The VFW Washington DC Office has a position opening as described.
DEPARTMENT: National Veterans Service
JOB TITLE: Associate Director, Field Operations
NATURE OF WORK:
The Associate Director for Field Operations (ADFO) assists the Assistant Director for Field Operations in the administration of the operation of the VFW Pre-Discharge Claims Program. The ADFO assists in the supervision of the Veterans of Foreign Wars veterans’ outreach programs to military installations in support of VA’s Pre-Discharge Claims Program. The ADFO assists in the supervision of all Field Operations personnel located on military installations and select VA regional offices across the country. The ADSO assists in quality assurance of all Field Operations staff to include surveying clients and analyzing results. In the absence of the Assistant Director, administers the program and supervises all NVS Field Operations employees under the Assistant Director.
TYPICAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
In support of the Assistant Director, directs the activities of the VFW National Pre-Discharge Claims Representatives, which entails outreach programs to more than 20 military installations in the Washington, DC, area and in other geographical locations in support of the VA’s Pre-Discharge Claims Program. Conducts quality reviews of presentations made by the VFW Pre-Discharge Claims Representatives, monitors work progress and evaluates the adequacy of written and oral presentation. Ensures operational production of timely and quality work by staff.
Exercises supervision over all 25 Pre-Discharge Claims Representatives and Consultants; National Rating Representatives and Consultants.
Coordinates field visits, reviews all reports for completeness and accuracy, evaluates claims procedures, monitors statements prepared on behalf of the client’s claim, and if necessary, appeal. Executes appropriate protocol changes within operational purview or recommends changes to the appropriate directorate level.
Counsels staff and assembles analytical data for use in NVS reports. Serves as one of the primary statistical record keepers to monitor the effectiveness and efficiency of the VFW Pre-Discharge Claims Representatives and National Service Officers as required, to include preparing and deploying routine surveys of VFW Pre-Discharge clients
Prepares and presents, or assists in the preparation of, testimony to Congressional Committees dealing with issues pertaining to veterans’ benefits claims processing and the Pre-Discharge Claims program.
Responds to inquiries from the veterans’ community concerning veterans’ benefits through both written and oral communications, prepares material for publication, attends conferences in various federal agencies, and serves on assigned advisory committees. Performs administrative tasks as assigned and assists in developing VFW policy/positions.
Provides orientation and training for newly assigned Pre-Discharge Claims Representatives, conducts performance counseling as appropriate, coordinates and conducts meetings and conferences in areas of concern, and provides technical assistance to the VFW staff.
Participates in VBA policy development and assesses implementation and impact of program changes at both the national and field operations level, to include providing formal recommendations to senior VA officials on ways to improve VBA programs.
Also provides substantive input into VFW/NVS analysis of all developments addressing the “Pre-Discharge Program.”
Serves as the Pre-Discharge Claims Representative for flag and general officers on an as-needed basis and serves as the Pre-Discharge Claims Representative for Military District of Washington locations not regularly served by VFW staff, such as the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD; Fort Meade, MD, the Navy Yard, Washington, D.C.; and the Pentagon, Arlington, VA. Also provides regular transition briefings on the VA disability claims process to senior military leaders in MDW.
Serves as the Pre-Discharge Claims Representative for VFW offices during periods of transition or absence for permanent VFW staff.
Serves as a trainer during four in-person training conferences each year for the VFW’s network of accredited representatives, and assists in building training modules and provides other technical expertise relating to VFW Field Operations to the VFW Training and Quality Assurance team to support the VFW Online Learning Platform for Accredited Representatives.
Develops and maintains working relationships with military and civilian leaders at military installations where Pre-Discharge Claims programs exist.
Represent the National Organization at regional and state meetings as required.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES REQUIRED:
Position requires VFW membership to attend the National Convention as a member in good standing and represent the National Organization at regional or state meetings.
Position requires a Bachelor’s degree or a minimum three years directly-related work experience.
Position requires superior human relations, analytical and organizational skills to administer the VFW Pre-Discharge benefits policy program and coordinates the efforts of the VFW NVS Field Operations staff throughout the country. Position requires ability to effectively and professionally interact with military personnel of all ranks, from NCOs to general officers or the equivalent.
Position demands a thorough grounding in the applicable laws and regulations governing the administrative decision-making process within VA, and applicable military separations regulations to include the military disability retirement regulations. The operation of this section impacts substantially upon the due process rights of veteran claimants/appellants.
Superior knowledge is required of military regulations, directives and terminology, including especially military discharge characterization, to properly supervise and mentor the staff in the representation of separating active duty military personnel in applying for benefits with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Position requires knowledge of given subjects to such a degree as to make the incumbent authoritative in veterans’ affairs, particularly knowledge of all VA programs sufficient to address issues concerning claims representation, and military separations. Superior communications skills, written and oral are critical to position. Typically includes public speaking on a particular subject and incumbent may be frequently called upon for his/her views on a special veterans’ affairs issue. Position calls for substantial training skills to ensure consistency and equality of staff effort in terms of the claims and appeals process.
Position requires three years directly related experience in the same or closely related field, or an adequate combination of education / experience. Position requires VFW accreditation with the Department of Veterans Affairs and successful completion of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Training, Responsibility, Involvement and Preparation of claims (TRIP) test. Incumbent will, from time to time, be required to take recertification tests to monitor their proficiency in the laws pertaining to veterans’ benefits.
Advanced knowledge of personal computers, including software applications, case management techniques and other electronic applications in a fully automated office environment is required.
SCOPE OF POSITION:
Position is FLSA exempt.
Incumbent is under the direct supervision of the Assistant Director for Field Operations, National Veterans Service and has direct supervision of technical/professional staff assigned to Field Operations. Assigns work and checks results, may recommend hiring, discipline and promotion actions, and has direct input into the performance appraisal.
Decisions have significant impact on VFW claims and appellate assistance provided by the Pre-Discharge Claims Representatives.
Plans and prioritizes work of staff on a recurring basis. With the Assistant Director for Field Operations, develops annual and strategic plans. Typical problem solving includes determining the appropriate course of action to resolve an issue stemming from the failure of VA to follow established procedures in providing services to veterans. The Associate Director prepares a series of monthly and quarterly reports for the approval of the Assistant Director.
Typical contacts are VFW staff, service members and the general public to resolve issues or clarify policies. Contact is required with federal agencies, especially DOD, and VA staff for coordination, negotiation and resolving issues, to include the Office of the Secretary and other high level VA staff. Incumbent must maintain an effective liaison with the Department Service Officers, Washington Regional Office, and National Headquarters Service Officer.
Incumbent has impact upon VFW financial operations by participating in the development of an annual National Veterans Service budget addressing specifically the Veterans Benefits section of Field Service.
Incumbent functions in a normal office environment approximately 70% of the time. Domestic travel is required to participate in site surveys, training conferences, and National Conventions approximately 30% of the time. Position is located in Washington, DC.
With the Assistant Director for Field Operations:
Ensures the efficient management of daily activities of the VFW Pre-Discharge Service Offices.
Ensures military personnel inquiries are adequately reviewed and processed, appropriate documentation is accurately completed, and the claim is promptly forwarded to applicable agency in compliance with the rules and regulations of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Ensures the staff is provided adequate training concerning the provision of the services in the veterans’ benefits arena to the veterans’ community.
Ensures the timely and efficient response to written and oral inquiries regarding veterans’ benefits received from VFW staff, members, and the general public.
Ensures the quality control of the VFW effort to provide effective administrative appeals representation to veterans.
Ensures preparation of accurate testimony on veterans’ benefits issues for presentation before Congress or other organizations, as required.
Ensures the effective and efficient management of the VFW Pre-Discharge Offices. Ensures the maintenance and reporting of pertinent statistical data pertaining to these offices.
Monitors VBA program developments and implementation at field level.
Coordinates with National Veterans Service Training/Quality Control Specialist in development of training program.
The above duties are general in nature and are not intended to reflect all of the duties, which may be required of the incumbent.
*This position is not eligible for relocation assistance. *
Help A Hero is now one of the “top-awarding” programs of its kind
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Dec. 9, 2019) – A $1.25 million donation by Sport Clips Haircuts to the Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation will boost the impact of the Help A Hero Scholarship program that supports education for civilian careers. Sport Clips Founder and CEO Gordon Logan, who is a veteran and VFW Life member, presented the million-dollar-plus check to VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz today at the VFW National Headquarters.
“There’s a common misconception that GI Bill benefits and military training are enough to secure education or training for civilian occupations, but that’s often not the case. For many service members, additional degrees and certifications are needed to secure sought-after post-military work. There are 165 student veterans attending colleges and certification programs right now with the aid of Help A Hero Scholarships and more than 1,450 student veterans have benefited from these scholarships since 2014. This year’s fundraising will make even more scholarships available to U.S. service members and veterans in the year ahead,” says Logan. “We are so grateful to the men and women who serve, and to their families, and we owe the success of the Help A Hero campaign to our generous Sport Clips clients, team members, and product partners. It’s an honor to say ‘thank you’ to them all.”
“To date, the program has awarded more than $6.5 million in scholarships, which places it among the top-awarding service member and veteran scholarship programs in the country,” said Schmitz. “Higher education doesn’t come easily to all of our student veterans. It often takes the support of scholarships or burdensome loans beyond what the GI Bill covers to get the education needed for meaningful careers as they transition from military service. Working with veteran-friendly companies such as Sport Clips is one way we can help make the transition from service member to the civilian world easier for veterans and their families.”
More than $120,000 of the money was raised from Sport Clips’ own $1 per haircare service donation made on Veterans Day while clients, individual supporters and Sport Clips team members donated the largest portion of the money raised. Sport Clips partners Direct Beauty Express, American Crew, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Nioxin, Sexy Hair, Gibs Grooming and Darlington Raceway also made substantial contributions.
The Help A Hero program started in 2007 when Sport Clips first worked with the VFW to provide phone calls home for deployed and hospitalized service members and veterans. After the drawdown in troops began a few years later, the partnership transitioned in 2013 to become the VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship” program.
Sport Clips is the Official Haircutter of the VFW, and its Help A Hero campaign is just one of the many ways it supports active-duty military and veterans. To find out more, visit your local Sport Clips or SportClips.com.
‘This important legislation would make individuals eligible for hospital care, medical services and nursing home care’
A bill introduced to the House could provide veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars who were exposed to burn pits the same VA medical care as Vietnam War veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
The VFW-supported Jennifer Kepner Healthcare for Open-Air Burn-Pit Exposure (HOPE) Act, H.R. 4137, was introduced to the House by Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) in August.
A member of the Air Force tosses items into a burn pit in Balad, Iraq
Air Force Master Sgt. Darryl Sterling, of the 332nd Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron, tosses unserviceable uniform items into a burn pit in March 2008 in Balad, Iraq. The obituary of Jennifer Kepner, the namesake of the Jennifer Kepner HOPE Act, states she died from pancreatic cancer “due to the open exposure burn pits” while serving in Balad, Iraq, in 2004.
If passed and signed into law, H.R. 4137 would add vets exposed to toxic fumes from burn pits to the VA’s priority group 6, meaning it would allow veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars the same treatment as veterans exposed to toxic chemicals.
VFW National Legislative Director Carlos Fuentes said Ruiz also is working on a separate bill that could provide compensation benefits for conditions that are known to be associated with burn-pit exposure.
“This important legislation would make individuals eligible for hospital care, medical services and nursing home care, provided the individual served as a member of the armed forces in support of a contingency operation and was based or stationed at a location where an open air burn pit was in use after Jan. 1, 1990,” Fuentes said. “The eligibility for care would be open even for those who have insufficient medical evidence to conclude that a disease or disability is associated with burn pit exposure.”
The bill is named in honor of Air Force veteran Jennifer Kepner, of Cathedral City, Calif. She died from pancreatic cancer “due to the open exposure burn pits” while serving in Balad, Iraq, in 2004 as a medic, according to her obituary from The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif.
“Jennifer Kepner was a hero who courageously battled pancreatic cancer while fighting for her fellow veterans suffering from pulmonary conditions and rare cancers linked to burn-pit exposure,” Ruiz said. “I am humbled to introduce the Jennifer Kepner HOPE Act in her memory, legislation that will ease the financial burden on sick veterans who have served and sacrificed for our nation by reducing their health care costs from the VA.”
This article was featured in the November/December 2019 issue of VFW magazine.
PA VFW State HQ has received a list of APOs for PA National Guardians serving overseas. If you would like to send care packages to these brave men and women, who will be spending the holidays away from family, please email State VFW Public Affairs/Communications Director David Sandman, [email protected], and put “PA Guard APOs” in the subject line.
On Nov. 12th, representatives of Wendy’s restaurants in PA’s west/central region presented another significant check to PA Veterans of Foreign Wars officers to support military families and veterans facing hardship.
The campaign’s ninth check—for $35,224—was presented by Wendy’s, bringing the campaign donation total to $291,746 since the program’s beginning. During that time, 160 grants have been distributed—including 19 grants so far in 2019—to assist those serving in, and those who have served in, the military.
The campaign name is “The Michael J. Beaver Wendy’s-Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars Military Assistance Grant Program,” in honor of the fund’s creator. Mr. Beaver of Salix was an Army Special Forces veteran, who wanted to “return the favor” to military personnel and veterans. Mike passed away four years ago. His wife, Mrs. Diane Beaver, works with other Wendy’s franchise owners to keep supporting military troops and veterans through the grant program.
Wendy’s in the following areas participate in this campaign through a fundraising program: Somerset (Somerset county); Johnstown, Ebensburg (Cambria county); Altoona, Duncansville (Blair county); Bedford, Breezewood (Bedford county); Clarion (Clarion county); Indiana (Indiana county); Punxsutawney (Jefferson county); DuBois (Clearfield county); St. Marys (Elk county); State College (Centre county); Huntingdon (Huntingdon county); and Lewistown (Mifflin county).
The annual donations are made possible by a summer Wendy’s Key Tag fundraiser, when customers purchase a $1 Frosty Key tag and received a Free Jr. Frosty with Wendy’s purchase until December 31st. All proceeds are donated to the State VFW State Headquarters to assist military families and veterans in areas where Wendy’s stores participate in the fundraising campaign. Applications are submitted to the VFW State HQ by National Guard Family Assistance Specialists, officers in active and reserve units, and veterans’ assistance providers.
“The Wendy’s campaign leaders and the participating Wendy’s stores continue to provide an outstanding level of life-changing financial support for military personnel, their families and veterans facing hard times. The VFW is very appreciative of the support that Wendy’s, their customers and the media give to this fundraiser,” said State Commander Wayne D. Perry. “We are proud to be a part of this important project because serving and supporting our troops and veterans is a top VFW priority. We thank Wendy’s for serving up such strong support for our troops and veterans.”
“Dave Thomas believed that giving back and supporting our community is everyone’s responsibility,” said Wendy’s franchise owners. “Wendy’s is involved in thousands of local events each year that lend a hand to those in need. This key tag fundraiser was one way of giving back to the local community where we live and work. It is especially meaningful to help many families of those who sacrifice so much to defend our freedom and to whom we owe so much!”
‘The health and welfare of our nation’s veterans should, and must, be our number one priority’
WASHINGTON – Military Times today reported that White House officials, including Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, are responsible for the delayed decision on additional Agent Orange diseases.
“In light of today’s news regarding the continued delay to add four presumptive diseases to the Agent Orange list, the VFW is extremely upset and dissatisfied with the backdoor political games that are being played in Washington as the lives of our veterans are at stake,” said VFW National Commander William “Doc” Schmitz. “The health and welfare of our nation’s veterans should, and must, be our number one priority.”
According to the story, White House officials challenged the authority of former Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and impeded enactment of three additional health conditions to the list of diseases eligible for Agent Orange benefits. The article included an excerpt written by Shulkin and sent to Mulvaney requesting support for his effort to expand the list of Agent Orange presumptive diseases.
“What we are seeing this week only underscores the need for Congress to take up comprehensive toxic exposure legislation for veterans during this term,” said Patrick Murray, deputy director of VFW National Legislative Service. “Every time we send our men and women to war we end up deliberating for decades as to whether or not they were exposed to toxic chemicals. This type of absurdity must stop.”
When the VFW came to Capitol Hill 100 years ago, we argued that veterans of World War I deserved health care and compensation benefits because of the human tolls of war. Today is not different.
“The White House and VA must do the right thing and approve these Agent Orange presumptive conditions immediately,” said Schmitz. “We cannot, and will not, stand by and allow another veteran to lose their life because of the bureaucracy of Washington. The time for waiting is over.”
‘This class of veterans was unjustly and arbitrarily excluded from compensation benefits for nearly 20 years.
With the legislative and judicial battles seemingly over for the Vietnam War’s so-called “blue water” Navy veterans, the process for them to receive VA compensation is just beginning.
National Veterans Service Director Ryan Gallucci said that contacting a VFW Service Officer should be a common course of action for all blue water veterans affected by Agent Orange exposure. This would include those who have never filed a claim, as well as those who have filed that were granted compensation and stripped of their benefits.
“This class of veterans was unjustly and arbitrarily excluded from compensation benefits for nearly 20 years,” VFW National Veterans Service Deputy Director Michael Figlioli said. “We are pleased to see Congress and VA make them whole. VFW looks forward to assisting every one of them who seek our help, which is always free of charge and has no VFW membership requirement attached.”
In June, President Donald Trump signed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 into law (P.L. 116-23). It restores VA benefits to Vietnam War blue water sailors (those who served aboard ships off the coast of Vietnam) who had their disability eligibility arbitrarily taken away by VA in 2002. Those veterans also could be eligible for retroactive benefits.
The law, which goes into effect in January 2020, requires VA to contact veterans who filed a disability claim that originally was denied.
“The VA told us that they are being proactive in reaching out to the veterans who were given benefits then stripped in 2002,” Gallucci said. “However, people will slip through the cracks. VA may not have identified everybody, so it’s important for veterans who believe that they are covered by the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act or the Procopio decision to reach out to a VFW service officer.”
Also in June, the Department of Justice decided not to contest a federal case ruling that paved the way for VA to restore the availability of disability benefits to blue water Navy veterans. In the case of Procopio v. Wilkie, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, D.C., ruled that Alfred Procopio Jr., a Life member of VFW Post 6587 in Spring Lake Park, Minn., is eligible for VA disability benefits. The Vietnam War Navy veteran claims his diabetes and prostate cancer diagnosis is linked to Agent Orange exposure off the Vietnamese coast while serving aboard the USS Intrepid in 1964-67.
The court’s decision also means that VA can no longer deny disability benefits to eligible blue water Navy veterans. To qualify for Agent Orange-related benefits, a veteran must have one or more of the conditions VA presumes to have been caused by exposure.
The 14 presumptive diseases on the list are:
- Chronic B-cell Leukemia
- Hodgkin’s Disease
- Multiple Myeloma
- Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
- Prostate Cancer
- Respiratory Cancers
- Soft Tissue Sarcomas
- AL Amyloidosis
- Diabetes Mellitus Type
- Ischemic Heart Disease
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Early onset Peripheral Neuropathy
- Porphyria Cutanea Tarda
For help with a disability claim, find a VFW service officer at vfw.org/NVS.