March 20, 2015
In This Issue:
- VFW Testifies at Education Hearing
- VFW Meets New SECDEF
- VFW Meets with the Veterans Advisory Committee on Education (VACE)
- VA Eliminates Net Worth a Factor in Determining Health Care Eligibility
- VA Accepting Applications for 2015 National Golden Age Games
- Eight MIAs Identified
VFW Testifies at Education Hearing: On Tuesday, National Legislative Director, Raymond Kelley, testified before the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. The hearing reviewed higher education opportunities for veterans. Kelley discussed the importance of providing service members with quality information on their higher education options, stating, “quality information will lead to quality decisions.” Being prepared for college is important, but so is paying for it, so Kelley also discussed the importance of ensuring all states comply with the new in-state tuition requirements. Read the VFW’s testimony and watch the hearing here. http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/a-review-of-higher-education-opportunities-for-the-newest-generation-of-veterans
VFW Meets New SECDEF: After just a month on the job, new Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter held his first veterans and military service organization conference inside the Pentagon yesterday. It was very informative meeting and Carter was very receptive and appreciative of all the support the VFW and the other organizations provide to troops and their families. Ending sequestration is his number one priority, as well as the proper care and treatment of wounded, ill and injured service members, the families of the fallen, and outreach efforts to the younger generation to encourage them to serve.
VFW Meets with the Veterans Advisory Committee on Education (VACE): VACE consists of a panel of experts who advise the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on how to maximize educational benefits and help veterans launch new careers. Senior Legislative Associate, Brendon Gehrke, discussed the VFW’s concerns that some college administrators, VA employees and SAA officials are unaware that the GI Bill will pay for college exam preparatory courses such as GMAT, GRE, and LSAT prep courses, and, therefore, are denying veterans the ability to use their benefits for such programs. The VFW urged VACE to clarify how State Approving Agencies should approve preparatory courses offered by institutions of higher learning to ensure that veterans can start taking advantage of this opportunity.
VA Eliminates Net Worth as Factor in Determining Health Care Eligibility: Currently, VA combines a veteran’s income and assets when making income-based eligibility determinations for health care benefits and co-payment obligations. Effective 2015, VA will only consider a veteran’s gross household income and deductible expenses from the previous year when making such determinations. This change will expand health care access to low-income veterans and reduce out-of-pocket costs for thousands of veterans. VA estimates that 190,000 veterans will become eligible for reduced health care costs over the next five years. To read more about this change, visit: http://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2684
VA Accepting Applications for 2015 National Golden Age Games: This year’s National Golden Age Games will take place in Omaha, Neb., from August 8 to August 12, 2015. The event encourages participants to make physical activity a central part of their lives, and supports VA’s comprehensive recreation and rehabilitation therapy programs. Competitive events include air rifle, badminton, bowling, cycling, dominoes, track and field, golf, horseshoes, nine ball, shuffleboard, swimming, and table tennis. VA will be accepting applications through May 15, 2015. To learn more about this event, visit: www.veteransgoldenagegames.va.gov
Eight MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency has announced the identification of remains belonging to eight servicemen who had been missing and unaccounted for from World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Returned home are:
- Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Harry B. McGuire, 718th Squadron, 449th Bomber Group, 15th Air Force, lost over Italy on Jan. 30, 1944.
- Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Edward F. Barker, Headquarters Squadron, 8th Air Service Group, lost over Papua New Guinea on Sept. 30, 1944.
- Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Alvin Bleethe, 393rd Fighter Squadron, 367th Fighter Group, 9th Air Force, lost over Germany on Nov. 26, 1944.
- Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Stephen V. Biezis, 575th Bombardment Squadron, 391st Bombardment Group, 9th Air Force, lost over Germany on Dec. 23, 1944.
- Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. John W. Herb, 1st Air Division, 359th Fighter Group, 368th Fighter Squadron, lost over Germany on April 13, 1945.
- Army Sgt. Wallace J. Dawson, Company L. 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, lost in South Korea on Feb. 14, 1951.
- Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Edwin E. Morgan, 6252nd Combat Support Group, lost over Laos on March 13, 1966.
- Army Staff Sgt. Bunyan D. Price Jr., 2nd Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, lost in Vietnam on May 2, 1970.
To sign up new veterans’ advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.
As always, we want to share your advocacy stories on the VFW Capitol Hill blog. To share your stories, either fill out our online form by clicking here:http://www.vfw.org/Forms/Capitol-Hill-Blog-Submissions/, or simply email photos and stories directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.