February 1, 2006
Family Programs Update
Volume 6, Number 3
This newsletter is published bi-monthly by the AUSA Family Programs Directorate. If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org type “subscribe” in the subject line.
In This Issue
- Governors Decry Proposed Guard Cuts
- Reserve Federal Employees May Be Due Back Pay
- BRAC Won’t Stop New Walter Reed Amputee Center
- Army Extends Health Assessment for Soldiers
- Web Links and Other Information About SGLI Programs
- Move to Bliss from Germany to Begin in October 2007
- Body Armor and Protective Equipment Reimbursement Program
- New From DeCa - “Kay’s Kitchen”
- Military Spouse Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted
- AMVETS is Proud to Announce the Establishment of the
- “Dr. Aurelio M. Caccomo Family Foundation Memorial Scholarship”
- Ban on Burial Honors for Murderers Takes Effect
- Divorce Rate Drops
- Military OneSource Offers Free Turbo Tax
- Tax Information for Military Families
- Professional VOLUNTEER Needed!
Governors Decry Proposed Guard Cuts
The National Governors Association urged the Pentagon to reconsider its proposal to reduce the number of National Guard combat brigades. "We need more Guard troops at this time, not less," association leaders wrote Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. Read details at: http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1480213.php
Reserve Federal Employees May Be due Back Pay
Military reservists who worked for the federal government in the 1980s and early '90s could be due thousands of dollars in back pay under an administrative judge's decision that became final this month. The decision awarded back pay to a Department of Agriculture employee who had been charged federal military leave for days when he was serving in uniform but not scheduled to work at his civilian job. It extends an earlier decision which had awarded back pay to federal workers serving in the National Guard or reserves from 1994 to 2000. For more on this story:
BRAC Won’t Stop New Walter Reed Amputee Center
Even though Walter Reed Army Medical Center is slated to close in five years, construction is expected to begin this spring on a state-of-the-art rehabilitation center for amputee soldiers. The $10 million Military Amputee Training Center - originally expected to open last month - was caught in limbo during the Pentagon's base closing process. Ground was broken in 2004, but construction had not yet begun last May when the Army ordered a hold on all projects that could be affected by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). Read story details at:
Army Extends Health Assessment for Soldiers
The Army has authorized a new health screening program, “Post Deployment Health Reassessment (PDHRA)” which is designed to address deployment related physical and mental health needs of Soldiers three to six months after returning from deployment. This is one component of the Defense Department’s ongoing efforts to safeguard the health of all military personnel returning from deployment including Active, Reserve and National Guard. Research has shown that deployment health concerns often evolve over time, commanders must facilitate and encourage returning Soldiers to visit with health care providers to ensure that all their deployment-related health concerns are addressed as soon as practically possible to help each individual make a smooth post-deployment transition.” This is an overall health reassessment, not just a mental health reassessment. For information contact LTC Pam Hart, 703-697-5662.
Web Links and Other Information About SGLI Programs
The VA Insurance Home Page contains a basic description of SGLI programs -- Traumatic Injury-SGLI is listed under "Hot Issues." From here you can access the Certification form, frequently asked questions, a list of Service contacts and the Schedule of Payments (what injuries qualify and the amount paid for that injury) at: http://www.insurance.va.gov/, also at these Service T-SGLI Links:
USMC - https://www.manpower.usmc.mil/portal/page?_pageid=278,2150974&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
Army - https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/active/gendocs/hrc_147068_answers.htm
Air Force - http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/casualty/tsgli_information.htm
Navy - http://www.npc.navy.mil/commandsupport/casualtyassistance/fsgli/tsgli.htm
Download SGLI & VGLI Forms -- This is a subdirectory of the VA Insurance Home Page, but links the user directly to the GL.2005.261 T-SGLI Certification Form including a fillable version which can be filled in and printed as well as the same form in a non-fillable version. Find form at: http://www.insurance.va.gov/sgliSite/forms/forms.htm
Move to Bliss from Germany to Begin in October 2007
The move of 20,000 soldiers and 33,000 family members from Germany to Ft. Bliss, TX will begin in fiscal 2008, according to Secretary of the Army Francis J. Harvey. The huge troop and family move approved by Congress as part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission process will take about three years, with a full division and combat aviation brigade in place at Biggs Army Airfield by fiscal 2011. For more information on this story visit:
Body Armor and Protective Equipment Reimbursement Program
Between now and 3 October 2006, the Department of the Army will reimburse both current and former Soldiers who purchased body armor and certain other protective, health and safety equipment for use in Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom. Reimbursable equipment includes protective body armor (whether purchased as a complete outer tactical vest (OTV) or as separate components of an OTV), combat helmets, ballistic eye protection, hydration systems, summer weight gloves, and knee and elbow pads. To qualify for reimbursement, the equipment must have been purchased after September 10, 2001, and before August 1, 2004, and all equipment for which reimbursement is sought must be turned into the Army at the time a claim is filed. Claimants who no longer have the equipment must explain in writing why the equipment is unavailable for turn-in. Current active duty or active reserve component Soldiers who seek reimbursement should complete and file a DD Form 2902 with the first field grade commander in the Soldier's current chain of command. With the completed DD Form 2902, the Soldier must provide (1) a copy of proof of deployment (such as deployment orders or a DD Form 214 noting deployment), (2) copies of all available receipts or other proof of purchase for the items claimed, and (3) either the available equipment for turn-in or the written explanation of why the equipment is unavailable. Former Soldiers and survivors of deceased Soldiers may file a claim by mailing a completed DD Form 2902, along with the items noted above, directly to the U.S. Army Claims Service (USARCS) at the address provided in block 12 of the DD Form 2902. More information on the reimbursement program - including a printable DD Form 2902 can be found by accessing www.jagcnet.army.mil and selecting the U.S. Army Claims Service link under the "Client Services and Links" section. Claimants or commanders can also contact MAJ Paul Cucuzzella, Project Officer, USARCS, at email@example.com or at (301) 677-7009 ext. 431, with any questions concerning this program or for additional information.
New From DeCa - “Kay’s Kitchen”
This newest article written by DeCA Home Economist Kaye Blakley is already a popular feature in Europe and now it’s being made available for worldwide use. This months article is "Healthy Choices Help Shed Holiday Pounds" and can be found at the following link: http://www.ausa.org/webpub/DeptFamilyPrograms.nsf/byid/KCAT-6L6RAV and additional information may be found at: http://www.commissaries.com/healthy_choices.cfm .
Military Spouse Scholarship Applications Now Being Accepted
The National Military Family Association is now accepting applications for NMFA’s Joanne Holbrook Patton Military Spouse Scholarships. Any uniformed service spouse — active duty, retired, National Guard, Reserve, or survivor — studying toward professional certification or attending post-secondary or graduate school may apply. Scholarships, normally in the amount of $1,000, may be used for tuition, fees, books, and school room and board. Applications can be found at www.nmfa.org/scholarships2006 - Applications will only be accepted on-line and must be submitted by midnight April 15, 2006.
AMVETS is Proud to Announce the Establishment of the “Dr. Aurelio M. Caccomo Family Foundation Memorial Scholarship”
The scholarship is in memory of and honoring Dr. Caccomo, an immigrant to the United States, who gave of himself both in his chosen profession as a physician and in his service to the U.S. Army Reserves. Two $3,000 scholarships will be awarded, per year, for the duration of the grant. The scholarships are for veterans, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, seeking new skills in order to be more competitive in the job market. The one time $3,000 award may be used for undergraduate courses, accredited degree or certificate programs, including on-line schools. (Link to the application from the AMVETS Web Site - under what’s New (www.amvets.org). First awards will be made this May. Deadline for filing is 15 April.
Ban on Burial Honors for Murderers Takes Effect
A ban on burying convicted murderers with full military honors in national military cemeteries took effect when President Bush recently signed the newest defense authorization bill. The ban was pushed by Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Republican Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho. For story details read: http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1457670.php
Divorce Rate Drops
The number of divorces among active-duty soldiers declined last year after rising sharply in 2004, statistics released by the Army show. The decline in broken marriages was particularly strong among officers. Divorces among them had increased 78 percent from 2003 to 2004. Last year, divorces among officers declined 61 percent from the 2004 total. Divorces last year among enlisted soldiers remained about the same as in 2004. For all the facts on this story visit: http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-1457687.php
Military OneSource Offers Free Turbo Tax
TurboTax Essentials and TurboTax Basic are free through Military OneSource: https://www.militaryonesource.com .
After you register in Military OneSource, click on the "TurboTax" link under "Other Helpful Resources".
Tax Information for Military Families
Provisions for victims of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma have been made and added to the tax code this year. These may include extensions for tax filing and help for those who lost homes or property. The provisions for hurricane victims are complicated so DoD officials advise Servicemembers who were affected by the hurricanes are asked to seek advice from their installation tax center or the Internal Revenue Service. For Servicemembers who were deployed during all or part of the year, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and Kosovo qualify as combat zones, and therefore military income is tax exempt. For enlisted Servicemembers, all income earned in a combat zone is exempt, for officers, the 2005 tax-exempt income limit is $6,529 a month. Servicemembers in a combat zone during tax season get an automatic extension to file their taxes and have six months from the time they leave the combat zone to file. Servicemembers who are stationed elsewhere overseas have a two-month extension to file. Almost every military installation offers a tax center for military, retired military and family members (the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or VITA office). VITA IRS provides a Free File service on its website, which lists several tax preparation services and additional tax information for military families, and can be found http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=107626,00.html.
Professional VOLUNTEER Needed!
The Military Family Network is seeking a full time professional volunteer to expand the network's national community volunteer network. Work includes writing a nationally syndicated military family column, recruiting and managing volunteers for installation communities and topical areas on The Military Family Network. Please respond to this email firstname.lastname@example.org with your resume and Indicate "National Volunteer Manager" on your application.