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Veteran's Services and Benefits

 Transition Assistance Advisor



In May 2005, the Chief of the National Guard Bureau (NGB) signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Under Secretaries for Health and Benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), solidifying a partnership between NGB and the VA. The hallmark of this partnership remains the continued access to all National Guard (NG) Veterans and their Families by the VA as part of its outreach program. Additionally, the partnership’s primary goal remains the education of all NG Veterans and their Families regarding their VA benefits and services and how to access them. To this end, the TAA serves as the state-wide point of contact and coordinator for the easy access to those benefits and services.

While NGB initially designed the TAA Program to serve NG members and their Families, the TAA also provides the same support and assistance to all members of the Armed Forces, both active and reserve, Veterans, Military Retirees, and their Families. This support includes assisting them in accessing VA healthcare facilities, obtaining services through the Military Health System (TRICARE), and in applying for other VA services and benefits, such as compensation and pension for disability, insurance, loan guarantee, vocational rehabilitation/employment, and education benefits. The TAA also engages with other Joint Force Headquarters (JFHQ) staff members and the Family Assistance Center in building a state coalition of support with the VA and community organizations, which benefit all service members, Veterans, Military Retirees, and their Families.

State Coalition Model

The state coalition is a model that ties together the resources of the Department of Defense, the VA, the NG, and state/local community resources in an effort to ensure that NG members and their Families receive all the support, benefits and services available to them. Unlike active duty service members who return to a specific military base with onsite support and services for themselves and their Families, members of the reserve components return to their communities and civilian employment. The state coalition provides a community based network of support at the local level, which includes VA, NG, and state/local community organizations, to assist all Service Members, Veterans, Military Retirees, and their Families.

Role of the Transition Assistance Advisor

The TAA matches the needs of Service Members, Veterans, Military Retirees, and their Families by:

  • Providing information and assistance in understanding and obtaining services and benefits from the VA and TRICARE to meet their specific needs.
  • Coordinating with appropriate VA, TRICARE, Veteran Service Organizations, and other federal, state and local community resources to provide critical information and assistance in obtaining services and benefits.
  • Participating in the mobilization and demobilization process to brief and advise regarding all available benefits and services.
  • Assisting and participating in the Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program.
  • Researching and resolving issues associated with entitlements when they encounter problems.
  • Providing advice to the JFHQ, and coordinating with Family Support Specialists and Employer Support Groups, regarding benefits and services available through the VA, Department of Labor (Federal and State), and other service and benefit programs.
  • Highlighting best practices through a monthly electronic TAA report, quarterly newsletters, and monthly conference calls with the VA.




Disclaimer of Endorsement  

Reference herein to any specific commercial products, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise (e.g. fund raisers), does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government, the State of Rhode Island or my employer, Skyline Ultd Inc. The views and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government, the State of Rhode Island, or my employer, Skyline Ultd Inc., and shall not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.



The Bristol 4th of July Committee has been working diligently to have the State of Rhode Island authorize a license plate to commemorate our 4th of July Celebration as the “Home of America’s Oldest Fourth of July Celebration.” The State requires us to reach a minimum of 900 Registration Orders before printing the plates. We are getting close, but we’re not there YET! We are reaching out to everyone who understands the importance of the 4th of July Parade and Celebration to help us... HELP–A–HERO. PLEASE COMPLETE the License Plate Order Form in the "TAA Document Library" below within the "Event Flyers" file folder and send it in as soon as possible. Our time is running out! The money we receive from you will not only give you a new license plate with your same registration number with the new design, but will also HELP–A–HERO at the NEW Bristol Veterans Home with some much needed Spirit Building Audio-Visual Devices!


 Online Prescription Tracker Gives Veterans 24/7

Online Access to Status Recommendation Made by VA Employee, 2013 SAVE Award Winner  

Veterans can now track the status of most of their prescriptions online, thanks to an innovative idea by a Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) employee. The new 24/7 service allows online tracking for most prescriptions mailed from the VA Mail Order Pharmacy.


The Prescription Tracker was recommended by VA employee Kenneth Siehr, a winner of the President's 2013 Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award. Siehr's idea focused on the use of technology as a way to save money and improve the services VA provides to its patients.

"Our nation's Veterans deserve a first-class pharmacy and quality customer service as a part of the exceptional health care available from VA," said Siehr, the National Director for Consolidated Mail Outpatient Pharmacies. "It is an honor to be part of serving Veterans and to have been recognized for an idea that enhances our services to them."

More than 57,000 Veterans are currently using the service through My Health"e"Vet, an online feature that allows Veterans to partner with their health care team. The number is expected to grow as VA starts to educate Veterans about the new feature. Later this month, the tracking feature will include images of the medication that dispensed. Over the next year, a secure messaging alert will be added so that Veterans know when a medication was placed in the mail.

"VA prescription refill online is an excellent example of how one employee looked at the process of VA prescription tracking through the eyes of our Veterans and came up with an idea that better serves Veterans," said Interim Under Secretary for Health, Carolyn M. Clancy. "This idea is both innovative and transformative, and it is certainly one, when put into action, improves customer service for America's Veterans."


2015 Rhode Island National Guard Sergeants' Major Scholarship Fund

You will find this year's criteria and application below in the "TAA Document Library" in both "word" and "pdf" formats.


 WAVES National Name Change

At the 2014 WAVES National Convention it was voted by the Membership to make some changes to the organization. The name has been changed to "Military Women Across the Nation" ( MWAN) and the membership has been expanded to include all women who have served or are serving honorably in the United States Armed Forces, both regular and reserve components to include National Guard and Maritime Services. The local chapter will still be known as Ocean State Unit #118 and anyone wishing to contact us can call Luisa White at 401-231- 0173.


Veterans Choice Program

The Veterans’ Choice Program connects Veterans to timely and convenient access to health care in their community.

Beginning November 5, 2014, the new Choice Program will begin to cover non-VA care.

Veterans are eligible if any of these situations apply to you:

• Enrolled in VA Healthcare

• You have been told by your local VA medical facility that you will need to wait more than 30 days from your preferred date or the date medically determined by your physician

• Your current residence is more than 40 miles from the closest VA health care facility

• You need to travel by plane or boat to the VA medical facility closest to your home

• You face a geographic challenge, such as extensive distances around water or other geologic formations, such as mountains, which presents a significant travel hardship

How to Get Started To get started, you’ll need to pick a non-VA provider, gather some info and give the VA a call in order to set up an appointment. The VA will work with you to ensure you are approved for care in your community and schedule you with a local care provider of your choosing.

Steps to Getting an Appointment

1. Decide which non-VA health care provider you would like to use. Search the list of approved care providers in your community.

2. Make sure you have information on hand about any other health insurance coverage you may have.

3. Call 1-866-606-8198 to make sure you qualify and schedule an appointment. When you call, the VA will walk you through the following steps:

• You will be asked to enter your ZIP code, and first and last name.

• The VA will check to make sure you are eligible for this program.

• The VA will check which of your needs are covered by the VA.

• You will be asked for your address and the name of your preferred non-VA provider. Unfortunately, not all providers will be covered so if your preferred provider is not available, the VA will recommend other providers in your area.

• The VA will then work with you to schedule an appointment.

For more detail, fact sheets, etc. go to: http://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/.


 Ten Things Veterans Should Know About Burn Pits

The VA launched the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry in response to concerns that Veterans were experiencing a range of respiratory illnesses possibly associated with exposure to burn pits. The registry is open to many Veterans and active-duty Servicemembers who deployed to various locations. This guide describes why you should participate in the registry and how it might help uncover links between exposures and certain health conditions.

Read More →




Volunteers Needed for a Study of Veteran Community Integration

Are you a loved one or a caregiver of a Veteran? If so, you may qualify for a research study at the Providence VA Medical Center.

You may be eligible to participate if you are:

- 18‐80 years old

- the spouse, partner, loved one or other caregiver of a Veteran with mental or physical health problems who has received care in the DoD or VA system

If you are invited to participate, you will be asked to take part in one 2-hour visit at the Providence VA Medical Center. 

Parking is free, and all volunteers will receive a $30 gift card for participating.

Please contact Kate Barnabe at (401) 273-7100 X6272 for more information.

You will find a flyer for this event under the "TAA Document Library" below within the "Event Flyers" file folder.


 VA Dental Insurance Program

The VA is implementing a comprehensive national VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP) to give enrolled Veterans and CHAMPVA beneficiaries the opportunity to purchase dental insurance through Delta Dental and MetLife at a reduced cost. Participation is voluntary. Purchasing a dental plan does not affect Veterans’ eligibility for VA dental services and treatment. VADIP opens November 15 for the purchasing of plans, with coverage beginning January 1, 2014.

Covered services include diagnostic, preventative, surgical, emergency and endodontic/restorative treatment. Delta Dental and MetLife are offering multiple plans. Each participant pays the fixed monthly premiums for coverage and any copayments required, depending on the type of plan selected.

Dependents of Veterans, except those eligible under CHAMPVA, are not authorized to participate in VADIP. Those individuals may be eligible for separate dental insurance coverage offered by these carriers.

For more information about VADIP, explore the VA's brochure, fact sheet, and  "Frequently Asked Questions" brochure below within the "VA (US)" file folder under the "TAA Document Library". 

You can enroll online at www.deltadentalvadip.org. If you don’t have internet access, you can pick up an enrollment form at the Providence VA Regional Office, 380 Westminster Street, Suite 201. I also have enrollment forms.


  Rhode Island National Guard Retirees' 2014 Meeting Schedule  

Schofield Armory, 705 New London Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920-3097

Coffee @ 9AM followed by Meeting @ 10AM

  Saturday, March 14th

Saturday, June 13th

Saturday, September 19th

Saturday, December 12th  

Guest speakers at each meeting. Come join them!



You will find flyers/brochures for the following events under the "TAA Document Library" below within the "Event Flyers" file folder.

RWB RI "Run as One Event" - March 26, 2015 

8th Annual Military Police Regimental Assocation, Rhode Island Chapter, Dinner - March 28, 2015

39th Annual Rhode Island National Guard Military Ball - April 25, 2015

Project New Hope 2nd Annual Birdies for Vets - August 8, 2015





You will find the PDF version below in the TAA Document Library. 


The following website provides a wealth of VA information specific to the Guard and Reserve.



Did You Live at Camp Lejeune from the 1950s - 1980s?

The following website provides current information regarding this subject.



 Reintegration Resources for Service Members

Courtesy of VA for Vets



 TAA Document Library

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 Contact Us


SGM (RET) O'Connor, RI TAA

Transition Assistance Advisor
Chuck O’Connor
Sergeant Major, USA (Retired)
 Contractor, Skyline Ultd. Inc.
A Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business

Joint Force Headquarters 
Rhode Island National Guard
Command Readiness Center
645 New London Avenue 
Cranston, RI 02920-3097 
Office (401) 275-4198
Fax (401) 275-4306 



  VA’s Action Plan: Burn Pits and Airborne Hazards
  VA's War Related Illness and Injury Study Center
  The Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA)
  Veteran Homestead

 Transition Coalition


State of Rhode Island

Division of Veteran Affairs