RI Veterans: Did you know? 28 October 21 – John A. Cianci

by John A Cianci, Department Veterans Service Officer, 

                             Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)

Q – Many of the Veterans who seek assistance from me as the Veteran Service Officer for the Town of Burrillville are older and some are not computer literate. Is there a way for the Veteran to get a copy of his or her VA benefits they are entitled to? Linda P., Burrillville Veteran Service Officer

A – Yes, the VA will provide a hard copy of the Veterans benefits if he or she is enrolled in the VA healthcare system, or service connected for a VA disability.

Step 1 Gather pertinent information (full legal name, date of birth, social security number, home address) you will be asked when you call the Veterans Administration VA at 1-877-222-8387.

Step 2 Call the VA, press ZERO to stay on the line, advise the representative you would like to order a personalized Veterans Health Benefit.

Step 3 A VA representative will ask the Veteran or registered Veteran’s authorizedrepresentative a few questions to verify their identity.

Step 4 After verification, the VA will mail the book to the veteran.

VETTIP The process was tested not only by a Veteran, but also a registered Veteran’s representative who has access to the Veteran’s records. The process to request personal VA benefit book the phone took less than 5 minutes.    

Hope this information is helpful, Linda. As you may be aware, Burrillville is one of two cities and towns in Rhode Island that provides a small stipend to the Veteran service office. Despite a federal law many years ago, the State of Rhode Island does not fund town or city Veteran service officers.

Unlike the State of Massachusetts, state law ensures part of full time Veteran Service Officers are locally available as a resource for their Veterans and families. The MA law reads:

“…municipality makes available to its residents the part-time or full-time services of either an exclusive or district Veterans’ Service Officer (VSO). It is the job of the VSO to provide the Veterans (living and deceased) and their dependents access to every federal, state, and local benefit and service to which they are entitled—including assisting in their funerals and honoring them on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day.

KUDOs to the Town of Burrillville, who leaders just don’t talk about supporting Veterans.

More information on the personalized Veterans Health Benefits Handbook in this week’s column.

VETTIP Challenge. Call you city or town’s town hall. Ask for the city and or town Veteran service officer. After calling, post on comments section the result of your call.

Did you know the VA will provide a veteran a personalized Veterans health Benefit Handbook?

Too many Veterans do not understand his or her Veteran’s benefits earned after serving their country. Sadly, the lack of knowledge impacts the veteran’s quality of life by unknowing benefits he or she were entitled to.

A good starting point to help a Veteran enrolled in the VA health care system is the Veterans’ Health Benefits handbook. The handbook is a great resource not only for the Veteran, but also the Veteran’s family. If you have never received one, or would like a replacement, you should call Veterans Administration VA at 1-877-222-8387.

VETTIP The good news, this is a separate phone number than the VA main line, Veterans Administration, VA, at 1-877-222-8387). Ensure you stay on the line when giving options why you are calling. When a VA representative comes on the line tell them you are calling to get a hard copy of your personalized Veterans’ health benefits handbook.

The handbook provides sections that include (below is the redacted information on the handbook from

Veterans Health Benefits Handbook

View Sample Handbook

The handbook provides sections for important VA phone numbers:

VA Health Resource Center
The number to call for additional information on health benefits, enrollment, copayments and billing.1-877-222-VETS (8387) Hours of Operation: Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. Eastern
Veterans Benefits Administration
Call to get information regarding your VA claim status, compensation, pension, education, burial and loan guaranty programs1-800-827-1000
National Call Center for Homeless Veterans

If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, make the call – 1-877-424-3838

Veterans Crisis Line
The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis, their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.1-800-273-8255 and Press 1
chat online@ send a text message to 838255
Important Phone Numbers

Main Hospital
After Hours
Patient Advocate Pharmacy
Enrollment Coordinator Primary Care Provider Primary Care Team

IMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS (to be entered by the VA in the book)

Primary Care Team contact

Your local Police department

Your local Fire department

Other Emergency Contact

Other Emergency Contact

The VA Number to call and report a visit to non-VA emergency room for a life-threatening emergency.

                     Phone:                                                    844-72HRVHA (844-724-7842)

In the handbook, other pertinent information personalized for the veteran’s VA Health Benefits:

How the VA We Determined your Enrollment Priority and Health Benefits Plan

How Do I Keep My Information Up to Date?

What Enrollment Priority Group is the veteran in?

Co-pays for care and services of nonservice-connected conditions

Transplant Services

VA Dental Insurance Program (VADIP)

The handbook includes pertinent information for elderly veterans explaining; Home Health Care, Geriatrics and Extended Care Services, Hospice services, Respite Care program, Domiciliary Care, Medical Foster Home, Adult Day Health Care, VA Community Living Center Placement., and State Veterans Homes, Medically Related Travel, Lodging, and Per Diem, Mileage Reimbursement, Specialized Transportation (Ambulances, Wheelchair Vans), Medical Equipment/Prosthetic Items and Aids,

Additionally, the handbook will explain your eligibility for eyeglasses and hearing aids.  Moreover, how to apply and obtain eyeglasses and hearing aids.

One of the last chapter the handbook covers care outside the VA system and, what is covered, and when and how to get pre-authorized Non-VA Medical Care if you require non-VA inpatient hospital care or if you require non-VA outpatient care.  

According to the VA, they want you to think of this Veterans Health Benefits Handbook as an extension of our relationship with you as a member of the VA community. We have organized the contents so that you can find the information you need quickly, and we have made it easy to reach us if you need more guidance.

While all enrolled Veterans enjoy access to VA’s comprehensive medical benefits package, certain benefits (for example, dental care) may vary from individual to individual, depending on each Veteran’s unique eligibility status. This Veterans Health Benefits Handbook has been tailored specifically for you: VETERANS NAME HERE

The information in this Veterans Health Benefits Handbook reflects the benefits and services available to you at the time it was published. Since VA policies are governed by law, changes to programs or your eligibility may occur. If that happens, we will send you updates that reflect these changes. If you have questions, contact your local Enrollment Coordinator or call us at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).

The handbook provides a lot of information, however, it’s a must for all veterans in obtaining his or her personalized VA benefit handbook, which will help the veteran understand their veterans.

Now that you know about the importance of the handbook, what stops you from calling the Veterans Administration VA at 1-877-222-8387 and ordering a FREE one?


Monday, Nov. 1, Federal Hill Veteran Coffee House, 9-11am, ROMA Deli, 310 Atwells Ave( free parking in lot across street), Providence RI.  All veterans and their guest invited. The coffee house is a great place to reignite the camaraderie veterans miss since leaving military service. The event is FREE, sponsored by the Italian American War Veterans of the United States. Can’t get much better than starting your day with coffee, Italian toast, and other Italian pasties provided free of charge to all veterans and their guests.    

Sunday, Nov. 7, Salute to Veterans, Assembly Theatre, Harrisville, doors open 430pm, show starts at 6pm. ComedyFactory RI John Perrotta’s, will be joined by comedians Prince of Mystery and Mike Murray for a fun fill night. Beer, wine, Rhode Island Saugy dogs, popcorn, and other refreshments will be sold at the event. Tickets are free for all veterans and one guest. ComedyFactory RI All patrons attending are asked to bring a can or two of canned goods, which will be donated to the local food pantry. Tickets can be ordered from Eventbrite, and or on Assembly Theatre ‘s website,  

Thursday, Nov. 11th, parade begins 10AM, ceremony 11AM, “South Kingstown Veteran’s Day Parade”, starting on Holly Street behind Old Mountain Lanes, 756 Kingstown Road, Wakefield, with the formal ceremony at Saugatuck Park near Wakefield School celebrating woman veterans.  For more information call VFW Post 916 at 401.789.0150, or email      

Thursday, Nov.11th, 830AM, “Annual Veterans’ Day Ceremony”, conducted by Chapter 48, Special Forces Association, at the Special Forces Monument, Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, 301 South County Trail, Exeter.  Breakfast will follow at the Homestead Restaurant, 750 South County Trail, Exeter.  Point of contact is Tom Duffney at 401.301.8582, or via email at  

Thursday, Nov.11th, 1045AM, “Infantry Lodge Associates Annual Armistice Day Celebration”, The Squantum Association, 947 Veterans’ Memorial Parkway, Riverside, East Providence.  Additional information to follow as finalized.  Point of Contact is Retired Colonel David H. Russell at  

Friday, Nov.12th, 705PM, “Providence Bruins Military Appreciation Weekend”, The Providence Bruins host Lehigh Valley on the first night of Military Appreciation Weekend at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center! Be there as we honor our military service members and see the players take the ice in special military themed jerseys! Plus, save big with the Fan 4-Pack Special Offer for this game!  

Nov. 12 Registration is open until Friday, November 12th for Operation Jeepers Christmas for children 0-17 years old of all active military, National Guard & Veterans.  Registration is open until Friday, November 12th. Operation Jeepers Christmas offers an adopt-a-family program. Military & Veteran families submit their wish lists to #PNHINC and our Sponsors adopt the families by purchasing items from their wish lists, wrap and in most cases include a Gift card for a local Supermarket for Christmas. Register here:  

Saturday, Nov.20th, Doors Open 430PM, Dinner 530PM, Show Starts 615PM, “Salute to Veterans – Comedy Night & Dinner”, Officer’s Club, Naval Station Newport, 95 Perry Road, Newport.  Point of contact is John Cianci at 401.677.9VET, or via email at  

Saturday Nov 20th, Comedy/Dinner show at the Officers Club, Newport RI. ComedyfactoryRI comedians will perform at the Veteran Fundraiser. Tickets are $50 per person, dinner at 5:00. Show starts at 6:00PM. Event is sponsored by the Italian American war Veterans and all veterans residing at the Veterans Home the event will be free, to include a ticket for their guest. Sponsorships for a veteran attending from the Veterans Home, are encouraged for those who can’t attend, $50 (which covers the veteran and a guest).Tickets available on Eventbrite,

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)   Monday, Nov. 22nd11AM, “Dedication Ceremony Honoring All Rhode Island Women Veterans”, Rhode Island State House, 82 Smith Street, Providence.  Point of contact is Ginny Hanson at



Applebee’s 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 Save 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: 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. J’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 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% Kohl’s offers 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. Michaels Stores 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


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.