The VA in 2019
|Banking for Those Who ServedVA’s new partnership with the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) allows Veterans to safely and reliably receive and manage their benefits through participating banks. Learn what the Veterans Benefits Banking Program (VBBP) can offer you.|
|Transitioning? Get a Solid StartWe know your first year out of service brings a lot of change and stress, but you’re not alone. VA will be calling separating service members to help you better understand the benefits and services that are available to you. We’re here to help you get a solid start on your civilian life.|
|Joining VBA’s Next WebcastStay up to date on all things benefits with the new webcast update from Under Secretary for Benefits, Paul R. Lawrence, Ph.D. On January 30, Dr. Lawrence will share the accomplishments and challenges from the first quarter of the Fiscal Year 2020. Register online to receive a reminder.|
|Subscribe on YouTube Be among the first to learn about the latest from VBA. Tune in on YouTube to find videos breaking down all you need to know about your benefits. Learn about VBA jobs, events, and hear shared stories. Stay in-the-know with VBA by subscribing online today!|
Commissary, Military Service Exchange, and MWR access extended to more Veterans beginning January
New law provides eligible Veterans and Primary Family Caregivers with access to DoD and Coast Guard commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare, and recreation retail services.
According to the Department of Defense, starting Jan. 1, 2020, all service-connected Veterans, Purple Heart recipients, former prisoners of war (POW), and individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregivers of eligible Veterans under the Department of Veterans Affairs Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC) can use commissaries, exchanges, and morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) retail facilities, in-person and online.
For more information regarding these privileges and access to military installations, visit http://www.militaryonesource.mil/expanding-access
Who is eligible Jan. 1, 2020?
- Purple Heart recipients
- former prisoners of war
- Veterans with 0-90% service-connected disability ratings
(For former service members who have not yet sought disability compensation from VA, visit https://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/)
- Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are already eligible under existing DOD policy.
- On Jan. 1, individuals approved and designated as the primary family caregiver of an eligible veteran under the PCAFC will be eligible for these privileges.
- For information about primary family caregivers in the PCAFC, visit https://www.caregiver.va.gov/.
- On Jan. 1, Veterans eligible solely under this act who are eligible to obtain a Veteran Health Identification Card must use this credential for in-person installation and privilege access. The card must display the Veteran’s eligibility status (i.e., PURPLE HEART, FORMER POW or SERVICE CONNECTED). Apply here: https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/vhic/index.asp.
- Veterans eligible solely under this act who are not enrolled in or are not eligible to enroll in VA health care, or who are enrolled in VA health care, but do not possess a Veteran Health Identification Card will not have access to DoD and Coast Guard installations for in-person commissary, exchange, and MWR retail privileges, but will have full access to online exchanges and American Forces Travel.
- Medal of Honor recipients and Veterans with 100% service-connected disability ratings are eligible for DoD credentials under DoD policy.
- Eligible caregivers will receive an eligibility letter from VA’s Office of Community Care.
- If you are a primary family caregiver under the PCAFC and lose your eligibility letter, please call 1-877-733-7927 to request a replacement. Please allow two weeks for processing.
Find out more about military resale privileges.
- Army and Air Force Exchange Service (https://www.shopmyexchange.com/vets)
- Coast Guard Exchange (https://shopCGX.com)
- Defense Commissary Agency (https://www.commissaries.com/)
- Navy Exchange (https://www.mynavyexchange.com/)
- Marine Corps Exchange (http://www.mymcx.com/)
- MILITARY STAR Card (https://www.myecp.com/)
- American Forces Travel (https://www.americanforcestravel.com)
The care and services VA provides to Veterans have improved over the years. This year, VA saw even more progress toward better serving Veterans. LEARN MORE
Support efforts to prevent and end Veteran homelessness this holiday season
|Each day, we have an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of those in need. The holiday season especially is a great time to make a difference in the lives of Veterans who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Click below to discover four ways to support efforts to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans.WHAT YOU CAN DO|
Blue Water Navy Veterans’ disability claims to be decided beginning Jan.1, 2020
|Did you serve in the offshore waters of the Republic of Vietnam between Jan. 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975? If so, then you’re considered a Blue Water Navy (BWN) Veteran.On Jan. 1, 2020, the Blue Water Navy Act of 2019 goes into effect and extends the presumption of herbicide exposure, such as Agent Orange, to BWN Veterans who served as far as 12 nautical miles from the shore of Vietnam and have since developed one of 14 conditions related to exposure.LEARN MORE|
Reconnect with Former Battle Buddies
|This holiday season rekindle old relationships with friends and battle buddies. On RallyPoint you can reconnect with people you may have lost touch with.CONNECT HERE|
Tips for Managing Stress Around the Holidays
|There are many joyous things about the holiday season, but this time of year can also bring on stress, depression, and other challenges. Here are a few things to keep an eye out for as the holiday season approaches — as well as healthy tips for managing these challenges.LEARN MORE|
Disabled Veterans eligible for free National Park Service Lifetime Access Pass
|Veterans with a service connected disability rating are entering Federal recreation lands and national parks for free with an America the Beautiful-the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands lifetime Access Pass through an interagency partnership between the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Army Corps of Engineers and Bureau of Reclamation.LEARN MORE|
|My HealtheVetMy HealtheVet lets you refill prescriptions online, manage VA appointments as well as send and receive Secure Messages with your health care team. Subscribe and learn more today.Sign Up|
|Make the ConnectionMake the Connection provides information about life experiences you can relate to. You also can explore information about signs, symptoms,and conditions that are related to mental health and well-being.Sign Up|
|Inside Veterans HealthInside Veterans Health focuses on the intersection of Veterans and health care, covering VA programs, benefits, innovations and Veterans’ stories.Sign Up|
Beneficiary Financial Counseling
VA’s Insurance Service provides beneficiaries with free, professional financial advice from FinancialPoint, an independent company whose team of professionals are experts in handling a wide range of financial matters. Beneficiaries can access this service online 24/7 to request a financial plan. They simply enter their information into FinancialPoint’s website, and a financial professional will prepare a customized financial plan based on the details provided. Learn more about Beneficiary Financial Counseling
The Career Center on eBenefits offers Servicemembers in transition and Veterans with opportunities to translate their military skills into careers in the public and private sectors. The tools and resources available in the Career Center allow Servicemembers and Veterans the ability to search for jobs, identify professional strengths, and create and post resumes. Learn more about the Career Center
Educational and Vocational Counseling
VA’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service provides educational-vocational counseling for veterans and certain dependents. This service can provide a wide range of educational and vocational counseling services to Servicemembers still on active duty, as well as Veterans and dependents who are eligible for one of VA’s educational benefit programs. These services are designed to help an individual choose a vocational direction and determine the course needed to achieve the chosen goal. Learn more about Educational and Vocational Counseling
VA’s Fiduciary Program was established to protect Veterans and other beneficiaries who, due to injury, disease, or due to age, are unable to manage their financial affairs. The fiduciary is responsible to the beneficiary and oversees financial management of VA benefit payments. Generally, family members or friends serve as fiduciaries for beneficiaries; however, when friends and family are not able to serve, VA looks for qualified individuals or organizations to serve as a fiduciary. Learn more about the Fiduciary Program
The Independent Living program is designed to make sure that each eligible Veteran is able, to the maximum extent possible, to live independently and participate in family and community life increasing their potential to return to work. Those who may qualify are veterans whose service connected disabilities are so severe that they are currently unable to pursue an employment goal. Learn more about Independent Living
Mortgage Delinquency Assistance
In cases where loan servicers are unable to help Veteran borrowers, VA’s Loan Guaranty Service has Loan Technicians in eight regional loan centers and a special servicing center who take an active role in interceding with the servicer to explore all options to avoid foreclosure. Service members or Veterans with VA-guaranteed home loans can call (877) 827-3702 to reach the nearest Loan Guaranty office where Loan Specialists are prepared to discuss potential ways to help save the loan. Learn more about Mortgage Delinquency Assistance
VetSuccess on Campus
VA is developing innovative ways to help Veterans make the transition to college life. The VetSuccess on Campus (VSOC) program aims to help Veterans, Servicemembers, and their qualified dependents succeed and thrive through a coordinated delivery of on-campus benefits assistance and counseling, leading to completion of their education and preparing them to enter the labor market in viable careers. Learn more about VetSuccess on Campus