Senator Cris Dush E-Newsletter

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What are Vet Centers?

VA Vet Centers provide free and confidential readjustment counseling for War-Zone Veterans and their families, World War II to the current Global War on Terror.

Vet Centers are small, non-medical, counseling centers conveniently located in your community. They’re staffed by highly trained counselors and team members dedicated to seeing you through the challenges that come with managing life during and after the military.

Our region is served by the DuBois Vet Center, which is one of 12 Vet Centers in Pennsylvania and over 300 across the country. Whether you come in for one-on-one counseling or to participate in a group session, at Vet Centers you can form social connections, try new things, and build a support system with people who understand you and want to help you succeed.

Who is eligible to receive services at Vet Centers?

Vet Center services are available to Veterans at no cost, regardless of discharge character, and without the need to be enrolled in VA health care or having a service-connected disability. If you are a Veteran or service member, including members of the National Guard and Reserve, you can access Vet Center services if you:

  • Served on active military duty in any combat theater or area of hostility.
  • Experienced military sexual trauma (regardless of gender or service era.)
  • Provided mortuary services or direct emergent medical care to treat the casualties of war while serving on active military duty.
  • Performed as a member of an unmanned aerial vehicle crew that provided direct support to operations in a combat theater or area of hostility.
  • Accessed care at a Vet Center prior to January 2, 2013 as a Vietnam-Era Veteran.
  • Served on active military duty in response to a national emergency or major disaster declared by the president, or under orders of the governor or chief executive of a state in response to a disaster or civil disorder in that state.
  • Are a current or former member of the Coast Guard who participated in a drug interdiction operation, regardless of the location.

Contacting your local Vet Center

Even if you are unsure if you meet the criteria to receive services from a Vet Center, please contact a center – if the center can’t help you, they’ll find someone who will.

Center services are also available to family members when their participation would support the growth and goals of the Veteran or active-duty service member. If you consider them family, so does your local center. Bereavement services are also available to family members of Veterans who were receiving Vet Center services at the time of the Veteran’s death, and to the families of service members who died while serving on active duty.

The DuBois Vet Center, located at 100 Meadow Lane, Suite 8, DuBois, PA 15801, can be contacted at 814-372-2095 or toll free 24/7 at 1-877-WAR-VETS(927-8387).

The other Vet Center locations in Pennsylvania are:

  • Bucks County Vet Center, 2 Canals End Road, Suite 201B, Bristol, PA 19007, 215-823-4590               
  • Erie Vet Center, 240 West 11th Street, Suite 105, Erie, PA 16501, 814-453-7955
  • Harrisburg Vet Center, 1500 N. Second Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102, 717-782-3954
  • Lancaster Vet Center, 1817 Olde Homestead Lane, Suite 207, Lancaster, PA 17601, 717-283-0735
  • Norristown Vet Center, 320 East Johnson Highway, Suite 201, Norristown, PA 19401, 215-823-5245
  • City Center Philadelphia Vet Center, 801 Arch Street, Suite 502, Philadelphia, PA 19107, 215-627-0238
  • Northeast Philadelphia Vet Center, 101 East Olney Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19120, 215-924-4670
  • Pittsburgh Vet Center, 2500 Baldwick Road, Suite 15, Pittsburgh, PA 15205, 412-920-1765
  • Scranton Vet Center, 1002 Pittston Avenue, Scranton, PA 18505, 570-344-2676
  • White Oak Vet Center, 2001 Lincoln Way, Suite 280, White Oak, PA 15131, 412-678-7704
  • Williamsport Vet Center, 49 East Fourth Street, Suite 104, Williamsport, PA 17701, 570-327-5281

For more information, please visit www.vetcenter.va.gov

PA VETConnect

Started in 2020, PA VETConnect was created to be a one-stop customer service for Pennsylvania’s nearly 800,000 veterans, providing a more focused and efficient method of informing service members, veterans, and their families of the available resources within defined regions. The program seeks to determine the needs of veterans and their beneficiaries, find resources that meet those needs, and connect veterans with those resources.

Through PA VETConnect, veteran advocates have access to the commonwealth’s premier information and referral database, compiled specifically to improve the lives of service members, veterans, and their families. The free database is populated with valuable information and resources that will help County Directors of Veterans Affairs and other veteran advocates facilitate delivery of the best possible services to veterans, their families and their beneficiaries. Resource areas include benefits, employment, financial assistance, mental wellness and substance use, post-traumatic stress, and more.

If you need assistance, don’t hesitate to contact your County Veterans Affairs Office or another accredited Veteran Services Officer. Here’s the contact information (including the office director) for the County Veteran Affairs Office for each county in the 25th Senatorial District:

They can help you understand and connect to the benefits, programs and services you have earned through your service to our nation.

Legislation for Veterans

This past week, the Senate passed legislation that would clarify the Veterans Preference Law to include veterans who served honorably but were discharged with a disability before completing their initial obligation.

Senate Bill 849 would add an exemption for those with a disability discharge and would ensure that veterans with medical discharges receive preference seeking careers within the Commonwealth.

Currently, veterans who cannot meet the commitment through no fault of their own are blocked from receiving the career preference they earned.

Having received support from the Senate, the legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

The Senate also sent to the House for consideration Senate Bill 830, which would establish a veteran-owned Business Loan Guarantee Program to provide loan guarantees to commercial lending institutions that make loans to veteran-owned businesses. The program would authorize the Commonwealth Financing Authority to guarantee up to 50% of the outstanding principle of the loan, limited to $250,000 for any one loan.

Additionally, the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee earlier this week considered three bills to benefit veterans.

House Bill 491 would exempt 100% of a veteran’s federal disability compensation benefits or pension from income calculations for Commonwealth programs. It would also extend the exclusion of the veteran’s compensation benefits to his or her unmarried surviving spouse.

House Bill 995 would codify into law the “VETConnect” program, which is aimed at connecting veterans to the programs and services they need.

House Bill 1421 would increase the amount of the burial benefit to those who perform burial details for deceased veterans at any of the three national cemeteries. The rate would increase from $150 to $250 a day, which would be the first increase in more than 20 years. The bill would also allow the Pennsylvania National Guard to perform the burial functions when veterans’ groups are not available.

The bills now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

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