Veterans Issues and Bills

 

 

Normally I try and reformat this stuff to make it easier to read but it is taking time at present I do not have.

 

I did highlight the ones that I think are important for most of us but we have a wide variety of situations in our group so I might have missed some that you may find important.

 

 

 

THIS BULLETIN UPDATE CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES:
>
> == Tricare User Fee [13] --------------------- (On hold till JAN 08)
> == Social Security Reform ------------------- (Death benefit cut)
> == VA Appointments [02[ -------------------- (Longer waiting times)
> == VDBC [03] --------------------------------- (VA Comp + SSDI?)
> == Funeral Disorderly Conduct [04] -------- (CA legislation)
> == VA DNA Database ------------------------ (Begins FY 07)
> == Tricare Uniform Formulary [11] -------- (More changes)
> == NGB DOD Representation --------------- (H.R.5200/S.2658)
> == TRDP [04] ------------------------------ (Dental premium increase)
> == Tricare Computers Hacked --------------- (14000 files accessed)
> == Cold War Medal --------------------------- (Proposed again)
> == AAAFES Gas Pricing Policy ------------ (Not tax free)
> == VA Alert on VAS ------------------------- (Copycat website)
> == Consumer Health Digest ----------------- (Phony health care)
> == COLA 2007 [01] -------------------------- (CPI up 1.3% to date )
> == SSMAC Lodging New York ------------ (Inexpensive w/no frills)
> == Tricare Obesity Treatment --------------- (Limited to 3 types)
> == Virginia Tuition [01] --------------------- (Vet reduced rates)
> == TMOP [04] -------------------------------- (Enrollment procedures)
> == Jobs w/o College Degree Rqmt ---------  (20 top paying)
> == Enlistment to Avoid Prosecution -------- (No longer allowed)
> == DoD SMART Scholarships -------------- (How to apply)
> == VA Cemeteries [01] ----------------------- (Burial eligibility)
> == Military Legislation Status --------------- (Update)
>
>
> TRICARE USER FEE UPDATE 13:  Two key personnel proposals in the White
> House's fiscal 2007 defense budget plan were blocked by the House Armed
> Services subcommittee on 26 APR.  John McHugh (R-NY) the day before
> announced in advance that the military personnel subcommittee he chairs
>
would not approve a Bush administration proposal to increase Tricare fees
> for military retirees under age 65 and their families who are enrolled in
> Tricare Standard and Tricare Prime.
  Every member of the panel voted
> against this. Also, the Committee has recommended a 2.7% military raise
> vice the 2.2% the Bush budget proposal called for.  McHugh said in a
> statement released by his office, "Though DoD's proposal was meant to be a
> cost-saving measure, it is the wrong way to go about it". It is unusual
> for a Committee member to talk in advance about what will be included in
> the defense bill. However, the subcommittee's strong opposition was well
> known, so McHugh was not saying anything unexpected. The proposed fee
> increases, he said, "sent a message to the many men and women who have
> served our nation through their military service that we're going back on
> a promise that was made them.  We simply are not going to burden retirees
> with increased costs at this time.”  Instead, the subcommittee's version
> of the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R.5122) calls for
> studies of military health care costs.  The studies (one by the Government
> Accountability Office, the bipartisan investigative arm of Congress, and
> the other by the Defense Department) are to fully account for health care
> funding and look at alternatives to fee increases.
>
>    
Whether the Senate will approve any part of the administrations
> TRICARE fee adjustments is still a little uncertain. Lindsey Graham
> (R-S.C.), chairman of the Senate military personnel subcommittee, wants
> them delayed and an independent review conducted of real TRICARE cost
> growth and the projected cost-savings from the administration's plan.
> McHugh said what doomed that plan in the House were both the timing and
> the details.
Timing in the sense that the nation is fighting a war and
> that some of those warriors who deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan soon
> would be among the pool of Tricare beneficiaries targeted by the higher
> fees. That bothered many lawmakers who also had great concern over
> specifics of the plan. The increases were seen as too steep and too swift,
> with Tricare Prime enrollment fees leaping 200% over two years for senior
> enlisted retirees and 300% for retired officers. The projected
> cost-savings of $11 billion by 2011 also was suspect. Most of it would
> come from assumed behavior modification and not from added revenues from
> the higher fees. DoD was betting that large numbers of beneficiaries
> working in second careers either would stop using TRICARE or would decide
> not to shift into TRICARE from employer-provided health plans. The
> Congressional Budget Office already had lowered the administration's
> estimate of $735 million in cost-savings for fiscal 2007 if all fee hikes
> were adopted.
>
>     
Language approved by the subcommittee specifically would prohibit the
> Defense Department from raising beneficiary cost-shares until 31 DEC 07
> for Tricare Prime (the managed care plan), Tricare Standard (the
> fee-for-service option) and Tricare Reserve Select.  Congress will have to
> try to accommodate the loss of those cost-savings in shaping the rest of
> the defense budget.
Still alive, McHugh suggested, are some aspects of the
> administration's plan to change the co-payment schedule for the TRICARE
> retail and mail-order pharmacy benefit.  The subcommittee liked the idea
> of ending a $3 co-payment on generic drugs obtained by mail. McHugh was
> silent on the other proposed changes. Defense officials also want to raise
> the co-pay in the retail network from $3 to $5 for generic drugs and from
> $9 up to $15 for brand name drugs. What the subcommittee is recommending
> on this will be revealed at the full committee mark up. The full armed
> services committee will hold its mark up of the bill May 3 and additional
> amendments impacting military personnel will be voted on.
>
>     The subcommittee also recommended some low or no-cost provisions in
> its version of the 2007 defense authorization bill:
> . A Cold War Victory Medal for people who spent at least 180 days on
> active duty between 1945 and 1991.
> . An order that the remains of military personnel who die in a combat zone
> be transported by military aircraft and be met by a military honor guard
> that provides full honors, rather than being shipped as freight on
> commercial airliners.
> . A proposed pilot program in which the government would pay for some
> over-the-counter drugs in addition to prescription drug coverage for
> military health care beneficiaries.
> . Add $100 million more for Army recruiting and retention bonuses; $59
> million for Air National
> Guard bonuses; and raise the ceiling of special pay for Selected Reserve
> health care professionals in critical wartime specialties from $10,000 to
> $25,000.
> . Sustain the same 30,000 troop-level increase the Army was allowed for
> FY2006 and add an extra 1,000 for the Marines above the 2006 level.
> Restore the full strength of 350,000 for Army National Guard, vs. the
> 333,000 proposed in the Defense budget. Reduce Navy manpower
> authorizations by 12,000 and Air Force strength by 23,000.
> [Source: Times staff writer Rick Maze & Military.com Tom Philpott articles
> 25 & 26 Apr 06 ++]
>
>
> SOCIAL SECURITY REFORM: Proposals to trim Social Security benefits
> continue this year.  President Bush's 2007 budget, among other reductions,
> calls for the elimination of the $255 lump-sum Social Security death
> benefit.  Many people are not even aware of the entitlement. The payment
> began in 1939 to assist families with funeral expenses and the amount was
> last adjusted in 1952.  Today it hardly covers the cost of flowers, let
> alone a funeral, but cutting the benefit would do little to improve Social
> Security's finances. Despite the ongoing proposals for cuts, efforts to
> provide a $5,000 lump-sum are resulting in the highest level of support in
> Congress for Notch Reform in well over a decade.  The "Notch" refers to a
> benefit disparity that occurred when Congress enacted changes to the
> Social Security benefit formula in 1977.  In that legislation, Congress
> provided a transition benefit formula to phase in the changes.  The
> transition formula affected seniors who first became eligible to retire
> just two years after the legislation was enacted, but in almost every case
> the transition benefit formula failed to provide any protection from deep
> benefit cuts.  Transition plans historical have not been very protective
> of beneficiaries.  A recent failed transition plan occurred this year.  On
> 1 JAN 06 about 6.2 million of the nation's poorest and sickest Medicare
> beneficiaries were transferred from state Medicaid drug coverage and
> automatically assigned to Medicare Part D drug plans.  Despite the
> government having a transition plan in place to prevent disruptions in
> coverage, hundreds of thousands of seniors were overcharged for their
> drugs, many were denied their prescriptions, and forced to leave their
> pharmacies empty handed.  Congress and the Administration are still
> working on correcting all the problems.
>
>     Representative Ralph Hall (D-TX) early last year re-introduced The
> Notch Fairness Act (H.R. 615). The bill has 93 co-sponsors in Congress and
> the number is growing rapidly.  This legislation would allow Notch Babies
> born from 1917 through 1926 their choice of a $5,000 lump-sum payable in
> four annual installments or an improved monthly benefit.  The legislation
> would allow eligible survivors of Notch Babies, persons who receive Social
> Security benefits based on the account of a Notch Baby, to receive up to
> 100% of the benefit payable to the deceased. In some cases, where the
> surviving spouse is younger, or there is a disabled child, the higher
> monthly benefit might be preferable because presumably it would be payable
> for a longer period of time.  In addition, the Notch Reform benefit would
> be split among eligible survivors, for example, a widow and a former
> divorced spouse.  Under these circumstances the higher monthly benefit may
> also yield more than the lump-sum.  But for most Notch Babies or their
> survivors the lump-sum payment would most likely provide a higher benefit.
> Most surviving children would not be eligible for Notch Fairness Act
> benefits, but the issue should concern every single child of a Notch Baby.
> Recent Social Security reform proposals to attach a price index to the
> Social Security benefit formula would cut benefits for future retirees in
> a manner similar to the 1977 changes that led to the Notch.  In addition,
> Congress thus far has taken no constructive non-partisan action to address
> Social Security's looming shortfall - meaning they may have to make very
> deep and abrupt cuts when they can no longer stall for time.  Only last
> year the Comptroller General of the United States, David Walker, warned
> Congress saying, "Doing nothing, means that we are going to head to a
> precipitous decline in benefits.  Remember the Notch Baby problem?  This
> would be a Notch Baby problem magnified multiple times and it should not
> be allowed to happen." [Source: TSCL Newsletter 25 Apr 06]
>
>
> V
A APPOINTMENTS UPDATE 02:   Waiting times for first time medical exams in
> VA are continuing to lengthen. As of APR 05 there are 15,211 veterans
> waiting for their first exams.  A year later the number has doubled to
> 30,475.  The number of veterans waiting for their first exam is the
> highest since JUL 03 when there were 57, 609.  Also, as of APR 06 the
> number of disability cases waiting adjudication was 372,328 which is an
> increase over last year at this time when there were 344,916 cases. Of
> these the number of cases with over 180 days wait time has grown to 95,529
> compared to last year when there were 74,491.  These figures are in
> conflict with Secretary of Veterans Affairs R. James Nicholson comment in
> FRB 06 when he indicted that last year, 97% of veterans who requested a
> primary care appointment got that appointment within 30 days, and 95% of
> those who requested an acute care appointment got it within 30 days.  An
> inspector general's audit found real problems with the way the VA had come
> up with those numbers.  The audit found that some VA staff,
feeling
> "pressured," actually fudged the numbers,
and error rates were as high as
> 61%.

 

 DID ANY OF YOU VETERANS REALLY BELIEVE THE VA CRAP THAT THE SECRETARY WAS PUTTING OUT ANYWAY.  WE LIVE IT NOT DREAM IT.  IF YOU READ THE ABOVE YOU WILL SEE HOW THE STALINIST VA WORKS. FEAR AND RETRIBUTION IS THE RULE OF LAW.

>    Since 2004, the number of newly eligible people waiting for
> appointments has increased by 400 percent. Rep. Michael Michaud [D-ME]
> ranking Democrat on the veterans' affairs committee's health panel, said
> the situation is "simply unacceptable," especially because the Bush
> administration has opposed efforts in Congress to increase the VA's health
> care budget. The Secretary and the Administration point out that they have
> almost doubled the V budget sine they took over.  The administration did
> not ask for any emergency funding for the VA, claiming that the 2006
> budget was sufficient after it was boosted by Congress last year when the
> VA admitted to funding shortfalls.  However, in spite of funding
> increases, VA's cost-cutting moves have locked more than a quarter million
> veterans out of the system.  In January 06, the administration asked for
> $38.5 billion for veterans' health care programs for 2007, an amount
> Democrats have said is $3.6 billion less than needed.
>
>     The 31,000 veterans waiting for their first appointment are those with
> service-connected injuries or who have little or no income. That figure
> would be much higher if the Bush administration in 2003 had not barred new
> enrollments in the VA health care system of veterans who have modest
> incomes and no service-connected disabilities or medical problems.
> Michaud said the enrollment ban should be lifted. Considering White House
> budget office cuts in the VA budget outlined for 2008 with additional
> reductions in the following two years the future for veterans waiting for
> appointments does not look good. VA will be severely handicapped in any
> attempt to improve veteran services in this area unless they ask for and
> receive sufficient funds to meet the demands.  [Source: Rick Maze
> NavyTimes article 20 Apr 06 ++]

 

AGAIN THIS ONE WE MUST KEEP UP THE PRESSURE AND OUR EYE ON THE BALL AND THE VOTING BOOTHS.  ANY CONGRESSPERSON OR SENATOR THAT EVEN THINKS ABOUT THE BELOW SHOULD BE RECALLED BY THAT STATE OR AT LEAST PUT OUT OF OFFICE IN 2006 OR 2008.


> VDBC UPDATE 03: The Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission (VDBC) wants
> to study if vets should get VA compensation and Social Security disability
> at the same time. The commission's Chair, General Terry Scott, has asked
> Congress for clarification of the intent of Congress in the Charter that
> was given to the VDBC and has requested that clarification for the next
> Commission public meeting 19 MAY 06. If approved he intends to launch the
> study. It appears the VDBC is about evenly split on the idea of studying
> the SSDI issue.  General Scott's request has raised major concerns among
> the veteran organizations.  Christopher J. Clay, General Counsel for the
> DAV, has written to the four congressional committee Chairmen involved.
> In part, Clay's letter states:  ".[General Scott's] request, if
> honored.would violate one of the fundamental principles which have guided
> the government of the United States for more than 200 years.  That
> principle is the separation of powers.  Congress exercises the sole power to
> enact laws while the Judicial and Executive Branches have the power to say
> what those laws mean.neither a committee of either the House or Senate nor
> the full Congress may interpret a statute after it is enacted, without
> passing a new law.The DAV is unaware of any precedent for the
> congressional interpretations requested by the Commission Chairman.  If
> the Committee responds to the Chairman's inquiry, it will set a precedent
> that the courts are no longer the sole arbiters of disputes over our
> laws."
>
>     Last fall the VDBC issued a list of questions they would study.  They
> asked for veterans input but only allowed them a few days to respond. The
> questions signaled the direction of the VDBC.  One question was:  "Does
> the disability benefit provided affect a veteran's incentive to work?" At
> the Commission's March 16-17 meeting some of its members maneuvered to
> authorize collecting data about Social Security Disability Insurance
> (SSDI) benefits paid to veterans who also receive VA disability
> compensation. That was apparently done with a view toward an offset
> [reduction] of disability insurance if the veteran receives disability
> compensation from the VA." A move to sidestep proper procedures and hold a
> secret ballot on the matter was postponed, but the issue is expected to
> resurface at the commission's meeting in May.  The idea that disability
> compensation is some kind of income security or welfare program cheapens
> the service and sacrifice of disabled veterans. Veterans' benefits are
> separate and distinct from Social Security, so receiving payments under
> both programs is not dual compensation for the same disability, as some
> have tried to argue." That kind of thinking might also open the door to
> cutting off VA compensation when a disabled veteran becomes eligible for
> Social Security retirement benefits. If so, it could lay the groundwork
> for cutting or eliminating veterans' benefits as a way of saving the
> government money.
>
>     The (VDBC) was established by Public Law 108-136 and signed into being
> by President Bush in NOV 03.  Its charter states they are to study
> "whether a veteran's disability or death should be compensated" and at
> what level if any. The Commission is independent of the Department of
> Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense. It is made up of 13
> political appointees.  Four were appointed by Democratic Members of
> Congress, four more by Republican Members and the other five by President
> Bush.  The Commission refers to themselves as bipartisan in spite of it
> being a 9-4 politically-stacked deck in favor of the present
> administration.  They can be contacted at
> veterans@vetscommission.intranets.com or (202) 756-7729/0229 Fax or by
> writing the Commission's Executive Director at 1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW,
> 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20004.  Its remaining schedule includes visits
> to St. Louis (May), San Diego (June), Seattle (July), Boston (August), and
> Atlanta (September). Interested veterans, retirees, survivors, and
> currently serving members are encouraged to attend and be heard.
> Additional information on the Disability Commission and upcoming field
> hearings can be found at: www.vetscommission.org/index.htm. [Source: Vet
> Advocate Larry Scott article 24 Apr 06 http://vawatchdog.org/ ++]

>
>
> MILITARY FUNERAL DISORDERLY CONDUCT UPDATE 04: AB 2707 Funerals:
> restrictions on picketing has been introduced in the California
> legislature by Assemblyman Rick Keene (R-Chico). This legislation makes it
> unlawful for a person to engage in picketing at a funeral during the
> period beginning one hour prior to the funeral and ending one hour after
> the conclusion of the funeral; provides for criminal penalties up to $1000
> in fines or six months in county jail; permits a court to provide
> injunctive relief and award damages, including punitive damages.
> "Picketing" is defined as "protest activities" engaged in by any person
> within 300 feet of a cemetery, mortuary, or church. "Protest activities"
> is defined to include oration or speeches, using sound amplification
> targeted at funeral participants, displaying placards, signs, or flags, or
> other similar material, or distributing handbills, leaflets, or other
> written material, where such activity is not a part of the planned funeral
> services. AB2707 has already been passed by the Assembly Committee on
> Judiciary and will have another hearing by the Committee on Public Safety
> in late April.  The bill was prompted by the activity of Rev. Fred Phelps,
> a Kansas pastor who has used funerals, including most recently the
> funerals of American troops killed in Iraq, to disseminate his anti-gay
> message and his belief that the United States has been "taken over" by
> homosexuals. Similar laws have either been passed or are under
> consideration in other states and at the federal level because of
> activities that have been going on around the country during funeral
> services for military personnel.  The bill is being opposed by the
> American Civil Liberties Union and some labor groups. [Source: VFW
> California Veterans Affairs Legislative Update 23 Apr 06 ++]
>
>
>
VA DNA DATABASE:  Researchers at U.S. companies, nonprofit groups and
> government agencies are scouring the human genome for links to common
> diseases, promising a day when doctors will use a patient's genetic
> profile to take preventative action. Military veterans soon will be asked
> to volunteer their DNA for that cause.
The Department of Veterans Affairs
> plans a genetic database from potentially millions of VA patients,
> launching into profound legal, ethical and privacy debates to claim a
> leading role in genetic medicine. The VA intends to collect the first
> 100,000 samples in fiscal 2007and foresees a database as large as veterans
> will allow. The VA intends to establish rules for handling a person's
> genetic profile while using it in research and to identify an individual's
> risk of diabetes, heart problems, cancers and other conditions. VA
> officials and genetics experts said they hope the effort will provide a
> handbook for private health care providers and corporate labs to act
> responsibly in the race for genetic tests and services.
>
>     The benefits could be enormous, but some experts say so could the
> risks. Emerging technology makes it possible to reveal a person's
> strengths and weaknesses, the likelihood of medical conditions, maybe
> alcoholic tendencies, and reactions to specific drugs. Concerns are
> growing about ownership of genetic samples, how they are obtained, and
> whether consent applies to unforeseen uses years in the future. Watchdog
> groups worry about genetic discrimination by insurance companies and
> employers. Many veterans already are wary of Uncle Sam, remembering that
> their ranks have been exposed to chemical agents on the battlefield and in
> secret human experiments. Because of this the American Legion anticipates
> veterans will be reluctant to participate. VA officials said samples would
> be taken only with permission. VA Secretary Jim Nicholson has appointed a
> nine member panel, mostly of respected geneticists, to hash out issues
> surrounding the project. The only representative of veterans on te panel
> is the executive director of the Disabled American Veterans. Issues to be
> decided but are not limited to are if a person is at genetic risk of
> diabetes but has no symptoms, what course should doctors take? If a person
> has a 1% chance of developing a severe cancer later in life, should he be
> told? Who should have access to that information?
>
>     The VA essentially acts as provider and insurer for 7.7 million
> people. It uses one of the most sophisticated electronic patient record
> systems in the country and has a research arm that has led advances in
> many fields. VA officials said the first 100,000 samples are a preliminary
> step to learn about costs and practical issues while the committee does
> its work. The panel has not yet met, but Nicholson is touting it. VA
> officials said the department is compelled to jump into this expanding
> field. Recently, researchers for the CDC reported they identified genes
> responsible for chronic fatigue syndrome, a condition often associated
> with soldiers from the first Gulf War who returned with
> difficult-to-diagnose problems that the VA has studied for years.
> Suddenly, better diagnosis and treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome seem
> on the horizon. Prenatal screening for genetic disorders is old news, and
> the number of possible tests has grown to about 1,000, mostly for rare
> disorders. Now doctors are hunting for genes and combinations of genes
> pointing to more common problems. To be viable medical tool veterans, and
> the American public, need to be convinced that being in a genetic database
> is safe and free of privacy and discrimination issues. [Source: The Ledger
> Online News Washington Bureau 23 Apr 06  www.theledger.com]
>
>
> TRICARE UNIFORM FORMULARY UPDATE 11:  Dr. William Winkenwerder Jr.,
> director, TRICARE Management Activity, made the decision to place
> additional medications on the TRICARE Uniform Formulary and to designate
> others as nonformulary (or third tier) on 26 APR 06. The following is a
> list of these medications, their status as formulary (tier-one generics or
> tier-two brand name) or third tier and (if applicable) the date the
> decision will be implemented.
>
> Overactive Bladder Agents
> Detrol®  3 July 26, 2006
> Detrol LA®  2
> Ditropan XL®  2
> Enablex®  2
> Oxytrol®  3 July 26, 2006
> Oxybutin generic only  1
> Sanctura®  3 July 26, 2006
> Vesicare®  2
>
> Miscellaneous Antihypertensive Agents
> Catapres TTS®  2
> Clonidine/chlorthalidone generic only  1
> Clonidine generic only  1
> Guanabenz generic only  1
> Guanadrel generic only  1
> Guanethidine generic only  1
> Guanfacine generic only  1
> Hydralazine generic only  1
> Hydralazine/HCTZ generic only  1
> Inversine®  2
> Lexxel®  3  July 26, 2006
> Lotrel®  2
> Methyldopa generic only  1
> Metyrosine generic only  1
> Minizide®  2
> Minoxidil generic only  1
> Prazosin generic only  1
> Reserpine generic only  1
> Tarka®  3 July 26, 2006
>
> Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-Analog Agents
> Gabapentin generic only  1
> Gabitril®  2
> Lyrica®  3 June 28, 2006
>
> Medications on the first tier (formulary generics) are available through
> TRRx for $3 for up to a 30-day supply and through TMOP for $3 for up to a
> 90-day supply. Medications on the second tier (formulary brand name) may
> be purchased for the same number of days for $9. Medications on the third
> tier (nonformulary) require a $22 copayment in both venues. Beneficiary
> copayments are higher at non-network retail pharmacies. Beneficiaries
> currently on third-tier medications may wish to consult their health care
> providers about changing to a first- or second-tier alternative. They may
> also ask their provider if establishing medical necessity for the
> third-tier medication is appropriate for them. If medical necessity for a
> third-tier medication can be established, copayments revert to $9.
> Third-tier medications will not be available at military treatment
> facility (MTF) pharmacies unless medical necessity has been established
> and the prescription is written by an MTF provider. Not all tier-one and
> tier-two drugs are available at MTF pharmacies. For a list of medications,
> their formulary status and where they are available, interested parties
> may go to
> www.tricareformularysearch.org/dod/medicationcenter/default.aspx. Medical
> necessity forms and criteria are available at
> www.tricare.osd.mil/pharmacy/medical-nonformulary.cfm. Additional
> information on both TRRx and TMOP and the location of the nearest TRICARE
> retail pharmacy may be accessed at www.express-scripts.com/TRICARE or by
> calling 866-363-8667 for TMOP or 866-363-8779 for TRRx.  [Source: TMA News
> Release( #6) 26 Apr 06]
>
>
> NGB DOD REPRESENTATION:  On 26 APR 06 Rep. Tom Davis (R -VA) introduced
> the National Defense Enhancement and National Guard Empowerment Act of
> 2006 (H.R.5200) to the U. S. House of Representatives This is the House
> version of the original Bill introduced by Senator's Bond and Leahy (S.
> 2658). To help ensure that the National Guard is properly represented at
> the highest levels of the DoD and provided with the appropriate
> representation, manpower, training and equipment for future missions both
> home and abroad, the National H.R.5200 will:
> - Establish the National Guard Bureau (NGB) as a joint activity of the
> DoD.
> - Elevate the Chief of the National Guard Bureau billet from Lieutenant
> General to General (4 Star).
> - Task the Chief of the National Guard Bureau to serve as an advisor to
> the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
> - Provide a seat on the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the Chief of the
> National Guard Bureau.
> - Require that the Deputy Commander of NORTHCOM be a National Guard
> officer, and much more.
>
> On 2 MAY 06 the House Armed Services Committee will conduct a full mark-up
> of the FY07 National Defense Authorization bill (H.R. 5122). During this
> session, HR 5200 will be offered as an amendment to that bill. Both the
> National Guard Association of the United States (NGAUS) and the Adjutants
> General Association of the United States (AGAUS) support this legislation.
> Pre formatted letters to assist this effort can be found on the NGAUS web
> page www.ngaus.org Write to Congress feature.  [Source: NGAUS Leg Alert 27
> Apr 06]
>
>
> TRDP UPDATE 04:  Some military retirees will see a slight reduction in
> their monthly net pay beginning on1 MAY due to an increase in the Tricare
> Retiree Dental Program (TRDP) premium. The new rates began on 1 APR and
> will remain in effect until 31 MAR 07.  Retirees who have an allotment
> deduction to pay premiums have received, or will receive, a Retiree
> Account Statement (RAS) reflecting the increase in the allotment amount
> both in the "New Pay" line on the front of the form and in the detailed
> information of the Allotments and Bonds section on the reverse side.
> Retirees who are current myPay users are able to view and request this
> RAS.  Premiums for the TRDP were established for each year of the contract
> with the Department of Defense at the time it was awarded in order to
> allow for projected changes in the cost of dental care. The first annual
> premium rate change took effect on 1 MAY 04 for the contract year ` MAY 04
> through 30 APR 05. The next change was effective 1 MAY 05 through 30 APR
> 06, the end of the current contract year. The premium rates for TRDP are
> based on each retiree's ZIP code and type of coverage. Premiums may also
> increase or decrease if TRDP enrollees move or change their enrollment
> options. More information is available for TRDP enrollees by calling toll
> free at 1(888) 838-8737 or via the TRDP Web site at  www.trdp.org.  The
> new rates, by region, can be found on the web site by entering your zip
> code.  [Source: Air Force Retiree News 26 Apr 06 ++]
>
>
> TRICARE COMPUTERS HACKED: Pentagon officials on 28 APR said Computer
> hackers obtained Social Security numbers, credit card information and
> other personal data for thousands of active and retired service members
> after hacking into the Defense Department's Tricare Management Activity
> system in early April. The personal information of more than 14,000 active
> and retired service members and dependents has fallen into the wrong
> hands. Along with Social Security numbers, hackers tapped into records
> that included names, partial credit card numbers and some private employer
> information and personal health information, said Air Force Maj. Michael
> Shavers, a Pentagon spokesman. Routine monitoring of the Tricare
> Management Activity's public servers on April 5 resulted in the discovery
> of an intrusion and that the personal records had been compromised,
> leaving open the possibility of identity theft among the members affected.
> The information contained in the files varied and investigators do not
> know what, if any, criminal intent the perpetrators had, or if the
> information would be misused. Defense Criminal Investigative Service has
> begun an investigation.  In the interim enhanced security controls
> throughout the network have been implemented and additional monitoring
> tools installed to improve security of existing networks and data files.
> TMA sent letters to the affected individuals earlier this month telling
> them what happened in April and information to assist them in
> understanding the potential risks and precautions they can take to protect
> their identities. [Source:  NavyTimes Gordon Lubold article 28 Apr 06]
>
>
> COLD WAR MEDAL:   Congress approved a Cold War Medal in its 2002 National
> Defense Authorization Bill (NDAA) but left final authorization up to
> Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. DoD said in late January 2002 that
> the medal would not be authorized. The House version of last year's fiscal
> 2006 NDAA contained provisions for a Cold War medal, but a joint
> conference committee struck it out. This year the idea has resurfaced.
> Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) have introduced
> S.1361 and H.R.2568 respectively that would direct the Defense Department
> to issue such a medal. Service members and DoD civilians who served
> honorably at any time between Sept. 2, 1945, through Dec. 26, 1991 would
> be eligible. The chairman of the Cold War Veterans Association estimated
> that 20 million Americans served during the Cold War.  According to the
> association, 357 U.S. soldiers lost their lives in action during the Cold
> War. Others were injured, or kept as prisoners of war. The numbers may
> pale in comparison to other wars, yet this was a time of highly tense and
> very secretive missions, when soldiers were told to hold their fire, but
> be ready to return fire if ordered.  The proposed legislation would face
> stiff opposition from DoD because of funding concerns and because a Cold
> War medal could reduce the prestige accorded other medals awarded during
> the same era. As a substitute, Public Law 105-85 authorized a Cold War
> Recognition Certificate for Cold War participants.  [Source: Armed Forces
> News 28 Apr 06 ++]
>
>
> AAAFES GAS PRICING POLICY:  In the continental United States, officials of
> Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAAFES) gas stations conduct surveys of
> five or more local locations selling motor fuel, excluding members only
> clubs, at least once a week. This process allows AAFES to establish a fair
> and competitive price equal to the lowest price surveyed for each grade of
> fuel sold. The gas is not tax free because the Hayden Cartwright Act
> requires AAFES to pay all applicable taxes on gasoline. Gas pricing can
> also rapidly change with oil supply and disruptions stemming from world
> events or domestic problems such as refinery or pipeline outages, world
> markets speculation, and political/economic factors.  [Source: Armed
> Forces News 28 Apr 06]
>
>
> VA ALERT ON VAS:  the Veterans Administration has put out a warning
> regarding involvement with an organization calling itself Veterans Affairs
> Services (VSA). This organization is gathering personal information on
> veterans under a VA services look alike website www.vaservices.org.  This
> organization is not affiliated with the VA in any way and in reality is a
> private company based in California.  It describes itself as a nonprofit
> veteran's service organization but they are actually affiliated with the
> Military Financial Planning association.  They may be gaining access to
> military personnel through their close resemblance to the VA name and
> seal.  VA's legal counsel has requested installations be informed of this
> organization's activities and their lack of affiliation or endorsement by
> VA to provide any services.  In addition, anyone having examples of VAS
> acts such as VAS employees assisting veterans in the preparation and
> presentation of claims for benefits, is requested to pass these on to
> Michael.Daugherty2@va.gov, (202) 273-8636.  Mr. Daugherty is a Staff
> Attorney with the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington D.C.  I am
> attaching an info paper describing the company and their websites.
> [Source: USDR msg 24 Apr 06]
>
>
> CONSUMER HEALTH DIGEST: Consumer health encompasses all aspects of the
> marketplace related to the purchase of health products and services.
> Positively, it involves the facts and understanding that enable people to
> make wise choices. Negatively, it means avoiding unwise decisions based on
> deception, misinformation, or other factors. The following is a list of
> websites that can assist in making your health care decisions:
>
> http://www.quackwatch.org (Health fraud and quackery)
> http://www.acuwatch.org (Acupuncture)
> http://www.autism-watch.org (Guide to autism)
> http://www.cancertreatmentwatch.org (Cancer)
> http://www.casewatch.org (Legal archive)
> http://www.chelationwatch.org (Chelation therapy)
> http://www.chirobase.org (Guide to chiropractic)
> http://www.credentialwatch.org (Credentials)
> http://www.dentalwatch.org (uide to dental care)
> http://www.devicewatch.org (Questionable medical devices)
> http://www.dietscam.org (Weight-control schemes and ripoffs)
> http://www.homeowatch.org (Guide to homeopathy)
> http://www.ihealthpilot.org (Guide to reliable information))
> http://www.infomercialwatch.org (Guide to infomercials)
> http://www.mentalhealthwatch.org (Dubious theories and methods)
> http://www.mlmwatch.org (Multi-level marketing)
> http://www.naturowatch.org (Naturopathy)
> http://www.nccamwatch.org (Alternative medicine)
> http://www.nutriwatch.org (Nutrition facts and fallacies)
> http://www.pharmwatch.org (Drug marketplace and lower prices)
> http://www.ncahf.org (National Council Against Health Fraud)
> http://www.chsourcebook.com (Consumer health sourcebook)
> http://www.quackwatch.org/00AboutQuackwatch/chd.html (Consumer Health
> Digest)
> [Source: Consumer Health Digest 25 Apr 06]
>
>
> COLA 2007 UPDATE 01:. In mid-April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
> announced the MAR 06 monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI), which is used to
> calculate the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for military retired
> pay, VA disability compensation, survivor annuities, and Social Security.
> The CPI continued its upward trend and rose 0.6% from February for a total
> of 1.3% growth so far this fiscal year. The bulk of the latest change is
> due to energy price increases. The 1.3% figure for March is about
> one-third slower than last year's pace of inflation. At this point last
> year (when we ended up with a 4.1% COLA), the CPI had risen 1.9%.
> [Source: MOAA Leg Up21 Apr 06]
>
>
> SSMAC LODGING NEW YORK:  If visiting New York City check out the
> Soldiers', Sailors', Marines & Airmens' Club at 283 Lexington Ave. & 37th
> St.  This mid-town Manhattan facility is close to the theater district,
> Empire State Bldg., United Nations, and Fifth Ave. The Club provides
> convenient, affordable accommodations to Active Duty, Retired,
> Reserve/National Guard and honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed
> Forces and its Allies. Also welcome are Service Academy & ROTC
> Cadets/Midshipmen, Merchant Seamen, Widows & Widowers, Dependants and
> Sponsored Guests of eligible individuals.  The historic facility which is
> close to the Theater District, the Empire State Building, Radio City Music
> Hall and affordable restaurants.  Rates are E1-E4 $25, E5 & above $37,
> WO/O1-O3/Retirees $47, O-4 and above $52, and children 3-14 $10 a night
> per person.
>
>     The SSMAC rents beds, not rooms. There are 21rooms with 2 Beds to
> accommodate couples or guests booking as a party of two; 6 rooms with 3
> beds each; 1 room with 4 beds and 1 room with 6 beds to accommodate
> families or groups. Cribs and additional beds are not available for use in
> rooms. Guests checking in alone may have to be booked into rooms with
> other guests of the same gender. There are separate communal bathrooms and
> showers for men and women.  The Club consists of five floors without
> elevator, as it was originally a private brownstone.  No meals are served
> and there is no room, bell or personal laundry service. Nearby restaurants
> provide quick delivery of take-out orders. Self-service laundries are
> nearby. Rooms do not have TV's or telephones, but there is a pay phone in
> the building, a library with two Internet stations, several large event
> rooms, a television room and a dining room with a microwave oven and
> toaster grill. Children age 3 and under stay free when occupying a bed
> with a parent.
>
>     Originally dubbed the Servicemen's Club, it was founded in 1919 to
> accommodate servicemen returning from overseas duty in World War I.  This
> nonprofit organization receives no financial support from federal, state
> or local government. Due to the club's commitment to keep costs low for
> its patrons while bearing the burden of ever-increasing operating costs
> amounting to an annual deficit of nearly $250,000.  This is met by
> donations from people and organizations who willing to support their
> operations. Tax-deductible donations can be sent to Executive Director,
> Soldiers', Sailors', Marines' and Airmen's Club or SSMAC, 283 Lexington
> Avenue, New York, NY 10016-3540. To date the club has hosted more than 2.5
> million guests.  Additional information on the club is available at
> info@ssmaclub.org or http://www.ssmaclub.org/.  Reservations can be made
> at 1(800) 678-8443. Reservations for weekends should be made at least a
> month in advance.
>
>     The USO of Metropolitan New York's General Douglas MacArthur Memorial
> Center is a 10 minute walk from the club. They are located in The Port
> Authority Bus Terminal, 625 Eighth Avenue, North Wing, Second Level
> (Between 41st and 42nd Streets), New York, NY 10018  Tel: (212) 695-6160.
> Here you can obtain maps, brochures and information on attractions, places
> of interest and local color in the Greater New York City area. They can
> also offer you discounts on Broadway Tickets, Off-Broadway Theaters, Hotel
> Reservations, Sightseeing Bus Tours, Sightseeing Boat Tours, and Club
> Admissions. Show tickets are distributed at 5:30 PM on the day of
> performance. Tickets for professional and collegiate athletic and sporting
> events are frequently available on the day of the event. Uniform
> requirements and guest privileges are subject to individual management
> policies. Movie Theater Discounts are available for Loews Cineplex. Many
> hotels in the New York City area offer a special USO discount rate for
> military personnel and their families. Service personnel can make their
> hotel reservations in person, by phone, fax or through the mail. Ask about
> special rates for children.  Additional information is available at
> usonyc16@aol.com or www.usony.org/enjoyingny.shtml.  [Source: Air Force
> Retiree News Service 10 Apr 06 ++]
>
>
> TRICARE OBESITY TREATMENT:  Tricare Standard coverage is limited to three
> types of surgical treatment for obesity.  These are gastric bypass,
> gastric stapling, and gastroplasty, including vertical banding
> gastroplasty, when one of the following conditions are met:
>
> 1. A patient is 100 pounds or more over the ideal weight for height and
> boy structure, and has one of the  associated medical condition of
> diabetes mellitus, hypertension, cholecystitis, narcolepsy, Pickwickian
> syndrome (and other sever respiratory diseases), hypothalamin disorders,
> and severe arthritis of the weight bearing joints.
> 2. A patient is 200 pounds or more of the ideal weight for height and body
> structure.  Am associated medical condition is not required for this
> category.
> 3. A patient has complications from a non-covered surgical treatment for
> obesity, such as intestinal bypass, and needs one of the three surgical
> procedures that are covered.
>
> Tricare Standard does not cover any other services, medications, or
> supplies related to obesity or weight reduction.  Non-surgical treatment
> of morbid obesity, such as wiring the jaws, camps for obesity treatment,
> or special diets are not covered. [Source: Tricare Handbook Apr 06]
>
>
> VIRGINIA TUITION UPDATE 01:  Starting 1 JUL 06 all dependents of military
> service members stationed in Virginia are eligible for in-state college
> tuition rates, a move that should save military families thousands of
> dollars in higher education costs. According to the text of the bill
> signed 6 APR by Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, dependents of military members
> permanently stationed at any of the number of military bases in the state
> will be considered residents of Virginia for the purpose of eligibility
> for in-state tuition rates. Previously, a military member had to establish
> official residency at least a year prior to enrollment for a family member
> to be eligible for in-state tuition at a state-supported university in
> Virginia. No member or dependent will be required to change their official
> residency to Virginia from another state to receive in-state tuition
> rates, as long as the student remains enrolled in school. The in-state
> tuition rates remain even if a student transfers between two Virginia
> schools.   Active-duty members will continue to be eligible for in-state
> tuition rates in Virginia by using the Tuition Assistance education
> benefit. The difference between in-state tuition rates and out-of-state is
> substantial in Virginia. According to figures from the State Council of
> Higher Education for Virginia, out-of-state tuition rates for state-funded
> universities can be nearly three times as much as in-state rates.
>
>     The bill (as previously reported) also will provide undergraduate or
> other postsecondary education to qualified survivors and dependents of
> active duty servicemembers, POWs, or veterans with honorable discharges
> rated at or above 90% disability by the VA.  Servicemember must have died
> as a result of military operations against terrorism, on a peace-keeping
> mission, as a result of a terrorist act, or in any armed conflict
> subsequent to December 6, 1941.  Survivor is defined as spouse or children
> age 16 to 29.  Education benefit can be obtained at any Virginia public
> institution of higher education or other public accredited postsecondary
> institution granting a degree, diploma, or certificate.  Those eligible
> for this benefit will be free of tuition and all required fees,
> institutional charges; general or college fees, any charges by whatever
> term referred to as general/college fees, board and room rent, and
> books/supplies. Application can be obtained from Deputy Commissioners
> Office, Virginia Department of Veterans Service, Poff Federal Building,
> 270 Franklin RD, SW, Roanoke VA 24011-2215 Tel: 540-857-7101/7573 Fax or
> downloaded at www.dvs.virginia.gov. [Source: Navy Newsstand 13 Apr 06]
>
>
> TMOP UPDATE 04:  Prescription delivery under the Tricare Mail Order
> Program is now easier using the Internet where Tricare beneficiaries can
> enroll online for home delivery of their prescription medications. The
> mail-order service is recommended for medications that beneficiaries use
> for long periods of time. Once enrolled, patients can send their
> prescriptions to the Tricare mail order pharmacy where pharmacists will
> check the order against the patient's medication profile in the Defense
> Department's pharmacy database. Medications complete with a reorder date
> are usually delivered to the beneficiary's home within 14 days after the
> contractor receives the prescription. With each request, the prescription
> is reviewed against the beneficiary's complete medication history before
> it is dispensed - reducing the likelihood of adverse interactions and
> duplicate treatments. Pharmacists are available 24 hours a day, seven days
> a week via a toll free number to answer questions.  Cost for each 90 day
> supply of medicine is $3 (Generic), $9 (Name Brand), and $22 for Tier 3
> medicines.
>
>     Initial registration can be accomplished at www.Express-Scripts.com
> where you can activate an account to use the online features of the
> prescription plan.  Here you will assign an account name and pin number to
> be used for your future access.   You can also register a credit card to
> be used for automatic payment of future prescription orders.  To place
> prescription orders follow the following procedures:
>
> 1. First time users are required to submit a "New Patient Mail Order Form"
> which can be downloaded at Express-Scripts.com or requested at 1(866)
> 363-8667. This form is used to identity your personal information,
> attending physicians name, and payment method.   Ask the doctor to write a
> new prescription for up to a 90-day supply (with up to three refills) of
> the medication.  Attach the written prescription(s) to the form and mail
> to Express Scripts Inc. PO Box 52150, Phoenix AZ 85072-9954.
> 2. For subsequent new prescriptions a separate form is used for mailing or
> faxing the order. Log onto www.Express-Scripts.com and follow the prompts
> to print a prescription order form. Ask the doctor to write the new
> prescription.  Then the doctor can fax the form with the prescription(s)
> to Express Scripts, Inc 1(877) 895-1900 or you can mail the form with
> prescription(s) to Express Scripts Inc. PO Box 52150, Phoenix AZ 85072.
> (Note: Faxing is only allowed from your physician's office).  If payment
> has not been set up by credit card with your initial registration include
> the payment with a mailed request.
> 3. For prescription refills access www.Express-Scripts.com and click
> "Order Refills".
> 4. To find out the status of an order access www.Express-Scripts.com and
> click "Track Your Order".
>
> For more information, call Express Scripts at 1-866-363-8667 if you are
> within the 50 United States and its territories. Call 1-866-275-4732 and
> select option 1 if you are outside U.S. territory.  [Source: NGAUS NOTES 7
> Apr 06 ++]
>
>
> JOBS W/O COLLEGE DEGREE RQMT:  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
> Statistics, eight of the top 10 fastest-growing occupations through 2014
> do not require a bachelor's degree. Based on data from the U.S. Department
> of Labor and the Census Bureau, career planning expert Michael Farr and
> statistician Laurence Shatkin recently published the second edition of
> their book "The 300 Best Jobs That Don't Require a Four-Year Degree". Here
> are 20 of the top-paying jobs that don't require a degree according to
> Shatkin's book:
>
> -  Air traffic controller: $102,030
> -  Storage and distribution manager: $66,600
> -  Transportation manager: $66,600
> -  Police and detectives supervisor: $64,430
> -  Non-retail sales manager: $59,300
> -  Forest fire fighting and prevention supervisor: $58,920
> -  Municipal fire fighting and prevention supervisor: $58,902
> -  Real estate broker: $58,720
> -  Elevator installers and repairer: $58,710
> -  Sales representative: $58,580
> -  Dental hygienist: $58,350
> -  Radiation therapist: $57,700
> -  Nuclear medicine technologist: $56,450
> -  Child support, missing persons and unemployment insurance fraud
> investigator: $53,900
> -  Criminal investigators and special agent: $53,990
> -  Immigration and Customs inspector: $53,990
> -  Police detective: $53,990
> -  Police identification and records officer: $53,990
> -  Commercial pilot: $53,870
> -  Talent director: $52,840
>
> Note: Though a college degree is not a requirement for these positions,
> all require moderate to extensive on-the-job training or apprenticeship.
> In addition, dental hygienists, radiation therapists, nuclear medicine
> technologists and commercial pilots require an associate degree at a
> vocational or technical school. [Source: VetJobs Veteran Eagle Newsletter
> 1 Apr 06 www.vetjobs.com]
>
>
> ENLISTMENT TO AVOID PROSECUTION: Enlistment to avoid prosecution is no
> longer allowed regardless of any deal made with a judge or prosecutor.
> Judges or prosecutor can do whatever they please (within the limits of the
> law for their jurisdiction), but that doesn't mean the military branches
> are required to accept such people and they don't.  Each service branch
> has regulations that prohibit accepting such applicants as follows:
> 1) Army: Recruiting Regulation 601-210, paragraph 4-8b states: "Applicant
> who, as a condition for any civil conviction or adverse disposition or any
> other reason through a civil or criminal court, is ordered or subjected to
> a sentence that implies or imposes enlistment into the Armed Forces of the
> United States is not eligible for enlistment.."
> 2) USAF: Recruiting Regulation, AETCI 36-2002, table 1-1, lines 7 and 8,
> makes an applicant ineligible for enlistment if they are "released from
> restraint, or civil suit, or charges on the condition of entering military
> service, if the restraint, civil suit, or criminal charges would be
> reinstated if the applicant does not enter military service."
> 3) USMC: Recruiting Regulation, MCO P1100.72B, Chapter 3, Section 2, Part
> H, Paragraph 12 states: "Applicants may not enlist as an alternative to
> criminal prosecution, indictment, incarceration, parole, probation, or
> other punitive sentence. They are ineligible for enlistment until the
> original assigned sentence would have been completed."
> 4) USCG:  Enlistment prohibition is contained in the Coast Guard
> Recruiting Manual, M1100.2D, Table 2-A.
> 5) USN:  Interestingly, the Navy Recruiting Manual, COMNAVCRUITCOMINST
> 1130.8F, does not appear to contain any provisions which would make such
> applicants ineligible for enlistment. However, several Navy recruiters
> when Asked if the Navy will accept applicants for service, as an
> alternative to criminal prosecution or other punitive sentence have said
> they would not.
>
> All of the branch's recruiting regulations prohibit military recruiters
> from becoming involved in criminal proceedings for any military applicant.
> Under no circumstances may recruiting personnel intervene or appear on
> behalf of prospective applicants pending civil action with court
> authorities. Civil action is defined as awaiting trial, awaiting sentence,
> or on supervised conditional probation/parole. Waiver of this restriction
> is not authorized. Also, recruiting personnel may not appear in court or
> before probation or parole authorities under any circumstances on behalf
> of any applicant and informal conversations with defense attorneys or
> probation or parole officers must be limited to explaining the military's
> recruitment policies. Recruiting personnel may give no opinions or
> suggestions to enable an unqualified applicant to enlist. They must allow
> the normal course of civil action to occur without assistance or
> intervention. [Source: http://usmilitary.about.com/od/joiningthemilitary/
> Apr 06]
>
>
> DOD SMART SCHOLARSHIP:  Students can be offered full scholarships to
> participate DoD's Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation
> (SMART) scholarship program, which was established under the National
> Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2006. SMART scholarships and
> fellowships are awarded to applicants who are pursuing a degree in
> subjects like aeronautical and astronautical engineering, aerospace
> engineering, biosciences, physiology, chemical engineering, civil
> engineering, computer and computational sciences, electrical engineering,
> naval architecture and ocean engineering, and a host of other subjects.
> DoD is also interested in supporting the education of future scientists
> and engineers in a number of interdisciplinary, military technology areas
> of overlapping disciplines. During summer sessions, students will receive
> assignments as interns at DoD labs and agencies, or other assignments that
> will further their education and training goals.
>
>      The SMART program is aimed at providing the nation with talented,
> trained American men and women who will lead state-of-the-art research
> projects in disciplines having the greatest payoff to national defense
> requirements. The scholarship program allows individuals to acquire an
> education in exchange for a period of employment with the Defense
> Department in the specified areas. The Program is open only to citizens of
> the United States. Persons who hold permanent resident status are not
> eligible. Proof of citizenship will be required. Students must be at least
> 18 years of age and, if seeking undergraduate support, be enrolled as a
> student in a regionally accredited university or college to be eligible.
> If family members are not U.S. citizens, some agencies may be unable to
> process the student to the security clearance level required. In that
> event every effort will be made to assign an eligible student to an agency
> without such restrictions. Failure to obtain and maintain a security
> clearance is grounds for dismissal from the SMART Program. Refer to
> www.opm.gov/extra/investigate/security-clearance.asp to determine
> eligibility for a security clearance. More detailed information can be
> obtained at www.asee.org/resources/fellowships/smart/about.cfm or by
> contacting: SMART Defense Scholarship Program, American Society for
> Engineering Education, 1818 N Street N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC
> 20036. Program officials can be reached by phone at (202) 331-3516.
> [Source:  Kansas City InfoZine article by Rudi Williams 26 Mar 06 ++]
>
>
> VA CEMETERIES UPDATE 01: Eligibility for burial in a VA cemetery (space
> permitting) extends to the following.  To confirm your eligibility for
> burial benefits, call a Veteran's Benefits Counselor at 1(800) 827-1000 :
> (1) Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who dies on active
> duty.
> (2) Any veteran who was discharged under conditions other than
> dishonorable. With certain exceptions, service beginning after 7 SEP 80,
> as an enlisted person, and service after 16 OCT 81, as an officer, must be
> for a minimum of 24 continuous months or the full period for which the
> person was called to active duty as in the case of a Reservist called to
> active duty for a limited duration. Undesirable, bad conduct, and any
> other type of discharge other than honorable may or may not qualify the
> individual for veterans benefits, depending upon a determination made by a
> VA Regional Office. Cases presenting multiple discharges of varying
> character are also referred for adjudication to a VA Regional Office.
> (3) Any citizen of the United States who, during any war in which the
> United States has or may be engaged, served in the Armed Forces of any
> Government allied with the United States during that war, whose last
> active service was terminated honorably by death or otherwise, and who was
> a citizen of the United States at the time of entry into such service and
> at the time of death.
> (4) Reservists and National Guard members who, at time of death, were
> entitled to retired pay under Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code,
> or would have been entitled, but for being under the age of 60. Specific
> categories of individuals eligible for retired pay are delineated in
> section 12731 of Chapter 1223, title 10, United States Code.
> (5) Members of reserve components, and members of the Army National Guard
> or the Air National Guard, who die while hospitalized or undergoing
> treatment at the expense of the United States for injury or disease
> contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while performing active
> duty for training or inactive duty training, or undergoing such
> hospitalization or treatment.
> (6) Members of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps of the Army, Navy, or
> Air Force who die under honorable conditions while attending an authorized
> training camp or on an authorized cruise, while performing authorized
> travel to or from that camp or cruise, or while hospitalized or undergoing
> treatment at the expense of the United States for injury or disease
> contracted or incurred under honorable conditions while engaged in one of
> those activities.
> (7) Members of reserve components who, during a period of active duty for
> training, were disabled or died from a disease or injury incurred or
> aggravated in line of duty or, during a period of inactive duty training,
> were disabled or died from an injury or certain cardiovascular disorders
> incurred or aggravated in line of duty.
> (8) A Commissioned Officer of the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric
> Administration formerly titled the Coast and Geodetic Survey and the
> Environmental Science Services Administration) with full-time duty on or
> after 29 JUL 45.
> (9) A NOAA Commissioned Officer who served before 29 JUL 45 and was
> assigned to an area of immediate military hazard as determined by the
> Secretary of Defense while in time of war, or in a Presidentially declared
> national emergency; or served in the Philippine Islands on 7 DEC 41 and
> continuously in such islands thereafter.
> (10) A Commissioned Officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the Public
> Health Service (PHS) who served on full-time duty on or after 29 UL 45. If
> the service of the particular PHS Officer falls within the meaning of
> active duty for training, as defined in section 101(22), title 38, United
> States Code, he or she must have been disabled or died from a disease or
> injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
> (11) A Commissioned Officer of the Regular or Reserve Corps of the PHS who
> performed full-time duty prior to 20 JUL 45 in time of war; on detail for
> duty with the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard; or,
> while the Service was part of the military forces of the United States
> pursuant to Executive Order of the President.
> (12) A Commissioned Officer of the PHS serving on inactive duty training
> as defined in section 101(23), title 38, U.S Code, whose death resulted
> from an injury incurred or aggravated in the line of duty.
> (13) U.S. Merchant Mariners with oceangoing service during the period of
> armed conflict, 7 DEC 41 to 13 DEC 46. A DD-214 documenting this service
> may be obtained by submitting an application to Commandant (G-MVP-6),
> USCG, 2100 2nd Street, SW, Washington, DC 20593.
> (14) U.S. Merchant Mariners who served on blockships in support of
> Operation Mulberry during WW II.
> (15) Any Philippine veteran who was a citizen of the U.S. or an alien
> lawfully admitted for permanent residence in the U.S. at the time of their
> death; and resided in the U.S. at the time of their death; and,
> - Was a person who served before 1 JUL 46, in the organized military
> forces of the Government of the Commonwealth of the Philippines, while
> such forces were in the service of the Armed Forces of the United States
> pursuant to the military order of the President dated 26 JUL 41, including
> organized guerilla forces under commanders appointed, designated, or
> subsequently recognized by the Commander in Chief, Southwest Pacific Area,
> or other competent authority in the Army of the United States, and who
> died on or after 1 NOV 00; or,
> - Was a person who enlisted between 6 OCT 45, and 30JUN 47, with the Armed
> Forces of the United States with the consent of the Philippine government,
> pursuant to section 14 of the Armed Forces Voluntary Recruitment Act of
> 1945, and who died on or after 16 DEC 03.
> (16) The spouse or surviving spouse of an eligible veteran is eligible for
> interment in a national cemetery even if that veteran is not buried or
> memorialized in a national cemetery. In addition, the spouse or surviving
> spouse of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States whose remains
> are unavailable for burial is also eligible for burial.
> (17) The surviving spouse of an eligible veteran who had a subsequent
> remarriage to a non-veteran and whose death occurred on or after 1 JAN 00,
> is eligible for burial in a national cemetery, based on his or her
> marriage to the eligible veteran.
> (18) The minor children of an eligible veteran. For purpose of burial in a
> national cemetery, a minor child is a child who is unmarried and is under
> 21 years of age; or, is under 23 years of age and pursuing a full-time
> course of instruction at an approved educational institution.
> (19) The unmarried adult child of an eligible veteran. For purpose of
> burial in a national cemetery, an unmarried adult child is of any age but
> became permanently physically or mentally disabled and incapable of
> self-support before reaching 21 years of age, or before reaching 23 years
> of age if pursuing a full-time course of instruction at an approved
> educational institution. Proper supporting documentation must be provided.
> (20)  Such other persons or classes of persons as designated by the
> Secretary of Veterans Affairs (38 U.S.C. § 2402(6)) or the Secretary of
> Defense (Public Law 95-202, § 401, and 38 CFR § 3.7(x)).
> [Source: www.cem.va.gov/eligible.htm Mar 06]
>
>
> MILITARY LEGISLATION STATUS UPDATE:  Following is current status on some
> Congressional bills of interest to the military community.  Support of
> these bills through cosponsorship by other legislators is critical if ther
> are ever going to move through the legislative process for a floor vote.
> The key to obtaining cosponsorship is letting your representative know of
> your feelings on these issues.  Following each bill is a web link that can
> be used to do that:
>
> H.R.303:  To amend title 10, United States Code, to permit certain
> additional retired members of the Armed Forces who have a
> service-connected disability to receive both disability compensation from
> the Department of Veterans Affairs for their disability and either retired
> pay by reason of their years of military service or Combat-Related Special
> Compensation and to eliminate the phase-in period under current law with
> respect to such concurrent receipt.  The following sponsor was added to
> this bill giving it a total of 225 cosponosors: Rep. Solomon Ortiz
> (D-TX-27). Send a message to your Representative
> at --http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=7693831
>
> H.R.808: To amend title 10, United States Code, to repeal the offset from
> surviving spouse annuities under the military Survivor Benefit Plan for
> amounts paid by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs as dependency and
> indemnity compensation.  The following sponsor was added to this bill
> giving it a total of 199 cosponsors:
> Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM-1). Contact your Representative -- 
> http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=7683586
> H.R.968: To amend title 10, United States Code, to change the effective
> date for paid-up coverage under the military Survivor Benefit Plan from
> October 1, 2008, to October 1, 2005. The following sponsors were added to
> this bill giving it a total of 139 cosponsors: Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL-7) &
> Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA-5). Send a message to your Representative at -- 
> http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=7683511
>
> H.R.994: To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow Federal
> civilian and military retirees to pay health insurance premiums on a
> pretax basis and to allow a deduction for TRICARE supplemental premiums.
> The following sponsors were added to this bill giving it a total of 325
> cosponsors: Rep. Gil Gutknecht (R-MN-1); Rep. Roger Wicker (R-MS-1); Rep.
> Steven LaTourette (R-OH-14); Rep. Ernest Istook (R-OK-5); Rep. Gwen Moore
> (D-WI-4); Rep. Tom Osborne (R-NE-3); Rep. John Salazar (D-CO-3).
> Send a message to your Representative
> at --http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=7761876
>
> H.R.2076:  To amend title 10, United States Code, to permit certain
> retired members of the uniformed services who have a service-connected
> disability to receive both disability compensation from the Department of
> Veterans Affairs for their disability and either retired pay by reason of
> their years of military service or Combat-Related Special Compensation.
> The following sponsor was added to this bill giving it a total of 25
> cosponosors: Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR-4) Send a message to your Representative
> at --http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=7728776
>
> H.R.2962: To amend title 38, United States Code, to revise the eligibility
> criteria for presumption of service-connection of certain diseases and
> disabilities for veterans exposed to ionizing radiation during military
> service, and for other purposes.  The following sponsor was added to this
> bill giving it a total of 47 cosponosors: Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA-19). Send
> a message to your Representative at --
> http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=7784066
>
>
> H.R.4949: To amend title 10, United States Code, to prohibit increases in
> fees for military health care. The following sponsors were added to this
> bill giving it a total of 148 cosponosors: Rep. Ray LaHood (R-IL-18)
> Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA-5); Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA-12); Rep. Zoe Lofgren
> (D-CA-16); Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX-14); Rep. James Moran (D-VA-8); Rep. Brad
> Sherman (D-CA-27); Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA-29); Rep. Michael Burgess
> (R-TX-26); Rep. Charles Boustany (R-LA-7).  Send a message to your
> Representative at -- http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=8591231
>
> H.R.4992: To provide for Medicare reimbursement for health care services
> provided to Medicare-eligible veterans in facilities of the Department of
> Veterans Affairs.  The following sponsors were added to this bill giving
> it a total of 6 cosponsors: Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV-3) & Rep. Bob Filner
> (D-CA-51). Send a message to your Representative at -- 
> http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=8670886
>
> S.484: A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to allow Federal
> civilian and military retirees to pay health insurance premiums on a
> pretax basis and to allow a deduction for TRICARE supplemental premiums.
> The following sponsor was added to this bill giving it a total of 8
> cosponsors:: Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS). Send a message to your Senator at -- 
> http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=7787396
>
> S.2617: A bill to amend title 10, United States Code, to limit increases
> in the costs to retired members of the Armed Forces of health care
> services under the TRICARE program, and for other purposes.  The following
> sponsors were added to this bill giving it a total of 8 cosponsors: Sen.
> Byron Dorgan (D-ND); Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA); Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).
> Send a message to your Senator at -- 
> http://capwiz.com/usdr/issues/bills/?bill=8675061
> [Source: USDR Action Alerts 26/27 Apr 06]
>
>
> Lt. James "EMO" Tichacek, USN (Ret)
> Director, Retiree Assistance Office, U.S. Embassy Warden & VITA Baguio
> City RP
> PSC 517 Box RCB, FPO AP 96517
> Tel: (760) 839-9003 or FAX 1(801) 760-2430; When in RP: (74) 442-7135 or
> FAX 1(801) 760-2430
> Email: raoemo@sbcglobal.net.  When in Philippines raoemo@mozcom.com
> Web: http://post_119_gulfport_ms.tripod.com/rao1.html
> AL/AMVETS/CORMV/DAV/FRA/NAUS/NCOA/MOAA/USDR/VFW/VVA/CG33/DD890/AD37 member


> BULLETIN SUBSCRIPTION NOTES:
> == To subscribe first add both the above email addees to your address book
> and then provide your full name plus either the post/branch/chapter number
> of the fraternal military/government organization you are currently
> affiliated with (if any) "AND/OR" the city and state/country you reside in
> so your addee can be properly positioned in the directory for future
> recovery.  Subscription is open to everyone except AOL users. The Bulletin
> presently has 42,544 subscribers after purging of 12,212 AOL addees.
> == To automatically change your email addee or remove yourself from
> Bulletin distribution click the below or, send a message and provide your
> old and new email addee plus full name.
>
>
> _____________________________
> Change address / Leave mailing list:
> http://ymlp.com/u.php?raoemo+iz@mvtel.net
> Hosting by  YourMailingListProvider
>
>