1611 Virginia Ave., Ste 212, Box 406, North Bend , Oregon 97459 Hours: 9am-3:30pm Monday-Friday desk@sovoservesvets.org 541-756-8718 (Office) 541-756-8758 (Fax)

ODVA Celebrates Women Veterans’ Legacy of Service During Women’s Military History Week


In honor of Women’s Military History Week in Oregon (March 17-23), the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is recognizing women who have served in the United States military throughout our country’s history, in every branch of military service.

If you are a woman veteran or service member, ODVA salutes, recognizes and thanks you for your honorable service and your sacrifice. We honor your courage, your dedication and your commitment, and we pledge to ensure that your history-making contributions to our nation’s security and prosperity will never be forgotten.

This year’s national theme is Women who Advocate for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.  In keeping with the theme, ODVA has featured several podcasts (see below for more) and other oral history pieces that feature stories of exceptional women veterans who have served in every era of service since WWII. ODVA is honored to celebrate women of all eras and branches of military service who have served in the United States Armed Forces throughout our country’s history. Read More

2024 Oregon Legislative Veteran Bill Digest

The final Veteran’s Bill Digest has been issued for the 2024 Oregon Legislative Session.

As an end of session report, please note that at the top of the first page under the title, a legend is provided regarding the end of session bill status:

Passed = Governor Signed into law

Pending = Awaiting Governor’s Signature

Failed = Bill was not passed by the Legislature

Weekly during Session, ODVA emailed the Veteran Bill Digest to subscribers containing information and links to new and existing bills impacting the veteran community. The entire Session’s Veteran Bill Digests can be viewed and downloaded on ODVA’s legislative webpage.

Please consider passing this communication to those  interested in signing up for next session’s veteran bill digest from ODVA. To subscribe, click here: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/ORDVA/subscriber/new?topic_id=ORDVA_30

In one of the largest-ever expansions of Veteran health care, all Veterans exposed to toxins and other hazards during military service – at home or abroad – will be eligible for VA health care beginning March 5

US Department of Veterans Affairs
from Press Release

At the direction of President Biden, VA is expanding health care eligibility to millions of Veterans – including all Veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other combat zone after 9/11 – years earlier than called for by the PACT Act

The VA has announced that all Veterans who were exposed to toxins and other hazards while serving in the military – at home or abroad – will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care beginning March 5, 2024. This means that all Veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, or any other combat zone after 9/11 will be eligible to enroll directly in VA health care without first applying for VA benefits. Additionally, Veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty in the United States will also be eligible to enroll.

As directed by President Biden, this expansion of VA health care eliminates the phased-in approach called for by the PACT Act – meaning that millions of Veterans are becoming eligible for VA health care up to eight years earlier than written into law. This is a critical step forward because Veterans who are enrolled in VA health care are proven to have better health outcomes than non-enrolled Veterans, and VA hospitals have dramatically outperformed non-VA hospitals in overall quality ratings and patient satisfaction ratings. Additionally, VA health care is often more affordable than non-VA health care for Veterans.

VA encourages all eligible Veterans to visit VA.gov/PACT or call 1-800-MYVA411 to learn more and apply for VA health care beginning March 5. Since President Biden signed the PACT Act into law on August 10, 2022, more than 500,000 Veterans have enrolled in VA health care.

“If you’re a Veteran who may have been exposed to toxins or hazards while serving our country, at home or abroad, we want you to come to us for the health care you deserve,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “VA is proven to be the best, most affordable health care in America for Veterans – and once you’re in, you have access for life. So don’t wait, enroll starting March 5th.”

“Beginning March 5, we’re making millions of Veterans eligible for VA health care years earlier than called for by the PACT Act,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Shereef Elnahal, M.D. “With this expansion, VA can care for all Veterans who served in the Vietnam War, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Global War on Terror, or any other combat zone after 9/11. We can also care for Veterans who never deployed but were exposed to toxins or hazards while training or on active duty here at home – by working with chemicals, pesticides, lead, asbestos, certain paints, nuclear weapons, x-rays, and more. We want to bring all of these Veterans to VA for the care they’ve earned and deserve.”

In addition to expanding access to VA care, this decision makes it quicker and easier for millions of Veterans to enroll. Many Veterans believe they must apply to receive VA disability compensation benefits to become eligible for VA health care, but this is not correct. With this expansion and other authorities, millions of eligible Veterans can enroll directly in VA care – without any need to first apply for VA benefits.

This expansion of care covers Vietnam Veterans, Gulf War Veterans, Iraq War Veterans, Afghanistan War Veterans, Veterans who deployed in support of contingency operations for the Global War on Terror (Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation New Dawn, Operation Inherent Resolve, and Resolute Support Mission), and more.

This expansion also covers many Veterans who never deployed as a part of a conflict but were exposed to toxins or hazards while serving in the U.S. Specifically, under this expansion of care, any Veteran who participated in a toxic exposure risk activity (TERA) – at home or abroad – is eligible for VA health care. VA has determined that Veterans who were exposed to one or more of the following hazards or conditions during active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training participated in a TERA: air pollutants (burn pits, sand, dust, particulates, oil well fires, sulfur fires); chemicals (pesticides, herbicides, depleted uranium with embedded shrapnel, contaminated water); occupational hazards (asbestos, industrial solvents, lead, paints including chemical agent resistant coating, firefighting foams); radiation (nuclear weapons handling, maintenance and detonation, radioactive material, calibration and measurement sources, X-rays, radiation from military occupational exposure); warfare agents (nerve agents, chemical and biological weapons); and more. VA will use all available information to determine if Veterans participated in a TERA, including military records and service connection.

Read More

NAMI Multnomah Offering Military Sexual Trauma Support Group

NAMI Multnomah is pleased to offer a new support group, starting in March 2024, that is for survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST). This group is available for those who have served in the military, Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve members who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

The group is facilitated by Veterans and former service members with shared experience, not by clinicians. Participants are welcome regardless of gender, discharge status, or Veteran status.

Schedule: Every first and third Monday of the month
Time: 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM PT
Format: Online via Zoom

For any questions, email info@namimultnomah.org or call 503-228-5692. Those interested in registering for the group can do so online here or follow this link: https://tinyurl.com/4v4w2fjj

Read More

VA Center for Women Veterans Offering Women Veterans Fireside Chat Webinar Series in March 7, 14, 21

In Honor of Women’s History Month, the VA Center for Women Veterans cordially invites people to join the CWV’s Women Veterans Fireside Chat Webinar Series with subject matter experts from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), & National Cemetery Administration (NCA).

Some will have an opportunity to have their questions answered during the event. Please note that each date is with a different Administration and people can register for as many events as they please.

• Thursday, March 7, 2024, 12:00 PM ET. All Things Women’s Health. Register: https://bddy.me/3URzuvP
• Thursday, March 14, 2024, 12:00 PM ET. All Things Memorial Affairs. Register: https://bddy.me/49LMJ5n
• Thursday, March 21, 2024, 12:00 PM ET. All Things Benefits. Register: https://bddy.me/49Gr4LU

These events are part of the Women’s History Month. The National Women’s History Month’s theme for 2024 celebrates “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” The theme recognizes women throughout the country who understand that for a positive future, we need to eliminate bias and discrimination entirely from our lives and institutions.

First ODVA Veterans Advisory Committee Quarterly Meeting of 2024 to Be Held Virtually on March 6 at 9:30am

The first 2024 meeting of the Veterans Advisory Committee to the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) will be held virtually Wednesday, March 6. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. and will be followed by a town hall meeting at 11 a.m., which is open to the public.

Established in 1945, the Veteran Advisory Committee holds a distinct and fundamental role in advising the director and staff of ODVA. The nine members of the Veteran Advisory Committee are military veterans from all corners of the state, appointed by the governor to serve and advocate for veteran issues and veteran concerns across Oregon.

Following every quarterly business meeting, the committee holds a town hall inviting the public to raise questions or concerns about broad veteran issues or share information with the committee and agency director.

Members of the community are also invited to submit written public comments to the committee by emailing odva_vaac@odva.oregon.gov. The Advisory Committee meets quarterly on the first Wednesday of March, June, September and December.


Please register at https://events.gcc.teams.microsoft.com/event/d4f2272d-0623-44a0-92c3-adc68cb9d24e@aa3f6932-fa7c-47b4-a0ce-a598cad161cf to attend the business or town hall portion of this meeting. Attendees will be allowed to participate during the town hall portion only and will be invited to turn on their camera and unmute mics during a recorded meeting that will be posted online at a later date.

Information about the Veteran Advisory Committee and meeting materials can be found online at www.oregon.gov/odva/Connect/Pages/Advisory-Committee.aspx.

Oregon Veteran Home Loan Max Loan Limit Increases to $766,550 in 2024

The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) has increased the maximum home loan limit for the Oregon Veteran Home Loan for 2024, conforming to loan limits for mortgages set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). ODVA will now accept loans up to the new maximum loan amount of $766,550, an increase of $40,350 from $726,200 in 2023, for funding on or after January 1, 2024. The Oregon Veteran Home Loan Program, which has been one of ODVA’s core veteran benefits since the agency’s inception in 1945, offers eligible veterans fixed-rate financing for owner-occupied, single-family residences.

The veteran home loan product is a non-expiring, lifetime benefit for any eligible Oregon veteran and may be used up to four times. The program provides financing for purchases only and cannot be used for refinancing.

This state veteran home loan benefit is separate and distinct from the federal VA Home Loan Guarantee and has lent nearly $9 billion in low-interest home loans to more than 336,000 veterans since 1945. To be eligible, a veteran must have served on active duty with the U.S. Armed Forces, as documented on their DD-214, and must meet one of the service criteria outlined on ODVA’s website <http://tinyurl.com/4evz263h>.

For more information about the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs Home Loan Program, program eligibility, or to find a partner broker near you, please call (800) 633-6826 to speak with a loan specialist or visit www.orvethomeloans.com.<http://tinyurl.com/4p6z3rr4>

Oregon Veterans Educational Bridge Grant Eligibility Expanded


Effective January 2024, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs has expanded the Oregon Veterans Educational Bridge Grant (VEBG) Program, greatly broadening financial assistance eligibility for veterans completing their educational or vocational training.

The VEBG was established by the Oregon Legislature in 2019 to provide financial assistance grants up to $5,000 to eligible veterans to alleviate the financial stress during a gap period when required courses or training hours are unavailable, allowing them to remain enrolled in school or their apprenticeship training.

To read more, go to: <https://oregondva.com/2024/01/31/oregon-veterans-educational-bridge-grant-eligibility-expanded-for-veterans-pursuing-educational-or-vocational-training/>