Update on Cost-of-Living Adjustment for Veterans

WASHINGTON (Dec. 30, 2010) – The Social Security Administration has announced that no cost-of-living adjustments will be made to Social Security benefits in 2011 because the consumer price index has not risen since 2008 when the last Social Security increase occurred.

Like recipients of Social Security and other federal benefits, Veterans, their families and survivors will also not see a cost-of-living adjustment in 2011 to their compensation and pension benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Under federal law, the cost-of-living adjustments to VA's compensation and pension rates are the same percentage as for Social Security benefits.

(via VA Press Release)

VFW Washington Weekly – December 17, 2010

In This Issue:
1. Congress Improves GI Bill
2. New Defense Bill Introduced
3. DHS Expands Security Awareness Campaign
4. WWI, Korean War MIAs Identified
1. Congress Improves GI Bill: Congress passed S. 3447, the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of 2010.  Though VFW did not support all of its provisions, the bill does fix a number of shortcomings in the current Post-9/11 GI Bill.  It will cover vocational and technical education courses, provide benefits to Guard and Reserve members, clarify tuition and fee reimbursement rates at private schools, and provide a living stipend to students taking classes from home (distance learning).  The President is expected to sign the bill soon. 
For information on GI Bill benefits, go http://www.gibill.va.gov/.

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Remember Pearl Harbor Day

Each year on December 7 we recall an event that changed the course of history and the destiny of civilization.

Nearly 70 years ago, the attack on Pearl Harbor awoke a sleeping giant, and with it, produced what has been called the "greatest generation."

That day of infamy produced many U.S. casualties: 3,500 dead or wounded, 18 ships sunk or damaged and more than 350 aircraft destroyed.  Although it was a day of great tragedy, it was also a day that served to reignite our national pride and our great national spirit.

We recall the events of December 7, 1941, but more importantly, we remember the thousands of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen who died during that terrible ambush and in the years that followed.

America was strengthened by its enduring values of freedom, tolerance and service.  The long odds we faced during the dark days that followed the attack on Pearl Harbor, served to fuel the indomitable spirit of our nation and carry us through to victory.

Many of the survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor are no longer with us.  Many of them went on to serve in other places; some became casualties of other battles.  A good many returned home to their families and friends and quietly resumed their lives as civilians.   

Their contributions, their sacrifice, their steadfast devotion to duty, God, country and to their families, provide us with examples we need to emulate every day of our lives.  We remain inspired by their diligence and their perseverance, and today, we are strengthened by the memory of their actions.

(Via VFW.org)

Warning to Veterans

(via VFW.org)

The following has been forwarded by Kevin Secor, VSO Liaison, Office of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

               An organization called Veterans Affairs Services (VAS) is providing benefit and general information on VA and gathering personal information on veterans. This organization is not affiliated with VA in any way. http://www.vaservices.org/us/index.html         

               VAS may be gaining access to military personnel through their close resemblance to the VA name and seal.  Our Legal Counsel has requested that we coordinate with DoD to inform military installations, particularly mobilization sites, of this group and their lack of affiliation or endorsement by VA to provide any services. 

               In addition, GC requests that if you have any examples of VAS acts that violate chapter 59 of Title 38 United States Code, such as VAS employees assisting veterans in the preparation and presentation of claims for benefits, please pass any additional information to Mr.Daugherty at the address below. 

Michael G. Daugherty 
Staff Attorney 
Department of Veterans Affairs Office of General Counsel (022G2

VFW Washington Weekly – November 5, 2010

In This Issue:

1. Election 2010 Results
2. New Compensation Payments Begin
3. Retroactive Stop-Loss Pay Going Unclaimed
4. IB Releases Critical Issues

5. Help Burger King Support Unmet Needs Program

1. Election 2010 Results: Significant changes are coming to the House Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committees, as a number of military and veteran champions were defeated in Tuesday's federal election.  The VFW asks that you thank those who are leaving for their service to the troops, and use this interim period to congratulate and offer to help educate the winners on why taking care of those who protect our nation and their families is a sacred responsibility.  We lost friends on Tuesday, but we will make new ones when the 112th Congress takes office in January, because the VFW's mission in Washington is to ensure legislators do what's right for national defense, homeland security, and for our servicemembers, veterans and their families. 

 2. New Compensation Payments Begin: The VA began paying disability compensation to Vietnam veterans who qualify under the three new presumptive illnesses associated with Agent Orange exposure — B-cell (or hairy-cell) leukemia, Parkinson’s disease and ischemic heart disease — but providing initial or increases to existing payments to the estimated 200,000 veterans who now qualify could take several months.  VA officials encourage all Vietnam veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange and suffer from one of the three diseases to make sure their applications have been submitted by calling 1-800-827-1000 or going online to www.fasttrack.va.gov.

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