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FAQ

How can I reach out to veterans online since I am disabled myself?
If you have the means to interact online, there are numerous ways to contact and reach out to other veterans.  This forum is one way itself, as are other social media, albeit that the longer-form ones, like Facebook, not only tend to have the largest number of veteran and veteran-related chat groups, they also make interaction easier because of the relatively unlimited word length.  Some of these groups are open, but a number are closed, so you may have to contact the group administrator to determine what they accept for eligibility to their group site. However, if, by "reach out," you mean how Bethann took your question to be, then there are, indeed, a number of veteran charities, veteran support charities, and disabled veteran service organizations online that you could probably seek out, whether to receive, or give, some form of help.  That said, you may want to check out the Charity Navigator website to sort out which such groups are the most legitimate, and tend to use the largest amount of their donations, etc., for actually helping veterans (rather than paying for administration, advertising, etc.)  She is also correct that the VA may have some contacts with these groups, or at least have some lists to consult. If you are wanting to "give back," doing so from just online might be difficult, or very limiting, as compared to doing something in-person, or over a telephone (e.g., serving on one of the veteran stress or suicide prevention hotlines), but there probably are ways to contribute that involve more than just talk or donating money.
Why don't schools teach children about taxes and bills and things that they will definitely need to know as adults to get by in life?
Departments of education and school districts always have to make decisions about what to include in their curriculum.  There are a lot of life skills that people need that aren't taught in school.  The question is should those skills be taught in schools?I teach high school, so I'll talk about that.  The typical high school curriculum is supposed to give students a broad-based education that prepares them to be citizens in a democracy and to be able to think critically.  For a democracy to work, we need educated, discerning citizens with the ability to make good decisions based on evidence and objective thought.  In theory, people who are well informed about history, culture, science, mathematics, etc., and are capable of critical, unbiased thinking, will have the tools to participate in a democracy and make good decisions for themselves and for society at large.  In addition to that, they should be learning how to be learners, how to do effective, basic research, and collaborate with other people.  If that happens, figuring out how to do procedural tasks in real life should not prmuch of a challenge.  We can't possibly teach every necessary life skill people need, but we can help students become better at knowing how to acquire the skills they need.  Should we teach them how to change a tire when they can easily consult a book or search the internet to find step by step instructions for that?  Should we teach them how to balance a check book or teach them how to think mathematically and make sense of problems so that the simple task of balancing a check book (which requires simple arithmetic and the ability to enter numbers and words in columns and rows in obvious ways) is easy for them to figure out.  If we teach them to be good at critical thinking and have some problem solving skills they will be able to apply those overarching skills to all sorts of every day tasks that shouldn't be difficult for someone with decent cognitive ability  to figure out.  It's analogous to asking why a culinary school didn't teach its students the steps and ingredients to a specific recipe.  The school taught them about more general food preparation and food science skills so that they can figure out how to make a lot of specific recipes without much trouble.  They're also able to create their own recipes.So, do we want citizens with very specific skill sets that they need to get through day to day life or do we want citizens with critical thinking, problem solving, and other overarching cognitive skills that will allow them to easily acquire ANY simple, procedural skill they may come to need at any point in their lives?
President Trump claims to be very good or the best at many things but what is he really good at?
Contrary to what he says and believes about himself, Donald Trump is astoundingly void of talent. He failed in business - at least 6 of his businesses went bankrupt, every product he peddled failed, before running for president he was heavily in debt. However since he is such a credit risk no major US bank will touch him. That is how and why he is so deeply in debt to Russia and to China. He took out enormous loans, in the billions of dollars, and it’s no secret that in Russia such huge loans are handled by the Russian mafia. This explains his being the puppet he is to Putin.He failed at marriage - definitely the first two and it’s pretty obvious the 3rd one isn’t that great either. Before trying to present this image of the conservative, Republican, Christian family man, he actually bragged about cheating on wives, bragged about sexually terrorizing women, he was proud of being a pig. Of course now that doesn’t work so well for him and so you see his new-found hate of the media.He has also bragged about being an absent, subpar parent. He had nothing to do with raising his kids. He has joked about never seeing his kids until they became older.Friendships? He has none. His “friends” are people he’s bought, blackmailed, or intimidated. You never hear anyone saying they love Trump, or even care for him. He uses his “friends” until he has no further use for them and then he publicly embarrasses them, insults them, spreads lies about them, and without exception everyone who associates with Trump finds their lives ruined, their reputations ruined, relationships ruined, careers ruined. Without exception.He could’ve at least tried to succeed at this being president gig. But Trump being Trump, he chose the less honorable path. He chose to use the office just as he has used everything his entire life, just trying to get more and more and more for himself. He’s greedy to the most extremes. He is deeply stupid and not at all embarrassed by it. He could have possibly made an attempt to do something good, something positive, but then he wouldn't be Trump.He is, however, very good at chaos, at division, at pitting people against each other. He is talented at always, always leaving a situation and/or person far worse off than they were when he found them.Unfortunately that now applies to our country. He has already caused damage that will take years and years to repair - if ever. And the longer he has control of this country the more damage he will do. He is attacking our rights and freedoms, he has endangered all of us with his love affair with Putin and his pandering to Saudi Arabia and Russia and North Korea. He is killing our economy (wow, what a shock that a man who drove his own companies into bankruptcy would be bad at handling the economy of an entire COUNTRY, huh?), our deficit is the highest in modern history. He has alienated our allies while kissing the asses of our enemies. He has ruined America’s reputation throughout the world. He has made us both a joke and threat simultaneously.He’s pitted religion against religion, political party against political party, race against race, gender against gender, state against state, town against town, neighbor against neighbor. THAT’S Donald Trump’s “talent.”This country deserves so much better than this clown in this circus. And our children, our grandchildren, all deserve much, much better than the broken country we will be handing them.
How can a disabled veteran start a foundation or a non profit to help veterans overcome PTSD and difficulties with civilian life?
Like starting a business, you will need a plan and investors. But in the case of a non-profit your ‘plan‡ will be a mission, vision, and logic model and your ‘investors‡ will be at least five others committed to go on this journey with you as Board members. It doesn’t hurt either to actually write an adapted business plan.You will need to have or find some seed money. Ideally members of your Board will prthat or will be connected to community members of some wealth to tap periodically. The role of the Board members is to help with strategic planning, oversight and resource development.Before you dive in too deep it makes sense to understand the needs and existing service in your desired area. Presumably there is a ‘service gap‡ that you would seek to fill but is that geographic or otherwise? In other words, I know that there already exist such non-profits‡ but clearly if you have a desire to create one you must be dissatisfied in some way with their offerings. Is that because they do not reach your community or you think they do a poor job?Starting a non-profit is hard, often thankless work, so I might suggest too if there is an organization whose work you do admire, start by volunteering for them and/or approaching them about adopting your program plan so you are not reinventing the wheel.Finally, if you have your plan and Board and you remain undeterred then your final step is to apply to the IRS for a 501(c)3 designation and to your state charities division for a tax exemption. You can do these on your own if willing or recruit a suitable Board member but it is very common to have hiring a lawyer experienced in that as the first expense of your venture.Good luck?
What rules of thumb are there for figuring out how much life insurance to buy?
If you are not married, and have no dependents, then you don't need life insurance.If you are married and your spouse also works, one year's salary is enough insurance for them to cover funeral expenses, mourn, and move to a smaller home and sell the current house if needed.If you have dependents, and/or your spouse doesn't work, the situation becomes very dependent on your personal finances overall. Assuming you are a one-income household, with two pre-school aged children, you may want to consider a total life insurance value equal to enough money to cover:-Cost of paying off your mortgage immediately-Cost of fixed annuity to pay for annual expenses for your spouse, less housing cost-Children's educational expensesThat's the most common rule of thumb, but you should consider whether it is an outdated notion that your spouse will never be able to work or prfor themselves if you die.Also, whether you believe that parents should pay for a child's college education, or even whether a child needs to go to college (or a state school vs. private school) can impact that part of the equation.As you age, you will likely set aside 529 plans for your kids, pay down your mortgage, etc. In that case, you should adjust the total value of your insurance downward to save yourself on monthly premium costs. The very wealthy self-insure for the most part - you want to move in that direction as your personal wealth increases.Finally, don't mix investments with insurance. Insurance is for protection only. Therefore, "buy term and invest the rest" is the best advice. Whole insurance makes it difficult to remember how much you are spending on the insurance part, and how much you're investing.
Are there any options for life insurance (~$100k) for service-disabled veterans who can't qualify for typical run-of-the-mill life insurance and who are beyond the 2-year window for VGLI?
For-profit sources are not about to insure things and people that are already on fire, taking 3 cents a year, guaranteeing a dollar if you die in that year calls for a probability you won’t die that year. it’s that simple? If there’s too much a chance you will, then get lost, if statistics say so, they’ll go for it, no matter it’s less or more than 100K.As for those guaranteed issue policies, they don’t pay off if you die the first year, and pay less than the face if you go the second year, etc, paying the full face if you live past the fifth year, the premium is high.Don’t be bashful, see an independent agent who could broker it.
How much harder is life for disabled people in countries that don't have an equivalent to the Americans with Disabilities Act?
I'm going to include a couple pictures before I answer this question. I want you to ask youself, "How is a disabled person supposed to travel in India?"​(Traffic in Mumbai, speaks for most of India)​(The roads in India, like small alleyways, main roads, and sidelines. The highways are also like this, but they are maintained)​(The local train)​(The handicap compartment in the local train)Let me explain the difficulties I have when maneuvering safety in a wheelchair, in Mumbai.1. The first picture is a classic sight in India and in every major city (even small towns these days). There are little to no traffic laws. If you've stayed abroad like the United States, you'll know how many rules and regulations there are for pedestrians, the elderly, children, and the disabled. There's only one rule here, "You better watch yourself before you cross the road, because if you come under my car, it'll be all your fault." (In a nutshell)The cars don't have to watch themselves, the public does. They even drive motorcycles on the sidewalks to beat traffic. Now, combine that situation with picture number two, how is someone with a walker, cane, crutches, or wheelchair supposed to roam around Mumbai (let's not generalize)? Yes, a lot of roads are much, much better than the aforementioned picture, but a lot of roads are either like this or worse.There is no place available for people whom are disabled to walk, without fear of their lives. I've experienced this, motorcycles have almost crashed into me when walking along the side of the road. Shouldn't there be some laws supporting those who are handicapped? Forget about laws, why can't the general public and handicaps have their own lane to walk on, without the interference of motorcycles? I know why, because no one's going to listen.2. These are the local trains in Mumbai. First off, let me start with the stations, some (not all) stations have a ramp available for those on wheelchairs, which is quite wonderful, but that's the only good thing I can say. Do you know where they fall short? At the trains.Let's look at the third picture, this is a common scene when you're traveling by the local train, people hanging near the enterance/exit of the train. You must be thinking, "That's not so bad," yeah, that's not considered crowded. Look at the first picture, imagine twice the amount of people and add them to the third picture, that's what it's like daily in Mumbai. Now, for our (people with disabilities) safety, we have a separate compartment available for handicaps and those who are chornically ill, but there's no ramp available for those on wheelchairs. How is a handicap supposed to ride the local to get to their destination if there's no ramp? The public doesn't care if this compartment is for handicaps or not, if it's empty, they'll climb in.*3. Now, most bulidings in India don't have ramps available, some don't have elevators and they are seven storey buildings, and some don't have wide enough doorways for those on wheelchairs to enter. The malls all have elevators, ramps, and apt doorways, but the only thing it's lacking is courtesy from others.People who are walking, whom are not pregnant, not pushing a stroller, whom are not old, are using elevators, pushing ahead of handicaps. We are forced to stay in line, and when someone says anything to them, they make faces.Check out this answer for more information (Virali Modi's answer to How are disabled people under the age of 18 treated by Indian society?)In short, it's extremely hard living life as a handicap in a country that's not wheelchair friendly. I'm sure those with other disabilities have other problems than me, but this is what I have to face on a daily basis.*The Mumbai Metro is wheelchair friendly, just the roads surrounding the metro aren't.There have also been extremely nice people who have helped me cross the street, and those who have waited for me to cross the street. I'm not generalizing, but overall, this is how it is here in India for someone on a wheelchair.(Photos - Google Images)