The Villages Voice - May 2011

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Veterans Corner

by Fred Harrop

Veteran Corner

Fred Harrop, Manager, Sumter County Veteran Services


Government Warns Veterans of Scam Group

The federal government is asking veterans to keep an eye out for a scam that is targeting former service members.

A fallacious group called the Veterans Affairs Services is claiming to provide benefits and general information by gathering personal information on veterans, but the group is NOT affiliated with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The group operates a website but all official VA websites end in .gov.

If you have not dealt with the VA concerning claims for benefits and all of a sudden you receive a call from someone saying they’re from the VA, “just hang up on them”.

The VA asks that veterans who receive information from the fake group notify the VA at 1 (800) 827-1000.


Project SOS

Project SOS-Support Our Soldiers, Inc., is a Rotary Club sponsored humanitarian organization which serves as a facilitator in providing medical supplies for our troops overseas. A recent example of this support was over 10,000 pounds of urgently needed medical and surgical supplies and equipment, along with 3000 pounds of powdered infant formula and baby bottles were transported to MacDill AFB this February to our medical units serving in Afghanistan.

The Project coordinates donations from various area providers such as: The Villages Healthcare System; Leesburg Regional Medical Center; South lake Hospital; Cornerstone Hospice and the Medicine Chest Pharmacy. These groups, along with other local organizations, stepped up to answer the Projects call for help.

If you want to help or want more information on the project, please contact Gary Kadow at


VA Urges Direct Deposit Sign Up

The U.S. Department of the Treasury recently announced a new rule that they will stop issuing paper checks on March 1, 2013. The VA is urging everyone in receipt of a regular monthly benefit to sign up for direct deposit in the near future. It’s really easy to sign up for direct deposit. All you need to do is call the toll free hotline @ (877) 838-2778 with your claim number, bank routing number and account number.

Individuals who do not have electronic payments for their federal benefits will receive their funds via a pre-paid debit card.

This change will also affect Social Security, SSI, Railroad Retirement Board and Civil Service payments.

VA Caregiver Support: Caring For Those Who Care

The VA recently opened a toll-free National Caregiver Support line to assist anyone who provides care for veterans who are living with the effects of war, disability, chronic illness, or aging. The line will be open Monday through Friday 8am to 11pm and Saturday 10:30am to 6pm. The number is 1 (855) 260-3274

The Villages and Leesburg VA Clinics also have assistance through their Social Worker. The Villages Clinic POC is Margaret Butler and can be reached at (352) 674-5000 ext. 1436. The Leesburg Clinic can be reached at (352) 435-4000

For additional information, the VA has established a caregiver website: