Lump sum payment may be welcome change

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission has examined and rejected a proposal that the VA begin offering veterans with lower-rated disabilities a lump-sum payment instead of lifetime monthly compensation. The 13-member commission reached its decision unanimously last week at a public meeting in Washington, D.C. It did so after being briefed […]

Air Force vet helps others with disabilities

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John Prater, left, spent 26 years in the Air Force. (Freedom Newspapers: Claude Vigil) By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer Instead of settling into retirement and putting up his feet after 26 years in the Air Force, John Prater headed to the college classroom. However, somewhere along the way he began to suffer the effects […]

Disabled veterans program mismanaged

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Department of Veterans Affairs mismanages its program for rating disabled veterans as “unemployable,” according to a new report by congressional auditors. Because of weak oversight of Individual Unemployability (IU) benefits, some veterans get more compensation than warranted, and the VA is ineffective in moving seriously disabled veterans toward productive […]

Labor department employees use real-life experience to help others

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New Mexico Department of Labor employees Matthew Barela, left, and Luis Flores work with veterans at the New Mexico Department of Labor. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth) By Andy Jackson: CNJ staff writer Matthew Barela came back home to Clovis in 1993 changed forever after his spinal cord was injured in a land mine explosion in […]

Flaws discovered in disability benefits

By Tom Philpott: Military Update A commission conducting the first major review of veterans’ disability benefits in 50 years was warned at its inaugural meeting that perhaps too many veterans have been deemed “unemployable,” which raises their compensation to the level of 100-percent disabled veterans. Renee L. Szybala, director for operations of VA’s Compensation and […]

Federal agency helps disabled purchase homes

Ralph Gallagher’s lifetime dream was to own a home, said Tammy Lewis, executive director of Alliance Behavioral Health Services, a private, for-profit agency that helps the developmentally disabled. A long-time client of mental health service providers, Gallagher never earned enough money to pay a mortgage, she noted. This is where Clovis Secton 8 Homeownership Program […]

Agreement means more money for vets

Tom Philpott Congress and the Bush administration have agreed to a $22.1 billion deal over 10 years that will dramatically pare back a century-old ban on “concurrent receipt” of both military retired pay and tax-free disability compensation for injuries or illnesses traced to time in service. Up to 200,000 disabled retirees with 20 or more […]

Wilson, Jerrita

Ms. Jerrita Wilson, 48, of Portales, died Monday, April 21, 2003, at Roosevelt General Hospital in Portales. She was born on Aug. 26, 1954, in Portales, to Joyce and J.W. Wilson. She grew up in Portales and graduated from Portales High School in 1972. She went on to attend beauty school in Clovis, and worked […]