1611 Virginia Ave., Ste 212, Box 406, North Bend , Oregon 97459 Hours: M-Th 9:30am-4pm sovo4vets@gmail.com 541-756-8718 (Office) 541-756-8758 (Fax)

Wreaths Across America in Oregon – Saturday December 15, 2018

reposted from ODVA

Volunteers will place holiday wreaths to honor and remember our nation’s Veterans at many of VA’s national cemeteries this Saturday, Dec. 15 during this year’s national Wreaths Across America event.
Ceremonies across Oregon are listed below:  for more details, click on: Wreaths Across America-OR
December 15, 9:00 AM
Veterans Memorial Park
Intersection of Washington and Watson and 7th
Beaverton, OR 97005
December 15, 9:00 AM
Deschutes Memorial Gardens
63875 N Hwy 97
Bend, OR 97701
December 15, 12:00 PM
Bend Heroes Memorial
Newport Ave
Bend, OR 97702
December 15, 12:00 PM
Dallas Cemetery
2065 SW Fairview Ave
Dallas, OR 97338
December 15, 12:00 PM
Eagle Point National Cemetery
2763 Riley Rd
Eagle Point, OR 97524
December 15, 2:00 PM
Lane Memorial Gardens
5300 W 11th
Eugene, OR 97402
December 15, 12:00 PM
Hawthorne Memorial Gardens
2500 Upper River Rd
Grants Pass, OR 97526
December 15, 12:00 PM
Hillcrest Memorial Park
945 NE Hillcrest Dr
Grants Pass, OR 97526
December 15, 12:00 PM
La Pine Senior Activity Center
16450 Victory Way
La Pine, OR 97739
December 15, 1:00 PM
Willamette National Cemetery
11800 SE Mt Scott Blvd
Portland, OR 97086
December 15, 12:00 PM
Redmond Memorial Cemetery
3545 S. Canal Blvd
Redmond, OR 97756
December 15, 12:00 PM
Terrebonne Pioneer Cemetery
485 NW Larch Ave
Redmond, OR 97756
December 15, 12:00 PM
Roseburg National Cemetery
1770 W Harvard Blvd
Roseburg, OR 97470
December 15, 9:00 AM
Camp Polk Cemetery
69875 Camp Polk Rd
Sisters, OR 97759
December 15, 12:00 PM
Springfield Memorial Gardens
7305 Main St
Springfield, OR 97478

Scam-Proof Yourself for the Holidays

The following information is from the Federal VA:

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to team up to combat illegal robocalls targeting Americans, including Veterans and their families.
Each year, the FCC receives more than 200,000 complaints about unwanted calls. While this may seem like a big number, it pales in comparison to the millions of robocalls being made each day. The calls interrupt dinners and family time; they flood landline and mobile phones. Scam calls frequently solicit money for fake charities, including ones claiming to support America’s Veterans – some even claiming to be VA representatives.
We know that scam activity increases during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, so the FCC and VA urge you to be vigilant. We offer the following tips to help you avoid unwanted calls and scams.
–Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. Scammers may spoof their caller ID to display a fake number that appears to be local. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
–Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, or passwords in response to unexpected or suspicious calls.
–Be sure to set a password for all voicemail accounts to avoid being hacked.
–Register your number on the Do Not Call List to block calls from legitimate telemarketers.
–Ask your phone company about call-blocking tools and services for your landline phone, and check for helpful apps that you can download to your mobile phone.
Please help spread the word about robocall fraud among those who may need assistance particularly those who are frequently targeted by phone scams.
For more information, visit: fcc.gov/robocalls.

Post 911 GI Bill Update

reposted from va.gov

Because of continued information technology difficulties with implementing sections 107 and 501 of the Harry W. Colmery Educational Assistance Act of 2017 (Forever GI Bill), both of which change the way monthly housing allowance payments are calculated, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie has directed Under Secretary for Benefits Paul R. Lawrence to take the following action
Effective Dec. 1, the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) will reset its implementation efforts for sections 107 and 501 of the law to give the department the time, contracting support and resources necessary to develop the capability to process Spring 2020 enrollments in accordance with the law by Dec. 1, 2019.
This includes soliciting bids from contractors for support in the areas of program integration, systems implementation, and software development.
During this time, VBA will pay monthly housing allowance rates for the Post-9/11 GI Bill at the current academic year uncapped Department of Defense (DoD) Basic Housing Allowance (BAH) rates.
For many students, this DoD BAH rate will be equal to or higher than their current payment.
VBA will also correct retroactively any underpayments.
If a student was overpaid due to the change in law or because of VBA’s challenges in implementing the law, the student will not be held liable for the debt.
Also, for the current academic year (2018-2019), VBA will pay housing allowances based on the location of a school’s main campus, rather than the physical location of the student.
This interim policy will terminate by Dec. 1, 2019, upon implementation of a fully developed IT solution for sections 107 and 501 of the law.
Finally, VBA will define a training site as a “campus” when the following conditions are true: the physical site of the training is either owned or leased by the school, and the school has ownership or control over the student’s classroom instruction or the faculty conducting the instruction. This approach reduces the administrative burden for schools and students from VBA’s initial interpretation of the law.
As these changes are implemented, VBA will remain in continuous contact with Veterans, Congress, Veterans Service Organizations and other stakeholders to ensure everyone is informed and knows what to expect.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should beneficiaries do now?
Students can benefit from planning ahead of time, enrolling early, staying in contact with their School Certifying Officials, and avoiding changes in their schedules once enrolled.
If students do drop/add hours, they should immediately contact their School Certifying Official to mitigate potential overpayment.
Students can expect payments to be in line with normal processing times and VA will continue to pay students based on the location of the institution’s main campus.
VA will provide beneficiaries with housing benefits at the current academic year uncapped DoD BAH rate for an E-5 with dependents.
VA made this decision because it allows the department to update the housing rates, and is in line with what most students should be receiving each month. VA will not inconvenience any student by collecting any overpayments.
The anticipated workload for the spring is normal, and VA is positioned to complete the work within its timeliness standards.
What should schools do now?
School Certifying Officials can submit enrollment documents as early as 6-months in advance, and we are encouraging certifying officials to submit enrollment documents as soon as they are available.
VA will not require schools to resubmit enrollments for terms that started prior to the IT solution.
What is VA doing to communicate these changes to students and schools?
VA will be communicating these changes with a multi-faceted approach:
VBA is sending an email to student Veterans
The Post-9/11 GI Bill and VBA social media accounts will be publishing links to this update and FAQ for its more than 650,000 combined followers
VBA is notifying the 35,000+ School Certifying Officials and higher education leadership teams, as well as the state approving agencies and national school associations.
Why didn’t VA update the rates in August?
Initially, VA scheduled the annual updates for release at the same time as the IT solution for the Sections 107 and 501 of the Colmery Act. Since the IT solution deployment did not occur at that time, VA did not update the rates in August.
What is the difference between the 2017 and 2018 housing rates?
On average, approximately one percent.
How did the housing rates change?
Prior to the passage of the Colmery Act, Post-9/11 GI Bill MHA payments were based on the DoD BAH rates for an E-5 with dependents at the location of the main campus of the school. DoD assesses BAH rates every January 1, and reports them to VA; VA then calculates the VA rate (typically about one percent higher than the DoD rates effective August 1 of the same year).
Section 501 of the Colmery Act removes the exemption and aligns MHA with DoD’s BAH. However, VA is delaying implementation of this provision until Spring 2020.
What types of claims are affected?
All Post-9/11 GI Bill claims associated with a housing allowance will be impacted by these changes.
What is VA doing to avoid/mitigate the peak enrollment delays that occurred in Fall 2018?
For the Fall 2018 term, VA asked schools to hold enrollments that would have been affected by the implementation of Section 107. When VA asked schools to submit those enrollments in July, it caused a significant increase in the pending workload and took approximately eight weeks to return to typical processing times.
VA is asking schools to submit enrollments as soon as possible for the Spring 2019 term. The anticipated workload for the Spring is normal, and VA is positioned to complete the work within its timeliness standards.
Will VA provide students with any assistance if I have a hardship?
If a student experiences financial hardship due to a delay in payment, we ask that they contact the Education Call Center at 888-442-4551 between 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. Central Time, Monday-Friday. VA will expedite any hardship request.
For more information, visit the GI Bill website at https://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill/.

Blue Christmas at Roseburg VA This Coming Saturday

Do you struggle with emotional or spiritual pain during the holidays? Feeling lonely?
You may want to take solace during the upcoming Blue Christmas Service to be held at the Roseburg Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 913 NW Garden Valley Blvd, Roseburg.
The service will be on Saturday, December 15, from 5:30 pm to 6:15 pm in Building 16 Auditorium. Chaplains and counselors will be present to support those who want to talk after the service.
The service will be Christian, but all are welcome. There will be no effort to convert or criticize. The service is open to the public.

Oregon Sailor Who Died at Pearl Harbor Identified Through DNA

Next Spring, Rosella Workinner will bury the remains of her brother, Claude Gowey, 78 years after he died in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  Gowey served on the USS Oklahoma.  He was identified through DNA by the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency in Hawaii.
The plans are to bury him in Arlington National Cemetary.
The story was reported by News Channel 21- KTVZ.com. Click here for the original story.

VA is single largest provider of HIV care in the US

December 1 is World AIDS Day. VA joins our federal partners in recognizing this day and taking time to reflect on the impact of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, how well we diagnose and care for people with HIV, and our continued efforts to prevent HIV among those most vulnerable.
VA is the single largest provider of HIV care in the US, serving over 30,000 Veterans with HIV across the country. VA is committed to each step in the HIV care continuum from testing and diagnosis, to linkage to care, and treatment and prevention. Community and federal partners play a critical in extending the care we can provide to our Veterans with HIV.
With over 43% of all Veterans in care tested for HIV, VA is committed to ensuring all Veterans continue to have access to testing and high-quality HIV care at diagnosis.
VA is committed to testing and high-quality HIV care.
VA is also committed to HIV prevention by continuing to strongly promote Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication that can help prevent HIV for those who are negative but at risk for HIV.
In 2018, VA is also focusing on increasing awareness and action on HIV treatment as prevention (TasP) or Undetectable=Untransmittable (U=U).
If a person with HIV is on HIV medications (antiretroviral therapy, or ART) with a consistently undetectable HIV viral load, the HIV virus cannot be transmitted to a sex partner. “Undetectable” means that the level of HIV in a person’s blood is so low that it doesn’t show up on a blood test.
If the virus is undetectable, the person with HIV cannot pass the virus on to others through sex. This is critical to preventing new cases of HIV. At VA, we are working to make sure that people diagnosed with HIV are started on treatment right away and stay on treatment.
You can ask your VA provider about PrEP, and you can ask them for a prescription for condoms at your next visit. With your help in taking preventative measures, we can reduce the number of new HIV infections and work to make sure Veterans in VA care with HIV are receiving the very best treatment available.
Learn more about prevention on the VA’s HIV/AIDS Website.

Written by Elizabeth Maguire, MSW,  the communications lead for the HIV, Hepatitis and Related Conditions Programs.

Oregon’s Women Veterans Still Underserved, Lack Resources

Elizabeth Estabrooks, Oregon Women Veterans coordinator came to Coos County to visit with members of the newly formed Women Veterans of the Oregon Coast.
She took time out to talk with Lauren Negrete of KCBY about the lack of resources for women veterans. These include mammograms, OBGYN, and mental health care among other services.
She also spoke of the 85 percent increase in suicides among women veterans.
For a look at the interview, click here.

Deceased Veterans Receive Full Military Honors

Every month Willamette National Cemetery presents a Military Memorial Service to ensure every veteran receives a funeral with full military honors.
For nearly two decades WNC has held a monthly memorial service, usually on the fourth Thursday of the month. For various reasons, including no living family, dire medical issues for surviving family, or even indigence, some deceased veterans are laid to rest at WNC without receiving military honors. With an average monthly roster of 25-30, the monthly memorial pays full military respects to those “orphaned” deceased veterans who were interred at the cemetery the preceding month.
To read more of the story, written by Patti McCoy and published in the Lake Oswego Review, click here.

New Study Shows Entrepreneurial Vets Have Harder Time Getting Financing

A new report released in November details a decline in veteran entrepreneurship compared to earlier generations of veterans. Further, the study shows that veterans are now owning businesses at a lower rate than nonveterans.
The information comes from a partnership between the US Small Business Administration’s Office of Veteran Business Development OVBD) and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to examine veteran business financing. Data from the study provides substantial evidence that veterans have a harder time getting capital and financing than non-veterans.
Authors of the paper published November 2018, Sid Sankaran from the Small Business Administration and Jessica Battisto, of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, wrote while referring to the declining rate of veteran entrepreneurship:

A study conducted by the SBA’s Office of Advocacy in 2011 found that “military service is highly correlated with self-employment probability,” and that “veterans are at least 45 percent more likely than those with no active-duty military experience to be self-employed.”
This economic engine for the US cannot be overstated; in 2012, there were 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses generating $1.1 trillion in sales and $195 billion in annual payroll.
However, even in 2011, the SBA study noted a decline in veteran entrepreneurial activity. “The cohort of veterans who served in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War era were more likely to be self-employed relative to veterans serving since 2001, or Gulf War veterans.”
An obvious factor here is age; as noted by a 2016 US Bureau of Labor Statistics report, “the higher rate of self-employment among veterans also partially reflects the older age profile of veterans: 40 percent of employed veterans were aged 55 years and older, compared with 21 percent of nonveterans. Older workers are more likely to be self-employed than younger workers.”
Furthermore, given that veterans are older, we would naturally expect to see fewer veteran entrepreneurs as more veterans age out of the workforce. As such, the Kauffman Foundation noted that the share of all new entrepreneurs represented by veterans “was 12.3 percent in 1996 but had steadily declined to 5.6 percent by 2014, and that most of the decline was due to the declining share of veterans in the US working-age population.”

The report takes a look at the potential drivers of declining veteran entrepreneurship, covers the data from the credit survey, discusses the demand for and availability of financing, the reasons for financing shortfalls, and ends with some research conclusions and forward thoughts.
For a copy of the report in pdf format, hover over and click on the title: Financing Their Future: Veteran Entrepreneurs and Capital Access

December 7, 1941 at 7:48am – Attack on Pearl Harbor

December 7, 1941, at 7:48 a.m. local time, 353 Imperial Japanese aircrafts bombed eight U.S. Navy ships docked at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Some 2,403 Americans were killed, 1,178 more were wounded and 960 were declared missing. As an event, it ignited U.S. involvement in the ongoing Second World War. Every year since, Americans from Washington, D.C. to Hawaii have honored those that died and remember the day that will “live in infamy,” to quote then-President Franklin Roosevelt.
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date which will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan,” Roosevelt said in an address to Congress the day after the attack. He later added, “No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.”