Home‎ > ‎Resources‎ > ‎

Health & Insurance Resources

HOSPICE SERVICES

posted Aug 25, 2014, 4:40 AM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Aug 25, 2014, 4:40 AM ]

We Honor Veterans: A collaborative program between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and the VA that connects hospice professionals from across the country to veterans to provide comfort and support at the end of life. Resources offered include information and training on providing veteran-centric care, educating staff, and connecting to local VA organizations. www.wehonorveterans.org

Military Service and Social Security: Fact Sheet

posted Jun 15, 2014, 10:24 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Jun 15, 2014, 10:24 PM ]

Social Security card

Content from socialsecurity.gov

Earnings for active duty military service or active duty training have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Social Security has covered inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves (such as weekend drills) since 1988.

If you served in the military before 1957, you did not pay Social Security taxes, but you are given special credit for some of your service.

You can get both Social Security benefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement benefits. You'll get your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings.

Social Security and Medicare taxes

While you are in military service, you pay Social Security taxes just as civilian employees do. In 2011, the tax rate is 5.65 percent, up to a maximum of $106,800. If you earn more, you continue to pay the Medicare portion of the tax (1.45 percent) on the rest of your earnings.

How your work qualifies you for Social Security

To qualify for benefits, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time. In 2011, you will receive four credits if you earn at least $4,480. The amount needed to get credit for your work goes up each year. The number of credits you need to qualify for Social Security benefits depends on your age and the type of benefit for which you are eligible. No one needs more than 10 years of work.

Extra earnings

Your Social Security benefit depends on your earnings, averaged over your working lifetime. Generally, the higher your earnings, the higher your Social Security benefit. Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to your military pay record for Social Security purposes. The extra earnings are for periods of active duty or active duty for training. These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.

If you served in the military after 1956, you paid Social Security taxes on those earnings. Since 1988, inactive duty service in the Armed Forces reserves (such as weekend drills) has also been covered by Social Security.

Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for periods of active duty from 1957 through 2001 can also be credited to your Social Security earnings record for benefit purposes.

  • From 1957 through 1967, extra credits will be added to your record when you apply for Social Security benefits.
  • From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these extra credits. The credits were automatically added to your record.
  • After 2001, there are no special extra earnings credits for military service.

The information that follows explains how you can get credit for special extra earnings and applies only to active duty military service earnings from 1957 through 2001.

  • From 1957 through 1977, you are credited with $300 in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which you received active duty basic pay.
  • From 1978 through 2001, For every $300 in active duty basic pay, you are credited with an additional $100 in earnings up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, and didn't complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check with Social Security for details.

If you served in the military from 1940 through 1956, including attendance at a service academy, you did not pay Social Security taxes. However, your Social Security record may be credited with $160 a month in earnings for military service from September 16, 1940, through December 31, 1956, under the following circumstances:

  • You were honorably discharged after 90 or more days of service, or you were released because of a disability or injury received in the line of duty; or
  • You are still on active duty; or
  • You are applying for survivors benefits and the veteran died while on active duty.

You cannot receive credit for these special earnings if you are already receiving a federal benefit based on the same years of service. There is one exception: If you were on active duty after 1956, you can still get the special earnings for 1951 through 1956, even if you're receiving a military retirement based on service during that period.

These extra earnings credits are added to your earnings record when you apply for Social Security benefits.

NOTE: In all cases, the additional earnings are credited to the earnings that we average over your working lifetime, not directly to your monthly benefit amount.

Your benefits

In addition to retirement benefits, Social Security pays survivors benefits to your family when you die. You also can get Social Security benefits for you and your family if you become disabled. For more information about these benefits, see the Social Security document Understanding The Benefits (Publication No. 05-10024).

If you became disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors to find out how you can receive expedited processing of your disability claim.

When you apply for Social Security benefits, you will be asked for proof of your military service (DD Form 214) or information about your reserve or National Guard service.

When you are eligible for Medicare

If you have health care insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA program, your health benefits may change or end when you become eligible for Medicare. You should contact the VA, the Department of Defense or a military health benefits advisor for more information.

You can work and get retirement benefits

You can retire as early as age 62. But, if you do, your Social Security benefits will be reduced permanently. If you decide to apply for benefits before your full retirement age, you can work and still get some Social Security benefits. There are limits on how much you can earn without losing some or all of your retirement benefits. These limits change each year. When you apply for benefits, we will tell you what the limits are at that time and whether work will affect your monthly benefits.

When you reach your full retirement age, you can earn as much as you are able and still get all of your Social Security benefits.

The full retirement age is 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954, and it will gradually increase to age 67 for those born in 1960 and later. To help you decide the best time to retire, see the Social Security Retirement Benefits page.

Contacting Social Security

For more information about Social Security programs, visit the Social Security Online Services section. In addition to using the Social Security website, you can call the Social Security office toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. All calls are treated confidentially. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call the TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

Military Service and Social Security: Fact Sheet

posted Jun 15, 2014, 10:22 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Jun 15, 2014, 10:22 PM ]

Social Security card

Content from socialsecurity.gov

Earnings for active duty military service or active duty training have been covered under Social Security since 1957. Social Security has covered inactive duty service in the armed forces reserves (such as weekend drills) since 1988.

If you served in the military before 1957, you did not pay Social Security taxes, but you are given special credit for some of your service.

You can get both Social Security benefits and military retirement. Generally, there is no reduction of Social Security benefits because of your military retirement benefits. You'll get your full Social Security benefit based on your earnings.

Social Security and Medicare taxes

While you are in military service, you pay Social Security taxes just as civilian employees do. In 2011, the tax rate is 5.65 percent, up to a maximum of $106,800. If you earn more, you continue to pay the Medicare portion of the tax (1.45 percent) on the rest of your earnings.

How your work qualifies you for Social Security

To qualify for benefits, you must have worked and paid Social Security taxes for a certain length of time. In 2011, you will receive four credits if you earn at least $4,480. The amount needed to get credit for your work goes up each year. The number of credits you need to qualify for Social Security benefits depends on your age and the type of benefit for which you are eligible. No one needs more than 10 years of work.

Extra earnings

Your Social Security benefit depends on your earnings, averaged over your working lifetime. Generally, the higher your earnings, the higher your Social Security benefit. Under certain circumstances, special earnings can be credited to your military pay record for Social Security purposes. The extra earnings are for periods of active duty or active duty for training. These extra earnings may help you qualify for Social Security or increase the amount of your Social Security benefit.

If you served in the military after 1956, you paid Social Security taxes on those earnings. Since 1988, inactive duty service in the Armed Forces reserves (such as weekend drills) has also been covered by Social Security.

Under certain circumstances, special extra earnings for periods of active duty from 1957 through 2001 can also be credited to your Social Security earnings record for benefit purposes.

  • From 1957 through 1967, extra credits will be added to your record when you apply for Social Security benefits.
  • From 1968 through 2001, you do not need to do anything to receive these extra credits. The credits were automatically added to your record.
  • After 2001, there are no special extra earnings credits for military service.

The information that follows explains how you can get credit for special extra earnings and applies only to active duty military service earnings from 1957 through 2001.

  • From 1957 through 1977, you are credited with $300 in additional earnings for each calendar quarter in which you received active duty basic pay.
  • From 1978 through 2001, For every $300 in active duty basic pay, you are credited with an additional $100 in earnings up to a maximum of $1,200 a year. If you enlisted after September 7, 1980, and didn't complete at least 24 months of active duty or your full tour, you may not be able to receive the additional earnings. Check with Social Security for details.

If you served in the military from 1940 through 1956, including attendance at a service academy, you did not pay Social Security taxes. However, your Social Security record may be credited with $160 a month in earnings for military service from September 16, 1940, through December 31, 1956, under the following circumstances:

  • You were honorably discharged after 90 or more days of service, or you were released because of a disability or injury received in the line of duty; or
  • You are still on active duty; or
  • You are applying for survivors benefits and the veteran died while on active duty.

You cannot receive credit for these special earnings if you are already receiving a federal benefit based on the same years of service. There is one exception: If you were on active duty after 1956, you can still get the special earnings for 1951 through 1956, even if you're receiving a military retirement based on service during that period.

These extra earnings credits are added to your earnings record when you apply for Social Security benefits.

NOTE: In all cases, the additional earnings are credited to the earnings that we average over your working lifetime, not directly to your monthly benefit amount.

Your benefits

In addition to retirement benefits, Social Security pays survivors benefits to your family when you die. You also can get Social Security benefits for you and your family if you become disabled. For more information about these benefits, see the Social Security document Understanding The Benefits (Publication No. 05-10024).

If you became disabled while on active military service on or after October 1, 2001, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/woundedwarriors to find out how you can receive expedited processing of your disability claim.

When you apply for Social Security benefits, you will be asked for proof of your military service (DD Form 214) or information about your reserve or National Guard service.

When you are eligible for Medicare

If you have health care insurance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or under the TRICARE or CHAMPVA program, your health benefits may change or end when you become eligible for Medicare. You should contact the VA, the Department of Defense or a military health benefits advisor for more information.

You can work and get retirement benefits

You can retire as early as age 62. But, if you do, your Social Security benefits will be reduced permanently. If you decide to apply for benefits before your full retirement age, you can work and still get some Social Security benefits. There are limits on how much you can earn without losing some or all of your retirement benefits. These limits change each year. When you apply for benefits, we will tell you what the limits are at that time and whether work will affect your monthly benefits.

When you reach your full retirement age, you can earn as much as you are able and still get all of your Social Security benefits.

The full retirement age is 66 for people born in 1943 through 1954, and it will gradually increase to age 67 for those born in 1960 and later. To help you decide the best time to retire, see the Social Security Retirement Benefits page.

Contacting Social Security

For more information about Social Security programs, visit the Social Security Online Services section. In addition to using the Social Security website, you can call the Social Security office toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. All calls are treated confidentially. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call the TTY number, 1-800-325-0778.

Dental / Reconstructive Surgery for Post 9/11 Vets

posted Jun 2, 2014, 7:01 PM by Dawn Olsen   [ updated Jun 2, 2014, 7:01 PM by Neslo Ventures ]



Rebuilding America's Warriors (R.A.W.) is a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing free reconstructive surgery to recently wounded and disfigured active service and veteran status warriors. Disfiguring scars can remain as a result of shrapnel, burn and artillery wounds. Shrapnel itself is often left in the wound site.  They include extensive dental work as well.

Board Certified Surgeons in all major specialties including dental.

• National Foundation with 300 surgeons in 46 states

• Provides reconstructive surgery to wounded and disfigured active duty warriors and
   veterans of all wars post 2001

Caregiver VA Resource Directory

posted May 31, 2014, 6:40 PM by Dawn Olsen   [ updated May 31, 2014, 7:09 PM by Neslo Ventures ]


10 Things People Get Wrong About Anxiety

posted Mar 15, 2014, 8:24 AM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Mar 15, 2014, 8:24 AM ]

Huffpost Healthy Living
Posted: 03/12/2014 8:46 am EDT Updated: 03/12/2014 8:59 am EDT
Main Entry Image

Perhaps one of the most persistent struggles when dealing with anxiety is what people get wrong about the disorder.

According to Joseph Bienvenu, an associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Johns Hopkins University, there are many fallacies when it comes to anxiety disorders, and that can make dealing with it more difficult. These misconceptions are a common reality for those who either have the condition, know someone who is battling it or think they may be on the brink of a diagnosis. We've debunked the 10 of the most common myths about anxiety and panic disorders.

People with anxiety are feeble.

anxiety

"Many people think that having this disorder means that they're fearful or weak -- and that's certainly not the case," Bienvenu says. He explains that while many anxiety and panic disorders can stem from fear, that characteristic of the condition isn't the only component -- and it definitely shouldn't be used to define the person.

In an effort to explain what it's like to deal with fear-based anxiety, clinical psychologist Bill Knaus detailed the everyday trials of the condition in a Psychology Today blog post. He describes how anxiety can also manifest from something we're all familiar with: remorse. "Recurring anxieties and fears can feel like walls on each side of a trail painted with murals of regrets," he wrote.

Having anxiety isn't a big deal.

According to Allison Baker, a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the director of the adolescent program for Columbia University Medical Center, the disorder isn't something to be swept under the rug. Anxiety disorders can accompany or have the potential to lead to other illnesses such as depression and substance abuse problems.

When it comes to children and teens, Baker also says that many kids don't speak up about their anxiety because they don't notice that it's a big deal. "Anxious kids, at the end of the day, they're not the squeaky wheels," Baker explains. "They most often just internalize an anxious experience. They don't raise flags or cause anyone grief, so they kind of get neglected in the process."

The condition is not that common.

people standing in a row

Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million American adults per year, which is about 18 percent of the country's population. According to Baker, anxiety disorders are also one of the most prevalent pediatric psych conditions.

Issues with anxiety stem from a poor childhood.

Another common misunderstanding about anxiety is that it comes from issues deeply rooted in the past. While past experiences certainly can have an influence on anxiety, Bienvenu says this idea is a misunderstanding. "It's not that having a difficult childhood is completely unrelated, but having a difficult childhood can be related to all kinds of things, not just anxiety," he says. "Some people have great childhood and still have anxiety."

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, most professionals have the patient focus on the here and now during therapy-based treatment as opposed to reflecting on what has occurred in the past. Studies have also found that practicing being present through mindfulness meditation can help reduce levels of anxiety and mental stress.

People suffering from anxiety should just avoid whatever is causing their fear.

dog on diving board

Instead of running from fear, experts suggest just the opposite. "Avoidance is not a good strategy," explains David Spiegel, Stanford University’s associate chair of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. "Avoiding [what you're fearful of] makes it like it isn't happening -- and the more you avoid it the worse it gets. For people with phobias, the only experience they have [with that particular stressor] is a horrible one but it is possible to normalize it. The more you deal with things that stress you out, the more master you have over them."

In an essay for the New York Times, New York University neural science professor Joseph LeDoux explained that while some avoidance might be helpful in certain cases, general avoidance behavior may only exacerbate the condition. "People with social anxiety problems, for example, can easily circumvent anxiety by avoiding social situations," he wrote. "This solves one problem but creates others, since social interactions are an important part of daily life, including both professional and personal life. But if one is avoiding situations where these cues are likely to be encountered, the opportunity to extinguish fears by exposure never occurs and the anxiety continues indefinitely."

The disorder will resolve on its own.

"Many people believe that anxiety isn't something worth assessing," Baker says. "But it's important treat anxiety, especially in children and teens. If untreated, it can be associated with an increased risk with depression." There are several methods of treatment for anxiety, including psychotherapy and medication.

Unwinding with a drink can soothe an anxious person.

beer

Despite its reputation for "taking the edge off," don't expect a beer to relax someone who is struggling with an anxiety or panic disorder. In fact, according to Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, it may end up only making the condition worse. "In the short term, yes perhaps it will, but in the long term it can be a gateway for addiction," he previously told HuffPost Healthy Living. "It's dangerous in the long term because those substances can be reinforcing the anxiety."

Despite the risks, a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found that most people suffering from some form of anxiety try to relieve it by self-medicating with substances. The study revealed that 13 percent of the people who had consumed alcohol or drugs in the previous year did so in an effort to reduce their anxiety, fear or panic about a particular situation.

Anxiety is only born from a certain fear or trauma.

rollercoaster

According to Bienvenu, it's incorrect to think that anxiety mostly comes from a specific experience or fear. While a certain phobia -- like flying or great heights -- can often be at the core of the condition, there's also a genetic basis to anxiety disorders, he says.

According to Spiegel, chronic anxiety encompasses more than just one particular instance of fear and begins to make you less aware of what you're feeling in the moment. "You start to feel anxious about being anxious," he said.

There's nothing you can say to help an anxious person relax.

There are many ways you can offer to help someone dealing with the condition, Baker says. If you're looking to put someone you know with anxiety at ease, the best thing to do is to ask questions. "Inquire from the person, 'How can I be helpful?' 'What can I do or say that's going to help you in this moment?'" she says. "Take your direction from the person themselves instead of going on the assumption of what they may need from you."

You should avoid certain phrases when speaking with a loved one who may be suffering from anxiety disorder. According to Humphreys, being sensitive to the situation can also help. "The paradox is, [an empathetic phrase] helps them calm down because they don’t feel like they have to fight for their anxiety," Humphreys said. "It shows some understanding."

It's hard to relate to someone who has the condition.

anxiety

We've all been caught up in a moment that brings up those pangs of nerves, Baker explains. "We all experience anxiety in some capacity," she says. "It helps us prepare for speaking in public and it motivates us to practice or rehearse; everyone can relate to what that experience is like. An anxiety disorder is when those run-of-the-mill butterflies become a chronic daily experience."

In order to assist a loved one who is suffering from the condition, Baker says it may be helpful to recall some of your own experiences. "Imagine what those would be like in progressive state," she says. "It may make you more empathetic to the situation."

Reintegration Statistics

posted Mar 2, 2014, 6:58 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Mar 2, 2014, 6:58 PM ]


Government shutdown effect on VA programs

posted Sep 26, 2013, 9:26 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Sep 26, 2013, 9:31 PM ]

In case of a government shutdown, many Veterans Affairs Department programs are exempt or partly shielded from the impact:

Will I continue to receive my benefits?

Disability compensation, GI Bill education benefits, survivors benefits and pensions for current beneficiaries will continue without interruption, because funds for these benefits are not subject to annual appropriations.

What happens to my pending claim?

Staffing details have not been resolved, but claims processing is expected to be delayed. However, life insurance and home loan applications will be processed as usual. The board of appeals for veterans claims will issue no decisions during a shutdown.

Will I be able to file a new benefits claim?

Yes. Call centers will remain open to answer questions. But processing of benefits claims could be delayed.

Will VA hospitals and clinics be open?

Inpatient and outpatient care will continue to be available. This includes filling prescriptions, counseling services, surgeries and dental treatments.

How are burial benefits affected?

Previously scheduled interments will continue, but the schedule for internments could be reduced. Applications for headstones and grave markers will be processed, as will life insurance payments.

How does Obamacare effect VA benefits?

posted Sep 26, 2013, 9:21 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Sep 26, 2013, 9:32 PM ]

Did you know ...

  • Most of the estimated 1.3 million uninsured Veterans are eligible for VA health care?
  • If you are enrolled in VA health care, you don’t need to take additional steps to meet the new health care law coverage standards?
  • It takes you minutes to apply online for VA health care and request an appointment
  • VA offers online medical records that let you stay in control of your health care and even refill a prescription?
  • Women Veterans can get comprehensive primary care, breast and cervical cancer screenings, maternity care, and other specialized services?
  • As part of America's largest integrated health network with more than 1,700 sites of care, your VA medical providers have real-time access to medical and prescription information so you get the highest quality care anywhere in the country?
Join the more than 8.7 million Veterans enrolled in VA health care. Explore VA health benefits today and consider applying now. And share this email with the Veterans you know so they too can benefit from VA health care.

Pioneering Therapy for War Veterans - PTSD & more

posted Aug 31, 2013, 8:47 PM by Neslo Ventures   [ updated Sep 26, 2013, 9:37 PM ]

A pioneering treatment for servicemen and women suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is soon to be tried in Scotland for the first time. Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART) is expected to be offered by Scottish nurses later this year. The therapy aims to turn negative images and sensations into positive ones, re-programming the brain. The University of Stirling has teamed up with the University of South Florida to offer training to senior NHS nursing staff, as well as a workshop for its own staff and students. In the United States, it has been shown to "substantially reduce" symptoms associated with PTSD. It has also helped other common mental health problems. For more information, visit the Accelerated Resolution Therapy website and read the article on the University of South Florida website.

A.R.T - Acceleration Resolution Therapy

Beyond Desensitization - The ART of Rapid Recovery and Positization

Imagine, if you can, what it feels like to carry a terrible burden for years and then all of a sudden to let it go – years of trauma gone in a flash – during a single session with a therapist. You give the therapist a look of disbelief – but you have just experienced this amazing relief. That this can happen may seem unbelievable, but it does happen consistently with the use of Accelerated Resolution Therapy.

ART has been used to treat adults and children with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, sexual abuse trauma, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, physical and mental challenges, addictions, grief and job or relationship issues. ART reprograms the brain and makes positive changes for these conditions. ART goes beyond desensitization. ART is about Positization - turning negative images and sensations into positive images and sensations. We don't neutralize, we positize! The limits of ART are limitless.


DESCRIPTION OF ART PROTOCOL
(Frontiers in Psychiatry| Affective Disorders and Psychosomatic Research |March 2013 | Volume 4 | Article 11)

The ART protocol uses cognitive behavioral and experiential therapies and was developed to treat both physiological and cognitive aspects of PTSD, which as a disorder, has been described as a consequence of failed memory processing when the brain fails to appropriately consolidate and integrate episodic memory into the semantic memory system (Stickgold,2002). The two major components of ART that draw from existing evidence-based therapies for PTSD include the practices of imaginal exposure (reliving) and imagery re-scripting. This is based on the tenets that: (i) most intrusive memories (i.e., as in PTSD) involve sensory imagery with visual material being most common (Hackmann, 2011); (ii) PTSD memories are not well integrated (Conway and Pleydell-Pierce,2000) and to become less intrusive, need to be integrated withmore positive images (Conway et al.,2004); and (iii) changes in imagery tend to be accompanied by larger affect shifts than changes in verbal thought (Holmes et al.,2006)

1-10 of 19