RAO Davao City

United States Military Retiree Activities Office Davao City, Philippines

Archive for July, 2008

DEATH GRATUITY UPDATE 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

Effective 1 JUL service members will be able to select from one to ten persons of their choosing to receive the $100,000 death gratuity benefit. Prior to the change in law, payments were restricted to the spouse, then children (if applicable), and then to a family member as elected by the service member. It didn’t allow a married service member to leave the death gratuity to anyone else.

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MEDICARE REIMBURSEMENT RATES 2008 UPDATE 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

President Bush sought to block a bill 15 JUL aimed at forestalling an 11% cut in payments to doctors taking care of Medicare patients, but Congress quickly overrode his veto. The House voted 383 to 41 to override the veto, while the Senate voted 70 to 26, in both cases far more than the two-thirds necessary to block the president’s action. With organized medicine, other lobbies, and the military community promoting the popular measure in an election year, Republicans broke heavily from the white house. A total of 153 House Republicans voted to defy the White House, 24 more than in a 24 JUN vote that started the momentum toward passage of the Medicare doctors’ bill.

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VA CLAIM BACKLOG UPDATE II 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

The title of the House committee report sums up what happened: “Die or Give Up Trying: How Poor Contractor Performance, Government Mismanagement and the Erosion of Quality Controls Denied Thousands of Disabled Veterans Timely and Accurate Retroactive Retired Pay Awards.” The report by the majority staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform domestic policy panel, released Tuesday, concluded that at least 28,283 disabled retirees were denied retroactive pay awards because rushed efforts to clear a huge backlog of claims led program administrators to stop doing quality assurance checks on the claims decisions. And of the original 133,057 potentially eligible veterans, 8,763 died before their cases could be reviewed for retroactive payments, according to the report. At issue are the Concurrent Retirement and Disability Payments and Combat-Related Special Compensation programs, approved by Congress in 2003 and 2004 to allow large numbers of disabled retirees to receive full concurrent military retirement pay and veteran’s disability compensation.

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VET JOBS UPDATE 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

A recent decision from the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) could open hundreds of law enforcement and other jobs to veterans who previously bumped up against age restrictions during the application process. MSPB ruled on 2 JUL that the State Department must waive maximum entry age requirements for veterans applying to become special agents at the Diplomatic Security Service.

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NATIONAL PARK PASSPORTS UPDATE 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

The National Park Service is an participant in the new Interagency Pass Program which was created by the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act and authorized by Congress in DEC 04. Participating agencies include the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture – Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. The pass series, referred to collectively as the America the Beautiful Pass, went sale 1 JAN 07. It replaces the former Golden Age, Golden Access, and Golden Eagle pass. The new series consist of the following:

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VA – HOW TO FILE A CLAIM UPDATE 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced 16 JUL that on-line applications are now accepted from veterans, survivors and other claimants filing initial applications for disability compensation, pension, education, and vocational rehabilitation and employment benefits without the additional requirement to submit a signed paper copy of the application. Effective immediately, VA will now process applications received through its on-line application website (VONAPP) without the claimant’s signature. The electronic application will be sufficient authentication of the claimant’s application for benefits. Normal development procedures and rules of evidence will still apply to all VONAPP applications. VONAPP (www.va.gov/onlineapps.htm) is a Web-based system that benefits both internal and external users. Veterans, survivors and other claimants seeking compensation, pension, education, or vocational rehabilitation benefits can apply electronically without the constraints of location, postage cost, and time delays in mail delivery. VONAPP reduces the number of incomplete applications received by VA, decreasing the need for additional development by VA claims processors. The on-line application also provides a link to apply for VA health care benefits and much more. Over 3.7 million veterans and beneficiaries receive compensation and pension benefits from VA and approximately 523,000 students receive education benefits. Approximately 90,000 disabled veterans participate in VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program. For more information about VA benefits, go to VA’s website at http://www.va.gov/ or call 1-800-827-1000. [Source: VA News Release 16 Jul 08 ++]

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VA RETRO PAY PROJECT UPDATE 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

The Pentagon’s accounting unit agreed 16 JUL to double-check requests by more than 25,000 veterans who were turned down for back benefits, concurring with U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich that “a veteran deserves better.” Kucinich, head of a domestic policy subcommittee House panel that found flaws in the military benefits system, also got the Pentagon’s acting inspector general to order an audit.

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CONTACT INFO for VETS 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

Anyone in the military community who feels the need to talk to someone regarding their situation can call or contact:

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VA INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM UPDATE 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

A House subcommittee was told 17 July that the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Independent Living Program is failing to adequately address the needs of severely disabled veterans.

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FORECLOSURE UPDATE 1 August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

As foreclosures continue to mount, borrowers who have run out of options are turning to attorneys to fight back — and they’re living mortgage-free for months in the process.

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