December 30, 2019

{Guest Post} How to Support Children in Military Families

How to Support Children in Military Families
First, we want to thank all of our military families for their service to make this country safer for all of us to live in on a daily basis. And we could never understand how difficult it is for military parents and especially kids that are apart of military families.

It can be difficult to move from place to place at a moment's notice and not being familiar with the people or places that you will be introduced too. It is important that we not only provide support to families but especially the children as your family unit transitions from place to place.

Think about it children that are apart of military families move up to three times more frequently than the average family.

Communicate with your child's school

It can be difficult for teachers to be conscious of what is going on throughout the year so it is recommended that you communicate upcoming dates of deployment or training with your children's school. By communicating these dates with your children teachers it will help them to stay aware of any upcoming signs of anxiety and stress that the child may begin to exhibit. 

It will also help them to offer the child away to relax or an outlet that helps them to express the feelings that they may have pent up about the impending deployment. The open line of communication will also help in case your child will need to take an absence from school in that they can get the world ahead of time and not miss valuable information while they are away.

Communicating with your child's school will allow their transition into their new school to go as smoothly as they possibly can. Which is important especially since military families are constantly moving from place to place.

Ask questions for clarity

Wherever you move that place will have its own set of rules and procedures. To ensure that your transition continues to be smooth ask any and all questions you may have when it comes to your children's transition.

Ask about the school rulebook and what is expected of your child when they are entering into their new school. Also, it is helpful to ask about the assessment and test dates so that you can make sure your child doesn't miss important things like the SAT or the ACT.

You may also want to inquire about times where you are able to come to your child's school and volunteer or eat lunch with them. This may help your child to begin to feel more comfortable versus just being shoved into a new situation and being scared.

Spend time with other military families

It can be tough making new friends in a brand new are so we urge you to get in contact with other military families and your children can spend time with other children in military families. Sometimes it is easier to identify with people that have been in or are currently in the same situation that your family is in.

Children need friends their own age so that their social interactions skills aren't delayed because of the constant moving. And having friends they can relate to can decrease the likelihood that they will become depressed or face other mental issues that can stem from moving constantly.

Stay on top of educational records

Stay on top of your children's educational records and if possibly send them ahead to the net school electronically to save yourself some time as well as create a paper trail that shows that you did send your child stuff ahead. By staying on top of your child's school records you can reduce any chance that you move and then have to go through various hurdles to obtain the records once you've moved.

The other thing that keeping up with school records does is it allows your children's new teachers to understand where your child may be struggling and where their previous school left off as far as curriculum. This will ensure your child doesn't fall any further behind then they need to which can make catching up and moving on to the next grade difficult.

You can also save time for your children that have IEPs by carrying the documentation with you. This will make sure that the school has some background in case the electronic version from the previous school has not been sent ahead yet.

Other records you may want to bring with you are examples of your child's work. It will help the teachers to understand what your child is good at, needs help with, and if they have any special talents or interests that may make their transition smoother.

Connect with organizations

There are various organizations around the world that specialize specifically in helping military families with their transitions. They offer resources that help military families get connected with others in the community that can offer them the support that they need while they are making such a difficult transition.

This can be helpful of one parent is currently deployed leaving the other parent to do all of the moving and getting the kids settled themselves. The more help you can find the better and these organizations are designed to have already done the work for you so that you don't have to spend valuable time searching for support.

Get ready….

We understand that transitions are tough and can cause everyone involved to become stressed out and anxious over what is to come, but we hope that this article helps to guide you through your transition. We also hope that the connections you make help your children to view transitions as a great thing and begin looking forward to new places and new adventures.

Don't be afraid there is always help that is set up to assist those who risk their lives for us and our families. We can all lend a hand to helping provide adequate support your children need during this crucial time period. Thank you again for your families service. 

Tiffany Simmons is a Georgia mom, wife, and aspiring children’s book writer. Acquiring a BS in Mass Communications & Marketing from the University of West Ga. Leaving a job in the healthcare profession to become a freelance writer for!

November 19, 2019

VA - Accredited Claims Agent Discusses Mesothelioma Claims and World-class VA care

VA - accredited claims agent discusses mesothelioma claims and world-class VA care 
Author: Nicole Godfrey 
Every year in the United States, approximately 2,000 to 3,000 people are diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. Unfortunately, this cancer disproportionately affects the men and women that have served our country. Some reports indicate that about one third of mesothelioma patients are Veterans. 

Many Veterans have misconceptions about the VA and benefits eligibility. If you are a Veteran and you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma – free help is available. 

Retired Naval officer, Lt. Cmdr. Carl Jewett helps Veterans and their loved ones receive compensation from VA as a result of asbestos illnesses like mesothelioma. Serving as a VA-accredited claims agent, he provides free assistance in filing for VA benefits. 

“Most Veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma are entitled to disability compensation or pension benefits. Surviving spouses and dependents may also qualify for dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) or survivor pension from VA,” said Jewett. “Veterans make up the largest group of people diagnosed with mesothelioma because asbestos was so widely used in the military. As a Vet who served your country, you are entitled to these benefits. They are your right. These financial benefits are how we, as a nation, take care of the men and women who helped to preserve the freedoms that we all enjoy in this country, especially those who are disabled as a result of their military service.” 

Jewett is a retired Navy submariner who served in the military for just under 24 years, both enlisted and as an officer. Jewett understands that sometimes obstacles and concerns may keep a Veteran from filing a claim. Sometimes the greatest obstacles are misconceptions that many Veterans have about their eligibility for VA benefits. 

“I’ve worked with hundreds of Veterans who were floored to hear that they were eligible for disability for their asbestos illness, even if it has been decades since they were in the military. Too often they assume – despite asbestos diseases taking 15 to 45-plus years to manifest after exposure to asbestos – that they can’t apply for a service connected disability decades after serving. But, the reality is that there is no amount of time that can pass that would make a Veteran ineligible,” Jewett explained. 

“With the right help, it’s much easier to qualify and receive benefits than you realize,” he acknowledged, “over the past decade, I’ve had the honor of helping over 1,200 Veterans file, and get approved for asbestos-related illnesses.” 

Many Veterans believe that they’re not entitled to compensation unless the military was the sole source of asbestos exposure. This is a myth. 

In truth, the VA only requires that your illness is “at least as likely as not” to have been caused by the military. This basically boils down to whether your military exposure to asbestos was at least a 50 percent contributing factor in your developing an asbestos illness. To accomplish this, Jewett assists Veterans in detailing their exposures to asbestos and their entire work history in a statement in support of the Veteran’s claim. 

“The VA acknowledges that asbestos is the only known cause of malignant pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. However, they require a detailed asbestos exposure statement with each claim. I have helped thousands of Veterans convince the VA that their military exposure is at least as likely as not to have caused their asbestos disease. I streamline the claims process, assisting Vets in filling out the forms, writing their exposure statement, and gathering all the other supporting documentation for their claim. I do everything I can to make it easy for Veterans to file,” said Jewett. 

One of the benefits of this compensation is that it’s tax-free. Furthermore, Veterans with these asbestos illnesses are eligible even if they are already retired and no longer working. Employment status and age do not affect eligibility. Neither does the Veteran’s income. 

“I have talked to many vets who tell me that they aren’t eligible for VA benefits because they applied once in the past, and were denied because they made too much money. But this is only because they applied for non-service connected VA Pension, which is a means tested benefit, therefore your income does play a role. VA disability compensation is not means tested so their income is not a factor,” Jewett explained. 

A large number of Veterans aren’t even aware that they have two of the nation’s best mesothelioma specialists available to them. Both Dr. Abraham Lebenthal and Dr. Robert Cameron offer mesothelioma treatment through their respective VA hospitals. 

Lebenthal is a mesothelioma specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is known for treating many Veterans through the West Roxbury VA Hospital in Boston. 

Cameron is the innovator behind the lung-saving procedure known as pleurectomy with decortication (P/D). He is a specialist at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center also treats Veterans with mesothelioma at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. 

“Finding a mesothelioma specialist for your diagnosis is the best way to extend your survival time. All too often, patients are misinformed of their treatment options by doctors who aren’t specialists. I am telling Veterans with mesothelioma all the time that they should take anything that a non-mesothelioma specialist says about their treatment options or prognosis, with a grain of salt. You have a rare disease, you need a specialist.” stated Jewett. 

Veterans with private health insurance should see one of the handful of mesothelioma specialists around the country, including Lebenthal or Cameron. Veterans who only have VA Health Care can either get their VA doctor to refer them to a civilian doctor outside the VA system, or simply get a referral to Lebenthal or Cameron, and be treated for free in Boston or Los Angeles. 

Many Veterans left the military and worked in civilian jobs that exposed them to more asbestos than they had in the military. If you are a Veteran with mesothelioma that isn’t service-related, you may still receive compensation in the form of a non-service connected VA pension. Pension requires that the Veteran served for at least 90 days, one of which was during a period of war, and their income must be below the amount prescribed by law. Pension can help both Veterans and their families by providing a tax-free monthly income to help with financial burdens. 

Both Veterans and their surviving family members can apply for the VA’s pension program. In circumstances where an individual is housebound or requires care from another person, they may receive additional compensation. 

Thank you to Carl for sharing this valuable information! 

Carl Jewett
LCDR, US Navy, Retired
VA Accredited Claims Agent
(844) 838-6376 Office
(407) 792-1203 Mobile/Text

August 27, 2019

{Guest Post} Tips for Moms Re-Entering the Workforce

Get Your Mojo Back: 9 Networking Tips for Moms Re-Entering the Workforce

Re-entering the workforce after you have kids is tough, but it’s not impossible—and savvy networking can open up tons of opportunities that you might not have otherwise, including family-friendly jobs with flexible schedules. If you’re feeling a bit rusty, follow these nine tips to get your networking mojo back as you prepare to become a working mom:
Connect with other working parents.
Working while raising kids (especially young children) is a huge commitment, one that other parents—particularly moms—will understand. Talking with other working parents will instantly give you common ground, making it easier to forge a connection. Not only will they be great contacts for you to know, they might also be able to introduce you to other working parents who are in a similar situation. Plus, they probably have tried-and-true advice on how to work while raising a family since they’re doing it themselves.

Use LinkedIn to your advantage.
The first step is to update your LinkedIn (and your personal website, if you have one) to reflect your most current professional accomplishments. Once that’s done, you can start using LinkedIn to reach out to your existing contacts, explaining that you’re looking to get back into the workforce and would love to catch up with them. You can also use LinkedIn to connect with people whom you haven’t met yet, but would like to know. Just make sure to send a note along with your connect request, explaining why you wanted to reach out.

Join professional organizations.
Professional organizations give you immediate access to professionals you have something in common with, whether it’s your gender, the city you live in or the industry you work for. Do some research to see what options are available in your city. The local Chamber of Commerce usually hosts several professional affinity groups, but there are likely other professional organizations out there as well. You might also want to check or similar websites to see if there are any gatherings of working moms in your area.
Attend conferences and other events.
Professional organizations aren’t the only way to meet new people. Look out for conferences, trade shows, workshops, networking happy hours and other events where you can mix and mingle with potential new contacts. Whether or not “networking” is officially in the title, many people attend these events with the express purpose of meeting new contacts. If you’re nervous about attending, see if one of your fellow working mom friends is willing to go with you and keep you company (just make sure you talk to people besides each other at the event!). Don’t forget to bring business cards to hand out to the new people you meet, and you might also want to carry a portfolio with copies of your resume, just in case.

Consider heading back to class.
Learning isn’t just for college students. Attending a class or workshop tailored to professionals is a great way to meet others in your field and continue your studies. Many universities and professional organizations offer workshops that span just a few days and cover a specific topic in depth, such as leading teams or working with millennials. If you want something a little more substantial, you can also look into certifications or even more involved degrees such as an Executive MBA program, which will introduce you to other professionals as well as jumpstart your old career (or help you switch into a new one).

Reach back out to old contacts.
It’s a lot easier to reconnect with people you already know than to rebuild your network from scratch. Even if it’s been a while, don’t be afraid to call or email old contacts from your previous job, or even friends from college. You’ll get a much better response rate if you reach out to someone you already know, as opposed to cold emailing a stranger, so rifle through your mental Rolodex to figure out who you know and who you’d like to re-establish a relationship with.
Volunteer at school.
Yep, that’s right. Your kid’s school could be a potential networking opportunity, especially if a lot of other working parents send their kids to the same school. Signing up to help with a committee or to host a fundraising event will give you a chance to spend quality time with other parents and get to know what they do for a living. Even if it doesn’t lead to a job offer or a work BFF relationship, you’ll get to learn from their experiences and earn brownie points for getting involved at the school.

Work with your partner on scheduling.
Many networking events are at night, which can make it tough for parents who need to put little ones to bed. If you have a partner, clearly communicate with them on the scheduling to figure out a compromise that works for both of you. Maybe you can handle bed time on Mondays and Wednesdays, but they’ll cover Tuesdays and Thursdays, leaving you free to attend professional events on those nights. If you can afford it, you might also want to look into hiring a babysitter if both you and your partner are busy on the same night.

Maximize work hours.
If you’re already working, it’s important to keep networking since you never know when you might want to pursue a new opportunity. But if you have kids at home, it can be tough to be away from the house even longer than normal business hours. Rather than trying to accommodate dinner meetings and late-night events, see if you can schedule lunch or even breakfast meetings. That way, you can fit in your networking and still make it home in time to put the kids to bed.

Networking as a new mom won’t just help get you a job, it will also help you create a support network of fellow professional parents who know exactly what you’re going through. Follow these nine strategies to start building your networking again as a working mom.

Thank you Lee Becknell, Senior Digital Marketing Manager from Pinnacle Promotions for this very informative guest post. If you missed her previous post click here:  Professional Networking Advice for Veterans