Military/Veteran Transitionnews for 2/5/14

Military transition and veterans affairs news of the day for 2/5/14

Good news story of the day

Helping wounded vets move from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’  (Stars and Stripes)  Back when Michael Baker was a nuclear submarine technician in the Navy, he was a triathlete who spent as much time as he could exploring the Hawaiian outdoors near his naval base.

Military transition

Helping Transitioning Servicemembers Find Jobs Before Becoming Veterans  (The Huffington Post)  You’ve heard it said countless times: “It’s easier to get a job if you already have one.”

New website launches to help Montana veterans  (KXLF.com)  Lieutenant Governor John Walsh announced the launch of a new website to help military personnel transition to civilian life.

The 10 Best Jobs For Veterans  (Forbes)  Many veterans returning to the U.S. from stints overseas have years of job experience under their belts, yet they feel daunted by the challenge of making the transition into the civilian workforce.

Military veterans graduate from Boston Fire Academy  (The Daily Free Press)  After 20 weeks of grueling training, 51 military veterans were inducted into the Boston Fire Department on Tuesday with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh in attendance.

Texas A&M Students Launch New Program To Help Aggie Veterans  (TAMU Times)  A new branch of the Student Government Association (SGA) at Texas A&M University, with the specific purpose of helping Aggie veterans, plans the first national military veteran conference in higher education  Friday and Saturday (Feb. 7-8) at the university.

Veteran students meet with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Scocos  (University of Wisconsin Superior)  Fifteen UW-Superior students with military experience were able to connect one-on-one with the Wisconsin Secretary of Veterans Affairs John Scocos on Monday.

Veterans

Veteran Groups Launch Pre-Emptive Strike on Federal Budget  (The Wall Street Journal)  Four major veterans advocacy groups called for more veteran health-care spending in the next federal budget and changes to a number of Department of Veterans Affairs policies, in their annual outline of legislative goals released Tuesday morning.

New UC panel to aid military veterans  (Fox 5 San Diego)  The University of California on Monday announced the formation of an advisory  group to help military veterans address specific issues and succeed in earning  degrees.

Villa Park VFW Bringing Veterans Welcome Home Back Home  (Chicago Tribune)  The popular and effective Veterans Welcome Home and Benefits event is coming back to the VFW Post in Villa Park.

Despite progress, VA still has 400,000 backlogged claims  (UPI)  The Department of Veterans Affairs cut its backlog of hundreds of thousands of  disability claims by nearly one-third last year but is still struggling to  modernize an outdated processing system, a report released Monday by the Iraq  and Afghanistan Veterans of America found.

Veteran Hopefuls Use Bravery, Heroics in Bids for Congress  (Roll Call)  Veterans regularly run for Congress, but this cycle features candidates armed with particularly impressive biographies involving escapes, captures and military adventures that Tom Clancy would have struggled to dream up.

Veterans affairs

VA Launches Online Tool to Calculate Post-9/11 GI Bill Benefits  (Department of Veterans Affairs)  The Veterans Affairs Department today launched a new online tool to make it easier for veterans, service members and family members to calculate their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and learn more about VA’s approved colleges, universities and other education and training programs across the country.

Feinstein bill pushes housing for homeless vets at West L.A. VA campus (Los Angeles Times)  Sen. Dianne  Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced a bill Tuesday to smooth the way for the U.S.  Department of Veterans Affairs to partner with private agencies to develop  housing for homeless veterans on its West Los Angeles campus.

VA Offers New Tools to Ensure Post-9/11 GI Bill Beneficiaries Are Informed Consumers  (The White House)  What’s the first thing you do when shopping for a big-ticket item?

Report: Rocky Hill veterans’ housing goes unused  (The Washington Times)   Five houses in Rocky Hill that state officials set aside and renovated for  Connecticut military veterans have sat mostly empty for several years, while  statistics show one in 10 homeless people in the state is a veteran, according  to a published report.

Report: No ‘evidence of planning’ from Obama administration to help veterans  receive benefits  (The Daily Caller)  The Obama administration’s Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has no long-term  plan to correct the errors that have left hundreds of thousands of veterans  waiting months to receive benefits, despite President Obama’s State of the Union  vow to fix the problem.

Government concedes negligence in Legionnaires’ lawsuit  (TribLive.com)  House legislation that would make it illegal for veterans hospitals nationwide to conceal disease outbreaks won passage on Monday evening with bipartisan approval.

Senators want answers on veterans records breach  (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)  Both U.S. senators from Missouri are seeking answers about the potential fallout for veterans and their families after a former clerk admitted misfiling hundreds of military records at a St. Louis warehouse.

Former fighter pilot named new director of Punchbowl  (Star Advertiser)  A former Air Force fighter pilot and onetime inspector general for Pacific Air Forces will become the new director of Punchbowl Cemetery March 9, the Department of Veterans Affairs announced.

Benefits

Tax break for young military retirees stirs debate, clears House committee  (The Spokesman Review)  Idaho doesn’t charge its state income tax on military retirement pay for those age 65 or older, but it does tax pension benefits for military retirees who are younger than 65.

In new pitch to pass jobless pay, Harry Reid sweetens deal with measure to restore military pension cuts  (Washington Examiner)  The Senate this week will make another attempt to pass an extension of federal unemployment insurance by tying the effort to a plan to restore military pension benefits.

Senate to take up comprehensive veterans reform bill Thursday (The Washington Times)  Sen. Bernie Sanders, Vermont  independent, said Tuesday a comprehensive veteran’s reform bill could be brought  up on the Senate floor as early as Thursday.

Florida Legislators aim to increase veterans benefits  (First Coast News)  Lawmakers are debating new programs that will impact the more than 1.6 million veterans who live in the state of Florida.

Veterans Service Organizations Urge $72.9 Billion Investment in Veterans’ Health Care and Benefits  (Boston.com)  Four of the nation’s leading veterans service organizations—AMVETS, DAV, Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW)—are urging the Administration and Congress to provide $72.9 billion to sufficiently meet veterans’ health care and benefits needs.

Senate panel to mark up bill repealing military pension cuts  (The Hill)

The Senate Armed Services Committee will mark up a bill next week to repeal the $6 billion military pension cuts included in last month’s budget deal.

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