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ND Veterans Affairs News: Federal

The Fargo VA Medical Center will hold a Salute to Veterans Week, Feb. 14- 20.
The nationally recognized week will be chocked full of activities and events at the Fargo VA
FARGO, N.D. – The Fargo VA Medical Center will host a Heart Health Fair and Go Red for Women expo on Feb. 5 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the medical center’s 3rd floor auditorium.
The Heart Health Fair is an effort to raise awareness of heart and vascular disease for all Veterans while the Go Red for Women expo, an American Heart Association program, places special emphasis on heart disease in women Veterans. The event is free and open to all VA-enrolled Veterans.

Congress has included billions of dollars of funding to the VA, earmarked to provide funding for a new treatment regiment for Hepatitis C, limiting side effects and increasing the likelihood of curing the disease in veterans. Vietnam era veterans are diagnosed Hepatitis C at over double the rate of civilians, showing a clear need for innovative and effective treatment.

This funding is a huge success for the treatment of these veterans and hope to improve the high numbers of veterans suffering from Hepatitis C.

On November 25, 2015, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2016 sunset the Reserve Educational Assistance Program (REAP). The REAP program was originally created to provide benefits to members of the Reserve components who were called or ordered to active service by the President or Congress in response to a war or declared national emergency.

REAP served to bridge the education benefit gap between those eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve and those serving in the Reserve component who were called to active duty but were not eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill-Selected Reserve.  Long story short … the Post-9/11 GI Bill in many ways has replaced REAP because it has also closed this gap by providing eligibility for certain Reserve and National Guard members called to active duty. This will impact students right away.

VA Plans to Propose Expanded Disability Benefits Eligibility for Veterans Exposed to

Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced today that it plans to propose expanded disability compensation eligibility for Veterans exposed to contaminated drinking water while assigned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune.

Application for Same-Sex Spousal Benefits

Background

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court held in Obergefell v. Hodges that the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when their marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state.  Accordingly, VA now recognizes all same-sex marriages without regard to a Veteran’s state of residence. 

Want to know more about YOUR VA benefits?

VA Makes Changes to Veterans Choice Program

Changes Remove Barriers and Expands Access to Care

Patient Access Progress Update

Release 34 – November 19, 2015

Summary

 

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.

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