Did you know that the VA is the largest healthcare provider in the US? In any health care system – especially one that serves millions of Veterans – ensuring timely access to high-quality healthcare services is extremely important. Recent research shows that VA healthcare is comparable to healthcare provided at non-VA hospitals.
This generation of veterans and servicemembers have access to the best benefits of any era in history. From the VA Home Loan program, to the GI Bill you can save you money, enhance your career opportunities and even change your life. Don’t miss out on any of the benefits you have earned.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) has improved procedures by incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the time it takes to process in-coming mail from 10 days down to one.
VA Moves Its Travel Reimbursement System Online with AccessVA In an article first reported by Military.com, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is making it easier for veterans and eligible beneficiaries to submit travel claims for traveling to receive medical care. Currently, those seeking reimbursement for medical travel must file their travel claims using a… Read more »
New DoD ID for Families and Retirees Beginning on July 31, 2020, the Department of Defense (DoD) began issuing a new form of ID for family members and military retirees to access service benefits and privileges. They are transitioning away from the paper-based ID card to a more secure one similar to the Common Access… Read more »
It’s no secret that hazards exist during military service. The VA continuously evaluates the link between environmental hazard exposure and risk for diseases. They do this by compiling data in six Environmental Health Registries. Learn more about these registries.
VA Partners with OnStar in Suicide Prevention The VA recently announced a new partnership with OnStar emergency services. The goal of the partnership is to improve access to suicide prevention resources for Veterans. Suicide among our Veteran population produces alarming statistics. Over 6,000 Veterans die by suicide each year Suicide rates among Veterans are 1.5… Read more »
Military Gets Free Assistance Finding Child Care The demands of military service pose unique challenges when it comes to raising kids. Covid-19 has added another layer of challenges. Whether your family is preparing for a deployment, resettling after a PCS move, moving your child into new age level of care, or are among the many… Read more »
Did you know that yoga has the potential to improve chronic low back pain, PTSD symptoms, and insomnia? As a veteran, you likely have access to free classes and can benefit from yoga – which may aid your general well-being even if you don’t suffer from back pain or PTSD.
TRICARE beneficiaries in select states who have a documented diagnosis of low back pain will receive three free physical therapy visits. The goal of the demonstration is to determine whether waiving physical therapy cost-sharing will incentivize more beneficiaries to attend physical therapy, which may in turn reduce overall healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes.
The VA recently announced a new partnership to increase awareness and expand resources for lung cancer screening for veterans. This is big news because cancer is more prevalent among veterans than the general population.
There are a number of changes to the TRICARE program every year. The most recent proposed change will allow the option for some military families and retirees to choose a different health network apart from the current East and West regions available. Presently, Humana Military Healthcare Services holds the TRICARE East contract and Health Net Federal Services holds the TRICARE West contract.
The new app, Digital Garrison, is connecting those who live near Army installations with information about a variety of programs, services, and offices on the installation.
Two Veteran-Supporting Laws Signed By President In August, President Donald Trump signed two pieces of legislation that will support veterans. One will broaden options for those caught within the legal system and the other will expand a home renovation grant program for veterans who are disabled and blind. The Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act The… Read more »
Senators are calling on the House of Representatives to pass the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act. This landmark legislation is named to honor the legacy of retired Navy SEAL Commander John Scott Hannon. The bill is focused on efforts to prevent veteran suicides and improve mental health outcomes through improved access to care, better diagnostic tools, and increased oversight of VA programs.
Blended Retirement: Round 2 On June 23rd, 2020, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, introduced the Re-Open Enrollment for Servicemembers to Opt-In to Updated Retirement Choice for Enduring Security (RESOURCES) Act of 2020, which “would promote financial security for military families by improving financial training,” according to a… Read more »
A bill calling for the Secretary of Defense to provide additional resources, including the services of doulas, for pregnant beneficiaries in the Tricare program, was introduced in Congress this May. The sponsors for this bill, Senators Kiersten Gillibrand (New York) and Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut) propose that the additional support would actually help to cut heath… Read more »
Largest VA Budget Proposal Passes House On July 24th, legislation providing appropriations for the Department of Veterans Affairs (HR 7608) passed the House with a contentious vote of 224 in favor and 189 opposed to the legislation. What is remarkable about this bill is that it was only introduced 11 days before it was approved,… Read more »
Resources to Assist Child Development for the Parents of Military Families Being a parent is a fun and challenging journey that has many rewards. Parenting is full of daily surprises and unique situations. Parenting is a “learn as you go profession”, because each child is unique. Each child reacts to and responds to situations differently… Read more »
Take Advantage of Federal Employment with Veteran Preference Points & Recent Graduate Program Honorably discharged service members seeking employment after separating from active duty should consider applying to federal jobs via USAJobs. Many vets are eligible for Veterans Preference Points which provide applicants special consideration during the hiring process. Additionally, many jobs from the military… Read more »
Resources and Support for PCS Moves With Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders come mixed feelings. Whether you’re excited by the prospect of starting over, unhappy about your upcoming move, or processing mixed emotions, the more resources and support you have, the better. Here’s an assortment of resources in 8 PCS-related categories you might find… Read more »
Push for VA to Provide Service Dogs to Veterans with Mental Health Issues, PTSD In February of this year, the House unanimously passed the PAWS (Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers) for Veterans Therapy Act, which would require the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) to begin funding a pilot program where service dogs would be trained for… Read more »
The Brandon Act Would Grant Access to Confidential Mental Health Support Rep. Seth Moulton, (D-Mass.) ––a Marine veteran–– recently introduced a bill in Congress that would make it easier for service members to seek confidential mental health care outside their chain of command. The bill is called The Brandon Act, in honor of 21 year-old… Read more »
Make Sure Your Life Insurance Matches You and Your Family’s Needs? Though money can’t begin to fill the void caused by a death in a family, making sure the financial needs of your loved ones will be met, even in the worst case scenario, will give you peace of mind. When you join the military,… Read more »
Moving Your Dog, Cat or Other Pets During PCS Executing a Permanent Change of Station, or PCS, is hard on the whole family. Spouses have to relocate or find new employment, children have to change schools no matter the time of year and the whole family has to make new friends. More often than not,… Read more »
Man’s Best Friend Versus PTSD There are over 21 million veterans in the United States, and many have faced challenges integrating back into civilian life. There are estimates that a whopping 20 percent of veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, which is one of the most common trauma-induced mental illnesses afflicting veterans today…. Read more »
New TRICARE Select Fees For Retirees Begin January 1, 2021 On June 22nd, TRICARE announced in a press release that TRICARE Select Group A retired beneficiaries must pay for enrollment fees “in order to maintain their health coverage.” The new fees are set to take effect on January 1st, 2021, and this is the first… Read more »
Deployment Prep How-To Being deployed is pretty much inevitable for many military service members. For deployments lasting from just a few weeks to up to a year, there are many types of obstacles that can arise for the families and friends of service members to tackle. Having a checklist or even just an idea of… Read more »
Process Change for Student Survivor Benefit Plan The Department of Defense announced an updated process for child beneficiaries of the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) when verifying that they are a full-time student. The SBP annuity is paid to the dependents of fallen service members or deceased military retirees. Payments usually stop when the dependent reaches… Read more »
Extension of VGLI Application Period The VA has extended the Veterans’ Group Life Insurance (VGLI) application period by 90 days. The extension of the application period ensures all eligible service members and veterans have an opportunity to apply for VGLI despite the widespread upheaval caused by COVID-19. Under the VGLI application period extension, former service… Read more »
TRICARE Extension Possible for Dependents On June 11th, House Representative Elaine Luria (D-VA) introduced H.R. 7176, the Health Care Fairness for Military Families Act, which would improve dependent coverage under the TRICARE Young Adult Program. If passed, this amendment would allow TRICARE dependents to remain on their parents’ insurance policy until the age of 26… Read more »
COVID-19’s Impact on Military Retirees’ Compensation The pandemic has greatly impacted the economy and that can be felt in a number of places. Unfortunately, military veteran compensation has not escaped the grasp of COVID-19 and sadly, many retirees have been and will continue to feel its effects well into next year. Bureau of Labor and… Read more »
New Legislation for Veterans Economic Recovery Introduced In an effort to get veterans and their spouses back to work so they can provide for themselves and their families, top Veterans Affairs lawmakers on Capitol Hill (Phil Roe, R-Tenn., Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, Senate ranking member Jon Tester, D-Mont., and Rep. Mike Levin,… Read more »
Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits The best strategies for financial health are staying informed and thinking proactively. Even if you‘re under 65, it‘s wise to do your homework now so you can make provisions for your anticipated needs. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Don‘t leave money on the table by overlooking… Read more »
Contract Revoked for Privatizing PCS Moves There has been increasing pressure on defense officials to improve household goods moves for military families, and to hold moving companies accountable. Officials at U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) have been considering several ideas and suggestions to improve the process. USTRANSCOM is a unified, functional combatant command which provides support… Read more »
Basic Training for Tax Time for Military Taxes are due on July 15, 2020, though if you’re serving in a combat zone, you have additional time to file. Whether you have one month or several before your deadline, taking these steps can help you make sure you don’t overpay. Earned Income Tax Credits See if… Read more »
DTS: Informational Guide The prospect of traveling and seeing the world is one of many allures of service in our nations Armed Forces. Whether if it is changing duty stations, going on a deployment or for official business, such as training or retirement out-processing; travel is a reality for both military members and Department of… Read more »
IDT Travel Reimbursement and Tax Deduction for National Guard and Reserves For soldiers in the Reserves and National Guard, the cost of traveling to and from Inactive Duty Training (IDT) every month can add up. Many live long distance from where their unit is located, some even traveling by plane for drill. It is not… Read more »
PCS Pay Entitlements In the United States Armed Forces, a permanent change of station (PCS) is the assignment, detail, or transfer of a member or unit to a different duty station under competent orders which neither specify the duty as temporary, nor provide for further assignment to a new station, nor direct return to the… Read more »
Photo: Lake Waccamaw State Park in North Carolina (image by Chelsea Bostelman) Therapeutic Outdoor Recreation for Veterans There are endless lists of free programs and discounts related to outdoor recreation for veterans and their families. Spending time outdoors and in nature can be of great value for veterans and service members in transition. Outdoor Recreation… Read more »
Oh, What a Difference a Day Makes You may have noticed that there’s a lot going on these days. Nations across the world are fighting against a pandemic, the likes of which we’ve not seen in a generation. We have doctors and nurses on the front lines, treating those who have contracted COVID-19. We have… Read more »
Less Obvious But Still Essential Overseas PCS Tips There is a lot of advice out there on what to pack and how to prepare for your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) overseas. Starting with deciding what to ship across the world and what to keep back, and ending with your final check list the night… Read more »
Veteran Mental Health and Resilience Resources The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an experience of unfamiliar stress for many people. The ever-evolving social distancing, quarantine, and personal protective equipment guidelines have added additional stressors to those we have already been dealing with. What is Resilience? Resilience is a tool that helps protect mental health and… Read more »
Aid for Homeless During COVID-19 The CARES Act allocated $17.2 billion for the Veterans Health Administration during this pandemic. The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) will use $300 million to combat the increased risk of veterans experiencing homelessness from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the VA, veterans who are homeless or at… Read more »
DFAS myPay The United States Military works hard to ensure that the individuals that make up its branches are provided for in all areas of life such as housing, healthcare, and finances. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) is an agency of the United States Department of Defense (DOD), headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. DFAS… Read more »
VA Loan Best Practices If you are an active service member, spouse, or dependent, the chances are great that you have heard of VA Loans. You may have even looked into them or read about them somewhere on the internet. A few weeks ago, we published an article explaining why you should consider using this… Read more »
Armed Forces Day is May 16th Armed Forces Day has been around since 1950. This year it falls on May 16th, the 3rd Saturday of May. Back in August of 1949, the Secretary of Defense announced the creation of an Armed Forces Day. This was to replace the separate branch-specific days they already had and… Read more »
TRICARE: All About the TRICARE Program Answering the call for our nation’s military, provides numerous benefits to the individuals who serve within its branches. In addition to serving the nation with selfless and honorable service, also comes valuable training, pay, retirement and healthcare benefits. However, a lot of military benefits can be overwhelming and sometimes… Read more »
What is the COVID-19 Stop Movement Order? The original Stop Movement Order, suspending travel for all Department of Defense (DOD) persons and their families, put into effect in March, was recently extended until June 30th. The order applies to both active and non-active duty DOD persons who were scheduled or had planned to travel within… Read more »
With 325 active-duty member suicides in 2018 according to the Defense Department, the U.S. Military as a whole has made it their mission to make that number more manageable. Service member suicides have surpassed the national average year after year as reported by Military Times, making mental health and addiction support resources more necessary. With… Read more »
10 Best States for Veterans Deciding where you want to move is one of the many decisions made when planning your transition out of the military. After being told where to move from duty station to duty station, you now have the choice of where you want to move and there may be many places… Read more »