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January 2019:  Blue Water Navy Veterans Court Decision - Urgent to Submit Intent to File:  Blue Water Veterans must have actually stepped foot on the land of Vietnam or served on its inland waterways anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 to be presumed to have been exposed to herbicides when claiming service-connection for diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure.  Some offshore vessels docked to the shore of Vietnam, operated in Vietnam's close coastal waters and sent smaller vessels ashore, or conducted operations on the inland waterways of Vietnam between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975. Evidence confirmed through military records must show that the Veteran was aboard one of these ships.  Blue Water Veterans who did not set foot in Vietnam or serve aboard ships that operated on the inland waterways of Vietnam anytime between January 9, 1962 and May 7, 1975 must show on a factual basis that they were exposed to herbicides during military service in order to receive disability compensation for diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure.

1. Review the attached list of Agent Orange Disabilities.  If you have been DIAGNOSED with one or more disabilities, continue to the next steps. 
2. Fill out the Blue Water Navy Worksheet.
3. Fill out the attached VA form 21-22 and VA form 21-0966 
(this will lock in your effective date). 
4. Call 830-997-3758 for an appointment to fax in the above 2 documents and be given DBQ's (Disability Benefits Questionnaires) for your private Physician to complete.  
5. To save your effective date in January, documents must be faxed in January OR if approved for the disability you will lose a month's pay if it is received Feb 1 or after.  
6. You will then be scheduled an appointment (when you have the physician documents completed) to process your formal claim.  

JANUARY 2018:  Veteran ID Cards - Link is now available on Vets.gov 

Click here for information brochure. 

This website was first available in Nov 2017 and the system crashed because so many Veterans were applying.   Requesting an ID Card is not mandatory, but may be useful to have a Veterans ID to obtain Veteran discounts (especially if you are not Retired Military or do not have a VA Health ID Card).  
Once you log in at:   https://www.vets.gov/
·        You have to apply online, 
·        you do not go into a VA facility to get one, 
·        it is mailed to you once you apply on line, 
·        it does not cost you anything.  
On bottom of page click on:  "Apply for printed Veteran ID Card"
Before you start to apply make sure you have photos in your computer of:
 1. Current Driver License
 2. Current Photo of yourself - passport photo size
 3. Photo of your DD-214 that specifies "Honorable Discharge"

NOVEMBER 2017:  National Purple Heart Hall of Honor

The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is requesting that all Veterans who were awarded the Purple Heart Medal to sign up for the Roll of Honor Data Base.  It is free of charge.  This is for living and deceased Veterans.   Visit www.thepurpleheart.com for more information.     Click here for the application.


MARCH 2017:  Hill Country Mental Health Centers Offer Programs:  "WE Serve Those Who Served US in The Military Forces"   

Click here for Information Brochure.

We provide services for treatment for PTSD, TBI, and Depression.  We offer Confidential, No Cost support for our Veterans and their Families. We have resources to help the Veterans and their families understand the issues that Veterans face each day. We have Peer to Peer supportive services and refer to assistance with filing claims for VA benefits. We also provide services for Veterans in rehabilitation and Health care Facilities as a visitor and a listening ear. We are NOT affiliated with the VA.  Fore more information, contact Hill Country MHDD ~ Hattie Piper ~ Veteran Support Coordinator for Kerr, Gillespie, and Kendall Counties Office via Phone (830) 258-5433 ext. 2029 or Cell - (830) 285-1922 or email: hpiper@hillcountry.org.  


JANUARY 2017:  New VA Disability Presumptives for Camp Lejeune Contaminated Water / Submit Claims Now.

Click here for press release.

To clarify:  This affects the water sources of Camp Lejeune which includes MCAS New River, satellite camps and base housing areas.  
1.  If you served there during the dates specified, you need to find proof that you served there for 30 days or more of CUMULATIVE days of active duty (5 days, 10 days, 15 days or continuous 30 days).  Find copies of orders, training certificates, award citations, etc.  Put a copy of the PROOF in your file with my office.   This may require ordering your service records from the National Archives.
2.  If you have a diagnosis of one of the 8 disabilities listed, then the above info applies (find proof of service) and then contact me for an appointment so that I can give you the appropriate (DBQ) Disability Benefits Questionnaire for your physician to complete with supporting private treatment records.  
3.  This will also apply for Surviving Spouses whose Veteran Spouse died from one of the 8 disabilities.  This would be considered a service connected death and the Surviving Spouse may qualify for DIC.  
4.  Applications can be submitted now, and the effective date for claims will be 13 March 2017.  


SEPTEMBER 2016:  VA Plan of Expanded Disability Benefits Eligibility Re: Proposed presumptive disabilities for Veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC for at least 30 days during 1 Aug 1953 to 31 Dec 1987.

** Click HERE for Press Release Information reference proposed presumptive disabilities from Camp Lejeune contaminated water - this will be for active duty, reserves, National Guard and Surviving Spouses. **  You need proof:  DD-214, orders, evaluations, award narratives, etc.   We have been advised that we can start submitting the claims now.  The law will be effective in October/November time frame.

A reminder for Veterans of all branches of service who were stationed or trained at Camp Lejeune, NC: 
a.)  You should sign up for the Camp Lejeune Contaminated Registry. 
The website is:  https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater/home.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/clwater/index.aspx
b.)  VA Website for Veteran info:
c.)  Current study with proposed Presumptive SC disabilities:
d.)  VA website for family members who lived on base:
e.)  For more information about the health studies and other work done by ATSDR at Camp Lejeune, please visit (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/sites/lejeune/index.html).

JULY 2016:    New online VA health care application. If you decide to apply online, please give Tami King, Gillespie County VSO, feedback as to how long it takes and if you have any problems.  830.997.3758 office.

Providing health care to our Nation’s Veterans is a vital service of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), one that we must persistently improve.  Through the MyVA transformation, VA is rebuilding trust with Veterans and the American people; modernizing service delivery; and setting the course for long-term, VA excellence, all while continuing to expand access to high-quality care.  Through our improvement efforts, we reviewed many of the steps Veterans must take to receive health care and found that enhancements were necessary in the initial application to better the Veteran experience by removing barriers that hinder access.

Beginning June 30, 2016, Veterans applying for health care will be directed to the health care application on
www.vets.gov.  Veterans and other stakeholders will still have access to VA Form 10-10EZ, which was originally available through the Veterans On-line Application; however, going forward, those applying for health care eligibility will use the online application or call 877-222-VETS (8387).  

Please take a moment to review the new
online form, and, as of June 30, 2016, begin referring Veterans interested in applying for health care eligibility to the new site. 

To learn more about applying for health benefits, please visit VA’s Health Benefits

Gillespie County
Veterans Service Office
102 E San Antonio St
Suite B-2
Fredericksburg, Texas 78624

Telephone: (830) 997-3758
Fax: (830) 997-3245

Located: Annex 2 Bldg
(former clinic building)

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