Veterans for Change News

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SecDef Fires Opening Shot at TRICARE

On Thursday, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates set his priorities and outlined budget cuts and efficiencies needed to make savings of about $78 billion.

There are many proposed cuts and changes in personnel, weapons systems, intelligence and benefits which we question while the country is in the middle of two ongoing conflicts.

Again, Gates said that the costs of Health Care are “eating the Department alive.” The Secretary particularly targeted working age retirees who he said have access to civilian health care but continue to use TRICARE.

Though Gates did not give details on his TRICARE assault, the Secretary said he anticipated finding up to $7 billion dollars in the program over the next five-years from higher copays, fees and deductibles in the earned healthcare program.

The Pentagon is not expected to release the details of its fiscal year 2012 budget request until early February.

Earned military benefits, especially health care, should not even be considered until many other areas of fraud, waste and abuse are brought under control.

In a statement issued Thursday, January 5, the Secretary said the following regarding TRICARE:

“Finally, for some time I have spoken about the department’s unaffordable health costs – and in particular the benefits provided to working age retirees under the TRICARE program. Many of these beneficiaries are employed full-time while receiving their full pensions and often forgo their employer’s health plan to remain with TRICARE.

“This should not come as a surprise, given that the current TRICARE enrollment fee was set in 1995 at $460 a year for the basic family plan and has not been raised since. During this time, insurance premiums paid by the private sector and other government workers have risen dramatically. For example, the fees for a comparable health insurance program for federal workers costs roughly $5,000 per year.

“Accordingly, with the Fiscal Year 2012 budget we will propose reforms in the area of military health care to better manage medical cost growth and better align the department with the rest of the country. These will include initiatives to become more efficient as well as modest increases to TRICARE fees for working age retirees with fees indexed to adjust for medical inflation. Potential savings from these initiatives could amount to nearly $7 billion over the next five years.”

Veterans-For-Change Says Giving to Others Can Change Lives

To feel the concept of how giving to others in little ways can change the world in larger ways, consider watching the movie Pay It Forward. Like the movie Pay it Forward, Veterans-For-Change will lift your spirits, break your heart, make you look at the world in a new way, and just perhaps change your life.

Sometimes in life, people want to give help to others, but don’t have large amounts of money or know how to donate. Other times, one just needs a little lift to get back on their feet but doesn’t know how or where to get help. Everyone else’s problems may seem bigger or more worthy. It can feel embarrassing to ask for a handout. But with Veterans-For-Change, people can offer help when they are strong, and ask for assistance when life seems overwhelming. What a wonderful trade-off.

We request your support by considering a donation to Veterans-For-Change and help us make magic for those who need us most!

In order to meet the needs of those who come to Veterans-For-Change every month, we need 100 regular monthly donors of $20 each and 100 regular monthly donors of $50. With every dollar we receive $0.93 will go directly to Veterans and their families in need of a one time assistance grant to help get them over a rough patch in life.

Even if you’re not able to commit to a monthly donation, a one time or annual donation is very much appreciated. And if you’ve been blessed to never have problems, please consider the movie “Pay it Forward!”

If you’re able to contribute $25, $50, $100 or more, please click HERE to be taken direct to the PayPal site!

If you’d prefer to send a check or money order, please send an E-Mail to: Jim Davis for instructions.

You can also help by book marking and visiting Newsvine frequently: http://jdavis92840.newsvine.com/

VFC earns money on every article a comment and vote that is posted. So visit frequently for things not always in the newsletter, comment and click on comment & vote. (See more stories Links below)

If Veteran’s don’t help Veteran’s, who will?

Tax ID #27-3820181

Most Urgent Needs

Sgt Michael Griffin, USMC has asked VFC for assistance with utilities. We’ve arranged for payment to both power and gas companies. We’re looking to raise $137.00 for his utilities and a $25 Kroegers Grocery card to help Michael.

Stop-Loss Deadline Extended Again

The deadline for eligible servicemembers, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for retroactive Stop Loss special pay has been extended to March 4, 2011. Congress established the retroactive pay to compensate servicemembers who served involuntary extensions or whose retirement was suspended between Sept. 30, 2009 through Sept. 11, 2001. Eligible members and their beneficiaries are required to submit a claim to their respective military service to receive the benefit of $500 for each full or partial month served in stop-loss status. For more information, visit the Department of Defense Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay webpage.

VA Urges Veterans to Sign Up for Electronic Payment of Their Benefits

A new US Treasury Department regulation says paper benefits checks must be phased out by March 2013.

Beginning May 1, 2011, anyone receiving VA compensation or pension payments for the first time will automatically receive their benefits through electronic payment.

VA will stop issuing paper checks altogether on Mar. 1, 2013, and veterans and survivors who have not signed up for electronic payment of benefits by that time will receive a preaid debit card instead.

Anyone already receiving federal benefit payments electronically will be unaffected by these changes. To learn more about the federal government’s switch to direct deposit or to change VA benefits to direct deposit, click here. Information about the federal government’s “Go Direct” campaign is also available at (800) 333-1795.

Along with payments for VA benefit, the change will also affect recipients of payments from Social Security, Supplemental Security Income, Railroad Retirement Board, or Office of Personnel Management.

Do You Know What You’ve Earned?

Twenty-six million Americans are military veterans. They are men and women who have earned benefits because of their service and sacrifice. Yet, too many veterans don’t know what their benefits are or how to claim them.

Veteran Service Officers are available to help. Veteran Service Officers meet with and talk with veterans about their benefits and help them file claims with the Veterans Affairs. A Veteran Service Officer gives his/her time and experience to serve veterans at no cost to them.

If you’re a veteran and you need answers about your earned benefits then you owe it to yourself to call or visit a Veterans Service Officer. Helping veterans is what the Veterans Service Officer is all about.

Veterans are of the U.S. Armed Forces, to include the Reserves and National Guard that served during wartime. These veterans, both young and older, are still serving America. Veterans aren’t required to be a member of any of the nationally chartered Veteran Service Organization to receive services and support.

If you’re in need of a Veteran Service Officer to either file a claim or find out what benefits you may be entitled to, please E-Mail: [email protected] with your state and a list will be provided to you.

When seeking a VSO, it’s best to call 3-4 different officers, let them know briefly what your situation is, then go with the VSO who seems most eager to assist you.

Stop Loss Claims Deadline Extended

The deadline for eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay (RSLSP) has been extended to Mar. 4, 2011. The last deadline was Dec. 21, 2010.

The 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act established RSLSP, providing $500 for each month/partial month served in stop loss status. Service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of service members whose service was involuntarily extended under Stop Loss between Sept. 11, 2001, and Sept. 30, 2009, are eligible for RSLSP.

Veterans and current service members involuntarily retained in the military during this timeframe should apply for special pay before the March 4 deadline. Information on the special pay and links to the application can be found here.

Buddy Search

Have you been looking for a buddy you served with? Gone to all the privately owned websites, had no luck?

Veterans-For-Change has databases with 236,590 former military listed.

If you’re looking for a buddy, send an E-Mail to [email protected] with the First and Last Name, Last City/State known, and Branch of Service and we’ll respond with all those listed within 7-10 days.

Please keep request to no more than two names, and only place your request one time. If the person you are trying to locate isn’t found it goes on a wait list to check new databases as received.

If you’d like to be included, please E-Mail me and request a buddy list entry form.

This is another FREE service of Veterans-For-Change!

Veterans-For-Change hits Facebook & Twitter

You can now track us, meet fellow vets and their families and friends on our new FACEBOOK page!

Come join us, follow us and friends, make new friends, share useful information and more!

Follow our all new Homeless Heroes Program on FaceBook too!

Follow us on Twitter too: @VeteransForChng

A Veterans Advocacy and Assistance Organization

The purpose of Veterans-For-Change is to make major changes in the treatment and rights for all veterans. In benefits claims, appeals, medical care and treatment, VA Facilities, PTSD, Agent Orange issues (including Toxic Dioxin resulting in Diabetes, Cancers and numerous other health problems), POW MIA recoveries, TBI and dioxin poisoning during current and past Combat Operations in the Persian Gulf region.

Members combine their talents, information, ideas and suggestions and contribute to a monthly letter that’s sent to all 535 members of Congress expressing the concerns over various issues and offers possible solutions.

This is in an effort to make change within the VA system, to streamline, expedite and insure claims are honored to the best possible rating, to insure all medical facilities are using the best equipment in the most modernized facilities with a properly trained and fully licensed and compassionate medical staff.

Additionally we circulate petitions for various pieces of legislation to promote their being presented on the floor and voted on.

We conduct research, develop ideas, solutions, and programs and do our best to make sure they’re put into action. We also provide guidance and assistance to veterans, spouses, their children and widows with their claims and appeals and the support of all veterans who seek assistance.

We must guarantee the rights of every single veteran and gain the rights and benefits promised!

If you can volunteer 30-60 minutes per month, from the comfort of your own home and computer, please join us in this tremendous fight and make your voice heard loud and clear.

Veterans-For-Change Advocacy Group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VETERANS-FOR-CHANGE/

Links to other Stories

Please keep in mind each of these stories, if you comment MSNBC pays Veterans-For-Change 3-4 cents per comment. You need to log-in, in order to post comments which will provide funds to VFC. The more comments, the better the chances we have at being on front page and the more opportunity we have of MSNBC picking up the story for national.

Medical Malpractice & Poor Medical Care in VAMC’s

I’m sure at one point or another you’ve either heard of a case of malpractice or poor medical care or been on the receiving end of either.

Veterans-For-Change is still documenting as much as we can to present cases to Congress to address these issues.

Additionally we’re looking for Veterans who have experienced problems with eye care clinics, diagnosis and treatment.

If you or someone you know has endured these experiences, and would be willing to share your stories, please contact me direct at: [email protected]

Women Veterans Survey

The American Legion is embarking on several strategic initiatives to assess the challenges, needs and opportunities for Women Veterans with health care and other benefits delivered through the Department of Veterans Affairs . Additionally, the research seeks to determine the factors driving Women Veterans’ decision to use the VA system as opposed to other private or public health care systems. Our research will specifically address the experiences and needs of Women Veterans so that The Legion may refine programming and assistance for those who served.

The survey focuses on SERVQUAL attributes as a service quality framework measuring on 10 aspects of service quality: reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding or knowing the customer and tangibles. The objective is to measure the extent to which service provided and or available meets perception, needs, or expectations of women veterans.

You have been selected to provide valuable input and insight via a targeted survey titled “The American Legion Women’s Veterans Survey”. The survey will be facilitated by a survey technology that is external to The American Legion to ensure anonymity.

A short survey/questionnaire has been prepared and distributed for you to provide feedback on ways to enhance program success.

§ To take the survey click on https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Women_Vet_Survey.
§ Please complete the survey no later than close of business Monday, January 31, 2011.

Your input is critical and your comments are a valuable tool in this process as The American Legion assesses the challenges, needs and opportunities so that we may refine programming, provide testimony, and assistance for those who served…

Toxic Chemicals CONUS

As most are aware, seen on TV, in the newspapers, and from veteran sites across the country, TCE/PCE is a major issue.

TCE a chemical degreaser used on all bases and board ships is a carcinogenic chemical, and on the many military bases nationwide was disposed of into the ground behind buildings eventually contaminating the ground water and getting into the drinking wells.

Same thing with PCE which is a dry cleaning chemical used both on bases and off base nationwide, also being disposed of into the ground and eventually contaminating the ground water and getting into the drinking wells.

Most recently CNN did a broadcast show highlighting the male breast cancer cluster surrounding Camp LeJeune, North Carolina.

Personally I feel the anchor didn’t bother to do his homework very well, didn’t bring to light all the other medical issues or the families harmed by these chemicals.

Veterans-For-Change has a bill which was drafted back in February 2009 along with a petition to which we’re trying to collect at least 40,000 signatures in order to get either a Senator or Congressman to sign off and present the bill to the floor which will not only address TCE but PCE as well, and opens it up to all military, veterans and family members who served at any base where these chemicals were used and disposed of improperly thereby contaminating all who drank the water or who used the chemicals in their daily jobs.

Veterans-For-Change needs your support desperately to meet the number of signers on the petition. This is NOT an electronic petition, but a hard copy petition. We ask that everyone interesting in signing the petition and able to gather 8-10 more please click HERE and send us an E-Mail requesting the petition, be sure to put in the subject line TCE Petition.

Sign and try to obtain at least 10 more signatures and mail the complete form into our California office ASAP.

Should you have any questions, please click HERE and send us an E-Mail and we’ll be more than happy to reply!

Legislation Introduced to extend Concurrent Receipt for Chapter 61 Retirees

Rep. Joe Wilson also introduced H. R. 186, a bill to expand the eligibility for concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans disability compensation to include all members of the uniformed services who are retired under chapter 61 for disability, regardless of the members’ disability rating percentage. The bill is identical to the proposal President Barack Obama made in his budget request for fiscal year 2011 but was not acted on in the last Congress.

TRICARE Expansion for Young Adults Will be Retroactive

A provision in the recently signed fiscal year 2011 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 6523) allows TRICARE beneficiaries keep their dependent children insured on their own plans up to age 26. Military health care system requires several months to design and launch the new benefit.

Although the new program will not formally take effect for several months, it is important to note that the government will pay the bill for any eligible health care costs incurred retroactive to Jan. 1, 2011. Please keep copies of all of your bills if you plan to enroll your children in this program. You will be able to submit claims for reimbursement when the program is finally implemented.

OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM – MILITARY DEATHS
As of January 3, 2011

Service Name Rank Date
of Death Age Gender Home City Home State
Marine Nguyen, Tevan Lee CPL 12/28/10 21 M HUTTO TX
Army Beckerman, Michael Joe SGT 12/31/10 25 M GENEVIEVE MO
Marine Htaik, Maung P LCPL 01/01/11 20 M HAGERSTOWN MD
Marine Tate, Jacob A CPL 01/02/11 21 M COLUMBUS OH

Listed above are the names of those of our soldiers who gave their all in defense of our Country! Please remember those who have served and are serving still, and pray for these families in their time of need, and for those still serving for their safe return home.

Veterans who served in Korea & along the DMZ your help is needed!

The research questionnaire response so far has been good, but we still need more veterans who served in Korea to participate.

Veterans-For-Change is distributing a questionnaire to veterans pertaining to service in Korea to help us gather statistical information in our ongoing efforts to correct the wrongs and to assist in declassifying many missions in Korea so that veterans such as you will be able to gain the benefits and services needed from the VA System.

This questionnaire is anonymous, you do not need to provide personal contact information if you’re not comfortable with this.

However, if you do provide personal contact information it will be kept 100% confidential, will not be given to any member of Congress, the VA or the DoD, nor will it be sold to any company for any reason what-so-ever.

Statistical information will be used to compile a report to submit to various members of Congress in our efforts to declassify all missions 25 or more years ago so that all veterans can apply for and gain the much needed benefits and medical care/services needed and long over due.

If you’re interested in participating, please click HERE and request a copy. In the Subject put Korean Service.

38 USC 5301 – Sec. 5301. Non-Assignability and Exempt Status of Benefits

Dear America,

Hello, my name is Calvin Murphy. I am a 63-year-old Viet Nam 100% disable veteran. I served in 65-67 and in-country 66-67. Had rough time on DMZ but made it home and lived in a bottle and used drugs for next 30 years. In 1995 I was told I suffered from severe PTSD.

I have been in treatment ever since and still there today. This treatment has helped save my life. And the compensation has helped me live a stable life to the best of my ability. In 2005 my wife left me very unexpected and it pushed me over the edge and I was in hospital for over 3 months. Came home and was served papers for divorce. So I had long drug out hearings about my life and PTSD was basically put on trial.

She said I was violent and she was scared of me. It was proved that I never abused her outside of some yelling. It was proved that I over came alcoholism and drug abuse at that time for many years and still clean today.

The attorney that my ex had was the most anti veteran person I have ever meant. I was ask to relive some of what happen in Viet Nam and I did the best I could, but she would not cross examine me and said all I was doing was “”ROMANTIZING”” my service because I wear Dog-Tags. And she had a thing about vets who wear ball caps and other things saying that they where veterans. My wife was asking for $2,000.00 a month for life, and the end decision was that I was to pay $800.00 for life.

My income is my VA Compensation and SSD because VA deemed me Non-Employable. And I get a check for $400.00 from my job. I offered that check to them from my job, but they laughed. You could see that this was mission to get all they could out of the veteran. My defense was that I stood behind the Federal Law Title 38 Sec. 5301 that says that veteran’s disability compensation is exempt from attachment and the same with SSD.

But the state courts say that they can attach them. So this is where the fight starts. I refused to pay when the judge set the amount of $800.00 a month as temporary spousal support and was give 90 days in jail for refusing to pay out of what I earned serving this great country of ours.

I stayed in 10 days and had to come up with several thousand to get out of jail. Then $800.00 was made permanent. This is short outline of what happened to me, but this is going on all over the country, many of our veterans our being stripped of there disability benefits in violation of the FEDERAL LAW and nobody except a Veterans Advocacy Group by the name of (OFFE) that is Operation Firing For Effect.

This organization is the only group in the country making a stand for the disable veterans. I know of veterans who have lost homes, I know of Amputee’s who have left there home states and are in hiding in other states just so they can get there compensation checks so that they can survive. You do hear sometimes of the homeless veterans, well I can say that this has caused veterans to become homeless.

This in-justice has to stop!! But before it will it has to be recognized by all, not just a few. I ask now where is the MEDIA at on this issue, T.V., newspapers, radio’s. I must say that one man with a radio station in riverside, Iowa has stepped up and made the plight of the American Veteran his life mission. His name is Jeff Showalter and his station is the STARDUST NETWORK.

This is the only other voice we have to get this issue out there with, he is a true American Patriot to the veterans just because he cares. Otherwise to these people I say you want this sacred thing called FREEDOM but you don’t give a Damn about those who served and fought for you to have that right, to be free to do what you do.

When are veterans hang up there uniforms they are discarded like an old pair of shoes. We are remembered on Memorial Day when you are dead, and on Veterans Day to say Thank You and both are very heart warming but we are forgotten the other 363 days.

Then there are the Elected Officials who we send to Washington. They are going to save the world from everything when they are looking for votes then when they get there it is business as usual, and “”NO”” one to really stand up for those that have gave there all to make this country what it is.

AMERICA I am asking “”WHY”” what more can we do for this country? Same with the National Veteran’s Organizations why aren’t they out there helping veterans with this issue? On National level all they say is they do not get involved in Civil matters. Well this is a Veterans matter and what are they there for. I was told that once and then told to try and get new members recruited and sell lot of Poppy’s. But No help for these men and women to keep there benefits.

And then there is our nation’s Attorneys, WOW what can I say, this issue is a real “”CASH COW”” for many lawyer’s on this issue. They say they will fight for the vet and they stay with them until they drain them dry of money and then drop them like a bad habit. Here in Michigan I had one lawyer who did absolutely nothing for me and he was the one I had when I went to jail. I searched all over Michigan for someone to take me Pro-Bono , I found ONE I repeat ONE in the whole state who stuck with me till fight was over.

All she would say was UN-Believable. So I am saying that the Community of people that have trained to up hold the law are not stepping to the plated and in most cases when they do it is for money and NOT The American Veteran. Again the Freedom that we enjoy as Americans are being forgotten how and why we have them. I am saving this for last, but when I went to jail, I was wearing a jacket from the unit I served with in Viet Nam and had Medals that I earned on that jacket when I was handcuffed, I was so hurt by this. I was taken to the county jail in a Van and then taken out and the last thing that I seen before going into lock-up was the American Flag flying, I looked up and asked why what did I do wrong. All I am Guilty of is serving the country I love so much. I was put in solitary confinement the whole time I was there.

I ask myself did I embarrass America by making this stand, or is America embarrassed by what happen to me if they knew. AMERICA I am still looking for and answer. In March I will be in Washington D.C with Operation Firing for Effect to see if we can get Congressional backing on this issue and while I am there I am going to give America back the Medals that I earned serving her.

To me they are tarnished by the same people that I thought that I was helping to protect. My heart is broken, when that happened it was like getting a Dishonorable Discharge. I can never wear those medals again with any kind of pride after having them on in jail for standing up to keep what I earned.

So I am going to ask some congressional person to give them to the President with copy of my Mug shot from jail with note saying I can never wear them again that they have been Dishonored by the judicial system and that it was a slap in the face to all who have served.

America we are forcing America’s best to the streets, and we are putting them in jail for wanting to keep what they earned. Please help by contacting your senator’s, Congressman and women. STOP THIS INJUSTICE.

And I challenge the Media who has the nerve to step up and do a story on what is really happening to our veterans around the country, yes say Thank You For Your Service, but also ask the veteran what can I do to help.

Remember they where ready to sacrifice there lives for you so you can enjoy a life of Freedom, Don’t turn your back on these brave men and women, we owe them.

In closing I would like to Thank Jim Davis of Veterans for Change for the opportunity to write this article and helping us to get this word out there. I will put contact info at the bottom if you would like to talk to anyone on this issue.

Calvin Murphy
[email protected]
Viet Nam 66-67

Fisher House Serves Thousands

Although the 53 Fisher House homes around the world serve more than 11,000 families annually, many service members do not know about the organization, which enables family members to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an unexpected illness, disease or injury. The Fisher House Foundation donates “comfort homes,” which are built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers. There is at least one Fisher House at every major military medical center to provide families temporary housing when a service member or a family member needs extended medical care. For more information, visit the Fisher House Foundation website.

Find ways to support and honor U.S. military service members and veterans who protect our security and freedom. Visit the Military.com Support our Troops webpage.

Source: Military.com

VA Posts Annual Medical Quality Report
Quality of Care Better than Private-Sector Health Plans

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) issued the 2010 annual VA Facility Quality and Safety Report on Jan. 5 that reports on VA health care for Congressional review and offers Veterans the opportunity to see the quality and safety findings specific to their VA medical center.

“We believe in our mission to provide the best care anywhere for Veterans,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. Robert Petzel. “This posted report shows we are providing high quality overall and identifies the areas where we have opportunities to improve.”

This is the third year VA is posting the annual report and the second year to do so voluntarily.

The Quality and Safety Report, at  provides a comprehensive snapshot of the quality of care VA provides at each of 153 medical facilities across the nation. When compared to private sector plans, VA’s findings showed higher quality marks for VA health care. VA used industry-standard measures to score the quality of the care it delivers, and the report shows that, overall, VA’s scores are better than private sector health plans. In addition to allowing VA to provide the public with an accounting of the quality and safety of its care, the report cards provide an opportunity for VA to make improvements where clinical indicators reflect cause for concern.

For instance, the findings related to quality of care for women and the perceptions of quality of care by ethnic minorities highlight that VA shares the same challenges as the private sector in providing equal care to all patients.

Committed to reversing these trends, VA has responded to these challenges in a variety of ways. For example, VA is evaluating emergency room (ER) care for women, rolling out an education plan for ER providers, implementing breast cancer registry to assist in follow-up of abnormal mammograms, and training 400 more providers in basic and advanced “mini-residencies” in women’s health.

Also, VA medical centers and clinics each have a minority Veterans program coordinator to provide outreach to minority Veterans, as well as educate and sensitize VA staff to minority needs. The coordinators advocate for minority Veterans by identifying gaps in services and making recommendations to improve service delivery.

“I hope every Veteran across America reads the report and learns more about the quality health care they have earned from a grateful nation,” Petzel said. “VA will build from these results, addressing concerns where needed and building even stronger programs where there has been success. I am proud of the VA staff who serve Veterans every day.”

The annual Facility Quality and Safety Report is just one of several public postings of various health care quality metrics for VA’s medical facilities.

Source: VA

Veterans and Asbestos Exposure

Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer that primarily affects the lining of the lungs. Approximately 2,000 to 3,000 cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, there are currently 25 million living individuals who have served in the Armed Forces; hundreds of thousands, if not millions of these living veterans were exposed to toxic asbestos-containing materials during military service. Asbestos.com’s online Mesothelioma Center offers free assistance with filing your VA claim and can make the process much easier. The Veterans Assistance department offers extensive experience in filing VA claims and can help any veteran coping with mesothelioma. For more information or free assistance regarding VA benefits, programs and eligibility, call 800-615-2270.

Source: Military.com

Legislation Introduced to Repeal SBP/DIC Offset

Following on the legacy of former Rep. Henry Brown (R-SC), who retired last year from Congress, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) introduced legislation to eliminate the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency Indemnity Compensation (SBP/DIC) offset. Wilson is the Chairman of the House Armed Services Personnel Subcommittee, the congressional panel with key jurisdiction over uniformed services quality of life issues.

Wilson’s bill, H.R. 178, called the “Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act,” is identical to the previous bill. It repeals the dollar-for-dollar reduction of SBP, fully restoring eligibility for all survivors; it eliminates “recoupment” of repayments of SBP premiums on remarriage of the survivor; and, it allows restoration of eligibility to survivors who passed the benefit to “dependent children.”

Passage of Wilson’s legislation is even more critical this year as DFAS now demands repayment, with interest, of refunded premiums from the survivors who have chosen to remarry after age 57.

Last year, remarried widows won a suit against the Government to restore both full SBP and DIC after age 57 marriage. In response, DFAS now demands a full repayment of the refunded SBP Premium money. Moreover, DFAS requires payment with 6 percent interest, despite the fact that the original payment to survivors was paid without interest and despite the fact that survivors paid taxes on the payment, too.

Present law makes it a penalty if the survivor remarries prior to the age of 57, by denying full payment of SBP and DIC. The new DFAS policy makes it a penalty now if a survivor remarries after age 57. It’s become a penalty for remarriage both before age 57 and after age 57.

New Burn Center Will Add Much-Needed Capacity

It is reported that the US military’s “only burn center is getting a new, bigger home” in San Antonio, Texas, and “should be ready by this summer.”

According to Army Col. (Dr.) Evan Renz, the burn center’s director, the Army’s Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center will move from the main building of Brooke Army Medical Center to the fourth floor of a seven-story, 760,000-square-foot tower being added to the medical center.

“Since 2003,” Benz said, “the burn center has treated 830 troops injured in combat,” either in Iraq or Afghanistan.

VA Backlog Subject of Survey

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA’s) growing backlog of undecided benefits claims continues to affect hundreds of thousands of veterans nationwide. Veterans and their families are urged to help the American Legion by filling out a confidential online Regional Action Office Review (ROAR) survey. The completed surveys will be reviewed by American Legion Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation staff in order to provide a clear picture of the situations at VA Regional Offices across the country. Those who fill out the survey will be asked if they are willing to discuss their cases further with American Legion National Headquarters media staff.

Veteran’s Benefits Directory – To learn more about your state’s veteran benefits, visit the Military.com State Veteran’s Benefits Directory.

Source: Military.com

Veterans-For-Change Newsletter is a once weekly publication deadline for submission is 5:00 PM PST on Friday!

Distribution: 13,625

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.
– Thomas Paine

Veteran’s News Sources:

Veterans-For-Change Incorporated
11901 Samuel
Garden Grove, CA 92840-2546

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