MCRA News

House panel rejects benefits cuts in 2015 defense budget

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 / Legislative News

In the first official congressional action on the Pentagon’s proposed 2015 budget, House lawmakers have rejected proposed cuts in housing allowances and commissary funding, as well as an overhaul of the Tricare system that would increase out-of-pocket costs for some beneficiaries.

But members of the House Armed Services Committee’s personnel panel remained noticeably silent on the Defense Department’s proposed 1 percent basic pay raise for troops next year, opening the door for another smaller-than-expected pay boost in January.

And the lawmakers also signaled that they want service members to play a role in deciding what pay and benefits cuts they’ll see in the


VA Hospital's $56 Million "Star Wars Center" Almost Ready in Tampa

Monday, April 14, 2014 / VA News

One of the most modern Department of Veterans' Affairs Hospital Centers in the US is nicknamed the "Star Wars Center."  Spread out over more than 170,000 square feet on two floors, the new Polytrauma and Rehabilitation Center at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital is a $56 million project four years in the making.

It was planned after a scandal involving conditions at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and designed to replace Haley’s interim polytrauma center, the busiest of the five in the nation. VA officials say it will capitalize on rapid technological advancements, centralize treatment for troops and veterans who have suffered multiple injuries and accommodate what officials expect will be increasing numbers of patients as people leave the service with lifelong damage.


Care and Benefits for Veterans Strengthened by $164 Billion VA Budget

Monday, March 10, 2014 / VA News

WASHINGTON – Continuing the transformation of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) into a 21st century organization, the President has proposed a $163.9 billion budget, a 6.5 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2014, that will support VA’s goals to expand access to health care and other benefits, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end homelessness among Veterans. The budget includes $68.4 billion in discretionary spending, largely for healthcare, and $95.6 billion for mandatory programs – mostly disability compensation and pensions for Veterans.

“This budget will allow us to continue the progress we have made in helping Veterans secure their place in the middle class,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “It is a tangible demonstration of the President’s commitment to ensuring Veterans and their families have the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”


VA WALK IN SERVICES

Saturday, March 8, 2014 / VA News

Today, the Department announced that on April 1, 2014, administrative walk-in services will no longer be available at TRICARE Service Centers (TSC) in the United States. Tricare Service Centers do not provide treatment to patients, but rather administrative services only. This change will not in any way affect TRICARE eligibility or the delivery of healthcare services to TRICARE beneficiaries. TRICARE service centers overseas are not affected. The majority of customer service visits to TSCs concern billing, enrollment, changing a Primary Care Manager (PCM), general information on benefits and plans, or referrals. All of the walk-in services currently provided at TSCs can be delivered by existing toll-free call centers or multiple Internet and mobile application sites. TSCs cost more than $50.0 million per year to operate and maintain. Over the next five years, the $250 million saved will allow TRICARE to invest in more important healthcare services for our military members, eligible veterans and their families.


Senate Blocks S. 1982

Thursday, March 6, 2014 / Legislative News

WASHINGTON (AP) undefined A divided Senate on Thursday derailed Democratic legislation that would have provided $21 billion for medical, education and job-training benefits for the nation's veterans. The bill fell victim to election-year disputes over spending and fresh penalties against Iran. Each party covets the allegiance of the country's 22 million veterans and their families, and each party blamed the other for turning the effort into a chess match aimed at forcing politically embarrassing votes.

Republicans used a procedural move to block the bill after Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., chided GOP lawmakers about their priorities.


Automation Speeds Benefits Processing for Post-9/11 GI Bill Students

Friday, February 28, 2014 / VA News

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) decreased the time it takes to process requests for GI Bill and other education benefits for returning students by nearly 50 percent compared to fiscal year 2012. VA attributes the faster process in large part to improved claims automation that uses rules-based, industry-standard technologies to deliver Veterans’ benefits.


VA Purchases Land for a New National Cemetery in Colorado

Friday, February 28, 2014 / VA News

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has purchased land in Colorado for a new national cemetery in the southeast portion of Colorado Springs.


Federal Agencies Partner to Protect Veterans, Service Members and their Families Using GI Bill Education Benefits

Friday, February 28, 2014 / VA News

The Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Education and Justice, along with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission announced today the launch of a new online complaint system designed to collect feedback from veterans, service members and their families who are experiencing problems with educational institutions receiving funding from Federal military and veterans educational benefits programs, including benefits programs provided by the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the DoD Military Tuition Assistance Program.




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