Posts belonging to Category VA NEWS/BENEFITS & SERVICES



FRAUD ALERT

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. The answering party may even transfer the caller to the VA after the caller’s information is obtained.

The VA will never ask you for a credit card number or banking information over the phone.

In all cases, before giving personal sensitive information over the phone make sure you know who you are talking to.

The numbers to be avoided are: 800-872-1000 (the VA National Call Center number is 800-827-1000) 888-442-4511 (the VA GI Bill Call Center number is 888-442-4551)

VA has notified law enforcement authorities to address this situation, and will provide additional information and guidance as necessary.

DOL Transition Assistance Program

The DOL Transition Assistance Program (TAP) is now open to everyone and is available (still free of charge) on line athttp://www.dol.gov/vets/programs/tap

It includes the following self-paced training programs:

1. Employment workshop including resume writing, interview tips and job search
2. Resilient transitions
3. MOC crosswalk to civilian occupations
4. Personal financial planning for transition
5. VA Benefits I and II
6. Career Paths
a. Technical training
b. Higher education
c. Entrepreneur

Please pass this information on to your networks.

Thanks,
Ann

Ann Greenlee
Director Hawaii and Guam
Veterans’ Employment & Training Service (VETS)
US Department of Labor  | http://www.dol.gov/vets

When are we going to FIGHT to get our Tricare “PRIME” back here on Maui???!!!

Aloha;

In Hawaii, retired service members are not being treated equally wrt our Health Insurance.  As we all know Tricare comes in two plans.  Tricare “Standard” and Tricare “PRIME”.

The Standard plan has no premium but high cost for doctor visits and hospitalization (20% – which could equal thousands of dollars per year).  A relatively healthy retired service member may prefer the Standard plan.

The Prime plan does have a premium (very low about $75/mo), but covers nearly ALL Hospital costs and only a $12 Co-Pay for doctor visits.  Service members in poorer health needing Hospital procedures and doctors visits may prefer the Prime plan.

Prior to 10/1/2013 retired service members could choose the plan that best fit their needs.  NO MORE.  As of 10/1/2013 ONLY retired service members on Oahu are allowed the Prime plan.

This is WRONG and MUST be corrected. We ALL earned equal healthcare treatment by virtue of 20 years of Honorable Active Military or Naval Service. We are NOT now receiving that equal treatment

If retired service members on any other island need multiple medical visits and hospital care but can NOT AFFORD these new costs, the governments answer is TOUGH LUCK, TO BAD, OH WELL.  I’ve been forced to cancel a procedure that my doctor and two consulting physicians say I need.  I had to take this action because I can NOT AFFORD the new cost associated with Tricare Standard.  I could easily afford it under the PRIME plan I’ve paid into since 1996.

I contacted my Member of Congress (Tulsi Gabbard) and received no action from her.  She reported back to me only that this was directed by DOD and that I should contact Tricare and request a waiver.  I contacted Tricare and was informed there “IS” no waiver I can request if I live on Maui.

So here we are.  Hawaii’s retired service members, brother and sisters in arms, who earned equal retirement benefits but NOT receiving them.

Mahalo,
Mark Gallup
CPO/USN (Ret.)

Under this proposal, beneficiaries who live more than 40 miles, but not more than 100 miles, from a Military Treatment Facility or a base closure site may apply for a waiver which would allow them to remain on TRICARE Prime.
Aloha Representative Gabbard:

Mahalo for your timely reply.

The “correction” you suggest does not help us on Maui.  I’ve contacted Tricare and have been told the option you suggested “Does Not Apply to Maui”.  We cannot even apply for the waiver if we live on Maui.  So here we are on Maui, STILL not receiving EQUAL Retirement Benefits as our fellow Veterans on Oahu.  THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!!  And it MUST be corrected.  We ALL served 20+ years of Honorable Active Military or Naval Service.  We ALL “EARNED” the same Retirement Benefits.  But we are not all RECEIVING the same Retirement Benefits.

As I mentioned in my initial email, I can NOT afford the Hospital costs associated with Tricare “Standard”.  I been forced to tell my doctor to cancel a procedure that she and two consulting physicians agree I need, because I can NOT afford it now.  I could if I still had the “PRIME” plan I’ve paid into since 1996.

Please take some action on this.  Offer up legislation to treat all Hawaii’s retired service members EQUAL again.  PLEASE.  Pick up Senator Inouye’s sword and FIGHT for Hawaii’s Veterans in his spirit.  You know it’s the “Right thing to do”.

If not you, who?
If not now, when?

Mahalo,
Chief Mark Gallup
United States Navy (Ret.)

Good work Rick, Sharon, Mokie & Kit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

VVA: Who We Are

Agent Orange

It is November and everything is changing. The leaves are almost through changing colors, the weather is turning colder and it is getting darker sooner. Now that I have you thinking dismal, I want to tell you all about our last Town Hall Meeting in Alexandria Virginia for Rolling Thunder. I had done a NJ State meeting for them in the Spring and was asked if I thought we could put one on for them at their national Conference in November. Naturally I said yes and figured if worse came to worse, no one would show up and the meeting would be short. By the time of the meeting, a lot of interest had risen and others offered help to do the meeting with myself and Mokie Porter. As you all know, Rolling Thunder’s main objective is the full accounting of our POW and MIA from Vietnam. Because of this, Grant Coates, chair of the Veterans Initiative Program volunteered to help and then there was Marsha Four, (National VP) who had the great idea of a table for the VI and membership which she volunteered to help at.

I had no idea of what to expect and the weather wasn’t cooperating either. We arrived on the cold windy and rainy afternoon and I thought we were in for it. As I walked into the hotel, it was like the clouds parted and the sun came out. I was greeted by the people of the hotel who could not do enough for us and then the president of Rolling Thunder, Gary Scheffmeyer came up to me and greeted us also.  We went over the plans for the meeting and our table location with the people running the event. They were very helpful and they told us that while the meeting was going on, the table would be brought to the location of the meeting so attendees could stop by and get information.

Mokie and her staff had assembled some three hundred packets with information and an additional couple of hundred Agent Orange Self Help Guides were brought just in case. Jim Porter, Mokie’s husband was drafted unto delivering the supplies, the staff and then running two videos. Then he even filmed the Town Hall Meeting. Between, Jim, Grant Marsha, Sharon and Mokie, we had a very elite group to handle whatever could come our way.

I started the conversation with information about Agent Orange and the two Videos that Jim showed laid the historic and disturbing facts about Agent Orange. We all took turns in speaking and in order to get the group to open up, both Marsha and myself told our family stories about our progeny. We then tried to get the attendees to tell their stories and at first, there were no takers. Then we asked for questions. It seemed like they were all in a trance and first thought they didn’t believe a word we said. Then one by one questions started coming forward and then others from Rolling Thunder started telling their stories.

Evidently we stirred something deep inside the Rolling Thunder membership that had not been brought to light before. We later learned that many said they felt like they were hit in the face with a board. We also found out that we were the first ever to be allowed to go over the one hour limit allotted for our session. Although many have been blaming themselves all these years for their children’s illnesses. they never really connected our exposure to Agent Orange to their children. I can tell you all that that has now changed. We went beyond the one hour time limit allotted for us by about forty minutes and were told that our session was to important to stop. All of our literature was taken home. We were thanked over and over again for the information and were invited back again next year to their conference.

Today I received an email from their Government Affairs head, (Tom Bender)  and in it gave the many POW/MIA bills in both the House and Senate along with their recommendation for their membership to push their representatives to back these issues. The thing that surprised me was their push for the extension and continuation of the 1991 Agent Orange Act and also the push for S-1602 for the Agent Orange screening, testing and treatment of our progeny and those of all veterans exposed to toxic substances. This bill needs to be pushed out of committee and also needs the House to adopt it along with the rest of the Senate.

I also want to tell you all about Sharon Hobbs who also gave up her Saturday and I believe Friday too, to help out and answer questions about Agent Orange and its legislation. I have been told that we have gained at least ten new members, one AVVA member who wants to help by becoming a Service Officer and we have been alerted that Rolling Thunder wants to get involved with the Town Hall meetings and their Alabama chapter has contacted us so we will certainly let our state council presidents know so we can optimize the Town Hall meetings as much as possible.

Herb Worthington
National Chair
Agent Orange/Dioxin & Other Toxic Substances Committee Vietnam Veterans of America

Veterans Hiring Guide

First, we are excited to share with you an updated Veterans Hiring Guide, available at https://www.vetsuccess.va.gov/public/employers.html. The guide provides a central location for tools and business incentives. Our goal is to help employers find job-seeking Veterans or assist with ongoing efforts with Veteran hiring programs. We have also included key resources for employers seeking to attract military spouses. We have worked this closely with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to reach employers, and model strong public/private partnerships. We gathered input from the Departments of Defense, Labor and Education. This guide is a great refresh of a 2012 hiring guide developed and published by the White House Business Council, but includes many more resources (especially VA’s) for private sector employers interested in hiring Veterans.

Additionally, the Department of Labor recently released Public Service Announcement videos to provide transitioning military service members and Veterans information about education, training, and employment opportunities available as well as encouraging employers to hire Veterans. The PSAs, which feature Marine and Navy Veteran Montel Williams and Marine veteran R. Lee Ermey, run approximately 30 seconds each. They can also be great resources for many organization’s social media outlets. The Department of Labor has over 2,000 American Job Centers they are encouraging Veterans to leverage in their job search.

We hope you find this information useful and thank you for your continued efforts in helping Veterans find the employment they deserve.

Note: We apologize in advance if we are unable to respond directly to your questions.

Please Remember:

1. If you would like to review prior messages sent through this listserv, click http://benefits.va.gov/vow/economic_opportunity.htm.

2. If you would like to research, find, access, and, in time, manage your VA benefits and personal information please visit and/or register athttps://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits-portal/ebenefits.portal.

3. If you are seeking employment in the federal government, particularly the VA, our VA for Vets high-tech tools, and resources can help. Visit online athttp://vaforvets.va.gov/Pages/default.aspx .

4. If you would like to contact us about your VA education benefits:

i. You can send us a secure email that will usually be answered within 48 hours or less. You can also search for answers to frequently asked questions and register to be notified of any updates to the information. This contact method is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can also be utilized worldwide. Click here to enter the “Ask A Question” site or here to review our frequently asked questions.

ii. You can call 1-888-GIBILL-1 (1-888-442-4551). This line only accepts calls from 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM central time Monday – Friday, though you are able to schedule a call back from a Customer Service Representative.