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VA News Letter

HAIRYHAIRY Member Posts: 23,606
edited May 2006 in US Military Veteran Forum
Veterans Report: Print And Post (01 May 2006)

Below is the complete version of this week's Military Report. Print it, circulate it, and make sure your colleagues and friends keep up with the latest military benefits updates.

Panel Votes to Block TRICARE Hikes
A House panel has voted to block for at least two years any increases in TRICARE beneficiary cost- shares. It's the first formal step by Congress to derail the Bush administration's plan to raise fees, co-payments and deductibles for military retirees under age 65 and their families. Additionally, a January 2007 pay raise of 2.7 percent for Reserve and National Guard personnel was approved, as was a plan for an additional "targeted" raise for warrant officers and some senior enlisted. The complete article can be seen at,15240,95577,00.html

How do you feel about this action? Let your public officials know how you feel!

Deal of the Week: Universal Studios Hollywood
Come play at Universal Studios Hollywood. Print and present this coupon at the Universal Studios Hollywood Box Office and receive $15 off General Admission. Good for up to 6 people. Find this great discount and more at the Discount Center.

Heroes of the Year Sought
Staff Sgt. Robbi Smette of Makoti, N.D., was the first Citizen-Soldier to be nominated as the Hero of the Year in a unique national campaign that Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. has initiated to honor this country's Army Guard members. Jackson Hewitt will honor one Army Guard Soldier each month for the rest of this year, and a panel of judges will select a Hero of the Year from those 10 candidates. Family members, friends or employers can nominate Guard Soldiers for the monthly honors by logging on to and explaining in 500 words or less how a Soldier exemplifies the time-honored tradition of the Army National Guard.

Charity Scams Target Veterans
Servicemembers and veterans should be careful when making donations to solicitors claiming to be charities in support of our troops. Fraudulent activities associated with donations may come in the form of an email or a telephone call. Before making a donation, verify the legitimacy of the organization using's Support Our Troops Center ( or the DoD website America Supports You (

GI Bill Payment Rates
Each year in October the GI Bill payment rates increase to meet the growing cost of education. Although the past years have seen larger increases in the payment rates, this year's modest rate increase has pushed the full-time payment rate to $1,034 a month. To see a full overview of the 2006 GI Bill Payment rates click here.

Next Steps:
You have two steps to getting started on your education goals. The first is to find scholarships - it is never too early to begin looking for money for school. The second step is to use the "School Finder" to get free information from fully accredited "military family friendly" colleges and universities that are eager to serve the education needs of military families.


School Finder:

Featured Job: Ground Radar Systems Tech
Mantech International Corporation, a leading provider of innovative technologies and solutions for mission-critical national security programs is seeking Ground Radar Systems Technicians.

Emissary of Hope Honored
Veterans recently honored the real-life volunteer introduced to 75 million Doonesbury readers as "Jim the Milkshake Man" for his bedside visits to wounded vets at the Army's Walter Reed hospital. Jim Mayer was recognized at Walter Reed Army Medical Center for his 500th peer visit. It is called a peer visit because Mayer, like many of the war-wounded veterans in hospital beds, lost his legs in a land mine explosion in Vietnam. Besides the occasional milkshake, Mayer brings to their bedside a message of hope based on lessons learned since his own traumatic injuries 37 years ago.

Fisher House Dedicated at Palo Alto
A new Fisher House was recently dedicated at VA's Palo Alto facility. Families will be able to receive free lodging at the Fisher House to be near their loved ones during lengthy recoveries. The VA will maintain and operate the house at no cost to its residents. Many families travel long distances to be with their loved ones, especially the veterans of the Global War on Terror, during their rehabilitation in Palo Alto's polytrauma center. But the facility's other programs -- hospice and palliative care, spinal cord injury, organ transplant, post traumatic stress disorder, blind rehabilitation and traumatic brain injury-- will also benefit from the new Fisher House.

Teaching the Teachers
Through VA Teacher Ambassador Program workshops, educators in Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina have learned lessons about veterans and patriotism. The workshops have provided a glimpse into the lives of American servicemen and women, their contributions to our nation's history, and the role VA plays in the lives of many veterans. All of the medical centers in the VA Southeast Network will continue to offer this program to all educators in the region. For more information on the VA Teacher Ambassador Program, contact Bertram Perry, staff assistant to the director at the Birmingham VA Medical Center (VAMC), at or (205) 933-4385.

VA Inpatient Services to Continue
Veterans in the Big Spring, Texas, area will continue to have local access to care for their inpatient needs and the mental health services offered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The decision ends a year-long review that involved a local advisory panel as part of the Capital Asset Realignment for Enhanced Services (CARES) program, a VA initiative to modernize facilities by matching projected demand for health services with programs and facilities. The facility currently operates both inpatient beds and long-term care beds and serves an area that includes 360,000 veterans in New Mexico and west Texas. Additional information about the CARES process and the decisions announced recently are available at

VA Signs Research Partnership
Top officials of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) signed a partnership agreement last week with leaders of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas for research related to illnesses affecting some veterans of the Gulf War. Ailments ranging from fatigue, weakness and respiratory problems to sleep disturbances, skin rashes and persistent headaches are among those reported by veterans who took part in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm at rates significantly higher than those reported by veterans who did not serve in the combat zone.

VA to Seek DNA of All Veterans
Researchers are mapping the human genome for the day when physicians will use a patient's genetic profile as preventive medicine. To that end, the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to create a genetic database from potentially millions of VA patients. The VA plans to collect the first 100,000 samples in October, 2007 and foresees a database as large as the number of veterans who are willing to contribute samples of their DNA. VA also plans to write rules regarding handling a person's genetic profile while using it in research.
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