Aug 02 2011

VFW letter: the debt deal's done, now what?

Dear VFW, Ladies Auxiliary and Supporters:

The president this afternoon signed congressional legislation to raise the federal debt limit and reduce government spending. The larger question is now how this all impacts veterans, service members, their families and survivors.

The measure passed by the Senate today and in the House yesterday will raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by at least $2.1 trillion. An additional $500 billion could come in the fall, provided two-thirds of Congress approves. The final increase, expected early next year, would provide the Treasury enough borrowing power to pay its bills into 2013.

The deal also calls for sharp cuts in agency spending — about $917 billion over the next decade — starting with a $25 billion reduction in fiscal year 2012, which begins Oct. 1, with a second set of reductions coming later this year via a special committee charged with wringing at least $1.2 trillion more over the next decade. If the committee fails to act — or if Congress does not adopt its recommendations by Dec. 23 — government spending would be cut across the board by the same amount, with the reductions split 50:50 between security and non-security programs.

Either way, many DOD and VA programs and services could be negatively impacted, which would counteract everything the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. has worked hard to create over the past 112 years. The VFW and our supporters cannot let this happen.

On the VFW website is a list of 10 services and programs the organization believes are most vulnerable to being cut or curtailed in order to help pay for 10 years of war. The "10 for 10" list will form the basis of VFW's legislative efforts and calls to action to its membership and grassroots supporters. Now is the time to re-engage with your members of Congress.

Yours in Comradeship,

ROBERT E. WALLACE
Executive Director
VFW Washington Office

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/vfw-letter-the-debt-deals-done-now-what/

Jul 25 2011

The American Veteran – July 2011

(via The Pentagon Channel)

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/the-american-veteran-july-2011/

Jul 20 2011

Tax Exemption for Disabled Veterans



Attorney General’s opinion clarifies tax exemption for disabled veterans

 

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has issued an opinion clarifying interpretation of new legislation granting a real estate tax exemption to veterans with a 100 percent, permanent and total, service-connected disability.  The legislation, enacted by the 2011General Assembly in response to a constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2010, exempts real estate, including property held jointly by a husband and wife, from taxation provided the veteran meets the specified disability requirements.  The exemption applies to the building on the property and up to one acre of land.  The veteran must use the property as his or her principal residence. 

 

The Attorney General’s opinion, issued July 15, 2011, clarifies the term 100% disability to include veterans rated by the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as individually unemployable due to a service-connected disability.  These veterans must be unable to secure or hold gainful employment due to their service-connected disability.  Additionally, they must have one service-connected disability ratable at 60 percent or more, or two or more service-connected disabilities with at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more and with a combined rating of 70 percent or more.

 

The legislation also grants the exemption to the surviving spouse of an eligible veteran if the veteran died on or after January 1, 2011.  The spouse will lose the exemption if he or she remarries or does not occupy the property as his or her primary place of residence.  According to the Attorney General’s opinion, the way the law was written, the exemption is not retroactive and spouses will not be eligible if the veteran died prior to January 1, 2011.

 

The Attorney General’s opinion also stated that the exemption was not available if the real estate is in a revocable trust with the spouse or others or in an irrevocable trust, and that the exemption is not available to a surviving spouse of an eligible veteran if the spouse relocates.

 

Opinions issued by the Attorney General do not create new law.  However, they represent a legal analysis of current law based on a thorough review of existing law and relevant prior court decisions. To read this opinion from the Attorney General, visit http://www.vaag.com/Opinions%20and %20Legal%20Resources/ Opinions/2011opns/July11opndx.html.

 

To apply for the exemption, veterans should contact their local commissioner of the revenue or other designated local government official.

 

The Virginia Department of Veterans has 20 offices statewide that assist veterans and their families with applying for federal and state veterans benefits.  Visit www.virginiaforveterans for the location of a DVS office near you. 

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/21/

Jul 05 2011

VFW Joins in Houston National Cemetery Censorship Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 1, 2011 – The national commander of America's largest and oldest major combat veterans' organization is appalled over allegations of religious censorship at one of the nation’s national cemeteries, calling it a case of “bureaucracy running amok.” 

“This is a point in case of bureaucracy…or rather, a classic example of a bureaucrat running amok.  In spite of VA policy, the cemetery director is making up her own rules and has imposed hurtful, unilateral restrictions of her own choosing,” said Richard L. Eubank, the national commander of the 2.1 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its Auxiliaries.   

Texas-based Liberty Institute has filed suit on behalf of the VFW, American Legion, and The National Memorial Ladies over allegations of religious hostility and unlawful censorship by the VA and its director of the Houston National Cemetery.  "They've told the VFW and the American Legion that they cannot have prayer during the burial services of our veterans, unless the family requests it in writing and submits the prayer for pre-approval," said Liberty Institute general counsel Jeff Mateer.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/vfw-joins-in-houston-national-cemetery-censorship-lawsuit/

Jun 29 2011

No Cost Vital Records

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Anne Atkins
(804) 371-0441

New legislation provides vital records to veterans at no cost, hunting licenses at reduced cost

RICHMOND —Two pieces of legislation passed unanimously by the 2011 General Assembly and signed into law by Governor McDonnell will provide veterans with copies of vital records at no cost and hunting licenses at a reduced cost.

Vital records at no cost

            Veterans and their survivors may receive a certified copy of vital records, such as birth, death, and marriage certificates, from the Virginia Department of Health, Division of Vital Records at no charge if the records will be used to obtain military service-connected benefits.  The legislation was patroned by Delegate Massie and Senator Northam.  To obtain more information, veterans or their survivors should contact the Division of Vital Records at (804) 662-6200.

Hunting licenses for disabled veterans at a discounted cost

            Beginning July 1, discounted hunting licenses will be available to disabled veterans. Resident veterans rated by the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs as having a 70 percent service-connected disability may purchase an annual state resident basic hunting license at half price.  Veterans with a 70 percent service-connected disability residing out of state may purchase an annual non-resident basic hunting license at half price.  The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries already offers a lifetime hunting and fishing license and a life-time trapping license to disabled veterans at a reduced cost.  The new law was sponsored by Delegate Armstrong.  An application for the license is available on the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries’ website at www.dgif.virginia.gov.

            Although not part of the legislative package, earlier this year Governor McDonnell granted veterans free access to all state parks through the end of 2011.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/24/

Jun 28 2011

In-State Tuition Requirement Waived


N
ews Release

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Anne Atkins
(804) 371-0441

In-state tuition residency requirement waived for veterans at public colleges and universities

RICHMOND—Legislation patroned by Delegates Anderson and Stolle and Senator Edwards during the 2011 General Assembly session will grant veterans in-state tuition rates at Virginia colleges and universities without waiting the normal one-year period.  “Coupled with their G.I. Bill benefits, this is a huge benefit for veterans that can save them thousands of dollars and help them kick-start their higher education,” commented Paul Galanti, a former Vietnam POW and Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Veterans Services.

Ordinarily, to qualify for in-state tuition rates, students must have been domiciled in Virginia for at least one year prior to the school year.  To verify domicile, colleges typically review whether the student has lived continuously in Virginia for one year prior to the school year and, as applicable, paid income taxes, held a Virginia driver’s license and motor vehicle registration, registered to vote in Virginia, been employed, or owned property in the Commonwealth.

Under the new legislation, the one-year residency requirement will be waived for veterans and their dependents.  Once veterans establish proof of Virginia domicile, they will qualify for in-state tuition rates as of the next semester.

 Eligibility for in-state tuition rates is determined by the college or university during the enrollment process.  Veterans should contact their prospective college or university for additional information.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/26/

Jun 23 2011

ATTENTION DESERT STORM VETERANS

There will be a special observance and commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Desert Storm at The Brickyard 400 Race in Indianapolis, IN., on July 31, 2011.  The first 300 Desert Storm Veterans to respond to the contact information below can take part in the opening ceremonies for the race, and special recognition of the 20th Anniversary of Desert Storm.  During the ceremony, the 300 Veterans will stand on the track among the 43 race teams and drivers racing that day.  Veterans are asked to wear their Desert Storm Chocolate Chip Camouflage Uniforms if possible. Veterans will receive free admission to the race for themselves as well as one other guest. SPACE IS LIMITED TO THE FIRST 300!

To reserve your spot, please contact VFW Life Member Scott C.Stump of Waynesville, NC., at: sawgunner1@illustratemylife.com or at (828)456-6412

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/attention-desert-storm-veterans/

Jun 02 2011

Resolution and By-Laws proposals available

Department of Virginia VFW E-News


You can now review the National Resolutions and the By-Law Study Group’s proposed By-Law and Manual of Procedure amendments to be presented to the committee at the 112th National Convention in San Antonio, by going to National VFW web site www.vfw.org and logging on as a member. If you need assistance in logging in please contact State Headquarters. Also the new Commanders Manual and QM Manual can be viewed on this site.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/resolution-and-by-laws-proposals-available/

May 19 2011

ALL STATE POSTS ANNOUNCED

Congratulations to the following Posts for making All-State for 2010-2011:

POST 9808

TEAM CAPTAIN

BATTLEFIELD, MECHANICSVILLE

POST 1503

GENERAL LEWIS B. (CHESTY) PULLER, DALE CITY

POST 2239

ROBERT E. LEE, COLONIAL HEIGHTS

POST 3150

JOHN LYON, ARLINGTON

POST 4667

FRANCIS MARION, MARION

POST 7726

GRAYSON, INDEPENDENCE

POST 7589

FRANCIS CANNON, MANASSAS

POST 9478

STERLING, STERLING

POST 9835

ROBERT E. LAING MEMORIAL, WARRENTON

POST 2719

WYTHE COUNTY, WYTHEVILLE

POST 824

DOUGLAS W. HOGGE/ALENN M. TATE MEMORIAL, GRAFTON

POST 3160

OCEAN VIEW, NORFOLK

POST 4809

TIDEWATER, NORFOLK

POST 1994

ABINGDON MEMORIAL, ABINGDON

POST 8947

LOUISA COUNTY, LOUISA

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/all-state-posts-announced/

May 14 2011

VFW Washington Weekly – May 13, 2011

In This Issue:
1. Defense Bill Includes TRICARE Increases
2. New Vet Employment-Transition Bill

3. House Hearings
4. Korean War MIA Identified

1. Defense Bill Includes TRICARE Increases: The House Armed Services Committee approved its version of the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act this week.  The $533 billion defense bill (H.R. 1540) provides a 1.6-percent military pay increase, reduces the SBP-DIC offset for survivors, and would increase TRICARE fees for working-age military retirees.  Beginning with FY 2013, the committee voted to link future TRICARE increases to annual cost-of-living-adjustments, or COLAs, which has been zero for military retirees for the past two years.  The committee did not vote to prohibit a fee increase for FY 2012, which now opens the door for DOD to raise TRICARE fees by 13 percent this fall.  The VFW will continue to oppose all TRICARE fee increases.  Military retirees paid for their healthcare through long and faithful service; for their children being uprooted repeatedly from school; for their spouses not being able to have full careers; for their homes accumulating no equity; and for some, for not being fully marketable because they served so many years in uniform.  The House, then the Senate, have to agree on the bill before it goes to the president for his signature.  The VFW urges you to redouble your efforts and get your representatives to reject the TRICARE increase when the bill comes up for a floor vote, and to contact your senators to reject the proposal if it makes it through the House.  To take action against the proposed TRICARE increase, go to http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=46437541.

2. New Vet Employment/Transition Bill: Senate VA Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced VFW-supported legislation to aggressively improve the unemployment rate among veterans.  S.951, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, would require the Departments of Defense, VA and Labor to work together to improve the Transition Assistance Program and to identify barriers in translating military jobs into civilian employment.  The bill hopes to offer unique job skills training, create new direct federal hiring authority, and improve veteran mentorship programs in the private sector.  According to Labor Department statistics, about 27 percent of veterans ages 20-24 are currently unemployed.  Read the committee press release at http://veterans.senate.gov/press-releases.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=1fc27742-327f-437d-9544-04058da51d3d.

3. House Hearings: The House VA Committee cleared several VFW-supported bills, which now move to the House floor for a vote.  They include:
*   HR 1383, Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011, to grandfather veterans attending private schools who were adversely affected by the changes made in the GI Bill last Congress.  It also increases the cap to $27,000 from $17,500 for students already enrolled in private schools under Chapter 33.
*     HR 1657, legislation that would improve VA's enforcement of service-disabled, veteran-owned small business contracting.

* HR 1441, a bill to ban reserving burial and interment locations at Arlington National Cemetery, and clears the way for a memorial on Chaplains Hill to honor Jewish chaplains who died defending our country.
*   HR 1407, The Veterans Cost of Living Adjustment Act of 2011, would provide a cost-of-living increase to veterans' disability compensation rates and other benefits.  It would also provide a five-year extension to VA adaptive grants program for severely wounded veterans residing in a family member's home.
For more information visit the committee website at http://veterans.house.gov/.

4. Korean War MIA Identified: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced identification of remains belonging to Army Cpl. Primo C. Carnabuci, of Old Saybrook, Conn.  On Nov. 1, 1950, Carnabuci's unit, the 8th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, was forced to conduct a fighting withdrawal from their position along the Kuryong River, near Unsan, North Korea.  He was among almost 600 men to be reported missing from the battle.  Read more at http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=14484

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/va/post6364/uncategorized/vfw-washington-weekly-may-13-2011/

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