Print & Post: Week of April 22, 2013


Military Benefits and Transition Guide

The 2013 Military Advantage is packed with updated benefit information and helpful tips to ease your transition as well as take advantage of your existing benefits like, Pay, TRICARE, VA Health Care, VA Loans, GI Bill, Tuition Assistance, Veterans Benefits, Spouse and Family Programs, and More. (http://www.amazon.com/The-Military-Advantage-2013-Military-com/dp/0870210335%20http:/www.amazon.com/The-Military-Advantage-2012-Military-com/dp/1591143934) Get your copy today.



New Military Remembrance Website

A new American Legion web page packed with stories, photos and videos, along with the ability for visitors to add their own words and images, is now available at (http://www.legion.org/honor) www.legion.org/honor. "Legionnaires are encouraged to share stories of their time in uniform, their family's military legacy and what their posts are doing to recognize the servicemen and women, past and present, who keep America safe," said James Hall of New Jersey, chairman of The American Legion Magazine Commission, which oversees the organization's website. Those wanting to share their stories can go to (http://www.legiontown.org) www.legiontown.org to submit text and photos online. Once approved by an administrator, those stories will appear on the honor and remembrance web page.



GI Bill Update: Transferability Rules

The Army announced a change to the service obligation requirements for Post-9/11 GI Bill transferability that will require those with over 20 years of service to obligate to an additional four years if they wish to transfer their benefits. Under DoD policy, servicemembers in the retirement window were initially grandfathered, but the four-year requirement waiver has been gradually phased out. But, the change is not just an Army policy; all the services are planning to sunset the retirement waiver by Aug 1, 2013. (http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2013/04/gi-bill-transferability-policy-update/) Read the Military Advantage Blog to get all the details.



House Asks DoD to Improve Claims Process

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs sent a bipartisan letter to Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Chuck Hagel urging him to follow through on a February 2013 plan to improve disability benefits claims processing for transitioning servicemembers and veterans. The mutually agreed upon plan that the DoD and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) struck calls for the DoD to begin the transfer of complete and certified Service Treatment Records (STRs) to VA immediately, with electronic transfer capabilities to be in place by December 31, 2013. The text of the letter is available on the (http://veterans.house.gov/press-release/hvac-members-push-dod-on-va-claims-backlog-%E2%80%9Cgame-changer%E2%80%9D) House Committee on Veterans' Affairs website.

For complete guides on veteran benefits, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits) Military.com Benefits Center.



VA Loan Entitlement

Know what your VA Loan entitlement means to you today. Most eligible borrowers start with enough VA loan entitlement to finance a home of up to $417,000. (http://www.military.com/money/va-loans/making-sense-of-your-va-loan-entitlement.html?ESRC=mrvr.nl) Learn the calculation needed to compute your entitlement depending on location.



Pinkerton Is Hiring Veterans

Pinkerton Government Services, Inc. has more than 4,000 security officers, allowing us to provide thousands of quality security solutions. (http://www.military.com/jobs-in/employer/pinkerton/?ESRC=mrvr.nl) Read More.



Proposed VA 2014 Budget

VA health care services, education funds and disability benefits are exempt from mandatory spending cuts that kicked in March 1 with the onset of sequestration. Fifty-six percent of the 1.5 million veterans of operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom are enrolled in and using VA health care. To meet their requirements and those of other veterans, the fiscal 2014 VA budget request includes large increases for mental health and other health care programs and information technology aimed at eliminating the claims backlog, improving efficiencies and expanding access to programs. The budget also includes increased funding aimed at eliminating veteran homelessness. Highlights of the proposed budget are available on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website at (http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2433) www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2433 and at (http://www.va.gov/budget/docs/summary/Fy2013_Fast_Facts_VAs_Budget_Highlights.pdf) www.va.gov/budget/docs/summary/Fy2013_Fast_Facts_VAs_Budget_Highlights.pdf.

For complete guides on veteran benefits, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits) Military.com Benefits Center.



Featured Discount: Military Gear

Up to 50% off lifestyle, outdoor & tactical gear. Shop premium brands on GovX.com at prices not available to the public. (https://www.govx.com/milcom?gxweba=militarycom&gxwebb=vetreportemail&utm_source=militarycom&utm_medium=emailext&utm_campaign=emailext-militarycom-vetreportapril13) Shop over 10,000 products!



FRA Pushes Congress for Full Pay Raises

The Fleet Reserve Association spoke before the Senate Armed Services' Personnel Subcommittee, sharing the concerns about the impact sequestration and other budget cuts will have on active duty personnel and military retirees. FRA voiced strong support for military pay raises that reflect the full Employment Cost Index (ECI) that would garner a 1.8-percent increase for FY 2014, rather than the reduced increase (one percent) proposed in the Administration's FY 2014 budget. To read FRA's full statement, visit (http://www.fra.org/testimony) www.fra.org/testimony.

For more updates on military pay and other benefits, visit the (http://militaryadvantage.military.com) Military Advantage Blog.



VA Local Assistance App Competition Winner

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the winner of a mobile application competition designed to make local assistance resources accessible to people helping homeless Veterans and others in need. The winner of the $25,000 prize was Reston, Va.-based Qbase, which developed "Homeless REACH." The winning app provides easy access to essential information about health care, housing, employment and counseling, among other vital services, through the use of advanced mobile technology. "Homeless REACH" can be downloaded for free through the Android Market and the App Store. All five of the mobile app finalists created under Project REACH are available for download at (http://www.innovation.va.gov/program-reach.html) www.innovation.va.gov/program-reach.html.

For more on military-related apps, visit the (http://www.military.com/topics/best-apps) Military.com App page.



Programs for Veteran Entrepreneurs

If you are a veteran considering starting a business, there are several programs that may be of help: (1) VA Accelerator at (http://www.vaaccelerator.com) www.vaaccelerator.com, a VA program that provides an online learning environment of eight curricula and five programs that focus on entrepreneurship, franchise ownership and employment; (2) Veteran Entrepreneur Portal at (http://www.va.gov/osdbu/veteran/vep.asp) www.va.gov/osdbu/veteran/vep.asp, which gives links to resources for financing and instructions on winning VA contracts; (3) the Small Business Administration's Veteran-Owned Business Programs at (http://www.sba.gov/content/veteran-service-disabled-veteran-owned) www.sba.gov/content/veteran-service-disabled-veteran-owned, which includes specialized financing programs; and VetFran at (http://www.vetfran.com) www.vetfran.com, which includes more than 530 IFA franchiser member companies offering financial incentives, training and mentoring to veterans interested in small business ownership or a career path in franchising.

For more veteran job news, tips, and job postings, visit the (http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs) Military.com Veteran Jobs Center.



DoD, VA, to Share eHealth Records

Seven out of ten Veterans and servicemembers obtain services from private health care providers, making it difficult for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) to maintain a complete record of a patient's health care. That is why VA and DoD actively participate in the eHealth Exchange, which is a partnership between 38 public and private organizations that, with a patient's permission, securely share health information. As the eHealth Exchange network continues to grow, VA and DoD plan to expand their health information sharing programs into additional regions of the U.S. For more information, visit the (http://www.govhealthit.com/blog/ehealth-exchange-we-are-entering-new-era-hie) Government Health IT website.

For complete guides on veteran benefits, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits) Military.com Benefits Center.



A Guide to Long-Term Care

In response to the needs of the growing number of aging veterans, VA has developed an online (http://www.va.gov/geriatrics/guide) Guide to Long Term Care, which includes decision aids -- the Shared Decision Making Worksheet for Veterans and the Caregiver Self-Assessment -- to help veterans and their family members consider long term care options. The Guide was developed by a team of health educators and geriatric specialists and reviewed by older veterans and their caregivers. VA social workers are already using the Guide and decision aids to help Veterans make more informed decisions about long term care. The Guide to Long Term Care is available on the VA website at (http://www.va.gov/geriatrics/guide) www.va.gov/geriatrics/guide.

For complete guides on veteran benefits, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-benefits) Military.com Benefits Center.



Dress for Success for Your Civilian Life

Mens Warehouse offers a free guide on how to determine what to look for in a suit. Giving tips on jacket length or the difference between double down and double breasted find out what suit is (http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs/career-advice/on-the-job/civilian-work-clothes.html?ESRC=mrvr.nl) the right fit for you today.



TRICARE Rx Co-Pays to Climb

Defense officials have a 10-year plan to boost co-payments on military family members and retirees who use TRICARE retail and mail order pharmacies. For example, the current $17 co-pay collected at retail outlets for 30-day prescriptions of brand name drugs found on the military formulary would double to $26 on Oct. 1. The retail co-pay then would be increased by $2 every October through 2017 and possibly for five years longer because budget document refers to a 10-year phase-in plan.

(http://www.military.com/benefits/2013/04/19/beneficiary-rx-co-pays-would-climb-for-a-decade.html) Read the full Military Update article on Military.com to learn more about the DoD's plan.



Tax Refund for Some Disabled Veterans

Disabled Veterans may be eligible to claim a federal tax refund based on: an increase in the Veteran's percentage of disability from the Veteran's Administration (which may include a retroactive determination) or the combat-disabled Veteran applying for, and being granted, Combat-Related Special Compensation, after an award for Concurrent Retirement and Disability. To do so, the disabled Veteran will need to file an amended return, Form 1040X, to correct a previously filed Form 1040, 1040A or 1040EZ. Disabled Veterans should include all documents from VA and any information received from Defense Finance and Accounting Services explaining proper tax treatment for the current year. For more information, visit the Internal Revenue Service website at (http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Military/Special-Tax-Considerations-for-Veterans) www.irs.gov/Individuals/Military/Special-Tax-Considerations-for-Veterans.

For more tax guides and tips, visit the (http://www.military.com/money/personal-finance/taxes) Military.com Tax Center.



Is SGLI Enough? Get $100k Extra Coverage from $7 a Month

Is SGLI enough for your family, if something should happen to you? Get $100k additional protection starting at only $7 a month. (http://www.military.com/insurance/?lpid=ad2&ESRC=0422mr.nl) Protect your family today.



Attend the Military.com Spouse Experience

Be a part of an event presented by military spouses for military spouses. Don't miss out on the Spouse Experience coming to Texas and Virginia April 26th and May 7th. The Military.com Spouse Experience has interactive group discussions on real-life topics plus giveaways/drawings (http://spousebuzz.com/military-spouse-experience?ESRC=mrvr.nl) and more!



New "Drone" Medal Eliminated

The Secretary of Defense has eliminated the Distinguished Warfare Medal. Instead, the military will recognize servicemembers who directly affect combat operations without being present through distinguishing devices that will be affixed to already existing awards. The undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness will develop the award criteria. The distinguishing devices can be affixed to awards at different levels, so, once written, the criteria for the awards will reflect that. The Department of Defense announced the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal Feb. 13, 2013, but Members of veterans' service organizations and others objected to the new medal.

(http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/04/15/hagel-repeals-drone-service-medal.html) Read the full article on Military.com.



How to Choose the Perfect Diamond

Expert Advice from Blue Nile. This is one of life's most important purchases and we want to you to be empowered by your decision. (http://www.military.com/ecomm/articles/bn/blue-nile.html?ESRC=mrvr.nl) Read More.



Troops to Teachers

Placing veterans in the nation's classrooms to serve again is the goal for the Troops to Teachers program. The purpose of the Department of Defense program is to help eligible current and former military personnel begin new careers as teachers in public schools where their skills, knowledge and experience are most needed. In addition to counseling and referral, state Troops to Teachers representatives help applicants identify teacher certification requirements for the state they wish to teach, programs leading to certification and employment opportunities in their state. Other state representatives will reach out to servicemembers earlier while they are still on active-duty and identify education requirements so that interested servicemembers may begin working toward their teaching certifications before leaving the service, enabling a smoother transition into teaching. Servicemembers can learn more about Troops to Teachers and locate a state representative at (http://www.proudtoserveagain.com) www.proudtoserveagain.com.

For more veteran job news, tips, and job postings, visit the (http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs) Military.com Veteran Jobs Center.