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Oregon Veterans Educational Bridge Grant Eligibility Expanded

ODVA

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/>

Governor Kotek Appoints Dr. Nakeia Daniels as Director of the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Dr. Nakeia Council Daniels
ODVA DIrector

Governor Tina Kotek announced her appointment of Dr. Nakeia Council Daniels to direct the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA) pending Senate confirmation. Dr. Daniels has been serving as the ODVA interim director since October of last year, after previously serving as deputy director.

“Dr. Daniels is a talented, dedicated public servant who will bring strong leadership to the director’s office,” said Governor Kotek. “Her experience in the U.S. Army and multiple executive branch positions equip her well to serve Oregon’s veterans with the persistence and compassion the role demands.”

“I am honored and deeply committed to serve Oregon’s veterans, our true American heroes. They deserve the utmost quality in services and benefits tailored to their unique needs,” Dr. Daniels said. “I am grateful and humbled for the opportunity to lead the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and I pledge to carry out this important work with diligence, dedication, and duty.”

Dr. Daniels served in the Finance Administration of the U.S. Army for eight years before working at the Maryland Transportation Administration, then known as the Maryland State Highway Administration. She then relocated to Oregon and worked at the Oregon Department of Energy in 2015. Soon after, she was tapped by former Governor Kate Brown’s administration and served in multiple roles, including as a Veterans Affairs Advisor and Director of Equity and Racial Justice, while concurrently serving as the deputy director of the Oregon Youth Authority.

Veteran Bill Digest: February 9, 2024

The 2024 Oregon Legislative Session began on February 5, 2024. Weekly during Session, ODVA emails the Veteran Bill Digest to subscribers which contains information and links to new and existing bills impacting the veteran community. More information to track bills and follow committee hearings is provided below. The Veteran Bill Digests can also be viewed and downloaded on ODVA’s legislative webpage  or <http://tinyurl.com/2fyrv6pu> along with an opportunity to subscribe to these emails.

VA now allows veterans in suicidal crisis to go to any VA or non-VA healthcare facility for free emergency healthcare

Veterans in acute suicidal crisis can now go to any VA or non-VA healthcare facility for emergency health care at no cost — including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days.

Veterans do not need to be enrolled in VA health care to use this benefit. This expansion will increase access to acute suicide care for up to 9 million veterans who are not currently enrolled in the VA system.

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Campus Veteran Resource Center Grant Awarded to Southwestern Oregon Community College

Southwestern Oregon Community College was among the 14 institutions that applied and received grant funds from the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs (ODVA).

The grants, totaling $1,000,000, are meant to expand Campus Veteran Resource Centers and bolster other services aimed at helping student veterans at Oregon’s public universities and community colleges by funding innovative and impactful projects or programs designed to improve the lives of student veterans and help them succeed.

Veteran Resource Centers are important investments in helping veterans transition from military service to college life, complete their education goals, and successfully transition to a career and their community.

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Final Oregon Legislative Veteran Bill Digest

This is the final Veteran Bill Digest for the 2023 Regular 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

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ODVA Announced Interest Rate Increase for OrVet Home Loan Program

New rates are in effect for the Oregon Veteran Home Loan Program. As of August 23, 2023, the ODVA Home Loan Program increased all program interest rates for new loan submissions by 0.250%. The unrestricted rates remain unchanged. Click here or follow the link below to download the rate sheet flyer above for full details. Link: https://content.govdelivery.com/attachments/ORDVA/2023/08/30/file_attachments/2599589/ORVetRateSheet.pdf

This affects new loans with a lock/reservation submitted on or after the date listed above. It does not affect existing loans or newly submitted loans that have received a lock/reservation prior to the new effective date. Be reminded that rates and fees are subject to change at any time without advance notice.

If you qualify, you may receive a max loan amount of $726,200. The Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs fund loans through our network of state-wide origination partners and services its own home loans, and is proud to offer competitive rates that, in general, meet or is below market rates.

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Roseburg VA Health Care System Offers New Transportation Program

ODVA Press Release

Roseburg, OR – Veterans can now participate in VA Uber Health Connect — an initiative that provides supplemental transportation to eligible Veterans needing access to and from medical care appointments.

Based on survey feedback from 2,300 Veterans between March 2022 and January 2023, 83% of Veterans stated they would not have been able to access their medical care without the program.

“The VA Uber Health Connect Initiative bridges the transportation gap by ensuring Veterans have reliable transportation for their health care needs,” said National Lead of VA Uber Health Connect Indra Sandal, Ph.D. “By offering ridesharing as an additional means of transportation, VA is helping Veterans access the best and soonest possible care — while still achieving cost savings.”

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The PACT Act and VA Benefits – File Intent Now for 12 Months Backdated

Claims received by August 10 will be eligible for 12 months of backdated compensation

Thanks to the PACT Act, <https://tinyurl.com/jcbmx6bf> millions of Veterans who were exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances are now eligible for VA health care and benefits.

While there is no deadline to apply for PACT Act-related benefits, there is urgency. Most Veterans and survivors who apply <https://tinyurl.com/mry2skt>for benefits or submit an “Intent to File” <https://tinyurl.com/yc6m8fj6> by August 9, if granted, will have their benefits backdated to August 10th of last year – the day that President Biden signed the PACT Act into law.

If a Veteran files a PACT Act-related claim or ITF after August 10, 2023, they are still entitled to the 12-month retroactive payment. So, for example, if a Veteran files a PACT Act-related claim on 9/10/23, and it is granted, the award would be retroactive to 9/10/22. [This assumes there is evidence of the condition on 9/10/22]. [The citation for this is 38 CFR 3.114(a)(3)].

VA.gov/PACT  <https://tinyurl.com/4p6s33tv>is a one-stop shop to learn about and apply for PACT Act-related care and benefits. They can also apply by calling 1-800-MYVA411.

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Resources About Alzheimer’s and Dementia

The growing number of aging veterans, many of whom have multiple chronic conditions, make it necessary for the VA to increase the available information on geriatrics.

Care for Veterans with Alzheimer’s or dementia is provided throughout a full range of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care services.

Based on the Veterans’ needs, services may include Home Based Primary Care <https://tinyurl.com/y3na5nhu>, Homemaker and Home Health Aide <https://tinyurl.com/y3byb95m>, Respite Care <https://tinyurl.com/bdf6hz3a>, Adult Day Health Care <https://tinyurl.com/bdh6xsjp>, outpatient clinic, inpatient hospital, Nursing Home <https://tinyurl.com/2bynhm5x>, Palliative Care <https://tinyurl.com/j4ffnakx>, or Hospice Care <https://tinyurl.com/5fpjdam8>.

Caregiver Support <https://tinyurl.com/2s4df5uy> is also an essential part of these services. If you’ve been diagnosed with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or are caring for someone who has, become familiar with the types <https://tinyurl.com/bzs3sje8>, stages, symptoms, and treatments.

Over 50 video and print resources have recently been added to the sections on:

Dementia Care including Alzheimer’s <https://tinyurl.com/mv4fpfr7>
Veteran Caregiver Family Resources <https://tinyurl.com/mwnhncmc>
Topics include daily plans, communication, behavior changes, next steps, and more. The Veterans Health Library has helpful resources about Coping with a Dementia Diagnosis <https://tinyurl.com/54xhvedv>.

Need more help or information? Find a VA social worker in your area <https://tinyurl.com/4tj9fcrp> or visit www.va.gov/Geriatrics.