The end of the government shutdown means the return of federal workers and the resumption of funding for DoD and VA functions. It also means servicemembers, military retirees, and veterans can relax knowing their pay and benefits will continue beyond the first of November.
As a result of the federal restart the following benefits, services, and programs will soon resume:
- Claims processing for new VA (GI Bill) education benefits.
- VA Helplines.
- VA Regional Office operations.
- November benefit payments for Disabled veterans, VA pensioners and eligible survivors.
- Active Duty Promotion boards.
- Military Tuition Assistance.
- DANTES funded Exam Programs (CLEP, ACT/SAT, DSST, etc.) and transcription services.
- MyCAA - Spouse Tuition Assistance.
- Normal operations at all stateside commissaries.
- PCS and TDY orders and associated payments.
- Weekend drills for Reserve and National Guard.
Columnist Tom Philpott points out that the resumption of government operations also means the effects of sequestration and a tightening DoD budget are also back on track. This means we can go back to dealing with issues like the following:
- Caps on annual military pay raises, penciled into future budgets at .5 percent in fiscal 2015, one percent in 2016 and 1.5 percent in 2017.
- Higher TRICARE fees for military retirees, particularly those under age 65 who still work in second careers. Defense officials contend out-of-pocket costs for retirees under TRICARE are a small fraction of health cost paid by private sector workers with employer-provided health plans.
- Deepening cuts to active and reserve component forces.
- Implementation of the “chain” Consumer Price Index, which is used to calculate COLA and annual adjustments to federal entitlements calculations.