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Bloomington VFW Post 454 and VA Illiana Health Care System will present a Veterans Town Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. today at VFW Post 1006 E. Lincoln St., Bloomington. VA Illiana leaders will share updates and changes in VA healthcare and answer questions.

Heartland Community College and its Veterans Center will sponsor a “Ruck March” food drive on April 21. Step-off for a 6.2-mile march from Heartland to Midwest Food Bank begins at 10:30 a.m. at the college flag pole. March with or without a backpack filled with canned food for donation. To donate but not march, drop off non-perishable food outside SCB 1101, atrium of ICB or atrium of WDC. T-shirts will be available the day of the event for $20 (cash only, please). Contact Wfouts@my.heartland.edu to order your shirt or for more information.

Did you know?

Military veterans with any disability rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs can get a free lifetime pass to national parks and other recreation areas as well as discounts on some fees. The Lifetime Access Pass is available to those who “have been medically determined to have a permanent disability.” The pass allows free entrance to the passholder and any passengers at “per vehicle” locations. The pass is good only for the passholder at “per person" locations. The pass may offer discounted “expanded amenity” fees, including discounts for individual campsites, some guided tours and some in-park transportation or special use permits. Applications are listed at https://store.usgs.gov/sites/default/files/PassIssuanceList.pdf. By mail, the application has a $10 fee.

Q: I suffer from extreme chronic pain that the VA Health Care Administration recognizes and treats but the VA Benefit Administrations will not accept as being service-connected. I understand that this issue has been appealed through the VA Disability Compensation appeals process. What is the status?

A: On April 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims ruled that pain, without any underlying disability, might be a valid reason for awarding VA compensation benefits. This new ruling, reversing the VA position, may have a major effect on the outcome of many veteran disability claims for pain that previously have been denied.

Did you know?

The Department of Veterans Affairs has a Homeless Veteran Program — Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) — designed to assist such veterans in obtaining health and dental care, and providing the case management necessary to support their housing goals. Cara Keplar, the HCHV program outreach social worker, is located at the Bob Michel VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic in Peoria. She assists veterans in determining their eligibility and applying for VA health care. If eligible, the veteran may be able to use VA-funded transitional or permanent supportive housing. Eligibility requirements vary but veterans must meet the definition of homelessness defined in the McKinney Homeless Assistance Act and meet HUD income guidelines. Contact Keplar via email at cara.keplar@va.gov or call 309-208-0874.

Veterans Corner publishes Monday. It is written by the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission, 200 W. Front St., Bloomington, IL 61701; call 309-888-5140.

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