Military Connection: Coast Guard Ups Tuition Assistance: By Debbie Gregory

CG TA

By Debbie Gregory.

Due to a drop in Coast Guard tuition assistance (T.A.) usage during the past year, members of the U.S. Coast Guard can now take advantage of a limited time opportunity to utilize up to $4,500 in T.A. for the remainder of 2014.

Tuition Assistance is a valuable tool offered by each branch of the U.S. military. T.A.s from each service branch vary in benefit offerings and requirements, and some the T.A.s have even fluctuated within their own branch, from year to year or quarter to quarter. Tuition Assistance is intended to be used as a retention tool by the military to provide education benefits for service members who intend to remain in the military, but require further education or degrees to reach their desired pay grade or title. T.A. is often confused with the Post-9/11 and Montgomery GI Bills. But T.A. is not intended to replace or supplement those benefits in any way.

The Coast Guard’s budget for fiscal year 2014 includes $7.8 million for tuition assistance. This number is down from the $12 million allotted for T.A. in 2013. Perhaps due to rumors about budget cuts, there has been a severe drop in T.A. usage by Coast Guard sailors. Already aware of the drop in enrollment, the branch, for the first time, opened T.A. to members pursuing their first master’s degree.

For Coast Guard T.A., members are responsible to pay 25% of their tuition and fees. So under the new cap, members enrolled in Coast Guard tuition assistance can receive up to $3,375 from the benefit.

So far this fiscal year, the Coast Guard has paid out only $2.5 million of the $7.8 million in T.A. funds to more than 2,600 members.

The U.S. Coast Guard is a valuable branch of the U.S. military that operates as both a maritime law enforcement agency and federal regulatory agency, under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard is a maritime military service with jurisdiction in both domestic and international waters.

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard interested in finding out more about T.A. can follow this link or research T.A. at www.uscg.mil.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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: Coast Guard Ups Tuition Assistance: By Debbie Gregory

Leading with Resilience and Grace: Program for Transitioning Military Women

Leading with grace

Currently, women make up approximately 10% of the U.S. military. Over the next few years, women should surpass the 12% mark, making them the fastest growing population within the U.S. armed forces. For decades, women in uniform were underutilized and underserved by their branches of service and benefits providers. Women Veterans have different needs than their male counterparts, and have often been overlooked by government benefits providers, including the VA. While service recognition and Veterans benefits are improving for women, there is still a long way to go.

Leading with Resilience and Grace is a free program, offered by the Sunergos Institute, for women who are active duty military, veterans, members of the Guard or Reserve, caregivers and advocates. Leading with Resilience and Grace is a three-day program that aides women in their military transitions, both from deployment to home and out of the military and into civilian life.

Leading with Resilience and Grace is designed to prevent the negative effects, such as substance abuse, homelessness, suicide and unemployment, often associated with military transitions, from occurring. Participants in the program are empowered to shift their perspectives from following their underlying ideologies and assumptions, which often lead to negative outcomes, instead focusing on ways to move forward in their lives with greater leadership, resilience and grace.

The program is heralded by former graduates of the program, including survivors of sexual traumas. The program has also been endorsed by former National Commander of the American Legion, Marty Conatser, who considers Leading with Resilience and Grace as something totally unique.

“It’s the only program we’ve encountered that gives women Veterans access to something truly great- themselves,” Conatser said. “This program elevates hearts, minds and spirits and helps them set a new foundation for life.”

The May 2nd -5th Leading with Resilience and Grace program is now full, but you are invited to attend the Gratitude Receptionon Monday, May 5th at 2:30 at the Hayes Mansion, 200 Edenvale Avenue in San Jose, CA. The reception is open to the public, and will feature Congresswoman Jackie Speier as the keynote speaker.
For information about bringing Leading with Resilience and Grace to your organization or to apply to be in a sponsored program, please contact [email protected] or call 847 658 1746.Donations to Leading with Resilience and Grace and the Sunergos Institute can be made at

http://www.sunergosinstitute.org/

Leading with Resilience and Grace: Program for Transitioning Military Women

Military Connection: The Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act: By Debbie Gregory

senate bill

By Debbie Gregory.

Since 2001, more than two million American service members have deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. During the height of the fighting, some experts estimated that nearly one third of those deployed suffered from some sort of traumatic brain injury (TBI), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other physical/mental wounds in direct relation to their service.

A great majority of the men and women who have deployed and returned home have not suffered, have not claimed injury, have not received treatment for physical/mental battle scars, and have not been the subject of any disciplinary action. But there have been several thousand Veterans who have returned stateside and received disciplinary punishments, including other than honorable discharges, for misconduct.

Unfortunately, there are individuals who have enlisted into the ranks of the U.S. military, only to later change their minds about their commitment. Many of these individuals choose to behave inappropriatelyin order to get kicked out and sent home. Many of those who have worn the uniform are among the first to voice their disgust for actions that bring discredit to the uniform and their current or former branch of service. And there are many who have no sympathy for individuals, even combat Veterans, who step out line and tarnish the reputation of their service.

But what if some of the unruly service members weren’t trying to misbehave? What if they were simply coping with an undiagnosed mental injury? Americans would agree that no one should be penalized for service-related injuries. But some of these Veterans are.

For the most part, Veteran benefits, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill and the Montgomery GI Bill, are only made available to Veterans who were medically separated or honorably discharged. Veterans who receive general or other than honorable discharges can be subject to forfeiture of thoseand other benefits. Some even lose their right to healthcare through the VA, essential to treating of service-related injuries that may have been the cause of their misconduct in the first place.

“The men and women of our military risk their lives to protect our country, and we need to ensure they receive the care they earned and deserve,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.  “Too many of our service members have been discharged as a result of an undiagnosed or improperly diagnosed mental health condition. It is important that a mental health professional be included at all review board hearings, ensuring that our service members receive a correct diagnosis and treatment for mental health injuries like PTSD, TBI and MST.”

Senator Gillibrand has recently announced her support of the Senate Bill S. 2182, The Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act which was originally sponsored by Sen. John Walsh. The bill would help Veterans by requiring a review of military discharges for Veterans with mental health disorders. The bill is intended to reduce suicides among Veterans who struggle with mental health disorders.

Military Connection proudly serves those who serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard & 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 Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act: By Debbie Gregory