Transfer of Education Benefits Soothes Graduate Students’ Financial Woes

A remarkable feat for the U.S. military and veterans alike, eligible recipients of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits can now transfer those benefits to dependents. The Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) Program is a great leap for military families with children or spouses wanting to attend graduate school but lack proper funding to do so.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill’s transferability program applies to service members who have provided at least 6 years of service and agree to extend their service 4 more years; have provided 10 years of service to the military; or are currently retired or will become retirement eligible any time between August 1, 2009 and August 1, 2013. Under these provisions, service members are able to transfer their education benefits to a spouse, to a child or to a combination of spouse and child. This added provision to the bill has opened up doors to many people who otherwise would not be able to attend a graduate university.

There are stipulations regarding extra costs covered by the benefits, but the bottom line remains the same: benefits will cover up to the highest tuition cost of any public school in the state—including graduate studies programs. For many dependents (and service members) this change couldn’t come sooner.

As the economy remains unsteady, many spouses and children are choosing to go back to or continue school in an effort to remain ahead of the game. TEB has made this possible for many dependents of military service members.

As the school year comes to a close, talk with your family about your education needs and discuss your goals. As high school and college graduates enter into the next phase of their lives, now is a great time to learn about the transferability of GI Bill education benefits. To learn more and to apply for GI Bill benefits, review our GI Bill information page. You can also calculate your BAH rate by using the calculator provided.

As always, have a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend. Remember why we celebrate. Pass on a high five, a low five or a simple smile to a service member this weekend. Go ahead, make their day.

To all those who serve, past and present, thank you. You are appreciated.

Thanks for reading,
Katy

VA Announces Positive Changes for GI Bill

According to a recent story in Army Times, The Veterans Affairs Department has announced that it plans to implement an automatic system to better facilitate the processing of GI Bill benefits claims. Since the bill was enacted in 2008 and the VA began dispersing benefits, it has stumbled upon several obstacles, including delayed processing times. According to VA education service director, Keith Wilson, processing times of Post-9/11 GI Bill claims takes so long (averaging 82 minutes) because applications “require manual processing using four separate IT systems that do not interface with each other.”

Veteran School Directory

The implementation of an automatic processing system would minimize the amount of human hands that handle each claim. The electronic system would process claims in 15 to 20 minutes and produce even more accurate results than previously recorded. The new system is set to be installed in a series of phases to easily transition the procedure.

Subsequent phases will be integrated into the system in the following months of September and December and will culminate in a nearly-fully electronic processing system.

For more information on the Post-9/11 GI Bill, including eligibility, requirements and processing procedures, visit MilitaryConnection’s GI Bill information page.

Questions? Concerns? I want to know! Email me at inquiries@localhost and tell me what’s on your mind!

Thanks for reading!

Katy Cryns

Letters from Hollywood – Robert Davi

Robert DaviRobert Davi is the son of a Navy Gunner who earned a Purple Heart and served during World War II. Davi might be known as a Hollywood Tough Guy but when it comes to those who serve, he has a huge heart. Robert Davi is one of the film industry’s most recognized tough guys, whether on the big screen or on television.From his portrayal of James Bond villain Franz Sanchez to FBI profiler Bailey Malone in “Profiler” (1996), The show, currently in syndication, struck a chord with audiences, paving the way for such shows as “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” (2000), “Without a Trace” (2002), “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” (2001) and many others. His work as a Palestinian terrorist Salim Ajami in an award-winning TV movie brought him critical acclaim and caught the eye of legendary James Bond producer Albert R. Broccoli, who cast Davi as Colombian drug lord and lead villain Franz Sanchez in the Bond film License to Kill (1989). Davi is a native New Yorker.

Dear Troops,

One of the fondest and lasting images I had as a child was on every Memorial Day, Veterans Day and 4th of July, my dad, who was a Navy gunner on a Merchant Marine ship during World War 2, raised the American flag and put on his Navy uniform, till he died in his mid-fifties. His ship was torpedoed and he was on a raft for 3 days before being picked up. He received a Purple Heart. He never spoke about his experiences and I was too young to have a heart to heart with him about them. What I do know and what he handed down to me was a love for Our Country and the men and woman who serve her to protect our Freedoms . His Father, a Sicilian immigrant, also received a Purple Heart and an Oak Leaf Cluster during World War 1 ,when he served in the Army Infantry. I want to THANK ALL OF YOU WHO SERVE and have SERVED and for the sacrifice you and your families have made for us here at home. We live in a time when the very values that our country was founded on seem to be under attack and where confusion is used to weaken the resolve and will of the people . But make NO MISTAKE: There is no more important gift then what you are giving to US.

On behalf of myself and my 5 children we say -God Bless to you all. Know that you have our Love and Support,

Robert Davi

Memorial Day Weekend – Giving Back to Those That Serve

Memorial Day Weekend presents us with a chance to step back from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives—from the traffic jams to the paper jams to the strawberry jam stains on our work shirts—and take a moment to thank those people providing their time and energy toward serving our country in the most demanding way. Memorial Day gives us the opportunity to take a few minutes out of our lives to do a small part in return and thank those that lend their lives to the United States.

This year, American organizations are celebrating a little more, offering special deals and discounts on a variety of activities, products and services to military service members, veterans and their families. These are just small ways that we give back to our military members who do so much for us. Here are some of the special events happening across the nation in celebration of the great deeds done by our very own men and women in uniform.

Free Museum Admission

Over 600 museums nationwide will open their doors to military members and their families for free, beginning Memorial Day Weekend and continuing throughout the summer. The free admission program is a highlight of the partnership between Blue Star Museums, Blue Star Families and the National Endowment for the Arts programs. Many museums are offering savings of $10-15 through the program. The government has offered this map to help military families locate the participating museums near them.

Free Admission to the Queen Mary

The Queen Mary served as a troop carrier during WWII for five years. It was responsible for carrying thousands of veterans back to the United States, many of which still have vivid memories of the trip. This Memorial Day Weekend, the ship will be offering free general admission to all military service members, both active duty and veteran members. General Admission will give you a self-guided tour through the ship as well as the “Ghosts & Legends” portion of the tour. Bring your military ID and head on out to Long Beach to the Queen Mary during 10AM and 6PM May 29, 30 and 31st to enjoy the discount.

Discounted Cruise Rates

Carnival Cruises is providing discounts for service members, family and friends throughout the month of May on cruises to many popular destinations, such as the Caribbean, Mexico, the Bahamas, Alaska and Canada. Reservations must be made before May 31st, 2010 and the discount applies to cruises booked between now and April 30, 2012. For more information, call 1-800-Carnival or visit their website.

10% Off at Home Depot, Lowe’s

Although Home Depot and Lowe’s have offered 10% discounts to military service members, veterans and their families in the past, beginning this year, both stores will offer the same discount every day to military members, veterans and families.

These are some small ways that regular citizens and organizations are giving back to those that give so much. There are ways individuals can give back, too.

In an earlier post, I mentioned that a great way to make a soldier’s day is to pay for his meal or just say “Thank you.” Well, this Memorial Day Weekend offers another great time to recognize the efforts of those who serve. Step out and stand in at a Memorial Day service, buy a service member a cup of coffee, make an extra effort to listen to your grandfather’s war stories without yawning—whatever you can do to give a little support to the men and women who so diligently and without question support our country, do it. The smallest contributions can mean a great deal to someone who has or is serving.

I am proud to be a part of MilitaryConnection.com because it is dedicated to constantly do all it can to serve our service members. It is an organization whose primary goal is to help, support and assist military members, veterans and their families to the best of its abilities, 24/7.

My contribution this Memorial Day Weekend: Calling my state representative to ask for quicker processing of veteran benefits. It’s a short order that could go a long way.

Thank you for reading.

Sincerely,
Katy Cryns

Letters from Hollywood – John Ondrasik

Dear Troops and Families,

CD for the Troops III is alive and well and this year it’s a comedy edition. Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Dennis Miller, Jeff Foxworthy, Ray Ramano, Dana Carvey, and more have donated some of their best comedy for you, for free! Download your CD at www.aafes.com or go to www.cdforthetroops.com for more info. This CD is family friendly and is a thank you from all of us to all of you for your service and sacrifice.

Five For Fighting (that’s my band) is also currently touring the U.S. If any military or family members would like to be my guests at any of our shows please e-mail fiveforfriends@aol.com
Tour dates at www.fiveforfighting.com

Thanks again for all you do for us…My kids send you a special shout out! We love you!

John Ondrasik
Five For Fighting

Letters from Hollywood – Ed Bernero

Executive producer and show runner for the CBS television series “Criminal Minds.” Ed is a former Chicago police officer who is the Co-Creator and Executive Producer of “Third Watch” (WB/NBC).

Hey Heroes!

My name is Ed Bernero. I am the Exec. Producer/Show runner of the CBS television show, “Criminal Minds”. I also had a show called “Third Watch” that was on for a while a few years back that you may have heard of. I’m a veteran of the Air Force in peacetime (1980-84 – 3 years in Clark AB, R.P.I. and a year in Lowery in Colorado as an SP) and a ten-year cop from my hometown, Chicago.

Just wanted to drop a line to let you all know that you are in I and my family’s thoughts and prayers every single day. We are honored to live in a country under your protection and service. Please be careful and come home to us safe and sound.

All my best,

Ed

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LA Galaxy Soccer Team Supports Military Via Appreciation Night

MilitaryConnection.com is pleased to let our users know of LA Galaxy’s Military Appreciation Night with special tickets.   If you are a soccer fan, this is the place to be.  They play Toronto so sign up before these tickets are gone!

The famed Los Angeles Galaxy will send their appreciation and support to the US Military by hosting an appreciation night during their home game vs. Toronto FC on Saturday, May 15th. In honor of this event, the Galaxy are offering buy one get one free tickets to all military personnel and their families.

The LA Galaxy will also offer discounted tickets to all other fans and visitors. Tickets range from $20 General Admission tickets to $75 Club Seat tickets (a $150 value). These discounts are just a small way the Galaxy is giving back to the community and supporting our military and their families.

In order to receive these discounts, you need to purchase your tickets ahead of time by contacting Kevin with the Galaxy at (310) 630-2235. You can also email him at kfutagaki@lagalaxy.com. The LA Galaxy Military Appreciation Night is simply one way the LA community is giving back and supporting our troops, past and present. Come give your support, too, and contact Kevin while there are still seats left!

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.lagalaxy.com/military.  Use offer code: Military

If you have any questions regarding this event, feel free to contact us at inquiries@localhost

Thanks for reading!

Katy Cryns
Staff Writer