Friday, October 19, 2012

VFW Washington Weekly 10/19

In This Issue:
 
1. VFW Hosts Labor Officials for Employment Discussion
2. VFW Joins Department of Transportation Veterans' Forum
3. Field Report:  Georgia VFW Honors Sheriff
4. Overseas Initiative Helps POW/MIA Mission
5. Stop Loss Special Pay to End
6. Reserve TRICARE Program Payments to Change
7. TRICARE Mail-order Prescriptions to End in Germany
8. VA eBenefits Fact Sheet
9. Two Vietnam MIA's Identified
 
1. VFW Hosts Labor Officials for Employment Discussion: On Wednesday the VFW hosted officials from the Department of Labor (DOL) and 10 leading veterans' organizations to discuss veterans' career services available through DOL's Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS). Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for VETS John Moran wanted to bring together veterans' advocates to outline how VETS intends to better utilize current resources to serve the needs of veterans once they leave the military, such as improved outreach to separating service members and better ways to monitor veteran success in the workforce. To learn more about the meeting and VETS' goal to better serve veterans, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2012/10/vfw-hosts-labor-officials-for-veterans.html.
 
2. VFW Joins Department of Transportation Veterans' Forum: Yesterday the Department of Transportation brought together leaders from the transportation industry, the military, Department of Labor, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, trade unions, and veterans service organizations like the VFW for a forum on veterans' career opportunities in transportation. The forum featured panelists discussing how private industry and the federal government can improve outreach and recruitment of veterans. Then, participants broke into working groups to address specific questions about how to connect veterans with careers in the transportation industry. To learn more about the forum, click here: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2012/10/vfw-joins-department-of-transportation.html.
 
3. Field Report:  Georgia VFW Honors Sheriff: Last week the VFW Department of Georgia honored John Darr, sheriff of Muscogee County, for his work helping incarcerated veterans.
Darr created a dormitory within the Muscogee County Jail exclusively for incarcerated veterans, offering extensive counseling for post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, and assistance in applying for veterans' benefits.  The VFW has long supported the concept of veterans' treatment courts around the country, offering unique rehabilitation and intervention services for veterans who get into trouble with the law. In 2012, the VFW once again passed a national resolution in support of veterans' treatment courts.  For more on the story visit our blog at: http://thevfw.blogspot.com/2012/10/field-report-georgia-vfw-honors-sheriff.html
To share your stories of advocacy for publication on the VFW's Capitol Hill blog, go to http://www.vfw.org/Forms/Capitol-Hill-Blog-Submissions/ or simply email photos and stories directly to vfwac@vfw.org.
 
 
4. Overseas Initiative Helps POW/MIA Mission: VFW National Commander John Hamilton returned last week from traveling to Moscow to continue our mission to gain more access for American researchers into Russia's central military archives and to potential eyewitnesses.  It was a very productive trip that included meetings with the U.S. Ambassador to Russia, two of Russia's largest veterans' organization, senior members of the Russian Federation Council and State Duma, and the Russian co-chairman of the US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs. From Russia, the Chief attended the VFW Eastern Conference meeting in Germany, then laid a VFW wreath at the American Cemetery in Normandy to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the D-Day landing.  He also met with 173rd Airborne Brigade troops in Vicenza, Italy, to discuss how the VFW can better serve them and their families. On POW/MIA and other high-interest issues, Hamilton said he was proud to say "no one does more for veterans than the VFW." Read more at https://www.vfw.org/News-and-Events/Articles/2012-Articles/VFW-Overseas-Initiative-Helps-POW/MIA-Mission/.
 
5. Stop Loss Special Pay to End: The deadline to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay is October 21. Service members and veterans whose active 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. Eligible members or their beneficiaries must 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/.
 
6. Reserve TRICARE Program Payments to Change: Beneficiaries who pay monthly premiums by check for TRICARE Reserve Select or TRICARE Retired Reserve need to switch to an electronic form of payment before the end of the year. Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, TRICARE will only accept monthly premium payments using recurring automatic payments by credit or debit card, or by a recurring electronic funds transfer from a linked bank account. This is mandatory, and failure to pay premiums by the due date will result in the termination of coverage. Read more at http://www.tricare.mil/mediacenter/news.aspx?fid=751.
 
7. TRICARE Mail-order Prescriptions to End in Germany: Military family members and retirees in Germany who receive TRICARE mail order prescriptions by APO or FPO in Germany will have to fill their medications locally by the end of the year. This is because host-nation law prohibits the importation of medications through the mail. Officials are urging beneficiaries to switch their prescriptions to a U.S. military treatment facility or use their TRICARE pharmacy benefit at a local German pharmacy. Both the Tricare Prime Overseas and Tricare Prime Remote Overseas programs will reimburse affected beneficiaries for 100 percent of their out-of-pocket costs if they have authorization. Read more at http://www.tricare.mil/mybenefit/home/Prescriptions/FillingPrescriptions/OutsideUS.
 
8. VA eBenefits Fact Sheet:  VA is reaching out to more veterans and service members to remind them about their eBenefits program.  eBenefits is a joint VA/DoD web portal that provides resources and self-service capabilities to veterans, service members, and their families enabling them to access and manage their VA, military benefits and personal information online. It also gives lists of links to other sites that provides information about military and Veteran benefits. It is an essential way for Veterans, Service members, and their families to receive access to and service from VA and DoD.
Veterans and service members wishing to use the site must be listed in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and obtain a DS login. You can register for an account online using the eBenefits Logon Account Registration Wizard.  
For more information call  1-800-827-1000  or use the eBenefits website at www.ebenefits.va.gov
 
9. Two Vietnam MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of remains belonging to Air Force Col. Wendell Keller, 34, of Fargo, N.D., and Capt. Virgil K. Meroney III, 25, of Fayetteville, Ark. On March 1, 1969, Keller and Meroney were flying an F-4D Phantom II aircraft that crashed while on a nighttime strike mission in Khammouan Province, Laos. Other aircrews reported seeing the aircraft hit by enemy fire, but no parachutes were seen, and heavy enemy presence in the area prevented recovery efforts. Read their story at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.


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Sean Eagan
American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
Phone:  716 720-4000
Network: My Fast Pitch! Profile