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  • House passes fix to veterans health care tax credit controversy

    Leo Shane III | Military Times

    WASHINGTON  — House lawmakers on Thursday quietly passed a fix regarding veterans status under the proposed new health care bill that Republican supporters hope will silence one part of the opposition to the measure. 

    The legislation passed by voice vote without opposition. The bill states that veterans who are eligible for medical care through the Department of Veterans Affairs but not using those services are eligible for health insurance tax credits under the American Health Care Act. 

    Republicans billed the measure as nothing more than bookkeeping work.  

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    VA
  • As the choice program runs out of money this year, VA reiterates need for a redesign

    Nicole Ogrsko | Federal News Radio

    The Veterans Affairs Department is quickly running out of money in its Choice program account, one of several funding streams VA uses to pay for veterans to receive community health care.

    This development with the Choice program is only the latest of a series of pain points for the department and Congress. Yet VA Secretary David Shulkin said it only emphasizes the urgency of redesigning and simplifying the Choice program in the near future.

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    VA
  • VA secretary backs off plan to cut elderly vets' benefits

    Leo Shane III | Military Times

    WASHINGTON — Administration officials are backing away from plans to slash tens of thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits from elderly veterans after an outcry from advocates who warned the move could cause significant financial harm to vulnerable veterans.  

    During a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on Wednesday, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said that he wants to avoid any policy changes that “hurt veterans” and is considering other options to the proposed changes. 

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    Benefits
    Financial Assistance
    Legislation
    VA
  • Congress passes long-awaited Veterans Affairs Accountability Act

    CBS/AP | CBSNews.com

    Congress approved long-sought legislation Tuesday to make firing employees easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs, part of an effort urged by President Trump to fix a struggling agency serving millions of veterans.

    The bill will make it easier for VA employees, including executives, to be fired by lowering the standard of evidence required to "remove, demote or suspend" someone for poor performance or misconduct. It also gives whistleblowers more protections, including preventing the VA from removing an employee with an open whistleblower case. 

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    Legislation
    VA
  • Tuition assistance education guide

    Natalie Gross | Military Times

    What is tuition assistance? 
      
    Tuition assistance, informally called TA, is a federal benefit that covers the cost of tuition, up to particular limits, for active-duty service members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, as well as some National Guardsmen and reservists. 
      
    The funds are paid directly to schools by the service branches. 
      
    Are there limits or specific requirements? 
      

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    Benefits
    DoD
    Education
  • Post-9/11 GI Bill education guide

    Natalie Gross | Military Times

    What is the Post-9/11 GI Bill? 
      
    The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a generous education benefit for the latest generation of service members and veterans. It includes payment of tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance and a stipend for textbooks and supplies. 
      

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    Benefits
    DoD
    Education
  • Department of Veterans Affairs ditches performance database

    Jack Encarnacao | Gov Tech

    (TNS) -- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has stopped updating a performance database that charts error rates at local offices — a system vets advocates say was a useful tool to hold the agency accountable, including at the Boston office.

    The system, called ASPIRE, was introduced with fanfare in 2010 as a way to hold the VA up to a higher standard for avoiding the kinds of errors and oversights that cause wounded ex-warriors to get inaccurate disability ratings, denying them vital compensation.

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    VA
  • California Lawmakers Pass Bill Expanding Job Opportunities for Veterans

    Roy Maurer | SHRM

    Private-sector California employers might soon be able to establish a voluntary preference for hiring military veterans regardless of when the veterans served, thanks to a bill that recently passed the state assembly.

    The veterans' hiring preference currently in use is limited to Vietnam-era veterans and only immunizes employers from gender discrimination claims.

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    Employment
    Legislation
  • Purdue gets funding for potential groundbreaking study on veterans and service dogs

    Eric Feldman | WishTV

    INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Researchers at Purdue University will soon start a potentially groundbreaking study that could help more veterans suffering from PTSD get service dogs.

    The research could for the first time prove scientifically that service dogs help these veterans. Purdue researchers just received more than a half million dollars to conduct this two year study.

    The potential is sweeping change in Washington, D.C. and another resource for vets.

    Zoe is Nick Hamilton’s service dog. Hamilton served three tours in Iraq and now suffers from PTSD.

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    Mental Health
    VA
  • VA officials say veterans court program is a success

    Stephen Simpson | Military Times

    JONESBORO, Ark. — Two years after 2nd Judicial District Veterans Court was instituted, the numbers show that veterans don't seem too keen on finishing the program.
     
    The veterans court program was established in 2015 to help veterans, who have entered the judicial system because of factors related to their military service, assimilate back into civilian life. 
     

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    Legal
    VA

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