Disabled American Veterans

Department of Florida

By Al Linden
Executive Director

June 30, 2015

As of June 30, 2015 our membership was 61,077,
The goal for life membership for this year has been met.

Commander Buddy Rickman Message

Another year and another Commander. Thank you for your support and for your votes in electing me your State of Florida Commander for 2015 — 2016.

Congratulations to my fellow officers and I look forward to working with each and every one of them and the Chapters. There are many things we must and can do to make this a great year. Several ways are: Each Chapter should increase membership, encourage attendance to conventions so you know what is happening throughout this organizations. Another way is to support our auxiliaries and participate in our effort to get you the Benefits you so rightly deserve and to keep them. Do not wait on the other person to do it for you, pick up the phone and let your politicians know where you stand on certain issues. Numbers Count. If I can assist you in anyway, please feel free to contact me at anytime

Senate Approves New Veterans Affairs Health Care Chief. The Department of Veterans Affairs has a new leader of its troubled health care arm. Dr. David Shulkingpresident of the Morristown Medical Center in New Jersey, won approval as the VA's undersecretarv for health bv a voice vote Tuesday in the Senate. Shulkin steps into a key role managing a health-care system responsible for 9 million military veterans in nearly 1.000 VA hospitals and clinics nationwide.

VA Sunshine Healthcare Network Announces New Medical Center Director JOE Battle ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Department ofVeterans Affairs (VA) is pleased to announce the appointment of Joe D. Battle as the new director of the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics (JAHVH) in Tampa, FL. Battle will be responsible for managing an $850 million budget and more than 4,400 full-time employees. The JAHVH serves approximately 90,000 Veterans in four counties in the Tampa Bay area of Florida, which include Hernando, Hillsborough, Pasco and Polk counties, and is a clinical referral, level 1a facility comprised of a 504 operating bed medical center and multiple of?site locations. “We are excited to bring Mr. Battle on board as the new director of the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and Clinics,” said Paul Bockelman, Acting Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 8 Director. “His sound leadership qualities and proven experience will be valuable assets for the facility, the employees and volunteers, and most importantly, for the Veterans we are honored to serve. We anticipate he will arrive at the medical center within the next 45 days to begin his appointment.”

Battle joined the VA more than 30 years ago and has held progressive leadership positions at VA medical centers in Orlando, Florida and Dayton, Ohio. Most recently, he served as the medical center director of the G. V. (Sonny) Montgomery VA Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi where he oversaw the day to day operations of the health care system.

Battle is a 1981 graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in Civil Engineering. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, and has served as a member of the American Society of Healthcare Engineers, the Indiana Society of Healthcare Engineers and on the Executive Steering Committee for the Midwest Healthcare Engineering Conference and Trade Show.

Also be reminded that Chapter Annual Financial Reports are due by September 30 each year. Chapter Officers Reports are due within 10 days after installation each year or when changes are made


As of May 31, 2015
TOTAL ASSETS $1,231,634


Bay Pines VAVS $2090
Gainesville VAVS 1600
Tampa VAVS $1370
Lake City VAVS $3809
MiamiVAVS $2600
Orlando VAVS $2900
Eglin CBOC $0



In January, DAV became the first and only organization authorized by l million veterans as their accredited representative (POA) for claims before the Department of Veterans Affairs.

DAV has delivered by providing free assistance that has ensured billions of dollars in earned Benefits have been granted to America’s veterans.

The VA issues a report every other month on how many veterans each organization represents. The final 2014 report had DAV in the mid-900,000s, but the first and most recent report of 2015 showed DAV having 1,001,739 powers of attorney on behalf of veterans.

While not everyone who holds a power of attorney with DAV has an active claim or appeal with the organization, DAV has assisted each with at least one claim for Benefits. Though it’s impossible to determine who the 1 millionth individual was, DAV leaders believe the landmark figure speaks volumes about the organization’s credibility and commitment to the needs of veterans.

“It is humbling to think so many veterans have placed their faith in DAV,” said National Service Director Jim Marszalek. “Every Service Offcer in DAV takes that honor seriously, and we’re all working hard to provide the best representation possible.”

Data on how much in compensation has been secured for all 1 million veterans isn’t available, but $3.7 billion in new and retroactive benefits was awarded to DAV’s clients just in 2014.

Service to fellow disabled veterans has always been DAV’s main mission and backbone ever since the organization was chartered by Congress in 1932. An astounding 10,714,830 claims have been ?led since l932.l\/lore than $87.4 billion has been secured in retroactive and annual disability compensation for veterans, their families and survivors within that timeframe.

“Veterans earn benefits and compensation for the sacri?ces they and their families endure while serving in the military and often long after he or she has hung up the uniform. But too often the veteran does not know what is available, what has been eamed or how to go about obtaining it, said National Service and Legislative Headquarters Executive Director Garry Augustine. “That's why DAV puts so many resources into providing the best representation anywhere.” DAV trains, equips and directly supports National Service Of?cers (NSOS), Transition Service Of?cers (TSOS), Department Service Of?cers, Chapter Service Officers and County Veteran Service Officers accredited by DAV in every corner of the United States.

“Providing top-notch, free assistance to veterans has always been DAV’s top priority,” said National Adjutant Marc Burgess. “That's why we have so many of?ces around the country, but we also keep in mind those who cannot make it into the more populated areas where our of?ces are located.” DAV's fleet of specially equipped Mobile Service Offices has been traveling the country, bringing expert claims representation directly to veterans and their families. DAV traveled to more than 900 different locations in 2014, mostly in rural areas and at many colleges and university campuses.

“We are proud to get our Mobile Service Office deployed to serve more veterans than ever before,” said Marszalek. ”Every veteran should be able to get the help they need, regardless of where they live.”

DAV’s TSOS provide informational presentations, service medical record reviews and initiate claims. They assist veterans at nearly 100 military installations within the continental United States. In 2014, TSOS filled 17,126 claims.

Always working to improve, DAV filed 12,557 claims in the past year electronically, by far the most of any organization. While a large swath of DAV's services are provided directly by full-time, professional NSOS, a large number of volunteers at the Chapter and Department levels are trained to assist and provide immediate answers in starting claims and obtaining benefits.

“These volunteers in the Department and Chapter service programs are vitally important to the ful?llment of DAV’s overall mission of service to veterans,” Marszalek said. “They all go through in-depth initial training and follow-up training to have their certification renewed annually.”

DAV’s Service Program is there for veterans throughout the process. If a claim is initially denied, DAV provides free representation before the Board of Veterans’ Appeals.

Veterans and family members can receive free professional assistance with claims for compensation or pensions at any DAV National Service Office location.



Florida Membersip
June 30, 2015


ibid: G - met or surpassed goal


Florida Legislation
June 30, 2015


State Legislation

HB 27 & SB 1398 -- Authorizes word “Veteran” to be exhibited on driver license or identification card of veteran.
Replaces the “V” for Veteran option currently available. Authorizes the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to accept a military personnel identification card as proof of a Social Security number when applying for a Florida driver’s license or identification card. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/2/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)

SB 7028 & HR 35 -- Out-of-State Fee Waivers for Veterans & Dependents: Revises last ‘year’s Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young Veteran Tuition Waiver to include spouses and children using sponsor’s GI Bill Benefits. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/2/2015. Effective immediately)

SB 132 & HR 51 -- Authorizes veterans to provide the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles altemative documentation for renewal or replacement of disabled parking permits. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/2/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)

HB 329 & SN 112 -- Authorizes the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to issue Combat Action Ribbon, Air Force Combat Action Medal and Distinguished Flying Cross license plates. Adds Woman Veteran, World War II Veteran and Navy Submariner plates. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/2/2015. Effective immediately)

HB 185 & SH 674 -- Creates a public records exemption for the identification and location information of current or fomrer active duty servicemembers of the United States Armed Forces, their reserve components, or the National Guard who served after September 11, 2001, and their spouses and dependents. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/2/2015. Effective immediately)

HB 801 & SB 876 -- Adds a memorial to the Capitol in remembrance of the 241 members of the U.S. Armed Forces who lost their lives on October 23, 1983, in Beirut, Lebanon. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/2/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)

HB 277 & SH 394 -- Provides that a public lodging establishment classified as a hotel, motel, or bed and breakfast inn is required to waive any minimum age policy it may have that restricts accommodations to individuals based on age for individuals who are currently on active duty as a member of the United States Armed Forces, the National Guard, Reserve Forces, or Coast Guard and who present a valid military identification card. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/11/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)

SB 184 & l09 -- Authorizes absent uniformed services voters and overseas voters to use the federal write-in absentee ballot in any state or local election. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 5/2/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)

HB 71 & SR 414 -- Updates laws affecting the use of service animals by people with disabilities. Florida law provides that an individual with a disability, defined as a person who is deaf, hard of hearing, blind, visually impaired, or otherwise physically disabled, is entitled to equal access to public accormnodations, public employment and housing accommodations. The individual may be accompanied by a trained service animal in all areas of public accommodations that the public is normally allowed to occupy. Any person who denies or interferes with the right of a person with a disability or a service animal trainer to access a place of public accommodation commits a second degree misdemeanor. The bill revises the de?nition of the term “individual with a disability” to add an individual with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. The bill requires a public accommodation to modify its policies to permit the use of a service animal by an individual with a disability. The bill further specifies that a public accommodation may not ask about the nature or extent of an individual’s disability in order to detennine if an animal is a service animal or pet. Finally, the bill provides that knowingly and willfully misrepresenting oneself as being qualified to use a service animal or being a trainer of a service animal is a second degree misdemeanor. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 5/21/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)

SB 686 & HB 361 -- Florida law provides an exemption from ad valorem taxation for property owned by the United States. Federal law also recognizes the immunity of property of the United States from ad valorem taxation. The bill recognizes in statute that leaseholds and improvements constructed and used to provide housing pursuant to the federal Military Housing Privatization Initiative (Housing Initiative) on land owned by the federal government are exempt from Florida ad valorem taxation. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 5/21/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)

HB 225 & SH 590 -- Requires all United States and state ?ags purchased by the state, a county, or a municipality for public use, aiter January 1, 2016, to be made in the United States entirely from domestically grown, produced, and manufactactured materials. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/11/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)

HB 1069 & SH 1170 -- Relating to Defendants in Specialized Courts -- requires a trial court to transfer certain criminal cases involving participants in specified programs to another jurisdiction having such program under certain conditions. (Send to governor for signature on June 1; deadline for signing June 16, 2015)

HB 471 & SB 788 -- Allows a vehicle displaying a Disabled Veteran “DV” license plate to park for free in a local facility or lot that provides timed parking spaces. Restrictions apply. (Signed into law by Governor Scott on 6/10/2015. Effective July 1, 2015)


SUBJ: Staff Appointment of Douglas K. Wells Jr.
DATE: June 15, 2015

With the approval of National Commander Ron F. Hope, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Douglas K. Wells Jr. to the position of National Membership Director, effective July l.

Mr. Wells, who currently serves as National Area Supervisor (NAS) for DAV’s Area 2, brings nearly two decades of service experience as a member of DAV’s professional staff.

He was named to his current position on March 14, 2015.

A service-connected disabled veteran of the Persian Gulf War era, Mr. Wells served in the United States Marine Corps as an intelligence specialist from 1990 to 1996 when he was medically discharged.

He began his DAV career in 1996, graduating from the National Service Officer Training Academy Class IV, in Denver, Colorado, and was then assigned to our Salt Lake City service office. In 1997, he was promoted to supervisor there. In 2006, he moved to Detroit as assistant supervisor. In 2012, he was promoted to supervisor of that location and was named NAS on March 14, 2015.

As National Area 2 Supervisor, he is responsible for DAV service offices in Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan. He has served as the DAV Department of Michigan Director of Service, which employs 10 department service of?cers throughout the state.

In Salt Lake City from 2001-2002, he served as veterans service organization liaison for the Department of Veterans Affairs Olympic Committee. In 2003, in partnership with the VA, he helped facilitate the Benefits Delivery at Discharge program at the VA Regional Office in Salt Lake City. From 2003 to 2005, he was responsible for restoring the DAV National Service Office in Anchorage and ensuring veterans in the state received benefits representation. In Detroit, he was named to Governor Rick Snyder’s Governor-Elect Transition Committee, which was responsible for addressing veterans issues and led to the formation of the cabinet-level Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

His support was instrumental in supporting the DAV Department of Michigan’s recruiting efforts. The state has exceeded its membership recruiting goals for three consecutive years.

We are grateful to have Mr. Wells assume this important responsibility at a critical time in our organization’s evolution. DAV’s membership is our life blood — and we look forward to his leadership and contributions as we ensure our ranks are maintained and engaged in our important mission.

Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, 5:54 p.m. No Informal Claims after March 24, 2015
Updated 10 hours ago
While the new Department of Veterans Affairs claims process uses forms that are simpler than income tax return forms, they have similar names and designs.

More importantly, they represent a shift that puts more of the burden on veterans for starting a claim and will end up hurting older veterans and those with traumatic brain injuries, spokesmen for the Veterans of Foreign Wars and Disabled American Veterans said.

“In the end, the changes are being implemented for the convenience of the VA and not for the benefit of the veterans,” said Gerald Manar, deputy director of the VFW's National Veterans Service. The policy, which will take effect March 24, eliminates the informal claim process that allowed veterans to start a claim simply by making a written request. Under the existing policy, the veteran then had one year to file a completed claim. Any benefits awarded would be backdated to the day of the request.

The new policy requires veterans to fill out a standardized form to start the claims process.

“They're not going to do anything until they receive the correct form, completed correctly,” said Jim Marszalek, the DAV’s National Service Director. Consequently, veterans could lose months of benefits while waiting for the VA to notify them that they need to send in the correct form, and some are likely to simply give up, he said. “There's nothing (in the regulation) to specify how long the VA has to respond to someone who doesn't use a standard form,” Marszalek said.

VA Signs New Lease

JACKSONVILLE, FL. A new leased building containing approximately 20,000 net useable square feet (NUSF) was awarded on June 26, 2015 to support the medical care needs of Veterans in the Jacksonville Market. The building is located in the Memorial Health Plaza at 3901 University Blvd, South, Jacksonville, Florida 32216.


VA Expands Disability Benefits for Air Force Personnel Exposed to Contaminated C-123 Aircraft

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today published a new regulation that expands eligibility for some benefits for a select group of Air Force Veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who were exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange through regular and repeated contact with contaminated C-123 aircraft that had been used in Vietnam as part of Operation Ranch Hand (ORH).

VA published this regulation as an interim final rule so that it could immediately begin providing Benefits to eligible Air Force veterans and Air Force Reserve personnel who submit a disability compensation claim for any of the 14 medical conditions that have been determined by VA to be related to exposure to Agent Orange.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald made the decision to expand benefits following receipt of a 2015 report by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) on Post-Vietnam Dioxin Exposure in Agent Orange: Contaminated C-123 Aircraft. This VA requested report found evidence that as many as 1,500 to 2,100 Air Force and Air Force Reserve personnel who served as flight, medical and ground maintenance crew members on ORH C-123 aircraft previously used to spray Agent Orange in Vietnam were exposed to the herbicide. “Opening up eligibility for this deserving group of Air Force veterans and reservists is the right thing to do,” said Secretary McDonald. “We thank the IOM for its thorough review that provided the supporting evidence needed to ensure we can now fully compensate any former crew member who develops an Agent Orange related disability.”

Under this new rule, Air Force and Air Force Reserve flight, medical and ground maintenance crewmembers who served on the contaminated ORH C-123s are presmned to have been exposed to herbicides during their service, thus making it easier for them to establish entitlement for some VA Benefits if they develop an Agent Orange-related presumptive condition. In addition, for affected Air Force Reserve crew members, VA will presume that their Agent Orange related condition had its onset during their Reserve training. This change ensures that these reservists are eligible for VA disability compensation and medical care for any Agent Orange related presumptive condition, and that their surviving dependents are eligible for dependency and indemnity compensation and burial benefits. The interim final rule can be found on the Federal Register:

VA will immediately begin processing claims and issuing benefits to eligible Air Force crew members. VA encourages reservists who were assigned to flight, ground or medical crew duties at Lockbourne/Rickenbacker Air Force Base in Ohio (906th and 907th Tactical Air Groups or 355th and 356th Tactical Airlift Squadron), Westover Air Force Base in Massachusetts (731th Tactical Air Squadron and 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, International Airport (758th Airlift Squadron) during the period 1969 to 1986, and developed an Agent Orange related disability to file a disability compensation claim online through the joint VA Department of Defense web portal, eBenefits (http://www.eBenefits_va.gov/). VA also has identified several active duty locations where ORH C-123 aircraft may have been used following their service in Vietnam. Active duty personnel who served in a regular USAF unit location where a contaminated C-123 was assigned and who had regular and repeated contact with the aircraft through flight, ground or medical duties during the period 1969 to 1986, and who develop an Agent Orange related disability, also are encouraged to apply for Benefits.

For more information on applying for these benefits, including the affected units, Air Force Specialty Codes and dates of service for affected crew members, and a listing of Agent Orange related conditions, visit www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/claims-postservice-agent_orange.asp.

In order to avoid unnecessary delay of benefits, claimants should annotate “(C-123)” after each Agent Orange related disability in Part II, Block I 4 of VA Form 21-526 or Section I, Block I] of VA Form VA Form 21-526EZ when filing on eBenefits. Example: Diabetes (C-123). If claimants have any of the following documents, they should be attached to their application: Discharge, separation papers, (DD214 or equivalent)

USAF Form 2096 (unit where assigned at the time of the training action)

USAF Form 5 (aircraft flight duties)

USAF Form 781 (aircraft maintenance duties)

Dependency records (marriage and children‘s birth certificates)

Medical evidence (doctor and hospital reports)

VA will process all claims related to C-123 exposure at the St. Paul, Minnesota, VA Regional Office.
Claims not filed through eBenefits should be mailed to the following address (or faxed to 608-373-6694):
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
Attention: C123 Claims
PO Box 5088
Janesville, WI 53547-5088

For specific benefit questions related to herbicide exposure on C-123s, individuals may call VA’s Special C-123 Hotline at 1-800-749-8387, or email the St. Paul Regional Benefit Office at .

ibid: while the information was cut off at the end of the fax number - we suggest YOU contact any DAV or other accredited representative, who will file the claim/s for you, for FREE. We DO NOT suggest you file via eBenefits - reason being under eBenefits, should the filing not be process within 365 days, the claim WAS NEVER filed, dropped from the system - so by using an accredited representative - you will given copies of your claim/s, and once, for DAV POAs, receive noticed that the claim HAS BEEN FILED with the VA.


Subject: The Affordable Care Act, your taxes and you

Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), all Americans including all military members (active duty, retired, Selected Reserve, or Retired Reserve) and their eligible family members must have health care coverage that meets a minimum standard called minimum essential coverage or pay a fee. Your TRICARE coverage meets the minimum essential coverage requirement under the ACA.

"The term "active duty" means full—time duty in the active service of a uniformed service for more than 30 consecutive days". Beginning in January 2016, DFAS will provide IRS Form l095—C to all U.S. military members, and IRS Form l095—B to all Retirees, Annuitants, former spouses and all other individuals having TRICARE coverage during all or any portion of tax year 2015. An IRS Form 1095 documents you (and your family members, if applicable) have the minimum essential coverage. More information will be forthcoming about the delivery method of these forms.

These forms will document the information that DFAS will provide to the IRS on yourself and your authorized family members. The forms will be required to be reported with your 2015 federal tax return. DFAS will provide you with IRS Form 1095 series forms no later than Jan. 31, 2016.

You can find more information about the impact of the Affordable Care Act on your federal income tax at: http://www.irs.gov/Affordable—Care—Act.

You can act now to make sure your forms remain secure once they are available using myPay. Just look for the link to "Turn On/Off Hard Coy of IRS Form 1095" in your account and select Electronic Delivery Only. Your information will remain safe until you need it.

Aspen Dental practices to give free dental care to veterans
5 AM June 21, 2015
Local Newa

Aspen Dental practices across the country are opening their doors to veterans Saturday to receive free dental care as part of‘ the Healthy Mouth Movement. The Healthy Mouth Movement began in 2014 and helps veterans receive the dental care they need. Aspen spokeswoman Caroline Jennings said. Over 300 practices teamed up with Got Your 6, a campaign to raise awareness of problems facing veterans, to perform procedures most commonly found in dental offices for free for veterans who do not quality for dental care from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to Jennings.

Aspen Dental representatives make 28 stops across the nation in a "giant dental office on wheels with two or three offices inside." called a mobile mouth, and each participating city partners with veteran's organizations who are "serving and giving care." she said.

The first phase of the movement has completed, but will be making more stops in the fall. While this event is connected with the first phase, it is focusing more on the veterans, Jennings said.

"A couple of our dentists are actually veterans themselves, so it's been cool to see that connection," she said.

Times vary between locations. Knoxville offices at 773l Kingston Pike and 2964 Miller Place Way will hold the event from noon to 4 p.m. The Morristown officc at 467 Davy Crockett Parkway will offer services trom 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Appointments are limited due to location sizes.


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