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As 2013 comes to a close, VAA would hope its members, partners and other industry professionals enjoy a safe and happy holiday season. As we reflect on the past year for the industry, we would like to provide the readers of VAA Dispatch a look at the most accessed articles from the year. Our regular publication will resume next Tuesday, Jan. 7.

10 best cities for veterans
NerdWallet via AOL Real Estate
May 27, 2013: For this Memorial Day, NerdWallet wanted to salute U.S. armed forces by looking at the best metropolitan areas for veterans. They wanted to find the areas with excellent support systems for veterans easing back into civilian life. NerdWallet calculated the best metros for veterans by answering several questions.
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Government shutdown talks shift from 'if' to 'how long?'
Stars and Stripes
Sept. 30, 2013: As a government shutdown looms, some discussions in the nation's capital shifted from whether a last-minute deal can be reached to exactly how long and painful a partial shutdown would be for the country. Recently, House members approved a new budget plan that still includes a delay in implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a move that Senate leaders immediately labeled a step towards a shutdown crisis.
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2013 Top 100 Military Friendly Employers
Show Your Stripes
June 18, 2013: The 10th annual list of Top 100 Military Friendly Employers has been released by G.I. Jobs. The list of 100 companies represents the top 2 percent of more than 5,000 eligible companies whose annual revenues exceeded $500 million. The Military Friendly Employers list, which is verified by Ernst & Young LLP, serves as the primary benchmark of corporate recruiting programs aimed at veterans.
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Shutdown's impact may not be over for veterans
CNN
Oct. 19, 2013: The partial government shutdown ended three days ago, but America's veterans may continue to feel its effects for some time. Throughout the 16-day shutdown, efforts to clear the Department of Veterans Affairs' backlog of veterans' disabilities claims stalled, according to a department official. This delay has created concern about Secretary Eric Shinseki's ability to keep his pledge to end all backlogged claims — those older than 125 days — by 2015, the official said.
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Secretary: Shutdown to rob 5 million veterans of their benefits
U.S. News & World Report
Oct. 9, 2013: More than 5 million veterans, as well as some active-duty service members, will not receive crucial benefits after Nov. 1 if the government shutdown continues for much longer, the secretary of Veterans Affairs said. Eric Shinseki, a retired Army general, told members of Congress that the ongoing government shutdown affects his department's ability to dispense compensation, employment and pension payments, vocational and rehabilitation services, as well as education under the GI Bill.
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Veterans fight changes to disability payments
The Associated Press via Logan Banner
March 30, 2013: Veterans groups are rallying to fight any proposal to change disability payments as the federal government attempts to address its long-term debt problem. They say they've sacrificed already. Government benefits are adjusted according to inflation, and President Barack Obama has endorsed using a slightly different measure of inflation to calculate Social Security benefits. Benefits would still grow but at a slower rate.
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Female veterans battle for benefits at home
Chicago Tribune via Military.com
When Xatavia Hughes, the granddaughter of a military man, went to serve in Iraq, she was prepared to prove herself to the male soldiers. And she did. It was only after she returned from a war zone to Chicago in December 2010 that Hughes began to feel tested.

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VA offers grants for transportation of rural veterans
Grants.gov
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has recently announced grants for transportation to veterans in highly rural areas.

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Hiring MBAs? You should be looking at NCOs
Forbes
Co-founder and chairman of Dixon Center for Military and Veterans Community Services Col. David Sutherland writes: "The GMAC survey said that U.S.-based companies planning to hire MBAs are focused on both growth and efficiency. But you won't find anyone more qualified and with more experience than a noncommissioned officer."

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Time for Congress to put veterans funding 1st
The Hill
Oct. 5, 2013: Whether the government shutdown is long or short, Washington's continuing failure to resolve budget disputes disrupts processing and delivery of vital benefits to our nation's veterans. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, a prolonged government shutdown will close many VA offices to veterans seeking benefits, delay even further the hundreds of thousands of veterans' claims still awaiting decisions and soon result in halting disability compensation payments to 3.8 million veterans, their dependents and survivors, many of whom have no other sources of support. This is outrageous and unacceptable; worse it was predictable and preventable.
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Top 10 states hurt by the government shutdown
Wall St. Cheat Sheet via USA Today
Oct. 12, 2013: With America two weeks into the government shutdown temper tantrum, politicians have mostly acted like spoiled children — retreating to their rooms of incompetence and only coming out to collect their allowances. The standoff is costing taxpayers millions of dollars per day, with some states feeling the effects more than others. In order to gauge which parts of the nation are taking the biggest financial hits from the shutdown, WalletHub conducted a study by using several key data sources. Interestingly, the report finds that states won by the Republican Party in the 2012 presidential election could feel the most pain with a prolonged government shutdown, as 15 Red States ranked in the top 25.
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Obama: 'We will never forget' veterans
USA TODAY
Nov. 11, 2013: Richard Overton survived Pearl Harbor, fought at Iwo Jima and Okinawa, has lived to be 107 years old — and earned a standing ovation led by the commander in chief, President Barack Obama. "This is the life of one American veteran — living proud and strong in the land he helped keep free," Obama said.
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Veterans up for slew of new benefits from bills in Texas Legislature
The Dallas Morning News (subscriber article)
May 19, 2013: The generally penny-pinching Legislature has found one group to lavish with generosity: veterans. Lawmakers have worked this year to reduce veterans' college tuition, utility bills, handgun license fees and property taxes, and to extend many of those benefits to their families. More than 190 bills that would benefit veterans and the military were introduced this year. They range from the small nods of approving specialty license plates to the bigger salutes of spending at least $30 million for tuition exemptions.
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Colby Horton, Vice President of Publishing, 469.420.2601
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