Military Connection: SSA Rushes Veteran Disability: By Debbie Gregory

Social security

By Debbie Gregory

There are currently more Veterans than ever requiring VA disability assistance. The vast majority of Veterans with service-connected disabilities are rated by the VA with a 70% to100% disability compensation rating. These statistics are solely made up of Veterans using their VA disability benefits.  Disabled Veterans need to be made aware that they are also eligible to collect Social Security disability benefits.

Eligibility for Social Security disability benefits is separate from VA disability, and receiving one does not disqualify you from receiving the other. Disabled Veterans can, in fact, receive both federal benefits at the same time, so long as they meet each benefit’s disability criteria. Recently, the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) made it even faster for disabled Veterans to receive Social Security disability benefits.

On March 17, 2014, the SSA began expediting disability claims that were filed by Veterans who have already received a disability compensation rating of 100% (Permanent and Total). Veterans should note that the VA rating does not guarantee an automatic approval on an SSA disability claim. To be approved for SSA disability, claimants must meet the SSA’s criteria for being disabled.

Claimants are deemed to be disabled by the SSA if they are unable to work because of their medical condition, and their medical condition lasts (or is expected to last) for a minimum of one year, or will result in their death. Again, VA approval or denial of a disability claim will have no effect on an SSA disability claim.

To file a disability claim with the U.S. Social Security Administration, visit their site at www.socialsecurity.gov or utilize their online application portal. Claimants can also call 1-800-772-1213 (Hearing impaired individuals can call TTY 1-800-325-0778).

In person applications are also accepted at local Social Security offices, however, you should call ahead and make an appointment.

Veterans with 100% P&T ratings from the VA, who wish to have their Social Security disability claim expedited, will need to identify themselves as such by either telling the SSA representative in person or over the phone, or by entering “Veteran 100% P&T” in the “Remarks” section of the online application. Veterans will also need to provide proof of their 100% P&T rating by providing the VA notification letter when asked by the SSA.

The SSA does not provide a guaranteed timeline of expedited Veteran disability claims. All claims differ due to nature of the disability, the amount of time it takes for doctors to verify the disability, and whether or not follow up examinations are required to approve or deny a claim.

Please make use of all of the resources available to you through every federal, state and local government agency and non-profit organizations. Also utilize MilitaryConnection.com to connect with all of the resources and benefits available.

Disabled Veterans are most deserving of any assistance that we as a nation can offer them.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Newest Medal of Honor Winner: By Debbie Gregory

moh winner white

By Debbie Gregory

 

On November 9, 2007, six U.S. service members lost their lives in an enemy ambush in Aranas, Afghanistan. Killed on that fateful day were Marine Sgt. Philip A. Bocks from Troy, MI; Captain Matthew Ferrara from Torrance, CA; SPC. Joseph Lancour from Swartz Creek MI; Cpl. Sean Langewin from Walnut Creek, CA; Sgt. Jeffrey Mersman from Parker, KS; and Cpl. Lester Roque, Torrance, CA. But if it weren’t for the actions of one soldier, the casualty list could have been much longer.

U.S. Army Sgt. Kyle White was assigned to C Company, 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade, as a radio-telephone operator, and was present during the ambush. A rocket-powered grenade knocked White unconscious during the ambush. When White regained consciousness, he found himself in a desperate situation. Despite the risk of significant danger to himself, White recovered two of his comrades, moved them to cover, and rendered first aid. White also put himself in harm’s way trying to recover other soldiers, only to find that they were already dead. White called in air strikes and artillery that kept the enemy at bay until helicopters could land and recover the ambushed unit. If not for White’s individual efforts, the enemy forces would have likely overrun the location.

On Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Sgt. White will be awarded the Medal of Honor at the White House. White will be the seventh living Medal of Honor recipient from the war in Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest military honor. It is awarded for individual acts of valor that go above and beyond the call of duty.

By law, each Medal of Honor recipient is awarded special benefits that include:

  • Having their name added to the Medal of Honor Roll
  • A lifetime monthly pension (currently $1,259 per month, subject to increases) awarded on top of any other compensation that the recipient receives
  • A 10% increase on their retirement pay
  • A yearly uniform allowance
  • Special entitlements to air transportation provided by the DOD wherever and whenever they want to go
  • A Medal of Honor Flag
  • Medal of Honor Recipient license plate in states where they are available
  • Standing invitation to all future presidential inaugurations and inaugural balls
  • The ability to wear their MOH and all medals on appropriate civilian clothing
  • The ability to wear their uniform “at their pleasure” in keeping with uniform requirements for proper wear and non-political/noncommercial purposes
  • Qualified children of recipients are eligible for all U.S. military academies, regardless of nomination or quote restrictions/requirements
  • Automatic eligibility for internment at Arlington National Cemetery

Traditionally, but not required by law, all Medal of Honor recipients are saluted by all other members of the armed forces, regardless of rank. Typically, salutes are rendered from enlisted to officers or from junior officers to their seniors. You can watch Sgt. White receive his medal live at 3 PM E.T. at www.whitehouse.gov/live

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: New Military Suicide Stats: By Debbie Gregory

suicides

By Debbie Gregory.

There is good news and bad news milling about the DOD regarding the latest statistics as it pertains to the rate of military suicides. The newest data shows that suicides among active duty military is down across the board. However, suicides among members of the National Guard and Reserves has drastically increased.

The four military branches that fall under the jurisdiction of the DOD- Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force have gained headway in their battle against suicide. Several campaigns have been initiated, many of them involving outside agencies, designed to reduce and hopefully eradicate suicides within military ranks. Crisis lines, open door policies, increased morale initiatives and anonymous counseling are only  a few of the measures taken by the military.

The results have been a gradual decline in suicides by active duty service members. From 2012 to 2013, the military saw a 15% total drop in suicides.

While each military branch can boast lower numbers in active duty suicides from the previous year, there are still alarming statistics that need to be addressed. The number of Army National Guard and Army Reservist suicides surpassed the number of active duty suicides. The number of Guard and Army Reservist suicides rose from 140 in 2012 to 152 in 2013.

A lesson that can be learned from these bitter-sweet statistics is that the suicide prevention measures appear to be making an impact. But the presence of these programs in the Guard and Reserve units is evidently lacking.

Most Guard and Reserve units usually only meet once a month, and only drill every few months. The members of these units do not have the same access to suicide prevention measures that active duty members have. These part-time warriors also are not under the same command supervision as their active duty counter-parts.

With these new suicide numbers, it is apparent that more outreach has to be focused on the members of the National Guard and Reserves. They need to be made aware of the resources and care available to them through the military.

Military Connection urges any active duty service member, Veteran, or member of the National Guard or Reserves who is considering suicide to seek the help they need. In case of emergency, please dial 911. For non-emergencies utilize the VA’s Veterans Crisis Line. Either follow the link, where you can live chat in a confidential instant message session, call at 1 (800) 273- 8255 [Press 1], or text at 838255.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

 

Military Connection: New Military Suicide Stats: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Operation Family Caregiver by Debbie Gregory

Dole-Foundation

By Debbie Gregory.

Well over two million U.S. armed forces service members have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly two-thirds of these men and women deployed before they turned 29. Over 20% of Post-9/11 era Veterans have been reported to have been treated for either PTSD or depression. And more than 50,000 service members have been seriously wounded in action.

Returning home with visible injuries can be extremely difficult for these Veterans and their families. Coming home with invisible wounds can prove to be even more difficult for some Veteran families. Studies have shown just the transitions from war to home and from the military to civilian life can be very rough on military and Veteran families.

That is why Operation Family Caregiver (OFC) offers coaching, information and resources to families of transitioning Veterans. Because no individual family has cookie-cutter problems, OFC is a personalized program, tailored specifically to the struggles of each individual family. OFC teaches military families how to cope with the changes and challenges they face in order to become stronger, healthier families.

The OFC staff believes that the key to creating the healthiest military families is by supporting the unsung heroes behind our nation’s heroes; meaning the loving families and friends that care for them when they come home.

OFC coaches work for local, community-based organizations. Coaches accommodate the families in the best ways possible, including visiting the caregiver’s home or meeting by phone/Skype. Coaches work with the families to customize a 16- to 24-week program that is unique to each family, as each family and their concerns are unique. Working together, OFC coaches and caregivers develop strategies that can help families get through the toughest times, and make plans for how to manage their family for the long haul.

Operation Family Caregiver is a program through the Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving (RCI). RCI supports caregivers through advocacy, education, research and service. RCI is part of Georgia Southwestern State University. It was established in 1987 in honor of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, a GSW alumna, who serves as president of the Institute’s Board of Directors, to enhance her longstanding commitments to family caregiving and mental health.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Operation Family Caregiver by Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: UC Hears Veteran Students: By Debbie Gregory

UC Vet students

By Debbie Gregory.

The University of California (UC) system can boast over 200,000 students attending the combined 10 campuses across the state. The ten schools that make up the UC system are: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Santa Cruz. UC schools are the top tier of California’s three-tiered public higher education system that also includes the California State University (CSU) system and the California Community College system.

Among the 200,000 UC students are approximately 1,600 Veteran students, and approximately 100 students who are active duty military. According to the UC office of the President, 1,300 Veterans are enrolled in undergraduate studies, and 300 more are enrolled in graduate studies programs.

While Veterans make up less than 1% of the total student body, the president of the UC system, Janet Napolitano, is making the needs of Veteran students a priority for her staff. This past February, Napolitano began conducting a series of meetings with her Veterans’ advisory group and with Veteran students representing every UC campus.

The Veterans relayed their specific needs for individual campuses, and provided feedback on where system-wide policy enactments would be beneficial.

One of the main area in need of system-wide reform is training for UC enrollment and administrative employees in regards to VA education benefits entitlements. The discussions included the request for improved communication between UC administrators and Veteran students about their special financial aid needs.

Veteran students, who often attend university through their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits, have different financial needs that traditional students, most of whom enrolled in college straight from high school. Veteran students who use their Post-9/11 GI Bill have their full tuition paid for by their benefit at in-state public schools, or a cap of $19,198 per year at private and/or out of state schools. Veteran students who reach their cap limit or are attending a private or out of state school still have alternative resources that traditional students don’t have access to, including the Yellow Ribbon Program. All university administrators around the country need to be privy to these programs to best serve their Veteran students.

The Veteran students that met with Napolitano also voiced the need for a space on every UC campus where Veterans could find information about resources they need for their academic careers. The Veterans in the group felt that many of their comrades come to campus not knowing all of the resources and tools that are available for them. Veterans Resource Centers would be a great way to inform Veterans of what their campus/university system has to offer them.

The Veterans did offer praise to the UC system for offering priority registration and priority housing throughout the state. They also acknowledged their gratitude for the scholarships and mental health services for Vets.

Veteran students and UC administrators alike came away from the series of discussions feeling good about the progress they have made for current and future Veterans who enroll in the UC system. But they all agree that providing for Veterans on the UC campuses will be an ongoing and evolving progress.

For more information about Veteran education benefits, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill, be sure to browse Military Connection’s education page at www.MilitaryConnectin.com.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: UC Hears Veteran Students: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: AV Wall in Simi Valley: By Debbie Gregory

AV Wall

By Debbie Gregory.

In 2005, the citizens of Southern California’s  Antelope Valley got the idea to build a half-scale model of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Over the next few years, the community raised over $100,000 dollars to cover the costs of what would later be known as the Mobile Vietnam Veterans Memorial for the Antelope Valley (AV Wall).

The original, full-scale Vietnam Veterans Memorial is on display in Washington D.C., and consists of the names of the 58,000 service members who died in the war. The AV Wall, completed in 2009, has been providing Veterans and members of the community with a focal point for remembrance and reflection.

Every year, April through November, the AV Wall is made available for other communities to host. Host communities pay a fee to cover travel, storage and maintenance of the AV Wall.  This May, the AV Wall will be on display in the city of Simi Valley, the home town of Military Connection.

May 22-28, the AV Wall will be on exhibit for 24 hour public access at the Rancho Tapo Community Park (aka Lemon Park) Veterans Plaza, located at 3700 Avenida Simi, Simi Valley, CA 93063.

The festivities begin at 8:00 am on Thursday May 22. The AV Wall will be escorted by the Patriot Riders, Rolling Thunder and Blue Riders as it transits from the Grand Vista Hotel (999 Enchanted Way) along Town Center Way and Alamo St to the Veterans Plaza at Rancho Tapo Community Park. Everyone is invited to line the sidewalks of the route to wave American flags, show your support for Veterans and welcome the AV Wall.

The staff at Military Connection urges the people living in and near Simi Valley, CA to show their support for all Veterans, but especially Vietnam Veterans, by lining the AV Wall’s travel route, and by visiting the exhibit while it is on display. Visiting the exhibit is free, but donations will be accepted and go towards the funding of the activities.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: AV Wall in Simi Valley: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: JFLA Offers Loans to L.A. Veterans: By Debbie Gregory

jewishfreeloan

By Debbie Gregory.

The Jewish Free Loan Association (JFLA) of Los Angeles was founded in 1904 as a non-profit agency, providing fee-free, interest-free loans to help build and rebuild local communities. The JFLA has offered loans to people from all faiths and ethnicities in the cultural melting pot of the greater Los Angeles area.

For the last 110 years, the JFLA has helped people in financial binds cover a broad range of expenses, including family emergencies, tuition, rent, security deposits, moving costs, auto repairs, job training, healthcare expenses and numerous other necessary expenses.

Since 2012, the JFLA has maintained a loan fund intended exclusively for assisting U.S. military Veterans. Known as “Strawberry Jam”, the fund was made possible through a substantial donation from the Metabolic Studio.

Now, with funding through Strawberry Jam, Veterans can take out interest free loans of up to $5,000 from the JFLA. U.S. military Veterans of all faiths, who live in the Los Angeles area, can benefit from the generosity of the JFLA and the Strawberry Jam fund.

The employment market has been tough for everyone, and military Veterans have been affected most of all. The JFLA has been raising funds for Strawberry Jam, both from individuals and other organizations, to help Veterans in need. The fund will provide free loans to Veterans in order to help them meet a multitude of financial needs.

In order to be granted a JFLA Veterans loan, applicants need to meet a few eligibility requirements. First, they must be 18 years old or older. They must have a steady income and must be able demonstrate the need for a loan. Applicants must also be permanent legal residents of Los Angeles or Ventura Counties (parents of children who require specialized healthcare may reside in Orange County). Applicants must show proof of residency and proof of citizenship, i.e. green card, white card or work permit (no VISAs).  Based on the loan amount, applicants must also secure one or two co-signers. Other documentation could be required, depending on the loan type and amount.

Veterans who are interested in benefiting from a JFLA loan, and any individuals, businesses or groups interested in contributing to either Strawberry Jam or any of the Jewish Free Loan Funds, can find more information on their website at www.JFLA.org

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: JFLA Offers Loans to L.A. Veterans: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Pulitzer Prize Awarded to Journalist Writing About Veterans: By Debbie Gregory

Pulitzer-Prize

By Debbie Gregory.

On April 14, the 2014 Pulitzer Prize winners were announced by Columbia University. Among the winners was Colorado Springs Gazette  journalist David Philipps. Philipps won the Journalism Pulitzer Prize for “National Reporting.”

Philipps won the Pulitzer for “Other Than Honorable”, a three day series of articles published in May, 2013. The series followed three military Veterans, all of whom suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI), and from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as a direct result to their combat deployments. After surviving war, these young men returned home with their unseen injuries, only to get into trouble and get kicked out of the military. Separating from the armed forces under “Other than Honorable” discharges can disqualify Veterans from receiving benefits, including healthcare and education benefits.

If undiagnosed, mental and emotional injuries can cause sufferers to act differently than they would normally. Their coping mechanisms for completing functions necessary for survival can seem threatening or violent to others. TBI, PTSD, and other behavioral and mental health concerns have been some of the most common injuries sustained by U.S. military personnel in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Philipps’ Pulitzer Prize winning series of articles brought further attention to a major issue facing Veterans, the U.S. military, and the civilian population. While the American public won’t always agree with what is being said about those whoserve, it is imperative that they know more about TBI, PTSD and other war injuries.

Along with the esteem that comes with winning the award, Philips also received $10,000. Philipps was a finalist for the prize in 2010 for another piece written about military Veterans.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Pulitzer Prize Awarded to Journalist Writing About Veterans: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Navy Sea Pay Raise Starts May 1: By Debbie Gregory

USS Ogden

By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Navy’s sea-going sailors are seeing more green for their time spent on the blue. The Navy’s approved sea pay raise is the first such increase since October 1, 2001, and only the second hike in 30 years.

Every time a ship pulls away from its mooring, extra watches are set, and hundreds of sailors and officers are assigned to around the clock watch teams. These teams perform every function needed to propel, navigate, steer, protect, defend, and command the ship. Additionally, watch standers communicate with the rest of the fleet and others who provide damage control and structural maintenance.

Also onboard are sailors working in support of the watch standers, providingservices in fields such as administration, pay and leave, supply and logistics, equipment upkeep, and food service. Then, depending on the class of ship, there are personnel attached to air wings who are responsible for launching, landing and manning aircraft, and personnel attached to boat units who are responsible for manning Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC, aka hovercraft), and Landing Craft Utility (LCU).

With all of the extra watches and man-hours utilized whenever a ship is underway, it can feel like a deployment, regardless of whether the ship is steaming in a war zone or in U.S. territorial waters.

According to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), Career Sea Pay (CSP) is intended to improve retention of members in sea service skills, and as recognition for members serving on sea duty for the greater-than-normal rigors of sea duty.”

Sea Pay is paid monthly to sailors, marines and officers based on pay-grade and years of cumulative sea time. CSP is not part of a sailor’s or officer’s base pay, but an incentive for personnel to go to and remain at sea.

Starting May, 2014, Sailors and Marines could be seeing as much as a 25% hike in their monthly CSP. With the raise comes an increase in the Career Sea Pay Premium (CSP-P). CSP-P is distributed to sailors and officers who accumulate 36 months or more of consecutive sea time. CSP-P is given monthly on top of base pay and CSP. CSP-P is set to double from $100 to $200 each month.

The Navy estimates that approximately 100,000 members will be affected by the CSP increase this year, and 13,000 members will see an increase in CSP-P.

Approximately 100,000 sailors receive career sea pay and approximately 13,000 receive career sea pay premium. The Navy expects the increase to cost $66 million per year.

To view the updated Career Sea Pay table, follow this link to the Navy.mil chart.

For more information about military base pay, incentive pay, and hazardous duty pay, browse the branch of your choice at www.MilitaryConnection.com

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Navy Sea Pay Raise Starts May 1: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Prosthetic Tattoo Art for Veteran Amputees: By Debbie Gregory

prostheticink-logo

By Debbie Gregory.

Since 2008, ProstheticInk.com has been providing amputees with a way to express themselves, while at the same time embracing their identity. Customers of ProstheticInk.com, some of them military Veterans, have found this company’s products offer a way to empower themselves, overcoming the need to hide their prosthesis under long pants and long sleeves. Instead, PorostheticInk.com’s artwork inspires amputees to confidently live life to the fullest, proudly baring their prostheses.

ProstheticInk.com is the first company in the world to offer amputees airbrushed, hand-brushed, custom designed prosthetic art, using metallic paints and chrome. They have painted on arm and leg prostheses, ankle-foot orthotics, knee-ankle-foot orthotics, orthopedic braces, cranial helmets, and adaptive sports gear.

The company was founded by Dan Horkey, who had the brilliant idea for “Prosthetic Tattoo Art” because he himself lost part of his left leg in a 1985 motorcycle accident. For years, Horkey said that he covered up his prosthesis, not wanting to draw negative attention to it. In 2005, he began fiddling with adding artwork to his own prosthetic leg.  In 2006, Horkey came up with the idea to cover his prosthesis with tattooed flames.

“The moment I put fiery flame artwork on my socket, the compliments from strangers made me stand tall, and my self-esteem went through the roof,” Horkey says. “I wear my prosthesis with pride.”

What began as a one-off tattoo on one prosthetic leg spread like wildfire. ProstheticInk.com has provided artwork for dozens of amputees and orthopedic brace users.

According to a report from the Congressional Research Service, there have been 1,558 U.S. military service members with major limb amputations as a result of injuries sustained in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan as of December 31, 2013. According to a 2008 study, as of 2005, an estimated 1.6 million Americans were living with the loss of at least one limb. Experts, including the Amputee Coalition of America, estimate that today, the number is closer to 2 million Americans.

To date, ProstheticInk.com has only served twelve purchase orders for Veteran amputees. But Horkey says that there have been over 100 more claims for his services. From 2009-2012, the VA agreed to pay for the expenses for ProstheticInk.com to apply a Veteran amputee’s personality to their prosthetics. Since 2012, Horkey says that many VA claims for the artwork have been denied, deemed “unnecessary” by many claims officials. He says that not every VA office is denying the claims, and not all claims are being denied.

But Horkey wants all amputees, especially Veterans, to feel the freedom and empowerment that his flames have brought him. He is doing everything in his power to reach out to more Veteran amputees and find ways to make his company’s services available at no cost to the Vets. Horkey has been reaching out to legislators, VA reps and is looking to partner with non-profit Veterans organizations in order to make this happen. Horkey said that he would eventually like to expand ProstheticInk.com to the point where he could use the company to provide Veteran amputees with jobs.

Horkey recommends the following advice to any Veteran that is trying to get the VA to cover the cost of Prosthetic Ink: 1) Don’t take no for an answer. Keep pestering the VA until you find someone willing to help you. 2) Ask your Prosthetist to submit a request to your VAMC for approval. 3) Contact Dan Horkey directly at (360) 895- 1976 or [email protected]

For more information about ProstheticInk.com or “Prosthetic Tattoo Art” visit www.prostheticink.com.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Prosthetic Tattoo Art for Veteran Amputees: By Debbie Gregory