Community

Veteran’s Update

Female Veterans Outreach event
Towner County is hosting a coordinated outreach to all female veterans* in Towner, Rolette, Pierce and surrounding counties. *Please bring your DD214 or Veteran ID Cards.

By Leon Hiltner
County Veterans Service Officer

The event is being held at the Cando Arts Center on March 21 from 12-7 p.m., and the agencies/resources will give a short intro at 2 p.m. and repeat at 5 p.m. The VA Women Veterans Coordinator and ND DVA Women Veterans Program Coordinator will provide a longer presentation of their respective programs at 2:30 p.m. and repeat at 5:30 p.m.
Light lunch and refreshments will be available courtesy of the Hal Parker American Legion post and later afternoon/evening soup and sandwich courtesy of the Hal Parker Auxiliary unit.
For more information: Kathy Benson, Towner County VSO (701) 968-4363 kabenson@nd.gov.
Devils Lake Stand Down
The Devils Lake Area Veterans Stand Down is scheduled for May 31 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. in Devils Lake at the Memorial Building located at 508 4th Ave NE. for all veterans, family and their caregivers.
The original Stand Down for Veterans was modeled after a concept used during the Vietnam War to provide a safe retreat for units returning from combat operations. At secure base camp areas, troops were able to take care of personal hygiene, get clean uniforms, enjoy warm meals, receive medical and dental care, mail and receive letters, and enjoy the camaraderie of friends in a safe environment. Stand Down’s afforded battle-weary soldiers the opportunity to renew their spirit, health and overall sense of well-being.
Our goal is to fill the Memorial Building with agencies, organizations and educational materials that would benefit our veterans and service members. The event is successful because of organizations coming to one location and making services more accessible.
A free lunch will be served from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and door prizes will be given throughout the day.
Some information that will be covered:
• Help with accessing VA benefits and services
• Housing assistance for homeless vets
• Counseling and substance abuse referrals
• Emergency shelter & other social services
• Employment services
If you are interested in registering for a booth you may fill out the registration form attached and return it to colleen.y.weiand.nfg@mail.mil. If you have questions you may contact either Kelli Weiand, Military Outreach Specialist at colleen.y.weiand.nfg@mail.mil/701-340-2779 or Ellen McKinnon at emckinnondpcaa@gmail.com/701-662-6500. There is no cost for booth participation at this event. Tables and chairs will be provided.
Trump Signs Bill to Help Student Veterans
Two bills protecting students using the Forever GI Bill were signed by President Donald Trump late last year and early this year.
Trump signed the Veterans Benefits and Transition Act of2018 (P.L.11S-407) on Dec. 31. The law protects GI Bill students by forbidding schools from receiving future GI Bill payments if the institution penalizes students whose benefits were delayed by VA.
The Forever GI Bill Housing PaymentFulfillment Act (P.L.115-422) was enacted Jan. 3. The law requires VA to determine who was affected by delayed GI Bill payments to schools. It also ensures that GI Bill recipients receive the benefits they are owed, requiring VA to establish a “tiger team” to ensure owed benefits are given.
In 2017, the Forever GI Bill was passed and signed into law. It changed the way payments are calculated, and VA was supposed to implement the change by August 2018 in time for the beginning of the fall semester across the country. However, due to technology problems with the new system, VA was unable to handle backlogs, which caused many delayed payments.
In November, VA announced it was delaying the change that caused the issue until December 2019. Officials said student veterans would be reimbursed using the old rates and not the rates specified in the Forever GI Bill.
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said veterans would receive any retroactive pay owed to them.



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