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ND Veterans Affairs News: Federal

Are you a service member who has been recently assigned to the Individual Ready Reserves (IRR)? Then there’s important insurance information you need to know. Your Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI) coverage will end 120 days after the date you were assigned to the IRR.

The VA is warning everyone of potential pension poaching scams. Be cautious if someone offers to move your assets around in order for you to qualify for VA pension. This type of scam is often directed toward veterans and family members who “do not” actually qualify for VA pensions. Other examples:

By Jordain Carney

January 21, 2014

Congress undid some of its planned cuts to veterans' benefits in the latest spending bill, but it also left the vast majority of the reductions in place. And in so doing, it ensured that the white-hot controversy over benefits will not go away any time soon.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2014

Grant Program One of Many VA Initiatives to End Veterans’ Homelessness

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced the availability of up to approximately $600 million in grants for non-profit organizations and consumer cooperatives that serve very low-income Veteran families occupying permanent housing through the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program. 

Friday, January 10, 2014
By CHABELLA GUZMAN Staff Reporter

Area Veterans may be looking at a longer trip for medical attention if the VA Black Hills Health Care System’s Environmental Impact Statement comes back against the VA hospital in Hot Springs, S.D.

“We take about 10 people a week to Hot Springs,” said John Brehm, director of Scotts Bluff County Veterans Service Office. “I know a lot of them drive up on their own, since they don’t want to wait on the van.”

By HENRY C. JACKSON  Associated Press
January 08, 2014 - 5:47 pm EST

WASHINGTON — Sen. John Hoeven on Wednesday joined a push to restore cuts to the pensions of working-age U.S. military retirees that were included in last month's budget agreement.

Hoeven joined several other Republicans in seeking the payments be restored in a bill extending long-term unemployment benefits that the Senate is considering.

"Whether you talk to Republicans or Democrats ... there was a commitment to fix this," Hoeven said. "We should do it."

Local News by Kirsten Swanson last edited on Tuesday, January 07, 2014

The Department of Veteran Affairs announced Tuesday night that the VA Black Hills Health Care System will initiate an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to look at proposed reconfiguration of services at the Hot Springs VA Facility.

Secretary Eric Shinseki met with South Dakota representatives Tuesday to announce that the VA would move forward with plans that could potentially close the Hot Springs VA.

The New York Times
December 23, 2013
By JESSICA SILVER-GREENBERG

With every slip and fall, every bruise and ache, the reality set in: Henry Schaffer, 86, could no longer live on his own. So his daughter, Kristi, began searching for a retirement home — and the money to pay for it.

VA Says Claims Backlog Down 36 Percent since March
WASHINGTON – At a hearing today before the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison A. Hickey, outlined progress made by the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) in reducing the backlog of Veterans’ disability compensation and pension claims by 36 percent since March -- attributing the success to the combined impact of VBA's transformation initiatives and increased employee productivity.

Adds Five Illnesses Related to Service-Connected TBI

WASHINGTON – Some Veterans with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who are diagnosed with any of five other ailments will have an easier path to receive additional disability pay under new regulations developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The new regulation, which takes effect 30 days from today, impacts some Veterans living with TBI who also have Parkinson’s disease, certain types of dementia, depression, unprovoked seizures or certain diseases of the hypothalamus and pituitary glands. 

WASHINGTON (Dec. 4, 2013) – Veterans, their families and survivors receiving disability compensation and pension benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase in their monthly payments beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

“We’re pleased there will be another cost-of-living increase for Veterans, their families and their survivors,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The increase expresses in a tangible way our Nation’s gratitude for the sacrifices made by our service-disabled and wartime Veterans.”

FRAUD ALERT: Veterans should be aware of a marketing scam targeting callers trying to reach the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Call Center or GI Bill Call Center. A marketing company has established two fraudulent numbers that differ from the two official VA call center numbers by one digit. If the fraudulent number is dialed by mistake, the answering party will offer a gift card and try to obtain personal and financial information, including credit card information, from the caller.

WASHINGTON (Nov. 13, 2013) – VA is partnering with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible Veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance beginning Nov. 15, VA officials announced today.   
 

Senator Richard Blumenthal, (CT) has introduced S.1602, the Toxic Exposure Research and Military Family Support of 2013, VVA strongly supports this bill, which reflects positively on one of our foremost legislative goals. Not only would it help achieve a measure of justice for the innocent victims of the use of toxic substances in times of war, but it offers unlimited possibilities for scientific research into the effects of these toxic chemicals.

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