Veterans Report - Week of April 07, 2014

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Veterans Report - Week of April 07, 2014

#1 Postby boardman » Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:12 pm

Veterans Report - Week of April 07, 2014

2014 American Freedom Festival
The 5th Annual American Freedom Festival in San Diego is coming up on May 24. This year's celebration of veterans and military families -- Honoring and Remembering Always! -- will once again be held aboard the USS Midway and will feature the band, World Classic Rockers. This year's event will benefit San Diego ASYMCA, Wounded Warrior Support Network, REBOOT Workshops and Nice Guys Victory Fund. For more information, please visit ( or ( or call (619) 398-8241.
For more military-related entertainment news, visit the ( Off-duty Center.

$100,000 Family Protection: Only $7 a Month
Protection for less. Get $100,000 in coverage from only $7 a month. ( ... Could your family afford their lifestyle if something happened to you?

Eight Essential Tips to Help You Land a VA Loan
Buying a home using your hard-earned VA loan benefits can be one of the most rewarding financial experiences of your life. These government-backed mortgages have ( ... more flexible and forgiving requirements than other loan types.

Public Hearings on Military Pay and Benefits
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission (MCRMC) is conducting a series of public hearings across the United States looking especially at the areas of military compensation, quality of life programs, and retirement systems. These panels will be reporting to Congress and to the President and bringing ideas to a level where policy changes can be made. The commission will submit a comprehensive report of its findings and recommendations by Feb. 1, 2015 to the President and Congress. For more information about the MCRMC and to comment on the future of military compensation and retirement, visit the MCRMC website at (
For more on military pay benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

VA Backlog Reduced
One year after the backlog of pending disability compensation claims peaked at over 611,000 in March 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs has reduced that number by approximately 44 percent to 344,000 claims. Also, on average, veterans are waiting 119 days less for a decision than they were at this time last year. The current backlog, defined as claims pending more than 125 days, is at its lowest point since March 2011, when the backlog spiked in part because of the need to readjudicate 150,000 previously decided cases involving exposure to the Vietnam-era defoliant, Agent Orange. Veterans who have served in combat since Nov. 11, 1998, are eligible for five years of free medical care from VA for any illness associated with their service. Veterans can learn more about disability and other Veterans benefits on the joint Department of Defense/VA web portal eBenefits at (
For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the ( Military Advantage blog.

Featured Discount: Special Prices at's exclusive pricing on protective eyewear, glasses, and contact lenses is ( ... only available to the military community and first responders.

VFW Supports DoD's POW/MIA Realignment
The ( Veterans of Foreign Wars has announced their support for the Pentagon's efforts to realign the two organizations charged with locating and identifying tens of thousands of American troops who have yet to return home from their wars. Over the next 18 months, a Pentagon team will examine the requirements necessary to merge policy guidance, archival research and analysis, and worldwide field investigations and recovery operations into one organization. ( ... anization/) Read the full article on the VFW website.

VA Offers ALS Grants
Veterans and active-duty military personnel with service-connected amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, are now presumed medically eligible for grants up to almost $68,000 from the Department of Veterans Affairs to adapt their homes. The program provides grants to eligible service-connected disabled veterans and service members to construct or modify a home to meet their unique housing needs. Grants are also available to help eligible individuals purchase adapted homes or pay down mortgages on homes that are already adapted. For more information, visit the ( VA Housing Grants for Disabled Veterans webpage.
For more on veteran benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

Free ACT/SAT Prep Software
To celebrate and honor Military families, eKnowledge donates FREE $250 SAT and ACT Test Prep Programs. This Donation Project was created by the founders of eKnowledge to promote and prepare Military children for higher education. eKnowledge's mission is to create opportunities for the college bound by offering access to SAT and ACT test preparation for a small set up fee of $20 that covers online materials, shipping and access to online streaming. eKnowledge waives 100% of the retail costs for the standard version and 93% of the cost for all other programs. These programs retail for $200 to $600. eKnowledge sells these same materials in the open market for full retail price. Through eKnowledge and these programs are available now. Order Online Today: ( or telephone: 951-256-4076 (reference

Tax Assistance for Veterans
Being a veteran or an active-duty service member means you have options for assistance in preparing your income tax return. For more information, read VA's ( ... ns-service members-during-tax-season/) VAntage Point Blog.
For more tax season guides and tips, visit the ( Tax Center.

PTSD Program Locator
The Department of Veterans Affairs ( PTSD Program Locator helps find users nearby specialized Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) programs. The Locator will search by state or find specialized PTSD programs by type.
For more resources on PTSD, visit the ( ... rview.html) PTSD section.

Workshop for Female Vet Entrepreneurs
"For HEROES" is an intensive workshop created by the Small Business Administration and Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management. The course is an introduction to small business operation, and qualifies attendees to complete a more intensive multi-week online business course offered free of charge to veterans by the Whitman School of Management. For more on the program and a recent workshop with female veterans, see ( ... rence.html) this article.

VA Releases 2020 Strategic Plan
The Department of Veterans Affairs FY2014-2020 Strategic Plan is now available at ( It incorporates VA's FY2014-2015 Agency Priority Goals, which are to improve Veterans' access to VA benefits and services, eliminate the disability claims backlog and eliminate Veteran homelessness. The Strategic Plan also outlines longer term goals and objectives that place a strong emphasis on enhancing the quality of and access to benefits and services through and developing the workforce with the skills, tools and leadership to meet patients' needs and expectations.
For more on veteran benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

Doc Fix Extension Approved
The Senate on Monday approved the "Protecting Access to Medicare Act" (H.R. 4302) sponsored by Rep. Joseph R Pitts (Penn.) that would prevent a 24 percent cut in payments to doctors seeing Medicare and TRICARE patients. The temporary one-year extension was approved after lawmakers in both chambers failed to find a solution to the recurrent problem of how to pay for the permanent "doc fix," which is estimated to cost $138 billion over 10 years. The bill was quickly signed into law (P.L. 113-93) by President Obama. The new temporary fix will expire on April 1, 2015. FRA supports a permanent resolution of the statutory funding formula for Medicare and TRICARE physician reimbursement rates (the "Doc Fix") to ensure that TRICARE and Medicare patients have access to quality health care services. The "Doc Fix" issue is listed on the FRA Action Center ( ( ... SrcVI&lp=0) and is one of several issues to be discussed with legislators and their staff when the FRA National Board of Directors (NBOD) storms the Hill next week.
For more on TRICARE, visit the ( TRICARE section.

Storm the Hill with MOAA
MOAA Council and Chapter Presidents from all 50 states, together with members of the national board of directors and headquarters staff, plus members of MOAA's active duty, Guard, Reserve, spouse, and auxiliary advisory committees will "storm" Capitol Hill on April 9 and visit nearly all 535 representatives and senators in support of key legislative priorities. Learn more about this year's Storming the Hill event, watch videos, contact Congress, and assist the efforts by sending your legislators a MOAA-suggested message about these critical issues. ( Storm along with MOAA.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The Department of Veterans Affairs assists Veterans who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST). VA health provider screenings found that about one in four women and one in 100 men seen in VA facilities report having experienced MST -- sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service. MST can affect Veterans' physical and mental health for many years. To assist recovery, treatment for MST-related physical and mental health conditions is available at every VHA facility, free to Veterans, regardless of service-connection status. Veterans may receive this free MST-related care, even when not eligible for other VA care. For more information, contact your facility's MST Coordinator or visit VA's Military Sexual Trauma webpage at (
For more news on sexual assault in the military, see ( this section.

Chevron Committed to Hiring Veterans
Start your civilian career with Chevron. As a business solutions leader they can provide endless opportunity and a career path that lets you choose where you want to be. ( ... Read More.

Study Says Student Veterans Are Succeeding
That veterans struggle after going from the military into a scholastic environment is a point of view not shared by Student Veterans of America (SVA), which has released the results of their Million Records Project, a joint study between SVA,VA and the National Student Clearhouse (NSC). The three entities matched two sets of data: a randomly selected sample of approximately 1 million Montgomery and post-9/11 GI Bill records from 2002 to 2010, and U.S. student postsecondary enrollment and completion records collected by the NSC. For more on the study and the results, and what it means for student veterans, see ( ... g-off.html) this article.

IG Reports on Vet's Death
A new report by the Department of Veterans Affairs' inspector general on the unexpected death of an Afghanistan war vet at a government rehab center suggests that programs to help former service members are not working well enough. According to the report, Unexpected Patient Death in a Substance Abuse Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program, the patient was an Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) combat veteran in his twenties, who was diagnosed with polysubstance dependence, PTSD, sleep apnea, mood disorder and traumatic brain injury. The report is available ( online.
For more mental health resources for veterans and service members, see ( ... tment.html) this page.

Free Tax Preparation for Military
Military personnel and their families have access to a variety of ( ... tax preparation and filing services for free.

Weight Loss for Those With Disabilities
Veterans and others with disabilities can lose weight through a program that involves phone calls and a Web-based remote coaching tool. Researchers say the approach is low-cost and effective. For more information, read the article on the ( ... lities.asp) Veterans Health Administration website.
For more on veteran benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

Traumatic Brain Injury App
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is most often caused by falls, vehicle accidents, and violence and is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, especially in children and young adults. The Department of Veterans Affairs has developed "Concussion Coach," a mobile application that provides tools to assess symptoms and facilitate the use of coping strategies. The app is a useful tool, but it is intended to support treatment with a healthcare professional, and not used to replace professional diagnosis, medical treatment or rehabilitation therapies. The Concussion Coach app is available for Apple mobile devices (iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch) from the ( ... ?ls=1&mt=8) App Store, and will be made available for Google Play later in 2014.

Financial Protection Bureau Helps Vets
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has helped service members, veterans, and their families recover more than $1 million. The relief was reported in the CFPB's second snapshot of complaints from military consumers, which also highlighted how some military families are not receiving the added consumer protections they have earned. The report covers more than 14,000 complaints from service members, veterans, and their families received by the CFPB from July 21, 2011 through February 1, 2014. For more information, visit the ( ... or-service members-veterans-and-their-families/) CFPB website.
For more financial tips and guides, visit the ( Money section.

VA Ends Income Reporting Requirement
The Department of Veterans Affairs is eliminating the annual requirement for most veterans enrolled in VA's health care system to report income information beginning in March 2014. Instead, VA will automatically match income information obtained from the Internal Revenue Service and Social Security Administration. Some Veterans applying for enrollment for the first time are still required to submit income information. VA encourages veterans to continue to use the health benefits renewal form to report changes in their personal information, such as address, phone numbers, dependents, next of kin, income and health insurance. For more information, visit the VA Health Benefits webpage at ( or call VA toll-free at 1-877-222-VETS (8387).
For more on veteran benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

Never Pay PMI and $0 Down Payment
Now is the time to use your VA Loan. You don't have to pay PMI or have a large down payment. Plus you can get financing up to $417,000. ( ... Use your VA Loan Benefit today.
( Want more info on your VA Loan Benefit?

Army Tightens Tattoo Policy
The number, size and placement of tattoos have been dialed back under revised ( Army Regulation 670-1, which governs the Army's grooming standards and proper wear of the uniform. The revised regulation was published March 31, along with Department of the Army Pamplet 670-1, outlining the new standards. Effective dates for the various changes can also be found in All Army Activity message, or ( ... 2-2014.pdf) ALARACT 082-2014.
( ... ttoos.html) Visit for a summary of the new regulations.

Cold Injury Related Disabilities
Veterans who have been exposed to extreme cold in combat and during military service may be eligible for disability compensation. The major cold injuries they suffer include frostbite, non-freezing cold injuries, immersion foot (formerly called trench foot) and hypothermia. Those who are concerned about health problems associated with cold injuries should contact their VA health care provider or nearest VA medical center. For more information about compensation cold injuries, visit the VA Cold Injuries webpage at ( ... /index.asp) ... /index.asp or talk with your local veterans service officer.
For more on veteran benefits, visit the ( Benefits Center.

Florida Waives Out-of-State Tuition
Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed into law the "Florida GI Bill," modeled after the World War II-era program and intended to make Florida the most military-friendly state in the nation. The new law provides university tuition waivers for veterans and is expected to help increase employment opportunities for veterans. Florida state universities and colleges will be giving $11.7 million in waivers for out-of-state tuition charges for all honorably discharged veterans. Because in-state tuition is thousands of dollars cheaper than out-of-state rates, lawmakers hope the new waivers encourage veterans from outside of the state to apply to Florida schools. For more information, visit the ( Florida Department of Veterans Affairs website.
For more on tuition assistance and military education benefits, visit the ( Education section.
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