Disabled American Veterans

Blind Veterans National Chapter

JULY-AUGUST, 2009 Newsletter



Commander Eddie Humphrey

Senior Vice Commander Floyd Britting

1st Junior Vice Commander Dan Holden

2nd Junior Vice Commander Dennis O’Connell

3rd Junior Vice Commander Paul Kaminsky

4th Junior Vice Commander Dave May

Judge Advocate Gerard Boucher

Chaplain Tony Martino

Adjutant/Treasurer Steve Moffitt




A meeting of the Finance Committee was held on June 10 via a telephone conference call set up by the Chairman Dave May. Along with Dave May the two committee members in attendance were Dan Holden & Paul Kaminsky along with Commander Eddie Humphery and Second Junior Bice Commander Dennis O’Connell.

First motion that was passed was for the BVNC #1 to provide Tony Martino $1,000 in order to facilitate 3 activities at the Hines Blind Rehab Center and to provide receipts back to the BVNC #1 at the completion of each activity. 

Another motion that was passed was to purchase a DAV van to be donated to one Blind Rehab Center. The Blind Rehab Center will be chosen by drawing to be held at the DAV National Convention in August. the Blind Centers for consideration would be Hines, West Haven, Palo Alto, Birmingham, and Tucson. The order of drawing would determine the order of selection in case the top drawers do not take advantage of the donation. 

The last motion that was made and passed by the Finance Committee was to provide $104 per bed for each Blind Rehab Center. The target of which consist of approximately 240 beds. 



Revised in 02, 1999. Now, also revised in 2003.

The Drivers Manual for License operators of motor vehicles.

Quoted from page 85.

You must always yield to pedestrians who are walking in or crossing a

roadway. Also note these rules concerning pedestrians:

1 If you are stopped at a traffic signal and the light turns green, you must

yield to any pedestrians already in the crosswalk before proceeding.

2 When turning, look for pedestrians crossing your intended path.

Pedestrians have the right-of-way if using a sidewalk or crossing a driveway

or an alley.

3 “Always yield to blind people crossing a street, If a blind person using a

special cane or a guide dog is trying to cross the street, you must stop until

the person has crossed safely to the other side.”

Page 85.



Presented from Gerard Boucher, a Blinded Veteran.




For veterans with all degrees of  hearing impairment, local VA audiology

clinics are equipped to handle their needs. This would include diagnostics,

rehabilitation, hearing aid services and/or assistive listening devices.

For veterans who have profound hearing loss and are candidates for cochlear

implants, there are several centers around the country which handle the

surgical and rehabilitation aspects of this highly specialized, but limited

demand, care process (VA NYHHS is one of those centers). 

CARES data projections show expected increases in the number of veterans to

be served with hearing loss. This is reasonable, given the increased

incidence of hearing loss with aging. Historically there have not been

special disability clinics devoted to veterans with profound hearing loss.

This is reasonable as most all local clinics can manage the hearing

rehabilitation needs of hearing impaired veterans.



Not all Blind Veterans Know

Not all Blind Veterans (BV’s) are aware of compensation levels.  Congress established Special Monthly Compensation (SMC) for veterans with very severe disabilities.  The 100% rate was not sufficient to adequately compensate these severely disabled veterans. As a result, Congress passed statutory awards, SMC above the 100% rate. For example: at present, 100% provides $2673 monthly to a single veteran. BV's with vision of 5/200 or a 5 degree field are rated at paragraph L - $3327 monthly, a BV's with light perception only receives paragraph M - $3671 monthly and a totally blind BV receives paragraph N - $4176. Over the years Congress has improved the SMC with mid level ratings and combination rating; for example, a BV with deafness or the loss of an extremity may receive the maximum compensation paragraph O - $4664 monthly. Some veterans rated at paragraph O, who are in need of consistent aid and attendance, may receive paragraph AR-1 $6669 monthly. In addition, dependent allowances may be added to the amounts listed above for a spouse and dependent children. Other Benefits:  In addition to improvements in compensation, other benefits for BV’s has been secured. Following are two Adaptive Housing Grants. These grants, which were increased in late 2008, provide $60,000 (Section 2101 A) primarily for wheelchair bound veterans. However, this large grant is also available to BV's with service-connected blindness and the loss of a leg. The smaller Grant, $12,000 (Section 2101 B), is available to service-connected BV's. Initially, the Adaptive Housing grants were one-time grants. In 2006, the 109 Congress passed legislation permitting eligible veterans who had not used all of their Section 2101 A or B grants to use the remainder again, up to 3 times. A BV who used the 2101 B grant but less than the present $12,000 may be eligible to use the difference. 

Another grant is the Home Improvement and Structural Alteration (HISA) Grant available through your local VAMC. The HISA Grant provides $4100 to SC BV's and $1200 to NSC BV's. This grant may be used for minor alterations to your home in relation to your disability.  

Another nice to know bit of information is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC):  The survivors of 100% service-connected (SC) veterans are eligible if the veteran had been rated at 100% for ten years, five years if continuously since discharge. In 1991 Congress passed the DIC Reform Act. Now there are two DIC rates. The basic rate for the spouse is $1154 monthly. The spouse who was married to a 100% SC veteran for 8 years or more prior to the veteran’s death would receive DIC of $1400 monthly. Each minor child would receive $284 monthly in DIC.

NSC Pension:  Three NSC Pension levels exist:  Basic Pension, House Bound Benefits, and Aid and Attendance Allowance.  Presently, the Basic Pension provides $985 monthly to a single veteran, House Bound - $1207 monthly, and Aid and Attendance Allowance - $1644 monthly.  These amounts may be increased for each dependent.  There is still a significant income limitation.  The above listed amounts are reduced dollar for dollar by any incomes, whatsoever, the veteran or his/her household receives. However, there is an annual Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA).  Also BV's household earnings can be reduced by the amount of medical expenses the BV incurs. 

For information about any of the above contact the VA Regional Office in your area or talk with your VIST Coordinator.

Submitted by Paul Kaminsky




Many of the Chapter DAV members will be heading for Denver for the DAV National Convention. Friday, August 21, starts the BVNC1 business sessions with meetings in the morning and in the afternoon. The National Opening business session is on Saturday morning.

If you can’t join us this year, then why not plan ahead and try to make the DAV National Convention in 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia in late July!