Department Veterans Service Office October 2023 Business Hours:
The Department Service Office will be open each Monday through Friday from 7:30 AM until 4:00 PM during the month of October. You may contact the department service office by calling our direct number of 317-916-3605; calling a long-distance toll-free number of 1-888-723-7999, extension 1; faxing us at 317-916-3406; or by using the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Veterans, however, should first contact their local County Veterans Service Office (CVSO) for assistance. You may find your local County Veteran Service Office using the following link: https://www.in.gov/dva/locate-your-cvso/. American Legion accredited CVSOs know they may call our office for help answering veterans’ inquiries if necessary. This process makes contacting qualified veterans service officers much easier.
New In-Person Veterans Contact Office:
Veterans may visit our new in-person veterans contact office at 777 North Meridian Street, Room 126, in Indianapolis any Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM until 11:30 AM and from 12:30 PM until 3:00 PM except for holidays and special American Legion events as noted above. Free parking behind the library is also available. Unscheduled visits are welcome but those with appointments have priority. Veterans may call our 317-916-3605 number for appointments at our North Meridian Street Office.
National Veterans Service Issues:
New Veterans Life Insurance Program: VA Life Insurance policies have been serving our nation’s Veterans, service members, and their families for over 100 years. Starting January 1, 2023, enrollment opens for Veterans Affairs Life Insurance (VALife)—a new program offering increased access for Veterans age 80 or under with any level of service-connected disability (0-100%).
Life insurance is a key component for future financial planning. With the right policy and coverage amount, life insurance can cover end-of-life costs, provide an inheritance to family, serve as income to a spouse, or cover some outstanding debts.
Those currently enrolled in VA’s current policy for service-connected Veterans, Service-Disabled Veterans Life Insurance (S-DVI), may keep their coverage or switch to VALife. Although S-DVI will be closed to new enrollments after December 31, 2022.
(Source: VA News, 12/15/2022)
PACT Act Fraud Prevention:
On August 10, 2022, President Biden signed the Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxins Act of 2022 (PACT Act) — possibly the largest expansion of Veterans benefits in history — into law.
The PACT Act expands Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and benefits for Veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxic substances, and it helps VA provide generations of Veterans and their survivors with the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.
However, predatory companies are targeting Veterans’ retroactive benefit payments and VA needs your continued support to help us educate Veterans and their survivors about the types of fraud tactics being used against them – especially now that the PACT Act has been passed.
Some predatory companies, not accredited by VA, are targeting Veterans by offering to assist them with their VA benefit claim. These companies charge absurd fees or require those applying to pay a portion of their VA benefits for this ‘help’. VA will never charge Veterans or their family members to apply for the benefits they may be entitled to receive.
Please share the following information with Veterans and their survivors to help them guard against fraud and scams:
Apply directly to VA. You may submit your application securely online via VA.gov or in person at any regional office. You may file your claim directly with VA, and VA will help gather the necessary evidence to support it. There are no costs or hidden fees to apply.
Be suspicious of media advertisements from companies which provide information about the PACT Act and suggest you can only obtain benefits with their help. These companies may not be accredited with VA and may be attempting to charge you illegal fees.
Use the VA Office of General Counsel (OGC) Accreditation Search, OGC - Accreditation Search (va.gov), to confirm and validate the credentials of anyone offering claims assistance.
Be cautious of aggressive law firms or companies expressing a sense of urgency and insisting you must act now.
Do not sign a contract agreeing to pay an unauthorized company a fee to help you with your VA claim. There are accredited Veterans Service Organizations, agents and attorneys who may assist you.
Be cautious of companies claiming to be contacting you on behalf of VA. Contact VA directly at 1-800-827-1000 if you are unsure about the authenticity of a message you’ve received.
Review all documents thoroughly. Never sign a blank form for someone else to complete later. Always review the fully completed form.
(Source: VA Benefit Administration document dated February 1, 2022)
Elective Options for Camp LeJeune Justice Act Claims:
The Department of Justice and the Department of the Navy has announced it plans to Provide “Elective Options” for Camp LeJeune claimants having the following medical conditions:
Bladder cancer, liver cancer, kidney cancer, leukemia, multiple myeloma, Parkinson’s disease, Scleroderma, Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and kidney disease/end-stage renal disease.
Claimants must have been diagnosed or treated within 35 years of last exposure at Camp Lejeune, and
Claimants can only receive payment for one diagnosed condition if they have two or more of the listed conditions.
The government will make offers up to $100,000 for those exposed at Camp Lejeune for less than one year, and
The government will make offers up to $450,000 for those exposed at Camp Lejeune for 5 plus years. Veterans who served at Camp LeJeune and have other conditions thought to be associated with Camp LeJeune contaminated water exposure, can still file Camp LeJeune Justice Act claims, but they will not be offered the “Elective Option.” Possible claimants with questions about Camp LeJeune Justice Act claims may contact Bergmann & Moore’s co-counsel, Beasley Allen, by calling 1-866-844-4521 or e-mailing them at: TT-CampLejeune@beasleyallen.com .
Before filing a Camp LeJeune Justice Act (CLJA) claim in court, please know that many if not all of the conditions approved for the Elective Option payments are also medical conditions that are presumed associated with Camp LeJeune contaminated water exposure by VA and subject to VA compensation benefits; and, therefore, winning a CLJA Elective Option claim will likely cause that claim to be offset by the amount of VA compensation paid for the same medical conditions.