While visiting some cemeteries you may notice that headstones marking certain graves have coins on them, left by previous visitors to the grave. These coins have distinct meanings when left on the headstones of those who gave their life while serving in America's military, and these meanings vary depending on the denomination of coin. A coin left on a headstone or at the grave site is meant as a message to the deceased soldier's family that someone else has visited the grave to pay respect. Leaving a penny at the grave means simply that you visited.
VA will allow a veteran to use an attorney-in-fact to execute any documents necessary to obtain a VA-guaranteed loan. This enables active duty service persons stationed overseas, and other veterans who cannot be present to execute loan documents, to obtain VA loans. That seems fairly simple and straightforward enough, but there are additional rules and requirements. According to VA Pamphlet 26-7, Chapter Nine "The veteran must execute a general or specific power of attorney (POA) which is valid and legally adequate.
A Treasury Department mandate requires DFAS to pay military, civilian and retired customers by electronic funds transfer (EFT). Beginning March 1, 2013, most of you who received a paper check began receiving notifications that you must deposit your pay directly to your savings or checking account. You will continue to receive these notifications until you sign up for EFT; sign up for the debit card solution the Department of the Treasury has made available; or receive a waiver from the Department of the Treasury mandate.
Current and former service members can apply for a VA Certificate of Eligibility (COE) online, with the help of their lender, or by U.S. mail. To get your Certificate of Eligibility (COE) online go to the eBenefits portal at www.ebenefits.va.gov/SiteDown/siteDown.html . If you already have login credentials, click the login box, and if you need login credentials, click the register box and follow the directions on the screen. If you need any assistance call the eBenefits Help Desk at (800) 983-0937. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
TRICARE beneficiaries need to watch their email and ensure they have a milConnect account to receive information about changes to their TRICARE coverage. The Department of Defense is no longer sending paper letters to notify beneficiaries about changes to their coverage and eligibility status.
Each year the VA reassesses the cost of tuition and updates the benefits paid to GI Bill recipients. In most cases the value of the Montgomery GI Bill increases each year. If you want to know how much you can earn in MGIB benefits, then check out the following GI Bill Rates tables to find the corresponding monthly payments based on your GI Bill program and the educational program you are attending. Note that each person has a unique case the charts chart should be used as a reference only.
The Choice Program is a new, temporary benefit allowing some veterans to receive health care in their communities rather than waiting for a VA appointment or traveling to a VA facility. It does not impact existing VA health care or any other VA benefit they may be receiving. A veteran must have been enrolled in VA health care on or before Aug. 1, 2014, or be eligible to enroll as a recently discharged combat veteran within five years of separation.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) began accepting applications by mail on Nov. 3 for the Fry Scholarship under newly expanded eligibility criteria to include surviving spouses. The expanded criteria for the Fry Scholarship is the latest in a series of VA actions to implement provisions of the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 ("Choice Act"). Specifically, Section 701 of the Choice Act expands the Fry Scholarship to include the surviving spouses of Servicemembers who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.
To reduce cost and increase efficiency, the Department of Defense (DoD) is moving away from mailing letters with update information. This means that instead of a letter, you will get email notifications when there are important changes to your DoD benefits, including TRICARE. The email will link you to milConnect, a secure DoD website, where your personal information will be posted. The initial email you receive will give you an opportunity to "opt-out" of receiving emails and continue receiving paper notifications.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) open enrollment season began Nov. 15, 2014, and is scheduled to run through Feb. 15, 2015. To ensure Veterans, beneficiaries and family members have the information they need to make informed healthcare choices, VA has updated existing information available through a website. Visit the site at: www.va.gov/aca . Key Facts: • Veterans who are enrolled in the VA health care system already meet the minimum essential coverage standards set by ACA and don't need to take any further action. • Veterans who are not enrolled can enroll at any time.