March 29, 2019
This week the nation was consumed by the insane idea of slicing bagels like bread and calling it a “St. Louis secret.” It’s not. Believe me. But here at ScoutComms World Headquarters more cool things are happening with the addition of talented and experienced PR pro Caitlin Manaois to our team. Check out her fascinating career in the announcement below. We look at how Post-9/11 vets are filing for their disability claims like none before them and the next war memorial on the National Mall isn’t any you had heard about. There are lots of changes and moves in the media too, as Howard Altman from Tampa comes to D.C. to join Military Times and long-time military beat reporter Tom Philpott retires his Military Update column after 25 years. Check it out. Share with your friends. Get them to subscribe…we love positive reinforcement!
Post-9/11 Vets Have Far Higher Disability Ratings Than Prior Generations: Report
Military.com, Richard Sisk
The Department of Veterans Affairs and Bureau of Labor Statistics teamed up to issue an addendum to their August 2018 monthly employment focusing on veterans and their opportunities. The report offers some very interesting data drawn from the U.S. Census, including that we were at the time we were down to 19.2 million veterans in the nation (now down to 18.9 million) meaning that veterans now make up less than 8 percent of the U.S. population. Of that number there are 4.1 million Post-9/11 era living veterans and 41 percent, or 1.7 million, reported a service-connected disability. Nearly half of all those had a rating greater than 60%. That’s compared to all eras of veterans with about 25% having a disability rating and about 41% with a 60% rating. The question as to why that might be often goes to better medical evacuation procedures and higher survival rates along with awareness of PTSD and TBI in this current generation. While those are both true, the higher rate is also due in large part to a more informed veteran population. Today’s generation is educated about their VA options much more directly than previous generations. I got out of the Army in 2000 the first time and didn’t know anything about filing for VA disabilities. When I got out again in 2009 it was discussed in depth and a number of public affairs campaigns urged us to seek our earned benefits. So, it’s likely a combination of the effects of multiple tours of duties in combat and a better informed population driving this situation. Either way, it’s good to see more veterans seeking help and getting the care they earned in service. We owe it to them to provide care for the injuries and illnesses from their service and that service comes with physical effects that last for the rest of your life. –Fred Wellman, CEO and Founder of ScoutComms
‘A very deep kind of patriotism’: Memorial to honor Native American veterans is coming to the Mall
Washington Post, Dana Hedgpeth (@postmetrogirl)
After all the talk in recent years of building new memorials such as the Desert Storm War Memorial and expanding existing ones like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, it is surprising to learn that the next memorial in D.C. was actually approved in 1994 and is expected to open next year, long before the higher-profile memorials see progress. In a way, the planned “Warriors’ Circle of Honor,” which will be built outside the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the Native American, is the perfect memorial to come to DC. Unlike other planned memorials, it isn’t fighting for limited prime tourist real estate on public lands in the city, and there is arguably no place in the nation better-suited to host the memorial than the National Museum of the Native American. The memorial will contribute to the complex story that the National Museum has been lauded for telling since its opening in 2004. While Native Americans make up less than 1% of all U.S. service members and veterans, they occupy a unique position in our history, volunteering in every war to serve the country that they could easily blame for taking away their possessions and burying their history. Native Americans who serve and served in the military truly deserve the thanks of a grateful nation. From how Hedgpeth describes the new memorial, it will appropriately provide for a contemplative experience that will reflect Native American culture and its influence on their service. I look forward to visiting this new memorial in 2020. – Brian Wagner, COO of ScoutComms
This state is helping vets in prison get their VA disability benefits
Military Times, Joshua Axelrod (@jaxel222)
The state of Michigan ensures veterans in prison get access to the information and benefits they need through the Incarcerated Veterans Program that was launched in 2014. The program offers many features, including connecting incarcerated veterans with local VA centers to access medical records and VA medical professionals, as well as helping them apply for disability benefits.
VA Secretary to Senate: New Health Care Access Standards Won’t Mean Outsourcing
Military.com, Patricia Kime (@PatriciaKime)
VA Secretary Robert Wilkie reassured legislators this week that the Department of Veterans Affairs does not intend to privatize its medical care. Speaking before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Wilkie noted that 81 percent of the proposed fiscal 2020 healthcare budget is allocated for VA medical care, while the other 19 percent will benefit the private care program created by the VA Mission Act. Further addressing the privatization concerns, Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Georgia, said: “We are not going to privatize. I have no interest in doing so. Let’s concentrate on making the VA the best it can be.”
VA secretary recommends DOJ not challenge ruling on ‘blue water’ benefits
Stars and Stripes, Nikki Wentling (@nikkiwentling)
On Tuesday, Secretary Robert Wilkie advised the DOJ to not dispute a federal court ruling that would extend benefits to “blue water” Navy veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War—leading to respiratory cancers, Parkinson’s disease and heart conditions. If the court case goes unopposed, it’s estimated that 50,000-70,000 veterans could potentially become eligible for benefits.
PEOPLE ON THE MOVE
Experienced PR Pro Caitlin Manaois Joins ScoutComms as Account Director
Caitlin Manaois, an experienced public relations professional, has joined ScoutComms, the nation’s leading communications, marketing and research firm focused on veterans and military families, as account director. She will lead client accounts and serve as senior media relations advisor. Read the full press release here.
Howard Altman, a long-time presence covering the military in Tampa, is making the leap to DC, where he will be a managing editor at Military Times.