VA Free Programs Supporting Military Sexual Trauma Victims

VA’s National Theme in April 2014 is:

“You are not alone: VA supports survivors of military sexual trauma.”

You Are Not AloneVA health provider screenings found that about one in four women and one in 100 men seen in VA facilities report having experienced MST– sexual assault or repeated, threatening sexual harassment that occurred during military service. MST can affect Veterans’ physical and mental health for many years.

To assist recovery, treatment for MST-related physical and mental health conditions is available at every VHA facility, free to Veterans, regardless of service-connection status.

In other words, any U.S. Veteran may receive this free MST-related care, even if they are not eligible for other VA care. Every Veterans Health Administration facility has an MST Coordinator who serves as a point person for Veterans and staff.

Veteran caregivers have the power to encourage Veterans to seek help simply by responding sensitively, remaining knowledgeable about VA’s MST-related services, and ensuring confidentiality.

To learn more about MST and VA MST Treatment Services, visit the: 

Military Sexual Trauma  Mental Health

VA to Cover Remaining 2014 Semester for VRAP Students

Veterans Retraining Assistance Program  VRAPThe VA announced this week that they have taken steps to extend payments for participants in the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP). 

Currently enrolled participants will now receive payments to cover them from April 1, 2014 through the conclusion of their current enrollment semester/term or through June 30, 2014, whichever is earlier.

VRAP was passed as a part of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act of 2011 and was specifically designed to cover veterans who were not eligible to receive GI Bill educational benefits.  Originally, coverage was set to end on 3/31/14.  The program has helped 76,000 veterans to date.

For more detailed information on the VRAP program extended assistance, please visit: 

Covering Veterans Retraining Assistance Program Participants through June The White House

VA Launches GI Bill Comparison Tool and GI Bill Complaint System for Student Veterans

GI Bill Comparison Tool

student veteranThe U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has launched two new systems in 2014, each designed to help Student Veterans get the maximum potential out of their Post 911 GI Bill.

The first system, the GI Bill Comparison Tool, is designed to help students find a career field and then compare approved institutions that offer degrees or courses in that field.

This easy to use “start-to-finish” tool helps new student veterans complete the initial application for Post 911 GI Bill benefits, and then guides them step by step through the decision making process.

Prospective student veterans will also find several handy downloadable help guides, like:

The GI Bill Comparison Tool also links to other VA help sites, such as the eBenefits Jobs portal, to help new or returning student veterans find employment in their chosen college area.

The second system is the long awaited VA GI Bill Feedback System.  Student veterans who have a complaint about their educational institution can use the GI Bill Feedback System to report specific issues.  Student veterans may submit a complaint if their school or employer is failing to follow the Principles of Excellence. The VA will review the following types of complaints:

  • Recruiting and Marketing Practices
  • Accreditation
  • Quality of Education
  • Grade Policy…see all

Reporting these types of issues helps the VA get a better idea of problematic schools and employers, which may not be the best for veterans.

New student veterans looking to find schools that participate in the Principles of Excellence program can use the VA’s school locator tool.  The school locator tool is the best method for finding an educational institution that is currently approved for VA education benefits..



Budget Deal that Penalizes Military Retirees Heads to Senate

retirementUpdate: February 15, 2014

Military Times: Vets Upset COLA Reduction Remains for New Troops

Veterans welcomed the repeal of the reduction of the cost-of-living-adjustment for retirees starting in 2016, but veterans’ advocate groups are disappointed the reduction will still apply to new troops.

The bill now awaiting President Obama’s signature grandfathers current retirees and troops as of Dec. 31, 2013, from COLA cuts that were created as a deficit reduction measure. However, troops entering service after that date will see smaller COLAs when they begin retiring in 2034.

Original Article:

By a vote of 332-94, the House passed a two-year budget deal Thursday, December 12th. The deal funds the government and temporarily ends the sequester, but comes at a huge financial cost to working-age military retirees under the age of 62.

If the same deal is also approved by the Senate Monday, December 16th and signed into law by the president, the provision will automatically subtract a full percentage point from annual COLA increases.


For an E-7 retiring today at age 40, the cumulative loss of retirement income could exceed $80,000 by age 62.

“We know the federal government needs to curb its spending, balance its budget, and put an end to the sequester, but penalizing military retirees is not the solution,” said VFW National Commander Bill Thien.

“The troops view the attacks on pay and allowances, retirement and healthcare systems as a breach of faith, and a complete lack of support, understanding and appreciation for what it is they do daily for the rest of America.”