Alternative Therapies for PTSD – Advancing Heroes Program – Arizona

Alternative Therapies for PTSD

Many Veterans suffer from PTSD, and many struggle to find ways to adjust to a “New Normal” and find a way to live a life with PTSD, not letting PTSD dictate how you live. We want to start showing a series of articles that examine some alternative ways to treat PTSD.]

While medications seem to be the predominant treatment method for PTSD, there are many other options, and most go unused or even unknown. We hope to start bringing you some alternatives for you to explore.

We will start in Arizona, an area that is rocked by the Phoenix VA Debacle, and shift to a story of a veteran who found his own treatment forms, and turned them into a program for all veterans.

The Advancing Heroes Program offered by Terros (www.terros.org) is a program that combones alternative therapies, including yoga, acupuncture, art therapy and equine therapy. Started by a Combat Medic Veteran who was looking for a better alternative to the VA’s treatment for PTSD, he developed a program, and pitched it to Terros Medical, who picked up the program. This is a 12-week program that seems to be helping Veterans in ways other traditional treatments have not.

For more information, read this article, courtesy of the Arizona Republic:
http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2014/07/17/vets-find-relief-ptsd-yoga-alternatives/12789899/

We hope to bring more options for alternative treatment to all of you as we find them. If you know of any programs for alternative treatments for PTSD, please share it with us, so we may share it with all of our readers.

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VA Gets a New Secretary – Thoughts, Concerns, and Observations

We have seen a very fast confirmation of the new Secretary of the VA.  There has been a massive push to confirm the Secretary prior to the August Congressional Break.  The question is did the speed of the process give us the right candidate, or the same candidate we’ve seen time and time again?

Military Background of Previous Secretaries

  • Gibson (Acting) – Served as Army Infantry Officer, West Point Graduate
  • Shinseki – Retired 4 Star General, West Point Graduate
  • Peake – Retired Lieutenant General, former Army Surgeon General, West Point Graduate
  • Mansfield (Acting) – Served as an Army Captain
  • Nicholson – Retired Army Colonel, West Point Graduate
  • Principi – Served as Naval Lawyer, Naval Academy Graduate

McDonald is another West Point Graduate, who reached the rank of Captain and served in the 82nd Airborne Division, earning the Ranger Tab.  If several Service Academy graduates have failed, do you think he will succeed?  We’re not saying that a former military officer cannot do the job – we are simply pointing out the patterns.

Will his business acumen from running Proctor & Gamble be the missing key?  Is corporate mentality what the VA needs to turn things around, or will it continue to decline?

 

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VA Health Care Specialty Care Referral Waiver

Here’s a not advertised fave for VA Health Care that does not get published anywhere.

If you need to be seen at a Specialty Care Clinic at a VA Medical Center and have a combined rating of 70% or higher, you do not need a referral from your Primary Care Manager. This can be very useful if you are active in your care decisions.

What Information Are You Looking For

With hundreds of readers since we started this blog on New Years Day, we’ve been putting together all the resources on how and where to find benefits for Veterans and their families.

We have covered all 50 states and Puerto Rico, as well as many unknown or little-used benefits that are not widely published. As we have a major influx of Veterans on the horizon, what are you, the readers, looking for? What topics do you think we need to cover? What advice do you have for the latest generation if Veterans as they leave the military? We want to know, since this blog is about all Veterans getting the benefits they’ve earned and helping one another find those benefits by putting them in one place – right here.

Thank you to all of you who have read, contributed, shared the page with others, and all the great feedback. We plan on continuing to bring more benefits info (and updates as there are benefits added) as we come across them.

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Did You Know We’re on Facebook?

There may be some readers of this blog that don’t know that we also manage a Facebook page that has some additional content that is sometimes not on the blog site. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the Facebook page passes along articles and bulletins that pertain to Veterans Benefits.

Please go to and follow our Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/VeteranBenefitResource/

Vermont State Veterans Benefits

Today, we bring you the State Veterans Benefits for Vermont.  The information was gathered from the Vermont Veteran Services Directory, maintained by the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.

Emergency Financial Assistance and Financial Support to Vermont Veterans and Their Families

  • Veterans and their families who are having a hard time with basic life necessities such as food, shelter, utilities, etc., should contact Vermont 211.
  • This program has an inventory of all the federal, state, and local resources available to Vermonters. This includes local food shelves, state assistance programs, local private organizations, etc.
  • They are available 24 hours a day, every day. Just dial 2-1-1 from any phone in Vermont to get connected.
  • Who Should I Contact Next?
    • After 211, veterans should visit their local Agency of Human Services’ Economic Services Division. The folks in this division administer programs that can provide emergency funds, food, and heating assistance.
    • They are an especially important contact for families with children. We recommend you follow the link below to find the local office that is closest to you.
  • Vermont Veteran Assistance Fund
    • This program can provide a one-time payment to Vermont veterans or their families who are in a financial crisis and need help paying for a critical need, such as housing and utilities.
    • The amount of assistance provided is up to $200.
    • Applications are done over the phone and takes about 10 minutes to complete. Vermont residency is required.
  • Office of Veterans Affairs Toll Free (for in State) (888) 666-9844
  • Office of Veterans Affairs Direct Dial (802) 828-3379

Financial Assistance Programs for Military Families

  • Vermont National Guard’s family support section administers several funds to help families who are in financial hardship, especially families in financial hardship because of a deployment.
  • Their programs are not limited to only the guard, as they assist active duty and reserve families as well.
  • Vermont National Guard Family Support (888) 607-8773
  • There are some resources from private organizations that are available to help veterans and their families.
    • Friends of Veterans
      • Friends of Veterans provides veterans in Vermont and New Hampshire with financial assistance.
      • They are especially interested in helping veterans who are homeless or facing homelessness.
      • http://www.friendsofveteransvtnh.org/

Vermont’s Medals for Veterans

  • Vermont has three medals that recognize those who served who have a connection with our state. They are:
    • The Vermont Veterans Medal is awarded to most veterans with an honorable discharge.
    • The Vermont Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to veterans who received an honorable discharge and who served in a combat theater.
    • The Patriots Medal is presented to the next-of-kin of Vermont soldiers killed in action.
  • Distribution of the Veterans Medal and Distinguished Service Medal is not automatic. Veterans must apply for them, or have someone apply on their behalf.
  • Applications are quick and easy… most can be completed over the phone by calling the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.
  • Applicants can choose to receive the medals in the mail, or they can choose to participate in an annual medal presentation ceremony at the Vermont State House, with medals delivered by the Governor.
  • The family members of deceased veterans may also receive the medals.

High School Diplomas for Veterans

  • Veterans who served during World War II, the Korean War era, or the Vietnam War Era can also receive a high school diploma if they have never received one.
  • Applicants can choose to receive their diploma from any Vermont public school.
  • Applications can be made over the phone to the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.
  • After the Office of Veterans Affairs verifies eligibility, it passes the application along to the appropriate high school, who will make presentation arrangements with the applicant.

License Plates for Veterans

  • Veterans can display a Veterans License Plate on their vehicle. The plates are available for standard cars and trucks. Verification of service is done by the Office of Veterans Affairs.
  • There are multiple ways to apply. If you are registering your vehicle in person at the Montpelier Department of Motor Vehicles, the Office of Veterans Affairs can verify your eligibility in person, as they are located next door to the DMV.
  • If you’re not coming to Montpelier to register your vehicle, call the Office of Veterans Affairs to apply. Their staff can mail the application to you. You will need to provide a DD-214 as proof of service to the Office of Veterans Affairs for the plate you want for your vehicle.
  • Keep in mind, you can apply for a Veterans License Plate at any time. You don’t have to wait until you reregister your vehicle.
  • In addition to the Veterans Plate, the DMV has a selection of different veteran related plates, including
    • Purple Heart Plate
    • Former Prisoner of War Plate
    • Pearl Harbor Survivor Plate
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars
    • Vietnam Veterans of America.
    • Applications for the plates are made directly with the DMV.
  • Veterans in Vermont can get a VETERAN designation on their Driver’s License

Memorial Day Ceremony

  • Each year the state has a Memorial Day observance ceremony at the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery on May 30th at 3:00 p.m.
  • Contact the Office of Veterans Affairs for information about the ceremony.

Veterans Day Parade

  • Each year the state provides the Boy Scouts of America funds to organize the state’s Veterans Day Parade.
  • The parade is held the first Saturday of November, and the location changes from year to year
  • Contact the Boy Scouts of America for information about the parade.

Armed Services Scholarship

  • The Armed Services Scholarship is a State of Vermont program for the spouse and children of military members who died on active duty since 2001, or the spouse and children of Vermont National Guard members who have died while serving at any time.
  • The scholarship can be used towards the completion of an Veteran Services Directory Maintained by the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs undergraduate degree at a Vermont school.
  • For Vermont state schools, the scholarship covers the full tuition
  • For Vermont private schools, the scholarship reduces the tuition.
  • If the deceased was a member of the Vermont National Guard, applications are processed by the guard’s education office. All others apply to the Veteran Services Director at the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs

Property Tax Reduction for Veterans

  • The following are eligible for the exemption:
    • Veterans receiving Disability Compensation at a rating of 50% or higher Veterans receiving Non-Service Connected Pension (also called Improved Pension)
    • Veterans collecting military retirement pay for a medical military retirement
    • Surviving spouses of veterans who had received the exemption (surviving spouses may also be eligible for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation or Death Pension)
    • The exemption level varies from town to town.  State law mandates a minimum $10,000 exemption, although towns are given the option of increasing the exemption to $40,000.
    • The exemption reduces the appraised value of the home prior to the assessment of taxes. For example: An eligible veteran lives in a home valued at $200,000. The veteran’s town provides a $20,000 exemption. The veteran’s home will be taxed at $180,000. Veterans who would like to have their town increase their exemption must go through their town’s local procedures for having a measure placed on an election ballot for town voters to consider.
    • The exemption only applies to homes that are owned by the veteran or survivor. Veterans or survivors who rent their homes can not pass this exemption on to their landlord.
    • To receive the exemption, the veteran must provide proof of eligibility to the Vermont Office of Veterans Affairs.
    • Most veterans will have to provide proof of eligibility every year before May 1st.
    • Veterans who are determined to be totally and permanently disabled only have to provide proof of eligibility the first year they use the benefit for a home (if they move to a new home in a different town, they will have to provide proof of eligibility again). They also must provide proof of eligibility by May 1st.
    • Proof of eligibility is provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our recommendation is to call the VA no later than April 1st to request this documentation.

As always, if there are any benefits we may have missed, please let us know, and we will add it to the list.

 

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Wyoming State Veterans Benefits

Today, we bring you the State Veterans Benefits for Wyoming.  This information was gather from the Wyoming Veterans Commission web site.

Wyoming Driver License Veteran Designation

Property Tax Exemption

  • Apply at your County Assessor’s Office between January 1 and the fourth Monday in May each year.
  • A recent change to the law allows for a streamlined renewal process. Once you provide documentation to establish your initial eligibility, you may call the County Assessor’s Office during this time period and renew your exemption.
  • Eligibility
    • Veterans must be residents of Wyoming three or more years prior to claiming the tax exemption
    • have a DD Form 214 or equivalent from their branch of service.
    • Additionally, one of the following must apply:
      • Served in the Armed Forces during:
        • World War II (Dec. 7, 1941 – Dec. 31, 1946)
        • Korean War (June 27, 1950 – Jan. 31, 1955)
        • Vietnam War (Feb. 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975)
        • Must have served overseas during an armed conflict and received an Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal or equivalent; or
        • Be a disabled Veteran with a compensable service-connected disability as certified by VA or a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces. VA or DoD agency disability letter required.
        • Be the surviving spouse of a qualifying Veteran who resides in Wyoming and did not remarry.
  • The exemption applies to taxes on a Veteran’s primary residence lowering the assessed value by $3,000. The $800 cap was removed in 2007. Veterans who reached the previous cap have new eligibility and they should reapply for this important benefit.
  • Applying exemption to vehicles
    • If the exemption is not used on property, it may be applied to a vehicle’s licensing fee (not sales tax). More than one vehicle may qualify, but the total exemption shall not exceed $90.
    • The vehicle(s) must be titled to the Veteran before qualifying. Leased vehicles do not qualify.

Hunting, Fishing, and Parks

  • Free Fishing License
    • 50% disabled Veteran, resident of Wyoming for not less than one year and submit a letter from the VBA Regional Office certifying the 50% level of service connected disability compensation of the applicant.
  • Free Bird, Small Game, and Fishing Licenses
    • 100% disabled Veteran, resident of Wyoming for not less than one year and submit a letter from the VBA Regional Office certifying the 100% level of service connected disability of the applicant.
  • Free Hunting and Fishing While on Leave
    • Any Wyoming resident who is on active duty in the U.S. Military deployed to a combat zone, who is home on leave, and will return to a combat zone.
  • Special Limited Fishing Permit for Hospitalized Veterans
    • In coordination with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department, a free license can be issued by any VA Hospital within Wyoming, Wyoming Department of Health, or Wyoming Department of Family Services to a resident of the Veterans’ Home.
    • Veteran must fish under direct control of the institution.
  • Active Duty in Wyoming
    • Any active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces who has been stationed in Wyoming for 90 days shall qualify as a resident so long as the active duty member remains stationed in Wyoming.
  • Donated Big Game Licenses for Disabled Veterans
    • Any person may donate a big game license for reissuance, free of charge, to a disabled Veteran. The disabled Veteran must be selected and sponsored by a nonprofit charitable organization providing hunting opportunities for disabled Veterans in order to receive the donated license.
  • To learn more visit http://wgfd.wyo.gov.

Free Lifetime State Park Pass

  • Wyoming State Parks & Cultural Resources (SPCR) offers a 50% Disabled Veteran Annual Day Use and Camping Lifetime Permit.
  • You must be a resident of Wyoming and submit a letter from the VA Regional Office certifying the 50% level of service connected disability and an application from SPCR.
  • The application is available from State Parks. For more information, call 307-777-6323 or visit http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Permits/Index.aspx.

Wyoming Military Related License Plates

Applications for the Veteran license plate and Gold Star plate shall be made directly to the Wyoming Veterans Commission or online at:

http://www.dot.state.wy.us/home/titles_plates_registration/specialty_plates.html.

 

Prisoner of War (POW) License Plate

Gold Star Family License Plate

Purple Heart Recipient (PH) License Plate

Disabled Veteran (DV) License Plate

  • One set of license plates shall be issued to disabled Veterans who provide an affidavit from the VA stating they receive 50 percent or more service-connected disability compensation from the VA.
  • Disabled Veterans are exempt from registration fees for one vehicle, other than a commercial vehicle, motorcycle, multipurpose vehicle, bus or motor home.
  • Veteran may either choose the DV License plate as their free plate; or Veteran may choose any other military related plate for which they qualify as their free plate,
  • http://www.dot.state.wy.us/home/titles_plates_registration/specialty_plates/Disabled_Vet.html

Pearl Harbor Survivor (PHS) License Plate

National Guard (NG) License Plate

Veteran License Plate

Wyoming Veteran License Stickers

  • Available for purchase from the Wyoming Veterans Commission.
  • Costs are $11.50 for auto and trucks and $11.00 for motorcycles. No stickers for trailers.
  • Only one set of license plate stickers may be displayed on any one vehicle or motorcycle.
  • Surviving spouses may continue to purchase stickers if they were previously purchased by the Veteran.
  • Proceeds go to the Wyoming Veterans Commission Trust Fund.
  • Wyoming Veteran License Stickers Available
    • World War II
    • Korean War
    • Vietnam War
    • Gulf War
    • Noble Eagle
    • Enduring Freedom
    • Iraqi Freedom
    • War on Terror
    • VETERAN
  • For more information and to request applications, call 1-800-833-5987.

Education

  • Free Tuition for War Veterans and Surviving Dependents
    • Wyoming provides 10 free semesters of tuition and fees for overseas combat Veterans at the Wyoming community colleges or the University of Wyoming.
    • Surviving spouses and dependent children are also eligible for this benefit if the military member died in combat.
    • For more information, contact the Veterans Representative at the institution or visit http://www.communitycolleges.wy.edu/veterans-tuition-benefit.aspx.

Wyoming National Guard (WY NG) Educational Assistance Plan (EAP)

  • WY NG members may receive 100% of tuition and mandatory fees at the University of Wyoming, the seven community colleges, and the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy.
  • Members may receive partial payment of tuition at private colleges and institutions for programs offered within Wyoming.
  • Army Guard members call 307-772-5169
  • Air Guard members call 307-772-6325 or 307-772-6150
  • For more information, call 307-777-8160 or visit https://wyomilitary.wyo.gov.

University of Wyoming Veterans Services Center

  • The center was created by the Division of Student Affairs to assist returning Veterans access the resources the University has compiled to help veterans make a smooth transition from military service to the University of Wyoming.
  • For more information, call 307-766-6908 or visit http://www.uwyo.edu/vetservices/.

As always, if there are any benefits we may have missed, please let us know, and we will add it to the list.

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