VFW Action Corps Weekly
November 20, 2020
In This Issue:
1. Tell Congress to Stand Up for Vietnam Veterans
2. VA Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2021
3. TRICARE Open Season
4. November is National Family Caregivers Month
5. Army Settles Court Case on Bad Conduct Discharges
6. Blood Donation Need Still Critical
7. MIA Update
1. Tell Congress to Stand Up for Vietnam Veterans: Right now, congressional conference committee members are deciding which provisions will remain in the final version of S. 4049, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 (NDAA). Senate Amendment 1972 to this bill would provide the life-saving care and benefits needed for Vietnam veterans suffering from bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, and parkinsonism. Take action today to urge your senators and representatives to ensure Senate Amendment 1972 remains in the final version of the NDAA. Hold Congress accountable to do the right thing for our Vietnam veterans!
2. VA Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2021: Veterans receiving government benefits will see a cost of living increase take effect on Dec. 1, 2020, and will be reflected in the Dec. 31, 2020 payment. This is equal to the increase granted for Social Security benefits, which will be 1.3% for 2021. The increase will be for wartime disability compensation, compensation for dependents, clothing allowance, and dependency and indemnity compensation to surviving spouses and children.
3. TRICARE Open Season: TRICARE Open Season is currently open through Dec. 14, 2020. This is the time when beneficiaries can enroll in or change their health care coverage. Any changes will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2021. This year it is important to note that TRICARE Select Group A retirees will be required to pay an enrollment fee beginning on Jan. 1, 2021. Beneficiaries must set up an allotment with their regional contractors for the enrollment fee to begin on Jan. 1, 2021. Individuals who do not set up their allotment by the deadline will be unenrolled due to nonpayment. Learn more.
4. November is National Family Caregivers Month: Resources for caregivers have significantly increased since the passing of the VFW-supported VA Mission Act of 2018. In October of this year, the application process for caregivers of veterans injured in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975, opened eligibility for the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. The VA Caregiver Support Program offers a collection of tools and information for both the caregivers and the veterans they serve. Additionally, Building Better Caregivers provides an online workshop with self-paced lessons and a connection with the caregiver community.
5. Army Settles Court Case on Bad Conduct Discharges: On Wednesday, the U.S. Army announced that it had reached a nationwide settlement in a case brought by veterans who received other-than-honorable discharges. As part of the settlement, the Army agrees to review decisions of the Army Discharge Review Board (ADRB) issued on or after Oct. 7, 2001, for certain veterans with mental health conditions, including PTSD and TBI. The Army will automatically reconsider all eligible ADRB decisions issued on or after April 17, 2011. Veterans who received a decision issued by the ADRB between Oct. 7, 2001 until April 16, 2011, will be permitted to file for reconsideration. Learn how to apply for a discharge upgrade.
6. Blood Donation Need Still Critical: This holiday season, the Red Cross strongly urges healthy, eligible individuals who are feeling well to give blood, platelets, or plasma to help maintain a sufficient supply for those battling COVID-19, cancers, other infections, or trauma victims. Those who donate between Nov. 25-28, 2020, will receive an exclusive long-sleeved Red Cross T-shirt. Please schedule an appointment by using the Red Cross Blood Donor app, visiting RedCrossBlood.org, or calling 1.800.RED.CROSS (1.800.733.2767).
7. MIA Update: The Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency announced no new identifications or burial updates for service members who have been missing and unaccounted-for.
As always, we want to hear your advocacy stories. To share your stories or photos with us, simply email them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.