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 Thursday, Nov. 11, we will honor all Americans who have served.
In November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed November 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 2021 American Community Survey, there are an estimated 641,525 veterans in Pennsylvania (6.2% of the overall population), of which 37.5% are Vietnam era veterans, 18.4% are Gulf War (9/2001 or later) veterans, 18.3% are Gulf War (8/1990 to 8/2001) veterans, 6.6% are Korean War veterans and 1.5% are World War II veterans. More than 92% of Pennsylvania’s veterans are men and 56% are 65 years of age or older.
DMVA Virtual Town Hall on Nov. 2: Honoring Veterans for Their Service and Sacrifice
The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) will host the fifth and final virtual Veteran Town Hall of the year on Wednesday, Nov. 2, from 6-7:30 p.m.
The town hall will focus on honoring veterans for their service and sacrifice.
Attendees can participate through Microsoft Teams; you can register for the event here. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions of the presenters live during the program through the chat feature.
If you are unable to participate, but would like to view a recording after the event is held, the recording, as well as the recordings of the other 2022 Virtual Veteran Town Hall sessions, can be found here.
The SITREP: Veterans Get 8.7% Cost-of-Living Boost
Veterans will receive an 8.7% cost-of-living increase in their disability benefits starting in December, the largest increase in 42 years, federal officials announced last month.
The increase is due to the rising cost of inflation throughout the last year.
VA Life Insurance and Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance: What’s the Difference?
Several important changes are coming to life insurance programs run by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife) is launching on Jan. 1, 2023, as a new guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance program for service-connected veterans.
The VA’s current offering for service-connected veterans – Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI) – closes to new enrollment after Dec. 31. Veterans currently enrolled in S-DVI may keep their coverage or switch to VALife.
While both VALife and S-DVI cover veterans with any level of service-connected disability, there are key program differences to consider before deciding which program is right for you. You can learn more about those differences here.
Simplifying the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill Application Process
The VA has announced that due to updates it has made this summer to the application process, veterans and service members eligible to apply for and receive Post-9/11 G.I. Bill benefits can now receive a decision within minutes.
More information about the simplified process can be found 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.