News & Events
Our veterans deserve a lot of things. Praise. Honor. Security. Respect.
Here’s what they do not deserve: attempts to take advantage of their service. Yet every day, scammers attempt to defraud our veterans of their hard-earned benefits, steal their identity, or take their savings.
Together, we can fight back and take one small step to repay our veterans’ for the service they’ve given and the sacrifices they made.
KNOW THE ENEMY: How Scammers Target Veterans
- VA LOAN SCAMS : Offers to refinance VA loans at extremely low-rates
- UPDATE YOUR FILE SCAM: An imposter, claiming to be from a government agency, attempts to get a veteran’s personal information to “update their File” so they can maintain benefits.
- SECRET VETERAN BENEFIT SCAM: Veterans are told they qualify for “secret” government programs or benefits that offer thousands of dollars—but first they attempt to collect personal information for a fee.
- PENSION POACHING SCAM: Scammers often offer veterans lump sum payments up front, in exchange for signing over all of their future monthly benefit checks.
- AID AND ATTENDANCE SCAM: Veterans (or their family members) receive an offer to move their assets into a living trust so that they can qualify for financial assisted-living benefits
VETERANS MAY ALSO ENCOUNTER GENERAL SCAMS
In addition to scams that specifically target veterans’, there are an abundance of scams aimed at the general public to which veterans are more susceptible. These include: Phishing(attempt to gain access to financial accounts),fake tech-support calls, fraudulent credit card/loan schemes, attempts to “collect” fictitious tax bills, fraudulent charities, investment scams, pyramid schemes, and more.
If you or a loved one has encountered a financial scam in the past 12 months, please help us keep fighting for our veterans by calling 877-908-3360
The information you provide is anonymous and will be used by AARP to prepare research on fraudulent activity affecting veterans. This is not a method of reporting crimes to law enforcement authorities. If you want to report mail related crimes please contact the USPIS at postalinspectors.usps.gov
If you would like to take a survey being conducted by AARP concerning fraudulent activity effecting Veterans, please stop buy the Salem County Veterans Office, to pick up a form to fill out, so they can continue to track fraud trends and warn our veterans.
If you’ve ever filed a claim with U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for compensation or pension benefits, The VA may require you to go to an examination as part of the process. This is known as a VA claim exam or a Compensation & Pension (C&P) exam.
SCHEDULING OF THE EXAM
After you submit your claim, you may receive a phone call or a letter from the VA or a VA partner asking you to come to one or exams. Not every application for benefits will require an exam; it depends on what medical evidence has been submitted with you claim application. I you receive a letter for an exam contact the VA immediately at the number provided to reschedule your exam, if you have a conflict with your exam time and date. Try not to reschedule on the day before or day of the exam.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO ATTEND YOUR VA CLAIM EXAM. Missing your exam could cause the VA to delay its decision on your claim, base their decision on the information they have in your file, or just flat out deny your claim. Make sure you call the VA if you cannot make the appointment.
The VA exam is different from a regular medical appointment because the examiner won’t prescribe any medicine or treat you for your disability; this exam occurs only if you file a compensation or pension claim. It is part of the claim review process and helps the VA determine if your disability is service connected, the level of your disability, or if your condition should receive a increased rating due to worsening.
The amount of time the examiner spends with you during your exam depends on what conditions you claimed and if the VA needs more information to make a decision. The length of your visit could be very short, or last for one hour or more.
THE EXAMINER MAY:
- Ask you questions
- Observe your behavior
- Perform a limited physical exam
- Simply review your file with you
Each exam is different, remember, your in-person visit is only one part of the claim review process. Typically, examiners’ spend time before and /after your appointment reviewing your medical records. Even if your visit is short, he or she is still carefully reviewing your claim.
- If you have additional medical records, take them with you to your exam
- Travel expenses, can be requested based on calculated mileage form your door to the exam facility.
Remember: the examiner is only involved in performing the claim exam. They do not make the rating decision.
This information is taken from VA informational Bulletins
A new “Intent to File” process has been established for Veterans and Survivors who intend to file a claim for VA compensation, pension, or survivors’ benefits, but need additional time to gather all of the information and evidence required to support their claim.
WHAT IS THE INTENT TO FILE PROCESS
The intent to file process allows you additional time to collect all of the information needed to support your claim while protecting the earliest possible effective date for any award of benefits or increased benefits resulting from your claim. The date the VA receives your intent to file will be protected as your effective as long as the correct application form is completed and submitted within one year
WHAT DOES AN INTENT TO FILE A CLAIM CONTAIN?
Your intent to file must contain:
- Sufficient personal information to identify the Veteran and claimant (if not the veteran)
- An election of the general benefit(s) you are seeking (i.e., compensation, pension, or survivors benefits)
- You or your representatives’ signature.
HOW DO VETERANS OR SURVIVORS NOTIFY VA OF THEIR INTENT OT FILE?
There are three ways you can notify VA of your intent to file a claim:
- ELECTRONICALLY— via benefits or with the support of a Veterans Service Officer through the Stakeholder Enterprise portal (SEP)
- COMPLETING AND MAILING PROPER FORM— VA Form 21-0966, Intent to file a claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC.
- OVER THE PHONE, OR IN PERSON—Claimants can call the VA National Call Center (800-827-1000) or tell a public contact representative in person at one of the VA’s regional offices.
INTENT TO FILE PRESERVES THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A POTENTIAL CLAIM.
Once the VA is notified of your intent to file, you will have up to one year from the date the VA receives your intent to file to submit a formal claim for benefits with supporting information.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
- VA will only recognize one intent to file at any given time
- Your completed claim must be received within 1 year of the date VA receives your intent to file for same general benefit in order for VA to consider your intent to filer when assigning an effective date.
- Once you have submitted a completed claim, your intent to file for that general benefit will no longer be active, if you intend to file another claim, but need time to complete, you must submit a new “Intent to File”.
Please contact your County Veterans Service Office for additional information 856-339-8603
This information taken from VA bulletins.
WHAT IS HEROES WITH HEARING LOSS (H2WHL) PROGRAM?
The mission of the heroes with hearing loss program is to raise awareness and begin conversations about shared hearing loss experiences among veterans, their families and friends. It is specifically designed to provide insightful solutions and successful lifestyle-focused results. This is accomplished by introducing veterans to resources, products, services and hearing loss management techniques that best meet their individual need.
Heroes with hearing loss is provided by Hamilton CapTel—a service that provides captions of phone conversations for individuals with hearing loss. Hamilton Captel offers a captioned telephone at no cost to eligible veterans (and their spouses) with hearing loss.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FEATURES AND BENEFITS OF A HAMILTON CAPTEL PHONE?
- Fast, accurate captions displayed at nearly real-time that show what the other person is saying.
- An amplified handset with tone control to adjust voices
- Integrated answering machine voice messages
- Up to 500 lines of storage, providing the ability to review important conversations
- Speakerphone capability(2400i model)
- Save favorite contacts to a speed dial
- Adjustable colors for background
- Adjustable font size.
DOES A VETERANS HEARING LOSS NEED TO BE SERVICE CONNECTED?
NO. HWHL is not governed by the VA system, nor does the ordering process involve the VA. Therefore a veterans hearing loss need only to be certified by a third party professional (SUCH AS YOUR VETERANS SERVICE OFFICER)
ARE SURVIVING SPOUSES OF DECEASED VETERANS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE A PHONE AT NO COST?
Absolutely. HWHL would be happy to provide the same service to the widow or widower of any veteran, however to receive the phone at no cost they would need their Doctor or Audiologist to complete a certificate of hearing loss.
ARE THERE OTHER REQUIREMENTS FOR USING THE PHONE?
Yes-telephone service and high speed internet access are required to use the Captel phone.
WHAT IF THE CLIENT NEEDS HELP WITH INSTALLING THE SPECIAL PHONE?
These phone connect to both the telephone and internet services quickly and easily and many veterans install them themselves, the company will provide complimentary installation assistance
The Salem County Veterans office will be setting up a display model to show our Veterans how this device works— We hope to be set up and running by the end of the month, please call 856-339-8603 for appointment
If you are a veteran overwhelmed with the high cost of long term elder , such as paying for assisted living facilities, home care aids, adult daycare or skilled nursing, the veterans Aid and Attendance benefit could be a solution to help offset these rising care costs. A wartime veteran or their surviving spouse with limited income may be eligible to receive a non-service connected pension (this means that the need for care does not have to result from one’s military service).
There are three levels of VA pensions:
- Basic Pension/improved Income – For healthy veterans over the age of 65 with low incomes
- Aid and Attendance – For veterans over the age of 65 that require assistance with their activities of daily living.
- Housebound – For veterans with a disability rating of 100% that prevents them from leaving their home, but does not have to have to be related to their military service.
The Aid and Attendance and Housebound pensions provide additional monthly income over and above the Basic Monthly Pension. To be eligible for either of these pensions, one must also meet the requirements for basic Pension.
Attendance benefit is a monetary benefit which helps eligible Veterans’ and their surviving Spouses(or just the spouse in case of the Veterans’ death) to pay for the assistance they need in everyday functioning (eating, bathing, dressing, and medication management).
RECEIVING A VA PENSION MAY DISQUALIFY A VETERAN FOR MEDICAID OR VA DISABILITY COMPENSATION
- Age – Veterans or their surviving spouse must be at least 65 years or officially disabled if younger.
- Period of Military Service – Veterans must be considered “wartime veterans” meaning they served at least 90 days and served at least one day during the following wartime dates:
- WORLD WAR 11: Dec 7,1941—Dec 31,1946
- KOREA WAR: Jun 27,1950—Jan 31,1955
- VIETNAM WAR:AUG 5,1964—MAY 7, 1975 or Feb 28,1961—May 7,1975 for veterans who served in Vietnam)
- GULF WAR: Aug 2,1990—Undetermined
- Discharge Status – Veterans cannot be dishonorably discharged.
- Disability Status – Veterans are eligible without a disability, but a higher benefit is available to those who are disabled.
- Marriage Rules – A surviving Spouse must have been living with the veteran at the time of their death and must be single at the time of the claim.
- The VA has both income limits and asset limits for the Aid and Attendance, Housebound and Basic Pensions—please make an appointment with your County veterans Service office to review these income limits.
THIS INFORMATION IS TAKEN FROM VA BULLETINS
Please remember veterans must be enrolled in the VA Healthcare System to be eligible for any healthcare opportunities such as:
VA HOSPICE, VA CAREGIVERS, HEARING AIDS, GLASSES ETC.
Please contact the Salem County Veterans’ Office at 856-339-8603
Have you been waiting too long for a decision on your disability compensation appeal?
NOW THERE’S RAMP
VETERANS THAT OPT INTO “RAMP” RECEIVE A DECISION ON THEIR DISAGREEMENT IN AN AVERAGE OF 125 DAYS.
WHAT IS RAMP?
The Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) gives Veterans with pending disability compensation appeals a faster resolution of their disagreement with VA’s decision on their claim. Opting into RAMP gives the Veteran with pending disability compensation appeals a choice of having their disagreements reviewed as either a supplemental claim or via a higher-level review.
You are eligible to opt into RAMP if you have a disability compensation appeal pending in one of the following stages:
- Notice of disagreement has been filed
- Form 9, appeal to the Board of Veterans Appeals
- Certified to the Board (sent to the Board, but not yet formally placed on the its docket)
- Remand from the Board to VA
CHOOSING A REVIEW LANE IN RAMP
By opting into Ramp, you are removing your appeal from the old, limited appeals process, which in some cases has taken up to 6 years to get a decision. You will be choosing one of two ways to have your claim reviewed. Both RAMP options will get you a faster review of your claim. Opting into RAMP will not affect or change your potential effective date, regardless of the review Option that you choose. In addition, you will still have the ability to appeal to the Board if you determine that a further review of the RAMP VA’s decision is necessary
WAYS FOR CLAIM TO BE REVIEWED
- HIGHER-LEVEL REVIEW LANE – Your claim will be reviewed by a senior VA employee. This claim will be reviewed with only all the information on file.
You can also request an informal telephone conference before the review, which may add time to a decision being made.
- SUPPLEMENTAL CLAIM LANE – You can submit additional evidence to support your claim before it is reviewed again-once new evidence is received, a claims adjudicator will review your claim.
OPTING INTO RAMP
Any Veteran with an eligible disability compensation appeal may choose to opt into RAMP. There are four ways to opt in to RAMP:
- You may receive an invitation in the mail from the VA to opt into RAMP.
- You can visit VA’s Ramp information page at: https://benefits.va.gov/benefits/appeals-ramp.asp and print out the RAMP program.
- You can call VA at 1-800-827-1000 to have the forms mailed to you.
- You can call your Salem County Veteran Service Office at 856-339-8603 to set up an appointment to prepare and file the appropriate forms
THIS INFORMATION IS TAKEN FROM VA BULLETINS