RAO Davao City

United States Military Retiree Activities Office Davao City, Philippines

Archive for the 'Retiree News' Category

CRSC UPDATE August 29, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 29th August 2008

Former Airmen receiving military retired pay who served less than 20 years may now be eligible to receive Air Force Combat-Related Special Compensation (CSRC). This is part of a legislative initiative designed to restore a veteran’s military retirement pay that has been reduced by Veterans’ Affairs compensation of at least 10% when the veteran’s disabilities are combat-related.

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USFSPA & DIVORCE UPDATE August 15, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th August 2008

The USFSPA Litigation Support Group (ULSG) closely monitors cases filed in state courts where former servicemembers, who are receiving military retirement pay, are locked in disputes with former spouses when that pay is converted, by election, to military disability pay under applicable VA benefits. This is a common move by former servicemembers who receive a VA disability rating because of the tax advantages of receiving disability pay over retired pay.  Former spouses usually dispute such an election and demand that foregone share of military retired pay be rendered to them, even though the former servicemember’s only (or major) source of income is now disability pay. Usually, former servicemembers (and their lawyers) rely solely on the provisions of the Uniformed Services Former Spouses Protection Act (USFSPA) which prevents the treatment of military disability pay as disposable pay for purposes of payments to former spouses.  See USFSPA, 10 U.S.C. § 1408(a)(4)(B).  But state courts continue to ignore that provision and rule against the interests of former servicemembers.

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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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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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CRSC UPDATE 1August 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 31st July 2008

The services began processing in JUN 08 Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) claims based on expanded CRSC eligibility to members with less than 20 years of service (YOS) who were retired for medical reasons (Chapter 61) or retired under the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) during the 1990s force reduction. Compensation amounts vary widely based on several key factors, including rank, years of service, DoD and VA disability ratings, and the portion of the disability that’s the result of combat. Based on individual circumstances, retirees may receive CRSC awards that restore part or all their longevity-based retired pay. In certain other cases, they may see no change in their pay. A few key factors in understanding the CRSC guidance for compensation are:

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SBP SSDI 8 June 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 8th June 2008

Section 644 of the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) authorizes a Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSDI) for person affected by required SBP annuity offset for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC). This includes Guard/Reserve retirees who died before age 60. The service secretary concerned shall pay SSDI to the surviving spouse/former spouse if the surviving spouse/former spouse is entitled to DIC and is eligible to receive an annuity by reason of an election of SBP who, except for the DIC offset, would be eligible to receive the annuity, shall be paid the monthly amount equal to:

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MERCHANT MARINE WWII COMPENSATION UPDATE 17 May 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 17th May 2008

On 7 MAY, the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee met to receive testimony on 28 separate veterans’ bills. One area of testimony of great interest to many veterans was enactment of the "Belated Thank You to the Merchant Mariners of World War II Act (S.961/H.R.23). The VA does not support S. 961 as they believe it would create a "service pension for a particular class of individual based on no eligibility requirement other than a valid certificate of qualifying service from the Secretary of Transportation or Secretary of Defense. Further, this bill would authorize the payment of a greater benefit to a Merchant Mariner…than a veteran currently receives for a service connected disability rated as 60% disabled. The second panel of veterans service organizations, for the most part did not object to S. 961, except for the costs involved and that it might take money from other programs. The final panel of former Merchant Mariners H. Gerald Starnes and Charles Dana Gibson was enlightening in expanding on some of the experiences and exploits of the men who transported all the necessary supplies to fight WW II on two fronts. The most surprising testimony was from Mr. Gibson, who as an historical writer had done extensive research on the Merchant Marine and Army Transport Service during the war. He dispelled one of the myths that the Merchant Marine had gone on strike during the war. In fact they had signed an agreement to not strike while hostilities continued and they didn’t. To read the complete testimonies of all the participants refer to http://www.senate.gov/~veterans/public/index.cfm?pageid=12&release_id=11685 [Source: NAUS Weekly Update 9 May 08 ++]

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Postal Rate effective 12 May 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 10th May 2008

New Postal Rate 2008:  Effective 12 May the new postage rates go into effect.  If in doubt to how much postage to use refer to the USPS Postage Calculator at http://postcalc.usps.gov/default.aspx.  Following are the new rates as they apply to retirees using FPO mail service via RAOs overseas:

1.  First Class Mail:

Not Over Oz    Large envelopes
1     $0.42            $0.83
2       0.59              1.00
3       0.76              1.17
3.5    0.93              1.34
4       1.34              1.34
5       1.51              1.51
6       1.68              1.68
7       1.85              1.85
8       2.02              2.02
9       2.19              2.19
10     2.36              2.36
11     2.53              2.53
12     2.70              2.70
13     2.87              2.87

Over 13 oz use Priority mail rate of $4.60 up to 1 pound or $4.60 for a Priority flat rate envelop regardless of weight.  FPO regulations limit outgoing/incoming mail to one pound for retiree mail .  No packages are authorized other than checkbooks, personal cassettes, personal VCR/DVDs, or medicine shipped by TMOP.

2.  Post Card:  $0.27
3.  Certified Mail: In addition to regular postage add $2.70.  If return receipt is desired add another $2.20 for a mailed return w/signature or $1.00 for unsigned electronic delivery confirmation on the Internet.
4.  Registered & Parcel post:  Not authorized. 

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Retiree Appreciation Days and Military Retiree Seminars

Posted by Service Officer on 15th February 2008

Retiree Appreciation Days and Military Retiree Seminars offer military retirees and their families a chance to learn current information about topics such as benefits, entitlements, health care, and special services available for them. Since the day’s schedule of activities differ from location to location, it is best to check with the event’s point of contact for specific details. The Army maintains a current listing of activities for 2008 at http://www.armyg1.army.mil/rso/docs/rads.pdf. The current listing includes:

Schweinfurt, Germany April 12 09721-96-7033
Dover AFB, Del. April 12 (302) 677-4612
Stuttgart, Germany April 19 07031-15-2924
Fort Jackson, S.C. April 25-26 (803) 751-6715
Fort Wainwright, Alaska April 26 (907) 384-3500
McGuire AFB, N.J. April 26 (609) 754-2459
Vicenza, Italy May 30 0444-71-7262
Fort McPherson, Ga. June 21 (404) 464-3219
NAS Jacksonville, Fla. July 12 (904) 542-2766 Ext. 126
Orlando, Fla. Aug. 16 (912) 767-5013
Andrews AFB, Md. Oct. 25 (301) 981-2726
Heidelberg, Germany Oct. 18 06221-57-3347
Grafenwoehr, Germany Oct. 25 09641-83-8540
Fort Leavenworth, Kan. Nov. 1 (913) 684-2425
Bolling AFB, D.C. Nov. 8 (202) 767-5244

[Source: Afterburner Feb 08 ++]

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U.S. Savings Bond Update 15 Feb 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 15th February 2008

Retirees can buy U.S. Savings Bonds in electronic form and hold them directly with the U.S. Treasury over the Internet. They can even convert their paper savings bonds into electronic form and hold them in an account with the government. Both are possible when people open a TreasuryDirect account, according to Defense Finance and Accounting Service officials.

TreasuryDirect allows people to open an online account and buy savings bonds either through a payroll allotment or with money debited directly from a bank or credit union account. Once the bonds are eligible for redemption, people can go online and schedule payment directly into a bank or credit union account.

Electronic savings bonds carry the same interest rates and maturity periods as paper bonds, but, unlike paper bonds, people do not have to wait to receive them in the mail. Instead, all people need is access to the Internet.

With a TreasuryDirect account, people can convert any paper bonds they own into electronic securities. If the DFAS is holding the bonds, people can request the bonds and DFAS will mail them. People can then send them, along with any paper bonds they may have at home, to the U.S. Treasury for addition to a TreasuryDirect account.

Because the U.S. Treasury requires people to submit the bonds with a signed manifest, DFAS cannot mail the bonds directly to the treasury. To learn more about converting bonds into electronic form, visit SmartExchange at http://www.treasurydirect.gov/indiv/research/indepth/smartexchangeinfo.htm. For more information, visit www.treasurydirect.gov. [Source: Afterburner Feb 08 ++]

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