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  • HVAC Approves Bills to Speed up Veterans Disability Benefits The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs (HVAC) marked up and approved several proposals that include two FRA-supported bills that aim to improve adjudication of disability claims at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
  • U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Divorced Military Retiree The United States Supreme Court recently ruled (8-0) in Howell v. Howell (Docket 15-1031) holding: A state court may not order a military retiree to indemnify a divorced spouse for the loss in the divorced spouse's portion of the retirement pay caused by the retiree's waiver of retirement pay to receive service-related disability benefits.
  • FRA Supports CFPB Military Affairs Office In the wake of Congressional efforts to make substantial changes to law creating the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), FRA signed onto a letter to Congress, supporting CFPB's Office of Servicemember Affairs (OSA).
  • FRA Salutes Outstanding Sailors FRA congratulates the Navy's 2016 Sailors of the Year (SOY), who were meritoriously promoted to chief petty officers during ceremonies in the D.C. this week.
  • Navy Reserve Force Master Chief Selected Commander, Navy Reserve Force Vice Admiral Luke McCollum recently announced Command Master Chief Christopher D. Kotz will take charge from Force Master Chief "CJ" Mitchell this October.
  • VA Disability Appeals Reform Introduced FRA Director of Legislative Programs John Davis attended a House Veterans' Affairs Committee hearing on reforming and modernizing the Department of Veterans Affairs appeals process for appeals of disability claim decisions.
  • Federal Court of Appeals Hearing on AOBWN Issue FRA staff Chris Slawinski and Brian Condon attended the hearing. Oral arguments took place in the case of Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs took place last week at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC.
  • House and Senate Subcommittees Have Oversight Hearings of VA The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies held a hearing to review the VA's budget recommendations.
  • Unemployment for Post-911 Veterans Drops The unemployment rate for post-911 veterans has recently dropped from five percent to 3.9 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Military Spouse Appreciation Day Friday, May 12, 2017 is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, created by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 to honor the contributions and sacrifices made by military spouses.
  • FY 2017 Spending Bill Congressional budget negotiators reached a final agreement on spending for the current fiscal year (FY2017) that includes a $21 billion boost to Defense spending compared to FY2016.
  • FRA Participates in DHA Working Group FRA Director of Outreach Coordination & Legislative Program Healthcare Advisor Bob Washington participated in a recent meeting of the Military Health System MSO/VSO Working Group with Acting Deputy Director of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) RADM Colin Chinn.
  • Senate Subcommittee Reviews Veteran's Suicide The Senate Appropriations, Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies recently held an oversight hearing on the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) veteran suicide prevention programs.
  • TRICARE Changes Coverage for Nexium Starting June 28, 2017, TRICARE will no longer include the drug Nexium in the preferred, or formulary drug list and it will no longer be available in military hospitals or clinics.
  • DFAS Address for Retirees, Annuitants Changed May 1 Military retirees and annuitants corresponding with the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) need to use a new address.
  • Government Shutdown Avoided for One Week As Newsbytes gets distributed, it appears Congress will avert a government shutdown by passing another (third) Continuing Resolution (CR) that extends government funding at FY 2016 levels for one week. The current CR expires at midnight Friday, April 28. Reports indicate budget negotiators are close to agreeing on the final FY 2017 budget but a complete agreement is yet to come.
  • FRA Staff and VA Secretary Discuss Agent Orange Blue Water Navy Issue FRA Assistant Director of Veteran Programs Brian Condon, along with representatives from other veteran organizations, met with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David Shulkin to discuss the effects the toxin Agent Orange had on Vietnam veterans who served on ships in the Da Nang and Nha Trang Harbors.
  • Post 911 GI Bill Fee Proposed This past week, House Committee on Veterans' Affairs (HVAC) Chairman Rep. Phil Roe (Tenn.) proposed a $100 monthly fee for as long as two years for recruits to be eligible for the Post 911GI Bill education benefits.
  • Improvements to the TRICARE Dental Program Beginning on May 1, 2017, United Concordia Companies, Inc. will manage the TRICARE Dental Program (TDP). Beneficiaries don't need to take any actions to continue their coverage.
  • VA Accountability Office Created President Trump signed an Executive Order creating the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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