PACT Act fuels spike in VA medical care enrollment
Veterans Affairs officials saw a surge in patients enrolling in department health care services following the passage of sweeping military toxic exposure legislation last summer, but leaders are confident they have hiring plans in place to absorb the extra work.
As reported in Military Times, roughly 21,000 more veterans signed up for VA medical services from the start of August 2022 to mid-January, said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Shereef Elnahal.
That's an increase of more than 17% from the same five-month period a year earlier. Elnahal said officials do not yet have data specifically linking the increase to the signing of the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (better known as the PACT Act) last summer, but officials believe the two issues are linked.
The PACT Act and the fiscal 2023 budget approved by Congress included both funding and flexibility for increased staffing at VA medical centers to counter a possible increase in enrollment.
Elnahal said officials have a goal of about 52,000 new hires this fiscal year to replace departing staffers and add personnel to high-demand areas.
To learn more about the PACT Act, including eligibility, visit the VA's PACT Act website or call 1-800-698-2411 (TTY: 711).
The Michigan Department of Corrections is hiring veterans
The Michigan Department of Corrections is accepting two years of honorable service or good standing in lieu of the 15-college credit requirement. Military personnel can receive college credit for their military training by obtaining a Joint Service Transcript. Learn how to obtain a JST here.
The department is currently looking to fill several officer, parole and probation agent, healthcare and many other positions. Each prison operates like a small city so there are needs for a wide array of positions from plumbers, electricians and maintenance workers to teachers, food service workers, counselors, accountants, mental health professionals, dental assistants, librarians, secretaries and more.
Explore open positions at Michigan.gov/Corrections/Careers, or attend one of the upcoming recruiting events.
Upcoming Recruiting Events
Women's Huron Valley Correctional Facility / TODAY: Feb. 2, 2023. Chantel Jones, Recruitment Analyst E JonesC81@michigan.gov P:517-230-8432
Chippewa (URF) and Kinross (KCF) Correctional Facilities / Feb. 22, 2023. Jill Salomon, Recruitment Analyst E SalomonJ@michigan.gov, P:517-249-4119
Alger Correctional Facility / Feb. 23, 2023. Jill Salomon, Recruitment Analyst E SalomonJ@michigan.gov, P:517-249-4119
Check out these upcoming job fairs for other employers
An up-to-date list of upcoming job and career events is available on MiTalent.org's Career Events Calendar.
Multi Employer Job Fair
TODAY, Feb. 2, 1-3 p.m. Event Address: Shiawassee GST Michigan Works! Service Center - 1975 W M21, Owosso, MI 48867
GST Michigan Works! is hosting a multi employer job fair. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at noon for help with their resumes. Employers in attendance will include Machine Tool and Gear, Josh's Frogs, Midwest Bus, Memorial Healthcare, American Recycling, and more.
DHT Transportation Job Fair
Feb. 8, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Event Address: Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! Saginaw - 312 E Genessee Ave, Saginaw, MI 48607 Event Details: view the event flyer here
Retiring? Transitioning from Active Duty? Need employment support or knowledge of your benefits? Sign up today for a Transition Assistance Workshop.
State of Michigan Virtual Job Fair
Feb. 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Event Details: register for the event here
Learn how you can start your career with the State of Michigan. Speak with recruiters from several departments looking to fill a wide variety of roles.
How to use VA disability benefits to pay for dependents' education
If you qualify for permanent and total disability due to a service-connected disability, you could be eligible to pass education benefits to your dependent.
Under the Survivors' and Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) program, your spouse or child may be able to get help paying for school or job training. Through this program, commonly known as Chapter 35 benefits, both the dependent and the veteran or service member must meet eligibility requirements under the VA.
The service member must have died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001, be missing in action or have been captured in the line of duty by a hostile force, held by force while in the line of duty by a foreign government or power or be in the hospital or receiving outpatient treatment for a service-connected permanent and total disability, and be likely to be discharged for that disability.
A child or spouse of a veteran may qualify if the veteran is permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disability or died while on active duty or as a result of a service-connected disability.
To apply for GI Bill and related benefits, potential applicants should determine if they are eligible on the VA's website.
Read more in Military Times.
VA pays $201 million in retro benefits to Blue Water vets
The VA shelled out about $201 million in retroactive benefits over the past two years to nearly 7,000 "Blue Water" Navy Vietnam War veterans and their survivors in connection to exposure to Agent Orange, a veterans advocacy group says.
The VA recently informed the National Veterans Legal Services Program that since 2021 it had paid that amount in back benefits to 6,922 Navy veterans who served on ships in open sea off the shore of Vietnam, the NVLSP said in a news release.
The veterans group had taken the VA to court in 2020 seeking the retroactive benefits.
The payment report was among the other requirements in a Nov. 5, 2020, ruling by the U.S. District Court for Northern California in favor of thousands of veterans who were exposed to the defoliant Agent Orange while serving on ships within 12 nautical miles of Vietnam.
U.S. forces fought in South and North Vietnam from the early 1960s until 1973.
The U.S. sprayed just over 11 million gallons of Agent Orange to defoliate jungle during the extended war. The chemical caused multi-generational birth defects to Vietnamese inhabitants and a host of diseases among U.S. veterans who had been exposed during service.
Read the full story in Stars & Stripes.
Learn more about Blue Water Navy veteran benefits on the VA website.
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