Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
Sr. DOD official discusses new TAP at House hearing
The Defense Department, in concert with the military services and interagency partners are successfully implementing the department’s revamped Transition Assistance Program, a senior DOD official told a House Armed Services Committee subcommittee April 24.
Dr. Susan Kelly, the principal director of DOD’s Transition to Veterans program office, testified before the HASC Subcommittee on Military Personnel on the status of the requirements of the Veterans Opportunity to Work Act and the recommendations of the Presidential Veteran Employment Initiative Task Force for the redesigned TAP.
“(DOD) and its partners have fundamentally redesigned TAP, making the needs of today’s service members and their families a top priority,” Kelly said, adding the redesigned program encompasses the requirements of the VOW Act, in addition to recommendations from the Veterans Employment Initiative Task Force.
DOD, the military services and interagency partners are “successfully implementing” the revamped TAP, Kelly said.
VA launches hotline for women veteran questions
The Veterans Affairs Department has launched a new hotline — (855)
VA-WOMEN — to receive and respond to questions from veterans, their families and caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women veterans.
The service began accepting calls March 27.
“Some women veterans may not know about high-quality VA care and services available to them,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said. “The hotline will allow us to field their questions and provide critical information about the latest enhancements in VA services.”
The hotline is staffed by VA employees who can provide information about benefits, including health care services for women, officials said. Callers can be linked to information on claims, education or health care appointments, as well as information about VA cemeteries and memorial benefits. Staff members can answer urgent questions and provide referrals to mental health and homeless services and Vet Center information.
Women make up nearly 15 percent of today’s active duty military and 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces. The number of women using VA health care was nearly 160,000 in 2000, and that number more than doubled to 354,000 in 2012.
Service members’ group life insurance benefit changes
Service members married to other service members are no longer automatically enrolled in the Family Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance program, Pentagon officials recently said.
The change was effective Jan. 2, and to date affects about 4,500 service members, said Coast Guard Cmdr. Kristen Martin, who heads the Defense Department’s SGLI policy office, in an interview with American Forces Press Service and the Pentagon Channel.
Martin emphasized no changes have been made to the Servicemembers Group Life Insurance program in which all service members are enrolled. SGLI provides up to a $400,000 payment to a service member’s beneficiary, while the Family SGLI term insurance benefit provides a payment to a service member of up to $100,000 upon the death of a spouse or $10,000 for dependent children.
The Veterans Affairs Department administers the program.
There are no changes for personnel who were auto-enrolled before Jan. 2, nor are there changes for military members married to civilian spouses, Martin said.
“If you were married to another service member on Jan. 1 or before, there are no changes to your [Family SGLI] coverage,” she said.
Certification program plan announced for veteran jobs
First Lady Michelle Obama recently unveiled the new Information Technology Training and Certification Partnership to put thousands of service members to work with industry-recognized IT certifications in hand before they leave the military.
Obama, who made the announcement at the White House Forum on Military Credentialing and Licensing at the White House, said a public-private partnership will offer the certification program.
“This new partnership will provide up to 161,000 service members with the chance to gain the certifications they need for 12 different high-demand, high-paying technology careers … from IT security analysts to computer programmers to quality assurance engineers,” she said.
The program is expected to garner more than 1.8 million jobs by 2020, with salaries of more than $81,000, a White House fact sheet indicated.
“More than 1 million service members will be hanging up their uniforms and transitioning to civilian life … on top of the hundreds of thousands of veterans and military spouses already out there looking for work,” the first lady said.