Veteran Policy Update: Senator King’s press releases & co-sponsored legislation; webinars & other events; funding opportunities

May 13, 2019 Hi everyone, Lots to read, lots to do!  Have a great week! Press Releases from Senator King’s office:King Co-Sponsors Legislation to Save Millions in Wasted Government Funds Sent to Deceased AmericansMay 10, 2019WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) has cosponsored the Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act, a bipartisan, bicameral bill that would help save taxpayer funds by ending erroneous payments to deceased individuals. “It’s simply commonsense: our taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be going to deceased individuals,” said Senator King. “This legislation will correct bureaucratic errors that waste taxpayer funds, so we can focus our resources on helping living… Continue Reading »— King Fights New Tax Increase for Bereaved Military FamiliesMay 8, 2019WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) today joined a group of his Senate colleagues to introduce the Gold Star Family Tax Relief Act, bipartisan legislation that would provide financial relief for the families of U.S. servicemembers who have died while on active duty. The bill would reverse a provision in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to ensure that Gold Star children who receive Survivor Benefit Plan income are taxed at their individual income rate, and not at far higher… Continue Reading »Senator King in the news:Senator King in SASC Subcommittee on Strategic Forces, YouTube video, May 8, 2019The CV Report: Weed, Women’s VA experiences & Sen. King’s trip to Iraq, ConnectingVetsRadio.com, hosted by Phil Briggs, May 5, 2019Senator King’s segment begins at 15:00, but the whole report is worth a listen. Senator King co-sponsored (links to Congress.gov for more details):S. 1348 – A bill to require the Secretary of Defense to conduct a study on cyberexploitation of members of the Armed Forces and their families, and for other purposes. S. 1370 – A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to treat certain military survivor benefits as earned income for purposes of the kiddie tax.  ICYMI(Links to the following news and research items are offered in the spirit of outreach and public education. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the Senator or his staff.) Need to connect someone with the Veterans Crisis Line?  With an iPhone you can simply say, “Hey Siri, call the veterans crisis line,” and it will do so automatically, even if you do not have the number already saved in your contacts (1-800-273-8255).  With Android phones say “OK Google, call the veterans crisis line”.  I tried it both ways – it works! Message from VHS MaineEffective at 3 p.m., today, May 6, 2019, all Community Care Claims Adjudication related billing callswill be going to the national Community Care Contact Center (C4). First and foremost, the direct number to C4 is: (877) 881-7618. Veterans and Vendors will still be able to dial into the local CAR Customer Service lines for the next 60 days. Callers will receive a standard greeting message stating that the phone number has changed, the C4 phone number, and then the call will be transferred to the C4. After 60 days, on July 6th, the standard greeting message will be updated informing callers that Non VA Care billing calls are addressed at the C4 providing the C4 phone number and then the call will be disconnected. Inquiries that the C4 cannot respond to will be sent to local staff as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) escalation inquiries. For those that are familiar, this is similar to how the CPAC addresses HRC inquiries. Over the next weeks, Claims Adjudication and Reimbursement (CAR) staff will continue to address any pending inquiries that they were working on, address any voicemails that were left on the local CAR CS lines prior to 3 p.m. 05/06/19 and prepare to transition to focusing on processing claims and addressing CRM inquiries from C4. Please note that, if facility staff receive a call from a veteran and/or vendor regarding claims status, please refer them to the C4 for assistance. Customer service for claims inquiries will no longer be handled locally either by telephone or email. The Post-9/11 GI Bill: Beneficiaries, Choices, and Cost, a Congressional Budget Office Report, May 2019 Beginning August 1, 2009, the Post-9/11 GI Bill extended educational benefits to service members who were on active duty in the military on or after September 11, 2001. This GI Bill (officially the Post9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008), the latest version of a law that helps veterans pay for higher education, provides more extensive benefits than have ever been offered to current and former service members, enabling them to transfer its benefits to certain family members and to enroll in a wide array of educational and training programs. In March 2019, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) reported that in 2018 it spent about $10.7 billion on 700,000 beneficiaries of the Post-9/11 GI Bill.Three Ways to Use National Veterans Intermediary’s New PsychArmor Courses, by Rhiannon Guzelian, May 3, 2019This week, we’re excited to release TWO new courses developed in partnership with PsychArmor Institute. “What is a Backbone Organization and What is its Role?” and “Why Collaboration is So Important in Serving Military, Veterans, their Families, and Caregivers” are part of our “Communities Serving Veterans” school. We’ve got some suggestions for how you can use them…:VA, Army, Navy and Marines will pilot women-specific transition program, by Kaylah Jackson, ConnectingVets.com, May 3, 2019Women service members could soon benefit from a personalized transition program thanks to the Department of Veteran Affairs and the service branches.  Dr. Patricia Hayes, chief consultant for women’s health services at the Veterans Health Administration, announced at a House Veteran’s Affairs hearing that VA will begin a pilot women’s health transition program with the Army, Navy and Marine Corps.The Friends of the National World War II Memorial is calling on all World War II veterans to join us at the National World War II Memorial this year as we continue with our four-year WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration, marking the 75th anniversary of every battle and campaign during World War II. 

Let us Honor You, Recognize You, and Thank You at the World War II Memorial! 

Friends is the only organization hosting a four-year 75th anniversary commemoration, marking every battle in which American troops participated during World War II. Since the beginning of the 75th anniversary commemoration on Pearl Harbor Day 2016, Friends has hosted twenty 75th anniversary ceremonies at the Memorial. The Friends of the National World War II Memorial WWII 75th Anniversary Commemoration still has two more years full of ceremonies left, as it will continue through the 75th anniversary of V-J Day on September 2, 2020.

Among the battles whose 75th anniversaries Friends will be marking over the course of 2019 are the 75th anniversary of the Allied landings at Normandy, France on D-Day on June 6, 2019 and the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge on December 16, 2019.  In order to honor, remember, and celebrate the Greatest Generation, we want to be joined by as many of our World War II Veterans as possible. But even if our veterans can’t make it in person or if they’ve left us too soon, they can still be honored!  If you are a WWII veteran or you know of one, please be sure to sign up to be remembered today!CLICK HERE FOR OUR 2019 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS75th Anniversary of the GI Bill, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website, visited March 7, 2019How has the GI Bill impacted your life? Share your story!  Since 1944 the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI Bill, has impacted the lives of millions of Veterans and their families. The law provided a wide range of benefits to Veterans returning from World War II, including low-cost home loans, education and vocational training, unemployment payments, and an expansion of Veterans’ health care. As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the GI Bill, we will tell the story of how this legislation has impacted Veterans and their families for generations. Share your story by submitting a video any time between March 1 and June 22, 2019. Whether your story involves getting an education, buying a house, or other VA benefits that impacted your life. Your story may appear on our YouTube page, highlighted on this page, or other VA materials. We’ll be featuring stories from March through June as VA celebrates this important milestone.—Webinars and other events:  VA Maine Healthcare System Proudly Hosts Women Veterans Open House!Stop by the Women’s Primary Care ClinicBuilding 205, TogusThursday, May 16th2pm-3pm Learn about the health care services for women Veterans, meet the staff, and help celebrate the clinic’s 5th year anniversary of being open! For more information contact; LaRhonda Harris (207) 623-8411 x4017.  By the way, note these additional VA claims clinics: 2nd Tuesday of the Month, 9 am, Walk inClinic @ VA CBOC, 655 Main ST,Saco, ME~3rd Wednesday of the Month, 9 am, Walk inClinic @ VA CBOC, 15 Challenger DR,Lewiston, ME~4th Tuesday of the Month, 9 am, Walk inClinic @VA CBOC, 144 Fore St,Portland, METhe Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee’s next meeting isMonday, June 3rd, 2019, 6PMMaine Veterans’ Homes Central Office460 Civic Center DriveAugusta, Maine The Maine Veterans Coordinating Committee is established as a nonprofit, nonpartisan and nonsectarian organization for the purpose of serving the State’s congressional delegation, the Legislature, local governments and the general public as a clearinghouse of information and suggested legislation regarding veterans’ issues at local, state and federal levels.  MVCC meetings are the first Monday of the month, September – June. All are welcome.  FMI: David Patch, dapatch@roadrunner.comWills for HeroesA pro bono event providingFREE BASIC ESTATE PLANNING SERVICESfor veterans and their spousesThursday, May 23, 20193:00-7:00 p.m.Bangor Vet Center Pine Tree Legal Assistance and the Maine State Bar Association have coordinated several attorney volunteers to prepare wills, and related basic estate planning instruments free of charge for low income veterans living in our community.  We are honored to provide this service to the heroes who have sacrificed so much for this country and community. We hope to see you at one of our clinics! Interested veterans and their spouses should make an appointment by contacting us at veterans@ptla.org or (207) 400-3229. A member of our staff will return messages and provide necessary intake documents which must be returned to a Pine Tree office no later than May 17th. There is limited opportunity for services, and preference will be given to those registered in advance. Next:  Portland – June 13, 2019, 3:00-7:00 p.m. at University of Southern MaineAdult Mental Health First Aid for Veterans and Their Families 
June 11th, 2019
8:30 – 4:30 pm
Bangor Savings Bank
5 Senator Way
Augusta, Maine 04330 
Mental Health First Aid is a national best-practice, evidenced-based certification course that is 8 hours in length and leads to a 3 year certification issued by the National Council on Behavioral Health.  This training is only for Veterans, their families and friends. Mental Health First Aid for Military Members, Veterans and their Families teaches people how to notice and respond to signs of mental health and addiction challenges with a specific focus on the cultural factors related to military life. Register Here: https://www.namimaine.org/events/EventDetails.aspx…FMI: Cecilia Natale, mhfa@namimaine.org, 207-622-5767—VATown Hall
Wednesday, June 12th – 5:00 PM
St. Anne’s Episcopal Church23 Church Street, Calais, ME— A Veterans’ Memorial Inter-Tribal Pow Wowhosted at VA Medical Center-TogusJune 15 and 16.Gates open at 10:00 a.m.Grand entry 12:00 p.m.Closing at 5:00 p.m. The weekend will feature Grandmothers Tears traditional Drum & singers, Sacred Spirit, 2 Bears Flutes of Maine, Humble Spirit, Heavy Rain, Fish River Singers, Mountain Spirit, the Wolf Ledge Refuge, Spanish Mustangs, as well as Tipi Displays, 15 vendors and food trucks. FMI, contact Maureen Haley at 207-570-8764.— Honor Flight Maine could use your help!Honor Flight Maine is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s Veterans for all their service and sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to tour, experience and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to our most frail veterans – terminally ill veterans of all conflicts and World War II survivors. Korean and Vietnam Veterans are also transported on a first-come, first-served, space-available basis. The next flight is June 28, 29, 30 – All flights leave/arrive at PWM (with welcome home events on the Sunday of their return).  Honor Flight is looking for WW II veterans who would like to go on this trip! Call 207-370-7210 or go visit their website for more info. 
Notices of Funding, Proposals, Recognition:Are you ready to solve a problem?  Check out 100&Change – from the MacArthur Foundation The competition launched on Tuesday, April 30, 2019. You must register by Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Central. Applications are due no later than Tuesday August 6, 2019, at 11:00 a.m. Central.100&Change is a MacArthur Foundation competition for a $100 million grant to fund a single proposal that will make measurable progress toward solving a significant problem. Proposals focused on any critical issue are welcome… No sector or field is out of bounds for this competition. All proposals, however, must propose a serious solution to a significant problem that has a charitable purpose. Proposals must then pass through a rigorous application process and meet the requirements of being impactful, evidence-based, feasible, and durable.— As always, I am eager to hear from you. Thank you for all that you are doing! Please feel free to call or write.  Best Regards,

Teague Morris
Outreach Director | Senator Angus S. King, Jr., Maine
4 Gabriel Drive, Suite 3 | Augusta, ME 04330
Tel: 207-622-8292 | Tel:1-800-432-1599| Cell: 207-252-8997
Fax: 207-621-0286 |teague_morris@king.senate.gov
           

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