Military Authority Blog
If you are a veteran who is receiving care from both a VA provider and a private community provider it is important for your health and safety that your care from both your providers be coordinated, resulting in one treatment plan. This means your VA and private community providers communicate about your health status, medications, treatments, and diagnostic tests.
In order for your VA provider and your private community provider to communicate about your care, your VA provider will need copies of the following information from your private community provider’s office.The name, address and phone number of your community provider
- Office visit notes supporting the prescription(s)
- Blood work results
- Other test results supporting the prescription(s)
You will also need to provide information on any insurance coverage you may have.
You may either bring these copies with you to your next scheduled VA medical appointment or have your private community provider fax this information to your VA provider.
In the course of your care, you may have recommendations for medications, treatments, and diagnostic tests from your private community provider that you wish to have accomplished through VA. It is the responsibility of your VA provider to use their own clinical judgment to decide what medical treatment and tests are appropriate, effective, and necessary. Only then are medications, tests and treatments ordered by your VA provider.
VA medications are listed on the VA Drug List (Formulary), which covers a broad range of generic and brand name medications. VA providers will choose the appropriate medication for you; however, it may not necessarily be a brand name drug. If VA medications require periodic blood work (monitoring), this will need to be done at a VA facility.
“The President’s 2015 Budget will be released on March 4. Now that Congress has finished its work on this year’s appropriations, the Administration is able to finalize next year’s Budget. We are moving to complete the Budget as quickly as possible to help Congress return to regular order in the annual budget process,” Steve Posner, a spokesman for the White House’s Office of Management and Budget said in an email last week.
The Defense Department, which receives the most funding of any federal agency, plans to spend about $606 billion in fiscal 2014 and is also expected to release its budget request for fiscal 2015 on March 4.
We would be very surprised, though, if the 2015 budget becomes a settled matter so many months before it goes into effect. After all, the 2014 budget is still being “tweaked” by Congress to fix issues pertaining to COLA and veterans’ health benefits even though it was passed without the usual drama we’re accustomed to seeing in Washington.
The cap on COLA for working-age military retirees was just enacted by Congress last month in an effort to save $6 billion over the next 10 years as part of the bipartisan budget deal. But after military organizations decried the move as yet another broken promise to service members, Congress seems desperate to undo the cap before it becomes a larger political issue.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt), chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has introduced a mammoth 400+ page bill called the “Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014″ which ties the COLA cap to an overhaul of other veterans benefits. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) backs the bill, which seeks to strengthen more than 130 veterans programs of every kind.
The bill won’t sail through Congress as easily as the budget did, however. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla) blocked a similar, but smaller, bill last month because the spending wasn’t paid for by other offsets. Coburn argued that the VA has increased spending 58% in the last five years while showing that it can’t effectively administer the benefits it already provides, so adding new health and education benefits cannot be justified.
#VeteransBenefits #2014COLA #2015Budget
Image source: omnilligence.net
During your time in the military, you eat balanced meals in the chow hall. When you’re in the field, you get MREs. You don’t have to think about what you eat because you burn through every calorie through PT (and adrenalin).
But once you return to civilian life, it can be hard to keep a few extra pounds off even if you’ve kept up with a good PT regimen. Whether you’ve taken a desk job or you’ve decided to go back to school to help advance your career, you probably eat more and burn fewer calories than when you were on active duty. Why does that happen?
If you’ve become accustomed to having your meals prepared by someone else or ripping open an MRE, the freedome of eating out or starting to cook for yourself can be amazing. You can make the gravy exactly how you like it! You can tackle buffets! Just thinking about the food possibilities is enough to get your salavating and hungry.
The temptation to snack can be even greater if you’re going to school online and you’re within walking distance of the fridge and microwave in your own home while you study. Still, you wonder “What can I eat that’s healthy and not a Big Mac?” We have some tips!
- Think before you open your mouth.
- Plan your meals and snacks.
- Treat class time as no-snack time.
Read the full details of the tips here. Even if you’ve spent 15 years in the service, the “freshman 15” can still catch up with you now. Send them packing while you take care of business.
If you have any other tips or healthy snack and meal ideas, please tell us in the comments.
#food #healthyeating #onlineeducation
Defense contractors and those within the industry itself can usually comprehend military communication quite well. But if the next job you want falls closer to corporate operations than field operations, you’ll need to think through the way your experience and skills are represented on your resume. Otherwise, making that leap from MRE to water cooler might be trickier than it needs to be.
Luckily, there are a few standard words and phrases for which a trail has already been blazed from tank to cubicle. Test your civvyspeak translation abilities by taking the quiz below:
If your resume currently contains the word “mission,” the best civilian employer equivalent is:
- All of the above
AI, translated for a civilian resume, means:
- Artificial Intellectualism
- Additionally skilled in
- Alternatively increasing
- All about international
If you led a squad or platoon, you want to refer to the squad or platoon as a:
- Team, section or group
- Collection of like-minded individuals
MOS (military occupation specialty) should be referred to as:
- Master of Science
- Service organization
- Career specialty or specialty
The civilian equivalent of reconnaissance is
- Game of Thrones and/or A Medieval fair
- A Scouting trip
- Data collection and analysis
- None of the above
Answers to the quiz are here (answers are at the bottom of this post). So how’d you do?
In some career fields, like medical patient care, record keeping and accounting, the skills and protocol are fairly universal. If this is your field, you may not need to translate as much as say, a tank crew member.
And remember – even though you are highly capable of managing your own career transition, you don’t have to go through this alone. Contact your transition assistance office, your service branch career and alumni program, or your installation’s family services and support employment readiness office for guidance or low/no-cost classes.
Not everyone thinks that following a certain date on a calendar will lead to success, but there will be millions of people using January 1st as a day to kick-start some changes by setting at least one New Year’s resolution. Regardless of whether tomorrow is your starting date or if something like April 11th suits your fancy, here are 5 tips that will help you plan and achieve your goals in 2014.
1. Be honest. If you don’t abide by this rule, the next four won’t matter. The mistake many people make is using someone else’s resolutions. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor wants to quit smoking and asks you to join him. It isn’t important that your co-worker wants to drink less soda if you really like your daily fix. It isn’t helpful if your spouse wants you to lose those 10 pounds but you think you look and feel good enough. Be honest about whether a resolution is important to you, and not something you are doing to make someone else happy.
2. Make a list of WHY your resolutions are important. Most advice revolves around setting specific, smart goals. You know the drill: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound. What people usually forget is to write down why their goals are important to them. If you have something measurable written down, but then fail to meet the measurement you wanted, you can get discouraged and want to throw in the towel. But if you have a list of why your goal is important to you, it will encourage you not to give up.
3. Plan for failure. By this, I don’t mean failure in the big sense. I mean the little setbacks that will make you feel like you’re failing. If your resolution is to exercise 3 days a week, but you are busy, under the weather or work extra hours one week and only get in 2 workouts, you might feel like you have failed. That doesn’t mean you should give up, though. Sometimes life happens. Big changes doesn’t take place overnight. You will have setbacks. That’s a fact. So anticipate them, and have plans in reserve for how you will overcome them if they seem to happen more often than not.
Read the last 2 resolutions here.
Are you someone who sets New Year’s resolutions and starts working on them January 1st? If you have any tips of your own, please share them in the comments!
This poem comes via the Vietnam Dog Handlers Association. The credit reads: “A Military Christmas Poem as shared by Doug Davis“ and was posted by “LCDR Jeff Giles, SC, USN.”
Jeff concluded the poem with these words: “Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is due to our U.S service men and women for our being able to celebrate these festivities. Let’s try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and dead, who sacrificed themselves for us.”
A Different Christmas Poem
The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light, I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight. My wife was asleep, her head on my chest, My daughter beside me, angelic in rest. Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white, Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe, Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve. My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep, Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep. In perfect contentment, or so it would seem, So I slumbered, perhaps I started to dream.
The sound wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t too near, But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear. Perhaps just a cough, I didn’t quite know, Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow. My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear, And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night, A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight. A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old, Perhaps a Marine, huddled here in the cold. Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled, Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
”What are you doing?” I asked without fear, “Come in this moment, it’s freezing out here! Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve, You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!” For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift, Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts.
To the window that danced with a warm fire’s light. Then he sighed and he said “It’s really all right, I’m out here by choice. I’m here every night.” It’s my duty to stand at the front of the line, That separates you from the darkest of times.
No one had to ask or beg or implore me, I’m proud to stand here like my fathers before me. My Gramps died at ‘Pearl on a day in December,” Then he sighed, “That’s a Christmas ‘Gram always remembers.” My dad stood his watch in the jungles of ‘Nam’, And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
I’ve not seen my own son in more than a while, But my wife sends me pictures, he’s sure got her smile.” Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag, The red, white, and blue… an American flag. “I can live through the cold and the being alone, Away from my family, my house and my home.
I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet, I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat. I can carry the weight of killing another, Or lay down my life with my sister and brother. Who stand at the front against any and all, To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.”
”So go back inside” he said, “harbor no fright, Your family is waiting and I’ll be all right.” “But isn’t there something I can do, at the least, “Give you money?” I asked, “or prepare you a feast? It seems all too little for all that you’ve done, For being away from your wife and your son.”
Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret, “Just tell us you love us, and never forget. To fight for our rights back at home while we’re gone, To stand your own watch, no matter how long. For when we come home, either standing or dead, To know you remember we fought and we bled. Is payment enough, and with that we will trust, That we mattered to you as you mattered to us.”
#militarychristmas #usmilitary #militarythanks
In case you’ve been living under a stack of textbooks, the space-thriller Gravity opened in theaters nationwide in early October. It’s been praised as a filmmaking advance the likes of which we haven’t seen since King Kong climbed the Empire State Building. It’s also been panned as a flat, lifeless script. But love it or hate it, there are a few things we can learn from it. [Warning- mild spoilers ahead]
1. Sometimes, trouble just keeps flying at you.
The first conflict the heroes encounter in the film, in hindsight, is a small one: the mechanism Dr. Stone has created to solve a problem on the Hubble telescope doesn’t work properly. In fact, it doesn’t work at all. Then a radio communication from Houston signals the next, more ominous problem: a wave of debris is hurtling toward them. And the fun just continues from there.
It’s exhausting. But it’s also relatable. Because we’ve all had periods of time when it seems like challenges snowball into an avalanche of trouble. When one obstacle – whether it’s a test, a deadline, or a personal challenge passes, another is often lined up right behind it.
In the film, once the flying space trash of doom passes, the clock begins ticking. Since it’s orbiting the earth, it’s only a matter of time before it returns to wreak more havoc. And in the midst of the havoc-wreaking, the only thing anyone can do is to go through it the very best they can.
The message the film sends is one of patience and perseverance. When you’re in school or working, or both – those pieces of debris will hurtle toward you. Guaranteed. And, like the fated astronauts in “Gravity,” you can- and will – find a way to keep moving.
2. We can choose how we respond to catastrophe.
At one point in this film, for all intents and purposes, there is absolutely no hope whatsoever. None. Every possible route back to earth has been effectively nixed. Nothing doing.
The decision the astronaut has to make at this point is an important one, and a lesson for everyone who’s ever felt cut off from the rest of the world, backed into a corner, or in an otherwise crummy spot: You get to decide whether you blaze forward and make your own way or fizzle out.
Even when we feel at our most alone, we still have resources to call on, bounce ideas off of, and guide us back into orbit. That’s another important lesson from this film – the beauty of the human spirit’s resiliency and power to hope, even when the possible outcomes aren’t clear.
There are moments in Gravity when the camera shifts to first person point of view – we see what the astronaut sees. It’s breathtaking and awe-inspiring to say the least.
When you realize that there are astronauts occupying the ISS who see similar views of earth and space each day, it puts trivial problems like traffic, a late homework assignment or a ruined pair of khakis into perspective. It’s a good reminder that we earth-dwellers are a tiny part of the cosmos and whatever troubles we have – although they’re important to us – are temporary.
So if you were wondering how Military Authority relates to Gravity and its stars, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, hopefully we’ve answered your question. Whether you’re a soldier, student or spouse, there’s something to be said for an action-packed film that’s able to make hurtling through space a uniquely personal experience. It’s a space movie that grapples with the kind of human struggles you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand.
Have you seen Gravity yet? Did it speak to you? Are there other movies that resonated with you? Tell us in the comments.
Copyright by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc
#militaryauthority #gravitymovie #bullock #clooney
WASHINGTON (Dec. 4, 2013) – Veterans, their families and survivors receiving disability compensation and pension benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs will receive a 1.5 percent cost-of-living increase in their monthly payments beginning Jan. 1, 2014.
“We’re pleased there will be another cost-of-living increase for Veterans, their families and their survivors,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The increase expresses in a tangible way our Nation’s gratitude for the sacrifices made by our service-disabled and wartime Veterans.”
For the first time, payments will not be rounded down to the nearest dollar. Until this year, that was required by law. Veterans and survivors will see additional cents included in their monthly compensation benefit payment.
For Veterans without dependents, the new compensation rates will range from $130.94 monthly for a disability rated at 10 percent to $2,858.24 monthly for 100 percent. The full rates are available at www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/rates-index.asp.
The COLA increase also applies to disability and death pension recipients, survivors receiving dependency and indemnity compensation, disabled Veterans receiving automobile and clothing allowances, and other benefits.
Under federal law, cost-of-living adjustments for VA’s compensation and pension must match those for Social Security benefits. The last adjustment was in January 2013 when the Social Security benefits rate increased 1.7 percent.
In fiscal year 2013, VA provided over $59 billion in compensation benefits to nearly 4 million Veterans and survivors, and over $5 billion in pension benefits to more than 515,000 Veterans and survivors.
For Veterans and separating Servicemembers who plan to file an electronic disability claim, VA urges them to use the joint DoD/VA online portal, eBenefits. Registered eBenefits users with a premium account can file a claim online, track the status, and access a variety of other benefits, including pension, education, health care, home loan eligibility, and vocational rehabilitation and employment programs.
For more information about VA benefits, visit www.benefits.va.gov, or call 1-800-827-1000.
#2014COLA #VAbenefits #veteransbenefits
We thought of you today, as we were cooking and cleaning, preparing to sit down for a hot, home-cooked meal with family and friends. We thought of so many empty chairs at so many tables across the country, so many post-turkey naps with your name on them.
We wondered what you’d think of the crazy holiday shopping frenzy – would you join the long lines to get deals or would you be a vocal protester of all those stores that are open on holidays? Then we realized you would probably laugh – because you’re where you are, without the day off, safeguarding our right to even have the debate.
When you’re thinking of us, wondering what we’re doing, know that we do the same. Know that we’re forever proud of you, praying for you, counting the days until you’re home.
We wouldn’t have nearly as much to be thankful for without you.
Photo credit: iloveusa.com via https://www.facebook.com/SgtDunson
I get it. College is expensive, finding a good job right now is challenging – even if you already have a degree. And the idea of investing a couple of years of your life and (unless you’re receiving employer or military education benefits) your money without some kind of guaranteed payoff at the end can be unsettling.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, education – a college education – is important. But why is education more valuable than certain luxuries?
We’ve answered this question several ways before, but I wanted to frame it in a little different way today, just to help keep things in perspective. Here’s a list of things that lots of people spend money and time on that have far less impact on your future security than a college education.
1. SPORT UTILITY VEHICLES
According to the College Board, a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college for the 2012–2013 academic year averaged $22,261. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $43,289.
Until the day arrives that a car can get you a job or pay for your groceries, hang on to your reliable, reasonably-priced vehicle (or take the bus).
Yes, coffee costs significantly less than an SUV, but still – how much does a cup of joe really contribute to your life? Can it get you an interview? Or a promotion? I think not.
A 2011 Consumerist report says the Average American spends about $1,100 each year on coffee. That’s a lot of money that could be put to better use. Like, say, on tuition, or textbook rental or a high-functioning laptop.
3. PET COSTUMES
The National Retail Federation estimates that 22 million people will dress up their pets for Halloween and spend an estimated $330 million on pet costumes alone. Pet. Costumes. $330 million. I’ll wait while that little factoid sinks in.
That works out to be an average of $150 per pet owner. You could rent three textbooks online for the price of Fido’s custom Darth Maul costume and accessories.
4. TEETH WHITENING
The average cost of dental-assisted whitening treatment is about $650 – and the 10 million people who bought over the counter whitening products spent about $140 each year for their shiny smile.
A shiny smile is a good asset to have, and according to the American Cosmetic Dentistry Association nearly 2/3rds of Americans believe an unattractive smile can hurt your social standing. But you know what can hurt your job standing? Not having an education.
5. TICKETS TO SPORTING EVENTS
College sports alone can cost at least $50 per ticket per game for students. In fact, according to a survey by ticket distributor TiQ, the average single ticket price to a college football game at one of the top 25 ranked football schools is $161.08. Multiply that by the number of games in a season and if you’re a sports fan, you’re shelling out a lot of cash that could be used toward your future employability.
It’s your future, and your financial investment. Before you plunk down your hard-earned dollars, think about what you’d rather have. Will you spend your money on discretionary “nice-to-have” items, or on where the real value is- your education and skills?
#GranthamUniversity #militaryauthority #college #bynr