There’s a new way to access the National Suicide Prevention Hotline – dial ‘988’ or text ‘988’ to a cell phone. Selecting option 1 (“Press 1”) will immediately take you to the Veterans Crisis Line. The new system came into effect in mid-July. _e The Veterans Crisis Line can still be reached using the previous methods: call 1-800-273-8255 and press ‘1’ via text (838255) and chat (VeteransCrisisLine.net/Chat). Voice and text have options for Spanish, but the chat feature is only in English at the moment. For more information, see https://bit.ly/3occ0jE, and for more information in Spanish, please see https://bit.ly/3o7r5Tq
New VA Life Insurance Program
Many of us have experienced major life changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects. If you are a disabled veteran and were eligible for Veterans Affairs life insurance but declined it at the time, you were removed from the program after this window closed. A new program is now online and is open, for now, to all eligible disabled veterans age 80 and under. Veterans Life Insurance (VALife) provides guaranteed acceptance whole life insurance coverage up to $40,000 to veterans with service-related disabilities. Lesser amounts are available in increments of $10,000. For more information, see https://www.benefits.va.gov/assurance/VALife.asp.
Veterans Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP) Another COVID-19 related program, VRRAP provides education and training for high-demand jobs to veterans who are unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible veterans can receive up to 12 months of tuition and fees, plus a monthly housing allowance based on GI bill rates after 9/11. Like any VA program, there are a number of eligibility requirements, so please see the specific VA website, abbreviated here, for details. https://bit.ly/3MzwTzS
Osceola Quilts of Valor
About two years ago, Central Florida Quilts of Valor (QOV) presented a beautiful handmade quilt to WWII Navy veteran Robert Kemp Sr. On July 9, Central Florida QOV outdid by presenting 12 veterans with quilts during a ceremony at the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee. To receive a quilt, veterans must be nominated by family, friends or others. Over 300,000 quilts have been awarded nationally. For more information, visit the Quilts of Valor Foundation website at www.qovf.org.
VA Million Veterans Program If you would like to help other veterans, and potentially yourself, please consider participating in The Million Veteran (MVP) program. It is a national research program aimed at discovering how genes, lifestyle, and military exposures affect health and disease. As of 2011, more than 875,000 veterans have joined MVP, making it one of the largest genetics and health programs in the world. Research includes predicting cancer risks, diabetes complications, mental illnesses like PTSD and depression, and preventing cardiovascular disease. For more information, see https://bit.ly/3IRBaxl
If you have information regarding veterans, veterans organizations, and events, email [email protected]