Did You Know? Internships for WTU Soldiers

By Amanda Koons, WTC Communications Division

Did you know that internships develop or reinforce skill sets transitioning wounded, ill and injured Soldiers need to prepare for civilian employment? An internship program may support your rehabilitation and integration goals while providing valuable civilian experience. Talk to your Transition Coordinator (TC) to see if an internship is right for you.

There are two approved internship programs for Soldiers in Warrior Transition Units (WTUs):

  1. Department of Defense (DOD) Operation Warfighter (OWF) Non-Paid Federal Internship program
  2. Veterans Affairs (VA) Coming Home to Work (CHTW) Non-Paid Work Experience

Check out some frequently asked questions for Soldiers about participating in an internship:

How will I benefit from participating in an internship?

An unexpected injury or illness may have changed your life plans. An internship may help you see past your injuries to new possibilities within a new military or civilian career. The valuable experience you gain during your internship will enhance your resume and future job search.

How can I get the most out of my internship experience?

Establishing specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART) career goals and maintaining motivation will lead to a productive internship. You must be active, aggressive and accountable in meeting goals outlined in your individual Comprehensive Transition Plan.

What results can I expect from participating in an internship?

You can expect numerous results from participating in an internship:

  • Meaningful activity that assists in wellness
  • Exploring employment interests
  • Developing civilian job skills
  • Reintegrating into the civilian work force
  • Gaining valuable federal government work experience
  • Understanding of how military skills are transferable to civilian employment
  • Building a résumé

What is required before I may participate in an internship?

You must be determined medically ready, which depends on two factors:

  1. A medical management (M2) clearance finding you medically, physically, and emotionally ready to participate in an internship while continuing medical treatment.
  2. A Command clearance concluding that you demonstrate the initiative and self-discipline required to participate in an internship.

You must also have a federal résumé and a completed and signed OWF Approval for Participation form.

May I receive compensation for my internship duties?

No. You may not receive compensation or benefits from the agency as you will continue to be paid by the Army until discharge or return to duty.

 Where can I get more information about participating in an internship?

You should work directly with your Transition Coordinator (TC). Your TC will ensure you meet the requirements and all steps necessary to obtain an internship. Download the new “Did You Know?” Internships factsheet from the Career and Employment Readiness section of the WTC website for additional frequently asked questions.

“Did You Know?” Series

Using your feedback, WTC Communications Division identified five topics where wounded, ill or injured Soldiers, Families and Cadre want additional information, particularly around Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP) resources, benefits and policies that impact their recovery and transition. We’ll post one blog per week on these five topics throughout our “Did You Know?” blog series during Warrior Care Month:

  1. Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL)
  2. Community Support Resources
  3. Internships
  4. Adaptive Reconditioning
  5. Transition Coordinators

Is there another topic you want us to cover in the future? Post a comment here


Did You Know? WTC Community Support Network

By Amanda Koons, WTC Stratcom

Did you know that wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, Veterans, their Families and Caregivers may be eligible to receive free or discounted products and services from local organizations through the WTC Community Support Network? WTC connects individuals in the Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP) with local community organizations that offer products and services that are free of charge, covered by insurance or at a significantly reduced cost.

Read on for answers to the questions “who, what, when, where and why” about the Community Support Network.

Who may be eligible to participate in the Community Support Network?

Online Community Support Network resources are available to all wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, Veterans, their Family members and Caregivers. Each Network organization determines who they are able to assist individually. Before signing up, Soldiers and Veterans should contact the organization to determine whether or not they are eligible.

What is the Community Support Network?

Community Support Network organizations provide a wide variety of products and services, including but not limited to:

  • Adaptive Reconditioning and Recreational Services
  • Animal and Pet Supplies and Services
  • Care Packages, Correspondence, Food and Moral Support
  • Education and Career Training
  • Employment Support and Opportunities
  • Fertility and Reproduction Counseling
  • Financial Counseling and Services
  • Housing and Relocation Assistance and Counseling
  • Mental Wellness Support and Counseling
  • Retirement and Transition
  • Substance Abuse Assistance and Counseling
  • Veteran, Soldier and Family Assistance

For the full list of categories and organizations, visit www.WTC.Army.mil/Community.

When do I need to obtain an ethics opinion about Community Support Network products or services?

Active Duty Soldiers, including Reserve and National Guard Soldiers while on active duty, need to obtain an ethics opinion if the value of any individual gift or donation they receive exceeds $350 or if various gifts from the same source in a calendar year exceed $1000. If you have questions about this guideline, contact your chain of command.

Where can I find more information about the Community Support Network?

Your source for up to date Community Support Network information is the Community Support Network website: www.WTC.army.mil/Community. Check back often to see new organizations as they are added. The WTC blog also frequently features posts about Community Support Network organizations. To see relevant posts, go to: http://WTC.armylive.dodlive.mil/tag/Community-Support-Network.

Why should I participate in the Community Support Network?

Why not? Organizations offer unique and sometimes hard to find solutions. These products and services are there for wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans. Community Support Network organizations have agreed to one or more of the following:

  1. Providing products or services free of charge,
  2. Accepting insurance as a payment, or
  3. Offering products or services at a significantly reduced price, with all costs being disclosed up front and prior to any agreement.

Experience shows that community support aids in the successful recovery and transition of wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and Veterans as they reintegrate into their local communities.

“Did You Know?” Series

Using your feedback, WTC Stratcom identified five topics where wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, Families and Cadre want additional information, particularly around Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP) resources, benefits and policies that impact their recovery and transition. We’ll post one blog per week on these five topics throughout our “Did You Know?” blog series during Warrior Care Month:

1)   Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL)

2)   Community Support Resources

3)   Internships

4)   Adaptive Reconditioning

5)   Transition Coordinators

Is there another topic you want us to cover in the future? Post a comment here.

Did You Know? Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL)

By Amanda Koons, WTC Stratcom

Did you know that servicemembers who incurred a permanent catastrophic injury or illness may be eligible for a monthly financial compensation called Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL)? SCAADL helps offset the loss of income by a primary Caregiver who provides non-medical care, support and assistance for the servicemember. Read on to see who qualifies for SCAADL, what steps you should take to apply and where you can go to find more information.

1.)  Do I qualify for SCAADL?

You may qualify for SCAADL if you are a servicemember who:

  • Has a catastrophic* injury or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty;
  • Has been certified by a Department of Defense (DoD) or Veterans Affairs (VA) physician to be in need of assistance from another person to perform the person functions required in daily living or required constant supervision;
  • Would, in the absence of this provision, require some form of residential institutional care (i.e. hospitalization or nursing home care); and
  • Is not currently in inpatient status in a medical facility.

*Catastrophic: A permanent severely disabling injury, disorder or illness incurred or aggravated in the line of duty that the Secretary of the military department concerned determines compromises the ability of the afflicted person to carry out activities of daily living to such a degree that the person requires person or mechanical assistance to leave home or bed or constant supervision to avoid physical harm to self or others.

2.)  What steps should I take to apply?

SCAADL is not automatic. Soldiers must actively apply. If you believe you qualify for SCAADL, contact a member of your recovery team, such as your primary care manager, nurse case manager, AW2 Advocate or unit leadership for the SCAADL application and guidance.

Your DOD or VA physician will complete a DD Form 298. If your attending physician is not affiliated with DOD or VA, your recovery team can make arrangements to have a DOD or VA physician review your case and complete the certification. Your application (DD Form 2948) will be forwarded, via your chain of command, to the Warrior Transition Command.

3.)  Where can I go to find more information?

Your first resource for information about SCAADL is your recovery team, including your primary care manager, nurse case manager, AW2 Advocate or unit leadership. In addition, the following electronic resources are available to you:

“Did You Know?”Series

Using your feedback, WTC Stratcom identified five topics where wounded, ill and injured Soldiers, Families and cadre want additional information, particularly around Warrior Care and Transition Program (WCTP) resources, benefits and policies that impact their recovery and transition. We’ll post one blog per week on these five topics throughout our “Did You Know?” blog series during Warrior Care Month:

  1. Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL)
  2. Community Support Resources
  3. Internships
  4. Adaptive Reconditioning
  5. Transition Coordinators

Is there another topic you want us to cover in the future? Post a comment here.

 

AW2 Veteran Explains Importance of Resources in Civilian Workforce

By Emily D. Anderson, WTC STRATCOM

AW2 Veteran Robert Murafsky shares his transition story publicly to inspire wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans and gain support for the AW2 community. (Photo Credit: Sanchez Santos)

AW2 Veteran Robert Murafsky shares his transition story publicly to inspire wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers and Veterans and gain support for the AW2 community. (Photo Credit: Sanchez Santos)

Most people consider speaking about themselves a challenge, especially if it is to a crowd of people. Army Wounded Warrior Program (AW2) Veteran Robert Murafsky tackled this task in order to provide insights about thriving in today’s workforce as an AW2 Veteran.

“I knew I wanted to be a Soldier since I was a little kid watching the Army commercials on television,” said the Metuchen, N.J. native. “I thought when I joined the military, I would serve 20-plus years, retire, and spend the rest of my life fishing and falling asleep in my reclining chair.”

“However, my reality changed once I was wounded because I had to recover and refocus,” Murafsky added. “If it wasn’t for great programs like the Army Wounded Warrior Program, I wouldn’t have the job I have today working as an Army civilian.”

On August 28, 2006, while performing a search mission during a deployment in Hit, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, an enemy sniper shot Murafsky in the face damaging his right eye.

“A few minutes into the search I felt an awful pain, heard a loud ringing, and everything started to go in slow motion,” Murafsky said. “I remember putting my hand to my face, pulling it back, and seeing lots of blood.”

He was taken to the Forward Operating Base for an initial assessment, then airlifted to a nearby base for surgery. After surgery, he was medically evacuated to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

Despite a catastrophic injury, Murafsky navigated through the rehabilitation process, transitioned out of the military in May 2007, and qualified for AW2.

AW2 supports Soldiers and their Families throughout their recovery and transition, even into Veteran status. This program, through the local support of AW2 Advocates, strives to foster the Soldier’s independence.

“I told my Advocate I was searching for a job, gave her my resume, and the next thing I know I’m being told to come in for an interview,” he said. “I have no idea what happened between giving her my resume and getting that phone call, but I know she had something to do with it.”

Murafsky currently works as a security specialist for the Department of the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management.

“My first day working as an Army civilian was great because it kind of made me feel like I was back in the Army,” Murafsky said. “This job makes feel like I am helping out the Army.  It may be in a small way, but I consider myself part of the Army still.”

“This job has been great, and I feel like they didn’t hire me to check a box but to actually help a wounded warrior,” he added. “They put me in touch with programs to receive equipment that would help me with my disability and allow me to work in the best conditions possible.”

One program he finds particularly helpful is the DoD Computer/Electronic Accommodations Program (CAP).

CAP ensures that people with disabilities and wounded servicemembers have equal access to the information environment and opportunities in the Department of Defense and throughout the federal government.

“We provide the equipment to allow people like Robert equal access to everything,” said Kameelah Montgomery, acquisition team leader of CAP. “There’s technology out there for these Soldiers and Veterans.”

Some examples of technology available for those who are blind or have low vision include Braille displays and translators, large print keyboards, or a compact and portable version of a closed-circuit television.

“They can receive it free of charge while in uniform,” she added.  “It’s theirs to keep forever because we want them to go out and be successful.”

To learn more about how to hire a Veteran at your organization, including an online toolkit and educational video for hiring managers, visit the Warrior Transition Command at www.WTC.army.mil/employers or for information about CAP, visit http://www.cap.mil.

Online Benefit Web Portal Becomes Easier to Navigate

eBenefits is a web portal; a central location for Veterans, Service Members, and their families to research, find, access, and, manage their benefits and personal information.

By Emily Anderson, WTC Stratcom
The Department of Defense (DOD) and Veteran Affairs (VA) updated the eBenefits web portal for easier access and navigation for Soldiers and Veterans to use during their search for resources and provides tools to help in their transition process.

“The improvements eliminate some or the earlier confusion as to where certain information and documents can be found,” said Dexter B. Friday, financial support specialist and retirement services officer, Strategy, Plans and Operations Branch, AW2.  “It will provide easier navigation capabilities for our Soldiers and Veterans.”

“This portal is not just for our Soldiers and Veterans, but all Soldiers and Veterans,” he added. “eBenefits provides a direct link to the VA system and with the use of this tool Soldiers can access their VA claim status, retrieve military records, review their payment history, etc. Its capabilities are endless.”

Currently, eBenefits is a joint, secure web portal that provides resources and self-service capabilities to Soldiers, Veterans, and their Families to research, access and manage their VA and military benefits and personal information.

“I receive frequent requests from our Veterans concerning their benefits and most of the information can be found on the site,” he added. “I suggest that they take the time to review and get to know all that it has to offer.

The web portal currently provides features such as access to official military personal documents, the ability to view the status of a disability compensation claim, view Post-9/11 GI Bill enrollment status, apply for Veterans benefits, order medical equipment such as hearing aid batteries and prosthetic socks, and many other features are being added regularly.

“There are many state benefits available for Veterans, but these benefits required a letter from the VA along with the application.” he said. “Previously, our Veterans would have to call the VA Customer Service to request a letter be sent to them, but with eBenefits our Veterans can download the letter themselves and not have to wait the time for VA to produce, print and mail or fax the document.”

Other portal improvements include a tool to help in determining if a Veteran is eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment benefits and a search function that identifies a claimant’s appointed veterans service representative, with links to Google Maps indicating the location of their nearest representative’s office.

Before accessing the eBenefits Web portal, Soldiers, Veterans, and Family members must be listed in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and obtain a DS Logon. They can choose from two levels of registration, DS Logon Level 1 (Basic) and DS Logon Level 2 (Premium). The service is free, and once you have a DS Logon, it’s valid for the rest of your life.

Veterans who attempt to register and are informed they have no DEERS record, will need to have VA verify their military service and add them to DEERS. This is most likely to occur in the case of Veterans who served prior to 1982. All VA Regional Offices have staff familiar with procedures for adding a Veteran to DEERS.

Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL)

By Jim Wenzel, WTC Stratcom
Attention wounded, ill, and injured Soldiers, Warrior Transition Unit cadre, and Army leaders. Special Compensation for Assistance with Activities of Daily Living (SCAADL) was authorized by the Fiscal Year 2010 National Defense Authorization Act. This special monthly compensation is for active servicemembers who incur a permanent catastrophic injury or illness.

It is important to note that SCAADL compensation is not automatic, the Soldier or his or her guardian must apply, and a DOD or Veterans Affairs (VA) physician must complete a DD Form 2948 to certify eligibility. If the attending physician is not affiliated with DOD or VA, arrangements can be made to have a DOD or VA physician review the Soldier’s case and complete the certification.

SCAADL helps offset the loss of income by a primary caregiver who provides non-medical care, support, and assistance for the servicemember. This compensation continues until 90 days after the Soldier is separated from the service, when he or she begins receiving compensation under a VA program, or the Soldier recovers and he or she no longer requires assistance with activities of daily living.

To apply for SCAADL, Warriors in Transition should contact their chain of command and Primary Care Manager.  More information and frequently asked questions can be found in the SCAADL Information Sheet on the WTC website.

For questions, please send an email to WTC.g1scaadl@conus.army.mil or call 703/325-2030.

 

Write a blog for WTC

Warriors in Transition can submit a blog by e-mailing WarriorCareCommunications [at] conus.army.mil.