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ND Veterans Affairs News: Federal

Patient Access Progress Update

Release 34 – November 19, 2015



The official Medicare website, www.medicare.gov, now has 2016 Medicare premiums and deductibles information.


Medicare is administered by the Department of Health & Human Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The CMS press release announcing 2016 Medicare premiums and deductibles also contains this information. Here is part of that press release:

Q: Can I receive both Social Security and military retirement?

A: Yes. Active duty military service has been Social Security covered employment since 1957. Generally, there is no reduction of your Social Security benefits because of your military retirement. More about this is here within the SSA Retirement Planner section.


VA-Walgreens Partnership Gives Vets 8,000 More Locations for Flu Shots


FARGO, N.D. – Flu season is here, and for eligible Veterans, getting a flu shot has never been easier as they can receive free flu shots through a VA-Walgreens partnership.

Eligible Veterans may opt to get a free flu shot at their local VA health care facility or they may choose to go to their neighborhood Walgreens. 


The 2016 annual retirement earnings test amounts will be the same as for 2015. They are not changing.

The annual retirement earnings test concerns how employment earnings in a year affects Social Security received in that year. The earnings test includes only the individuals personal gross wages or net self-employment for the full calendar year. Other income or income of a spouse is not applicable.

There will not be a 2016 Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). The following is from today’s Social Security press release.

With consumer prices down over the past year, monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 65 million Americans will not automatically increase in 2016.

A Veteran of Desert storm,  who lives in Moorhead, says an added layer of Red Tape in the V-A System is creating headaches for her and fellow Veterans.

The "Veterans Choice Program" comes out of firestorm created when veterans had long wait lists and horrible customer service nationwide.

But with a private contractor running the program for the V-A there are kinks that are raising many people's blood pressure.

The Power of 1: Your actions could save a life

One small act can make a difference in the life of a Veteran in crisis.

This week, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reached a historic milestone in its efforts to improve
the delivery of benefits and services to America’s Veterans, their families, and Survivors. The backlog of
disability claims (claims pending more than 125 days) is now below 100,000 – an 84-percent reduction
from its peak of 611,000 claims in March 2013 and the lowest ever in our history since we started
measuring the backlog in 2007. This dramatic reduction was achieved through the dedicated efforts of

Two female soldiers will graduate from the Army’s grueling Ranger School on Friday, becoming the first women to ever complete one of the U.S. military’s premier courses to develop elite fighters and leaders, Army officials said Monday night.

WASHINGTON – Today the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced that it has revised its regulation regarding the presence of animals on VA property. The updated regulation will ensure VA practices remain consistent with applicable federal law. It will also assist individuals entering VA facilities in developing a clear and consistent understanding of the criteria governing facility access for service animals.

A bill to allow post-9/11 vets to use their G.I. Bill benefits as collateral for business startups passed an important milestone in the Senate Wednesday with growing bipartisan support in Congress and the backing of major veteran organizations.

VA today launched two new no-cost training programs, Accelerated Learning Programs (ALPs) and VA Learning Hubs, to help transitioning Servicemembers and Veterans from all eras learn skills, earn credentials and advance in civilian careers following separation from service.

Most people have never heard of Purple Heart Day, which takes place annually on August 7th to commemorate the medals origins and the more than 1.7 million combat-wounded Purple Heart recipients.   

WASHINGTON – As part of VA’s ongoing commitment to provide care to Veterans and their families, the Department of Veterans Affairs today announced that it will start the  process of amending its regulations to establish presumptions of service connection for certain conditions resulting from exposure to contaminated drinking water at the U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina.