Free legal help for Illinois vets, and more
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Free legal help for Illinois vets, and more

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LEGAL AID NETWORK FOR VETERANS: The Illinois Armed Forces Legal Aid Network may be able to provide free legal services to low- and moderate-income veterans in Illinois. Veterans, active duty military and their families face many of the same legal issues as everyone else, but they also have special needs because of their military service or veteran status. The veteran population in Illinois is over 750,000, as well as 20,000 active duty service members, and 13,000 members of the Illinois National Guard. Based on a survey of the Illinois veteran and active duty population, the most highly sought legal resources are concerned with housing, family, and consumer law issues. In addition, many veterans often need assistance with VA benefits and appeals and discharge upgrades. Visit the IL-AFLAN website at ilaflan.org or call 1-855-452-3526 for more information.

Q: One of my army comrades from 20 years ago military service committed suicide recently. I was devastated! I am aware that suicide is still at epidemic levels among the general population and especially among veterans. What is the VA doing to reduce and eliminate suicide among veterans?

A: The Department of Veterans Affairs has been concentrating on reducing the suicide rate for several years, and announced in May that it is now working with more than 1,000 local community coalitions involved in ending suicide veterans. These coalitions established through the VA’s Public Health Model for suicide prevention now reach more than 75 million veterans nationwide. These coalitions reflect a philosophy to make care and treatment as local as possible. The VA released the 2022 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report, which showed veteran suicides decreased from 2019 to 2020, and fewer veterans died by suicide in 2020 than in any year since 2006. While real progress has been made, much work needs to be done to provide the care to reduce the suicide rate.

DID YOU KNOW?: Researchers will have a new tool to help identify important possible connections between War on Terror veterans’ illnesses and their locations during deployment. NASA satellite data will be using a new tool called the Source-Differentiate Air Quality System to help researchers and VA clinicians develop diagnoses and treatments for medical conditions associated with the Southwest Asia service, according to NASA and researchers. It can create charts and files of air pollution concentration at 1,200 bases in Southwest Asia since 2002 for each month. The tool can also provide data about type, severity and length of exposure to pollutants faced by veterans with their exact deployment history.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: The current standoff between right and left over the 2024 budget breaks down to a dispute over burdening future generations with horrible unpayable debt and the destruction of our democracy because we are not spending enough. The following quote seems to address both approaches fairly.

“Most of the great problems we face are caused by politicians creating solutions to the problems they create in the first place.” —Walter Williams

Jerry Vogler is superintendent of the McLean County Veterans Assistance Commission.

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