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ON-LINE DD-214 APPLICATIONS:
The National Personnel Records Center has provided the following web site for veterans to gain access to their DD-214 online. http://vetrecs.archives.gov/
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HOUSING GRANT BENEFIT FOR INJURED SERVICE MEMBERS EXPANDED
Service members who are seriously injured or disabled can now receive special adaptive housing grants from the Department of Veterans Affairs, which range from $10,000 to $50,000, as many as three times as long as the total grant
money they receive is within limits specified by law. Previously, veterans could only use the grants once. "This change ensures that every eligible veteran and service member has the chance to use the maximum amount afforded to them by
our grateful nation," says VA Secretary Dr. James B. Peake. More than 16,000 veterans will soon receive letters from the VA notifying them of their eligibility for the expanded benefit. VA has averaged about 1,000 adaptive housing grant applications per year during the past 10 years. Since the program began in 1948, it has provided more than $650 million in grants to about 34,000 seriously disabled veterans. For eligibility requirements and other information, contact the VA at (800) 827-1000 or at www.home loans.va.gov/sah.htm on the Web. Local chapters of veterans' service organizations can also provide details.
NEW VA ID CARD: Because identity theft is the major fraud reported by Americans in 2003, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs has designated a new identity card for veterans that will safeguard confidential information. The card will have the vets photo on the front and identify them as enrollees in the VA health care system. The card should be requested from the local medical center. Existing cards are valid until a new card is issued.
LAW HELPS TROOPS DEAL WITH CREDITORS: All service members are protected under the Service members Civil Relief Act. There have been reports of military members having their homes repossessed. This type of activity is illegal and should be reported to their local military legal assistance officers for assistance in enforcing their rights.
VETERANS EMPLOYMENT: Need a Job? or assistance in getting a job?
Contact: Jeffery G. Fink, Veterans Representative, Division of Work Force Development, Missouri Career Center, 2780 N. Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63314. Telephone (314)877-2748 or Email email@example.com
TAX CREDITS FOR TROOPS: Troops deployed to combat zones now can apply for tax refunds based on earned income tax credits and additional-child tax credits, explained Army Lt. Col. Janet Fenton, executive director of the Armed Forces Tax Council. The earned income credit, Fenton explained, primarily involves lower-income filers with children. The additional-child tax credit, she added, may provide refunds for
children under age 17. Service members who want to apply for the credit refunds
must file a federal tax return, Fenton noted. Enlisted troops serving in
combat areas already have all of their military pay excluded from federal taxes,
Fenton pointed out, while officers in combat zones can exclude up to $6,529 of
their monthly pay.
VETERANS EMPLOYMENT INITIATIVE FOR WOUNDED VETS: Officials unveiled this initiative for injured service members returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan. They will get individualized job training, counseling and reemployment services. REALifelines is a joint commitment by the Dept. of Labor, the Military Medical community and local agencies. Labor Department officials are investing $500,000 into the first phase of the program. REALifeline counselors will help veterans identify barriers to employment and set up individual recovery and reemployment plans. There will also be a national tracking system to ensure follow-up services are provided and are successful. A national call center will soon be available. As many as 3,500 one-stop career centers will be available at Department of Labor sites nationwide.
NEW DATABASE LOCATES BURIED VETERANS, SPOUSES:The Dept. of Veterans Affairs has posted a database on the web containing 3.2 million records for veterans and their spouses who have been buried at most of the 120 National Cemetaries since the Civil War. Visit www.cem.va.gov and click on Nationwide Grave site Locator.
KOREAN DEFENSE SERVICE MEDAL: Eligibility includes the land area of Korea and contiguous waters out to 12 nautical miles, and air spaces above land and water areas. Dates are from 7/28/1954 and are open ended.
G.I. BILL UPDATE: Since the October 2002 increase of GI Bill benefits, service members and veterans can now receive up to $900 per month to finance their education. The increase, along with over $300 million on scholarship money designated for military personnel and grants from individual military-friendly schools, provides service members and veterans with even more options for pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees. Get More Information
VETERANS' BURIAL BENEFITS INCREASED: (source armed forces news.com) The Veterans' education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001 increases from $1,500 to $2,000 the burial and funeral expense allowance for veterans who die as a result of a service-connected disability. The act also raises the cemetary plot allowance for certain other disabled veterans from $150 to $300. (The plot allowance is paid when a veteran who is buried in a non-government cemetary was either eligible to receive VA disability compensation or a VA pension; or was discharged from military service due to disability; or died in a VA hospital. The law also directs the VA to honor requests for government markers for veterans buried in private cemetaries even if their graves have headstones or markers furnished at private expense. Previous law prevented the VA from providing markers on that situation. The new provision for markers applies to veterans' deaths on or after Dec. 27, 2001.