Friday, March 2, 2012

TX Vet Commission - Veterans Summit











E-Vets Newsletter

February 17, 2012


Texas Veterans Commission Summit brings Veterans service providers together



The Texas Veterans Commission held the 14th Annual Veterans Summit at the Crowne Plaza Austin on January 31 and February 1, 2012.  


The theme, Helping Veterans Starts with Collaboration and Coordination, echoed throughout the Summit as 500 attendees came to discuss and learn about Veterans' issues in Texas. Veteran service providers met and networked, and the new two-day format was deemed a success by those who attended.


"The TVC Veterans Summit was an incredible opportunity to connect with organizations focused on serving Texas Veterans," said Serena Hayden, Community Partnership Manager for Warrior Gateway, one of the vendors with a booth in the Exhibit Hall. "Partnership is vital to successfully serving our Veterans, and the Veterans Summit provided the perfect platform for building those relationships."


73 groups set up booths in the Exhibit Hall and had the opportunity to share what they do to help Texas Veterans and their families with those in attendance and to find new ways to work together.


"By hosting a table, we were able to discuss partnership opportunities with a variety of organizations that all provide vital services to the military community," said Hayden.


During the opening session and the breakout sessions, attendees heard from leaders of the Texas Legislature and the Veterans' community such as Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, Chair of the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and Military Installations, Rep. Joe Pickett, Chair of the House Committee on Defense and Veterans' Affairs,  Rep. Jim Pitts, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Sen. Tommy Williams, Chair of the Subcommittee on Articles VI & VII, Senate Finance Committee, Jerry Patterson, General Land Office Commissioner, and Pritz Navaratnasingam, Director of the Houston VA Regional Office.


Breakout sessions included From House to Home: Veteran Housing Issues in Texas, Veterans and the 83rd Session: Looking Ahead to the Prospects and Challenges for Veterans in the Legislature, Where Do We Go From "Peer?" Veterans' Mental Health Initiatives in Texas, and How Support Organizations Help Women Veterans Maximize their Opportunities.


The conference concluded with a keynote during the closing session by Col. David Sutherland, Special Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


"It takes individuals like you," said Col. Sutherland. "As you leave today, the call to action is build public awareness, increase community involvement, and promote community based services."


Warrior Gateway has taken Col. Sutherland's advice already.


"Since the conference, I have met with several of the organizations I was introduced to, and am excited about working together to better serve Veterans and their families," said Hayden.


To view pictures from the Summit, please visit



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New online enrollment application available for servicemembers



WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs partnered with the First Army at Camp Shelby, Miss., to launch a streamlined version of its online application for VA health benefits (VA Form 1010EZ) for servicemembers returning from deployment. VA will introduce it at demobilization sites nationwide by early spring 2012.


"This online application demonstrates VA's commitment to work with the Department of Defense to make it easier for servicemembers to get the care they earned by their service," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "The new, online system noticeably reduces the paperwork and reduces a 10-day process to three days."


The application is used to enroll in the VA health care system, which has more than 1,000 sites of care across the country.

Enrollment for VA health care is done as part of a servicemember's demobilization. The online form allows the application to be completed during a regularly scheduled briefing for all servicemembers on VA benefits.


Quick enrollment is important for returning troops because recently discharged combat Veterans are eligible for five years of cost-free care and medications for conditions potentially related to combat service.


The new application was piloted as part of the demobilization process at Camp Shelby. Based on the results, VA plans to collaborate with DoD to offer this online application at all 61 demobilization sites nationally, including the 15 federal military installations in Texas.


For more information, servicemembers may contact VA at 1-877-222 VETS (8387) or visit VA's health eligibility website at



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About the Texas Veterans Commission

The Texas Veterans Commission is a state agency committed to ensuring all Veterans within the state of Texas receive the maximum benefits earned as a result of their service to their country. We provide superior service to Veterans in the areas of claims assistance, employment services, education benefits and reimbursement grants that significantly improve the quality of life of Texas Veterans and their families.

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Texas Veterans Commission | PO Box 12277 | Austin, Texas 78711-2277

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