Legion to VA: Hickey Must Go ‘If crimes occurred, culprits must be prosecuted’
Posted on September 29th, 2015
WASHINGTON (September 29, 2015) — American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett repeated his organization’s call for VA Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey to resign amid new allegations of more wrongdoing by senior VA executives.
“In 2014, then-National Commander Dan Dellinger called on the VA Secretary, the Under Secretary for Health and Under Secretary for Benefits to all step down due to widespread scandals that infected the entire department,” Barnett said “While the VA Secretary and Under Secretary for Health Care did step down, Under Secretary Hickey ignored the wishes of veterans and stayed on. Now, we have VA’s own Inspector General’s office determining that two senior executives under Hickey inappropriately used their positions to benefit from an overly-generous relocation policy. It’s disturbing to read terms like ‘criminal referrals’ and ‘coerced’ in an official report about an agency that was created to serve veterans. It is time for Under Secretary Hickey to finally do the right thing and resign.”
Investigators have determined that the directors of the VA Regional Offices in Philadelphia and St. Paul, Minn., used their prior positions to coerce the previous directors to accept reassignment and create openings that they themselves would fill, while retaining their higher salaries for their new lower-level positions.
Moreover, Philadelphia VARO Director Diana Rubens and St. Paul VARO Director Kimberly Graves collected more than $274,000 and $129,000 respectively in relocation costs. According to the IG, when Rubens informed Hickey that she wanted “to take advantage of the Philly Director opening,” Hickey responded that she would “be all in to help and make it happen.”
“Representative Jeff Miller has said that if warranted, officials should be prosecuted ‘to the fullest extent of the law.’ I agree,” Barnett said. “Culprits must be prosecuted and all VA officials must be held accountable for any wrongdoing that occurred.”
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.
JOIN THE NATIONAL COMMANDER FOR THE WALK FOR VETERANS.
Posted on September 28th, 2015
If you are in or near the San Antonio area on October 31st, please join National Commander Dale Barnett and Department of Texas Commander John McKinny in the Walk for Veterans at the Raymond Rimkus Park, 6440 Evers Road in the City of Leon Valley (suburb of San Antonio) beginning at 9:00 a.m. The length of the walk is 1 mile and there is a $10 registration fee (cash or check only please) which includes a commemorative t-shirt.
Some of the proceeds will benefit The American Legion National Emergency Fund. Please go to http://www.txamlgndist20.com/ or call 210-497-2103 for more information.
This is the only scheduled walk within Texas
American Legion calls for Government to Remain Open
Posted on September 25th, 2015
WASHINGTON (Sept. 25, 2015) – American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett issued the following statement regarding a possible shutdown of the federal government next week:
“The American Legion believes in service to America. As such, we expect our elected leaders in Congress and the White House to fulfill their constitutionally-mandated responsibilities and serve the American people. A government shutdown, regardless of the reasons why, benefits no one. Our military readiness will suffer. The already enormous backlog of veterans claims will continue to pile up. American taxpayers will be denied services that they paid for. The men and women who were elected to serve us are good people. They are patriots. The American Legion calls on them to work together to find creative alternatives and settle their differences without inflicting the massive pain to our country that would be caused as a result of yet another federal government shutdown.”
Media Contacts: John Raughter, (317) 630-1350 / (317) 441-8847, Andrea Dickerson, (202) 263-2983 / (202) 417-4090
IMPORTANT NOTICE – CHANGE POST DUES BEFORE INCREASE TAKES EFFECT.
Posted on September 22nd, 2015
At the 2015 American Legion National Convention, a national per capita dues increase of $5.00 was approved, raising the national dues from $13.50 to $18.50, effective January 21, 2016.
The Department’s deadline for processing membership at the current rate is January 13, 2016. All membership at the current dues rate must be in the Department Headquarters by January 13, 2016 by 4:00pm, postmarked will not count. Membership submitted on/after January 14, 2016 will be at the new dues rate of $31.00.
National is giving us the opportunity to increase your Post dues to reflect the new dues increase, only a post can set the per capita dues for its members. Enclosed is a post data form to be submitted to the department headquarters if your post wishes to increase its dues to reflect the $5.00 increase at the national level.
The Post has 3 options for effective date of the increase: November Renewal Notice, January Renewal Notice or another date. The National organization must receive post dues updates at least three weeks in advance to get the records updated and to allow time for printing.
The Post Data Form must be received at the department headquarters by November 20, 2015 in order to be reflected on the last renewal notice to be mailed by national before the January 21st dues increase takes effect; but the sooner your updated post dues are sent in, the sooner it can be made effective. Note: The effective date you choose will affect online renewers on that effective date, we suggest you set the effective date for January 13, 2016.
Please return the enclosed form with updated dues and any other post data changes to the Department Headquarters.
The American Legion, Dept of Texas
Attn: Dues increase notice
PO Box 140527
Austin, TX. 78714
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!
I Am The American Legion: Theresea Cruz, TX Post 436
Posted on August 21st, 2015
I Am The American Legion: Theresea Cruz
Theresea Cruz, commander of American Legion Post 436 in Jourdanton, Texas, is re-energizing her post by restarting programs, holding fundraisers and being active in the community. See more at www.legion.org/legiontv.
VA Expands Review of Chemical Exposure in Drinking Water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune
Posted on August 3rd, 2015
WASHINGTON – As part of VA’s ongoing commitment to provide care to Veterans and their families, the Department of Veterans Affairs today announced that it will start the process of amending its regulations to establish presumptions of service connection for certain conditions resulting from exposure to contaminated drinking water at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.
This process is in addition to the healthcare VA already provides for 15 conditions to eligible Veterans who were stationed at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 as a result of the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012. VA also provides reimbursement of healthcare expenses for those 15 conditions to eligible family members who resided at Camp Lejeune during that time period.
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs recently met with Senators Isakson, Burr and Tillis and the Director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) to discuss the creation of presumptions of service connection for diseases associated with the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The diseases that are currently being reviewed for potential presumptive service connection include kidney cancer, angiosarcoma of the liver, and acute myelogenous leukemia, which are known to be related to long-term exposure to the chemicals that were in the water at Lejeune from the 1950s through 1987. The chemicals are Benzene, Vinyl Chloride, Trichloroethylene and Perchloroethylene, which are known as volatile organic compounds, used in industrial solvents and components of fuels. ATSDR and VA representatives will meet at ATSDR offices on August 19 to begin discussions on establishing these presumptions.
VA will also work with ATSDR and potentially the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate the body of scientific knowledge and research related to exposure to these chemicals and the subsequent development of other diseases. VA will carefully consider all public comments received when determining the final scope of any presumptions.
Veterans with health problems they believe are related to exposure to the water at Camp Lejeune may file a claim for disability compensation online at www.ebenefits.va.gov, or call 1–800–827–1000 for assistance.
For more information, Veterans and family members should contact the nearest VA healthcare facility by calling 1–877–222–VETS (8387) or visit www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune. For further information on Camp Lejeune: VHA Office of Public Health has a Website on Camp Lejeune historical water contamination at: www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/index.asp.
The U.S. Marine Corps encourages all those who lived or worked at Camp Lejeune before 1987 to register for notifications regarding Camp Lejeune Historic Drinking Water at https://clnr.hqi.usmc.mil/clwater.
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.
Renew your membership online
Posted on September 16th, 2014
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.