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News for Seneca County Veterans 

The Department of Veterans Affairs medical clinics and hospitals are reaching out to veterans and scheduling appointments to receive the Covid Vaccine.  If you have not been contacted please be sure to reach out to your primary care provider at the clinic you use.

At this time all van riders must call and speak with a VA employee to verify their appointment has not been cancelled or changed.  The VA is not communicating well if the patient's appointment is virtual or in person or cancelled altogether.  The name of the VA employee you speak with must be provided to the transportation department 48 hours prior to riding.

The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has been made aware of a high number of fraudulent claims regarding Unemployment Benefits issued through the state of Ohio. Although the Ohio Attorney General cannot make a determination as to the validity of a claim – that must be handled by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) – here are a few simple FAQs to address the situation that we are encouraging you to share with your constituents. 

Q: How do I know if someone has fraudulently filed for Unemployment Benefits in my name?

A: If you have received one or more of the following and you did not file for Unemployment Benefits in 2020, you may have had a fraudulent claim made in your name:

  • A 1099-G tax form.
  • A letter from ODJFS stating that Unemployment Benefits have been applied for in your name.
  • A US Bank ReliaCard for funds you do not recognize or were not expecting.
  • Notification from your employer that ODJFS is inquiring about Unemployment Benefits that you did not apply for.

Q: What should I do if I receive one of the forms/notifications listed above?

A: You should follow these steps, in order:

  1. Contact ODJFS immediately.

You can report identity theft to ODJFS by completing an online form here or by visiting www.Unemployment.Ohio.Gov. You will need to enter personal information such as your Social Security number and your driver’s license number. If you do not have access to the internet, you can call ODJFS at 877-644-6562; please note wait times may be long.

Once you’ve successfully filed your report, ODJFS will send a confirmation email, investigate the claim and issue a correction to the IRS if fraud is determined.

Please note: There is not a mechanism in place for the Ohio Attorney General to contact ODJFS on your behalf to either start or expedite the process.

  1. Check your credit report.

Visit or call 877-322-8228 to do so. A credit report will show all credit-related accounts open in your name, such as mortgages, credit cards and car loans. Credit reports are free through April 2021, and after that date, you are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the main three credit reporting agencies. On your report, look for accounts and inquiries that you do not recognize. If you find anything suspicious, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office (800-282-0515 or

  1. Consider placing an Initial Fraud Alert on your credit report.

A fraud alert makes it harder for an identity thief to open credit accounts in your name and lasts for one year. You need to contact only one of the credit agencies listed below to place the alert; the one you contact will share the information with the other two. The agencies are:

There is no charge to place an Initial Fraud Alert.

  1. Consider placing a permanent Security Freeze on your credit report.

A Security Freeze will prevent others from opening credit in your name; such a freeze is free to place and is permanent. (You must pause or end it to open a new account.) Unlike an Initial Fraud Alert, for a Security Freeze, you must contact all three of the credit reporting agencies. Use the contact information listed above to do so.

Q: Can the Ohio Attorney General’s Office resolve my Unemployment Benefits claim?

A: Although the Ohio Attorney General’s Office provides many services to help victims of identity theft, the office cannot resolve Unemployment Benefits claims; only ODJFS can make an eligibility and/or fraud determination. However, if after checking your credit report, you find accounts that do not belong to you, you are encouraged to contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Identity Theft Unit (800-282-0515 or

Q: Can the Ohio Attorney General help me with other tax-related issues, such as providing guidance on how to file my taxes in light of receiving a fraudulent 1099-G?

A: The Ohio Attorney General’s Office cannot help with filing taxes, but the following websites may be helpful:

Q: How can I protect myself from identity theft moving forward?

A: There are many ways in which you can protect yourself from further identity theft:

  • Never share personal information with someone who contacts you unexpectedly.
  • Place an Initial Fraud Alert or permanent Security Freeze on your credit reports.
  • Never carry unnecessary personal information, such as your Social Security card, in your wallet or purse.
  • Don’t conduct private business on personal WiFi.
  • Use hard-to-guess passwords, especially for websites in which you have personal information stored. 

Seneca County Veteran of the Year 2020

Charles Giles has been named as the Seneca County Veteran of the Year 2020.  The dinner to be held in his honor has been postponed at this time due to CoVid 19.  At this time there is not a future dinner date yet established.  

The Seneca County Veterans Office staff is  working for veterans.  Please call us with questions or concerns or to set an appointment.  You may call (419) 447-2885 and select the service officer of your choice.  Please be sure to leave your name and telephone number.  At this time the office still remains closed to walk-ins.


To ensure the health and wellness of the veteran’s community and the drivers who transport them, the Seneca County Veterans Service Commission is transporting mandatory in person appointments and crucial medical care appointments.   The Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System has been cancelling non-urgent medical appointments and encouraging veterans to partake in the tele-health program during this uncertain time.  All veterans should verify the status of their upcoming appointments prior to traveling to the clinic.

Scammers are contacting people claiming to be tracing COVID-19 contacts. While legitimate health agencies, including the Seneca County General Health District are calling people to complete contact tracing, they will never ask for your Social Security or Bank Account information. Do not click on links or respond to texts saying you have been exposed to COVID-19.

Letter from the Director of the VA Ann Arbor Medical Center

Dear Veteran,

As communities begin the transition to relax limitations that helped slow the spread of COVID-19, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System is working to expand services at our Medical Center campus and our other off-site clinic locations. These efforts will align with federal, state and local guidance and will focus on the continued safety of our employees and Veterans.

VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System will be operating under the following layers of protection for all (Veterans, staff, trainees, volunteers, inpatient residents, and visitors) who come to VA Ann Arbor facilities.  The layers of protection for all include: 

If you have symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath, chills, or loss of taste/smell, call us at 734-845-5290 (press 2) before visiting. For other concerns, you may be able to access VA care from home by phone or using VA virtual care options.  Veterans needing pharmacy refills should dial 866-316-9350 (press 1).  For those needing to speak to a medical provider regarding routine medical concerns, please call 734-769-7100.


Ginny L. Creasman, PharmD, FACHE

Medical Center Director

CANCELLED Tours Seneca County Veterans Honor Bus

JB Tours of Ohio is planning the very first Seneca County Veterans' Honor Bus trip taking veterans to Washington D.C.  Applications are available for completion through JB Tours and also may be obtained through the Seneca County Veterans Service Office.  The trip is scheduled for October 2020.  We encourage you to contact JB Tours with questions concerning this trip at (419) 435-8165.  This trip will be rescheduled for spring if permitted.

Ohio War Orphans Scholarship

The Ohio War Orphans Scholarship Program awards tuition assistance to the children of deceased or severely disabled Ohio veterans who served in the armed forces during a period of declared war or conflict.  To receive War Orphans Scholarship benefits, a student must be enrolled for full-time undergraduate study and pursuing an associate or bachelor's degree at an eligible Ohio college or university. Ohio residency is required. Applicants must be under the age of 25.  Scholarship benefits cover a portion of instructional and general fee charges at two and four-year public institutions and a portion of these charges at eligible private colleges and universities.   For the 2020-21 school year the deadline for application is May 15, 2020.  ***This deadline has been extended to July 1, 2020 due to COVID-19.

Transportation to VA Medical Appointments

There have been changes made to the transportation schedule for appointments at the VA Medical Center in Ann Arbor.  Beginning on January 1, 2020 transportation will be provided Monday through Friday.  We do ask that every effort be made to make your appointments between the hours of 9:00 am and 1:00 pm.  This office understands that some of the specialty care clinics will not be able to schedule appointment times in these parameters and those appointments will be addressed by staff on a case by case basis.  Be sure to notify the Transportation Coordinator at least two working days prior to your need of transportation.  Please be patient at this time.

Blue Water Navy Claims

The Department of Veterans Affairs will begin processing claims for service connection for disabilities under the presumption of exposure to herbicide for Navy veterans who served within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnam shore.  Claims processing is expected to begin in January 2020.  Be sure to have any Navy veterans you may know who may meet this requirement reach out to our office.

According to the Department of Defense, starting Jan. 1, 2020, all service-connected Veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war (POW), and individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible Veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) can use commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) retail facilities, in-person and online.

For more information regarding these privileges and access to military installations, visit

Who is eligible Jan. 1, 2020?

  • Veterans
    • Purple Heart recipients
    • former prisoners of war
    • Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings

Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are already eligible under existing DOD policy.

  • Caregivers
    • On Jan. 1, individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregiver of an eligible veteran under the PCAFC will be eligible for these privileges.
    • For information about primary family caregivers in the PCAFC, visit

Required credentials.

  • Veterans
    • On Jan. 1, Veterans eligible solely under this act who are eligible to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card must use this credential for in-person installation and privilege access. The card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED). Apply here:
    • Veterans eligible solely under this act who are not enrolled in or are not eligible to enroll in VA health care, or who are enrolled in VA health care, but do not possess a Veteran Health Identification Card will not have access to DoD and Coast Guard installations for in-person commissary, exchange, and MWR retail privileges, but will have full access to online exchanges and American Forces Travel.
    • Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are eligible for DoD credentials under DoD policy.
  • Caregivers
    • Eligible caregivers will receive an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.
    • If you are a primary family caregiver under the PCAFC and lose your eligibility letter, please call 1-877-733-7927 to request a replacement.  Please allow two weeks for processing.

Social Security Scam

There is a new scam out there targeting folks for personal information!  There is a phone call you may receive stating your social security number has number has been compromised and will be suspended.  It will prompt you to press 1#.  DO NOT PRESS #1! HANG UP THE PHONE!  If you are still concerned, feel free to reach out to the Social Security Administration yourself.  The Social Security Administration WILL NEVER CALL YOU.  All correspondence will be by mail.  ALWAYS.  

New Credit Card Scam

A dangerous new scam which has been targeting veterans combines credit card "skimming" with telephone "spoofing" to steal your credit card information. The scam emerged in Florida, where the Attorney General issued a consumer and veteran alert. The  Department of Veterans Affairs  has been notified.  A scammer installs a "credit card skimmer," usually on a gas pump near a VA facility. The credit card skimmer is designed to steal credit or debit card information, everything but the CV2 security code on the back of the card. 

To get the CV2 code, the scammer uses sophisticated spoofing technology to call the cardholder and poses as someone from the bank or credit card company that issued the card.

The scammer tells the cardholder their account has been compromised, which is actually true, but the CV2 security code is needed to freeze the account. If the cardholder provides the missing CV2 information, the scammer then has an active card that can be used to make purchases, withdraw money, or sell on the black market. 

Technology Dangers

The use of spoofing technology perhaps makes this scam a little more likely to fool people, because the caller ID might show American Express, Discover or Bank of America is calling. But if  cardholders can remember one thing, they will recognize the call for a scam.

Remember this: 

When a real financial institution identifies what it believes are suspicious and unauthorized charges on an account, it will text or email the account-holder and ask them to verify the purchases. If the account-holder says any of the charges are illegitimate, the old card will be immediately canceled and a new one will be issued.  The financial institution has no need to ask for the CV2 security code on the card because it already has the information.

If a caller from the bank tells you they need the CV2 code to freeze the card, you can bet it's a scam.

To guard against this scam the first step is to prevent your account from being compromised through skimming. You can reduce your risk by taking the following steps:

  • Pay with cash or a credit card with chip technology instead of a debit card;
  • Monitor transactions on financial accounts regularly to look for unauthorized charges;
  • Report unauthorized charges immediately; 
  • Inspect card readers, especially at outdoor locations such as gas pumps and ATMs, to see if a skimming device is placed over the card reader or if the security seal is broken.

Also, never respond to a phone call from someone who claims to be from your credit card company or bank.  Instead, hang up and call the toll-free customer service number on the back of your card. This way you can be sure you're really talking to someone from the financial institution. 

VA Dental Care

In the office we often hear the question "Why can't I receive dental care through the Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system?"  This is the answer;  All Veterans are not eligible for dental services per Title 38 United States Code (U.S.C.) §§1710(c), 1712 and Title 38 Code of Federal Regulation (C.F.R.) 17.160 – 17.166. Eligibility includes, Prisoners of War, Veterans rated 100% service-connected disability, or Veterans who received dental injuries due combat or service trauma.  The good news is if you are not eligible, Veterans enrolled in VA health care may purchase dental insurance at a reduced cost through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP).  Insurance providers include Met-life and Delta Dental.  Contact your clinic to inquire about enrollment.

Online Exchange shopping authorized for Veterans

Thousands of veterans are eligible to shop online at military exchange websites (started on 11 November 2017) thanks to a policy change by the Defense Department.

The initiative, which was first announced in January 2017, will apply to veterans who have received honorable discharges and can verify their status by using the website

After being verified, participants will be eligible to shop tax-free at any of the four sites operated by the Army & Air Force Exchange Service:,,, and (However, they will remain ineligible to shop inside physical exchange locations.

Our outreach building

Kuwait Liberation Commemorative Books

Are you a veteran of Desert Storm?  Would you like to have a book honoring your service in Desert Storm?  Please stop by our office and we will happily provide you with one.  If you have never visited our office please be sure to bring a copy of your DD Form 214 with you.

VA issued Veteran I.D. card    

 Veterans are once again able to apply for the free Department of Veterans Affairs ID card after technical problems late last year forced a delay to the program. The free ID card, originally rolled-out in late November, was ordered by Congress in 2015 as a way to give veterans proof of service at businesses without carrying a copy of their DD-214 forms. It is available for all honorably discharged veterans, regardless of era or time in service.  The link for the application is found at the bottom of the homepage under the words "Apply for Printed Veteran ID Card."   Now the system is available for all users, and those who requested email updates have been contacted.  The Department of Veterans Affairs had suspended applications for its new veteran identification card program due to a large number of applicants shortly after the initial roll out.  

When the system is working, to receive the card a veteran must log in to using either the verification system or a DS log-in. Users will then be able to apply for the hard-copy card by verifying their personal details through the website and by submitting a copy of a valid government issued-ID as well as a shoulders-up photo to the site.   The ID card program is voluntary. Some veterans, such as those who receive health benefits from the VA and military retirees, already have IDs that can provide proof of service.  Hopefully the system will run smooth.

VA Burial Benefits Pre-Enrollment  

More than 10,000 eligible veterans have taken advantage of a new VA benefit that allows them to pre-enroll for interment in a VA national cemetery, which means less paperwork for survivors to complete following their loved one’s death. Interested veterans should contact this office for assistance or application can be made by submitting VA Form 4010007, Application for Pre-Need Determination of Eligibility for Burial in a VA National Cemetery and supporting documentation, such as a DD Form 214, if readily available, to the VA National Cemetery Scheduling Office by toll-free fax at 1-855-840-8299; or by regular mail to the National Cemetery Scheduling Office, PO Box 510543, St. Louis, MO 63151.    The VA will review applications and provide written notice of its determination of eligibility. VA will save determinations and supporting documentation in an electronic information system to expedite burial arrangements at the time of need. Laws and personal circumstances change, upon receipt of a burial request, VA will validate all pre-need determinations in accordance with the laws in effect at that time. VA operates 135 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers’ lots in 40 states and Puerto Rico

Phony Telephone Number Scam Targets Veterans

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a warning regarding a new scam, preying on veterans who are making decisions about their medical care. The VA’s Veterans Choice Program allows eligible vets to use approved health-care providers outside of the VA system. Veterans or families can call the VCP’s toll-free number to verify their eligibility for the program.

Scammers have set up a phony telephone line that resembles the VCP’s real telephone number. Con artists are using a phone number that’s almost identical to the real thing, counting on creating confusion. You call and think you’ve reached the VCP. The fake line’s message says you’re entitled to a rebate if you provide a credit card number. But if you give up your account information, they’ll debit your account and you’ll get nothing in return.  There is no rebate and you’ll need to cancel your credit card.

Remember these tips to avoid a scammer’s tricks:

  • Be sure you’re calling the real number for the Veterans Choice Program:           866-606-8198. 
  • If you’re not sure you’ve reached the VCP, hang up. Check the VCP’s site for the real number and try again.
  • The VA – or any government agency – will not ask for your financial account information.


Sometimes difficult conversations are very important to have with your loved ones. No one wants to think about it, let alone discuss it, but helping your loved ones to be better prepared for when you die is one of the most important conversations you can have. Ensure your loved ones know where to locate your discharge papers and any insurance policies you may hold.  Talk about your burial wishes and possibly pre-arrange for your burial.  When the day does come, your loved ones will probably not be thinking clearly and this type of preparation could reduce some of the stress during this time for them.  Also, please be sure to instruct them to contact this office to investigate any benefits they might be eligible for based upon your military service.

VA Benefits Assistance - Do Not Pay   

It can be difficult navigating the government bureaucracy to obtain veterans disability and other benefits, but all it should cost you is time, not money.   Recently  veterans, active service members and their families have been encouraged not to pay for assistance to file paperwork that they can get free help with. "Through the years we have seen businesses and individuals who offer ‘free’ help applying for veterans benefits, but in the end they issue a bill under the guise of financial planning or some other service rendered,” Brig. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general, said in a consumer advisory last month. “Understanding and learning about benefits can be challenging at times, and the last thing our veterans and their families need to worry about is an unexpected charge for something that should be provided for free," Carrelli said. Veterans can obtain free help or guidance from County Veterans Service Offices, the state Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, (ODVS) and service organizations such as the American Legion, VFW and Disabled American Veterans. Disability benefits are among the most well-known benefits offered by the federal government. But there are other benefits as well, some of which can be obtained at the state and local level, such as real estate tax exemption for 100 percent disabled veterans.  We are happy to help you apply for any and all benefits that you may be eligible for.

DoD Drug Testing Expansion for all Military Applicants

The Defense Department will be expanding drug testing for military applicants to check for all drugs that are tested in active duty military members, according to DoD.  The change projected for 3 APR, is meant to reveal illicit and prescription medication abuse among civilians, as well as the increase in heroin and synthetic drug use within the civilian population.  Currently, military applicants are tested for illicit drugs and prescription drug abuse during their time at a Military Entry Processing Station, overseen by United States Military Entrance Processing Command, a joint service command.  All branches of the military, to include the Coast Guard, National Guard, Air National Guard, reserves, appointees to the service academies, incoming members of the ROTC and officer candidates undergoing initial training in an enlisted status, require applicants to attend MEPS where they are either accepted or rejected for military service.  Military applicants are currently tested for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines, methamphetamine, designed amphetamines such as MDMA (also known as Molly or Ecstasy), and MDA (also known as Adam).  The expanded test will test for 26 drug types, including heroin, codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, and a number of synthetic cannabinoids (also known as spice) and benzodiazepine sedatives.  Active members of the military are subject to random drug testing three times per year.

      Roughly 279,400 applicants are processed for entry into military service each year, with around 2,400 of them failing drug tests. It is estimated that 450 additional people will test positive using the expanded testing.  Applicants who fail the new drug tests are allowed to reapply after 90 days at the discretion of the particular service. An applicant who tests positive for any of the drugs twice is permanently disqualified from military service in any branch of the armed forces.  Under the current policy, there are different standards for reapplication depending on the type of drug found in the applicants system. The updated policy allows for one opportunity to reapply, regardless of which drug (or drugs) the applicant tests positive for.  The drug epidemic has reached epic proportions here within our community and throughout the United States.  It appears that DoD has recognized this and is taking steps to ensure that individuals who want to serve the nation are totally drug free.

Camp Lejeune Presumptive Conditions

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, are effective as of 14 MAR 2017.  They will begin processing new compensation claims from veterans exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.   “Establishing these presumptions is a demonstration of our commitment to care for those who have served our nation and have been exposed to harm as a result of that service,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Dr. David J. Shulkin.   The presumption of service connection applies to active-duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, and are diagnosed with any of the following conditions: Adult leukemia, Aplastic anemia, and other myelodysplastic syndromes, Bladder cancer, Kidney cancer, Liver cancer, Multiple myeloma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and Parkinson’s disease.    The area included in this presumption is all of Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River, including satellite camps and housing areas. This presumption complements the health care already provided for 15 illnesses or conditions as part of the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012.  The Camp Lejeune Act requires the VA to provide health care to veterans, who served at Camp Lejeune, and to reimburse family members or pay providers for medical expenses for those who resided there for not fewer than 30 days between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987.

If you have questions or would like to file a claim for any of the above conditions call our office,  we will be happy to assist you or your family members with the process.

Arlington National Cemetery Eligibility Restriction Proposal

An advisory committee suggests eligibility restrictions as a solution to the cemetery's capacity problems.  Retiree eligibility, active duty requirements, and spatial and fiscal constraints are all topics of discussion for delaying maxing capacity at Arlington National Cemetery, Va. Without eligibility changes, there won’t be space for anyone – let alone those meeting exceptional eligibility standards – within the next few decades. Potential courses of action going forward are taking more solid form. The Arlington National Cemetery Advisory Committee held a public meeting this week to provide an update on burial eligibility recommendations and cemetery capacity forecasts.  The advisory committee is tasked with finding solutions to the rapidly shrinking available space at the cemetery and suggesting ways to prolong the maximum capacity point as far into the future as possible.  Current rules permit anyone with an honorable discharge and with at least one day of active duty service to be interred or in-urned at ANC. That's a less rigid eligibility standard than used for other veteran cemeteries, which can require at least 24 months' service.  One course of action is provision to adopt the 24 months’ active duty requirement.  Other potential courses of actions could include changing of eligibility criteria to include only those service members killed in action and/or recipients of the Medal of Honor, however, if approved, those restrictions would not be implemented for another 10 to 20 years.  The committee intends to do a thorough analysis of possible courses of action, after which a final decision is to be provided to the secretary of the Army. The details of that analysis will come in a future report.  It will be interesting to see what changes are implemented for Arlington National Cemetery.  

The VA operates 135 national cemeteries.  Currently, burial in a VA national cemetery is open to all members of the armed forces and veterans who have met minimum active duty service requirements, as applicable, and were discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. Members of the reserve components of the armed forces who die while on active duty or who die while on training duty under certain circumstances are also eligible for burial, as are service members and former service members who were eligible for retired pay at the time of their death. A Veteran’s spouse, widow or widower, minor children, and, under certain conditions, unmarried adult children with disabilities, may also be eligible for burial. Eligible spouses and children may be buried even if they predecease the Veteran.  VA provides the gravesite, grave liner, opening and closing of the grave, government headstone or marker, U.S. burial flag, Presidential Memorial Certificate and perpetual care of the gravesite at no cost to the family.

VA Prescription co-pay changes

Effective February 27th, 2017 the co-payment regulations and associated cost for Veterans filling outpatient medications prescribed to treat non-service connected conditions will change, establishing three classes (tiers) of outpatient medications. Each tier will have  fixed co-payment amounts and will only vary depending upon the class of outpatient medication in the tier.   Tier 1- Preferred Generics will cost $5 for a 30-day or less supply.   Tier 2 Non-Preferred Generics will cost $8 for a 30-day or less supply.   Tier 3- Brand Name -$11 for a 30-day or less supply.  Please be sure to check with your provider to ensure that you are being billed appropriately for your prescriptions to avoid any future unexpected debts.

Flag Cases

The Seneca County Veteran Service Commission tries to ensure that spouses of deceased veterans of Seneca County receive a flag case for the burial flag. Cases are not provided to other family members, however cases are available for purchase at various merchants in the area.

VA Debt Billing Policy Update 

Beginning as early as December 20, 2016, Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA) will begin using the Department of the Treasury's Cross-Servicing program to collect unpaid debt on any first party co-payments for non-service connected care. VA Medical Centers (VAMCs) will have 30 days to comply with the technical enhancements required to roll-out the program in their facilities. Communication about the program began last year to encourage Veterans to satisfy their first party delinquent co-payment debt before they are referred to Treasury for collection.   VHA's current process provides Veterans with three monthly billing statements in increments of 30, 60 and 90 days in an attempt to collect first party co-payments. Under the new Cross-Servicing program, first party debts that are not paid after 90 days will automatically transfer to VA's Debt Management Center (DMC) for offset of VBA benefits (if available). If VBA benefits are not available, Veterans will have an additional 30 days to make payment arrangements to satisfy the debt. If arrangements to pay the debt are not made, VHA will automatically refer it at 120 days to the Treasury Cross-Servicing program who issues official notification letters to Veterans. If the letters go unanswered, Treasury will use the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) collect delinquent debt. The Treasury Offset Program (TOP) is used to offset any federal payments to include federal tax refunds, Social Security benefits, military pay, retirement pay, and other federal payments that are not exempt by law.  Please contact our office if you have issues with making co-payments, perhaps your eligibility priority group could be reviewed and changed or a payment plan established.  One thing is certain, the VA will get the money it is owed, so be sure to make co-payments on time to avoid getting behind and creating a problematic situation.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C is a liver disease.  It can lay dormant for years with no signs or symptoms.  It is commonly transmitted by exposure to contaminated blood. Veterans have three times greater risk of having Hepatitis C since exposure could happen during training or in combat.  Good news, there is a new treatment that will cure the disease.  If you are concerned about having been exposed or know you have Hepatitis C please contact your Primary Care Physician.

Ohio Veterans Bonus

The deadline to apply for the Persian Gulf (8/2/1990-3/3/1991) or Iraq (3/19/2003-12/31/2011) bonus has expired.

Veterans or Active Service Members who have not received a Bonus for service after October 7, 2001 (in locations: Anywhere else in the World, or service in Afghanistan) may apply.  An undeleted copy of discharge papers or other documentation for active duty service members, and an Ohio driver’s license will be needed for the application.  Please call our office if you have questions or would like to set an appointment to apply.  You may also visit the Ohio Department of Veterans Services website for more information.

Gulf War Syndrome

The Department of Veterans Affairs has extended the time limit for Gulf War Veterans who are suffering from chronic unexplained multi-symptom illness to file claims for compensation.  The time period was extended from December 31, 2016 to December 31, 2021.  If you or a loved one would like to discuss this topic, please call our office and speak to a service officer.


Veteran suicide needs to end.  At the same time, it is apparent that the VA Suicide Hotline is being criticized for poorly answered calls in the news.  Please remember that this hotline is only one avenue to help.  Please remember that you can contact Military One Source (800-342-9647) and also your local Vet Center.  For the veterans who reside in Seneca County the nearest Vet Center is in Toledo and the telephone number is (419) 213-7533.  Please remember that if you are at the end of your rope, tell someone that you need help.

Future Seamless Transition

A 2015 U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report recommended that the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs work together to create a seamless transition for veterans leaving active duty service.  It appears that there is no system capable of supporting the clinical management and operations at the same time due to different IT systems.  A VA electronic record that is fully inter-operable with DOD is years away.  The VA is hopeful that a system might achieve this by mid- 2018 with advancements in IT.  Until this time, veterans should ensure that they obtain a complete copy of healthcare records whether on disc or paper and keep them safe.  


Effective March 23, 2016, the homestead exemption for veterans with total service connected disabilities and their spouses has been extended to those veterans who are being paid at the 100% rate due to individual unemployability.  Veterans must have been discharged under honorable conditions and must provide the Auditor’s office that document along with an official DVA letter specifying their compensation or individual unemployability rating.  We would recommend that any of you who fall into this group contact our office first, and we will make sure you have what you need before you go to the auditor’s office to file for the homestead exemption.


VA recently lost a case involving recovery of more than $38,000 from a veteran who was in prison.  The veteran properly notified VA of his situation, several times in fact, during his incarceration.  His compensation payments continued, and it was only after he was released from prison and home with his 4 year old son that VA decided to recoup the money.  The veteran was lucky to locate a veterans attorney, who appealed the decision to recoup the money, provided proof the error was on VA, not the vet.  Unbelievably, VA still tried several times to recoup a debt that occurred because of its own ineptitude.  Finally, the situation was resolved, but now the veteran has legal bills that VA is refusing to pay.  If any of you ever are notified of an over-payment by VA  - call us ASAP!  DO NOT TRY TO DEAL WITH VA on your own!  Chances are, you will lose if you do.  BTW – the head of the VA branch that does over-payments said that the whole situation happened because “VA is swamped”.  Records show that VA improperly pays out $24 million to 2,200 incarcerated veterans annually that then must be recovered.  Seems like there should be an easier way.


Two things going on right now that affect retirees.  First, know that even if you (and/or your spouse) continue working beyond the age of 65, you MUST sign up for Medicare Part B at age 65 or you will lose TRICARE benefits.  TRICARE benefits end at age 65, and you are converted to TRICARE For Life ONLY if you have Medicare Parts A and B.  So, if you want, keep working, but get hold of Social Security and get signed up for Medicare B at age 65.

Second, there is a new scam going on that affects retirees.  You may receive a letter, allegedly from DFAS in Cleveland, saying the agency is being audited and they want to verify your information.  If you get one of these, bring it to our office immediately – DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS LETTER.  Not sure what somebody is up to here, but don’t play their game.


Not to knock any particular agency or organization - but, be very careful with your donations.  You should NOT be coerced, or subject to forceful solicitation.  You have every right to ask for information regarding their home office locations, points of contact, and annual reports that are required by law and which show where the money has gone.  You are free to donate to whomever you choose - but, you are also free not to donate. 

Our recommendation would be this - keep your donations LOCAL.  The VA Volunteer Services programs at Toledo and Ann Arbor use donations to provide items the VA budget does not cover for patients, both in patient and out patient.  The Ohio Veterans Home in Sandusky is another excellent choice for donations, the recreation funds are obtained only from donations, no state monies are used for activities.  And, don't forget our Funeral Details - they could also use donations, as they are constantly replacing uniform items, outfitting new members, replacing equipment, and so on.


Bottom line - think about it - doesn't it make sense to donate to an agency that doesn't take a cut of anywhere from 15% to 86% for themselves??  We think it does..........


Retirees and/or dependents who have a military ID card with an "Indefinite" expiration date are being encouraged to have the cards updated at their convenience.  In 2011, DOD ended the practice of having the sponsor SSN on the cards, but did not require replacement of all existing cards, and they are still not requiring replacement, just encouraging you to update your cards.  With identity theft being what it is, this makes sense.  You can get new cards at the 180th Tac Fighter Wing Pass and ID Office in Toledo.  Call them for information at 419-868-4016.  If you prefer you can also get new cards at the ANG base in Mansfield.


Recent charges have been made by retired and separated Air Force veterans that the Air Force knew, at least since 1994, of Agent Orange contamination aboard C-123 Provider aircraft flown at Westover AFB Massachusetts and at other bases but never warned aircrew and maintenance personnel of the health risks.

Several former members of the Air Force Reserve who were crewmates in the 74th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron are being treated for prostate cancer and other conditions linked to Agent Orange. One of the individuals making complaints was dumbfounded when he began checking and found that the first five crewmen he called had prostate cancer or heart disease. The sixth man he tried had died. Since then, he and friends have found  dozens more former Westover reservists who are sick – with prostate cancer, diabetes, heart disease, peripheral neuropathy and other illnesses connected to exposure to Agent Orange [AO]. In just a few months, they have compiled a list of close to 40 of their fellow pilots, medical technicians, maintenance workers and flight engineers who are sick or have died of such illnesses, many of them from Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Among the documents the veterans cite is a 1994 Air Force report that found one of the airplanes, known as " Patches", was heavily contaminated with dioxins. Tests on other planes showed similar contamination.  In a 2000 legal brief, the General Services Administration argued that the proposed sale of C-123s to a private buyer should be cancelled, stating the planes were extremely hazardous and their release would carry the risk of dioxin contamination to the general public. In a 1996 internal memo, an official in the Air Force Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Directorate of Environmental Law, had expressed similar concerns about the possibly contaminated aircraft being sold to third parties, but said "I do not believe we should alert anyone outside of official channels of this potential problem until we fully determine its extent".

So far, attempts by Westover reservists to claim veterans‘ benefits linked to Agent Orange exposure on C-123s have been fruitless. Records show that some C-123 planes were held in quarantine storage in recent years, and then disposed of by shredding and smelting in 2010. In June 2009, an Agent Orange consultant to the Secretary of Defense had lobbied for the immediate destruction of the planes, in part to avoid attracting media attention to the health claims of stateside veterans.

Obviously, the government is concerned that a whole new class of veterans may claim that their exposure was due to the fact they were members of aircrews or mechanics associated with the contaminated aircraft that returned from Vietnam, a potential problem identified by the government consultant who advocated immediate destruction and total annihilation of all aircraft wreckage. Work crews who prepared one specific C-123 for display in a museum were instructed in a 1994 memo to wear hazardous material suits and respirators but former aircrews, who had flown the aircraft up to that time, had never gotten any such advisories.  Former crewmembers from the unit at Westover recall the strange chemical smell of the C-123s and the stinging in their eyes and mouths – which according to those crewmembers, they noticed only on the C-123's.


DIRECT DEPOSIT IS MANDATORY NO MORE PAPER CHECKS WILL BE ISSUED!  when filing claims for compensation or pension be sure to have your account information available or bring a VOID check with you.

          Claims Followup - VA does not send our office copies - call us when you hear from them!!!!!!!!!!

          Check our transportation page - PLEASE schedule your VA appointments according to our van schedule if you plan to use the van!  And, please call our transportation number - 419 443 7949 or 1-800-820-0189 to schedule.

          We ask that you call ahead and schedule an appointment if possible - we will handle walk-ins as much as possible but it is better for all concerned if we can schedule an appointment.  It will probably save you an extra trip!

          When you call our office - you will often get our voice mail.  We do not answer phone calls when we are working with a claimant.  Please understand that we are giving our clients our total attention for the time needed to work their claims.  We will do the same for you when you come into our office.  So, when you get the voice mail, leave us a mesage with your phone number and you will get called back, usually the same day.