April 2014

ANN ARBOR VETERANS COUNCIL

Meeting: May 27, 2014 Time: 10:30 – Noon Room: 728

Minutes for April meeting and AGENDA

March meeting minutes accepted with one change.

 

Julie Lowery from HSR&D is visiting to observe and see how our Council operates. Their research group is considering the placement of a Veteran on their committee. Mark Lindke brought our attention to our previous Council meeting when we had an open discussion about materials Erik C. had presented. These materials referred to a L.L.C. organization that “helped” Veterans apply for benefits. Council is concerned about the problems these types of “financial planners” cause for Veterans and their dependents and survivors. Mark invited Michael to clarify the details about Veteran benefits. Both of them attended an “American Wartime Veterans Association” presentation at St. Joseph Hospital. A Veteran asked Rick D. to attend one of these presentations and was not allowed to participate. Joe R. said a small group like these was started in Port Huron.

Guest Speaker: Michael Smith (Director, Washtenaw County Department of Veterans Affairs). It was created in 1950. All county offices are ACCREDITED by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs; they continue to update their operations according to Federal Law. They cooperate and work with Veteran Service Organizations and the Washtenaw County Council of Veterans. Michael presented important answers and information: What is a VA pension? What is enhanced or special monthly pension? What is VA Disability Compensation? What is “Presumptive” service connection? Can a Veteran receive additional payments for serious disabilities? What is dependency Indemnity Compensation? What is Survivors Pension? He also brought to our attention the “Federal Trade Commission” report: Veterans’ Pensions – Protect your money from poachers. “Veterans and their families are a target for dishonest advisers who are claiming to offer free help with paperwork for pension claims. The scheme involves attorneys, financial planners, and insurance agents trying to persuade veterans to make decisions about their pensions without giving them the whole truth about long-term consequences. Specifically, these unscrupulous brokers try to convince veterans to transfer their assets to a trust fund or to invest in insurance products so they can qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits. What they don’t reveal is that these transactions could mean that the veteran loses eligibility for Medicaid services or loses the use of their money for a long time. Adding insult to injury, the advisers are charging fees that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars for their services. Your best defense against someone who wants to poach your pension to get you a better deal? A firm “no thanks.” The Michigan Trust Fund for Veterans and emergency grants are useful for Veterans who need help. For more information please contact the Washtenaw County Veterans Affairs office (2155 Hogback Road, P.O. Box 8645, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48107-8645) or call (734) 973-4540.

Guest Speaker: Micki Wheaton (Patient Health Education Coordinator). Locally created medical information materials. They need feedback and analysis from VAAAHS Veterans to make sure these materials are useful and are understood by Veterans receiving care in our healthcare system. Micki emails future brochures or flyers to Veterans and they use a form to review the documents. The REVIEW FORM: 1. Content – Is the purpose and/or goal defined? If you had a question about this material, would you know who to call or contact? In your opinion, did anything more need to be added to this educational material to help explain it better? 2. Writing Style – Did you find the information to be listed in logical order? Were technical/scientific words or acronyms spelled out or avoided? Were any parts/words hard to read or understand? 3. Layout – Was the type size easy to read? Is there sufficient white space to avoid looking cluttered? Is the overall appearance appealing? Visuals – If visuals (pictures, diagrams) are present do they pertain to the text and are they meaningful? 5. Comprehension – Was the information in the brochure or flyer clear and easy to understand? When you read the information did you find that it answered your questions about this particular test, or procedure, or subject matter? 6. Overall – If you had to give this brochure, or flyer, or information sheet an overall grade on content, writing style, layout, visuals and comprehension, what grade would you give it? Please let me (Terry K.) know if you want to review the materials before they are given to Veterans. This is a very important program.

Council voted: “Korean War” is the best name to use when referring to that campaign.

The tobacco products restriction addendum has not been written at this time so Council will review it at

AGENDA

1. Preliminary activities: Sign-in Sheet, Minutes acceptance, New Members.

2. Linda’s Update.

3. Paul J. – VISN 11 meeting, and …

4. Erik C. – Mental Health Leadership Meeting.

5. Veterans Court and Mentor Program.

6. Vet-to-Vet

7. Other Thoughts, Topics, Comments, Suggestions.

 

Please mark your calendar – Our next Council meeting will be June 24, 2014, Tuesday, 10:30 – Noon in

 

Members:

Terry Keck, Gary Bourdeau, Don Behm, Ed Roberts, Joe Riedy, Ryan Christman, Paul Jingozian Maurice Warren Alex Beach Lori Young Erik Cuolahan, Felicia West, Mark Lyubkin, Frank Kimberlin, Ron Lamirand, Brian Rounsifer, Greg Poulos, John Branstetter, Mark Lindke, Teresa Kamphorst, Linda Harrison, Billie Whittaker, Vicki Dawson, Derek Atkinson, C. Beau Nelson, Lloyd Suter, Bruce Schultz, Larry Blanchard, Bob Board, Jon Luger, Rick Donley, Asuki ONeill, Ray Pasquantonio, Kirk Lanam, Rudy Beegen