In December 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) implemented the Solid Start program aimed at providing “a consistent, caring contact between service members and VA to guide them through understanding and using the benefits and resources available to them.”
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.
VA Offering Specialized Assistance for Female Service Members Transitioning to Civilian Life There is a long history of underrepresentation for women in the military. Even with the more recent creation of female-driven support and services, there is still a lack of utilization of those benefits. In collaboration with the Department of Defense, the VA has… Read more »
Veteran Friendly Franchise Opportunities for former Mess and Culinary Specialists Cooks are the unsung heroes of the military. Without Mess Specialists and Culinary Specialists providing food and rations to the troops and sailors the volunteers in the armed forces would be stuck eating MREs and ramen noodles for the length of their military careers. Those… Read more »
Allowance for Auto with Adaptive Equipment from VA Few things diminish your freedom and independence like being unable to drive. If a service-related (service-connected) disability has impacted your ability to drive, you may be eligible for an allowance to buy adaptive equipment designed to help you get back on the road. Find out if you… Read more »
Military benefits changes that have been announced so far for TRICARE, military pay, BAH, BAS and more. We will update you as new changes to your military benefits for 2021 are announced.
Military retirees who receive some disability or other benefit from the Department of Veteran Affairs will have a very pleasant surprise greeting them in the upcoming year. They will see a 1.3% increase in their monthly checks starting in 2021!
PREVENTing Suicide September was Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This September, progress was made in several pieces of legislation addressing suicide prevention. Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act Veterans COMPACT Act The Brandon Act In an executive summary of the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, a somber… Read more »
The eras of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars has led to an increase of veterans with mental health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). And since Sept. 11, 2001, over 150,000 soldiers have been discharged from the Army with a less-than-honorable discharge. By receiving these discharges, these veterans no longer have access to government benefits that would help them with their mental health. Instead of assistance, many veterans have faced unemployment, substance abuse, or homelessness. A new lawsuit hopes to provide some of them with upgraded discharge statuses to get them the help and services they need.
Childcare: Today’s Hottest Commodity for Military Families In today’s chaotic world of pandemic shut downs, more and more Americans are trying to get back to work. Our military community, many of whom were deemed essential as civilians were furloughed, have also faced concerns over the waning availability of childcare. Last August, the Department of Defense… Read more »
The federal government, as of Veterans Day 2020, will grant free access to National Parks and other federal lands to veterans and Gold Star Families. Entrance fees and standard recreation fees will be waived allowing them access to 2,000 locations under a new initiative from the Department of Interior.
Expansion of VA Caregiver Program Now Includes Caregivers from All Eras Originally available only to caregivers of post 9/11 veterans, the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) began its first phase of expansion on October 1st, 2020. Over the next two years, this VA service will become available to caregivers of veterans from… Read more »
Playing the role of a caregiver – and the mountain of responsibilities that come with it – can be overwhelming. Caregivers of veterans can easily identify resources through the VA Caregiver Support Website and Caregiver Support Coordinators. A plethora of resources for caregivers is summarized here.
On November 4th, Starbucks announced that they will offer a free cup of coffee for all veterans and military members and their spouses this Veterans Day, November 11th, 2020.
If you are a member of the military community, and you love hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation, then you do not want to miss these awesome state benefits! The following states report that these state benefits are the most unused each year.
If you are a veteran and you are from, or live in, one of the following states, then you may have overlooked some really great state benefits dealing with land and housing.
The following three states have programs for veterans that either revolve around occupational licensing or veteran designations on their drivers licenses. Unfortunately, many veterans are not taking advantage of them. Take a look.
Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2020 Legislation aimed at increasing benefits for disabled veterans passed through the Senate and is now awaiting President Trump to sign it into law. Bi-Partisan Bill Introduced and Championed by Veterans, Elaine Luria and Mike Bost H.R. 6168, Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Act of 2020, was first… Read more »
I don’t know about you, but it seems like we can all use some help these days. With the pandemic still affecting huge swaths of our country, money has been tight. For this reason, I’d like to call your attention to 6 states that offer overlooked financial benefits to their resident veterans.
National Day of the Deployed is a day which honors the sacrifices that deployed service members and their families have made and continue to make in defense of our country. This day is celebrated yearly on October 26th.
Many in our military community have just moved or are moving overseas, which can further complicate shipping times when it comes to sending gifts and care packages. The best guidance available is from the United States Postal Service (USPS), who have just published their recommended holiday shipping dates to best ensure deliveries before December 25, 2020.
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.
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 »
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 Card (CAC) issued to active military, Selected Reserve, members, and Defense civilian employees.
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 »