In This Issue:
1. Independent Budget Releases Critical Issues
2. COLA Watch
3. VFW Joins CJCS at National Press Club
4. Health Net Launches Breast Cancer Awareness Month
5. Stop Loss Special Pay to End
1. Independent Budget Releases Critical Issues: The four Independent Budget (IB) partners have released their critical issues for FY 2014. The IB, which VFW co-authors with AMVETS, Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America, provides the Administration and Congress a veterans’ view of the most important issues as it pertains to VA healthcare, benefits and infrastructure, as well as issues facing service members as they transition from uniform to veteran status. The IB is in its 27th year of publication and has been praised by Congress as an honest and accurate view of what VA needs to take care of all veterans. The full IB will be released in conjunction with the President’s proposed budget earlier next year. For more about the IB critical issues, visit our blog at http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2012/10/independent-budget-critical-issues-now.html.
2. COLA Watch: The Veterans Cost-of-Living Adjustment bill was cleared by the House in July and is now pending in the Senate. The COLA, which provides an annual increase in disability compensation, pension, and dependency and indemnity compensation for survivors, is based on the Social Security and CPI index. The amount of the increase has not been calculated but the Congressional Budget Office estimates it to be about 1.3 percent. It would be the same for military retirees and Social Security recipients. The increase is designed to offset inflation and other factors that lead to the rising cost of living. Congress is expected to return the week of November 13 to finish pending issues to include the COLA and several other critical veterans benefit bills.
3. VFW Joins CJCS at National Press Club: The VFW joined the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at a luncheon at the National Press Club on Wednesday to hear his views on a variety of issues ranging from foreign policy and Afghanistan to sequestration, suicides, and the need to take care of the troops when they transition to civilian status. As the 18th JCS chairman, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey serves as the principal military adviser to the President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Council. The general cited suicide as a top priority, and spoke about the upcoming budget crisis. He also spoke about education, jobs and the value veterans bring to the workplace and the nation. For more about the briefing visit our blog at:
4. Health Net Launches Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Health Net Federal Services announced its month-long breast cancer awareness campaign focused on the military community and the network of physicians who serve military families in the TRICARE North Region. During October, Health Net will recognize women in the military community for their contributions and sacrifice to the country, their communities and their families. They will also introduce a special camouflage/pink ribbon pin and publish information regarding TRICARE’s breast cancer screening benefit. TRICARE covers one screening mammogram for all women beginning at age 40 from a network provider at no annual cost. Women who are at high risk may be eligible for screening at age 30. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year and screening saves lives. Health Net Federal Services is spreading the word at www.hnfs.com/go/camopinkpin.
5. Stop Loss Special Pay to End: The deadline to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay will end October 21. Service members and veterans whose military service was involuntarily extended under the “Stop Loss” program between the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Sept. 30, 2009, are eligible for special retroactive pay, but you have to apply. The special pay is compensation for the hardships the involuntary extensions caused, officials said. Eligible members or their beneficiaries may submit a claim to their respective military service to receive $500 for each full or partial month served in a Stop Loss status. Because the majority of those eligible had separated from the military, many eligible service members, veterans and their beneficiaries are not aware of the benefit. Please forward this information to all VFW members, Posts and friends. To apply or for more information, go to http://www.defense.gov/home/features/2010/0710_stoploss/