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Thursday, August 21, 2008

IAVA's New GI Bill Website, Labor Dept.'s New Vet Employee Website, VA Suicide Hotline

  • Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America relaunches an updated version of their veterans' educational benefits website, that includes an online calculator and details on the new program. Partially going into effect earlier this month with a 20 percent benefit increase, the full package of improvements rolls out in August 2009. IAVA was among the groups who pushed Washington hard to give today's returning veterans the same college benefit -- full tuition, book allowance and monthly living stipend -- as their WWII counterparts received.

  • Meanwhile, the Labor Department is rolling out its new website, America's Heroes at Work, to help employees "better understand the mental health issues veterans may face" and, hopefully, help to reduce the stigma of hiring those returning with PTSD, TBI and other injuries. "One message of the initiative is that many of the veterans' symptoms are either manageable or will go away with time. Another message is that small changes, such as scheduled rest breaks for a veteran with a traumatic brain injury, can make a big difference." A toll-free number, 800-526-7234, has also been set up for employee questions.

  • In operation for a year now, the new VA suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-TALK (8255), recently reported that it's received more than 55,000 calls, about 22,000 saying they were veterans. CBS News reports that the majority of the most recent calls "have come from the mid to south central part of the country[:]" Texas, Tennessee, Illinois and Florida. "Calls to the VA’s hotline more than doubled this calendar year going from a total of about 21,000 in January to more than 55,000 by the end of June, averaging about 250 calls a day."

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