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Military Connection: Proposed Changes to Military Retirement

military retirement

By Debbie Gregory.

Current service members are well aware that the military has been taking measures to cut its spending, in light of our nation’s current economic state. Every branch has seen noticeable reductions in force size, with tens of thousands of service members encouraged to enter early retirement or into involuntary separation. Now those who fought to remain in the military may see their retirement benefits reduced as proposals to overhaul the military retirement system mill about our nation’s capital. How will the changes affect those who serve twenty years in the military?

Traditionally, only service members who remain in the military for a full twenty years or more get retirement pensions, medical benefits for themselves and their dependents, as well as other benefits. Exceptions to this policy are those who have a service-related disability, those who received a medical retirement, and those who took the offered early, pro-rated retirement to help force reduction efforts. More than eighty percent of service members don’t meet the requirements for military retirement, and therefore, don’t receive pensions or benefits after they complete their tours of duty.

One of the proposed changes could benefit those who serve and don’t qualify for military retirement, as a proposed new model would offer service members a personal retirement savings account benefit, wherein the government would make annual contributions of up to six percent of their basic pay.

However, this proposed system complicates matters for service members who plan to make a career out of the military and retire with twenty years in. The new system calls for cutting the size of the current pension by twenty percent, an average of over $4,000 per year. To make up for that, the Department of Defense would open 401(k)-style retirement accounts. Funds placed into these accounts will not be available for withdrawal without a tax penalty before the service member reaches age sixty.

The proposed changes to military retirement also effect on when the service member can begin receiving their retirement pension. Under current policy, an individual who enlists at eighteen years old and retires after twenty years can begin collecting their retirement checks as soon as they retire at age thirty-eight. Under the new system, military retirees would have to wait until they are sixty to start receiving retirement pay.

The proposed changes to the retirement system are included in the 2016 defense authorization bill that is moving through Congress. Under that legislation, today’s troops would have about 18 months to make a decision, by 2017, on whether to stick with the old benefit or sign up for the new plan. Let us hope that our elected leaders do what is right when making decisions for our service members. Be sure to contact your representative and senators to make sure that they know how you want them to represent you.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Proposed Changes to Military Retirement: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Model for Rating Veteran-Friendly Schools

Vet friendly schoolsBy Joe Silva

Since the implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill in 2009, more than one million individuals, including Veterans and dependents with transferred GI Bill benefits, have enrolled at institutions of higher education. And approximately 250,000 service members continue to separate from the military each year, the majority of whom will use their GI Bill to attend college. In response to all of these Veterans attending school through use of GI Bill benefits, many institutions have been vying for their federally paid tuition money, and the extra grant funding offered to schools that serve Veterans. Even with the best intentions in mind, some institutions have lost sight of the need to serve each Veteran student individually. It has become hard to tell which schools are actually out to help Veterans, and which are out solely to help themselves.

The Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency (MVAA) has come up with a possible solution for their state that could set the standard for the entire country. The MVAA has devised a rating system for colleges and universities that provides Veterans with a means to determine their prospective school’s track record for serving Veteran students.

The MVAA looks at criteria such as:

  • On-campus Veteran’s coordinator and/or staffed Veterans center
  • Active student-operated Veteran club/association
  • Established process for the identification of current student Veterans
  • Evaluation and awarding of credit for military training and experience
  • Veteran-specific website/portal
  • Monitoring and evaluation of student Veteran academic retention, completion and graduation rates
  • Monitoring and evaluation of student Veteran job placement rates

If a school has at least three of the above, the MVAA gives them a Bronze rating. If the school has four, they receive a Silver rating. If they are found to provide six or more of the above, schools are given a Gold rating. The ratings are announced by MVAA and placed on their website for Veterans to consider when they are researching schools to use their GI Bill.

While this rating system is currently only used in Michigan, it could be something to consider doing nationally, ideally by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which administers Veteran education benefits. When using the VA’s GI Bill Comparison Tool, Veterans have access to information such as how many GI Bill students attend a particular school, if that school has a Veterans club/group, and if they are a Yellow Ribbon School. Also available is information such as whether the school is in compliance with the president’s “Principles of Excellence,” do they abide by the “8 Keys to Veterans Success,” and if the school has had any complaints made to the VA by way of Veteran student feedback. Furthermore, Veterans can see how the school is accredited, and view the amount of fees paid through the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program. All the VA would have to do to implement a program similar to the one that the MVAA has in place would be to calculate the data that it is already collecting.

Veteran students will still have a choice of where they want to attend, but knowing if their prospective school is or isn’t doing all that they can to serve their Veteran students could assist with the decision making process.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Model for Rating Veteran-Friendly Schools: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Creditors Ordered to Repay $3M to Service Members

Allotments

By Joe Silva

On April 20, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) intervened against a creditor for charging hidden fees to service members.

The Fort Knox National Company and its subsidiary, Military Assistance Company (MAC), are alleged to have charged millions of dollars in hidden fees to service members over the course of several years.

Service members would set up allotment programs with MAC that would automatically transfer portions of their pay every payday into a pooled bank account that MAC controlled, and used to make automatic payments to creditors, including auto lenders and credit cards. For this service, MAC would charge monthly fees that were often between $3 and $5.

While this is a convenience for service members, MAC was alleged to have, on several occasions, continued to collect funds from a service member’s pay, even after a debt had been paid off. These excess funds collected into a residual balance that MAC would charge hidden fees against. These fees would slowly drain the service members’ bank accounts, many times without them noticing for several months.

As a Veteran, I can speak with the voice of some experience in this matter. I set up automatic payments during my time in the Navy, but was burned on my first deployment when I wasn’t paying attention to these accounts. During that deployment, one of my debts had been bought out by another major bank, and my automatic payments stopped going through, early into my deployment. I was welcomed home by six months-worth of unpaid bills. For my next two deployments, I kept better track of my finances (as much as I could), and I also gave my mother Limited Power of Attorney over my finances, to make sure that she could act on my behalf while I was deployed. I suggest that all service members look into appointing a spouse, parent or someone they absolutely trust with some form of power of attorney while they are deployed. To find out more about Power of Attorney Basics, please visit www.militaryonesource.mil or see your command’s career counselor or admin department.

The CFPB alleges that between 2010 and 2014, MAC charged tens of thousands of service members with hidden fees of $100 or more, totaling over $3 million. The bureau alleges that MAC and Fort Knox National Company failed to clearly disclose key information about costs to their consumers, and failed to notify service members that it had charged fees.

The Fort Knox National Company and MAC have been ordered by the CFPB to provide $3.1 million in relief to the service members they overcharged. The Consent Order can be viewed at consumerfinance.gov.

Military service members volunteer and swear an oath to stand up for their country and protect it. For their dedication and sacrifice, many Americans are grateful to them. But unfortunately, there are many people who take advantage of service members. It is refreshing to see government agencies reciprocating the support of service members, and having their backs as well.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Creditors Ordered to Repay $3M to Service Members: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Great News for Veterans Suffering from TBI

TBI Rehab

By Debbie Gregory.

On April 13, 2015, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced the contract recipients for the Assisted Living Pilot Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury (AL-TBI) program.

The AL-TBI program was originally slated to end in 2014. But provisions in the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 extended this program through October, 2017. Through the AL-TBI program, Veterans who meet the eligibility criteria are placed in private sector residential care facilities that specialize in neurobehavioral rehabilitation. Veterans in the program are provided with team-based care and assistance in many cognitive areas, including mobility, speech and memory.

To date, approximately 202 Veterans have participated in the AL-TBI program at 47 different facilities located in 22 different states. As of April, 2015, there are 101 Veterans enrolled in the AL-TBI program. And thanks to the extension through the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability act of 2014, the VA continues to accept new Veterans into the program.

In October, 2014, the VA issued a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) to all vendors (in this instance to care facilities) who wished to participate in the AL-TBI program. The VA awarded 20 contracts, effective April 1, 2015, to companies and organizations that have facilities in a total of 27 different states.

“We are pleased to extend this valuable program and provide specialized assisted living services to eligible Veterans with traumatic brain injury that will enhance their rehabilitation, quality of life and community integration,” said Dr. Carolyn Clancy, VA’s Interim Under Secretary for Health, “TBI is one of the prevalent wounds of the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and VA remains committed to taking care of those Veterans suffering from TBI.”

Veterans suffering from TBI as a result of injuries sustained through service to their country deserve the best care that we can provide. The continuation of the Al-TBI program and the awarding of these 20 contracts reaffirms our support to those Veterans and their families.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Great News for Veterans Suffering from TBI: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: The Evolution of Warfare

Evolution of warfare

By Debbie Gregory.

During a keynote address on international security and the future of defense strategy at the U.S. Army War College, Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work said, “In the future, U.S. Army and U.S. Marine forces and our allies who fight with us are going to have to fight on a battlefield that is swept by precision-guided munitions but also one that is swept by persistent and effective cyber and electronic warfare attacks.”

Mr. Work’s statement on April 8, 2015 is not a prediction, but a warning based on the continuation of the current evolution of warfare. In the past hundred years, this evolution has seen the following: the introduction of the first aircraft (World War I); the first all aerial battles (World War II); the use of long range missiles (Korean War); ground warfare sped up by the rapid delivery and extraction of personnel through use of helicopters (Vietnam War); the total combined surveillance, air cover, bombing, and air superiority that we see today using aircraft, satellites, and computers. In the last ten years, we have even witnessed the rise of the unmanned aerial vehicle (drones), including the X-47.

We have also seen a rapid trend in warfare not involving one nation against another nation, but organizations (terrorist, militia, or otherwise) against a nation or other organization. This type of warfare knows no international borders. What’s worse­ is that it provides the means to use international borders and international policy to give organizations an advantage over nations, like we have seen from al-Qaeda, the Taliban and the Islamic State).

With the evolution of weapons and tactics, along with the need to fight enemies within close proximity to friendly civilians and cities, the future of warfare will see further developments in guided munitions and advanced weaponry. Ground forces will be faced with guided rockets, artillery, mortars and missiles that utilize laser guidance, infrared homing, and GPS capability.

In the future, ground combat will also have to contend with “informationalized warfare”– warfare that uses the combination of cyber, electronic warfare, information operations, and deception and denial to disrupt command and control, giving the enemy an advantage in the decision cycle.

In order to be successful in boots on the ground campaigns, U.S. forces will have to use a combination of informationalized warfare and guided munitions, in conjunction with existing traditional ground combat strategies.

The DOD announced the Defense Innovation Initiative in November, and new Defense Secretary Ash Carter has since expanded it. The initiative is intended to provide the framework and funding for new operational and organizational concepts, and the development of new technological capabilities.

Over the past hundred years, the U.S. military has established itself as the most innovative and technologically superior military in the world. It has become apparent that several other nations are catching up with our capabilities, even surpassing us in some. The department’s focus on innovation is about finding new ways to create organizational constructs, train, and fight in order to remain at the head of the evolution of warfare.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: The Evolution of Warfare: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: Double Standard in Petraeus Sentencing

May Petraeus

By Joe Silva

On April 23, 2015, former CIA Director and Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus [U.S. Army Retired] was sentenced to a fine of $100,000 and two years of probation.

As MilitaryConnection.com has previously reported, on March 3, 2015 General Petraeus had agreed to plead guilty to the charge of unauthorized removal and retention of classified information. An investigation conducted by the FBI found that Petraeus had, in his possession, several personal notebooks on which he had hand-written classified information during meetings and briefings, mostly from his time in the Army. The investigation also found that for a time, these notebooks were in the possession of Petraeus biographer, Paula Broadwell, a Major in the Army Reserves, with whom Petraeus was having an affair. The FBI investigators accused the general of lying to them about not having any classified data in his possession after resigning from his position as director of the CIA in November, 2012.

As part of his plea agreement, Gen. Petraeus was facing up to one year in prison. And according to court documents, a $40,000 fine was expected to be levied. Judge David Kessler found that two years of probation were sufficient, but that a fine $100,000 better reflected the seriousness of the offense.

Many news outlets have decried the sentencing, claiming that a double standard is in place. Several articles stated that the general should have faced jail time, some even desiring a sentence beyond the one year plea deal. And to these people,  I say that I absolutely agree that there IS a double standard in place.

Despite popular belief, the justice system does not necessarily exist to punish an individual for his or her transgressions. The justice system exists to keep a populace in line. So, in my opinion, there was a double standard in two areas of this case: 1). If you can afford to pay a higher fine, you can avoid jail time for many offenses.  2). Serving your country for 38 years (1974-2011 in the Army plus one year in the CIA) brought Gen. Petraeus preferential treatment. There are Veterans Courts springing up all over the country that are considering a Veteran’s service in regards to their legal issues. This, too, is a double standard, but I am not against it.

Unlike the angry mob, I personally feel that I can live with existence of these particular double standards, in the same way that I can still respectfully refer to the shamed individual as “General” and not “mister” like other articles did. But mine is just one Veteran’s opinion.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir ForceMarinesCoast Guard,Guard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Boardinformation on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Double Standard in Petraeus Sentencing: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: Embracing Your Veteran Culture

Veterans

By Joe Silva

So many Veterans today are suffering– alone. Veterans from all eras are struggling from afflictions such as PTSD or a service-connected disability, or from unemployment, underemployment, lack of fulfillment in their civilian lives, and just the general pressures of life.

Military conditioning teaches service members not to share personal problems, to keep things inside, and deal with them on their own. But once they separate, too many Veterans carry on that mentality. While putting aside your problems for the sake of your unit was a necessary sacrifice of your service, it is unhealthy for Veterans to continue to go it alone. That is why Veterans are encouraged to congregate with fellow Vets as much as they can.

U.S. Military Veterans have a suicide rate of 22 per day. In many cases, suicide is seen as the only option for those who feel alone in their struggle. But why feel alone, when your comrades are there, and are probably experiencing many of the same challenges?

Veterans are encouraged to seek community in any way that suits their comfortzone. There are Veteran Service Organizations that offer a sense of Veteran comradery, patriotism, and social belonging. These organizations also exist to assist Veterans with obtaining their benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and other government entities. This assistance is free, and does not require the Veteran in need to be a member of their organization. These organizations include: The American Legion, AMVets, Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Membership in these organizations can require dues, volunteer work and social commitment. And not every Veteran is willing to dedicate their time energy or money to a club, which is fine. These Veterans are encouraged to still seek out Veteran community in other ways.

One of the most convenient ways to connect with other Veterans is through social media groups. There are dozens of Veteran and service member groups that are both paid member websites or free groups on LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites. Some groups are general, while others can be branch or even command specific. But these groups are a great way to connect with other Veterans who have been through what you’ve been through. Whether you are interested in catching up with your old service buddies to reminisce about the glory days, seeking advice from comrades, or professionally networking, these groups are great for Veterans who don’t want to feel alone.

Believe it or not, Veterans are members of an American culture all their own. This culture has its own values, belief systems language and experiences. Veterans are encouraged not to shrug off their culture, but embrace it. Just like how people feel more at ease with others who share their religion or ethnicity, many Veterans feel more at ease with members of their own Veteran culture.

If you are a Veteran, make sure that you are embracing your culture and connecting with other Veterans.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: Embracing Your Veteran Culture: By Joe Silva

Military Connection: VA Proposal Could Hurt Low-income Veterans

Assisted livingBy Debbie Gregory.

An attempt by the government to close a loophole found in eligibility requirements for a Veteran benefit would most likely disqualify the majority of Veterans from the services that the benefit was intended to help.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently proposed to close a loophole that allowed war time Veterans to transfer assets to family members or trusts in order to meet income requirements for a benefit that helps provide funding for medical care and assisted living to low-income Veterans.

A report written by the Government Accountability Office in 2012 recommended that the VA introduce a look-back provision into their system, to keep Veterans from transferring assets in order to meet income guidelines. The GAO report referenced one instance where a Veteran transferred more than one million dollars into a trust just weeks before applying for the benefit. And even though VA case workers knew about the transfer, the claim was approved because of the loophole. The GAO found that financial planners have charged Veterans hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars in fees and urged them to transfer assets into trusts. The transfers are legal for VA benefits but tend to disqualify the Veterans for other programs, such as Medicaid coverage.

Under the proposed change to the program, there would be an evaluation any transfer of assets made within the three years prior to the application of the benefit, when looking to meet income requirements. The VA claims that the proposed change to a penalty period might keep financial advisers from suggesting that Veterans create the appearance of an economic need where the need does not exist.

The VA’s proposal to close the loophole would do more than just eliminate the opportunity for wealthier Veterans to move around their assets to qualify for benefits. The change could essentially eliminate funding for assisted living services for truly low-income Veterans.

The benefit, as it currently stands, provides up to $2,120 per month for wartime Veterans who are at least 65, or who have a disability not connected to their military service. This benefit is intended to provide medical care only. But the proposed change eliminates many of the services from assisted living from its allowable expenditures, services that many elderly and disabled Veterans depend on. The new proposal classifies such services as help with medications and assistance with daily functions as “non-medical” services and will therefore no longer be covered if the change is made.

The VA estimates that the proposal could save the department $134 million over five years from the look-back provision, and would save $313 million on denied coverage for assisted living services. This estimation has some Veteran advocates wondering if the transferring of funds wasn’t the prime target of the proposal.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Proposal Could Hurt Low-income Veterans: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: VA Makes Huge Dent in Claims Backlog

VA backlog

By Debbie Gregory.

A federal initiative to have the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) provide timely decisions on disability payments to Veterans has passed another milestone on its way to eliminating the backlog of benefits claims.

The initiative has called for a major effort in applying new technology to transform the benefits claims process at the VA, and the transformation is achieving its goal. The inventory of backlogged claims has been reduced from a high of 611,000 claims in March, 2013, to less than 200,000 at the beginning of April. 2015. At the same time, the quality of the decision making has improved.

The VA’s Under-Secretary for Benefits, Allison Hickey, credits several factors for the massive dent made in eliminating the backlog. Hickey acknowledges the long hours put in by VA claims processors across the nation, most of whom have worked nights and weekends in their effort to eliminate the backlog by 67%.

“Make no mistake, we’re not slowing down short of the finish line,” Hickey said. “Our goal is to eliminate the claims backlog by the end of 2015 – meaning all Veterans will receive timely and accurate decisions on their disability claims.”

The under-secretary said that improvements in the Veterans Benefits Administration’s training and quality assurance programs helped VA employees to expedite through the existing claims.  They have also been able to keep up with new claims and maintaining acceptable levels of accuracy for their decisions. Hickey also credited the procedural efficiencies brought on by moving to an online paperless system.

Not long ago, claims processors trudged through an estimated five thousand tons of paper each year. In just the last few years, the VA converted claims processing to a digital format, where Veterans, as well as their dependents and beneficiaries, can submit claims for VA benefits and services online, accurately and efficiently.

Under the old system, Veterans had the potential to mail or fax in an incomplete or incorrect form. These incorrect or incomplete forms would then have to be mailed or faxed back to the Veteran to be corrected, and then mailed or faxed back to the VA once again. This was all very time consuming. But the online system will not allow Veterans to submit their claims forms without all of the necessary information, making it more efficient. It even allows applicants to upload their supporting documentation along with their electronic forms.

With the same amount of effort moving forward, the VA will hopefully get the backlog down to zero.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the ArmyNavyAir Force,MarinesCoast GuardGuard and ReserveVeterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board,information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Makes Huge Dent in Claims Backlog: By Debbie Gregory

Military Connection: VA Life Insurance Dividends

VA life insurance

By Debbie Gregory.

The VA is expected to pay over $100 million in life insurance dividends this year.

Dividends are the portions of the insurance company’s profits that are paid to policy holders, as if they were stock holders or investors. Over the course of 2015, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is expected to pay $117.4 million to approximately 505,000 Veterans who served in the Armed Forces before 1956 and hold qualifying life insurance policies.

The VA will pay a combined total of $74 million to qualifying Veterans of World War II, who hold National Service Life Insurance policies, and whose policy numbers begin with the letter “V.”

The department is expected to pay a combined total of $40.6 million to Korean War era Veterans who hold Veterans’ Special Life Insurance policies, whose policy numbers begin with either “RS” or “W.”

The VA says that a combined total of $2.7 million will be paid to World War II era Veterans holding Veterans’ Reopened Insurance policies, whose policy numbers begin with either “J,” “JR,” or “JS.”

Additionally, a combined total of $120,000 is expected to be paid to Veterans who served after World War I, and up to 1940, and who hold U.S. Government Life Insurance policies, with policy numbers beginning with the letter “K.”

In order to be eligible to receive the dividends, Veterans must have had these VA life insurance policies in effect since they left the military, and would have received annual notifications about their policies.

There is no action required on the part of the Veterans who are due dividends. The VA will automatically pay the dividend on the anniversary date of the policy, and send the money to the insured Veteran. Dividend amounts will vary, based on the Veteran’s age, insurance type, and length of time that the Veteran has had the policy.

The VA administers the country’s 10th largest life insurance program, providing coverage to approximately seven million service members, as well as Veterans and their families, totaling $1.3 trillion in coverage.

Veterans who have questions about their policies should contact the VA at 1-800-669-8477 or email [email protected].

For more information on VA life insurance, see http://www.benefits.va.gov/insurance/.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve, Veterans and their Families. We are the go to site for Veteran Employment and information on Veteran education. Militaryconnection.com provides Veterans with and Directory of Employers, a Job Board, information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and a blog that offers Veterans boundless information. Be sure to visit Militaryconnection.com, the go to site.

Military Connection: VA Life Insurance Dividends: By Debbie Gregory