PILLAR I: VETERANS
The American Legion Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation pillar is composed of programs, services and advocacy efforts that improve the lives of those who served, along with their families and dependents.
The Legion advocates on Capitol Hill for a well-fund-ed, appropriately staffed VA that can handle benefits claims efficiently, quickly and accurately. In fact, the Legion helped usher in much-needed change to the review of VA benefits claims disputes. The president signed the historic legislation on stage during the Legion’s 99th annual national convention in 2017.
The Legion conducts System Worth Saving visits to VA centers across the country. These monthly visits include a thorough assessment of the facility, and discussions with patients and staff at VA. This information is then compiled and published in a report.
The Legion works one-on-one with veterans to ensure they receive proper benefits. Accredited American Legion service officers are specially trained to provide free expert assistance to veterans and their families.
Service officers spend the majority of their time on claims for VA disability benefits, but these compassion-ate professionals also provide information, referrals and resources on education, employment and business, death benefits and other topics.
“Financially it’s changed my life, but even bigger than that, I now have the opportunity to heal. Every time I go to the doctor I get re-evaluated. Today is the last time. Now I can put that in my history.”– Jill Baker, who had her disability rating upgraded to 100 percent, thanks to The American Legion
EMPLOYMENT AND BUSINESS
The American Legion conducts, promotes and sup-ports hundreds of veterans job fairs and career events nationwide each year. Thousands of veterans land jobs because of these efforts. Meanwhile, the Legion helps place hundreds of other veterans in job-training pro-grams every year. Working veteran-to-veteran with The American Legion Small Business Task Force, along with the Small Business Administration, Department of Labor, VA and corporate associates, the Legion helps veterans understand the federal contracting process and offers personal guidance for career-seeking veterans. www.legion.org/careers
VETERANS EDUCATION AND THE GI BILL
The American Legion was instrumental in the creation of the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, providing veterans with education benefits that better meet today’s needs. The law builds on previous GI Bill revisions and adds improvements to the benefit, making it more helpful to National Guards-men, reservists and those pursuing online education. www.legion.org/education
WORKING WITH VA
VA and The American Legion are working side by side to improve the speed and delivery of benefits claims. Through its System Worth Saving and Regional Office Action Review initiatives, the Legion travels the nation to pinpoint problems, identify best practices and work together with staff in VA medical centers. www.legion.org/veteransbenefits
BOARD OF VETERANS’ APPEALS
For veterans and families disputing benefits decisions by VA, The American Legion has staff representatives in Washington, D.C., who can help with the appeals process or strengthen a case, free of charge to veterans.
The Legion hosts women veterans focus groups, works to address the unique needs of women veterans such as gender-specific health care, Military Sexual Trauma and child support. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
The American Legion offers free assistance to those applying to their service branches for corrections to military records and discharge statuses. Legion experts help veterans with claims for Combat Related Special Compensation and with the procurement of accurate records. Email email@example.com
HELP FOR HOMELESS VETERANS
The American Legion provides support for homeless veterans. Legion posts throughout the country build shelters or provide financial and volunteer support. At the national level, the Legion works with VA to raise awareness and allocate funds to help reverse the problem. www.legion.org/homelessveterans
VA VOLUNTEER SERVICES
Legionnaires donate around 1 million hours of service a year at veterans health-care facilities, working through the VA Volunteer Services program. These volunteer hours save the federal government at least $18.5 million a year and connect Legionnaires with veteran patients and their families. www.legion.org/volunteers
The Legion fulfills a sacred duty by honoring the memo-ries of U.S. veterans after their deaths. Legion honor guards salute their fallen comrades at funeral services throughout the country every day. Legion Riders provide motorcycle escorts and security at services for veterans. The Legion also works with the National Cemetery Administration, Arlington National Cemetery and the American Battle Monuments Commission to ensure respect and honor are bestowed upon veterans.