From: Robert White <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: An update on Veterans' benefits
Caldwell: An update on Veterans' benefits
By Richard A. Caldwell, VSO
Thursday, December 8, 2005
Education: GI Bill rate increase
Each year the Department of Veterans Affairs readjusts the GI Bill Basic Payment rate to reflect the increased cost of education tuition and other expenses associated with pursuing a college degree. The rate increase effects all GI Bill benefit programs including Active Duty GI Bill Chapter 30, Reserve GI Bill chapters 1606 and 1607, the GI Bill OJT and Apprenticeship program and the Survivors and Dependents Education Assistance (DEA) program.
THE PAYMENT RATE INCREASES
The basic rates will increase on October 1stt for each program as follows:
Active Duty GI Bill will increase from $1,004 per month for a full time student, to $1,034 per month.
Selective Reserve (S.R.) GI Bill will be increased from $288 a month to $297.
Activated Reserve GI Bill will be up to $827 depending on the length of activation.
GI Bill OJT and Apprenticeship program jumps from $735 ($216 for S.R.) to $878.90 ($252.45 for S.R.)
The DEA rate increases to $827 a month
Note: These numbers are based on the 2006 Full-time student rate.
It is final. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the recent jump in energy prices boosted the Consumer Price index another 1.5 percent in September. That resulted in a 4.1 percent COLA (cost of living adjustment) based on the increase in average costs from the third quarter of 2004 to the third quarter of 2005 - this 4.1 percent increase is the increase that will be applied (in most cases) to retired military pay, Social Security, Survivor Benefit Plan annuities and veterans' disability compensation as of December 1, 2005.
The increase will first appear in the January 2006 paychecks. This in the largest COLA since the 1991 increase of 5.4 percent.
More medications may require $22 co-pay
On September 28, the Defense Department's Beneficiary Advisory Panel was asked to consider a proposal by the DOD Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee to move 14 drugs to Tricare's third tier with a co-pay of 22$. On the list were the ACE inhibitors Aceon, Accupriul and Altace and Univasc. The calcium channel blockers Covera HS, Cardizem LA, Novasc, DynaCir CR, Cardene and Cardene SR, Norvasc, Verelan and Verelan PM. Also the Alpha-blocker Flomax, which is used for benign prostate enlargement, is being considered.
Concurrent Receipt means to receive both military retirement benefits and VA disability compensation, and up until 2004 this was forbidden by law. To receive a VA disability compensation, disabled military retirees had to waive all or part of their military pay.
As of 2004 this law changed so that qualified disabled military retirees will now get paid both their full military retirement pay and their VA disability compensation. This recently passed law phases out (over 9 years) the VA disability offset, which means that military retirees with 20 or more years of service and a 50 percent (or higher) VA rated disability will no longer have their military pay reduced by the amount of their VA disability compensation.
Unlike the Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC), full concurrent receipt will be phased-in over the coming years (except as noted above). This means that those qualified will see their retirement pay increase by approximately 10 percent each year until the phase-in is complete in the year 2014.
According to the Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS) Concurrent Receipt is now officially referred to as 'Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay' (CRDP).
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2005 eliminated the nine-year phase in for full concurrent receipt payments to eligible retirees rated at 100 percent disabled by the VA, as of January 1, 2005. The NDAA 2005 change excluded those deemed unemployable "IU" by the VA, however legislation to remove this provision is currently included in the House version of the NDAA of 2006.
To qualify for concurrent receipt you must:
Be a Military Retiree with 20 or more years of service, including:
Chapter 61 Medical Retirees with 20 years or more.
National Guard and Reserve with 20 or more good years.
Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) Retirees may also be eligible.
Have a Service Related VA disability rating of 50 percent or higher.
More on the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier
Q - How long does the Sentinel hesitate after his about face, to begin his return walk and does he carry his rifle on the same shoulder all the time, and if not why?
A - He does not execute an about face. He stops on the 21st step, then turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds. Then he turns to face back down the mat, changes his weapon to the outside shoulder, counts 21 seconds, then steps off for another 21 step walk down the mat. He faces the Tomb at each end of the 21 step walk for 21 seconds. The Sentinel then repeats this over and over until he is relieved at the Guard Change.
Q - Why are his gloves wet?
A - His gloves are moistened to improve his grip on the rifle.
Subject: Navy Seaman Missing from Pearl Harbor Attack is Identified
NEWS RELEASES from the United States Department of Defense
No. 1303-05 IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec 16, 2005 Media Contact: (703)697-5131
Navy Seaman Missing from Pearl Harbor Attack is Identified
The Department of Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office (DPMO)
announced today that the remains of a U.S. Navy seaman missing in action from
the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor have been identified and will soon be
returned to his family for burial with full military honors.
He is Seaman 2nd Class Warren P. Hickok of Kalamazoo, Mich. The
family has not set a date for his burial.
Hickok was assigned to the Light Mine Layer the USS Sicard when
the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Many crewmembers from the USS Sicard,
including Hickok, were dispatched to assist the crew of the USS Cummings, a
destroyer docked nearby. The Cummings succeeded in getting underway and
clearing Pearl Harbor with no casualties reported. However, an investigation
into those still unaccounted-for after the attack surmised that Hickok may
have been a casualty aboard the battleship, the USS Pennsylvania, since some
crewmen from the USS Sicard had been dispatched to the USS Pennsylvania during
the attack. But records indicate that Hickok was not lost aboard that ship.
In the days following the attack, burial details interred many of
the unknown dead in Nuuanu Cemetery on Oahu. Among those buried were an
unknown sailor identified only as X-2. Following the war, the Army Graves
Registration Service oversaw the disinterment of unknown remains, including
the X-2 remains. They could not be identified and were reburied in Section E,
Grave 73 at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific, known as the
Punchbowl, on June 9, 1949.
In 2004, an avocational historian contacted the Joint POW/MIA
Accounting Command (JPAC) in Hawaii and suggested that the remains in Grave
731 may be those of Hickok. Based on available records, JPAC exhumed the
grave in June 2005. Forensic anthropologists at JPAC were able to match those
remains, including dental remains, with detailed information found in Hickok's
World War II medical and dental records.
Of the 88,000 unaccounted-for Americans from all conflicts,
78,000 are from World War II. For additional information on the Defense
Department's mission to account for missing Americans, visit the DPMO Web site
at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo or call (703) 699-1169.
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