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What's New In Military and Veterans Benefits for 2018

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Between the holidays and the changes to both the VA and Tricare, among other changes we are finally seeing what is what.

 

Excerpt:

"Military pay

Basic Pay

Basic pay will go up 2.4 percent in 2018, the largest raise in 16 years. Check out our Military Pay Charts to see the new amounts.

Basic allowance for housing (BAH)

BAH will increase for many people this year too. See our BAH Calculator to find your new rate.

Retirement pay

Retirees will see a 2 percent pay increase in 2018, the largest one in six years.

New Retirement system

The biggest change to the retirement system in recent memory becomes effective this year,  the Blended Retirement System (BRS) begins in 2018.

The new system blends a fixed pension system like the military has always had, with a user-contributory system, the Thrift Savings Plan. 

New military members will be automatically enrolled in the BRS, service members with less than 12 years active duty on Jan. 1, 2018 will have a limited time to decide if they want the new system or an older one. 

Our Blended Retirement System page explains the details. 

TRICARE

Lots of changes coming to TRICARE in 2018.

TRICARE Standard and Extra will become TRICARE Select, there will be changes to copay amounts, and pharmacy prices will increase. 

See the details.

GI Bill

Many of the changes in the new Forever GI Bill will begin in 2018. The new GI Bill does away with the 15 year time limit for using your GI Bill, makes more reservists eligible, and changes the Monthly Housing Allowance amount for new members.

We explain all the changes here.

VA Compensation rates

VA Compensation rates will go up by 2 percent, the same as military retirement. See the 2018 Compensation Rates.

Other Changes

Split PCS moves for families of some troops. The program allows families to move before or after their service member if they fall into a specific category, and allows the service member to utilize government housing if it's available.

A measure making the SSIA pay permanent. The partial offset of the so-called "widow's tax" was due to end this year.

Source: https://www.military.com/benefits/veteran-state-benefits/state-veterans-benefits-directory.html?ESRC=banner.nl

 

Edited by RV_

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More:

For RVrs who vote absentee

" Beginning January 1, 2018, the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) will provide an email-to-fax conversion service for voters who have difficulty sending election materials to States that do not accept e-mailed documents. Voters whose States accept materials by email or regular mail will be instructed to send those materials directly to their election officials. FVAP will provide the 'fax@fvap.gov' service for voters whose jurisdictions only permit faxing for electronic return of their election materials. Voters faxing materials will be encouraged to send the fax directly to their election office whenever possible. If you have questions regarding these changes, or would like additional information on which methods of material return are accepted in your state, visit the FVAP website at fvap.gov or contact FVAP at vote@fvap.gov. "

TRICARE Pharmacy Copayments Increasing

On Feb. 1, 2018, copayments for prescription drugs at TRICARE Pharmacy Home Delivery and retail pharmacies will increase. These changes affect TRICARE beneficiaries who are not active duty servicemembers. Using home delivery, the copayments for a 90-day supply of generic formulary drugs will increase from $0 to $7. For brand-name formulary drugs, copayments will increase from $20 to $24, and copayments for non-formulary drugs without a medical necessity will increase from $49 to $53. At a retail network pharmacy, copayments for a 30-day supply of generic formulary drugs will increase from $10 to $11 and from $24 to $28 for brand-name formulary drugs. For more information, visit the TRICARE website.

Tricare Kills Urgent Care Referral Requirement for Some Users

Beginning Jan. 1, Tricare Prime users can make unlimited visits to in-network urgent care facilities without a referral, officials recently announced. For more details, see this Military.com article.

 

Edited by RV_

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Excerpt:

"VA Seeks Public Comment on Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers 

WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it is seeking public comments on how it can further strengthen and improve caregiver support through the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). 

Through a Federal Register notice, VA announced a 30-day comment period to hear from stakeholders on whether and how PCAFC should be refined to support Veterans and their family caregivers. 

“With this opportunity, VA is following through on our promise to provide better service and improve consistency for the program,” said VA Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin. “We’ve heard participants’ concerns and encourage them to share their personal experiences and perspectives to help us make changes.” 

VA will use feedback, requested through responses to questions, to guide any future regulatory modifications to support family caregivers of Veterans most in need, while also improving the program under the current law. 

Through PCAFC, VA provides support for certain family caregivers of eligible Veterans seriously injured in the line of duty on or after Sept. 11, 2001, including a monthly stipend, access to health-care for eligible caregivers, counseling, training and respite care. 

For information about how to submit comments, visit the Federal Register notice.

More information about the VA Caregiver Support Program is available at www.caregiver.va.gov. "

 

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RV,

  Great Info - Thanks. One additional thing - I just noticed on my  "VFW Weekly" that the TRICARE Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) will end on Dec 31, 2018.  They are directing folks to FEDVIP which is the dental plan for Federal civilian retirees which I have used since it started in 2006. I am both military-retired and civil-service retired. I always found the federal plan superior to TRDP, especially in coverages. While TRDP seems to be a bit better than it used to,  we currently have FEDVIP High-Option Self-Plus-One ($35,000 coverage per year per person!) for $72 a month; TRDP would be $64 which only offers $1,300 per person. FEDVIP also offers a $1,500 option (for us about $40 per month) but the cost/benefit for High Option is way better for us. So, if military folks can get anywhere near the same coverage as this, it sounds like a win-win. The current FEDVIP info for federal civilians in 2018 is here:

https://federaldental.metlife.com/_jcr_content/content-parsys/text_video/pdflinks.asset.0.spool/FEDVIPPlanSummary_2018.pdf 

  I just hope they give military retirees the same level of benefit.

Hank

SKP 67414
2005 Mandalay DP
2012 Honda CRV
At Home in Custer SD (where it is snowing again..)

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YW guys,

I had all mine yanked and full upper and lowers. No more dental issues. 

Good Info for those still using the old Dental plan. Thanks Hank.

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Thank you, RV & Hank!

We pay about $115 a month to participate in the current Tricare Retiree Dental program.  On top of that we spent another $3000+ in 2017 just at the "primary care" dental office for fillings, extra cleanings, night guards and I don't know all else.  That's not counting the orthodontist and the oral surgeon.  Over the last 10 years, with the current Tricare Retiree Dental program we spent $5000 for each of two son's braces, over $10,000 for implants for my wife, and $1000 to $3000 a year for miscellaneous dental expenses.  This is for a family of 4.

My 19 year old son just had to have all 4 wisdom teeth pulled.  I don't know how much the Tricare Retiree Dental program paid the oral surgeon, but our bill was over $1100!   The last time I had a teenager who had his wisdom teeth removed was about 12 years ago and the bill was closer to $300, I don't remember exactly.

Best regards,

Tom

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Tom!

Dude, and I thought mine were high. I would never recommend full dentures if it can be avoided. However, after making concessions to things for a few months I got the hang of them too and can eat anything I want. I am glad I went and had them all done the same day as I might have grown a yellow stripe after the first half were done. My sons are 42 and 45. And they and their's are paying their own bills for quite awhile now. We are moving up to Colorado near the Denver area where they live. We are looking closer at Colorado Springs.

Good luck with yours!

Edited by RV_

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"ADOPT-A-VET"  dental program for military veterans..  100% FREE

Best thing that's happened for veterans In many years..  The waiting list is about a year long but the results are fantastic !!!

I had all my upper teeth pulled and some of my bottom teeth also.. I was fitted with a full upper plate and a partial (bridge) on the bottom.

Do I miss my natural teeth.. of course I do, …  but no more toothaches.

I do miss the  TASTE  of food, because with a full upper plate I cannot taste the difference between chicken, beef or fish.

it all taste the same and feels the same when chewing.. 

I miss eating peanuts.. The dentist said I could eat peanuts with the  false teeth but I'm not taking any chances of breaking my new teeth.. I don't $8000.00 to replace them if they break.

and I cannot swallow my pills with the upper plate in, I start choking, so I always take my medicines before putting my teeth in each morning.

I only wear them when going out to eat..  around the house I eat soft foods and have learned to love  Walmart's  canned soups.  :D

Check and see if the ADOPT-A-VET program is available in your area and get on the waiting list.

John

 

 

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