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Author Topic: VFW Washington Weekly, June 29, 2009  (Read 2254 times)

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VFW Washington Weekly, June 29, 2009
« on: June 29, 2009, 08:55:00 pm »
 

In This Issue:

1. GI Bill Hearing

2. GI Bill Transferability Rules

3. House Passes Defense Bill

4. Congress on Recess

 

1. GI Bill Hearing: The House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic
Opportunity held another hearing on VA's implementation plans for the
Post 9/11 GI Bill. The GI bill benefit is scheduled to be fully
implemented on Aug. 1, 2009. The application process to determine
eligibility opened on May 1. VA has reported over 100,000 applications
filed for the education benefit.  Keith Wilson, Director of VA's
Education Services, testified that VA has a two-part IT strategy that
relies on short- and long-term goals for processing the claims. He
updated committee members on VA's partnership with the Navy's SPAWAR
Systems Center, which is contracted to design, develop, and deploy an
end-to-end solution that utilizes rules-based, industry-standard
technologies. VA is currently working with SPAWAR on the long-term IT
solution, and expects the program to be completed no later than December
2010. For more on the hearing, visit the House VA website at:
http://veterans.house.gov/.

 

2. GI Bill Transferability Rules: The Pentagon released final rules
under the transferability provision of the new GI Bill and began taking
applications today. Servicemembers can register to transfer their Post
9/11 GI bill benefits to family members on a special Pentagon website.
The application site is for servicemembers who do not plan to use their
benefits anytime soon or not at all. The Pentagon stresses that for
those who wish to begin using their benefit now to register through the
VA website (www.va.gov). Under the new law, servicemembers have up to 15
years from the time they leave the military to use their education
benefits. Transferability laws apply to those on active duty or in the
Selected Reserve on August 1, 2009 and include fulfilling a minimum
service obligation. If you are scheduled to retire anytime before July
31 or have separated and are in the Individual Ready Reserve you are not
eligible for the transferability benefit. All other eligibility criteria
for the benefit can be found at:
http://www.defenselink.mil/news/DTM%2009-003%20Post%209-11%20GI%20Bill.p
df

 

The transferability of education benefits (TEB) website will be open and
available for applications on June 29, 2009 at:
https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/TEB/

The site can only be accessed from military computers

 

3. House Passes Defense Bill: The House last week passed (389-22) its
version of the FY 2010 Defense Authorization Bill (HR 2647). One key
amendment passed was a provision to phase-in (within 5 years) concurrent
receipt for Chapter 61 retirees. The measure would allow disabled
military retirees with less than 20 years of service to collect both
their retirement pay and VA compensation without offset. It also extends
expiring authorities concerning a wide array of bonuses and special pays
that are critical to military recruiting and retention. The VFW thanks
Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO) for his leadership
on this critical fix, and is hopeful that the language of this bill will
be incorporated into the Senate version of the FY 2010 NDAA. Other
provisions of the bill include a 3.4% military pay raise, TRICARE health
coverage for Reserve Component members, significant funding for family
housing, and increases in size of the military force by 15,000 Army
troops, 8,000 Marines, 14,650 Air Force, and 2,477 Navy. For more
information on the entire House-passed bill visit the House Armed
Services Committee at:
http://armedservices.house.gov/apps/list/press/armedsvc_dem/skeltonpr061
709.shtml.

 

4. Congress on Recess: Congress is on recess and is expected to return
to Washington on July 7. Their very busy July agenda involves completing
all 12 appropriations packages - including the VA/Military Construction
and Defense bills. Other VFW legislative priorities that need final
approval and votes include the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement
Act, Advanced Funding for VA Medical Care, and several bills that will
expand benefits for veterans. Now is a great time to visit the district
offices and urge your legislators to pass our priority goals. For a list
of our goals and the bills we support, visit the VFW website and click
on the Capitol Hill link at:
http://www.vfw.org/index.cfm?fa=caphill.home&tok=1.
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