RAO Davao City

United States Military Retiree Activities Office Davao City, Philippines

Archive for the 'Veterans Compensation' Category

CRDP UPDATE September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

As previously reported, last year’s National Defense Authorization Act authorized full, immediate concurrent receipt for disabled retirees rated as “Individually Unemployable” (IU) by the VA. The provision takes effect 1 OCT 08 with payment retroactive to 1 JAN 05. It is estimated that 50,000 are eligible to receive these increased payment amounts. According to Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), the increase in IU payment will come in the November check. DFAS says, “Retirees will not need to take any action in order to receive this increased benefit amount. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service receives this information from the DVA [Department of Veterans' Affairs] on a regular basis.” In recent contact with DFAS, we are told that the retroactive payment is being worked out. While there is no clear timeline for these back-payments, DFAS informs us that a lump sum payment will be made once the calculation of individual payments is final.

To qualify for the CRDP entitlement, the retiree must have 20 years of service or retired under Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA), must be in receipt of retired pay, in receipt of DVA compensation, rated 50 percent or higher by the DVA. Those rated by the DVA as IU, are compensated at the 100 percent rate in accordance with the DVA disability compensation basic rates. Payment is not a separate payment but reduces the dollar for dollar offset that retiree’s give up for every dollar they receive from the DVA. This will eliminate the offset and give retirees in this category all of their retired pay, and they will continue to receive the DVA compensation as they have been all along. In addition, to receive the additional compensation amount, the retiree must be receiving compensation at a disability rating not less than 60 percent and be rated IU. Additional information can be found at the DFAS site: DFAS-IU Information. [Source: NAUS Weekly Update 5 Sep 08 ++]

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VA RETRO PAY PROJECT UPDATE 2 September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008, signed into law on 17 JUN 08, changed the federal income tax filing deadlines and the length of the look-back period for amended tax returns when retirees are affected by a retroactive VA disability compensation determination. Amended tax returns usually are required when you have paid income taxes on past retirement income that later becomes tax-free income as a result of the award of retro-VA compensation. For retro-VA compensation determinations as of 18 JUN 08 or later, retirees have up to one year to file their amended return from the date of the VA determination. The retiree now can amend tax returns going back five years. It used to be a three-year look-back. There also is a transition period allowed in the tax code change. For retro-VA compensation determinations from 1 JAN 01 through 17 JUN 08, retirees have until 17 JUN 09 to file amended returns for tax refunds for tax years 2001 to the present. Consult your tax specialist for more detailed information about how these changes affect you. Refer to H.R. 6081, Section 106, which amends the IRS Tax Code Section 6511(d) by adding a new paragraph (8). For a technical explanation of H.R. 6081 on the House of Representative’s Web site refer to www.house.gov/jct/x-44-08.pdf. additional reference can be located at www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=h110-6081 and

frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=110_cong_bills&docid=f:h6081enr.txt.pdf . [Source: MOAA News Exchange 10 Sep 08 ++]

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VA RETRO PAY PROJECT UPDATE 1 September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

In SEP 06 the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA) identified more than 133,000 recipients of Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) or Concurrent Retired Disability Payment (CRDP) potentially eligible for additional retroactive compensation. Since then the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) in coordination with the DVA have processed all of the original cases as of 8 JUN 08. Throughout the project DVA identified additional retirees that were prospectively eligible for retroactive payments. The agency also resubmitted accounts, from the original 133,000, for potential supplementary entitlements. Those accounts, classified as “new and returning,” were processed as of 29 JUN 08. Those people identified with potential eligibility for retroactive payment after JAN 08, were placed in a category referred to as “On-Going.” The On-Going category documents the most recently received new and returning VA Retro cases. Those accounts as of 20 JUL 08, have been processed. To date a total of more than 230,000 accounts have been processed. Going forward, plans are to process all incoming claims within 30 days. While certain accounts may have received payment from DFAS, you may also be eligible for payment from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (DVA). Once your account has been processed at DFAS, the information is forwarded to the DVA for additional validation and possible payment. There may often be a lapse of time between the payments from the two different agencies. Questions concerning the VA can be addressed by calling 1-800-827-1000. [Source: DFAS http://www.dfas.mil/retiredpay/retroactivepayment.html 5 Sep 08 ++]

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VA COLA 2009 September 14, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th September 2008

The House cleared a cost-of-living bill Wednesday that would provide an increase for veterans with service-connected disabilities, as well as dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC) for families of deceased veterans. The Senate passed the veterans’ COLA measure in July. The COLA bill, S 2617, provides for a Dec. 1 increase in disability compensation, dependency and indemnity compensation, and pensions that will match whatever increase is provided in Social Security benefits. The increase, which applies to about 2.8 million veterans and survivors, would first appear in January paychecks. The Social Security increase won’t be known until mid-October, but is expected to be a minimum of 6 percent. The Social Security COLA automatically applies to military and federal civilian retired pay, but veterans’ disability and survivor benefits and pensions increase only through the enactment of new legislation. The COLA bill now awaits the President’s signature. [Source: VFW Washington Weekly 12 Sep 08 ++]

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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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VA SAH UPDATE August 29, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 29th August 2008

A change in the law will increase the amount of grants available to seriously injured veterans seeking to modify their homes to accommodate their injuries. Prior to the change, eligible veterans and servicemembers could receive special adaptive housing grants of $10,000 or $50,000 from VA only once. Now they may use the benefit up to three times, so long as the total grants stay within specified limits outlined in the law. VA has averaged about 1,000 adaptive housing grant applications per year during the last 10 years, providing more than $650 million in grants to about 34,000 seriously disabled veterans since the benefit began in 1948. Eligible for the benefit are those with specific service-connected disabilities entitling them to VA compensation for a “permanent and total disability.” They may receive a grant to construct an adapted home or to modify an existing one to meet their special needs. VA has three types of adapted housing grants available:

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VA COLA 2009 August 15, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th August 2008

S.2617, the Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2008 intoduced by Senator Akaka, was passed by unanimous consent in the Senate 30 JUL. If passed in the House, it will adjust veterans’ compensation rates to keep pace with inflation effective 1 DEC 08. According to recent data provided by the Department of Veteran Affairs this increase will go to 2.8 million veterans and over 300,000 surviving spouses receiving dependency and indemnity compensation. The bill now moves to the House of Representativess for their consideration. While this year’s cost-of-living increase has yet to be determined, the congressional Budget Office has projected a 2.8% increase. Last year’s increase was 2.3% [source: Sen. Akaka press release 21 Jun 08 +]

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PTSD UPDATE August 15, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th August 2008

In response to the growing number of veterans denied the mental health treatment needed to address their post traumatic stress who end up in legal trouble after self-medicating to suppress their anxieties, Sens. John Kerry (D-MA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)on 1 AUG introduced the Services, Education, and Rehabilitation for Veterans (SERV) Act to create veteran drug treatment courts to support veterans combat the cycle of alcohol or drug addiction. A similar program is operational in Buffalo, NY and has already seen great success. The SERV Act would authorize funds to go to the Office of National Drug Control Policy for the development and implementation of veteran’s treatment courts or to enhance operational drug courts to serve veterans.

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VA MILEAGE REIMBURSEMENT UPDATE August 15, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th August 2008

The House overwhelmingly approved a bill that—among other things—would increase the mileage compensation paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by nearly 50% to help vets who have to drive long distances to receive medical care. The increase in mileage compensation—to 41.5 cents per mile—was included in the Fiscal Year 2009 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which must still be considered by the Senate and approved by President Bush, said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey (D-WI). The spending bill—which passed 409 to 4—would provide $336 million above Bush’s FY 2009 budget request for servicemember quality-of-life projects to improve living conditions and health care delivery. Projects include the modernization of training facilities, as well as the building of child care centers, barracks and housing, Obey said. The bill also would address the backlog in maintenance at VA medical facilities; improve access to health care for vets in areas where VA does not offer services; increase availability of new generation prosthetics; substantially increase funding for research into trauma, mental health and other critical areas; and provide additional case workers and medical services for homeless vets. [Source: Rep. Dave Obey press release 1 Aug 08 ++]

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AO & PROSTRATE CANCER UPDATE August 15, 2008

Posted by Service Officer on 14th August 2008

Veterans exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange are twice as likely to get prostate cancer as other veterans, UC Davis researchers found in a study published online by the journal Cancer. Prostate cancer in those men also comes on earlier and is more aggressive, said Dr. Karim Chaime, chief resident in urology at UC Davis and the study’s lead author. The findings are a clear signal that men who worked with Agent Orange should be cared for differently, getting earlier biopsies and more aggressive treatment, he said. “This is a high-risk group.” Chaime described the study of more than 13,000 Northern California veterans over eight years as “the biggest study ever done” on Agent Orange effects. It will be published in the 15 SEP print edition of Cancer, after online publication last week, and Chaime hopes it soon could lead to new Department of Veterans’ Affairs treatment standards.

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