A Message from Kevin C. Jones, Adjutant General, VFW National HQ on CARES

The attached documents provide an overview of some of the relief granted to small businesses from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, from which Departments and Posts may benefit.  There is more guidance expected to come out soon to provide more clarity on some of the details of these programs. It’s imperative that you forward this information to all your Posts and have your Posts do the same to their members.  We know that we have members who own businesses that can also take advantage of these opportunities.  

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans

This may be the section of the relief that could benefit the VFW and Auxiliaries the most.  This is a program that can provide a 100% federally guaranteed loan to businesses with less than 500 employees.  The loan amount is based on average payroll costs and the loan proceeds can be used for payroll costs, utilities, rent, mortgage insurance, and other debt obligations incurred before February 15, 2020.  Eligibility rules for nonprofits taking advantage of this program are limited to 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(19) organizations.  Those organizations exempt under Section 501(c)(4) or another category of the Internal Revenue Code are not eligible.  However, it would also cover our members that operate a sole proprietorship or as an independent contractor, and eligible self-employed individuals.  The great benefit of this program is the forgiveness feature.  If employers maintain their payroll, the loans would be forgiven, and ultimately become a grant to the applying organization.  The attached guidance provides more detail on how the loan program works.  The Small Business Administration (SBA) is expected to release more details soon on this program.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) & Emergency Economic Injury Grants

This program provides an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small business and most non-profits harmed by COVID-19.  An organization must first apply for an EIDL and then request the advance.  The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstances.  The maximum available under this program to an employer is $2 million.  Any additional amount received above the advance amount under this program is treated as a loan, and will need to be repaid to the SBA at a low interest rate with maturity terms determined by the SBA. 

Small Business Tax Provisions

For organizations subject to closure or experiencing economic hardship, this provision provides for payroll tax credits.  These tax credits are not available to employers receiving assistance through the Paycheck Protection Program noted above.

More to come on this issue.

Please stay safe.

Kevin C. Jones

Adjutant General

VFW National Headquarters

Forms:

Paycheck Protection Program Overview

Paycheck Protection Program Lender Information Fact Sheet

Paycheck Protection Program Borrower Information Fact Sheet

Paycheck Protection Program Application

Senate Small Business Owners Guide to the CAREs Act

Small Business Guide to CARES Act

PA VFW Commander Cancels State April Meetings Amid Coronavirus

Pennsylvania Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander Wayne Perry has cancelled all meetings during the VFW members at the Auxiliary Testimonial on April 16-18 for veterans service meetings (finance meeting COA meeting and Convention Corporation meeting). The State Commander needs to take these actions to protect all of the Veterans of Pennsylvania.

Please check the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Facebook page and Pennsylvania Department of Health page for the latest information.

After OPM action, VA invites retired medical personnel back to work

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                   

March 24, 2020                      

WASHINGTON – The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) approved a request from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), March 19, to waive a section of federal law that governs retired VA workers.

The waiver makes it easier for the department to rehire retired VA health care workers and will help VA health care facilities bolster their medical staffs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

VA plans to use the waiver authority to begin hiring actions as early as this week, and the department is inviting interested retired physicians, nurses, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, respiratory therapists and other medical professionals to register online.

“This action helps give the department surge capacity as needed,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “On behalf of all the Veterans we serve, I thank OPM for its quick action and invite our retired health care workers to consider coming back to VA during this crucial time.”

When rehired, retirees’ salaries are normally reduced to reflect the retirement annuity they are already receiving. However, this waiver eliminates that salary reduction, making the prospect of returning to VA employment more appealing.

Retired VA clinicians who are interested in coming back to VA can register here.

OPM’s waiver authority expires after one year.

For more information on VA’s response to COVID-19, visit va.gov/coronavirus.

VA invites retired medical personnel back to work

VFW HQ Urges Passage of Act Supporting Wounded Veterans

Background:
More than 42,000 veterans have been discharged from military service because they sustained injuries while serving our country in combat.  These veterans were denied the ability to accomplish their military career goals, by no fault of their own. To make matters worse, the benefits they receive as a medical retiree are reduced if they receive earned VA benefits.   
 
This demeaning offset, created by Congress to save money, forces those who have shed blood, sweat, and tears for our country in combat to do without benefits they need to provide for their families.
 
Take Action:
Contact your members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor the Major Richard Star Act. Our nation is still at war. We must ensure that benefits for combat-wounded veterans are improved, not eroded.

Scout of the Year is Continuing

A message from the Youth Programs Coordinator, National VFW HQ:

After receiving several emails and phone calls inquiring if the Scout of the Year program is moving forward, given the current situation with COVID-19.

Yes, Scout of the Year is continuing and the deadline dates still apply.  Posts/Districts will need to submit their winning entries to the Department Headquarters/Scouting Chairman by April 1. Departments will need to submit 1 winning entry to national by May 1.

Now because COVID-19 and social distancing has put a strain on operations, if a Post or District is going to be late submitting their entry please work with them. At national I will do the same for Departments, but you must communicate with us.

Judging in person may not be an option now for some, and there are other options to complete your judging.  One way is email, send your judges entries in a zip file to save space. Another option, we use at national, is creating a share file and uploading the entries online. An example on where to create a share file that is free is Microsoft OneDrive. If you have questions on how to create a share file or ideas on how to complete judging let me know.

I hope this email finds you all safe and healthy.

Please pass this information on to your Scouting Chairman, State Scouting Teams, Posts and Districts.

Best Regards,

Nick Lopez

Youth Programs Coordinator

VFW National Headquarters

Message from the VFW Commander-in-Chief William “Doc” Schmitz

March 21, 2020

Commanders,

As previously discussed in earlier memoranda concerning meetings and Conventions, my goal was to emphasize the flexibility that we must embrace in order to ensure the business of the organization is carried out to the extent feasible. This guidance was sent in anticipation of restrictions of state and local governments on the number of people allowed to assemble at one location. For many such locations, those restrictions make achieving a traditional quorum at meetings and Conventions difficult, if not impossible. To the extent that our bylaws do not sufficiently address how we should proceed, I believe it is crucial to offer this guidance.

The guidance outlined in the Executive Order, keeping the current officers in place until such time that elections can be held without jeopardizing the health and well-being of members, may remain the best option.
But as you consider next steps, in keeping with the requirements of the bylaws, and to ensure adherence with all applicable laws, please understand that the flexibility previously emphasized means that you can, with some creativity and ingenuity, maintain the necessary quorum and adhere to applicable laws by utilizing available technology to achieve the goal of conducting the business of the organization.

Through technology, a quorum can be established. Delegates and other Members may attend such meetings by way of videoconference or tele-conference, provided any voting be counted from only those who are attending the meeting, in person or otherwise, while it is being conducted.

Through this guidance, it is my hope that you will use your best efforts to conduct the necessary meetings and Conventions. As you do so, it will be helpful to limit the business to the most critical items, such as election of officers and voting on resolutions.

In terms of voting, it will be necessary to develop a system that allows for the proper recording of all votes. For instance, if a vote is submitted by way of email, the subject line must correspond to the subject of the discussion. The time-stamp on the email must also be recorded to ensure that the vote is taken at the time the matter is being voted on.

There is an abundance of technology available that can assist in this regard. Available services include, but are in no way limited to, the following:

GoToMeeting RingCentral UberConference Zoom FreeConferenceCall.com Google Hangouts Vast Conference Webex BlueJeans

We recognize that there is no single approach that can be utilized at every level of the organization. We just ask that you use your best efforts to meet the challenges of today’s environment. Our collective mission is far too important to not move forward.

Signed,

William “Doc” Schmitz
Commander-in-Chief

VFW National HQ Publishes Guidance Amid COVID-19

Message by Kevin C. Jones, Adjutant General, VFW National Headquarters:

Effective immediately all non-essential travel through May 10, 2020 has been cancelled. This includes national representative travel, the upcoming NVS Training May 4 – 8 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, and the suspension of the Commander’s in Chief seminar May 2 – 8 in Jamaica. We are working now with the resort to determine the possibility of rescheduling the CinC’s trip in September. More to come on this trip as we continue to work with VTS and the resort. 

So you know, we have put in place a contingency plan for our employees effective today. We’ve expanded our flexibility of telework to many employees of the VFW National Headquarters and Washington DC office for the immediate future as a precautionary response to COVID-19 pandemic. As this situation continues to progress, we will continue to address non-essential and essential travel.

We’ve attached guidance for all departments along with an Executive Order from the Commander-in-Chief. The Executive Order will remain in place until rescinded.

As America’s largest combat organization, the health and well-being of our members, partners, associates and communities is our top priority. The VFW has a job to do and a solemn promise to keep those veterans, service members, and their families for which we work. Now more than ever we must find solutions in the face of adversity and strive to meet the needs of those who rely on the vital services we provide.

Committed to Service and Country Amidst DOVID – 19

Department Communications Letter March 17

2020 Women Veterans Retreat Rescheduled to July 31-Aug. 2

March 16, 2020 – Update on the 2020 Women Veterans Retreat –
Due to concerns related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Women Veterans Retreat scheduled for March 27-29, 2020 will be rescheduled.
The health and safety of attendees, presenters, and staff members is our top priority.
The Retreat will be rescheduled to July 31-August 2, 2020.
The same venue of the Ramada Inn and Conference Center in State College, Pennsylvania will be maintained.
Please respond regarding your intentions to attend the Retreat on these dates.
In order to proceed with the many logistical issues of rescheduling a response either way will be needed by April 15, 2020.
Please make sure you include your full name when you reply, to make it easier to track responses.
If “YES” – no further action is required from you and a will receive follow up emails closer to the event.
If “NO” – you will receive a refund of your registration fee. Please allow several weeks for our VFW HQ to process the refund check.
Thank you for your patience as we work through these challenging times.
Stay safe and I hope to see you all soon.
Best Wishes,
Amy MacKenzie
VFW Department of Pennsylvania Women Veterans Chairperson
717-575-3982

For more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and steps you can take to stay healthy, click here: FAQ  Prevention/Treatment