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This Week's Military.com Benefits Report


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Military Report:

Print & Post: Week of February 02, 2015


Some AF Employees Eligible for Health Care
Some temporary, seasonal and intermittent Air Force employees are now eligible for coverage under the Federal Employees Health Benefits program. They must work 130 or more hours per month for 90 consecutive days and have a 60-day window in which to enroll. Once employees are eligible for FEHB they will also be eligible to apply for coverage under the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. For more information, visit the Long Term Care Insurance Program website at (http://www.ltcfeds.com) www.ltcfeds.com. For FEHB eligibility and enrollment information, visit the (https://mypers.af.mil) myPers website. Select "Search All Components" from the drop down menu and enter "28434" in the search window.
For more on military health benefits, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits) Military.com Benefits section.


TRICARE and the Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA and also known as Obamacare) requires a set of minimum essential benefits for commercial health insurance. TRICARE provides most of these benefits such as cost-free screenings, vaccinations and counseling. TRICARE also allows children to remain on their parent's health insurance up to age 26 under the TRICARE Young Adult (TYA) program. The ACA did affect change in health care coverage for many Americans, but the legislation did not apply directly to TRICARE. For more information, visit the TRICARE website at (http://www.tricare.mil/) www.tricare.mil.
For more on TRICARE, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/tricare) Military.com TRICARE section.


DynCorp International Is Hiring
DynCorp International is a global government services provider supporting national security and foreign policy objectives around the world. Over the years, DynCorp International has been consistently recognized as a top veteran friendly business. (http://www.military.com/veteran-employers/dyncorp-international?ESRC=mr0202.nl) Read more.


Military Compensation Commission's Final Recommendations
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission is urging President Obama to endorse and Congress to enact sweeping changes to military health insurance and retirement options to "empower" service members to make choices that would drive down compensation costs. The panel's final report makes 15 recommendations that, if fully implemented, would cut personnel spending for the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs by $12 billion a year. For more details, see (http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2015/01/military-compensation-commission-recommendations/) Tom Philpott's Military Update.


Lawmakers Noncommittal on Military Retirement and Health Care Changes
President Obama and members of Congress on Thursday were quick to praise the Military Compensation and Retirement Commission for its report -- two years in the making -- but are holding off on saying what recommendations may get passed into law. The commission (http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/01/29/panel-proposes-overhauling-military-retirement-and-tricare.html) laid out 15 recommendations that included overhauling the Defense Department's retirement and health care systems. It even offered a new (http://www.military.com/benefits/military-pay/the-military-retirement-system.html) retirement system that would enroll service members into a Thrift Savings Plan and offer new retirement options beyond the pension service members can receive after 20 years of service. For more details, see (http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/01/29/lawmakers-noncommittal-on-military-retirement-and-health-care-ch.html) this Military.com article.


Legion Recommends TAP Improvements
Davy Leghorn, assistant director of The American Legion's National Veterans Employment and Education Division, recently presented testimony on behalf of the Legion to a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Veterans' Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. The subcommittee convened to discuss the federal government's Transition Assistance Program (TAP). The American Legion offered numerous suggestions to improve the process including putting more emphasis on behaviors and etiquette that make an individual employable. A list of witnesses at the hearing is available on the (http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/a-review-of-the-transition-assistance-program-tap-1) U.S. House Committee on Veterans' Affairs website.
For more details, see (http://www.military.com/benefits/2015/01/30/legions-testimony-recommends-tap-improvements.html) this Military.com article.


Tactical Fitness with Stew Smith: Peaking in the PT Pyramid
What's the best way to increase your PT pyramid score? Fitness instructor and former SEAL Stew Smith offers some exercise plans that will help balance your training and improve your scores. For more, see (http://www.military.com/military-fitness/general-fitness/tactical-fitness-with-stew-smith-peaking-in-the-pt-pyramid) this Military.com fitness article.


Update: Mail Kiosks at Fort Benning
Some on-post communities at Fort Benning will soon be receiving their mail at a centralized mail kiosk, conveniently located in their neighborhoods. Within several communities, the mail will be picked up and dropped off at two to three kiosks, depending on the size of the neighborhood, as opposed to the current letterboxes on their homes. The change is expected to begin within the next six months. Residents will receive a notice when the kiosks are in place, as well as when to pick up individual keys to open their boxes.
For more military news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.


Tax Credit for Vets Expanded in Wisconsin
Wisconsin veterans and their families need to be aware of a change during this year's tax filings. The Wisconsin Disabled Veterans and Unremarried Surviving Spouses Property Tax Credit has been expanded. Under the change, a surviving, unremarried spouse of a deceased veteran who is collecting Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefit payments from the VA is now eligible for this tax credit. For more information, contact your Wisconsin county veterans officer. Visit the County Veterans Service Officer Association of Wisconsin website at (http://wicvso.org/website/) Wicvso.org to find your local contact.
For more tips for tax season and discounts for tax services, visit the (http://www.military.com/money/personal-finance/taxes) Military.com Money Center and the (http://www.military.com/discounts/free-tax-preparation-for-military.html) Military Discount Center.


Are You A Military Officer? MOAA Wants You
(http://tracking.military.com/cgi-bin/outlog.cgi?url=http%3A//www.military.com/offers-portal/offers/moaa?ESRC=mrvr0202.nl) Join MOAA as a Basic member -- you'll not only lend your voice to a greater cause, but you'll also gain access to extensive benefits tailored to the needs and lifestyles of military officers.


CNH Industrial Hiring Veterans
Whether you're a veteran in search of a career path or in transition from the military, CNH offers a broad range of veteran employment opportunities in an exciting global environment that will put your military skills and expertise to optimal use. Be a part of a global team that is truly "Shaping our World." (http://www.military.com/veteran-employers/cnh-industrial?ESRC=vr0202.nl) Learn more.


MCRMC Recommends GI Bill and Education Benefit Changes
The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission recently recommended making major changes to the various education assistance programs offered by the VA. The recommendations included ending two of the nine current (http://www.military.com/education/gi-bill) GI Bill programs, increasing the amount of time a service member must serve before they can transfer their (http://www.military.com/education/gi-bill/new-post-911-gi-bill-overview.html) Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits to their dependents, ending the housing allowance for dependents using transferred Post-9/11 benefits, and limiting tuition payments to classes taken for "professional development" only. For more details, see (http://www.military.com/education/2015/01/30/mcmrc-recommendations-gi-bill.html) this Military.com article.


Veterans Employment Center
The Veteran Employment Center (VEC) is an online portal that combines elements of standard job boards and professional connection media to provide a single solution for meeting the needs of both veteran job-seekers and employers seeking to hire our veterans. The VEC is accessible from the (https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/jobs) Veteran's Administration's e-Benefits website. The VEC is open to all Reserve and National Guard members, veterans, spouses and dependents. The website provides job seeker access to real job opportunities and the tools to build profiles to be shared with employers committed publicly to hiring. It also offers a military skills translator that helps members describe their skills and experience in terms that employers understand.


My HealtheVet
The Department of Veterans Affairs (https://www.myhealth.va.gov/index.html) My HealtheVet website is designed to allow veterans enrolled in VA health care to check their health records, make and cancel appointments, or refill prescriptions from a computer or tablet. Veterans can send secure e-mails back and forth to their doctors about available treatments without having to go in for an appointment or wait for a phone call. The VA hopes to expand the program and other benefits under one specific app for Android or iPhones as early as this summer.
For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the (http://militaryadvantage.military.com) Military Advantage blog.


Navy Pilots Master-at-Arms Training
The Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR) is scheduled to pilot a new series of self-paced computer-based training modules to be used in support of the Navy's Master-at-Arms (MA) Apprentice or 'A' School training, Feb. 9. The newly developed self-paced learning portion of the course will encompass a week of the existing seven-week course. It will cover topics such as apprehension, military jurisdiction, use of force and more. The upcoming pilot will introduce the first phase in a series of proposed changes to the curriculum based on the updated training requirements provided by the fleet. For more information on CENSECFOR, visit the Center for Security Forces newspage at (http://www.navy.mil/local/csf/) www.navy.mil/local/csf/ and website at (http://www.netc.navy.mil/centers/csf/) www.netc.navy.mil/centers/csf/.
For more on military education benefits, visit the (http://www.military.com/education) Military.com Education section.


Army Opens Pacific Signal University
Pacific Signal University (PSU), the Communications-Electronics Command's newest location, opened its doors to students Aug. 1 and was formally stood up Oct. 1. The faculty, comprised of personnel from USARPAC G6 and CECOM Logistics and Readiness Center, chose CompTia Security+ as PSU's inaugural class. Actual instruction received on site will vary based on each unit's needs. Unit leaders can also request or create additional courses, or deviate from scheduled courses, to meet deployment or mission requirements. The LRC is currently seeking an on-site DoD 8570 instructor for the Schofield Barracks location with expertise in Security+, Net+, and other Information Technology-related certification courses. PSU anticipates more than 800 will be trained by March, 2015.
For more on military education benefits, visit the (http://www.military.com/education) Military.com Education section.


AF Restructures Basic Training
Air Force basic military training at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph-Lackland will soon restructure its current eight-and-a-half-week course to make room for a new five-day program called Capstone Week, beginning Jan. 27 with trainees entering BMT. The first Capstone Week, which will culminate the BMT experience, begins March 23. While BMT will still provide new Airmen the same military and physical training, Capstone Week serves to specifically concentrate on character building. Capstone will be a BMT graduation requirement. Immediately following Capstone, Airmen will travel to their designated technical training locations across the United States.
For more on joining the military, visit the (http://www.military.com/join-armed-forces) Military.com Joining the Military section.


Senate to Vote on Suicide Prevention Bill
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday voted to send to the floor legislation intended to help tackle suicide among veterans. The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act has been reintroduced in the Senate following its overwhelming support in the House of Representatives. The anti-suicide bill was headed for easy passage in December when it failed on a procedural maneuver. The full Senate is expected to quickly pass the bill. The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that, on average, some 22 veterans take their own lives each day.
For more mental health and wellness guides and tips, visit the (http://www.military.com/benefits/veterans-health-care/mental-health-and-wellness) Military.com Mental Health and Wellness section.


One Year Exemption for Direct Care Recipients
If you are eligible to receive medical care at a military facility because you are: dependent-parents and parents-in-law, or Guard/Reserve members getting Line of Duty care, or Service Secretarial Designees, then you are not covered by Tricare (unless you are purchasing Tricare Reserve Select). The care you are eligible to receive is called "direct care" and does not meet the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements for minimum essential coverage. The way the law is written, you are required to purchase health care coverage through the health care exchanges, or pay a "shared responsibility payment." However, there is a one year exemption. For more details, see (http://paycheck-chronicles.military.com/2015/01/28/one-year-exemption-direct-care-recipients/) this Paycheck Chronicles post.


Ed Benefit Open to All Texas Vets
U.S. District Judge Ewing Werlein Jr. has ordered the University of Houston not to exclude the plaintiff, Keith Harris, from benefits under the Texas Hazlewood Act solely because he enlisted in the Army while living outside Texas. The Hazlewood Act provides tuition and fee exemptions from state public universities for military veterans, their spouses and their children. The clause in question limits the benefits to veterans who were Texas residents when they enlisted, but Ewing found that this provision violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The ruling could have broad implications for Texas schools, which bear most of the costs of the benefit. (http://militaryadvantage.military.com/2015/01/new-ruling-opens-hazlewood-act-to-all-texas-vets/) Read the full story on Military.com.


Business Resources for Disabled Vets
Set to launch this spring, the Veterans Entrepreneurship Jumpstart at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, Pa. is designed to give disabled veterans the education and resources to take their ideas for new businesses from dream to reality. Offered free to candidates who are accepted, the program is part of the university's six-month-old Office of Veterans Services. Applications are being taken until Feb. 6. For more information, visit the St. Joseph's University website at (http://sites.sju.edu/vej/) sites.sju.edu/vej/ or contact Ralph Galati, Director, telephone 610-660-3263, e-mail (mailto:rgalati@sju.edu) rgalati@sju.edu, or Andrew Colket, Program Director, telephone 610-660-3329, e-mail (mailto:acolket@sju.edu) acolket@sju.edu.
For more veteran job news, job postings and transition advice, visit the (http://www.military.com/veteran-jobs) Military.com

Veteran Jobs Center.


Navy Establishes Subspecialty
The U.S. Navy has announced the nomination of approximately 300 unrestricted line officers for a newly established naval strategy subspecialty designation. The new subspecialty code 2300 or 2301 will enable manpower professionals to identify, track and assign the right officers to critical N5 and J5 billets during approved community sea/shore rotations. Nominated officers may decline assignment of the new subspecialty by contacting members of the chief of naval operations staff. Officers who were not nominated and believe they meet the requirements for the subspecialty can apply. For more information on the naval strategy subspecialty, visit the (https://www.milsuite.mil/book/groups/naval-strat) milSuite website.
For more Navy news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.


Marine Corps Updates Tuition Assistance
The Marine Corps has updated regulations for tuition assistance (TA) in the 2015 fiscal year. Students may apply for courses 60 days in advance instead of 30. Undergraduate students must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher after 15 semester hours, and graduate students must maintain a 3.0 or higher after six semester hours. Students who earn grades of D in undergraduate classwork and C in graduate classwork will be required to pay back the government for TA. Tuition assistance is no longer given for course work past a Master's degree. Other changes to tuition in the coming year include more stringent requirements for career and technical certification courses. For more information, call your Marine Corps base education office.
For more on Marine Corps Tuition Assistance, visit the (http://www.military.com/education/money-for-school/marine-corps-tuition-assistance.html) Military.com Education section.


Army Distributes Voter Applications
Soldiers Army-wide were provided with electronic or paper Federal Post Card Applications (FPCA) in January. Remembering to fill out and return the FPCA is especially important if Soldiers and spouses have changed duty stations. The FPCA alerts local election officials of the move and is a way for Soldiers to register using an absentee ballot. This year there are several gubernatorial races, mayoral elections and even some special elections for Congress as well as local county and city elections. Soldiers serving overseas will be given a second FPCA alert in July. Soldiers who have misplaced their Jan. 15 FPCA notice can get one by visiting the (https://www.fvap.gov/r3) Federal Voting Assistance Program website.
For more Army news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.


Free Tax Prep for Veterans
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has started accepting electronically filed income tax returns as well as paper returns. For a list of free tax preparation services for current and former military members and their families, see (http://www.military.com/money/personal-finance/2015/01/30/free-tax-return-prep-for-military-families-and-veterans.html) this Military.com article.
For more tips for tax season and discounts for tax services, visit the (http://www.military.com/money/personal-finance/taxes) Military.com Money Center and the (http://www.military.com/discounts/free-tax-preparation-for-military.html) Military Discount Center.


New Navy "Pin Map" Recruiting Ad

The U.S. Navy's latest recruiting commercial "Pin Map" debuted Jan. 23 to TV and web audiences worldwide. A 60 second version will be added to the (HTTPS://www.youtube.com/user/UnitedStatesNavy) America's Navy You Tube channel as well as other social media sites. The second commercial to be released in recent months, "Pin Map" complements "The Shield," a more people focused commercial which debuted in December 2014. For information on a career in the United States Navy or to view other popular ads, visit the America's Navy website at (http://navy.com/) Navy.com.
For more military-related videos, visit the (http://www.military.com/video) Military.com Video Center.


Hot Video: 5 Things You Don't Know About Sniper Rifles
With the American public's growing awareness of military snipers thanks to the movie "American Sniper," Military.com has a new original video feature that looks at different sniper rifles and quickly recounts five "unknown" facts. To see the complete video, visit the (http://www.military.com/video/guns/rifles/5-things-you-dont-know-about-sniper-rifles/3980591755001/) Military.com Video Center.


Navy Sr. Enlisted Continuation Board Results
The board results for the performance-based Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Senior Enlisted Continuation Board (SECB) have been approved and will be posted on BUPERS online (BOL) Feb. 3 where all Sailors may check their results. Of the 7,017 eligible candidates 98 percent were selected for continuation. The deadline for Sailors to file a transfer to Fleet Reserve, retirement, Retired Reserve request, operational waiver or readiness appeal has been extended to March 15. Formats for operational waivers and readiness appeals as well as more information on the SECB can be found at the (http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/boards/enlistedcontinuation/Pages/default.aspx) Naval Personnel Command Enlisted Continuation webpage.
For more Navy news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.


Get Your CDL Without Going to Truck Driving School
If you drove trucks in the military, there's a good chance you can skip driving school and slide into the commercial driver's seat with relative ease, thanks to an initiative approved by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. (http://clk.atdmt.com/MON/go/478798977/direct/01/) Learn more.


Panel Proposes Overhauling Military Retirement and Tricare
A blue-ribbon panel on military compensation and retirement recommended overhauling the decades-old (http://www.military.com/benefits/military-pay/the-military-retirement-system.html) retirement system for troops and the existing health care program for military families. The long-awaited proposals, unveiled on Thursday after a nearly two-year study, include offering troops 401(k)-like retirement plans before they reach 20 years of service and replacing the existing (http://www.military.com/benefits/tricare) Tricare program with a choice of commercial health insurance options. Panel members said the efforts, if adopted by Congress, will give service members, retirees and their families more choice while saving $12 billion a year in personnel costs by around 2040. For more details, see (http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/01/29/panel-proposes-overhauling-military-retirement-and-tricare.html) this Military.com article.


Report Recommends Combining Exchange, Commissary Systems
The commissary and exchange should be combined into a single agency that would sell some products at cost and others at a profit, a panel commissioned by lawmakers recommended. "The commissary and exchange benefits are valued by many service members, retirees, and their families, and should be maintained," according to a (http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/01/29/panel-proposes-overhauling-military-retirement-and-tricare.html) report released Thursday by the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Committee. "A consolidated resale organization, with combined resources, increased operational flexibility, and better alignment of incentives and policies, would improve the viability and stability of these systems," the panel said in the report. For more details, see (http://www.military.com/daily-news/2015/01/29/report-recommends-combining-exchange-commissary-systems.html) this Military.com article.


VA Announces New Regions
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to use state boundaries to divide the country into five regions. The new regions will allow VA to begin the process of producing a single regional framework to enhance internal coordination. Each organization within VA will begin work to ensure their structures are aligned within this framework by the end of June, 2015. The regional map is available at (http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/docs/myva-5-regions-map.pdf) www.va.gov/opa/publications/docs/myva-5-regions-map.pdf.
For more veterans benefits info and updates, visit the (http://militaryadvantage.military.com) Military Advantage blog.


Free Admission to Florida Military Museum
The Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library is dedicated to preserving and displaying military artifacts and memorabilia while educating the public about our nation's military heritage. It is the largest military museum in southwest Florida. All of the artifacts have been donated or loaned by the military, government and individuals. The museum is at 4820 Leonard St., Cape Coral, Fla. It is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, visit the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library website at (http://swfmm.org/) swfmm.org.


AAFES "BE FIT" Program

The Army & Air Force Exchange Service is doing its part to ensure Soldiers, Airmen and their families have a healthy new year. In the Main Store, military shoppers will find a broad selection of products to encourage a healthy lifestyle as part of the Exchange's BE FIT program. BE FIT promotes a healthier body and mind through good-for-you products and services. For more information, visit the (https://www.shopmyexchange.com/be-fit) Army and Air Force Exchange Service BE FIT Program webpage.
For military-grade fitness tips and workouts, visit the (http://www.military.com/military-fitness) Military.com Fitness Center.


Army Safest Year on Record
Accidental Soldier fatalities were down 8 percent Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2014, continuing the downward trend that culminated in the Army's safest year on record during 2014. During fiscal 2014, private motor vehicle and military vehicle accidents accounted for 72 percent of all accidental deaths. About 15 percent of Soldiers ride a motorcycle, yet motorcycle fatalities account for nearly half of all private motor vehicle fatalities. Off-duty fatalities outnumbered on-duty losses 3:1 during fiscal 2014. For safety tips, visit the (https://safety.army.mil/) U.S. Army Combat Readiness and Safety Center website.
For more Army news updates, visit the (http://www.military.com/daily-news) Military.com News Center.

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Retired AF 1971-1998

When you see a worthy man, endeavor to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, look inside yourself. - Confucius


“Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

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