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  • VA to start offering IVF services to veterans this spring

    Type of content: News

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will start offering in vitro fertilization services to injured veterans for the first time in March, under new rules released Thursday. 

    The move comes just a few months after Congress dropped a ban on the procedure for veterans and their spouses, the result of a yearslong push from advocates who called the restrictions unfair to individuals who sacrificed for the country. 

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  • Veterans try again for popular but expensive Agent Orange bill

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON – After a stinging legislative defeat, about 90,000 sailors who served in Vietnam have another shot this year at getting coverage for Agent Orange-related health problems.

    A bill extending the health benefits to crewmembers aboard Navy aircraft carriers, destroyers, cruisers and other ships along Vietnam’s coast was reintroduced this week in the House. Veteran advocates are already lobbying lawmakers and plan to meet in Washington, D.C. at the end of the month for a new push to get the bill passed.

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  • Obama signs bill to better identify, process unclaimed veterans remains

    Type of content: News

    Local lawmakers on Monday praised a bill that will expand efforts to identify and find burial places for the unclaimed remains of military veterans – a measure signed into law Friday by President Barack Obama.

    The Dignified Interment of Our Veterans Act was introduced in the U.S. House in 2014 by Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Everett.

    The bill – also sponsored by Pennsylvania House members Matthew Cartwright, D-Erie; Patrick Meehan, R-Cheltenham; and Glenn Thompson, R-Howard – was a companion bill to legislation introduced by in the Senate by Pennsylvania’s Pat Toomey in 2013.

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  • New law allows injured veterans to recoup erroneous severance taxes

    Type of content: News

    Thousands of veterans injured in combat could soon be able to recoup taxes erroneously collected from their disability severance pay due to a new law signed by President Barack Obama.

    About 13,800 veterans separated from the military due to their injuries might have been affected, the nonprofit group National Veterans Legal Service Program estimates. Due to an accounting error, as much as $78 million in taxes deducted over decades from the lump sum payments.

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  • Combat veterans with genital injuries find little help overcoming intimacy, pregnancy challenges

    Type of content: News

    Five months after his 32nd birthday, Aaron Causey stepped on a bomb. The newlywed from Alabama was on his second overseas Army deployment, working as an explosives technician in Afghanistan. That morning in 2011, Aaron was on the hunt, peering inside tunnels for improvised explosive devices.

    Before he saw the small bundle of plastic and copper wires, he had stepped on it. The blast ripped off his legs and traveled through his groin. One testicle was destroyed, only two-thirds of the other remained.

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  • New law would increase survivor benefits for fallen Guardsmen and reservists

    Type of content: News

     

    Melinda Barnes Runk remembers that summer day in 2007 when a uniformed service member and a religious leader showed up at her house to tell her that her husband, an Apache helicopter pilot in the Utah National Guard, had died in a helicopter crash.

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  • White House: Obama supports registering women for military draft

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — President Obama supports requiring women to register for Selective Service when they turn 18 — becoming the first president to endorse universal draft registration since Jimmy Carter.

    "As old barriers for military service are being removed, the administration supports — as a logical next step — women registering for the Selective Service," said Ned Price, a spokesman for Obama's National Security Council.

    The White House had previously expressed neutrality on the controversy, but took a position in a statement to USA TODAY on Thursday.

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  • Congress drops plans to make women register for the draft

    Type of content: News

    Lawmakers have officially dropped plans to make women register for the draft, instead opting for a review of the ongoing need for the Selective Service System. 

    The controversial provision had been part of early drafts of the annual defense authorization bill, and narrowly passed a House Armed Services Committee vote last spring. A Senate panel followed suit a few months later. 

    But conservatives in both chambers objected to the provision and stripped it out of the final legislative draft unveiled Tuesday. 

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  • Military members missing out on student loan interest caps, audit finds

    Type of content: News

    American service members are facing unnecessary challenges in taking advantage of interest-rate limits on student loans because they are too often given incorrect information, a federal audit has found.

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office report said the Department of Defense does not always provide active-duty members accurate information about the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act.

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  • Pentagon Pushes 'Interstate Compacts' for Job Licensing

    Type of content: News

    The Defense Department is pushing state governments to adopt "interstate compacts" to make it easier for spouses to obtain professional licenses, such as those required for physical therapy.

    In the past, military spouses in careers that require a professional license, such as teaching or nursing, needed to meet benchmarks for their state-specific license before going back to work after moving to a new state. But the process can be lengthy and expensive, forcing spouses to put their careers on hold.

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