Legion: ‘Judicial Board Needs to Allow for VA Accountability’

Posted on February 10th, 2016

WASHINGTON (February 9, 2016) –  After yet another attempt to discipline a poor performing employee was reversed by the Merit Systems Protection Board, the head of the nation’s largest veterans service organization added his voice to a growing legion of critics that unelected judges are making it impossible to bring accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“The burden of proof needed to discipline a VA employee, or any employee for that matter, should not be the same as what is required to send an accused murderer to death row,” said American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett. “VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson should be commended for attempting to remove the director of the Albany, N.Y., VA Medical Center because he felt that she created an environment that was unsafe for veterans. This is just a week after the MSPB ruled that two senior VA officials in Pennsylvania and Minnesota could not be demoted, even after the VA’s own IG report found that they inappropriately manipulated the  agency’s relocation system for personal gain. President Obama and Congress have promised to restore accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs. It is almost impossible to do that when VA’s attempts to discipline poor performers are reversed at the end of the appeals process.”

Barnett says that while The American Legion supports the right of any employee to receive a fair hearing, the burden of proof should not be greater than what most taxpayers would expect from their private sector jobs.

“VA employees have been entrusted with a huge responsibility, the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans,” Barnett said. “By tolerating bad behavior without even allowing a slap on the wrist, the MSPB is risking the lives of veterans. The American Legion is calling on Congress, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the MSPB to work together to reform the procedures needed to finally bring accountability to a department that desperately needs it.”

With a current membership of 2.2 million wartime veterans, The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through nearly 14,000 posts across the nation.

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Media Contact: Andrea Dickerson, (202) 263-2982 / cell (202) 417-4090 adickerson@legion.org; John Raughter, (317) 630-1350 / cell (317) 441-8847,  jraughter@legion.org



Post Dues Deadline

Posted on January 7th, 2016

The deadline for Posts to submit membership dues at the current rate of $26.00 per member is January 13, 2016.

January 14, 2016 the Post will have to submit $31.00 per member.



Upcoming Job Fairs in 2016

Posted on December 14th, 2015

Mark your calendar now for these important dates.

San Antonio

San Antonio All Veterans Job Fair, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Jan. 14, Norris Conference Centers-San Antonio, recruitmilitary.com

 

Dallas

South Central Regional Hiring Conference, Jan. 14-15, orioninternational.com

BMI ConferenceHire, Jan. 18, register online, bradley-morris.com

Military Hiring Conference, Feb. 4-5, register online, lucasgroup.com

Dallas All Veterans Job Fair, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 25, Irving Convention Center, recruitmilitary.com

 

Houston

South Central Regional Hiring Conference, Jan. 17-18, register online, orioninternational.com

 

Austin

Austin Hiring Fair, 8:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Jan. 27, Omni Hotel at Southpark, hiringourheroes.org

 



National Commander Barnett: VA “has a long ways to go”

Posted on December 10th, 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (December 10, 2015) – American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett expressed frustration Wednesday after a congressional hearing that addressed accountability issues in the Department of Veterans Affairs in the aftermath of relocation compensation paid to executives implicated in a VA Inspector General’s report last month.

“Our veterans are looking for accountability at every echelon of the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Barnett said after Wednesday’s hearing. “American taxpayers want to give veterans the best health care possible for veterans.  However, they expect VA to be fully accountable to provide that care without waste, fraud or abuse of government funds.  It appears that VA has a long ways to go before achieving this mission.”

The 2.2 million member American Legion is the nation’s largest veterans service organization.

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Media Contact:  Andrea Dickerson, (202) 263-2982 / cell (202) 417-4090 adickerson@legion.org;

 



VA Makes Changes to Veterans Choice Program

Posted on December 1st, 2015

VA Makes Changes to Veterans Choice Program

Changes Remove Barriers and Expands Access to Care

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced a number of changes to make participation in the Veterans Choice Program easier and more convenient for Veterans who need to use it. The move, which streamlines eligibility requirements, follows feedback from Veterans along with organizations working on their behalf.

“As we implement the Veterans Choice Program, we are learning from our stakeholders what works and what needs to be refined,” said VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald. “It is our goal to do all that we can to remove barriers that separate Veterans from the care they deserve.” To date, more than 400,000 medical appointments have been scheduled since the Veterans Choice Program went into effect on November 5, 2014.

Under the old policy, a Veteran was eligible for the Veterans Choice Program if he or she met the following criteria:

  • Enrolled in VA health care by 8/1/14 or able to enroll as a combat Veteran to be eligible for the Veterans Choice Program;
  • Experienced unusual or excessive burden eligibility determined by geographical challenges, environmental factors or a medical condition impacting the Veteran’s ability to travel;
  • Determined eligible based on the Veteran’s current residence being more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA medical facility.

Under the updated eligibility requirements, a Veteran is eligible for the Veterans Choice Program if he or she is enrolled in the VA health care system and meets at least one of the following criteria: 

  • Told by his or her local VA medical facility that they will not be able to schedule an appointment for care within 30 days of the date the Veteran’s physician determines he/she needs to be seen or within 30 days of the date the Veteran wishes to be seen if there is no specific date from his or her physician;
  • Lives more than 40 miles driving distance from the closest VA medical facility with a full-time primary care physician;
  • Needs to travel by air, boat or ferry to the VA medical facility closest to his/her home;
  • Faces an unusual or excessive burden in traveling to the closest VA medical facility based on geographic challenges, environmental factors, a medical condition, the nature or simplicity or frequency of the care needed and whether an attendant is needed. Staff at the Veteran’s local VA medical facility will work with him or her to determine if the Veteran  is eligible for any of these reasons; or
  • Lives in a State or Territory without a full-service VA medical facility which includes: Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire (Note: this excludes New Hampshire Veterans who live within 20 miles of the White River Junction VAMC) and the United States Territories (excluding Puerto Rico, which has a full service VA medical facility).

Veterans seeking to use the Veterans Choice Program or wanting to know more about it, can call1-866-606-8198 to confirm their eligibility and to schedule an appointment.  For more details about the Veterans Choice Program and VA’s progress, visit: www.va.gov/opa/choiceact.



Renew your membership online

Posted on November 4th, 2015

Your annual dues help support the programs of The American Legion in your community, state and nation. American Legion programs and service include: Troop Support, Child Welfare Foundation, American Legion Baseball, our Department Service Officers, Family Support Network, Veterans Job Fairs and many other programs.

To renew your dues, simply click on the “Renew Your Membership Online” button at the right top of this website. You can also set up your dues to be automatically paid each year while you are on the renewal site.

Thank you for your continued support of The American Legion and ensuring that we remain the most powerful voice in American on behalf of our veterans, our servicemembers, their families and in communities across the nation.



LegionCare program now improved!

Posted on September 14th, 2015

The Legionnaire Insurance Trust (LIT) is pleased to announce some important changes to the LegionCare program just revealed at the 97th Annual American Legion National Convention earlier this month.

The first of these exciting updates – starting for enrollments after 1/1/2015, anyone enrolled in LegionCare will be covered for as long as they remain a member of The Legion Family. No need to re-enroll every 5 years!

The second change, and what we think is the most important – All “Legion Family” members – Legion, senior ALA, and senior SAL – in good standing are now eligible for the coverage.  The Legionnaire Insurance Trust has been working hard to provide valuable benefits to your entire family and we look forward to continuing to serve  veterans’ insurance needs.

Those “Legion Family” members stopping by our booth were able to enroll in the LIT’s LegionCare program and have their coverage become effective immediately, but this opportunity is not restricted to just those who were at the National Convention. Every eligible “Legion Family” member may enroll, but the member must sign-up to be covered.  Please keep the momentum going after the convention and spread the word about these exciting changes to LegionCare.

Reminder about LegionCare:

What is LegionCare? LegionCare provides up to $1,000 of 24 hours accidental death coverage to an enrolled member.  And if an enrolled members suffers a covered loss while performing “official Legion Family business”, there is an additional $4,000 benefit* –bringing the total to up to $5,000.

How do I enroll? Just go online to www.TheLIT.com/No-Cost-LegionCare and fill in the requested information.  By enrolling on-line, your coverage will begin immediately and you will get an e-mail confirmation within minutes.  Those without access to the internet may enroll by calling the LIT’s toll-free number – (800) 235-6943 – and our customer service area will process your enrollment over the phone.

Don’t delay – sign-up today!



National PUFL Application Processing Change

Posted on March 4th, 2015

MEMO: To All Posts Adjutants

MEMO FROM: Jack Querfeld, Director, Internal Affairs Division

SUBJECT: Paid-Up-For-Life Application Processing Change

In January 2014, National Headquarters introduced a new simplified pricing structure for its Paid-Up-For-Life (PUFL) plan which also included the ability for a member to apply online for lifetime membership.  This was done with the intent of simplifying the entire process for the member.

Beginning July 1, 2015, National Headquarters will no longer accept PUFL applications that were previously distributed in bulk to Departments or Posts. This includes any PUFL application reflecting a rate chart with the effective date of October 2009 or earlier.

All PUFL applications must be submitted to National by one of the three methods noted below. We will continue the policy of notifying the Post and Department when a member applies for a lifetime membership; this provides the opportunity for the Post to challenge the application, if necessary.

ONLINE APPLICATION: The member accesses the PUFL page on National’s website at www.legion.org/pufl to obtain a rate quote and/or submit an electronic application. Once the rate quote is received, the member can opt to apply online which will cause their record information to appear for confirmation purposes. Once confirmed and the payment information is completed, the member selects the Submit button to complete the application process.  NOTE:  If the member doesn’t have internet access, either themselves or through family/friends, this process should be performed by the Post or the Department. A quick link to the PUFL application website has been added to myLegion for Posts and Departments.

PRINTABLE APPLICATION:  The member accesses the PUFL page on National’s website at www.legion.org/pufl to obtain a rate quote and/or print an application. Once the rate quote is received, the member can opt to print a paper application to complete and mail to National Headquarters.  The application will be pre-filled with the member’s ID Number, Name, Address, Birth Date and the total cost of the PUFL membership. (If any of the member’s information needs to be updated, it can be noted on the application.) The member then simply mails the application and payment to National Headquarters at the address shown on the form.  NOTE:  If the member doesn’t have internet access, either themselves or through family/friends, the application should be printed by the Post or the Department and forwarded to the member for completion. A quick link to the PUFL application website has been added to myLegion for Posts and Departments.

CALL A CUSTOMER SERVICE SPECIALIST:  Any member can speak to one of National’s Customer Service Specialists by calling our toll free number at 800-433-3318.  They’re happy to answer any questions…print and mail a PUFL application…or even take the application over the phone.  However, this should not be considered the primary procedure since all members, Posts, and Departments have the same ability.