Blog Archives

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,...

All 2014 Handbooks Now Discounted

It's that time of year. While we are busy working on edits to the 2015 handbooks, you can purchase a printed copy of the 2014 books with a 25% discount. Because benefits information doesn't change drastically from year to year, many of our loyal readers like to buy books at the end of the year and simply make notations of any changes throughout the books. If you'd like to have a printed copy but save some dough, now is your chance. Start shopping now!

Help! My BAH Doesn’t Cover My Mortgage

The BAH for my grade doesn't begin to cover my mortgage payment. What can I do? Sorry, but there isn't anything you can do. BAH is based on rental data. Homeowners' monthly mortgage payments are not used in the computation because the monthly cash outlays of homeowners are not a good indicator of the economic costs of home ownership. The variables needed to compute this include such difficult-to-measure factors as the expected appreciation in the value of the residence, the amount of down payment, the opportunity costs of interest...

TRICARE Coverage for your College Student

While in college your child may be eligible for TRICARE until their 23rd birthday or until they graduate, whichever comes first. For eligibility to extend beyond the age of 21, he or she must be enrolled in a full course of study at an approved institution of higher learning and be dependent on the sponsor for more than half of their financial support. If qualified, your child's "student status" must be entered in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to remain eligible past age 21. Check with DEERS...

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