RI Veterans: Did you know? 13 May 22 (Dental care) – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Did you know that the majority of veterans eligible for VA medical, and being provided medical services by the VA, ARE NOT eligible for dental care by the VA?

Did you know Aspen Dental does a day of service and provides FREE dental care for veterans?

Did you know Aspen Day of Service is June 11, 2022?


We start off with a question from one of our readers.

I am a disabled veteran collecting VA compensation and use the VA exclusively for all my medical care and needs, however, I am not eligible for any dental care. What are my options for dental as a veteran? Mike T Harrisville RI.

First, I recommend you call Aspen Dental immediately,  844-ASPEN-HMM to try to schedule an appointment on June 11, 2022.

VETTIP – If the Aspen Dental locations in Rhode Island are booked, ask about locations in MA and/or CT. Simply put, why wouldn’t you travel an hour or so for FREE dental care?

Another option for a veteran needing dental care is the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP). This program offers private dental insurance for Veterans and family members who meet certain requirements, one of these must be true to be eligible:

  • You’re a Veteran who’s enrolled in VA health care, or
  • You’re the current or surviving spouse or dependent child of a Veteran or service member, and you’re enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA)
    Note: Insurance carriers may offer separate coverage options for dependents who aren’t CHAMPVA beneficiaries.

VADIP provides coverage throughout the United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

More on VADIP and the Aspen Day of Service for veterans on June 11., 2022 in this week’s column.

Dental Care Options for Eligible Veterans

The majority of U.S Veterans are not eligible for dental benefits through the Veterans Administration unless they are 100% disabled, have service-relayed mouth injury, participating in VA VRE program, or were a prisoner of war.

If not eligible for VA dental care, veterans can purchase private dental insurance through the VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP).

Veterans may be eligible for VADIP if you meet one of these requirements.

One of these must be true:

  • You’re a Veteran who’s enrolled in VA health care, or
  • You’re the current or surviving spouse or dependent child of a Veteran or service member, and you’re enrolled in the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the VA (CHAMPVA)
    Note: Insurance carriers may offer separate coverage options for dependents who aren’t CHAMPVA beneficiaries.

VADIP provides coverage throughout the United States and its territories, including Puerto Rico, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

More information from

About VA Dental Insurance Program benefits and how to enroll:

Why might I want to buy private dental insurance through VADIP as a Veteran?

While some Veterans enrolled in VA health care are eligible for free dental care from our providers, many are not. Others may be eligible for free care for some, but not all, of their dental needs.

If you’re not eligible for free VA dental care, VADIP can help you buy private dental insurance at a reduced cost.

If you’re eligible for free VA care for some of your dental needs, you can buy a VADIP plan if you want added dental insurance. Signing up for VADIP won’t affect your ability to get free VA dental care.

What types of dental care does VADIP cover, and how much will it cost?

VADIP plans cover many common dental procedures. These may include:

  • Diagnostic services
  • Preventive dental care
  • Root canals and other services to manage oral health problems and restore function (called endodontic or restorative services)
  • Dental surgery
  • Emergency dental care

The costs for your coverage will depend on the insurance company and plan you choose.

Based on your plan, you’ll pay:

The full insurance premium for each individual on your plan

Any required copays when you get care

Read coverage details and compare VADIP plans and premium rates:
Learn about Delta Dental coverage
Learn about MetLife coverage

How do I enroll in a VADIP plan?

Once you’ve chosen a Delta Dental or MetLife VADIP plan, you can enroll online:

Enroll in Delta Dental plan or
Enroll in MetLife plan

After you enroll, you can also use your insurance provider’s website to manage your plan and benefits online.

For questions about Delta Dental, call 855-370-3303.

For questions about MetLife, call 888-310-1681.

Aspen Dental Care for Veterans

On June 11, 2022, Aspen Dental will provide free dental care to military veterans nationwide.

According to an Aspen Dental news release in May 2922, Aspen Dental announced its annual Day of Service event – which provides free care to military veterans across the country – will be held on Saturday, June 11. Now in its eighth year, nearly 500 Aspen Dental locations will open their doors on the company’s annual Day of Service to provide much-needed dental care for United States military veterans at no cost to honor their service.

“At Aspen Dental, we’re committed to breaking down barriers to care – especially when it comes to our nation’s veterans, who have given so much to all of us,” said Arwinder Judge, DDS, chief clinical officer at Aspen Dental. “Day of Service is a powerful opportunity for Aspen Dental care teams across the entire country to make a difference in the lives of veterans and connect them with the care they often desperately need.”

Since 2014, doctors and their dental care teams from Aspen Dental offices across the country have donated more than $23 million in dentistry services to more than 30,000 United States military veterans and people in need through the company’s Healthy Mouth Movement.

Millions of Americans struggle to access dental care every year, and military veterans are no exception – in fact, veterans are ineligible for dental benefits through the United States Department of Veterans Affairs unless they’re 100% disabled, have a service-related mouth injury, or were a prisoner of war. Many Americans have experienced additional oral care challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as dentists report increasing amounts of teeth-grinding, cavities and gum disease, largely attributed to pandemic-related stress and changes in health habits.

How Veterans Can Schedule an Appointment
Starting today, veterans can call 1-844-277-3646 (1-844-ASPENHMM) to find a participating Aspen Dental office in their community and schedule an appointment. Advance appointments are required.

During the Day of Service, Aspen Dental doctors and their dental care teams focus on treating the most urgent dental needs to help get veterans out of pain, from fillings and extractions to hygiene and basic denture repairs.

For more information about Day of Service and the Healthy Mouth Movement, visit



May 14, 2022 , 9am-2pm Washing for Warriors, 9am-2pm,  American Legion Post, 111 Chapel Street, Harrisville RI. Northern Rhode Island Veteran Coffee House and the Federal Hill Veteran Coffee House partnering to raise funds for their monthly coffee house. Free refreshments will be available while you await your car washed. Can’t make the carwash and would like to make a donation for the coffee house, mail check to the American Legion Post 88, 111 Chapel Street, Harrisville RI 02830.

May 14, 2022, Saturday Pierce Field, East Providence Elks Lodge sponsoring a Veteran’s Expo from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Services and assistance for veterans on housing, jobs, relocation, state and federal veteran benefits, etc. The event will be held rain or shine. Free lunch for all veterans.

May 15, Sunday, 3 p.m. St Bernard Church, 275 Tower Road, North Kingstown RI. The Lafayette Band of North Kingstown will present Armed Forces Salute, a free concert to honor those who have served in the military.

May 19, 2022, Thursday Veterans and Family Rhode Island Military Outreach Day at the Rhode Island State House. The RI House of Representatives has scheduled its Annual Veterans & Military Families Day on May 19th from 2 – 5 inside the Statehouse. Connect with veteran services providers and outreach statewide through the media. Please join us on May 19th and help us make this the most successful Veterans &  Military Families Outreach Day so far!

If you are a veteran provider or service organization and would like a table at the event, contact Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson, 401-952-7340 or

May 27- 30, Fort Adams, Friday – Sunday, Boots on The Ground for Heroes Memorial. Open to the public from 8:00-8:00pm, Memorial Day 8:00-6:00pm. Saturday May 28th from 5-6pm Patriotic Concert featuring the 88th Army Band, Rhode Island National Guard.

June 4th, from 0700-1300, Vet Surf will be hosting their first Surfing event of the year at Narragansett Town Beach.

This event is 100% Free and all Equipment is provided by the Vet Surf Team.

No Experience is Necessary!

If you are interested in learning to surf with your fellow Service Members/Veterans, please go to and select the Participants tab to sign up!

If you have any questions, you can reach me at or via phone at (401) 739-0167.


The Department of Rhode Island of the Marine Corps League is looking to add some more fire teams to its ranks.  If you are Active Duty, Marine veteran or Navy Personnel who served with the Fleet Marine Force and miss the camaraderie, serving your community, enjoying time with those who understand you then this is the organization for you.!

The Marine Corps League was founded in 1923 and chartered by the United States Congress, which occurred in 1937.  The mission of the league is to promote the interest and preserve the traditions of the United States Marine Corps; strengthen the fraternity of Marines and them families, serve Marines and Navy personnel who wear or who have worn the Eagle, Globe and Anchor, and foster the ideals of Americanism and patriotic volunteerism!

The league is a national organization with Departments in every state including Hawaii.  Each Department has Detachments, the number of detachments vary on the size of the state and the membership in a particular area.  Rhode Island currently has three detachments. 


AARP offers a free career center for veterans, . The center offers a free course, Veterans Career Advantage,  job search tool for companies seeking veteran employees, link to access what a good resume looks like, and other tips for veterans seeking employment. 

Providence Vet Center

Below are all of the groups the Providence Vet Center is currently offering.  As this list changes, I will provide updates. Please send me any questions that you may have, thank you for your time!

*** All Vet Center Groups require that the Veteran be enrolled with the Vet Center prior to attending. To check eligibility or for questions, please contact the Vet Center at (401) 739-0167 or reach out to our Veteran Outreach Program Specialist (VOPS) via email at ***

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Group (PTSD) – 2nd and 4th Tuesday of the month from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m. (Group is only active September through May)

Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) and Vietnam Veterans PTSD Group – 2nd and 4th  Wednesday of the month from 9:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Vietnam Veteran PTSD Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Art Expression Group – Every Thursday from 9:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF)/Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation New Dawn (OND) Group – Every Wednesday from 11:00 – 12:00 p.m.

Stress Management– Every Thursday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Low Impact Walking Group – Every Tuesday from 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Guitar 4 Veterans – Every Wednesday from 7:00-8:30 p.m.

Monday Mindfulness Group – Every Monday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Yoga Group – Every Friday from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.

Moral Injury Group – Every Friday from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Modern Warrior Support Group – 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 2:30 – 4:00 p.




Applebee’s – Military Discount … With more than 2,000 locations, Applebee’s is a family grill restaurant. Applebee’s gives 10% off for active duty and veteran. Last verified 07/31/2028

Denny’s – Hartford Ave, Johnston offers 10% discount for veterans and active duty . Denny’s is a table service diner-style restaurant chain.  Last verified 07/31/2028 (PS I had breakfast there on Saturday).

Outback Steakhouse – 10% Discount to active and veterans. Last verified 07/28/2021

99 Restaurant & Pub – The 99 Restaurant & Pub offers a 10% military discount to members of Veterans Advantage. Available at select locations only. Bring valid military ID


Advance Auto Parts – 10% for Active Duty, Veterans, and families. Last verified 07/28/2021

Bass Pro Shops –  Offers a 5% discount to active-duty military, reservists, and National Guard. Sign up and verify your status online or bring your military ID when you shop at your nearest Bass Pro store (source).

BJs Wholesale – Reduced membership fee. BJ’s offers all military personnel over 25% off their Membership. Last verified 07/28/2021

Lowes – Enroll in the Lowe’s Military Discount Program to activate your 10% discount

“Our way of saying Thank You” to our active duty, retired and military veterans and their spouses with a 10% discount on eligible items.

Verification of your military status is fast and easy through our partner, is our trusted technology partner in helping to keep your personal information safe.

GameStop – is offering a 10% in-store military discount on all pre-owned products, collectibles, and select new products. Available to current and former military members who bring any valid proof of service or when they verify through

Home Depot – Offers a 10% off military discount on regularly priced merchandise for in-store purchases for active duty, retired military, and reservists at participating locations. Customers are required to show a valid government-issued military ID card to redeem this offer.

Kohls – 15% discount offers for active military, veterans, retirees, and their immediate family members a 15% discount on purchases made on Mondays, in store only. In order to receive the military discount, eligible customers must present proper identification along with any tender type.

Jiffy Lube – HONORING VETERANS ALL DAY EVERY DAY! We didn’t want to wait for Veteran’s Day to express our appreciation and gratitude for your service. That’s why every Team Car Care owned and operated Jiffy Lube® service center is offering our BEST discount of 15% OFF as a “Thank You” to the men and women of our Armed Forces for their service to our country. *Disclaimer*- I.D. required. No coupon is required. Excludes batteries and brakes, alignment, and diagnostic services. Available only at select locations listed below:

Tioque Ave, Coventry RI

Bald Hill Road, Warwick RI

Park Ave, Cranston RI

Michaels – offers a 15% off military discount on the entire in-store purchase including sale items for active duty, retired military, guard, reservists, veterans, and family members. How to get –

1.    Create an Account. Log in or create a Michaels Rewards account.

2.    Get Verified. Provide your military information to get verified instantly.

3.    Go Shopping! To use your discount online and in store, just sign into your account or provide your Michaels Rewards phone number at checkout.

O’Reilly Auto Parts – 10% discount on in store items for Active Duty, Veterans and families. Last verified 3/4/21.


If you are a retailer and or a veteran aware of a business not listed above, please forward,  the business’s name, location, and military and veteran discount offered.

If you have an event, meeting, other pertinent veteran information, or email questions or help needed, contact the Italian American War Veteran Service Officer, John A Cianci,, ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)


To read all columns in this series go to:

John A. Cianci is a Veteran Service Officer. Retired, U.S. Army MSgt., Persian Gulf War and Iraq War combat theater.

Cianci, a combat disabled Veteran, served in Desert Shield/Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom. His awards include Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Good Conduct, and others.

Cianci belongs to numerous veterans organizations – Italian American War Veterans, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign War, United Veterans Council of Rhode Island, and many more organizations. He is an active volunteer assisting veterans to navigate federal and state benefits they have earned. He is Department of Rhode Island Department Commander Italian American War Veterans and Veteran Service Officer.

He is a graduate of Roger Williams University (BS Finance), UCONN business school* (Entrepreneur Bootcamp For Veterans), Solar Energy International Residential, Commercial and Battery Based Photovoltaic Systems certificate programs, numerous certificates from the Department of Defense renewable energy programs, including graduate of the Solar Ready Vets Program.