Blog Archives

Viewing Your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) Online

All Active/Reserve Military and Civilians: You can view and print your Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) on-line. You may access your LES from the "Main Menu" by clicking on the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) option. If you have trouble reading the graphic version of your LES, you can click on the "Text Version" link. The text version of your LES lists all your LES pay data items in a single column. Your LESs will remain available for a temporary period of time after your separation. For Non Appropriated Fund employees:...

Mental Health Care for Veterans

Veterans eligible for VA medical care may apply for general mental health treatment including specialty services such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and substance abuse treatment. Contact the nearest VA health care facility to apply. VA's Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers Program entitles the designated Family Caregiver access to mental health. These services may be offered at the VA and/or contracted agencies. General Caregivers (of all era Veterans) can receive counseling and other services when necessary...

Prepping for Retirement with an Individual Transition Plan

Returning to civilian life is a complex undertaking. Many steps must be taken, and many questions must be answered. Transition assistance staff, personnel office staff, relocation specialists, education counselors, and many others can help, but only you and your family can make the critical decisions that must be made. A good beginning is for each departing Service member to develop an Individual Transition Plan (ITP). The ITP is your game plan for a successful transition back to civilian life. It is a framework you can use to fulfill realistic...

Servicemembers Group Life Insurance Coverage

Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) is a VA program that provides low cost group life insurance to members of the Uniformed Services.  This includes commissioned officers of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, cadets and midshipmen of the service academies. Unless members elect to reduce or cancel their benefit amount, they are automatically insured under SGLI for the maximum amount of $400,000.  Reductions can be made in $50,000 increments or coverage may be canceled...

Child Custody Issues as a Servicemember

Deployments and frequent relocations may require service members to give up custody temporarily and create child custody issues. Upon return, service members sometimes face difficult custody battles. Here are some things to consider when dealing with child custody issues. Family care plan A family care plan is a collection of documents that describes who shall provide care for your children, as well as disabled or elderly family members who are dependent on you for financial, medical or logistical (for example, food, housing,...

Obama Budget Proposal Restricts GI Bill Funding to For-Profit Colleges

"More and more veterans are enrolling in high-cost for-profit programs of questionable quality, while the share of veterans enrolling in community colleges and state universities is shrinking," Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, said in a statement last July. "While the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill was designed to expand educational opportunities for our veterans and service members, I am concerned that it is primarily expanding the coffers of the big corporations running these schools." Harkin's statement was made on the heels of a Senate...

Give Guantanamo Back? No, Thank You.

Cuban President Raul Castro laid out a plan for restoring normal relations between Cuba and the United States last week. The list included the U.S. returning the Guantanamo base and prison, lifting the embargo, and compensating Cuba for damages. The U.S. established the naval base in 1903; Cuba's communist government has sought its return since coming to power in 1959. This week, the Obama administration ruled out handing over the U.S. naval base. In addition, Roberta Jacobson, the top U.S. diplomat for Latin America,...

Senator McCain: More Ground Troops Needed to Fight ISIS

Sen. John McCain, the new chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is calling for more U.S. ground troops in the ongoing fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. McCain said more ground fighters are needed to defeat ISIS and that the U.S. should establish a no-fly zone. "A strategy must include taking an unambiguous stance against Assad's rule, establishing a no-fly zone to protect civilians and provide cover to our allies on the ground, moving quickly to provide robust support to moderate units...

Commission Report Due — May Recommend Changes to Military Pay

The congressionally mandated Military Compensation and Retirement Commission will release its long-awaited report Thursday afternoon after a two-year review. "Early reports suggest the commission will produce modest recommendations for reform of military compensation, focusing on changes to the calculation of base pay, special pay and retirement," states the document, which was co-authored by senior fellow Phillip Carter and research associate Katherine Kidder. "These proposals may have more likelihood of enactment in the near...

DFAS Rolls Out New Travel Pay Online Tool

The Defense Finance and Accounting Service is rolling out a newly updated online function that allows personnel to check their travel pay more quickly. Some defense personnel, including military members and civilians, now are able to log onto the Online Status Payment Tool on DFAS's website and check the status of their travel voucher. The tool can be used for monitoring whether travel pay has been processed for cases such as Army active permanent change of station, temporary duty and civilian relocation. Eligible personnel...

Commissary Cuts and Price Increases in Budget Draft

A series of changes included in a draft 2016 budget proposal under consideration by the Defense Department could raise commissary grocery prices, reduce store hours and cut employees. The cuts could be included in the President's 2016 budget set to be released early next month. The proposal is then sent to Congress for changes and approval, likely sometime late this year. The plans included in the commissary draft proposal are likely to change before being added to the President's final document, sources said. Defense...

2014 List of Military and Veteran Legislation Recap Provided by MOAA

2014 saw several pieces of legislation that affected both active duty and veteran service members. The major issues addressed by Congress were: Both Houses of Congress rejected proposals to consolidate the Tricare Program, which would have included means testing and new or increased fees to access the Tricare system. Also in the medical benefits area, Congress imposed a $3.00 increase in pharmacy co-pays. Additionally, Congress authorized expansion of the mail-order pharmacy requirement to include the maintenance medications...

DoD Announces Pay and COLA Increases for 2015

The Department of Defense has announced the 2015 military pay and compensation rates for service members with most personnel receiving a 1 percent increase in basic pay. Basic pay for service members will increase one percent, except for general and flag officers who will not see an increase in 2015. Basic allowance for housing (BAH) rates for service members in 2015 will increase on average $17 per month, or half a percent. The 2015 basic allowance for subsistence rates for military members will increase by 2.9 percent over...

2015 Military Handbooks Are Now Available

ARLINGTON, VA – Military Handbooks has released their FREE 2015 handbooks for military personnel. These handbooks, written specifically for military service members, include a variety of information about pay, benefits, education and transitioning from the military. Download any of the handbooks for FREE or purchase a printed copy. Don’t forget to tell all of your military colleagues about these free handbooks too! 2015 Military Handbooks – Now Available - 2015 AFTER THE MILITARY HANDBOOK - 2015 BASE INSTALLATION...

Thankful for Military Service

If you try, I bet you can imagine a Thanksgiving without turkey or football.  But can you envision a Thanksgiving holiday without your spouse or family? That’s what the hundreds of thousands of US Servicemen and women serving abroad do each year. As they serve thousands of miles away, their loved ones do their best to enjoy the day.  Our Armed Forces sacrifice being near their dearest family and friends in order to do their jobs. We live in a culture that encourages us to believe that anything is possible. But in all our ambition,...

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