Peoria Stand Down
Goodwill of Central Illinois’ 12th annual Stand Down began on Oct. 17. The Stand Down will resume from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 19 through Oct. 24 at Goodwill Commons, 2319 War Memorial Drive, Peoria. Veterans can come by and pick up winter clothing and shoes, hygiene products, a duffle bag, rain gear, pillows, blankets and towels. Goodwill will also have access to glasses, diabetes and dentures kits, gift cards and information on local support agencies. Lunch will be served each day. Please call ahead at 309-210-3289 to reserve your items and to schedule your appointment.
Q: I am a veteran who has a service-connected disability rating of 60%. I am having great difficulty in finding work, even jobs for which my disability does not impact. Even though I have a disability, I feel I can perform lots of different kinds of jobs. How do I go about getting a “fair shake” when applying for a job?
A: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers employers with 15 or more employees, and prohibits discrimination in hiring, promotions and pay based on disability, including service-connected disabled veterans. Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a study on the kinds of work available in the U.S. and what the physical and mental requirements are, as well as environmental conditions and education and training required for the job. The study can be found by browsing Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS). Additionally, the VA recently renamed its former Vocational Rehabilitation Program to the Veteran Readiness and Employment (VR&E) program, which still funds retraining like the GI Bill. Not all veterans meet the requirements for the VR&E. The veteran must meet the requirements for an employment handicap and have the appropriate disability rating. To see the requirements, visit Benefits.gov and search for VR&E. Finally, the Career Link — McLean County, Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has representatives (Disabled Veterans Outreach representatives-DVOPs) who specialize in assisting disabled veterans to find employment. The Career Link Center and the DVOP make appointments at their 705 E. Lincoln St., Normal, office by calling 309-807-1386.
DOD health care transformation delay for Tricare
Several months ago, the Department of Defense (DOD) announced that the military will be transforming military health service responsibility to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) which in effect would minimize the use of military health facilities by Tricare beneficiaries. The transformation process included identifying civilian health care facilities and physicians who could fulfill the needs of military retirees and their families. The original plan was to transition 190,000 Tricare beneficiaries into the private sector for health care. The availability of appropriate health care in the civilian sphere has changed drastically as facilities have reduced or eliminated many health care processes and procedures in response to the pandemic. As a result, DHA has put on hold a plan to cut as many as 18,000 medical billets from the military health system. Additionally, DHA is expected to play a pivotal role in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Visit https://bit.ly/3nXEfkF for information on the transformation plan.
Vogler is superintendent of the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission.