NJ Veteran Journal
Summer 2004 Edition

Veterans News You Can Use

Compiled by the Veterans Journal Staff

Facts About VA Disability Compensation
Disability compensation for veterans is not subject to federal or state income tax. About 80 percent of veterans receive their VA benefits by direct deposit, which VA recommends for security reasons.

Veterans are rated at increments of 10 percent reflecting degree of disability. The largest category of veterans on the compensation scale is at 10 percent disability ($106 per month), with 791,000 veterans at this rate at the end of fiscal year 2003 among the total 2.5 million veterans receiving disability compensation.

Disability criteria are available online at:

As medical knowledge, laws and procedures change, VA regularly publishes proposed changes to these criteria in the “Federal Register” for public comment before a final regulation is adopted.

Where a veteran has more than one disability, the percentages are not added together to produce a new, overall rating. Instead, a formula described in federal regulations calculates the overall rating.

A veteran may be rated at zero percent, meaning there is evidence of the service-connected condition, but it does not impair the veteran. An example is a minor scar. This zero percent rating, though not compensable, is beneficial, since it raises the veteran’s priority in other VA programs, and it may be reviewed for a higher rating if the condition worsens. A veteran may have a number of disabilities individually evaluated as 0 percent, which produce 10 percent combined disability and entitle the veteran to disability compensation. At the end of fiscal year 2003, there were 16,000 veterans in this category of “compensable zero” ratings.

In addition to the 2.5 million veterans on the compensation rolls, past studies have shown approximately 1.2 million veterans have overall ratings of 0 percent, but because they do not receive payments from VA, the exact number is not known.

The largest category of service-connected disabilities is musculoskeletal problems, accounting for 40 percent of all disabilities. This includes such problems as impairment of the knee and arthritis due to trauma.

Data on the number and type of disabilities are published annually at:

Hire The Heroes
Veterans who gained their automotive repair skills in the military are getting help from a leading automotive industry group to help them get the qualifications needed to find a job in the service technician career field. Automotive Retailing Today’s program, Hire the Heroes, will give automotive dealers opportunity to network with military outplacement personnel and develop relationships to transition veterans into service technician careers. Veterans can use their Veterans Educational Assistance Program or Montgomery GI Bill to take the ASE certification
courses. For more information on Hire the Heroes, go to www.autoretailing.org/military

VA Launches New Web Site On Hepatitis C
A new website on hepatitis C: www.hepatitis.va.gov was launched through the collaboration between the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the University of California at San Francisco’s Center for HIV Information.

The website has a veterans section that includes general information and links to other websites.
Hepatitis C is the most common blood borne infection in the United States, affecting 2 percent of the population. VA cares for more hepatitis C patients than any other medical system, with more than 200,000 patients since 1996.

Hats Off...
On Feb. 5, Drew Madzin of Guardian Lawn & Turf, Inc. was presented a Certificate of Appreciation by Col. Stephen Abel on behalf of Brig. Gen. Glenn K. Rieth for the company’s yearly contribution of providing lawn care to New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial complex.

VA Seeks Volunteers To Inventory Memorials
The Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking volunteers to research and photograph monuments in its 120 national cemeteries and 33 soldiers’ lots. For additional information about the project or to volunteer, please contact VA historian Darlene Richardson at 202-565-5426 or e-mail nca.memorials@mail.va.gov

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Has Your Status Changed?

By Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PAO

New Jersey recently extended eligibility for State Veterans’ benefits to those who served in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. Assembly Bill 3564, which was approved on Dec. 16, 2003, provides veterans who served at least 14 days in country in support of either Operation, benefits that include civil service preference, annual property tax deductions as well as other benefits.

If you have any questions, contact the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
at 1-800-624-0508 for more information.

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Your Veterans Benefits Bureau

By the Veteran Journal Staff

The Veterans Benefits Bureau is a six-person team responsible for reviewing applications for the
following programs:

Determining veterans’ status for preference and pension status, which includes veteran’s preference for hiring in New Jersey Civil Service and Veterans status for pension purposes.

The N.J. Veterans and Spouses Catastrophic Entitlement Program.

Grants and Aids – POW/MIA/ War Orphan/Veterans Tuition Credit Program, Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder (PTSD), Transportation.

N.J. Property Tax Deduction/Exemption Program works hand in hand with tax assessors to determine eligibility for the property tax benefit.

New Jersey Medal Program: New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal, Meritorious Medal, Vietnam Service Medal, Korean Service Medal and replacement of State Medals.

Operation Recognition Program (N.J. High School Diploma). Stand Down Operations.

If you have any questions or you need information regarding any one of the listed entitlements
please contact Kathy Burek at 609-530-6876.

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Volunteer Program At New Jersey Veterans Memorial Homes

By Edward Weisenhorn

The volunteer program at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Paramus, Menlo Park
and Vineland consists of individual, youth, and organizational volunteers.

The volunteers perform a wide range of services to our residents. Some of the volunteers are called “ Friendly Visitors” who visit with individual residents as you would a friend or loved one in a nursing home or hospital. At times everyone just needs someone to talk to.

Our facilities are blessed to have volunteers with special talents that they share with the residents. Volunteers assist residents in the arts and crafts room, working on projects such as painting pictures or building bird feeders. Some of their finished products are currently on display as you enter the facilities. Other volunteers who have musical abilities entertain our residents by playing beautiful melodies on our piano in Town Square.

Still other individual volunteers assist the recreation department by running programs such as
trivia, or going on trips to aide our residents. Volunteers also run our Gift Shop, work in the Library or on the nursing units. Our volunteers are so involved in the operation of each facility that it is difficult to discriminate between volunteers and employees.

The Veterans Memorial Homes also benefit from the many Veterans and community organizations that provide functions that our residents always look forward to.

These organizations run bingo, picnics, and schedule trips outside the facility. They not only donate their time but also make monetary donations for entertainment and other quality of life needs for the residents.

As a way of saying Thank You to our volunteers both individual and organizational, the facilities
conduct a Volunteer Luncheon to pay tribute to those who give so much to the residents.

Anyone interested in volunteering can contact the Director of Volunteer Services at each facility:
Menlo Park: position vacant (732) 452-4133 Paramus: Susan Pettigrano (201) 967-7676, ext. 324
Vineland: Lois Ballurio (856) 696-6354

Table of Contents
Governor’s Letter
Deveraux Appointed
Old Glory Grand Opening
NJ Korean Service Medal
Stand Down 2004
Retirees Get Pay Increase
SAA News
Veterans News You Can Use
Veterans Get Priority Care
Veterans History Project
VSO Listing
General Information

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