WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 – The Senate today advanced legislation expanding health care, education, employment and other benefits for veterans. The 99-0 vote clears the way for a Senate debate on the bill by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. “We have made progress but we still have a long way to go if we are to keep faith with those who have put their lives on the line to defend us,” Sanders said in a Senate floor speech before the vote. “I hope very much that we will go down that road together, that we will tell the American people that at least on this one issue we can stand together and protect the interests of those people who have sacrificed so much for our country.”
WASHINGTON - The Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense (DoD) just released improvements to the functionality of eBenefits, a joint self-service web portal that provides registered users with secure online information and access to a variety of military and Veterans benefits resources.
“eBenefits is clearly becoming the platform of choice for Veterans seeking access to the numerous benefits they have earned,” said Undersecretary for Benefits Allison A. Hickey. “The increasing capabilities of eBenefits give Veterans and Servicemembers greater flexibility in securing the information they are looking for.”
GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act of 2013 - (Sec. 3) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA), for purposes of the educational assistance programs administered by the Secretary, to disapprove courses of education provided by a public educational institution that does not charge tuition and fees for veterans at the same rate that is charged for in-state residents, regardless of the veteran's state of residence. Provides for the treatment of veterans enrolled in courses at such institutions before July 1, 2015.
(Sec. 4) Extends through FY2018 the authorization of appropriations for: (1) a monthly assistance allowance to disabled veterans training or competing for the Paralympic Team; and (2) grants to U.S. Paralympics, Inc.
House lawmakers endorsed legislation Tuesday that would repeal a cut in the cost-of-living adjustment to pensions for military retirees of working age. The House advanced 326-90 the bill (S 25) under suspension of the rules, an expedited process that requires a two-thirds majority for passage. House Republican leaders had planned to attach the measure to a bill (S 540) to extend the federal government’s borrowing authority (S 540), but changed course after determining that a majority of Republicans would not support the debt limit legislation.
The bill would modify the December budget agreement (PL 113-67), which included a 1 percentage point reduction in the annual cost-of-living adjustment for the pensions of military retirees under age 62. Under the legislation, the pension adjustment would apply only to members of the armed forces, or former members, who joined the military after Jan. 1, 2014.
Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014
Section 1: Short title and table of contents
Section 2: References to title 38, United States Code
Section 3: Budgetary effects
WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that as a result of the initiative launched in April to expedite disability compensation claims decisions for Veterans who have a waited a year or longer, more than 65,000-claims – or 97 percent of all claims over two years old in the inventory – have been eliminated from the backlog.
Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) staff will now focus their efforts on completing the disability claims of Veterans who have been waiting over one year for a decision, while completing the final batch of oldest claims in progress. Over the past two months, VA has been dedicated to providing earned benefits to the Veterans who have waited the longest,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. “Thanks to our hard-working VBA employees, we have completed nearly all claims that have been pending two years or longer. We’ve made great progress, but know much work remains to be done to eliminate the backlog in 2015.”
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As part of its ongoing transformation from paper-based to electronic claims processing, the Department of Veterans Affairs has continued to improve the automated payment of benefits for Veterans participating in the Post-9/11 GI Bill education program. As a result, VA is now providing benefit payments to currently enrolled students in an average of six days – cutting by more than half the processing time experienced during the spring enrollment period last year.
TRICARE Over-the-Counter Demonstration Program Extended Until 2016...TRICARE beneficiaries may continue to receive select over-the-counter medications at no cost to them until Nov. 30, 2016. The Department of Defense has extended the Over-the-Counter Medication Demonstration Project (OTC Demo) to allow more time to determine its effectiveness. The OTC Demo began in 2009 and was scheduled to end November 2014.....click here for full article
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2014 is the key mechanism to provide necessary authorities and funding for America’s military. This is the fifty-second consecutive NDAA. Chairman McKeon’s Mark meets our Committee’s goal of providing for a strong defense in an era of uncertain and declining resources. The total amount authorized reflects the will of the House to provide our troops the resources they need to meet a dangerous world. However, the Chairman also recognizes that twin impacts of rapid defense cuts and FY13 sequestration, will force our warfighters to be not only keen stewards of our national security, but also the taxpayer dollar. To that end, the proposal supports and protects our warfighters and their families; addresses ongoing and emerging conflicts with resolve and accountability; protects America today while preparing for future threats; and finally controls costs while making wise choices with restrained resources. The House Armed Services Committee will meet at 10:00 AM on Wednesday, June