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Posts Tagged ‘Military Families’

Commission Urges Retaining Commissaries, Improving Quality-of-Life Programs

  • January 30, 2015
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The final report of the Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission devoted seven of its 15 recommendations to changes benefitting quality of life for service members and their families, including several that go beyond a strict definition of pay and benefits. Two recommendations that had not been previously revealed would bolster service members’ transition to civilian life and better support military children …

Commission Recommendations to Benefit Military Families

  • January 28, 2015
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Several recommendations from the congressionally established commission reviewing military compensation are expected to support military families, according to sources familiar with the final report. The Military Compensation and Retirement Modernization Commission will recommend DOD build more child development centers on installations, a response to military families’ long-standing complaints about the lack of sufficient child care, reported Military Times. The commission reportedly will call for preserving existing commissary benefits, including selling items at cost plus a 5 percent surcharge …

Change in Housing Allowance Applies to Families Living On-, Off-Base

  • January 27, 2015
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Military families living in on-base privatized housing as well as those living off base will be affected by Congress’ move to slow the growth in the basic allowance for housing (BAH) so it covers only 99 percent of rental costs. The change, enacted as part of the fiscal 2015 defense authorization bill, means that families moving into privatized housing will pay rent that is one percent higher than their BAH. “The basic premise is that whatever is happening to everybody in town, whatever added burden they’re bearing whether it’s one percent [of average rental costs] out of pocket or absent renter’s insurance, then people on base will bear the same burden …

FY’16 Budget May Propose Ending Requirement for Commissary Goods to Be Discounted

  • January 26, 2015
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The Pentagon is considering requesting Congress eliminate the requirement that commissary items be sold “at reduced cost,” as part of a package of fiscal 2016 budget proposals intended to reduce the cost of operating military grocery stores. The legislative change would be far-reaching and could end the commissary benefit for military families, reported the Navy Times. Commissaries now offer military families an average savings of about 30 percent over off-base groceries. Eliminating the requirement would help the Defense Commissary Agency meet a DOD mandate to identify $322 million in annual savings. Such a change, however, would result in DOD operating its commissaries closer to the way its exchanges are run …

New Guidelines to Improve Access to Installations for Troop Support Nonprofits

  • January 20, 2015
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Nonprofits providing support to military personnel and their families should find it easier to gain access to installations, under a memo recently issued by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. The memo emphasizes the importance of relationships with military support organizations and directs senior military leaders and installation commanders to implement uniform procedures to ease access for those groups, reported DOD News. Hagel said he is “directing installation commanders to be welcoming and supportive. … Consistent with mission requirements and security constraints, installation commanders are to provide even/support-driven access, support, collaboration, available space and certain logistical support to those organizations …

Louisville Mayor Prescribes Comprehensive Plan to End Veteran Homelessness

  • January 19, 2015
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Louisville, Ky., is in the midst of a far-reaching effort to end veteran homelessness by the end of the year. Fifteen local agencies already have raised $10 million for the initiative, which calls for substance abuse counseling, debt management, funding for housing needs and many other services to help homeless veterans get back on their feet, reported WDRB. Mayor Greg Fischer believes the effort will find permanent housing for 360 homeless veterans. The initiative, Rx: Housing Veterans, is part of the national campaign to end veteran homelessness called Zero 2016. “It’s not just a hand-out but a hand-up to a better quality of life, a better way of life and you know what? It’s just the right thing to do,” said Kentucky Veterans Affairs Commissioner Heather French Henry. “They served us; it’s time for us to serve them.”

New Orleans Goes Extra Step in Ending Veteran Homelessness

  • January 13, 2015
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New Orleans has ended veteran homelessness altogether, going a step beyond other major cities that have only ended chronic homelessness among veterans, according to Mayor Mitch Landrieu. Last July, Landrieu pledged that the city would find homes for all veterans living on the streets, a figure estimated at 193, reported the Independent. Last week, the mayor announced the city had found housing for 227 homeless veterans. More than 300 local, county and state officials have joined a White House initiative to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015, with several already declaring victory, including Phoenix and Salt Lake City …

Two More Posts Open Family Housing to Military Retirees, Civilians

  • January 12, 2015
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Two Army installations recently have opened their family housing to military retirees and DOD civilians in an effort to raise occupancy rates. Last month, Corvias Military Living started allowing military retirees, DOD civilians and the families of slain soldiers to apply to live on Fort Bragg, N.C. Last week, housing officials there said they would accept DOD civilians who are single and service members at the rank of sergeant in an on-base apartment complex, reported the Fayetteville Observer. Those apartments previously were available only to service members with a rank of E-6 or higher …

Iowa Strives to Attract Veterans

  • January 12, 2015
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Veterans living in Iowa are eligible for a variety of tax breaks and other benefits following enactment last year of the Home Base Iowa Act, legislation designed to convince veterans to move to the state. Under the program, veterans are eligible to receive: a waiver of state income tax on military pensions; a $5,000 grant toward the purchase of a home; in-state tuition for public colleges and universities; and the ability to more easily obtain civilian licenses for skills learned in the military. “What we’re doing in Iowa can be an example of what other states can do,” Gov. Terry Branstad (R) told Military Times. “We look at it as a win-win for the veteran, for the companies and also for the communities in which they locate.”

Waive Income Taxes on Retirees’ Military Benefits, South Carolina Paper Urges

  • January 6, 2015
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As part of an effort to attract retired veterans, South Carolina lawmakers should pass legislation eliminating the state’s income tax on military retirement benefits, according to an editorial in Tuesday’s Aiken Standard. Taxes from retirement benefits currently generate $22 million in revenue annually, but a policy to exempt such benefits from income taxes would boost economic growth if it helps the state attract more retirees, the paper said. “Such tax relief shouldn’t be seen as a mere display of patriotism, it would ultimately be a smart economic tool for the state’s future …

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