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VA Disability Compensation

VA Disability Compensation
What Is VA Disability Compensation?

Disability compensation is a benefit paid to a veteran because of injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits are tax-free.

Who Is Eligible?

You may be eligible for disability compensation if you have a service-related disability and you were discharged under other than dishonorable conditions.

How Much Does VA Pay?

The amount of basic benefit paid ranges, depending on how disabled you are.

Note: You may be paid additional amounts, in certain instances, if:

you have very severe disabilities or loss of limb(s)
you have a spouse, child(ren), or dependent parent(s)
you have a seriously disabled spouse

Please see the Compensation Rate Tables for specific percentages of disability and the rates paid.

How Can You Apply?

You can apply by filling out VA Form 21-526, Veterans Application for Compensation and/or Pension. If you have any of the following material, please attach it to your application:

Discharge or separation papers (DD214 or equivalent)
Dependency records (marriage & children's birth certificates)
Medical evidence (doctor & hospital reports)

You can also apply online through our web site at

MGM Resorts "Boots to Business" wants to bring jobs for veterans program to Springfield

Veterans are making the transition from military service to management positions, thanks to the Boots To Businesss program. The 10-week management training and support program is being put on by MGM Resorts International and the American Red Cross.

"We are proud to partner with the American Red Cross in the development of an innovative program that identifies, recruits, trains and supports recent U.S. Military veterans into MGM Resorts as entry-level Management positions," said Jim Murren, Chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts International.

"Among post-9/11 veterans nationally, unemployment stands at 9.5 percent and for those who are 24 years and younger, the unemployment rate is 29 percent," said Michelle DiTondo, Senior Vice President of Human Resources from MGM Resorts International. "The Boots To Business Program meets an important societal need, as well as a crucial business imperative to recruit highly-motivated leaders into our Company," DiTondo added.

"Boots To Business answers a need that local veterans have, in that it helps corporations look at the special talents that returning veterans possess, and how to best integrate those skill sets into the corporate structure," says Scott Emerson, Southern Nevada CEO of the American Red Cross. "It allows both the company and the veteran to examine how they can best work with one another to create a relationship of value to one another. It has truly been a pleasure to work with the MGM team to make this program a reality."

To find out more about the program and apply for future classes, go to, or call 702-369-3038 .



Its official, DD-214's are NOW Online.

The National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) has provided the
following website for veterans to gain access to their DD-214s online:

This may be particularly helpful when a veteran needs a copy of his DD-214 for employment purposes. NPRC is working to make it easier for veterans with computers and Internet access to obtain copies of documents from their military files. Military veterans and the next of kin of deceased former military members may now use a new online military personnel records system to request documents. Other individuals with a need for documents must still complete the Standard Form 180, which can be downloaded from the online web site. Because the requester will be asked to supply all information essential for NPRC to process the request, delays that normally occur when NPRC has to ask veterans for additional information will be minimized.

The new web-based application was designed to provide better service on these requests by eliminating the records center's mailroom processing time.

PRVA Boston Office

PRVA Boston Office

Cpl. Zayas Center

Serving Veterans in the Greater Boston area VVA ACCREDITED SERVICE OFFICER mans the Boston Office assisting Veterans with claims. he center is open Monday thru Friday 9am- 5pm at 617-524-0346, 617-524-0301 fax

The Jorge Oterro Barreto Homeless Veterans Transitional Program 52 Maple Court, Springfield MA 01105 PHONE (413)739-1082 FAX (413) 214-7916

Transitional Home For Homeless Veterans

2 Year Transitional Housing program Sober House

Single Rooms
Shared Common Areas
Substance Abuse Counseling
Career Counseling
DVA Services
Employment & School Referrals
AA/NA In-House Meetings
Washer & Dryer available


1. Must be a veteran (DD-214 Required) Honorably Discharged
2. CORI is required
3. Must be employed (at least $100.00 per week) or Chapter 115 ready
4. No open cases or probation
5. Must have 30 days sobriety and a willingness to participate in counseling and substance abuse meetings
6. Must have a strong desire to rehabilitate and transition back into mainstream society


Emergency Food Pantry

2460 Main Street [Suite 108 & 108B in the Plaza Del Mercado]
Springfield, MA
Ph: (413) 737-5353
Fax: (413) 737-4440

Hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Contact: Candace Larger, Program Director

For More Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens & Food Banks Click Here

Rebuilding Together. Springfield

Rebuilding Together. Springfield
Gumersindo Gomez, Bi-Lingual Veteran's Outreach Center

12 homeless Western Massachusetts veterans got a pleasant surprise. 75 volunteers from the Rebuilding Together organization completely spruced up The temporary Springfield home the vets have been living in. Twelve veterans received a complete makeover to their home in Springfield on Wednesday. "Rebuilding Together" held the event at the transitional housing facility off of Maple Street.

Westover Air Force Base, the Barnes International Guard, and Sears provided many of the volunteers. They tackled everything including painting, plumbing, carpeting, and decorating.

"Yesterday this was a house in need of tender loving care and some repairs. said Colleen Loveless, executive director of Rebuilding Together. By the end of the day it is going to be a complete home. A safe and healthy home for the veterans when they move back in.

Several restaurants at the Basketball Hall of Fame provided food for volunteers. Springfield Open Pantry and Baystate Hospital also collected donations.

Military Report - The Military's Largest Benefits Update

DoD Says Military Pay is Safe
Deal of the Week: Military Discounts
Cuts to Hit Military School Districts
$400k Protection Starting at $26 a Month
TRICARE West Region Transition
General Dynamics Is Hiring Veterans
3 VA Loan Tips
Fed Speeds up Health Record Integration
Survey Request: We Need Your Help
Applications for Scholarships, Grants Sought
TRICARE for Life
Basic Allowance for Housing Helps You Get A Loan
Paper Checks Ended March 1
Deploying or Returning Home? Get Tips - the Deployment Center
The Battle of Iwo Jima
Get a List of 2013 Military Benefits
Navy Wounded Warrior Safe Harbor
MOAA Offers Scholarships
Get 2013 Military Pay Charts
AF Criteria for New Medal
AF Wounded Warrior Pay Policy
DoD Program for Secure Mobile Devices
AAFES 'Team Spirit' Contest
Navy Women's History Month Plans
Navy Updates Learning System
Operation: Live Well
Updating DEERS Information In-Person
Sailors, Families Should Review DEERS
Print and Post This Week's Military Report
Headline Military News

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501(c )(3) Non-Profit Organization

Welcome to our website

Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachusetts, Inc., located at 281 Franklin Street in Springfield is the only veterans outreach center with a VA/VVA Accredited Service Officer serving veterans and their families throughout Western Massachusetts and is the only known veterans outreach center in Western Massachusetts.

Gumersindo, along with other Vietnam Veterans from Boston founded the Puerto Rican Veterans Association of Massachusetts Inc. on July 1st, 1987 in which today is formally known as Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachusetts, Inc.

The Bilingual Veterans Outreach Centers of Massachusetts, Inc. is open to any and all Veterans of all Wars, conflicts, peace time service and all Eras. The Center is here to help you and your families in any way we can, we are here for you.

We Serve...Because You Served!



"We Serve... Because You Served!"

Western Mass Veterans, in cooperation with community, government veterans services, volunteer and business organizations, are sponsoring the first-ever Western Massachusetts Veterans’ Expo to honor, assist and provide services to Veterans and their families in one location in one day. All veterans, military service-members and their families are encouraged to attend. The Expo will provide access to local, state and federal resources with music food, and fun.

Get Info on Benefits You Earned! Healthcare, Education, Housing, Financial Planning

Network with Vet-Friendly Employers! Get Help Finding a Job

Connect with your fellow Vets! Meet with local Veteran service organizations

The goal of the Expo is to connect more Veterans with local, state and federal resources and community programs and to provide critical job development and career programs to assist Veterans with finding employment.

The new Expo concept will serve Veterans and their families in an environment that features a wide range of programs and services with the intent of meeting all Veterans at their particular place in life. Central to this concept is combining services for Veterans with job creation opportunities.

The Expo will include information on job creation and career programs to include a job fair, workshops on topics of high interest such as PTSD and military culture, applying for Veteran disability compensation and other entitlements, education and academic resources, financial planning, and healthcare.

Participants at the availability will include representatives from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs, the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services and the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke, the American Red Cross, the Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center, Springfield Partners for Community Action, Veterans Inc., the Massachusetts Affinity Group, and Veterans’ service officers from Springfield (and list others).

Sexual assault in the United States military

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PFC LaVena Johnson

It's not easy to shock me anymore, but during a recent a conversation with a former female Marine about military rape, I received the shock of my life when she adamantly stated: "Military rapes are few and far between, and most of these bitches are filing false charges."

Whoa. It's not that I don't believe false charges are sometimes levied. But to say that rapes are few and far between demonstrates the deep-seated denial currently in place. As her words sank in, I suddenly felt my face grow hot, and the distinct image of Pfc. LaVena Johnson's raped and bloodied body surfaced in my mind.

Pfc. Johnson had been in Iraq for six weeks when her dead body was found inside of her tent in July 2005. The autopsy report received by the family from Army CID raised more questions than answers, so her parents, Dr. John Johnson and his wife Linda requested photographs of the death scene. Their suspicions were confirmed when the photos revealed severe injuries such as a broken nose, blackened eye, loose teeth, burns from a corrosive chemical on her genitals, and a gunshot wound to the head. Despite the strange array of injuries, the Army has remained steadfast in its determination that Johnson committed suicide.

Since that time, the Johnson's have attempted to move heaven and earth to get her death reinvestigated by the Army. When that didn't work, they put together their own team of experts. And guess what? It is their opinion that before Pfc. Johnson was murdered, she was raped.

I've known about PFC Johnson's case for a long time. When I started the organization Military Families for Justice along with retired Lt. Colonel Tracy Shue, widow of Colonel Philip Shue USAF, and Kimberly Stahlman, widow of Colonel Michael Stahlman USMC, LaVena's was the first case we featured on our website. Over the years, we have witnessed people turn a blind-eye to the story. So much so, that we've often wondered if LaVena's case would be taken seriously if she were not African-American.

We talk about it often, and every time, the conversation inevitably turns to the movie adaptation of John Grisham's book, A Time to Kill. If you've never seen the movie, a black man kills the white men who raped his little girl. There is a scene when the defense attorney, portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, is giving his closing argument and asks the jury to close their eyes while he describes the brutal rape of his clients little girl. As he guides their imaginations through the horrific, prolonged attack, quiet tears start rolling down their faces. He repeatedly asks "Can you see her?" And just about the time their minds are fully immersed in the raw brutality of what happened to this young black girl, he abruptly switches tactics and tells them to "imagine she is white." This leaves the all-white jury aghast and shocked; emotions they had not expressed when imagining the victim as black. In their minds, it had not been quite as horrible while they pictured a little black girl being raped and beaten.

Despite a considerable amount of media coverage, including a LA Times article by investigative reporter David Zucchino, the Johnson's have not received even a modicum of justice in LaVena's death and I cannot understand why. What's the harm in reopening the investigation? Is it really because -- dare I say -- LaVena is black? The Johnson's have never played the race card in their quest. But I am willing to pull that card. I can't help but wonder if the military investigators and politicians in Washington D.C. would be so blind if she had white skin, blond hair and blue eyes. I suppose this is a question best left to them and their conscious.

Recently, there has been some rumblings of hope as Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) introduced legislation to improve the military justice system for rape victims. The problem with this initiative is that it only helps those who are alive and able to speak for themselves. While this could be triumphant for sexual assault victims, it does nothing for alleged victims like LaVena. And how could it? As far as the military system of justice is concerned, LaVena killed herself, and since her family has no independent unbiased forum in which to have their own evidence judged that's the way it will remain.

The answer to this problem may lie in The Bill of Rights for Bereaved Military Families. It's an idea Military Families for Justice has been trying to get introduced to Congress. If adopted, it would provide the independent forum families like the Johnson's need. The concept of giving rights to military families is not new; the United Kingdom already has something very similar in place under its Military Covenant that extends to a service members family, allowing them to speak for the deceased. So why can't the United States do this? The point is not to prove the military right or wrong, its purpose is simply to seek the truth, whatever that may be. We have made many calls to both Senator Gillibrand as well as her co-sponsor Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine). A representative from Collins' office did show genuine interest in the idea and as of this writing we are waiting for their next call. Time will tell.

In the meantime, the dignified determination of the Johnson family soldiers on. Sometimes I wonder how they keep from mentally snapping just like the fictional father in Grisham's story, but they remain dauntless. An example of their courage is visible in the 2010 Midtown Films documentary The Silent Truth. The film deals with the subject of military rape and how it has been swept under the rug for too long. It also reveals the trauma a family endures by simply asking for logical proof. In the film, I was awestruck by Dr. Johnson's fierce love for his daughter as he delivered a warning to the military:

My daughter was beaten, raped, murdered, set on fire and then tried to burn her tent down with her body in it; and your evidence says that. So it will be a cold day in hell before I stop, and I mean that with all my heart.
It is an assault on the very fabric of our nation to ignore the pain, injustice and pleas for help from members of our Armed Services and their families. If you don't believe these tragedies are occurring, open your eyes and look at LaVena.

Rape In The Military Statistics

Rape In The Military Statistics
America wants the truth. America can certainly handle the truth, uncomfortable though it may be. But the Women's Rights Auxiliary Wing of the Department of Defense does not want America to know the truth behind their calculation of rape in the military, or the uglier truth it hides.

Here are the facts: according to the 2012 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, 26,000 service members experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact. Assuming this is only for active-duty military members, this is a rate of just under two percent. Considering the overall rate of sexual assault in America is about 0.06 percent, the numbers sound pretty astronomical on the surface. About 14 percent of military members are female, but 88 percent of sexual assaults officially reported are filed by women.

These numbers look dreadful" but there's much more to the story. Let's start with that number from the Report that 26,000 service members who experience unwanted sexual contact. This number, as one can see in a Fox News story, is often being interpreted by the media as unreported sexual assault. However, it includes everything from penetrating rape all the way down to groping.

According to a Wall Street Journal article by Marine Captain Lindsay L. Rodman, the methods for gathering and extrapolating the information were flawed as well, entailing random surveys sent out to a few military members, only 20 percent of whom bothered to respond. (She also suggests that the random surveys may have gone to many more women than men.) The real reported rape figures in the military are around 0.2 percent, still about triple the rate of civilian rape but much, much lower than the media is suggesting.

Even if the media were reporting this story accurately, however, they'd be reporting the wrong story. In civilian life, male-on-male rape is estimated by Silent No More to be about 10 percent of rape in America. However, numbers from the Report indicate that male-on-male unwanted sexual contact is much more prevalent in the military, perhaps as high as 55-60 percent of the total. (Keep in mind, though, that only 12 percent of official sexual assaults filed have male victims.)

This, when compared to civilian numbers, is the real epidemic. It means male-on-male sexual assault is as much as ten times as high in the military as it is in civilian life. Accurate numbers do not exist, since the masculine culture in the military discourages male reporting of rape even more than it discourages female reporting, but the reported numbers indicate male-on-male rape is more likely underestimated than overestimated.

And the liberal media wondered why enlisted military members were uncomfortable with the idea of open homosexuality in the military!

There are other problems with the numbers reported by the DOD. For example, reported percentages of pregnancy due to rape are higher in military members than in civilian members. This is likely not because military members have less consensual sex, but rather because such rapes are more likely to be falsely reported; there are rules against sexual contact of any sort when deployed or when sexual partners are of different ranks, and the potential for punishment may encourage false accusations. The risk of false accusations has become so high that some male military members have privately taken steps to ensure they are never alone with a female, or covertly record any private contact they must have.

The President has identified sexual assault as a problem that interferes with our military readiness. Like the proverbial broken clock, he is assuredly right in this assertion. But is the Pentagon asking the right questions and providing the right answers to address our military's sex problems? And should they be treating this as a violence on women problem when all indications are that men suffer from sex assault just as often or more often than military women?

The right questions are likely not politically correct or politically safe. It is a shame our military leaders do not seem to be courageous enough to ask them.

Rebuilding Together "Springfield" 52 maple Ct Makeover

SPRINGFIELD - Approximately 125 volunteers - ranging from plumbers and painters to a dirt-smeared master sergeant - gathered Wednesday to renovate and furnish a transitional residence for homeless veterans on Maple Court.

United Technologies & MassMutual Send Volunteers

United Technologies & MassMutual Send Volunteers
Saturday September 5th, 2004 The United Way and MassMutual Financial Group Volunteers pitched in and help remove debris from our veteran SRO in Springfield.

Veterans Transitional Home Gets Makeover From Rebuilding Together - Springfield

Veterans Transitional Home Gets Makeover From Rebuilding Together - Springfield
12 homeless Western Massachusetts veterans got a pleasant surprise. 125 volunteers from the Rebuilding Together organization completely spruced up The temporary Springfield home the vets have been living in. Twelve veterans received a complete makeover to their home in Springfield on Wednesday. "Rebuilding Together" held the event at the transitional housing facility off of Maple Street.

Westover Air Force Base, the Barnes International Guard, and Sears provided many of the volunteers. They tackled everything including painting, plumbing, carpeting, and decorating.

"Yesterday this was a house in need of tender loving care and some repairs. said Colleen Loveless, executive director of Rebuilding Together. By the end of the day it is going to be a complete home. A safe and healthy home for the veterans when they move back in.

Several restaurants at the Basketball Hall of Fame provided food for volunteers. Springfield Open Pantry and Baystate Hospital also collected donations.

GI Bill pays a housing stipend

GI Bill pays a housing stipend
Effective October 1, 2011, the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays a housing stipend to students enrolled solely in online classes. The stipend is half the national average of BAH for an E 5 with dependents $673.50 per month for 2011.

In addition, the Post-9/11 GI Bill provides up to 100% Coverage of Tuition and Fees. Take the next step and find Schools with VA Approved Programs It's important to compare schools to find the one that best meets your specific needs. VA Approved Programs

Your Appeal for Veterans Benefits to the u.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims

Have you recently had an appeal of a claim for VA benefits denied by the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA)?
· Because the BVA is the final level of review within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), an appeal of a BVA decision must be made to the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court), a special court for veterans and their families. The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims is a separate, independent judicial body and is NOT part of VA.
There are many reasons to seek a lawyer's help with your appeal.
· < b>Although you are not required to have a lawyer represent you, you will be at a significant disadvantage without one.
· The Court has specific Rules of Practice and Procedure that must be followed. You may be unfamiliar with those rules and procedures, as well as with the ever-changing law of veterans benefits.
· A lawyer can guide you through the system and help you make the best arguments for your appeal.
Neither the Court nor VA will find a lawyer for you.
· Finding a lawyer is strictly your responsibility.
· We provide free legal counseling and representation to veterans and their families who have cases that should be appealed.
The below information describes how to file an appeal and how to obtain legal assistance for your appeal to the Court, specifically, the services provided by the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program.
Your Appeal at the Court-Answers to Your Questions
How to Appeal Your Claim & FAQs
· Filing an Appeal
· Finding a Lawyer
< span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Symbol;color:#505050;">· As Your Case Progresses
· The Court's Decision
Filing an Appeal
How do I file an appeal with the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims?
You have 120 days from the mailing date of your final BVA decision to file an appeal. The Court cannot usually extend this time, so do not delay!
· &n bsp; You can only appeal a final BVA decision that denied some or all of your requests for benefits.
· Go to the Court's website at
· Complete the Court's Form 1 (Notice of Appeal) and send it to the Court. See additional information below regarding mailing of Notice of Appeal.
· Submit the one-time $50 fee to file, OR ask t he Court to waive the fee by filing the Court's Form 4 (Declaration of Financial Hardship).
* You can download these forms from the Court's website at; you can request them from the court at the address below; or the Pro Bono Program can send them to you.
< span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:Symbol;color:#505050;">· You do not need a lawyer to file the appeal.
If time is running out and you cannot get these forms, you may simply print your name, current address, and telephone number on a piece of paper and write: I want to appeal my BVA decision dated ___________. Then sign your name.
Don't forget the 120-day deadline for filing. Mail, hand deliver, or fax the completed form(s) or your letter to:
Clerk of Court
US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims
625 Indiana Avenue, N.W., Suite 900
Washington, DC 20004
P (202) 501-5970
FAX (202) 501-5848 *
* If the Appeal is faxed to the Court, you must contact the Court to confirm that the Notice of Appeal is received. The Court is not responsible for faxed, but unconfirmed, Notices of Appeal.
· NOTE: It is very important to use the Court's complete address, including Suite 900. VA also has an office at 625 Indiana Avenue, and if the Postal Service delivers your appeal to VA instead of to the Court, you can lose your case before you even get a chance to tell the Court your side of the matter.
· A notice of appeal will still be considered to be on time even if the Court does not receive it within the 120-day deadline IF you mailed it to the Court's correct address AND it contain s a legible U.S. Postal Service postmark dated within the 120-day time limit. Regular, first class mail is fine. You do not need to send it express mail, priority mail, or certified mail. (Note that a Federal Express, UPS or other delivery service date stamp, or foreign postal service postmark, does not count, and if you send your Notice of Appeal in any of these ways, the date the Court actually receives your Notice of Appeal will be your filing date.)
Finally, please note that there are two parties to every appeal to the Court. You will always be the appellant in the case, while the opponent in every appeal is the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The Secretary will always be referred to as the appellee.

Traumatic Injury Benefits

Traumatic Injury Benefits
Retroactive Traumatic Injury Benefits No Longer Just For OEF/OIF Injuries

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is extending retroactive traumatic injury benefits to Servicemembers who suffered qualifying injuries during the period Oct. 7, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic location where the injuries occurred. More information

Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center of Mass Inc., 281 Franklin Street, Springfield, MA 01107 • PHONE: 413-731-0194 • Fax: 413-736-2008
Cpl. Zayas Bilingual Veterans Outreach Center, 719 Tremont Street, Boston MA • PHONE (617) 778-1310

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