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VA offering retro benefits to encourage use of 'developed' claims
Stars and Stripes
The Department of Veterans Affairs is rolling out cash incentives potentially worth tens of thousands of dollars to persuade veterans to use their new Fully Developed Claims process, in an effort to fight the claims backlog. Beginning Aug. 5, any veteran who submits a new disability claim through the FDC process will be eligible for a year's worth of retroactive benefits, once their case is completed.
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 Employment


Money or no, Senate panel OKs help for veterans
The Herald
With no heed of a debt crisis, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee voted to help more veterans find work, help more injured vets gain reproductive health services, and pay caregivers of seriously disabled veterans who left service before 9/11 a monthly stipend plus expenses. How to cover the $12 billion cost of these initiatives, over just the next five years, is still to be determined, conceded Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., committee chairman. But he promised colleagues to try to find the money.
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Unemployment rate rises among post-9/11 veterans
PCS-Lodging.com
The Department of Labor recently released its unemployment statistics for July, and while the nationwide numbers were encouraging, the same could not be said for post-9/11 veterans. Ending months of progress, the unemployment rate for the nation's most recent vets jumped to 7.7 percent, up from June's 7.2 percent. The figure puts the group slightly above the national average of 7.4 percent, according to Military Times.
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 Education
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Post-9/11 GI Bill has paid out $30 billion in first 4 years
Providence Journal
The fourth anniversary of the Post-9/11 GI Bill was celebrated on Aug. 1, with the Department of Veterans Affairs issuing approximately $30 billion in payments helping nearly 1 million service members, veterans and their families pursue their education over that period.
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Agencies work to bolster vet, family education outcomes
American Forces Press Service via Hi-Desert Star
Several government agencies are working on initiatives to improve educational success rates for service members, veterans and their families, senior Department of Veterans Affairs and consumer protection officials told lawmakers. Curtis L. Coy, deputy undersecretary for economic opportunity for VA's Veterans Benefits Administration, testified with several other witnesses before the Senate, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on educational outcomes for military members and veterans.
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 Benefits


Disability benefits forms streamline process
The Durango Herald
Disability benefits questionnaires are downloadable forms created for veterans to use in the evaluation process for disability claims. DBQs were developed to streamline the collection of necessary medical evidence for the purpose of processing veterans' claims. These forms provide veterans with an improved means to submit medical evidence to support their claims.
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New York governor signs legislation ensuring veterans service agencies are providing highest level of care possible
WKBW-TV
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the signing of a new law that will require local Veterans Service Agencies to be accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, enabling New York's veterans and their families to prepare and file federal benefits claims at offices in their local communities.
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 Housing


Senator introduces bill to help more veterans stay in their own homes
Lexington Clipper-Herald
Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., has introduced legislation that could help keep veterans in their own homes for a longer period of time before they have to go to a nursing home. Johanns and Sen. Jack Reed, D-RI., introduced bipartisan legislation to help provide suitable housing for veterans in need. The Housing Assistance for Veterans Act authorizes a competitive, five year pilot program to assist disabled and low-income veterans in need of housing adaptation or home repairs.
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Veterans receive homeowner assistance
Michigan State University Extension
Veterans have a special fund to receive homeowner assistance to help save their homes, called the Michigan Veterans Homeowners Assistance Program. The Michigan Attorney General, Bill Schuette, targeted $5 million from the National Mortgage Settlement to assist active duty and veterans with issues related to the foreclosure process.
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Los Angeles County has highest population of homeless veterans
Glendora Patch
The country's top veterans affairs official has committed to ramping up funding to help Los Angeles County's more than 6,000 homeless veterans, local elected officials announced. U.S. Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki made the commitment at a meeting with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif, Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky in Washington, D.C.

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Program offers returning veterans a pathway to civilian careers
North Texas e-News
The Texas Workforce Commission announced an award of $1.5 million to support College Credit for Heroes workforce development grants at 10 colleges and universities, including six new partner schools, to expand the program's reach and better meet the needs of veteran students.

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House panel examines changes to veterans retraining program
Marine Corps Times
A House subcommittee is considering legislation to fix one of the many problems with a year-old veterans training program many say is underused. More than 105,000 veterans have applied to use the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program, which provides a year of monthly GI Bill benefits for a veteran to attend a full-time training program to learn a new and marketable skill. But only 52,228 are enrolled in school.

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 Legal Assistance


Shady lenders still pose problems for troops, veterans
Military Times
Despite improvements in enforcement of consumer protection laws and education for service members and veterans, problems persist with loans, veterans' benefits and retired pay and pensions, according to witnesses testifying before the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee. In the last six months, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has received 1,939 complaints related to the financial protections of the Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act, said Holly Petraeus of the bureau's office of servicemember affairs.
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Veterans clinic offers free legal assistance
WCSH-TV
According to some legal experts, access to benefits can mean the difference between stability and homelessness for veterans. That's why volunteer lawyers recently held a free veterans clinic in Portland, Maine. Lawyers from the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project, Pine Tree Legal Assistance, and the Maine Commission for Community Service met with veterans, who were able to offer advice about everything from medical benefits to home loan assistance.
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VAA Dispatch
Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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Rebecca Eberhardt, Content Editor, 469.420.2608   
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