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ND Veterans Affairs News: Federal

The unemployment rate for post-9/11 veterans dropped to 6.7 percent in February, government data show, mirroring a drop in the nation's unemployment rate.

The country added 295,000 jobs overall, as unemployment fell from 5.7 percent in January to 5.5 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For the newest generation of veterans, the unemployment rate was down more than 1 point from January's 7.9 percent mark. Large month-to-month changes are common in this measure, which has a small sample size that is prone to fluctuation.

A fifth of all service members who served in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered concussions, mainly from being close to explosive blasts from roadside bombs. Doctors often refer to sports injuries to seek treatment options for the so-called signature wound of the long wars.

But new research signals that war-zone concussions are much different from concussions than happen playing football or hockey. Most athletes quickly recover brain function. Most soldiers and Marines do not, according to a study released Wednesday in Brain: A Journal of Neurology.

Veterans can now track the status of most of their prescriptions online, thanks to an innovative idea by a Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) employee. The new 24/7 service allows online tracking for most prescriptions mailed from the VA Mail Order Pharmacy.

The Prescription Tracker was recommended by VA employee Kenneth Siehr, a winner of the President’s 2013 Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) Award. Siehr’s idea focused on the use of technology as a way to save money and improve the services VA provides to its patients.

The debut novel by Silver Star recipient Elliot Ackerman might be one of the first works of fiction about the Afghan war to be published by a veteran who fought in it — but he expects more will follow.

By Kathleen Curthoys
Army Times
Published: February 27, 2015

“You won’t be punished for your anger. You will be punished by your anger.”

A new online course developed for and by ‪#‎Veterans‬ to help Veterans to understand and combat their anger triggers is available at http://www.veterantraining.va.gov/AIMS

By Heath Druzin
Stars and Stripes
Published: January 22, 2015

The effort to clear a massive backlog of veteran disability claims is hurting efforts to address a similar backlog in appeals of denied claims, say advocates demanding reforms to an onerous “hamster wheel” system that leaves veterans languishing for years.

Posted 5:11 pm, January 20, 2015, by , Updated at 10:31am, January 21, 2015

DENVER — Veterans Affairs executives in charge of four hospital projects currently over budget and years behind schedule were given bonuses, despite the administration admitting failures in their jobs.

By Dawnthea Price | The Free Lance-Star
© Tribune News Service

January 19, 2015

Wounded service members are learning new ways to protect the nation through the intricacies of cybersecurity training.

Representatives from the Federal IT Security Institute and its Wounded Warrior Cyber Combat Academy were in Stafford County Monday to mark the program’s progress.

January 14, 2015 | 3:18 AM ET
Steve Walsh, NPR

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base." This story is Part 2 of a three-part series about veteran benefits.

By DAVE PHILIPPS | JAN. 7, 2015
New York Times

COLORADO SPRINGS — Nearly 200 sick and wounded soldiers in a gym at Fort Carson last month listened silently as Lt. Col. Daniel Gade offered a surprising warning: The disability checks designed to help troops like them after they leave the service might actually be harmful.

Just five months ago, VA launched the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry in response to concerns that Veterans were experiencing a range of respiratory illnesses possibly associated with exposure to burn pits. The registry is open to many Veterans and active-duty Servicemembers who deployed to various locations.

By Leo Shane III, Military Times Staff Writer | 12:10 p.m. EST December 31, 2014

The Veterans Affairs Department boasted another dramatic drop in its backlog of benefits claims in 2014, but will need an extra boost in coming months to meet its goal of zeroing out the payout delays by the end of 2015.

The backlog — the number of first-time VA benefits claims unresolved for more than four months — sits at around 245,000 cases, according to departmental data. That's down more than 160,000 cases in 2014 and more than 250,000 cases since the start of 2013.

William R. Levesque, Tampa Bay Times Staff Writer
Friday, December 26, 2014 7:34pm

LITHIA — The illness hit Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. William A. Hines in 2010 like no enemy he had ever experienced.

Assigned to the 4th Assault Amphibian Battalion headquarters in Tampa, Hines went on a 4-mile run, something he had done hundreds of times in more than two decades as a Marine. But afterward, he couldn't catch his breath. He felt pressure on his head and couldn't focus.

By Steve Maieli
2:37 p.m. EST December 22, 2014

Nothing is more frustrating than applying for a job and not getting a response. All anyone would ask is a simple reply by phone or email stating why you were not chosen for the position. Unfortunately, there's no guarantee you will hear from a company either after you apply for a position or gone through an interview.

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