RI Veterans: Did you know? 29 September 21 – John A. Cianci

by John A. Cianci, contributing writer on veterans’ issues

Department Veterans Service Officer,

Italian American War Veterans (ITAM)


Q I am a married veteran with 2 children receiving 90% VA service-connected disability and unable to work due to my disabilities, does the VA offer health insurance for my spouse and children? – Ron from Burrillville RI

A No, the VA does not have any program for healthcare for your family. In addition, you must be receiving 100% service-connected disability and be considered permanent and totally disable. 

Understanding Eligibility for VA Healthcare for a Disabled Veterans Family Receiving Service-Connected Disabilities

Did you know VA health care coverage is available for family members only for a limited group of veterans classified as permanent and totally disabled who are receiving service connected?

Many veterans face the challenges of overcoming their injuries occurred while serving.  Moreover, navigating a claim process to receive service-connected disability compensation that will take years and sometimes decades for the VA to recognize.

One of the biggest challenges a disabled veteran encounters is to provide healthcare while he or she continues treatment for their injuries and awaits months, years, and sometime years for the VA to process their claim.

Imagine having a family of 4, like in Ron’s case, and living off estimated $2500 a month to provide for his family and having to bear the cost of health insurance for your family, along with other living expenses needed to support their family.

Or even being classified as 100% service-connected disable veterans and your family is still not eligible for healthcare thru the VA because you are not classified as permanent and totally disabled.

What is the meaning of permanent and totally in VA world?

According to the VA, Permanent and Total Disability, or P&T, refers to veterans whose disabilities are total (rated 100 percent disabling by VA) and permanent (have zero or close to zero chance of improvement). Permanent and total ratings are protected from being reduced and may entitle you or your family to additional VA benefits.

How does the VA determine permanent and total?

Total: All service-connected impairments will be given a disability rating of 0-100%.

Permanent: The VA will find a disability permanent when based upon all the medical evidence, it is reasonably certain the impairment will not improve over the veteran’s life. The VA is also going to consider the veteran’s age.

How do I know if you are permanent and totally?

Log in to the website. Look under ‘Records’. Click ‘Download your benefit letters’. On the next screen click ‘Get Your VA Benefit Letters’. Next: View Letters

Select ‘Benefit Summary and Service Verification Letter’

To see if you are P&T, the statement will say “You are considered to be totally and permanently disabled solely due to your service-connected disabilities.”

Can you apply for permanent and total disability? Yes, the key to obtaining permanent and total disability VA benefits ratings. Many veterans will use medical reports from doctors, psychologists, cardiologists, oncologists, and many other medical professionals to win their Permanent and Total disability VA benefits ratings. These reports can detail why the veteran’s condition is not expected to improve.

According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs 2015 statistics over 20 million veterans reside in the USA and the veteran population continues to grow.

Most of the Veterans reintegration into civilian life is intertwined with a veteran being able to provide for his or her family, which includes necessary healthcare. The current claim process for the VA to recognize a veteran injury move along like a snail traveling on ground from Rhode Island to California.

VETTIP Don’t give up on the VA claim process. Myself, I filed an initial claim in 1996, and continues to be in appeal status, despite overwhelming and documented medical records my unit was exposed to a cocktail of chemical; sarin, lindane, oil fires, etc. Originally denied in 1997 and rated zero, now at 90% combined service-connected disabled (total disabilities add up to 210% percent-VA math its 90%).  Moreover, twenty-seven years later, the claim remains in appeal and not expected to be finalized for another 2-3 years.

The current limited access for disabled veterans to obtain healthcare thru the VA is inadequate, and our political leaders must take actions to ensure more is done for our veterans and their families who have sacrificed and served while their family member served their country.

“Permit me Sir to add, that Policy alone in our Present Circumstances, seem to demand that every Satisfaction which can reasonably be requested, should be given to those Veteran Troops who, in the recent Conflict, have been so long and so faithfully serving the States . . .”

  • General George Washington to Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Connecticut, June 28th, 1781



Saturday , October 2, 2021 – Free Breakfast for Veterans and a friend or family member, 830-10am, Christ Church Parish Hall, 57 Main Street, Swansea MA. Opportunity for connection-conversation-friendship.

Monday, October 4, 2021 – Federal Hill Coffee House, 9pm-1030pm, ROMA, Atwells Ave, Providence RI. All Veterans and their guest are invited to attend. Refreshments are provided, to include Italian toast, pastries, coffee, espresso and calzones. The event is sponsored by the Italian American War Veterans the United States, Inc. More information, contact ITAMVET 1-401-677-9838 or email [email protected].

Tuesday, October 12, 2021 – Northern Rhode Island Coffee House, American Legion Post #88, Chapel Street, Harrisville, RI , 9pm-1100pm. All Veterans and their guest are invited to attend. Refreshments will be provided, and Town of Burrillville. Veterans Service officer will be available to assist Veterans. More information: Berard-Desjarlais American Legion Post 88 Burrillville,

Saturday, November 20, 2021 – Comedy/Dinner show at the Naval Officers Club, Newport RI. John Perrotta’s 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 for 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). More information contact ITAMVET [email protected] or (401)-677-9838. Tickets also available on




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 , [email protected]:  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, [email protected], ITAM Office 1-(401)677-9VET(9838)

To read all Veterans’ columns to date in RINewsToday, 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.