Chapter 455 Monthly News
 

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The Travelling Wall will be at the 
Greene County Fairgrounds
September 28 - October 1, 2017
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As of now 455 has all of Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh and many boroughs and townships becoming Purple Heart Communities
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Congratulations to the new officers elected by the chapter for the 2017 - 2018.  Looking forward to a great year.
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Home Depot 10% Military Discount Policy
There is some confusion regarding the Home Depot military discount policy. An online customer service rep recently gave me this information about Home Depot military discounts:
The Home Depot offers a year-round, 10 percent discount, up to a $500 maximum, at our U.S. stores to all active duty military personnel, reservists, retired or disabled veterans and their immediate families. We offer this discount to thank them for their outstanding service to this nation and to help make their homes more comfortable and safe. Customers requesting the discount should present a valid military ID.
In addition, a 10 percent discount is also offered in recognition of Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day and Veterans Day at all U.S. Home Depot stores for all other military veterans.
I also contacted a Home Depot customer service rep online and she gave me this response:
We proudly offer Active and Veteran military a 10% discount on their online or in store purchases.  Please contact Online Customer Care at 1-800-430-3376 and place your online order over the phone for a immediate discount or bring your ID to your local Home Depot.  However, this may not be used in combination with any other sale prices or discounts. (Editor’s note: Several readers have reported that Home Depot no longer offers the military discount for online purchases.)


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A second fundraiser is being planned by Patriot Tom Cusick and the Doubletree hotel in Greentree.  The hotel will be hosting the first MOPH Chapter 455 Dinner/Dance.  It will be held on Friday, November 17, 2017 at 7 p.m.  Tom is the contact and driving force behind this project.
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BEDMINSTER, N.J. — President Donald Trump has signed an emergency spending bill that will pump more than $2 billion into a program that allows veterans to receive private medical care at government expense.
Trump, who made improving veterans care a central campaign promise, signed the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act while at his New Jersey golf club on Saturday. The bill, which addresses a budget shortfall at the Department of Veteran Affairs that threatened medical care for thousands of veterans, provides $2.1 billion to continue funding the Veterans Choice Program, which allows veterans to seek private care.
Another $1.8 billion will go to core VA health programs, including 28 leases for new VA medical facilities.
"Today is another milestone in our work to transform the VA where we're doing record-setting business," Trump said.
The Choice program was put in place after a 2014 wait-time scandal that was discovered at the Phoenix VA hospital and spread throughout the country. Veterans waited weeks or months for appointments while phony records covered up the lengthy waits.
The program allows veterans to receive care from outside doctors if they must wait at least 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to a VA facility. VA Secretary David Shulkin has warned that without legislative action, the Choice program would run out of money by mid-August, causing delays in health care for thousands of veterans.
The bill will extend the program for six months. Costs will be paid for by trimming pensions for some Medicaid-eligible veterans and collecting fees for housing loans.
Veterans groups applauded the bill being signed, though some criticized the delay and the cost.
"We're grateful President Trump is taking decisive action to ensure veterans using the Choice Program won't see lapses in their care due to a lack of funding," said Dan Caldwell, policy director for Concerned Veterans for America. "Unfortunately, this bill took far too long to get to the president's desk and is $1.8 billion more expensive than it needed to be."
Leaders of the House Veterans Affairs Committee said the six-month funding plan was urgently needed and would give Congress more time to debate broader issues over the VA's future. While the bill may avert a shutdown to Choice, disputes over funding may signal bigger political fights to come.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump criticized the VA for long wait times and mismanagement, saying he would give veterans more options in seeing outside providers. Shulkin announced the budget shortfall last month, citing unexpected demand from veterans for private care and poor budget planning. To slow spending, the department last month instructed VA medical centers to limit the number of veterans it sent to private doctors.
Currently, more than 30 percent of VA appointments are in the private sector, up from fewer than 20 percent in 2014. The VA has an annual budget of about $180 billion.
 
STOLEN VALOR LAW
08/30/2017
Governor Wolf Announces Stolen Valor Law Protecting Benefits for Service Members, Veterans Now in Effect
Harrisburg, PA - Governor Tom Wolf today reminded Pennsylvanians that the stolen valor law, protecting benefits for Pennsylvania service members and veterans, is now in effect, approximately 60 days since it was signed in late June.
“It is our duty to be certain that benefits, resources, and job opportunities set aside solely for our service members and veterans remain as such and this law will help us do that,” Governor Wolf said. “This important law is now in effect, making it a crime to impersonate a service member, a veteran of the armed services, or a recipient of a service medal or decoration to gain access to those privileges set aside specifically for those who have served our country.
“Pennsylvania’s service members and veterans have served us bravely and selflessly and now it’s time that we support them in any way we can. The stolen valor law is one such way.”
Criminalized behavior associated with the law ranges from lying in order to receive veteran or health care benefits to fraudulently obtaining preference in a government contract or a job reserved for a service member or veteran.
“This is a critical step for Pennsylvania to protect the dignity and patriotism of our service members and veterans,” said Maj. Gen. Tony Carrelli, Pennsylvania’s adjutant general. “The recognition and benefit meant for our military and veterans will be better protected and preserved for those who sacrificed to earn these rights.”


 

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