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Veteran suicide rates remain alarmingly high despite years of reform.

For U.S. Army veteran Tom Voss, it was the unseen wounds of war that gushed from his body and crippled his insides day in and day out. While more than 6,000 miles from the battlefields of Iraq and back in the beloved land he served, Voss no longer felt at home in his skin. The wincing memories of doing or witnessing horrific things that collided with his fundamental beliefs – the “moral injury” – walked like a shadow alongside him and inside him, propelling him toward suicide as a means to end the pain and suffering.

According to the 2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, 45,390 American adults died from suicide in 2017 – the most recent available year of data collection – including 6,139 U.S. veterans. The report stated that the number of veteran suicides has exceeded 6,000 every single year between 2008 and 2017, and in 2017, the suicide rate for veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-veteran adults.

In 2005, an average of 86.6 American adults, including veterans, died by suicide daily. In comparison, an average of 124.4 Americans died by suicide daily in 2017, indicating a sharp rise across the country.

Specific to veterans, the study found that suicides increased from 5,787 to 6,139 over those 12 years.In 2005, an average of 15.9 veterans died by suicide daily, andin 2017, an average of 16.8 Veterans died by suicide each day.

WATCH Fox News Story >

Food Bank of Delaware
Appointments for emergency food assistance are available at the Food Bank!

OUR LOCATIONS:

NEWARK LOCATION
222 Lake Drive, Newark, DE 19702
Enter building through back entrance near loading ramp
To make an appointment: Newark: (302) 292-1305 ext 227

MILFORD LOCATION
1040 Mattlind Way, Milford, DE 19963
Enter building through front door with green awning
To make an appointment: Milford: (302) 424-3301 ext 105

MUST BRING ID/PROOF OF DELAWARE RESIDENCY

HPC flyer January 2020

Power Breath Meditation Workshop
May 6-10, 2020
Wilmington VA Hospital

Workshop is free and is being sponsored by Help The Veterans.

The workshop taught by Project Welcome Home Troops (www.pwht.org) teaches evidence-based practical and powerful tools to help individuals manage the impact of service related chronic stress and trauma.

To register please contact Leslye Moore
Email: leslye.moore@pwht.org
Phone: 208-409-7806

PWHT Course Flier May 2020
PWHT - Program Brochure 032619

NAMI Delaware is pleased to announce we will be hosting two community Mental Health First Aid classes in January 2020!

Friday, January 17th
Youth Mental Health First Aid Class
NAMI Delaware Office

REGISTER HERE >

Jan 17 2029 ymhfa flyer

January 23rd and January 24th
Two Half-day Sessions
Mental Health First Aid Class
NAMI Delaware Office

REGISTER HERE >

Jan 23-24 2020 MHFA flyer

Both classes are free to community members.

Questions, call:
Jenn Ford
Multi-Cultural Engagement Manager
NAMI Delaware
Phone 302-427-0787 ext 116
jford@namide.org

Vietnam Veterans of America

If you are a Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans or a surviving spouse, you are entitled to VA benefit starting 1 January 2020, in accordance with P.L. 116-23. Please read the FAQs below provided by the National Veterans Legal Service Program (NVLSP).

For legal assistance, CLICK HERE> and search for Accredited Attorneys, Claims Agents, or Veterans Service Organizations (VSO) Representatives.

A major change in law occurred in 2019 that should enable thousands of veterans who served on ships in the waters offshore Vietnam to obtain VA disability benefits for diseases associated with exposure to Agent Orange. The change in law should also enable survivors of these veterans to obtain VA death compensation for deaths due to diseases associated with Agent Orange exposure.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): This document provides answers to the most frequently asked questions we are getting from Blue Water Vietnam Veterans (as those who served in the waters offshore Vietnam are commonly called) and their survivors about the recent change in law.

1) What is this change in law and how did it come about?

Earlier this year in a case called Procopio v. Wilkie, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit concluded that the Agent Orange Act of 1991 requires VA to presume that those who served in the territorial waters offshore Vietnam were exposed to Agent Orange. The Court ruled that this presumption applies to all veterans who served within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam during the Vietnam War.

Congress then enacted the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 Public Law 116-23 and incorporated the Procopio decision. The Act states that a veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served offshore of the Republic of Vietnam during the period of beginning on January 9, 1962, and ending on May 7, 1975, shall be presumed to have been exposed to Agent Orange. The term offshore is defined as no more than 12 nautical miles seaward of a line commencing on the southwestern demarcation line of the waters of Vietnam and Cambodia.

The full Procopio decision can be read here >

The entire Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 can be read here >

2) What does this change in law mean for Blue Water Vietnam Veterans?

It means that a veteran covered by Procopio and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 should become entitled to service-connected disability benefits if the veteran (1) files a claim for disability benefits with the VA and (2) suffers from one of the diseases that VA recognizes as associated with Agent Orange exposure.

3) What does this change in law mean for survivors of deceased Blue Water Vietnam Veterans?

It means that a qualifying survivor, such as a surviving spouse, of a veteran who (1) is covered by Procopio and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 and (2) died from a disease that VA recognizes as associated with Agent Orange exposure, should become entitled to service-connected death compensation (known as DIC) if the survivor files a DIC claim.

4) What diseases are now recognized by the VA as associated with Agent Orange?

A full list of diseases recognized by VA as associated with Agent Orange can be found here >

These diseases include:

  • Cancer of the larynx
  • Lung cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Cancer of the trachea
  • Hodgkin’s disease
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Hairy cell leukemia
  • Ischemic heart disease (including, but not limited to: acute, subacute and old myocardial infarction; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery disease (including coronary spasm) and coronary bypass surgery; and stable, unstable, and Prinzmetal’s angina)
  • Type 2 diabetes (also known as adult-onset diabetes, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, and type II diabetes mellitus)
  • AL amyloidosis (also known as primary amyloidosis)
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Soft tissue sarcomas
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, mature B-cell type
  • B-cell prolymphocytic leukemia
  • Precursor B lymphoblastic leukemia
  • Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma
  • Follicular lymphoma
  • Mucosa-associated lymphatic tissue lymphoma (MALT)
  • Small cell lymphocytic lymphoma
  • Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL)
  • Burkitt lymphoma
  • Mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma
  • Waldenström macroglobulinemia
  • Nodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
  • Splenic marginal zone lymphoma
  • Extranodal marginal zone B-cell lymphoma
  • Intravascular large B-cell lymphoma
  • Primary effusion lymphoma
  • Lymphomatoid granulomatosis
  • Early-onset peripheral neuropathy
  • Chloracne
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda

5) Do I need to file another claim if I already filed a VA claim for benefits for an Agent Orange-related disease and that claim is still pending at the VA?

No. If you are sure that your claim for an Agent Orange-related disease is still pending, you do not need to file another claim. However, you may wish to file a statement with VA in support of your pending claim stating that you are entitled to benefits under Procopio and the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019.

6) Do I need to file another claim if my previous claim for an Agent Orange-related disease was finally denied by the VA and is no longer pending?

Yes. You need to file another claim.

7) How do I file a VA claim for service-connected disability benefits?

If you have not previously filed a disability claim for a disease VA now recognizes as associated with Agent Orange, you should file a claim for these benefits using VA Form 21-526EZ (AVAILABLE HERE >).

If you previously filed a disability claim for a disease VA now recognizes as associated with Agent Orange and the VA finally denied that claim, you should file a supplemental claim for disability compensation for that disease using VA Form 20-0995 (AVAILABLE HERE >). On that form, you should check the box for “compensation” in block 12, and write the following language in box 13A: “I am entitled to disability benefits for [put in name of your Agent Orange related disease] under the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 and Procopio.” In block 13B of that form, you should write the date of the VA decision that denied you benefits for that disease. If you don’t know the date, we suggest that you write the following language in block 13B: “See my claims file for date of denial of my claim for [put in name of your Agent Orange related disease].”

In order to help ensure you are awarded the earliest possible effective date for benefits, you should not delay in filing a VA claim.

8) How do I file a DIC claim?

If you have not previously filed a claim for DIC, you should file an initial claim for DIC using a VA Form 21P-534EZ (AVAILABLE HERE >).

If you previously filed a claim for DIC and the VA finally denied that claim, you should file a supplemental claim for DIC using a VA Form 20-0995 (AVAILABLE HERE >). On that form you should check the box for “pension/survivors benefits” in block 12, and write the following language in box 13A: “Because of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 and Procopio, I am entitled to DIC given that [put in name of the Agent Orange related disease that led to the veteran’s death] led to the veteran’s death.” In block 13B of that form, you should write the date of the VA decision that denied you DIC benefits. If you don’t know the date, we suggest that you write the following language in block 13B: “See my claims file for date VA denied DIC.”

In order to help ensure you are awarded the earliest possible effective date for benefits, you should not delay in filing a VA claim.

9) If my claim is granted, how much will I be entitled to in retroactive benefits?

The effective date assigned by the VA to awards of disability and DIC benefits is usually the date the claim was received by the VA. For example, if VA grants benefits based on the veteran’s first claim for an Agent Orange-related disease and that claim was filed in January 2019, the veteran will be assigned an effective date in (and will be paid retroactive compensation to) January 2019.

However, if the VA grants benefits based on a veteran’s second or third claim for the same Agent Orange-related disease, the effective date of the award should be retroactive to the date the VA received the veteran’s first claim for that disease – as long that claim was received by VA after September 24, 1985.

This means, for example, that if a veteran filed a disability claim for type 2 diabetes that VA received in 2003 and the VA denied it, and the veteran now files a second disability claim for type 2 diabetes, the veterans should receive disability compensation retroactive to 2003 – as long as the veteran served within the 12 nautical mile limit and has suffered from diabetes since at least 2003.

10) Do I need to add evidence to my claim to prove that I served within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam?

Maybe yes. Maybe no. VA has a duty to veterans (and survivors) who apply for VA benefits to assist them in obtaining the evidence necessary to substantiate their claims. In many cases, it may be clear to the VA from the military service and VA documents already in your claims file that you served within 12 nautical miles of the shore. For example, if these records show you served on a ship when it was located in a harbor of Vietnam, then it will be obvious to the VA that you served within the 12 nautical mile limit.

In other cases, it may not be obvious from a review of the documents in your VA claims file. In these cases, you should inform the VA of the name of the ship on which you served and the dates you were on the ship, and ask the VA to obtain a copy of the deck logs of the ship. You should also ask the VA to send you a copy of the deck logs that they obtain.

11) What if the VA is unable to obtain the deck logs of my ship?

In the unlikely event that the VA is unable to obtain the deck logs of your ship, you should submit a statement to the VA with your claim explaining why you believe your ship was within 12 nautical miles of the shore (for example, “during our deployment in 1967, we could see the landmass of Vietnam. My division officer informed me that the land we saw was Vietnam;” or, “I was a quartermaster and know from our plotted position on navigation charts that the ship was within 12 nautical miles of the coast of Vietnam.”). You should also try to obtain written statements from fellow crewmembers who were aware that the ship was within 12 nautical miles of the coast and submit them to the VA.

12) How long will it take for VA to decide my claim for a disease recognized by VA as associated with Agent Orange?

In June 2019, VA Secretary Wilkie ordered the VA regional offices and the Board of Veterans’ Appeals to hold off making any decisions on claims that are based on service in the offshore waters of Vietnam and a disease that VA recognizes as associated with Agent Orange exposure. This includes disability compensation and DIC claims. This moratorium on deciding claims will remain in effect until January 1, 2020. Therefore, do not expect a decision on your claim until next year.

13) Will NVLSP be able to represent veterans and their surviving family members before the VA on their Agent Orange claims?

We regret that the answer is no. We advise you to obtain a representative from a veterans service organization located in your state. You can find a veterans service organization that will assist you for free at https://www.benefits.va.gov/vso/varo.asp
For more information on the legal services NVLSP provides please go to:
https://www.nvlsp.org/what-we-do/lawyers-serving-warriors/
https://www.nvlsp.org/what-we-do/class-actions/

Source: https://www.nvlsp.org/news-and-events/news-articles/nvlsps-faqs-for-blue-water-vietnam-veterans

Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) is the only national Vietnam veterans organization congressionally chartered and exclusively dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families

CLICK HERE to sign the petition >

Respite Grant Funding is Now Available for Delaware Residents! Take a Break Through Easterseals Respite Grants

While caregiving is rewarding, it requires an immense amount of time and energy and often leads to caregiver burnout. Respite helps to keep family caregivers physically and emotionally healthy by reducing the likelihood of depression, anxiety, and isolation.

Through Easterseals respite services, caregivers can receive a voucher to be used to pay for the care of your loved one while you take a break. Whether that is going to dinner, seeing a movie, or reading a book – whatever gives you a break! The eligibility requirements for each grant are listed on the attached flyer.

CLICK HERE TO APPLY > 
or call 302-221-2087

Anya Taylor
Community Outreach Assistant
Easterseals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore
61 Corporate Circle
New Castle, DE 19720
O: 302-221-2087

Easterseals Respite Grants Flyer

NAMI Homefront

A free six-session online class for family and friends of Military Service Members and Veterans.

The class helps families comprehend what the Military Service Member/ Veteran is experiencing related to trauma, combat stress, civilian life, PTSD and other mental health conditions. Topics covered include mental health, communication, handling crises, treatment and recovery.

The program is designed to help family members understand and support their Service Member/Veteran while maintaining their own well-being. NAMI Homefront leaders have personal experience with mental health conditions impacting their Service Member/ Veteran.

For questions:
Jenn Ford
Multi-Cultural Engagement Manager
NAMI Delaware
Phone 302-427-0787 ext 116
jford@namide.org

HF Online flyer email version - PDF

WILMINGTON, Del. – The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) recently announced as part of their commitment to provide excellent health care for Veterans, under VHA Directive 1085, the department will implement a new policy restricting smoking by patients, visitors, volunteers, contractors and vendors at its health care facilities by October 1, 2019.

Although VA has historically permitted smoking in designated areas, there is growing evidence that smoking and exposure to secondhand and thirdhand smoke creates significant medical risks, and risks to safety and direct patient care that are inconsistent with medical requirements and limitations. Accordingly, VA’s Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has collaborated with key stakeholders to update and recertify the policy to be consistent withthe department’s commitment to Veterans and the community.

“We want to increase the high-quality of care to our Veterans by creating a smoke-free campus by eliminating exposures to secondhand smoke and other tobacco products that may present harm to our Veterans,” said Director Vince Kane who oversees the Wilmington VAMC and its five outpatient clinics in Delaware and southern New Jersey.

The Wilmington VA Medical Center and it’s five outpatient clinics include Dover and Georgetown, Delaware and Northfield, Cape May and Vineland, New Jersey are scheduled to go smoke-free by October 1.

VHA’s new smoke-free policy applies to cigarettes, cigars, pipes, any other combustion of tobacco and non-Federal Drug Administration approved electronic nicotine delivery systems, including but not limited to electronic or e-cigarettes, vape pens or e-cigars.

If you are a Veteran and want to stop using nicotine products contact the VA Quit Line at 855- QUIT-VET (855-784-8838), or text, “VET” to 47848.

The Wilmington VA Medical Center offers smoking cessation classes every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. in room 7070 on the seventh floor to eligible Veterans, no consult needed.

For additional smoking cessation resources:

Veterans.SmokeFree.gov >

The Delaware Suicide Prevention Coalition is proud to announce that our Military and Veterans Mental Health Summit is returning to Dover Downs this September!

When: Tuesday, September 10th, 2019
8:30am—3:30pm

Where: Dover Downs Hotel and Casino
Cost: Free!

Theme: Military Sexual Trauma

Keynote Address:
Pauline Thompson, PhD

CEUs are pending
Community and Clinical Tracks Available

Register now >

Jennifer Smolowitz
Project Director for Suicide Prevention
Mental Health Association in Delaware
100 W. 10th Street, Suite 600
Wilmington, DE 19801-6604
302-654-6833
302-654-6838 (fax)

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