Washington County Veterans Services

Quarterly Update: 4th Quarter 2020

The purpose of this update is to inform Washington County Veterans Organizations, Veteran Advocates, and individuals, as to changes occurring with Veterans benefits and services at the Federal, State, and Local level.  The goal, is to produce and send out this update quarterly to maintain situational awareness.  If you have “word to pass” please send it to me so I can include it.

 

  • FEDERAL BENEFITS

    • Veterans Education Benefits

    • Veterans Healthcare Benefits

      • VA is slowly opening up services.  Madison VA Medical Center (VAMC) has opened more services, VAMC Milwaukee is still limiting services.  The Emergency Rooms remain open.

      • Community care and contract services are being used almost exclusively, for compensation and pension exams related to claims. 

      • Community care, which is the actionable benefit program of the VA Mission Act of 2018, can be an option if a Veteran is using VA Healthcare.  It is VA paid healthcare in the community, as opposed to at the VA Medical Center.  Request information and a referral to this program either from your VA doctor, or by calling the VA directly at 414-384-2000.  This program is for Veterans needing medical care that have a barrier to travel to the VA in Milwaukee or Madison.

      • More information related to the VA in Milwaukee can be found here: https://www.milwaukee.va.gov/

      • More information related to the VA in Madison can be found here: https://www.madison.va.gov/

         

         

         

    • Veterans Compensation Benefits

      • Claims and Pension Processing (Based solely on experience, not published)

        • New claim adjudication time frame 90-100 days if fully developed requiring little additional evidence.

        • Appeal process, Legacy – 2-3 years, New process 1-2 Years

        • Supplemental Claim Process 2-5 months, depending on evidence.

        • Atomic claims 1-2 years

           

      • Examinations for Compensation and Pension (C&P) is primarily through contract examiners at this point, very few exams are occurring at the VA.  The contract examiners are LHI, VES, or QTC.  These are companies that are paid by the VA to perform examinations.  We have not had many complaints about this change, and the VA still pays mileage for exams.

      • Veterans receiving disability or pension will see a 1.3% cost of living increase.  New and historical rates can be found here: https://www.va.gov/disability/compensation-rates/veteran-rates/

    • Veterans Burial Benefits

      • Burial programs had been postponed at most Federal cemeteries due to the pandemic.  They have started doing burial ceremonies again with restrictions. If you have been waiting to inter a Veteran at a Federal Cemetery please review all of the information here: https://www.cem.va.gov/

 

  • STATE OF WISCONSIN BENEFITS

    • State Veterans Education Benefits

      • NEW GRANT FOR EDUCATION: The Wisconsin Veterans Student Assistance Grant, is the State of Wisconsin’s new program where Veterans and eligible dependents of Veterans, that have a 30% or more service connected disability, can receive a grant of up to $2000.00 per semester to attend a private college within the State of Wisconsin.  More information can be found here: https://dva.wi.gov/Pages/educationEmployment/WIVSAG.aspx

         

    • State Burial benefits

    • State of Wisconsin Veterans Homeless Outreach

      • Homeless outreach has been difficult over the last many months.  As the weather turns, keep in mind that there are individuals specifically employed to assist homeless Veterans.  The WDVA VORP Program works in partnership with local CVSO offices and other agencies.  Our representative is Mark Provencher, USMC Retired.  More information can be found here: https://dva.wi.gov/Pages/benefitsClaims/Homelessness.aspx

         

    • More information related to State of Wisconsin Veterans Benefits can be found here: https://dva.wi.gov/Pages/benefitsClaims/BenefitsandClaims.aspx

 

  • WASHINGTON COUNTY: LOCAL BENEFITS AND INITIATIVES

    • Washington County Veterans Services

      • Washington County Veterans Services has been open throughout the last many months with no break in service to our Veterans.  We ask that you schedule an appointment and wear a mask in the Veteran Service Office and public areas of the County building to protect the many cancer survivors and immune compromised Veterans that come to this office daily.  As always, we stand ready to serve.  You can contact us at 262-335-4457

         

    • Fundraising Initiatives

      • Washington County Veterans Services will be holding a Sporting Clays Fundraiser May 7, 2021 to raise money for the Forever Honoring our Washington County Veterans Flag Endowment Fund.  Please save the date and call your buddies, it’s going to be a blast!  More event information will follow in early 2021.

         

    • Veteran Needs

    • Hot Topics

      • Blue Water Navy Veterans: Vietnam War Era

        • Vets and surviving spouses of Vets who served within 12 nautical miles of the coast of Vietnam, and have one of the presumptive illnesses of Agent Orange exposure, can file claims for benefits related to those illnesses.  If this may be you, call and schedule an appointment with the Washington County Veterans Service Office: 262-335-4457

      • VA Healthcare

        • VA Healthcare is care, not insurance.  You can have VA Healthcare and continue to carry private medical insurance, or Medicare and your supplement with no issue.  If you haven’t reviewed your eligibility, click here: https://www.va.gov/health-care/eligibility/  and review or apply.  Call Washington County Veterans Services if you need assistance.

           

      • Washington County Veterans: Homeless or Near Homeless

        • If you are a Washington County Veteran and are facing homelessness or near homelessness, please call us.  We may or may not be able to help in your specific situation, but we certainly can get you to the right organization.  Waiting until you are in absolute crisis, or on the street, is not necessary, or a good idea. 

           

      • Washington County Employers

        • Have you ever wanted to hire a Vet?  Do you need employees with the soft skills to show up, work hard, and treat your customers with respect? Do you need tested leadership? Are you tired of turnover and a lack of commitment in your employees?  If this sounds familiar, contact the Washington County Veterans Service Office with your job opening.  We may or may not have a Vet that is looking, but we do have contacts at the Department of Workforce Development, and the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Program.  In these partnerships, we will help you to find the right Vet for your workforce or connect to those who can!

           

           

           

           

           

           

Frequently Used Contact Information

 

VA Medical Center Milwaukee

COVID-19 info: publichealth.va.gov

Get online care: telehealth.va.gov

Address: 5000 W National Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53295

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Hours

Milwaukee VA Medical Center (Zablocki)

Open 24 hours

Phone: (414) 384-2000

VA Medical Center Madison

COVID-19 info: publichealth.va.gov

Get online care: telehealth.va.gov

Address: 2500 Overlook Terrace, Madison, WI 53705

Phone: (608) 256-1901

 

KURT RUSCH

Veterans Service Officer/

Reserve Emergency Management Coordinator

E:  kurt.rusch@co.washington.wi.us

O: (262) 335-4457

F: (262) 365-5001

Herbert J. Tennies Government Center

432 E. Washington St.

West Bend, WI 53095-7986

 

Federal VA Phone Numbers By Subject: https://error.vba.va.gov/