to chiropractic care at VA medical centers nationwide and making it easier for victims of sexual trauma in the military to file VA disability claims without a documented assault. About 85 percent of assaults are not reported at the time they occur, so veterans often do not have evidence of the assault when filing claims, according to Blumenthal.

Robert Munray, commander of the American Legion in Connecticut, said he was “absolutely thrilled that so many things are being addressed all at one time.“ Murray attended the meeting with about 25 Legion members.

Linda Spoonster Schwartz, commissioner of the state Department of Veterans' Affairs, spoke at the meeting in favor of the bill's provision to rescind a 1 percent cut in the annual adjustment for benefits for military retirees younger than 62. That was part of the bipartisan budget deal Congress approved late last year.

Cutting benefits that were promised, Schwartz said, sends a message that “the days of patriotic fervor and veterans being honored may be on the decline."

"I'm glad they are going to restore the pensions and the cost-of-living adjustments," said Schwartz, who has been nominated as the next assistant secretary of veterans affairs for policy and planning in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "I don't think people realize how much folks depend on it."

Schwartz said the bill would also help family members care for veterans because of the provision that expands eligibility for VA caregiver assistance, including monthly stipends and trainings, to caregivers of veterans from any era. Currently, only caregivers for post-9/11 veterans are eligible.

She said the idea of paying families as caregivers is very pragmatic and will provide some relief for the families, too.

Blumenthal said the omnibus bill is “big and broad“ because the needs of the nation's veterans are big and broad, and urgent. And, he said, more people will be leaving the armed forces as the military downsizes, and they will need these services.

"There is always the danger that there may be objections to specific parts, but the bottom line is there is so much more for everyone to support than to nitpick," he said. "And so we're hoping that a comprehensive measure will attract the broadest possible coalition."

Blumenthal said he expects the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee to report the bill out of committee within the next few weeks.



Sponsor(s) Fla Senate
by Soto CoSponsors: Abruzzo, Sachs CS Sponsors: Military and Veterans Affairs, Space, and Domestic Security Summary

General Taxes on Businesses; Creating the “Florida Veterans Employment Act"; establishing a tax credit for the hiring of veterans; establishing an additional credit for the hiring of disabled veterans; authorizing the department to establish guidelines for qualifying credits; revising the order in which credits against the corporate income tax or franchise tax may be taken to include the hiring of veterans, etc. Effective Date: 7/1/2014

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Disabled veterans might face new way to file claims
By ruperte14 - January 23, 2014 - No comments


Regional - Tagged: Department of Veterans Affairs, Disability, Veterans
By Logan Hendrix

The days of subrritting disabilities dain's on scraps of paper nigwt be endng for veterans, including more than 800,000 in Viginia.

A new proposal by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs would require veterans to use a standardized claim form. One veterans group says this will mske the application process more diffcult for disabled persons.
VA Spokesworran Genevieve Billia says the current application process is inefficient. The VA must sift through all the different scraps of paper, ultirrately delaying benefits to veterans and their farrilies.

According to the VA, 400,000 veterans have been waiting more than 125 days for their informal claims to be accepted. The VA's solution is to require veterans to fill out standardized applications, preferably electrorically.
National Veterans Service Deputy Director Gerald T. Manar is concened that abandoning the decades-long practice of filing claims simply with a piece paper will pose a hardship for some veterans.

“[The VA] is creating two classes of people: veterans who can submit things electronically, and those who can’t because they don't have the resources or don’t have the ability to interact or drive to the VA,” said Manar.

Under the proposed change, veterans who subrrit to the VA electronically would begin a daim simply by providing their name, Social Secuity number and number of a bank account to which the benefits can be deposited. The VA will hold the date the electronic application is submitted for up to a year until veterans provide enough evidence to complete the process. Once accepted, the VA will grant aid from the oniginal date the claim was submitted. But retroactive pay would not apply to veterans who submit incomplete hard-copy forms.

Manar said he is worried that veterans submitting paper forms could lose months of benefits while they are corresponding with the VA.

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New health coverage for vets‘ service dogs


Free medical coverage for the service dogs of veterans is now being handled under a new Veterans Affairs Department contract with pet health insurance company Trupanion.
The program pays 100 percent of the costs for veteran-owned service dogs for ongoing preventive care as well as emergency care and other medical treatments and prescription medications.

The coverage is available only to veteran-owned service dogs that VA has determined are eligible for the program, as well as VA-owned PTSD dogs. The contract is expected to speed up the process for reimbursement to veterinarians.

VA provides the information about eligible dogs directly to Trupanion. Information was not immediately available about how many dogs are eligible.

VA is mailing infomtation to veterans whose dogs qualify for the program, and letting them know a package is coming from Trupanion with infomiation about using the program. A Trupanion tag with the policy number will be in the packet.

Veterinarians submit their bills directly to Trupanion for reimbursement. If the veterinarian prefers to be paid before treatment, they can call Trupanion's support team 24 hours a day, and the bill will be paid immediately.

“Veterans and veterinarians no longer have to worry about the cost of the treatment, giving veterinarians the ability to do what they do best - care for pets,” said Britta Gidican, a spokeswoman for Trupanion.



DAV TRANSPORTATION NETWORK VOLUNTEERS


DAV mileage awards are provided to recognize the total miles driven by a DAV Transportation Network volunteer.

Recognition gifts for mileage driven by a DAV Transportation Network volunteer will be awarded at each of the following mileage levels:
Welcome Kit (sign-up); 2,500; 5,000; 7,500; 10,000; 15,000; 25,000; 35,000; 50,000; 75,000; l00,000; 150,000; l75,000; and 200,000.

All new DAV Transportation Network volunteers will receive a DAV volunteer Welcome Kit signifying their initial efforts as a DAV volunteer.



DAV VA Voluntary Service (VAVS) and Local Veterans Assistance Program (LVAP) VOLUNTEERS


All new DAV VAVS and LVAP volunteers will receive a DAV volunteer Welcome Kit signifying their initial efforts as a DAV volunteer.

Hour gifts are awarded for recognizing the total time donated by a volunteer. These gifts are awarded when a DAV VAVS or LVAP volunteer reaches the following hour levels:
Welcome Kit sign-up; 50; lO0; l50; 200; 250; 500; 750; 1,000; 2,000; 3,000; 5,000; 7,500; 10,000.



Hearings


All DAV testimony can be read in full on our website, at: http://www.dav.org/voters/Testimony.aspx.

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Orlando VA Medical Center’s opening delayed again


The Orlando VA Medical Center's hospital and outpatient facility opening has again been delayed, Orlando Business Journal has learned.

At a press briefing with U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson Jan. 21, Nelson said the new target date for opening is now December 2014, not September as was previously reported. But, Nelson said, offcials are confident that the December date will hold.

“The secretary is making a massive push to ensure that it won't go beyond that,” Nelson said, referring to retired U.S. Army Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Related: Timothy Liezert's monumental task: Work around hospital delays by opening Orlando VA in phase

Nelson said that, from the VA’s perspective, the contractor is moving too slowly, with only 600 workers on the site. From the contractor’s perspective, the VA isn’t providing direction and has made too many changes.

“So you’ve got finger pointing going on,” Nelson said. “And the completion date seems to slip each time the director |Timothy Liezert] is briefed. But the director is now confident that they’re sticking to the December date.”

Michael Strickler, the public affairs of?cer for the Orlando VA Medical Center, confirmed that December 2014 is now the working completion date.

It’s not all bad news for the $665 million Orlando VA Medical Center project, Nelson said. The Community Living Center, a nursing home primarily for disable vets, opened in December in Lake Nona.

And the Domiciliary, a residential rehab facility for homeless veterans and veterans with substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder, will have patients moved in next month.

What’s more, the Orlando VA Medical Center is expected to award a contract and break ground on the $20.3 million National Simulation Center in April.

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End of News Letter


December 2013 News Letter