If you know a veteran, please forward this issue to him or her as it provides important updates, resources, and information.
In this Update:
Remembering Our Military Veterans on Veterans Day
On Saturday, Nov. 11, we honored all Americans who have served.
Veterans Day is not about battles fought or enemies defeated, although those are important to the defense of liberty. The day is about ordinary people doing extraordinary things and making incredible sacrifices.
These veterans are not just veterans… they have been community volunteers, public servants, and local leaders. They continue to give back.
Let’s take this opportunity to say “thank you” to them and to let them know we will never forget what they have done for all of us.
As a matter of history, in November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.
The day was chosen because a year earlier, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, effectively ending World War I.
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11 a.m.
In 1938, Armistice Day – Nov. 11 – was recognized, in federal statute, as a legal holiday.
Up until the end of World War II, the holiday only honored veterans of World War I. But in 1954, Congress amended the statute creating the federal holiday by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans,” making Nov. 11 a day to honor all American war veterans.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first “Veterans Day Proclamation” on Oct. 8, 1954.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2022 American Community Survey, an estimated 6.2% of Pennsylvania’s population are veterans, of which:
More than 91.8% of Pennsylvania’s veterans are men and 55.2% of our state’s veterans are 65 years of age or older.
VA Provides Care to Eligible Veterans’ Family Members
The family members of some veterans are eligible to receive VA-covered care through several special programs offered by the VA.
According to the VA, more than 700,000 beneficiaries (spouses and children) are eligible to receive specific types of care and services through four family member-focused VA programs: the Civilian Health and Medical Program of VA (CHAMPVA), Camp LeJeune Family Member Program (CLFMP), Children of Women Vietnam Veterans (CWVV), and Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program (SBHCBP).
You can learn more about these programs and their eligibility requirements here.
My HealtheVet Changes Coming
The VA says that through October 2024, it will be building the new My HealtheVet website to provide a single place for veterans to manage their health care needs in the same location where they manage their other VA benefits and services.
As they’re building it, they indicate they will welcome feedback about the changes so they can make sure the tools adequately serve veteran needs.
Learn more about the new website and how to provide feedback here.
What are Vet Centers?
VA vet centers provide free and confidential readjustment counseling for war-zone veterans and their families, from World War II to the current Global War on Terror.
Vet centers are small, non-medical, counseling centers conveniently located in our region. They’re staffed by highly trained counselors and team members dedicated to seeing you through the challenges that come with managing life during and after the military.
Our region is served by the Lancaster Vet Center, which is one of 12 vet centers in Pennsylvania and more than 300 across the country. Whether you come in for one-on-one counseling or to participate in a group session, at vet centers you can form social connections, try new things and build a support system with people who understand you and want to help you succeed.
Who is Eligible to Receive Services at Vet Centers?
Vet center services are available to veterans at no cost, regardless of discharge character, and without the need to be enrolled in VA health care or having a service-connected disability. If you are a veteran or service member, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, you can access vet center services if you:
Contacting Your Local Vet Center
Even if you are unsure if you meet the criteria to receive services from a vet center, please contact a center.
Center services are also available to family members when their participation would support the growth and goals of the veteran or active-duty service member. If you consider them family, so does your local center. Bereavement services are also available to family members of veterans who were receiving vet center services at the time of the veteran’s death, and to the families of service members who died while serving on active duty.
The Lancaster Vet Center, located at 1817 Olde Homestead Lane, Suite 207, Lancaster, PA 17601, can be contacted at 717-283-0735 or toll free 24/7 at 1-877-WAR-VETS (927-8387).
The other vet center locations in Pennsylvania are:
For more information, please visit www.vetcenter.va.gov.