Veterans Affairs

routt county veterans of colorado

Monday, June 17

Friends, thank you for stopping by. I try to post useful things here and from time to time, actually rather often, I get requests from private, for-profit companies looking to drum up business amongst vets. 

I haven't really gotten feedback from veterans on this, but my own feeling as a vet is I don't really want to see civvy street links on a service officer site and I don't think you do, either, so I am not going to put them on here, even though the services might be useful to some. Besides, county policy probably wouldn't allow it anyway. 

I am in the office until 1200 today, so stop by this morning if you need help filing a claim. All services are offered without charge to you. 

Have a good day, 

Welcome to the VA Brochure (6/12)

Friends, the VA has a pretty useful brochure available on getting started with them. You can download it by clicking here. It's a PDF and, of course, you can print it out. 

I would be happy to print one out for you, though. Stop by anytime. It won't take a minute. 

Job Openings (6/12)
Assorted Construction Jobs
Pipe Layers, Laborer, Excavator, Foreman, Administrative Aide

Fones Construction in Hayden is hiring for the above positions. They are veteran-owned and very veteran friendly and experience is required for all but the Laborer position. 

For more information, contact Amy Morris at the Colorado Workforce Center at 879-3075.

Open Routt County Positions

Deputy Clerk, DMV, Detention Deputy, Equipment Operator

Routt County is looking for a Deputy Clerk in the Motor Vehicle Department. It involves registering and titling motor vehicles and while they can teach you all aspects of the job, being comfortable dealing with the public is a good trait to have. 

The pay scale starts at $21.49/hour and comes with the usual county benefits package. Routt County is also looking for a Detention Deputy and a Road and Bridge Equipment Operator. 

More information, including application instructions, can be found here

TSA Agent 

The Transportation Security Administration has an opening for an Officer at the Hayden Airport. Click here for more information.

Census Worker

The federal government is looking for temporary workers for next year's census. Census taker positions pay $16/hour and mileage and other expenses are reimbursed, of course. 

Now, I talked to a gentleman in the Denver Census Office and he said they are looking to hire vets first and there are/will be openings up here. He also said please be patient, it's the government, so hiring is not instantaneous.

Click here to get started or call 855/JOB-2020. JOB is 562 on the phone. 


Benefit Spotlight: 
MISSION Act Roll Out (6/12)

The MISSION Act went into force last week, designed to give us vets the care we need when and where we need it and after the usual kinks are worked out, it should end up being a marked improvement for us.

The two biggest provisions involve making it easier for us to get care from civilian providers, important up here in remote areas, and there is also a new urgent care benefit. 

Here are the qualifications for both:

Community Care

The VA is making it easier to get see local, civilian doctors. To take advantage of this the veteran must:

  • be enrolled in VA health care, or have disability rating that does not require enrollment
  • have a referral from the VA. We can't simply make an appointment and tell them to bill the VA
  • The doctor must be enrolled with the VA

The Community Care program will expedite veterans getting care when the VA is unable to provide a service or when, like most reading this, we live more than 40 miles from a VA hospital. Utilizing Community Care is not mandatory and vets who prefer their own VA doctor can still use them, but this will be an excellent way for vets in rural areas like Routt County to get care in a more timely and efficient manner. 

Urgent Care Benefit
Included in the MISSION Act is a benefit allowing us to use urgent care facilities. 

Here are the requirements:

  • Not only must you be enrolled in VA healthcare, but you must have used the benefit within the past two years.
  • Eligibility will be verified before treatment is given. 
  • The urgent care facility must be signed up with the VA. Right now there aren't any local facilities signed up, but we expect that to change. Click here to find eligible facilities. 
  • The veteran must receive covered services. Because people's medical needs are different, the VA is not detailing specific services that are and are not covered, except to say preventive and dental services are excluded, as is treatment of chronic conditions. 

Usually a copay is involved, generally about $30, and the VA will bill you for it. You do not pay anything at the facility. The benefit can be used any number of times. 

More Information

There are other benefits and requirements and a really useful brochure on the MISSION Act can be read by clicking here

As always, if you have any questions, call or stop in. 

The Smoking Lamp Is Out (6/12)

Smoking lamp is a phrase old sailors will recognize. If it was lighted, you could smoke, it it was out, you couldn't. And even if it was lighted, sometimes you to ask permission from a senior watchstander and if the compartment was rigged for black or red you had to say "bright light, watch your eyes" before you lit up. 

Beginning later this year, the smoking lamp will be out at all VA medical facilities. Gone will be the designated smoking areas. The start date was not immediately clear, tho the VA hopes to have it fully implemented by October. 

If you are a vet looking to quit smoking, click here for some VA resources. 

Veterans Helping Veterans (6/7)

If you are veteran going through financial hardship - or you know one who is -there are a couple of programs designed to help out.

Free Dental Care for Veterans
Steamboat Springs dentist Dr Jim McCreight is providing free, need-based dental care to Routt County veterans. Dr McCreight, himself a veteran of the US Navy, will provide these services with his wife Wendy, also a dentist, in their Steamboat office.

The service is for veterans who do not have health insurance or the resources to pay cash for their dental care. Services are provided on Fridays, an appointment is required and you may call the office directly at 879-4703. 

Veteran's Assistance Fund
Steamboat American Legion Post 44 in conjunction with the Steamboat Ski Town Lions Club, has an assistance fund for veterans in need. It's designed to help veterans who need help providing basics for themselves and their families. It can also be used to assist in home modifications and repairs to help a veteran lead a higher quality of life, such as constructing a wheelchair ramp or remodeling a room to better accommodate and handicapped veteran.

Note: this is not a county program and is not directly connected to this office, I merely am the contact person for the American Legion and the Lions Club. 

Please, contact me for more information. There is help out there for our fellow veterans who need it. 

Transportation/Gas Reimbursement For Medical Appointments
American Legion Post 44 offers veterans transportation to doctor's appointments, mostly to the Craig teleclinic, but also to Grand Junction and Denver, at no charge to the veteran. Contact me for more details. We work hard to keep and up-to-date roster of drivers and It is rare when we cannot provide one though sometimes it happens.

If you do drive yourself to either Grand Junction or Denver, we will reimburse your gas. Fill up at your destination and again when you return to town

This program is funded through a state grant, so we must have the receipts. No receipts, no reimbursement; we're sorry.

Note: financial hardship is not required for either transportation or gas reimbursement. It is open to all veterans traveling for VA medical appointments, whether they're at the VA or at a private physician. American Legion or VFW membership is not required. 

Benefit Spotlight:

VA Medical Care For Veterans Without A Service-Connected Disability

Some are surprised to learn the VA also provides medical care to vets without a disability rating. It is not free and costs, very reasonable, depend on your income level. 

It's useful because there are no monthly premiums and it's there even if you change jobs or relocate. I use it and am pleased with it. 

Of course, there is a form to fill out and approval is not instantaneous and it will require a trip to Grand Junction for your initial physical. After that, service are provided at the teleclinic in Craig. 

Click here for information and to apply.

Benefit Spotlight:
Lifetime National Park Access For Service Connected Rated Vets

Veterans with a service connected rating of at least 10% are eligible for free Lifetime National Parks Access Pass. 

The pass is good for the vet and three others in the vet's vehicle and the vet and three adults where per-person fees are charged. It is not good for multiple vehicles in a vet's party.  

There are two ways to get your lifetime pass: 

1) In person at a national park. You will need an ID, of course, and documentation of disability rating, such as a VA awards letter or a VA ID card that notes your disability or something similar. A receipt showing your Social Security disability award is good, too. Your pass will be issued immediately. 

2) Apply by mail. It takes a couple of months and costs $10, so it's more convenient to do it when you arrive at the national park, but if you want to apply by mail, click here

This isn't too bad a benefit, so don't be shy about taking advantage of it. 

Benefit Spotlight: Our Burial Benefits (5/17)

The VA provides a variety of benefits for us and our families after we've died. There are certain active duty service requirements - generally 24 months - and eligibility requires something other than a dishonorable discharge.

Benefits include burial or internment at a VA cemetery and includes a headstone or marker, burial flag and a Presidential Memorial Certificate, all at no charge to a veteran's family. Certain family members are also authorized to be buried at a national cemetery, as well. The VA also provides a flat-rate burial allowance under certain circumstances. Reservists are eligible under certain circumstances, too, though they generally had to have died on active duty or have to be receiving, or would would have been entitled to receive at age 60, retirement pay. 

An exception to this is burial at Arlington National Cemetery, which is generally reserved for those killed in the line of duty and those who won the Purple Heart or another medal for valor. 

More details can be found by clicking here.  

Something To Know: Requesting Records From VA (5/15)

If all you need to do is request records from the VA, like your DD-214, click here. It's a VA website that makes the process rather easy. 

Of course, if you'd rather have me help you do it, that's why I'm here. Please call for an appointment, or stop by. - gk

Progressive Insurance Keys To Progress Car Giveaway (5/15)

Progressive Insurance had been giving vehicles away to deserving veterans for most of this decade. This year's giveaways are on November 7 in all 50 states. Colorado's will be in Colorado Springs, though any veteran in the state is eligible. 

The vehicles have been refurbished (the National Auto Body Council is also a sponsor) and there are assorted requirements, as well. For example, a single veteran cannot make more than $24,980 a year, must have a clean driving record for the past seven years and will have to pass a background check. The veteran must also be able to afford to maintain and insure a car as well. There are some others, too. 

It might seem like a lot of hoops to jump through, but if you are a veteran and meet the guidelines, it cannot hurt to apply. I have complete information, plus applications, here at the VSO, so please call or visit. - gk

Something To Know: The Veteran's Crisis Line (5/10)

Fellow vet's,

If you are in crisis and are having thoughts of suicide there is help available, 24 hours a day from the VA, with trained professionals waiting to help. 

No military service is easy and some leaves scars that simply do not go away and an average of 22 vets a day kill themselves. We don't want this to be you. 

There are three ways to reach the Veteran's Crisis Line: 
800/273-8255, press 1
send message to 838255

Something To Know: Online Help Exploring Your VA Benefits (5/8/19)

Friends, click here for a VA website that provides an excellent resource for exploring the benefits we've earned serving our country. It includes information on disability benefits, education and training benefits, and employment services, among others.

You can even apply online, though if you are not comfortable with that, please, come and see me. It's what I'm here for. 

A Reminder

If this is your first time filing a claim with the VA, please bring your DD-214 and be prepared to sign a power of attorney (POA) so I can act on your behalf. (That is all the POA allows me to do, act on your behalf. I can't access your bank account or do anything else.) Having these items will make things go smoother for us.

We do not have to file a complete claim on your first visit. We can file what's known as an Intent To File, which reserves your date of claim - the date which benefits are paid from - and gives you a year to file a completed claim. I am here to help you with all of this, at no cost to you.

Something To Know: Your VA Mortgage Benefit (5/1/19)

I haven't been on the job all that long, but already I've had a couple of questions about our VA mortgage benefit. It's a valuable and useful tool when buying a home. 

One thing to note is the VA does not lend you the money. It does, though, guarantee a portion of the loan, which will lead some lenders to offer more favorable terms, such as concessions on closing costs. It also allows you to buy with no down payment, which can be a significant barrier to new homeowners.

The benefit does not expire and can be used multiple times. You were given a form when you were discharged or resigned your commission or warrant detailing this benefit, though if you don't have this form your lender can get it.

It's a government program, so there are restrictions and whatnot, but any veteran purchasing a home will do well to consider using this benefit. My wife and I used for our purchase in 2014 and it made things a lot smoother. 

Click here (it's a VA website) for more information. 

Something To Know: Blue Water Sailors (4/29/19)

The Court of Appeals for the Fed Circuit (FedCir) recently ruled that Blue Water Sailors who served within 12 nautical miles (a bit more than 13-and-a-half land miles) of the Vietnamese coast are entitled to the same presumption of Agent Orange exposure that Brown Water Sailors are. 

If you were a blue water sailor who served within 12 nautical miles of the Vietnam coast, and you want to file a claim, or have a claim pending or already denied, please come to talk to me so we can discuss your options. 

Services Provided

I can help with the following. 

  • Filing VA claims and appeals
  • Healthcare enrollment
  • Nursing home care
  • Disability compensation
  • Pension
  • Education and training
  • Vocational rehabilitation and employment
  • Home loan guarantees
  • Life insurance
  • Burial benefits, headstones and markers
  • Survivor benefits
  • Replacement of military records, medals and awards
  • Employment Assistance

The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation.
George Washington

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American Legion and VFW Posts in Routt County

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