Tom Saadi & John Esposito III - Councilmen 4th Ward, Danbury
Veterans Issues & Consumer Protection
       
In addition to addressing municipal issues Councilmen Saadi and Esposito understand the needs of consumers, service members, veterans and their families. Councilman Saadi currently serves as a Major in the United States Army Reserve  and is Chief of Staff for the CT Department of Veterans Affairs.
 
Veteran, Service Member Issues

Connecticut State Department of Veterans Affairs

The State Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) provides Residential Services, long-term chronic disease care and Advocacy for veterans honorably discharged from the Armed Forces. It has a Health Care Center with 125 beds that provides extended health care to veterans through physical therapy, occupational therapy, respiratory therapy, Alzheimer unit, and hospice care. There is a Residential Facility with approximately 200 beds available that provides residents with a continuum of supportive and rehabilitation care. Veterans receive substance abuse treatment, educational and vocational rehabilitation, job skills development, self-enhancement workshops and employment assistance.  The DVA also has eight Veteran Service Officers that assist and represent Veterans and their eligible dependents with benefit and pension claims. For more information please visit: www.ct.gov/ctva/site/default.asp


Federal VA Resources for Veterans and Families

The Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) provides mental health services at its medical centers and community-based outpatient clinics. In addition, readjustment counseling services are available for Veterans and their Families at Vet Centers across the nation. For more information, visit the VA Mental Health website at www.mentalhealth.va.gov or the Vet Center website at http://www.vetcenter.va.gov.

Make the Connection (http://www.maketheconnection.net) is a public awareness campaign by the department of Veteran Affairs that provides personal testimonials and resources to help Veterans and their Families and friends learn from each other’s experiences and discover ways to improve their lives.

Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their Families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call (800) 273-8255 and Press 1, chat online at www.veteranscrisisline.net, or send a text to 838255 to receive confidential support 24/7, 365 days a year.

Coaching into Care is a free and confidential coaching service to help callers discover new ways to talk with a veteran about their concerns and treatment options. VA works with Family Members or friends who become aware of a Veterans’ post-deployment difficulties, and supports their efforts to find help for the Veteran. Callers can reach the service at 888-823-7458. More information can be found at www.mirecc.va.gov/coaching.

National Center for PTSD is VA’s center of excellence for research and education on the prevention, understanding, and treatment of PTSD. The mission of the National Center is to advance the clinical care and social welfare of America’s Veterans through research, education, and training in the science, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD and stress-related disorders. For more information, visit www.ptsd.va.gov.

Other Helpful Resources

Military Saves is a campaign coordinated by the nonprofit Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and is dedicated to helping servicemembers and their families save money, reduce debt, and build wealth. militarysaves.org Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) is a Federal Government-sponsored retirement savings and investment plan. It offers the same type of savings and tax benefits that many private corporations offer their employees under "401(k)" plans. www.tsp.gov Choose to Save® national public education and outreach program is dedicated to raising awareness about the need to plan and save for long-term personal financial security. www.choosetosave.org

Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of non-profit consumer organizations that was established to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. www.consumerfed.org Investor.gov is an online resource to help invest wisely and avoid fraud. www.investor.gov MyMoney.gov is a product to strengthen financial capability and increase access to financial services for all Americans. www.mymoney.gov/Pages/default.aspx

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. www.consumer.ftc.gov



The Federal Trade Commission, in partnership with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and several other federal agencies, announced a new complaint process to gather input from veterans, servicemembers, and their families pursuing higher education through Post 9/11 GI Bill and other military education benefits.The FTC, Defense Department and VA have created customized online reporting forms in collaboration with the Department of Justice and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that veterans and servicemembers can use to file consumer complaints about education institutions. Students can file complaints with the VA and DoD directly about the cost of attendance, marketing, graduation rates, program quality, employment prospects, and course credit by clicking this link Department of Education email complaints.  The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant website or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).

 
Veterans and their families should be wary of dishonest advisers offering "free" help with paperwork for pension claims.  Unscrupulous lawyers, financial planners and insurance agents advise veterans over 65 to transfer their assets to a trust, or to invest in insurance products, so they can qualify for Aid and Attendance benefits. By following their advice, you could lose your eligibility for Medicaid services and the use of your money for a long time, plus get billed for fees that range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.
 
Whether it’s through an ad or a website, these offers usually involve a free seminar, often at assisted living facilities, senior centers, or other places in your community. They may claim to be veterans themselves, and appeal to your emotions to get you to act. Consider any pressure to act fast as your cue to say no. Your best bet is to take your time, do some research, and consider all your options, including doing nothing. To learn more, read the FTC’s Poaching Veterans’ Pensions.
 
Helpful Service Member and Veterans Links
 
CT Department of Veterans Affairs click here.
 
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs click here.
 
Obtain Military Legal Aid for Active Duty, Reserve and Retired Military Personnel click here

For Assistance with Employment discrimination & enforcement of USERRA click here.

For Tax Relief Programs for Veterans and Senior Citizens information provided by Danbury Assessor and Danbury Senior Center - Click Here.

Consumer Protection
 
While there are many sources of consumer information the law enforcement links below are a great source of information as well as the agencies with whom you may file a compliant against a business, contractor or scamer.
 
Office of the Connecicut Attorney General  - Click here to connect with the Office
As the public's lawyer, the Attorney General's mission is to defend State laws, protect consumers and ensure our chikldren and seniors are safe from abuse, neglect and violance.
 
If you have a complaint against a business or individual involving a commercial transaction please click here to file a Complaint with the Attorney General. 
 
Department of Consumer Protection - Click here to connect with the Department
The Department can assist consumers with complaints the following areas:
 

  • Home Improvement Contractors
  • New Home Construction
  • Professionals, Trades People or Contractors that should be licensed or registered with DCP. Click here for a listof DCP license types. (Note, lawyers and health care professionals are not licensed by us)
  • Real estate agents, brokers and appraisers
  • Frauds, scams, misrepresentations or misleading advertisements
  • Prescription errors
  • Gasoline and heating fuel issues. Note, we do not set prices for these products.
  • Connecticut-based telemarketers and internet retailers

 
Click here for information and steps you can take to protect yourself against fraud and scams.
 
If you have a complaint that you are not able to resolve click here to file a complaint with the Department.
 
The Federal Trade Commission:   The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC's online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topicsSubscribe to press releases for the latest FTC news and resources.
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