Tag Archives: Vet

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run: Updated

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run updated

5th Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

Thanks to some last minute donations The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the 5th honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Marine Sgt Kirstie Ennis!
Kirstie lost her leg due to a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.
This upcoming May, we ride for her!

5th Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

 

Boston’s 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run

Boston's 6th Annual Wounded Vet Run

Wheelchair Van Ramp Vs. Wheelchair Van Lift

Choosing a wheelchair ramp over a lift system is a matter of budget and personal preference. Both can get you safely in and out of a new or used wheelchair van; however, handicap lowered-floor vans with ramps tend to be less expensive, take up less space and are more fuel-efficient compared to a full-size van, which is used for most wheelchair-lift applications.

Wheelchair Ramps
Wheelchair van conversion ramps normally come in permanent van conversions where the floor is lowered to allow enough headroom for entering and riding in the vehicle. Most lowered-floor vans come with wheelchair ramps and kneeling systems that lower the wheelchair van and reduce the angle of the ramp. There are two styles of wheelchair ramps—one type folds up in a vertical position, and the other type slides out from the floor of the van.

New and used handicapped accessible vehicles with wheelchair ramps come with either a manual or power conversion. Power wheelchair ramps operate by remote control or by a switch located either on the dash or just inside the side-door panel. Push a button and the door slides open, the ramp extends out and, in cases where a kneeling system is needed, the van lowers. (In case of a power failure, the ramp can be easily operated manually.) Guide your wheelchair or mobility scooter inside and push the button or switch, and the system reverses. Manual systems are spring-loaded to easily fold out and retract into the van.

Wheelchair Lifts
A vehicle wheelchair lift is a mechanical device used to raise a person in a wheelchair effortlessly into a vehicle. Wheelchair lifts are typically installed in full-sized vans.

There are several wheelchair lift types: cassette lifts that slide out from under the van, horizontal folding lifts that provide users better vision through the windows, vertical folding lifts that enable passengers to enter the van without deploying the lift, and platform wheelchair lifts, which are the most basic of wheelchair lifts.

Hydraulic lifts are the most common type, since they allow for heavier steel construction and higher lift capacity. The other type is the electric lift, made with lightweight aluminum and lighter lift capacity. Lifts require either a lowered floor or a raised roof to provide enough headroom for wheelchair passengers to ride comfortably inside their chairs.

Wheelchair lifts work when space limitations or height requirements make a ramp prohibitive. Wheelchair lifts are often less expensive than a lowered-floor conversion with a ramp, but there are other considerations that include difficulty parking due to their size, high gas prices, and if the floor isn’t lowered, then the wheelchair user can’t see out the windows.

Operation Flags for Vets

Operation Flags for Vets

Operation Flags for Vets will be placing 64,000 flags on the graves of our beloved veterans for veterans Day, Flagging will commence following a brief ceremony at 10 AM on Saturday November 7. Please bring a long shank screwdriver to make starter holes for the flags.

Removal will take place on Sunday November 15 at 10 AM.

Third Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the third honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Army Specialist Sean Pesce of West Haven, CT!
Sean was shot 13 times Afghanistan and is now paralyzed from the waist down.
This upcoming May, we ride for him!

Third Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

Second Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the second honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: SSG James Clark of Hinsdale, NH!
James lost his leg and part of a foot in an 2009 Afghanistan deployment.
In 2016 we ride for him!

Second Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

North Carolina Wounded Vet Run 2015

NC Wounded Vet Run 2015

Check out the Facebook Page

First Honoree For The 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run Announced

The Boston Wounded Vet Run proudly announced the first honoree for the 6th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Ride: Peter Damon of Middleborough, MA!
Peter lost both his arms in Iraq.
In 2016 we ride for him!

Peter Damon

Tomorrow is the New York Wounded Vet Run

New York Wounded Vet Run

Project 22 – Promoted by Team RWB Boston

Project 22

Tuesday, July 28 7:30PM – 9:12PM
$14.00 General
at Landmark Kendall Square Cinema
Bldg. 1900 One Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA, US, 02139

For more information on this event please visit the Website

Click here to view the trailers!

The making of Project 22
Project 22 was a 22 day, 6,500 mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the high rate of suicides within the Veteran community. As we traveled across the country, we spoke with many Veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide and asked them for their stories; what led them to it and what brought them out of it. The responses regarding the challenges were in remarkable unison although the hope they found came in many different forms. We were able to explore the therapeutic potential behind sailing, pottery, education, activism, family, service dogs, painting and more.

We also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information we captured in interviews, we filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. We gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.

Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever we rode, helping keep production costs low. Project 22 is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, while Medicinal Missions applies for independent non-profit status. All donations are tax-deductible and are made payable to From The Heart Productions via the PayPal link on our website or by check to: From The Heart Productions 1455 Mandalay Beach Road Oxnard, CA 93035-2845

From The Heart has been successfully funding films since inception in 1993 under the 501(c)3 Internal Revenue Code of 1954. Also classified as a public charity under section 509 (a) (2) of the Code. Monetary donations to the Fiscal Sponsorship Program qualify as charitable contributions under the U.S. Tax Code for 95 444 5418.

Project 22

Project 22

The cost will be $12.50 for civilians and FREE for Veterans.
VETERANS STILL MUST CLICK ON THE LINK AND RESERVE THEIR TICKETS!

Tickets will go fast and this will be a one night only show so make sure you get yours today! Just go to www.clickitevents.com to purchase yours!

For those riding, there will be a link up at Harley-Davidson of Frederick and then will have an after party at Hardtimes Cafe And Cue.

Saturday, May 2
at 7:00pm
MDL Holiday Cinemas official
100 Baughmans Ln, Frederick, Maryland 21702

For more information on this event please visit the Website or Facebook Page
Click here to view the trailers!
If you can’t make it to the event but still want to support the cause you can Donate Here!

ALL PROCEEDS WILL BENEFIT 22 NEEDS A FACE

The making of Project 22
Project 22 was a 22 day, 6,500 mile motorcycle awareness campaign from San Francisco to New York City to raise awareness of the high rate of suicides within the Veteran community. As we traveled across the country, we spoke with many Veterans who had contemplated or attempted suicide and asked them for their stories; what led them to it and what brought them out of it. The responses regarding the challenges were in remarkable unison although the hope they found came in many different forms. We were able to explore the therapeutic potential behind sailing, pottery, education, activism, family, service dogs, painting and more.

We also spoke with leading researchers of Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, mental health clinicians and educators, as well as, leading experts in warrior culture and combat stress. Coupled with the insightful and potentially life changing information we captured in interviews, we filmed the motorcycle awareness campaign, including camping, several organized rides and our final ride being escorted into World Trade Center by the Port Authority Police Department. We gathered incredible footage and news coverage in multiple cities, including Pittsburgh and New York.

Project 22 was entirely crowd-funded via an IndieGoGo campaign and private donations. In addition, the crew was offered food, lodging and assistance wherever we rode, helping keep production costs low. Project 22 is fiscally sponsored by From The Heart Productions, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, while Medicinal Missions applies for independent non-profit status. All donations are tax-deductible and are made payable to From The Heart Productions via the PayPal link on our website or by check to: From The Heart Productions 1455 Mandalay Beach Road Oxnard, CA 93035-2845

From The Heart has been successfully funding films since inception in 1993 under the 501(c)3 Internal Revenue Code of 1954. Also classified as a public charity under section 509 (a) (2) of the Code. Monetary donations to the Fiscal Sponsorship Program qualify as charitable contributions under the U.S. Tax Code for 95 444 5418.

Current Campaign
Statistically, 22 Veterans of the US Military will take their own lives and 22 families will lose loved ones today due to combat-related stresses and injuries. Project 22 follows two combat-wounded Veterans on a mission to find hope. Riding motorcycles from San Francisco to New York, Daniel and Doc speak with Veterans about post-war challenges that lead to suicide and the healing Veterans are finding in alternative forms of therapy such as sailing, pottery, education, service dogs and more.

During the 6,500 mile journey, our riders interview leading researchers, mental health clinicians and educators who specialize in Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress, as well as a leading expert in Warrior Culture and Combat Stress. Asking hard hitting questions and opening up about their own struggles, Daniel and Doc will stop at nothing to reach tomorrow’s twenty-two.

Mission Statement
To raise awareness of Veteran suicides and to educate on methods to overcome symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) in order to prevent Veteran suicides and make alternative therapies available to Veterans with PTS and TBI.

#22KILL Vet Run – To Honor Those Who Serve

#22KILL Vet Run - To Honor Those Who Serve

#22KILL Vet Run Fundraiser

Saturday, November 1st, 2014

#22KILL Vet Run is a one-day motorcycle fundraising event that’s open to everyone who supports veterans. You don’t have to ride a motorcycle to come support.

Join them as they honor our nation’s military and veterans. Proceeds will benefit Veterans through 3 vetted local nonprofit organizations: Operation Once in a Lifetime, Hooves for Heroes and Center for Brain Health’s Warrior Programs.

Check-in begins at 9:00am on the day of the event at Maverick Harley-Davidson, or you can register online now.

Single rider registration is $22, or $25 with a passenger / sidecar. If you want to ride along in a vehicle, you can register for $10. Any donations simply to support are welcomed and appreciated.

There will be live music, food & drinks, and a 50/50 raffle. Don’t forget to purchase a ticket for a chance to win a #22KILL Ducati.

Route (TBD) begins at
Maverick Harley-Davidson
1845 N Interstate 35E
Carrollton, TX

And ends at
Gas Monkey Bar N Grill
10261 Technology Blvd W
Dallas, TX 75220

For questions or concerns, please contact Jimmy Mackin at
jim@veteran.me
972-835-0876

Donate

Attention Homeless and At-Risk Veterans – We Want To Honor and Serve You

The Massachusetts Stand Down is ONE DAY ONLY on Friday August 22, 2014

Event Location
IBEW Local 103
256 Freeport Street Dorchester

Registration
Veterans MUST Bring Proof of Military Service
Hours: 8:00am 4:00pm
No Administration after registration closes

Contact Information
Call: 6175228086
Email: veteran@voamass.org
Or Log On To: www.voamass.org

Free Services Include
Housing Assistance * Job Assistance * Legal Assistance * Education * Mass Health * Medical Aid
Eye Glasses
* Hair Cuts * Foot Care * Oral Health and Dental Screening * Clothing * VA Benefits * Child Support
VA Boston Healthcare System Registration
* Mental Health Counseling * Counseling * Food Stamps
HIV/Aids Resources
* Female Veteran Programs * Voter Registration * Massachusetts ID and Driver License Renewals

What Is The Massachusetts Stand Down?
“Stand Down” is a military term referring to the brief period of time a soldier leaves an active combat area in order to rest and regain strength. Today, Stand Down refers to a grassroots, community based intervention program designed to help the nation’s homeless veteran population.

This event has served as a way of bringing a wide range of specialized resources to help the city’s veterans facing a wide range of problems, from homelessness to mental health needs and everything in between. Stand Down is a once a year opportunity for homeless and at-risk veterans to access a broad spectrum of services in one location

Volunteer
The Massachusetts Stand Down depends on a large number of volunteers to help serve over 1,000 Veterans.
Volunteer areas include:
Veteran and Volunteer Registration * Friendly Site Guide * Clothing Tent * Food Preparation and Service * Family Tent

2014 Stand Down Volunteer Application
For questions about volunteering at Stand Down, contact Melita Little at mlittle@voamass.org or 617-522-8086.

Donate
To find out how you or your business can donate time and services, please contact:

Stephanie Paauwe, Volunteers of America, spaauwe@voamass.org or 617-522-8086.

In Sickness & in Health: A Husband Invents A ‘Tankchair’ For His Paralyzed Wife

During all the trial and error it took for combat veteran Brad Soden to invent a wheelchair worthy of his wife, nothing motivated him more than her tears.

Liz Soden, partially paralyzed after a traffic accident only three months before their wedding, would often be distraught at missing out on family hikes and camping trips with their five kids.

Brad was determined to do something about it.

“When you get her to cry, I’m motivated,” Brad told Matt Lauer on TODAY Thursday. “I’ll make it happen.”

A plumber without a college degree or any training as an engineer, Brad suffered a few setbacks to construct a wheelchair with tank-like treads rugged enough to work off-road and powerful enough to handle mountain trails.

“We started a couple fires, but we had beer on hand, so we could just put it out,” Brad said.

Watch a video on the ‘Tankchair’ at NBC.Com

The end result was the “Tankchair,” which gave Liz the freedom she craved and soon became Brad’s full-time job.

Husband Invents A ‘Tankchair’ For His Paralyzed Wife

Building the “Tankchair” took some trial and error and set some stuff on fire, but Brad got it done.

“It made it where I could go out and go hiking and camping,” Liz told Lauer. “When we went to the snow, I would sit in the car. Now I can get out, and I can chase my kids around, and I can go with them. Just the hiking and getting out — I’m not a prisoner anymore in the car and in the house.”

Brad hopes to provide Tankchairs free of charge to wounded warriors, but as the chairs are classified as recreational vehicles, they are not covered by insurance. The chair, which can travel up to 30 miles per hour and costs between $12,000 and $15,000, has become a hit with disabled veterans — a new one has a three-month waiting list.

Q&A’s About the 100% Disabled Veteran’s Homestead Exemption

If you qualify as a 100% Disabled Veteran, you will be interested in the answers to the most commonly asked questions below.

  • What are the qualifications for this exemption?
    • You qualify for this 100% homestead exemption if you meet these requirements:
      • You own a home and occupy it as your residence homestead.
      • You are receiving 100% disability compensation from the US Department of Veterans Affairs for a service-connected disability.
      • You have a disability rating of 100% disabled or of individual unemployability.

      To get this exemption, you must fill out Form 11.13, checking the box for 100% Disabled Veterans Exemption, as well as all boxes that apply to you. You must attach documentation as well. You may attach a copy of your award letter, a “VA tax letter,” or another document from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs showing 100% disability compensation due to a service-connected disability and a rating of 100% disability or of individual unemployability. The documents you attach must be current documents.

  • How much of my home’s value will it exempt?

    • If you qualify, your home will be totally exempt from property taxes in all jurisdictions, regardless of the home’s value. If you co-own the home with someone other than your spouse, your share of the home’s value will be exempted.
  • I already have a homestead exemption. Do I need to apply for the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption?
    • Yes. This exemption is not given automatically.
  • I just qualified for the disabled veteran’s exemption. Why do I need to send you my documentation for this exemption?
    • Qualifications for the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption differ from those for the prior disabled veteran’s exemption. In particular, you must show that you actually receive 100% disability compensation for a service-connected disability, and have a rating of 100% disability or individual unemployability.
  • When is the new homestead exemption effective?
    • If you apply and qualify for the current tax year as well as the prior tax year, you will be granted the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption for both years. Effective January 1, 2012, you may receive this exemption for the applicable portion of the year immediately upon qualification. (This applies to 2012 forward; not to prior years).
  • I bought my home after January 1, 2011. Will I get the new exemption for part of 2011?
    • No. The exemption will take effect for the 2012 year if you didn’t own your home on January 1, 2011.
  • My disability rating is actually 50%, but because I am over 65, I receive the maximum disability exemption. Do I qualify for the new homestead exemption?
    • No. You must be 100% disabled or have a rating of individual unemployability to qualify for the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption. You must also be receiving 100% disability compensation from the VA. If the VA reduces or changes either of these ratings, it is your responsibility to notify the appraisal district in writing.
  • If something happens to me, will the new homestead exemption pass to my spouse or children?
    • Your surviving spouse, married to you and living at the same residence, may qualify to continue this exemption.
  • I owe delinquent taxes on my home for years before 2011. Will the new exemption affect those?
    • No. The exemption will apply for 2011 forward. It does not affect prior years.
  • I am in a hospital or nursing home. Can I still get the new exemption?
    • Yes, as long as you intend to return to the home when you are able.
  • My spouse and I own our home together. How is this homestead exemption calculated?
    • If the home is community property, it is calculated as if you owned 100% of the home. If the home is not community property, the exemption is prorated in proportion to the value of your interest.
  • I have a mortgage on the home. Can I still get the new homestead exemption?
    • Yes.
  • I don’t currently have a homestead exemption. Do I need to apply for the regular homestead exemption in addition to this one?
    • You should also apply for the regular homestead exemption. This will ensure that you receive the maximum benefits of the regular exemption should your qualification for the new exemption change.
  • I have recently turned 65. Should I apply for the over-65 homestead exemption in addition to the new exemption?
    • Yes, for the same reasons given above.
  • Q. How much of my home’s value will the new exemption exempt?
    • Your home will be totally exempt from property taxes.
  • I meet all of the qualifications for this exemption. I currently apply the $12,000 regular disabled veteran’s exemption to my home. When I get the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption, what happens to the other exemption?
    • This exemption will exempt all of the value of your home. Consequently, the $12,000 disabled veteran’s exemption will have no effect. If you own other taxable property (such as a vacation home or business), you should file a new application with the appraisal district and designate the $12,000 exemption as applying to the other property.
  • Will I have to reapply every year for the 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption?
    • No. Once your exemption is granted, you will not have to reapply unless the chief appraiser requires you to do so in writing.
  • I already have a disability homestead exemption on my home. What is the difference between that one and this one?
    • The existing disability homestead exemption has different requirements and benefits. For that exemption, you must meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled, which is not necessarily the same as that used by the VA or your branch of the military. The benefits are also different. Only school districts are required to provide a disability homestead exemption, though many other taxing entities do. The 100% Disabled Veteran Homestead Exemption will apply to all taxing units and will exempt the total value of your home.
  • Can I apply this exemption to my main home and get the general homestead exemption on my vacation home?
    • No. Both exemptions apply only to the home that is your principal residence. You can, however, apply the prior disabled veteran’s exemption to your vacation home.
  • How do I get documentation of my status from the VA?
    • You can contact the VA at 1-800-827-1000. Their website is at www.va.gov.

They Fought, We Rode: Wounded Vet Run

They Fought We Rode Wounded Vet Run

Yesterday, Sunday April 27th 2014, was the Boston Wounded Vet Run. Thousands of riders hit the open road Sunday afternoon for the 4th annual Boston Wounded Vet Motorcycle Run, to honor fallen Veterans including

  • Spc. Andy Kingsley from Athol, MA
  • Master Sgt. Joseph Deslauriers from Bellingham MA
  • Cpl. Kevin Dubois from Rhode Island
  • and firefighter Michael Kennedy

The 40-mile ride through North Shore towns raises money for wounded veterans. It takes about an hour and a half to complete and goes through Everett, Medford, Stoneham, Wakefield, Saugus, Lunn, Revere and East Boston.

The motorcade included about 4,000 members and was led by three convertibles carrying wounded service members.

Honor & Remember Wounded Vet Run

Honoring Vets Wounded Vet Run

Wounded Vet Run Boston Strong

Our Fallen - Afghan-Iraq - Never Forgotten

Wounded Vet run Apr14

Wounded Vet Run

Wounded Vet Run

VMi New England at the Woundeed Vet Run VMi New England at The 2014 4th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run

VMi New England at The 2014 4th Annual Boston Wounded Vet Run

Understanding Your Employment Rights Under the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Guide for Veterans

In recent years, the percentage of veterans who report having service-connected disabilities (i.e., disabilities that were incurred in, or aggravated during, military service) has risen. About twenty-five percent of recent veterans report having a service-connected disability, as compared to about thirteen percent of all veterans. Common injuries experienced by veterans include missing limbs, spinal cord injuries, burns, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hearing loss, traumatic brain injuries, and other impairments.

This guide is intended to answer questions you may have about your rights as an injured veteran, now that you have left the service and are returning to a civilian job or seeking a new job. It also explains the kinds of adjustments (called reasonable accommodations) that may help you be successful in the workplace.

1. Are there any laws that protect veterans with disabilities in employment?
Yes. There are several federal laws that provide important protections for veterans with disabilities who are looking for jobs or are already in the workplace. Two of those laws –the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) and Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – protect veterans from employment discrimination.

USERRA has requirements for reemploying veterans with and without service-connected disabilities and is enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). Title I of the ADA, which is enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), prohibits private and state and local government employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against individuals on the basis of disability.

2. What does USERRA do?
USERRA prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or applicants for employment on the basis of their military status or military obligations. It also protects the reemployment rights of individuals who leave their civilian jobs (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) to serve in the uniformed services, including the U.S. Reserve forces and state, District of Columbia, and territory (e.g., Guam) National Guards.

Under USERRA, employers must make “reasonable efforts” to help a veteran who is returning to employment to become qualified to perform the duties of the position he or she would have held but for military service whether or not the veteran has a service-connected disability. If the veteran has a disability incurred in, or aggravated during, his or her service, the employer must make reasonable efforts to accommodate the disability and return the veteran to the position in which he or she would have been employed if the veteran had not performed military service. If the veteran is not qualified for that position due to the disability, USERRA requires the employer to make reasonable efforts to help qualify the veteran for a job of equivalent seniority, status, and pay, the duties of which the person is qualified to perform or could become qualified to perform. This could include providing training or retraining for the position at no cost to the veteran. See Title 38, United States Code, Chapter 43 – Employment and Reemployment Rights of Members of the Uniformed Services, 38 U.S.C. § 4313; 20 C.F.R. §§ 1002.198, 1002.225 -.226. USERRA applies to all veterans, not just those with service-connected disabilities, and to all employers regardless of size. For more information on the reemployment rights of uniformed service personnel, see DOL’s website at www.dol.gov/vets.

3. What protections does the ADA provide?
Title I of the ADA prohibits an employer from treating an applicant or employee unfavorably in all aspects of employment — including hiring, promotions, job assignments, training, termination, and any other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment — because he has a disability, a history of having a disability, or because the employer regards him as having a disability. That means, for example, that it is illegal for an employer to refuse to hire a veteran because he has PTSD, because he was previously diagnosed with PTSD, or because the employer assumes he has PTSD. The ADA also limits the medical information employers may obtain and prohibits disability-based harass­ment and retaliation.

Finally, the ADA provides that, absent undue hardship (significant difficulty or expense to the employer), applicants and employees with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodation to apply for jobs, to perform their jobs, and to enjoy equal benefits and privileges of employment (e.g., access to the parts of an employer’s facility available to all employees and access to employer-sponsored training and social events).

Section 501 of the Rehabilitation Act applies the same standards of non-discrimination and reasonable accommodation as the ADA to Federal Executive Branch agencies and the United States Postal Service. Documents explaining Title I of the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act can be found on EEOC’s website at www.eeoc.gov.

4. I was injured during active duty but don’t think of myself as “disabled.” How do I know if I am protected by the ADA?
You are protected if you meet the ADA’s definition of disability and are qualified for the job you want or hold. The ADA defines an “individual with a disability” as a person who (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; (2) has a record of such an impairment (i.e. was substantially limited in the past, such as prior to undergoing rehabilitation); or (3) is regarded, or treated by an employer, as having such an impairment, even if no substantial limitation exists. You are considered qualified if you are able to meet an employer’s requirements for the job, such as education, training, employment experience, skills, or licenses, and are able to perform the job’s essential or fundamental duties with or without reasonable accommodation.

As a result of changes to the ADA made by the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, it is now much easier for individuals with a wide range of impairments to establish that they are individuals with disabilities and entitled to the ADA’s protections. For example, the term “major life activities” includes not only activities such as walking, seeing, hearing, and concentrating, but also the operation of major bodily functions, such as functions of the brain and the neurological system.

Additionally, an impairment need not prevent or severely or significantly restrict your performance of a major life activity to be considered substantially limiting; the determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity must be made without regard to any mitigating measures (e.g., medications or assistive devices, such as prosthetic limbs) that you may use to lessen your impairment’s effects; and impairments that are episodic or in remission (e.g., epilepsy or PTSD) are considered disabilities if they would be substantially limiting when active. Some service-connected disabilities, such as deafness, blindness, partially or completely missing limbs, mobility impairments requiring the use of a wheelchair, major depressive disorder, and PTSD, will easily be concluded to be disabilities under the ADA.

5. If I have a military disability rating or a disability rating from the VA, does that mean I am also covered by the ADA?
Yes, you are probably covered. Although the ADA uses different standards than the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in determining disability, many more service-connected disabilities will also be considered disabilities under the ADA than prior to the ADA Amendments Act.

6. Under the ADA, is a private employer required to hire me over other applicants because I have a disability?
Though it is not required to do so, a private employer may decide to give a veteran with a disability a preference in hiring. The ADA prohibits discrimination “on the basis of disability.” This means that if you are qualified for a job, an employer cannot refuse to hire you because you have a disability or because you may need a reasonable accommodation to perform the job. Even if you are qualified for a job, an employer may choose another applicant without a disability because that individual is better qualified.

Some laws, however, require private employers to give a preference to veterans with disabilities. For example, the Vietnam Era Veteran’s Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) requires that businesses with a federal contract or subcontract in the amount of $100,000 or more, entered into on or after December 1, 2003, take affirmative action to employ and advance qualified disabled veterans. VEVRAA also requires these businesses to list their employment openings with the appropriate employment service and to give covered veterans priority in referral to such openings.

7. Are there any laws that will give me special consideration if I am looking for a job with the federal government?
Yes. Under the Veterans Preference Act, veterans with and without disabilities are entitled to preference over others in hiring from competitive lists of eligible applicants and may be considered for special noncompetitive appointments for which they are eligible.

Federal agencies also may use specific rules and regulations, called “special hiring authorities,” to hire individuals with disabilities outside the normal competitive hiring process, and sometimes may even be required to give preferential treatment to veterans, including disabled veterans, in making hiring decisions.

Here are some of the special hiring authorities that may apply to you if you are looking for a job with the federal government:

  • The Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment (VRA) program allows agencies to appoint eligible veterans without competition.
  • The Veterans Employment Opportunity Act (VEOA) can be used when filling permanent, competitive service positions. It allows veterans to apply for jobs that are only open to “status” candidates, which means “current competitive service employees.”
  • The Schedule A Appointing Authority, though not specifically for veterans, allows agencies to appoint eligible applicants who have a severe physical, psychological, or intellectual disability.

8. During a job interview, may an employer ask about my amputation, why I am in a wheelchair, or how I sustained any other injury I may have?
No. Even if your disability is obvious, an employer cannot ask questions about when, where, or how you were injured. However, where it seems likely that you will need a reasonable accommodation to do the job, an employer may ask you if an accommodation is needed and, if so, what type. In addition, an employer may ask you to describe or demonstrate how you would perform the job with or without an accommodation. For example, if the job requires that you lift objects weighing up to 50 pounds, the employer can ask whether you will need assistance or ask you to demonstrate how you will perform this task. Similarly, if you voluntarily reveal that you have an injury or illness and an employer reasonably believes that you will need an accommodation, it may ask what accommodation you need to do the job.

9. Do I have to disclose an injury or illness that is not obvious during an interview or indicate on a job application that I have a disability?
No. The ADA does not require you to disclose that you have any medical condition on a job application or during an interview. However, if you will need a reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process, such as more time to take a test or permis­sion to provide oral instead of written responses, you must request it. Additionally, some veterans with service-connected disabilities may choose to disclose that they have medical conditions, such as PTSD or a traumatic brain injury, because of symptoms they experience or because they will need a reasonable accommodation at work. Once an employer makes a job offer, it may ask you questions about your medical conditions, and perhaps even require you to take a medical examination, as long as it requires everyone else in the same job to answer the same questions and/or take the same medical examination before starting work.

10. Some applications ask me to indicate whether I am a “disabled veteran.” Is this legal?
Yes, if the information is being requested for affirmative action purposes. See EEOC Enforcement Guidance: Preemployment Disability-Related Questions and Medical Examinations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (1995) at www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/preemp.html. An employer may ask applicants to voluntarily self-identify as individuals with disabilities or “disabled veterans” when the employer is: (1) undertaking affirmative action because of a federal, state, or local law (including a veterans’ preference law) that requires affirmative action for individuals with disabilities; or (2) voluntarily using the information to benefit individuals with disabilities, including veterans with service-connected disabilities.

If an employer invites you to voluntarily self-identify as a disabled veteran, it must clearly inform you in writing (or orally, if no written questionnaire is used) that: (1) the information is being requested as part of the employer’s affirmative action program; (2) providing the information is voluntary; (3) failure to provide it will not subject you to any adverse treatment; and (4) the information will be kept confidential and only used in a way that complies with the ADA.

11. What types of reasonable accommodations may I want to request for the application process or on the job?
The following are examples of types of accommodations that you may need for the application process or while on the job:

  • written materials in accessible formats, such as large print, Braille, or on computer disk
  • extra time to complete a test if you have difficulty concentrating or have a learning disability or traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • interviews, tests, and training held in accessible locations
  • modified equipment or devices (e.g., assistive technology that would allow you to use a computer if you are blind or to use a telephone if you are deaf or hard of hearing; a glare guard for a computer monitor if you have a TBI; a one-handed keyboard if you are missing an arm or hand)
  • physical modifications to the workplace (e.g., reconfiguring a workspace, including adjusting the height of a desk or shelves if you use a wheelchair)
  • permission to work from home
  • leave for treatment, recuperation, or training related to your disability
  • a modified or part-time work schedule
  • a job coach who could assist you if you initially have some difficulty learning or remembering job tasks
  • modification of supervisory methods, such as having a supervisor break complex assignments into smaller, separate tasks, provide some additional feedback or guidance on a task, or adjust methods of communication (e.g., give written rather than oral instructions for completing certain tasks)
  • reassignment to a vacant position if your disability prevents you from performing the duties of your current position or where any reasonable accommodation in your current position would result in undue hardship (i.e., significant difficulty or expense)

12. How do I ask for a reasonable accommodation?
You simply have to indicate — orally or in writing — that you need an adjustment or change in the application process or at work for a reason related to a medical condition. For example, if you have a vision loss and cannot read standard print, you would need to inform the employer that you need the application materials in some other format (e.g., large print or on computer disk) or read to you. You do not have to mention the ADA or use the term “reasonable accommodation.” Someone acting on your behalf, such as a family member, rehabilitation counselor, health professional, or other representative, also can make the request.

13. What happens after I request a reasonable accommodation?
A request for reasonable accommodation is the first step in an informal interactive process between you and the employer.

The process will involve determining whether you have a disability as defined by the ADA (where this is not obvious or already known) and identifying accommodation solutions. An employer also may ask if you know what accommodation you need that will help you apply for or do the job. There are extensive public and private resources to help identify reasonable accommodations for applicants and employees with particular disabilities. For example, the website for the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) provides a practical guide for individuals with disabilities on requesting and discussing reasonable accommodations and on finding the right job. See JAN’s website at www.askjan.org.

14. I am not sure whether I will need a reasonable accommodation. If I don’t ask for one before I start working, can I still ask for one later?
Yes. You can request an accommodation at any time during the application process or when you start working even if you did not ask for one when applying for a job or after receiving a job offer. If you are already receiving a reasonable accommodation, you may also request a different or additional accommodation later if your disability and/or the job changes, or if another accommodation becomes available that will help you.

Generally, you should request an accommodation when you know that there is a workplace barrier that is preventing you from competing for or performing a job or having equal access to the benefits of employment. As a practical matter, it is better to request a reasonable accommodation before your job performance suffers.

15. What can I do if I feel that an employer has violated the ADA by not hiring me or providing a reasonable accommodation?
If you believe that your employment rights have been violated on the basis of disability (or for some other discriminatory reason), there are actions you can take:

  • Claims against a private or a state or local government employer:To take formal action, you must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. The charge must be filed by mail or in person with the local EEOC office within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation. The 180-day filing deadline is extended to 300 days if a state or local anti-discrimination law also covers the charge.The EEOC will send you and the employer a copy of the charge and may ask for responses and supporting information. Before a formal investigation, the EEOC may select the charge for EEOC’s mediation program. Mediation is free, confidential, and voluntary for both parties. A charge will only be mediated if both parties agree to participate in the process. Mediation may prevent a time-consuming investigation of the charge.If a charge goes to mediation but is unsuccessful or is not selected for mediation, the EEOC investigates the charge to determine if there is “reasonable cause” to believe discrimination has occurred. If reasonable cause is found, the EEOC will then try to resolve the charge with the employer. In some cases, where the charge cannot be resolved, the EEOC will file a court action. If the EEOC finds no discrimination, or if an attempt to resolve the charge fails and the EEOC decides not to file suit, it will issue you a notice of a “right to sue,” which will give you 90 days to file a court action. You also can request a notice of a “right to sue” from the EEOC 180 days after the charge first was filed with the EEOC and may then bring suit within 90 days after receiving the notice.

For a detailed description of the process, visit our website at www.eeoc.gov/charge/overview_charge_filing.html.

  • Claims against a federal government agency: If you are a federal employee or applicant and you believe that a federal agency has discriminated against you, you have a right to file a complaint. Each agency is required to post information about how to contact the agency’s EEO Office. You can contact an EEO Counselor by calling the office responsible for the agency’s EEO complaints program.The first step is to contact an EEO Counselor at the agency where you work or where you applied for a job. Generally, you must contact the EEO Counselor within 45 days from the day the discrimination occurred. In most cases the EEO Counselor will give you the choice of participating either in EEO counseling or in an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) program, such as a mediation program.If you do not settle the dispute during counseling or through ADR, you can file a formal discrimination complaint against the agency with the agency’s EEO Office. You must file within 15 days from the day you receive notice from your EEO Counselor about how to file. Once you have filed a formal complaint, the agency will review the complaint and, if the complaint is not dismissed for procedural reasons (e.g., because it was filed too late), the agency will conduct an investigation. The agency has 180 days from the day you filed your complaint to finish the investigation. When the investigation is finished, the agency will issue a notice giving you two choices: either request a hearing before an EEOC Administrative Judge or ask the agency to issue a decision as to whether the discrimination occurred.

Calling All Veterans! Don’t Forget To Enter The Star Spanged Salute Today For Your Chance To Win!

Calling All Veterans! Enter 'The Star Spanged Salute' Today For Your Chance To Win!
VMI’s Star Spangled Salute
The 2nd Annual Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute Veteran Contest has now been launched by VMI (Vantage Mobility International) alongside Toyota Motor Sales USA. Enter for your chance to win a brand new 2015 Toyota Sienna with a VMI Access 360 in-floor ramp conversion system.

Eligibility
Only U.S. disabled veterans are eligible to win the free mobility van. If you are a disabled veteran or would like to enter the contest on a veteran’s behalf, simply fill out the form. Only one-entry per household.

Contest Details

  • Registrar to win a 2015 Toyota VMI Wheelchair Van
  • Entries must be submitted by 11/09/14
  • Winner announced Veterans Day, 11/11/14

Important Dates

  • 04/02/2014 – VMI will begin accepting The Star Spangled Salute entries
  • 11/09/2014 – The Star Spangled Salute Entries End
  • 11/11/2014 – VMI will draw and announce The Star Spangled Salute on Veterans Day
  • 12/31/2014 – The Star Spangled Salute Winner MUST claim prize before December 31, 2014


Terms and Conditions:

The 2014 Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute campaign is valid from April 2, 2014 to November 9, 2014 for all Disabled U.S. Veterans.

Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on November 11, 2014 and must show proof of military service. Winner will receive any 2015 Toyota Sienna with the VMI Northstar Conversion; no exceptions will be made.

No purchase necessary. Valid in the United States only. Limit one entry per household. Entries may be made at www.vans4vets.com or by calling 800-488-6148.

If the winner already purchased their Toyota VMI Northstar conversion between April 2, 2014 and November 10, 2014 – they can elect to be reimbursed for their out of pocket cost of the wheelchair accessible Toyota VMI Northstar minivan by December 31, 2014. Reimbursement will be coordinated between VMI and the winner directly if the vehicle was purchased prior to the winner being announced.

Campaign is not valid on any added accessories. Winner is responsible for the payment of applicable taxes and registration fees. Prize must be claimed by December 31, 2014 and is non-transferable. No exceptions will be made.

WIN a Brand New 2015 Toyota Sienna VMI Northstar Access 360 Wheelchair Van!

WIN a Brand New 2015 Toyota Sienna VMI Northstar Access 360 Wheelchair Van!
VMI’s Star Spangled Salute
The 2nd Annual Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute Veteran Contest has now been launched by VMI (Vantage Mobility International) alongside Toyota Motor Sales USA. Enter for your chance to win a brand new 2015 Toyota Sienna with a VMI Access 360 in-floor ramp conversion system.

Eligibility
Only U.S. disabled veterans are eligible to win the free mobility van. If you are a disabled veteran or would like to enter the contest on a veteran’s behalf, simply fill out the form. Only one-entry per household.

Contest Details

  • Registrar to win a 2015 Toyota VMI Wheelchair Van
  • Entries must be submitted by 11/09/14
  • Winner announced Veterans Day, 11/11/14

Important Dates

  • 04/02/2014 – VMI will begin accepting The Star Spangled Salute entries
  • 11/09/2014 – The Star Spangled Salute Entries End
  • 11/11/2014 – VMI will draw and announce The Star Spangled Salute on Veterans Day
  • 12/31/2014 – The Star Spangled Salute Winner MUST claim prize before December 31, 2014


Terms and Conditions:

The 2014 Operation Independence Star Spangled Salute campaign is valid from April 2, 2014 to November 9, 2014 for all Disabled U.S. Veterans.

Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on November 11, 2014 and must show proof of military service. Winner will receive any 2015 Toyota Sienna with the VMI Northstar Conversion; no exceptions will be made.

No purchase necessary. Valid in the United States only. Limit one entry per household. Entries may be made at www.vans4vets.com or by calling 800-488-6148.

If the winner already purchased their Toyota VMI Northstar conversion between April 2, 2014 and November 10, 2014 – they can elect to be reimbursed for their out of pocket cost of the wheelchair accessible Toyota VMI Northstar minivan by December 31, 2014. Reimbursement will be coordinated between VMI and the winner directly if the vehicle was purchased prior to the winner being announced.

Campaign is not valid on any added accessories. Winner is responsible for the payment of applicable taxes and registration fees. Prize must be claimed by December 31, 2014 and is non-transferable. No exceptions will be made.

Operation Independence

Operation Independence wheelchair accessible vehicles for veterans
Operation Independence is an awareness campaign to help Veterans understand and utilize their vehicle mobility benefits such as the auto allowance grant and the automobile adaptive equipment program. These benefits along with the assistance of a VMI Select Dealer can help a Veteran select and purchase a wheelchair accessible vehicle that best fits their needs.

VMI is the premier manufacturer of wheelchair accessible vans. VMI Dealers, such as VMi New England, are experts in mobility assessment and customization. Together we have combined our knowledge with the Paralyzed Veterans of America to increase awareness with disabled Veterans regarding VA vehicle benefits, and help them get the benefits they have earned while serving our country.

VMI and Select Dealer Networks, such as VMi New England, will help give Veterans a $1000 rebate towards a van that will be converted for wheelchair accessibility.