Monday, January 31, 2011

VA Automating Educational Benefits under Post-9/11 GI Bill



January 31, 2011

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has successfully deployed a new automated system that is delivering faster, more accurate payments to Veterans attending school under the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

“VA is relying upon the latest technology to provide a high-tech solution for administering the most generous educational benefits since the original GI Bill in 1944,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki.

The technology relies upon information from Veterans and specialized rules-based software to streamline the process for calculating Veterans’ benefits.

“The new GI Bill is the first example of VA’s use of an agile approach to software development,” said Roger W. Baker, VA’s assistant secretary for information and technology. “Our success on this project is already being leveraged to ensure the success of other large software projects within VA.”

The new processes and software available to VA’s claims personnel replace the interim tools in use since August 2009, when the Post 9/11 GI Bill became effective.

VA has issued more than $8 billion in Post-9/11 GI Bill benefit payments to nearly 440,000 students and their educational institutions.

The Post-9/11 GI Bill pays schools directly for the tuition and fees incurred by eligible Veterans and active-duty personnel. Those payments are based upon the maximum rate in each state for tuition and fees at the in-state level for undergraduates. A monthly housing allowance is also provided.

Also included is a maximum $1,000 annual stipend for books and supplies, and a one-time payment of $500 for students who reside in specific rural areas. Further information about the Post-9/11 GI Bill is available on the Internet at www.gibill.va.gov.

# # #

2012 Independent Budget for the federal VA


REPORT:  http://www.docstoc.com/docs/70502646/Independent-Budget-for-the-VA-2012 

Independent Budget for the VA, 2012 -

VA Hosts Public Forum to Improve Disability Compensation Criteria


VA Seeks Opinion of Veterans and Public and Private Experts

WASHINGTON - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is hosting a public
forum in Scottsdale, Ariz., aimed at improving the fairness of payments
for Veterans who are service-connected for genitourinary, digestive,
dental, infectious, immune disorder and nutritional deficiency diseases
and injuries.

"We welcome to this public forum key stakeholders, our nation's
Veterans, Veterans service organizations, public and private health
experts, health economists and Department of Defense professionals, who
will provide us with the information we need to bring the disability
rating criteria into the 21st century," said Acting Under Secretary for
Benefits Michael Walcoff.

The focus of the forum is to assist VA in gathering information to
update the Department's Schedule for Rating Disabilities.  The schedule
is used to assign levels of disability compensation for Veterans who are
service-connected for these disabilities.  The forum's agenda includes
presentations by VA, DoD and private subject matter experts.

The forum is taking place from Jan. 25-28 and Jan. 31- Feb. 3 at
DoubleTree Paradise Resort in Scottsdale, Ariz.  The meetings and
working sessions will be held each day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The public forum is the third in a series of meetings that will enable
VA to make changes to the ratings schedule.  It is part of a systematic
update of all 15 body systems of the rating schedule, to be completed by
2016.  The two previous forums held in 2010 focused on mental health and
musculoskeletal disorders.

VA provides compensation and pension benefits to more than 4 million
Veterans and other beneficiaries through a VA nationwide network of 57
regional offices.  Currently, the basic monthly rate of compensation
paid to Veterans ranges from $123 to $2,673.

Disability compensation is a non-taxable, monthly monetary benefit paid
to Veterans who are disabled as a result of an injury or illness that
was incurred or aggravated during active military service.

After finding that a Veteran's disability is service-connected, the
rating schedule is applied to determine the level of disability, which
ranges from zero to 100 percent.  The Veteran then receives compensation
payments based on the disability level assigned.

Veterans and other people seeking information about, or assistance with,
VA compensation or pension benefits may call VA's toll-free number
1-800-827-1000, or go to www.vba.va.gov/VBA.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Veterans groups blast proposed Tea Party cuts

By Rick Maze - Staff writer, Army Times

Posted : Friday Jan 28, 2011 16:20:26 EST

(Army Times) - A proposal to cut $4.5 billion from Veterans Affairs Department health programs to reduce government spending has earned a quick, sharp rebuke from major veterans groups.

Proposed by Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., the freeze in veterans health care funding — along with a cut in disability compensation for veterans also receiving Social Security disability benefits — are part of a $400 billion package of spending cuts that the Tea Party leader says could be enacted to avoid increasing the $14.3 trillion cap on government borrowing.

Disabled American Veterans called Bachmann’s ideas “ill-advised,” “nothing short of heartless” and “wrong-headed.”

Veterans of Foreign Wars said she was “totally out of step with America’s commitment to our veterans.”

Veterans for Common Sense said they were “outraged” that her proposal “would leave veterans twisting in the wind.”

“It is unconscionable that while our nation is at war, someone would even think of forcing our wounded warriors to sacrifice even more than they already have,” said David Gorman of the DAV. “Their injuries and disabilities were the result of their service to the nation, and our nation must not shirk its responsibilities toward them. How do you tell a veteran who has lost a limb that he or she has not sacrificed enough? Yet Rep. Bachmann wants to do just that.”

Bachmann’s proposal would result in a reduction of up to $2,224 a month in veterans’ disability compensation for a veteran who also receives Social Security Disability Income, known as SSDI. Additionally, it would freeze veterans’ health care funding at current levels.

Richard Eubank, VFW national commander, said his organization will work to stop the proposal. “No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any traction in Congress,” he said.

“There are certain things you do not do when our nation is at war, and at the top of that list is not caring for our wounded and disabled servicemen and women when they return home,” Eubank said. “The day this nation can’t afford to take care of her veterans is the day this nation should quit creating them.”

Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, who first spotted the proposal on Bachmann’s official congressional website, said 10,000 new veterans a month are seeking treatment from VA.

“In the middle of this dramatically increasing need at VA to care for our veterans, comes Rep. Michele Bachmann,” he said, calling her efforts to cut veterans funding just as combat operations appear to be winding down in Iraq is similar to cuts after the Vietnam War and the 1991 Gulf War that left VA struggling to care for veterans.

DAV’s Gorman said capping veterans’ health care funding “will not only freeze out sick and disabled veterans seeking care, it will also end up costing the federal government even more money.”

“With the number of veterans seeking health care rising, the effect of a freeze would be to either block enrollment of veterans, many of them just returning from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, or to ration care to currently enrolled veterans, including disabled veterans who have relied on VA dating back to World War II,” Gorman said.

The Obama administration is prepared to cut federal spending, but not like this, said White House spokesman Shin Inouye.

“While we need to make tough choices across the federal government to get our deficits under control to be competitive in the global economy, we should do so in a way that upholds the sacred trust our nation has with its veterans, troops and military families,” Inouye said.


Source:  Army Times, http://www.armytimes.com/news/2011/01/military-bachmann-veterans-groups-012811w/

Friday, January 28, 2011

DAV National: Disabled Veterans Decry Wrongheaded, ‘Heartless’ Budget Cuts


807 Maine Ave., SW • Washington, D.C. 20024 • Phone (202) 554-3501 • Fax (202) 863-0233


January 28, 2011

Disabled Veterans Decry Wrongheaded, ‘Heartless’ Budget Cuts

If Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) wanted to make a name for herself by proposing to cut funding for veterans health care and disability compensation, she has succeeded. “Such an ill-advised proposal is nothing short of heartless,” according to Disabled American Veterans Washington Headquarters Executive Director David W. Gorman.

“It is unconscionable that while our nation is at war someone would even think of forcing our wounded warriors to sacrifice even more than they already have,” Gorman said. “Their injuries and disabilities were the result of their service to the nation, and our nation must not shirk its responsibilities toward them. How do you tell a veteran who has lost a limb that he or she has not sacrificed enough? Yet Rep. Bachmann wants to do just that.”

The third-term member of Congress has called on Congress to freeze Department of Veterans Affairs health care spending and reduce disability compensation. Her proposal would cut $4.5 billion from veterans health care and disability benefits.

“Freezing VA health care funding will not only freeze out sick and disabled veterans seeking care, it will also end up costing the federal government even more money,” said Gorman. “With the number of veterans seeking health care rising, the effect of a freeze would be to either block enrollment of veterans, many of them just returning from battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan, or to ration care to currently enrolled veterans, including disabled veterans who have relied on VA dating back to World War II,” Gorman said.

Independent studies have shown the VA system provides safe, high quality health care at an average cost that is less than Medicare, Medicaid or the private sector. “This ill-conceived and misguided proposal by Rep. Bachmann would actually increase the budget deficit while lowering the quality of health care to our nation’s veterans,” he said.

“America’s sick and disabled veterans will not sit idly by while their earned health care and disability benefits are threatened,” Gorman warned. “We will raise our voices above the din and call on every member of Congress to reject Rep. Bachmann’s heartless proposal.”

The 1.2 million-member Disabled American Veterans, a non-profit organization founded in 1920 and chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1932, represents this nation’s disabled veterans. It is dedicated to a single purpose: building better lives for our nation’s disabled veterans and their families. More information is available at www.dav.org .

Thursday, January 27, 2011

U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Organizes and Announces Oversight Plan


WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held its organizational meeting, and approved committee rules, subcommittee membership, and the oversight plan for the 112th Congress.
“I am honored to be chairing this Committee at such a critical time for our nation and its veterans,” commented Chairman of the Full Committee Jeff Miller (FL-01).  “It will be the top priority of this Committee to ensure stringent oversight over veterans’ programs.  We must ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used efficiently to provide the best services and world class health care to nation’s warriors and their families.”
“I am also proud of the Committee’s bipartisan oversight plan that lays out an aggressive agenda that includes 79 specific items,” continued Miller.  “I consider this plan a basic blueprint for our oversight activities but, it is not exclusive and I expect to expand on it throughout the Congress.” 
A copy of the oversight plan can be found by clicking HERE.

The Committee also approved Subcommittee membership including Chair and Ranking positions. 

This list is as follows:

Full Committee
Majority Members                                                                      

  1. Jeff Miller (R-FL), Chairman                                                     
  2. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Vice-Chairman                                       
  3. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)                                                                  
  4. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)                                                             
  5. David P. Roe (R-TN)                                                               
  6. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY)                                                       
  7. Jeff Denham (R-CA)                                                                 
  8. Bill Flores (R-TX)                                                                      
  9. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS)                                                            
  10. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
  11. Jon Runyan (R-NJ)
  12. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN)

Minority Members 

  1. Bob Filner (D-CA), Ranking Democratic Member
  2. Corinne Brown (D-FL)
  3. Silvestre Reyes (D-TX)
  4. Mike Michaud (D-ME)
  5. Linda Sanchez (D-CA)  
  6. Bruce Braley (D-IA)
  7. Jerry McNerney (D-CA)
  8. D-Vacancy
  9. D-Vacancy

Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs

  1. Jon Runyan (R-NJ), Chair                                                         
  2. Doug Lamborn (R-CO)                                                             
  3. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY)                                                       
  4. Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) 
  5. Vacancy-R  
  6. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), Ranking Democratic Member                                                       
  7. Vacancy-D
  8. Vacancy-D
  9. Vacancy-D

Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity

  1. Marlin Stutzman (IN), Chair                                           
  2. Gus Bilirakis (FL)                                                                  
  3. Bill Johnson (OH)                                                                 
  4. Tim Huelskamp (KS)
  5. Jeff Denham (CA)
  6. Bruce Braley (IA), Ranking Democratic Member
  7. Vacancy-D
  8. Vacancy-D

 Subcommittee on Health

  1. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY), Chair                                           
  2. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)                                                                 
  3. Dan Benishek (R-MI)                                                               
  4. Jeff Denham (CA) 
  5. Jon Runyan (NJ)                                                                    
  6. Vacancy-R
  7. Vacancy-R
  8. Michael Michaud (D-ME), Ranking Democratic Member
  9. Corrine Brown (D-FL)
  10. Silvestre Reyes (TX)                                                         
  11. Vacancy-D
  12. Vacancy-D

Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations

  1. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Chair                                                        
  2. Cliff Stearns (R-FL)                                                                  
  3. Phil Roe (R-TN)                                                                         
  4. Dan Benishek (R-MI)                                                                
  5. Bill Flores (R-TX)
  6. Vacancy-R
  7. Vacancy-D
  8. Vacancy-D
  9. Vacancy-D
  10. Vacancy-D

For more news from the U.S. House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, please go to:

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

White House Dispatch: Opportunity to Submit Your Questions about the State of the Union

The White House, Washington

Good afternoon,

Did you catch President Obama's State of the Union Address last night (Tuesday, January 25, 2011)?  If you missed it, it's worth a watch:

As the President said last night, the most important contest we face as a nation is not between our political parties – it's a contest among our competitors across the globe for the jobs and industries of the future. It’s about winning the future.

To win that contest, we must out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world.  We must take responsibility for our deficit and reform the way government works, so that it’s leaner, smarter and better equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

But last night's speech was just the start of this conversation.

We want to hear directly from you, and President Obama himself will be answering some of your questions in a live interview tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. EST.  And throughout the day tomorrow, policy experts from the White House and around the Administration will be available for in-depth discussions on some of the critical issues that affect you.

Learn more about these events and find out how you can submit your questions:


Here's the lineup for tomorrow on WhiteHouse.gov/live:

  • 11:30 a.m. EST: Economy Roundtable with Austan Goolsbee, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • 1:00 p.m. EST: Foreign Policy Roundtable with Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor
  • 2:30 p.m. EST: Live YouTube interview with President Barack Obama
  • 3:15 p.m. EST: Education Roundtable with Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
  • 4:30 p.m. EST: Health Care Roundtable with Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius

We're looking forward to answering your questions tomorrow (Thursday, January 27, 2011). 


David Plouffe
Senior Advisor to the President

Visit WhiteHouse.gov

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Q&A: Is the Wisconsin Veterans Property Tax Credit Taxable for Federal Income Tax?


The question has come up whether the proceeds of the Wisconsin Veterans and Surviving Spouses Property Tax Credit are taxable. 

Here's what we learned after researching the question.

Is the amount of my veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit taxable on my income tax return for the year in which I receive it?

  1. Federal treatment:

    The amount of the credit may be taxable for federal income tax purposes. The credit is considered a refund of property taxes (real estate taxes).

    If you itemized deductions for federal tax purposes on Schedule A and claimed a deduction for the amount of real estate taxes paid, the amount of veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit received during the year is taxable on your federal income tax return to the extent you received a tax benefit from the deduction.

    If you did not itemize deductions for federal tax purposes, the amount of veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit received during the year is not taxable on your federal income tax return.

    Example 1:

    You paid real estate taxes of $3,000 on your principal residence in 2010. You claimed the veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit of $3,000 which was refunded to you when you filed your Wisconsin income tax return in 2011. You deducted the $3,000 as a federal itemized deduction on your 2010 Schedule A. Your total itemized deductions were $8,000. Your federal standard deduction for 2010 would have been $5,700. Therefore, your tax benefit from the itemized deductions was $2,300 ($8,000 less $5,700). The $2,300 must be reported as income on your 2011 federal income tax return as a recovery of an itemized deduction.

    Example 2:

    The facts are the same as in Example 1 except that your total itemized deductions were $10,000 for 2010. Your tax benefit from the itemized deductions was $4,300 ($10,000 less $5,700). The entire $3,000 must be reported as income on your 2011 federal income tax return as a recovery of an itemized deduction.

    Wisconsin treatment:

    The amount of the veterans and surviving spouses property tax credit is not income on your Wisconsin income tax return. Wisconsin law allows a subtraction from federal adjusted gross income for any amounts that are recoveries of federal itemized deductions for which no tax benefit was received. Because no deduction has been allowed for property taxes or the property taxes cannot be used in the computation of the Wisconsin itemized deduction credit, no tax benefit was received for Wisconsin income tax purposes.


Read many more top questions and answers about this property tax credit from the Wisconsin Dept. of Revenue, at: http://www.revenue.wi.gov/faqs/ise/vetprop.html

Thursday, January 20, 2011

IOM: PTSD Treatment Assessment

Assessment of Ongoing Efforts in the Treatment of PTSD

The IOM is examine the ongoing efforts in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The IOM will collect data from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on programs and methods available for the prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of post-traumatic stress disorder. Using this data, the IOM then will determine the rates of success for each program or method; estimate the number of members of the Armed Forces and veterans diagnosed as having post-traumatic stress disorder; and estimate the number of such veterans who have been successfully treated.

More Information >>

Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs Meeting Summary

Meeting of the Wisconsin BOARD OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Thursday, January 20, 2011, 10:00 a.m., at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, 2nd Floor Education Center, 30 W. Mifflin Street, Madison, Wisconsin

NOTICE OF CLOSED SESSION.  The Board of Veterans Affairs will meet by teleconference in open session at 10:00 a.m. at the above-identified location. Prior to calling the meeting to order, the Pledge of Allegiance will be recited. Upon appropriate motion and an affirmative roll call vote, the Board of Veterans Affairs will move into closed session after Agenda Item 6. The Board intends to initially discuss proposed reorganization plans developed by the Department in public session. Those portions of the proposed reorganization plans that involve or could affect collective bargaining issues will be discussed in closed session. Under the provisions of s.19.85(1)(e) the Board may deliberate specified public business in a closed session whenever bargaining reasons require a closed session.

1.  Roll Call

Attendees included all seven Board members: Dan Naylor, Marv Freedman, Rod Moen, Pete Moran (by teleconference), Dave Boetcher, and new, unconfirmed Doyle Board appointees LaMarr Franklin and Andrew Lindgren.

Among the audience members was a member of the Legislative Audit Bureau, who took copious notes during the meeting.  The meeting was otherwise sparsely attended, with one representative each from the VFW, DAV, and CVSO Association.

2.  Certification of Notice of Meeting

It was certified that the meeting was properly noticed. 

3.  Briefing, Board Discussion and Action on the Legislative Audit Bureau Letter Report Recommendations Regarding Rate Setting at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes

Previously on 9/21/10 at a Special Meeting of the Board, the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) recommended the Board provide a report to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee by January 24, 2011 on Rate Changes and financial solvency for the Veterans Homes. The Department Secretary Ken Black was directed to provide a plan to the Board.

During the Board Discussion on 1/20/11, Vice Chairman Marv Freedman expressed a combination of disappointment and frustration with the Department’s submitted drafts. He termed the Department’s original draft “inadequate” and the second draft submitted on January 10th “incomplete.” Each options contained in the drafts needed pluses and minuses.

The Board directed the Department Secretary Ken Black to submit a Plan with more specifics by 2/1/11. At the moment if the Board made a Report to the Joint Finance Audit Committee, it would be insufficient.

The Department Secretary Ken Black replied he was “not following” or comprehending the rationale of the Board’s directive.

The Board felt that the options contained in the drafts needed more rationale. They lacked reasoning, specificity and clarity.

4.  Briefing, Board Discussion and Action Regarding WDVA Reorganization and Implementation Timeline

Tabled until the February meeting.

5.  Public Comment (speakers limited to 5 minutes each)

Public Comments were made to the Board from the Union Grove site. A resident said the people living at Union Grove were a “family.” WDVA should be looking out for “the best interest of veterans.”

A group of CNAs were present at the site. One CNA talked about how the $900/month increase in rent forced many residents to leave.

A union employee mentioned how former management misled employees about possible buildings closing. The employees asked management about possible closings and were told their fears were unfounded. They in turn told residents not to worry when in fact there was reason to worry.

6.  Motion for Adjournment of the Open Session and Commencement of the Closed Session to Discuss Proposed Reorganization Plans Developed by the Department

Upon adjournment, the Board went into closed session.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Wisconsin Observes Gulf War Illness Recognition Day



Visitors to the opening of the Paper Wall exhibit at the State Capitol.

MADISON, Wis. (WKOW) -- Wisconsin veterans gather in Madison to observe the fifth annual Gulf War Illness Recognition Day.

In 2006, Wisconsin became the first state to designate an annual observance for those who still suffer from post-deployment health issues.

Governor Scott Walker declared January 17 Gulf War Illness Recognition Day, but the Department of Veterans Affairs decided to hold the ceremony Friday due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.


SOURCE:  WKOW – FOX 27:  http://www.wkow.com/Global/story.asp?S=13847687

Thursday, January 13, 2011

DAV Leaders Meet with New Governor, New Legislative Committee Chairs


2011 Gov  Group

Meetings are Historic Demonstration of Unity between Five Top State Veterans’ Organizations

(davwi.blogspot.com) – Just days after the inauguration, DAV’s leaders united in an historic occasion with The American Legion, AMVETS, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Military Order of the Purple Heart to hold a joint meeting in the Governor’s conference room in the state capitol with Governor Scott Walker and his staff.

The large group of veterans service organization leaders and staff were united in expressing deep concerns with state veterans programs and funding, WDVA, and WDVA’s current Board and executive leadership.

The joint delegation also had lengthy, separate roundtable discussions with Senate Economic Development, Veterans’ and Military Affairs Committee chair Senator Randy Hopper, Assembly Veterans’ and Military Affairs Committee chair Representative Dick Spanbauer,  and their committee  staff.

Topics of discussion included deep unified concerns related to the current Financial challenges to all of the trio of WDVA’s managed funds, including the Veterans Trust Fund (VTF), state veterans home loan Mortgage Loan Repayment Fund (MLRF), and the state veterans homes (HOMES) fund.

The delegation was also unified in expressing deep concerns about the an Unaccountable, Unresponsive, and Incapable WDVA Secretary an Unresponsive, Unaccountable Wis. Board of Veterans Affairs (which appoints the WDVA Secretary, who serves at the Board’s pleasure). 

The discussion led into the meat of the discussion, “WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE,” which was a candid, round table discussion. 

There was clear consensus on some solutions where the large delegation was were solidly unified, including calling for removal of the current Secretary.  Of note, The American Legion has not taken an official position on these issues.

Other areas remain to be resolved, but one thing remains clear:  the largest veterans service organizations in the state, representing collectively more than 200,000 members, have come together in unity and intend to continue to do so, speaking “with one voice.”

Friday, January 7, 2011

Jobs for Veterans Act: Priority of Service to Veterans

SOURCE:  DWD Office of Veterans Employment Services

Did you know the Jobs for Veterans Act affords priority of service to covered veterans and eligible spouses over non-covered persons for the receipt of employment, training, and placement services provided under new or existing job training programs that are directly funded, in whole or in part, by the Department of Labor?

Priority of Service Fact Sheet

Learn how you can put Veterans Priority of Service to work for you!

Staff Directory and Locations |   National Career Readiness Certificate

Portrait of a marine in uniform
Man and woman looking at paperwork


  • Seeking programs and services that can help you with employment?
  • Searching for your benefits?
  • Looking for education and training assistance?
  • Searching for health and medical services and facilities?
  • Trying to help a homeless veteran?
  • Interested in the laws that help you?
  • Looking for a service organization?
  • Searching for representatives, offices, and guides that can help?

Facebook Logo


  • Looking for incentives to hire veterans?
  • Searching for information on being federal contractor?
  • Need to file your Vets-100 report online?
  • Curious about veterans' rights?
  • Looking for organizations in which veterans are involved?

Veterans Employment and 					Training Service Logo

Emblem of the United States Army Emblem of the United States Marine Corps Emblem of the United States Navy Emblem of the United States Air Force Emblem of the United States Coast Guard Emblem of the National Guard

Updated December 29, 2010
Division of Employment and Training
Content Contact: DWD Office of Veterans Services

Thursday, January 6, 2011

VA: President Signed Improvements to Post-9/11 GI Bill


Many Non-College Programs and State Service of Reserves and Guard now Covered

WASHINGTON (Jan. 5, 2011 - VA Press Release) - To bring the educational benefits of the Post-9/11 GI Bill closer to more Veterans and Service Members, President Obama signed legislation Jan. 4 that streamlines the 18-month-old education program administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

"Since the first GI Bill in 1944, this unique educational program has
adapted to the needs of America's Veterans, active-duty personnel,
reservists and Guardsmen," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K.
Shinseki. "Like its forbearers, the Post-9/11 GI Bill is growing to
ensure the men and women who serve this nation in uniform receive
valuable education benefits from a grateful nation.

"On behalf of Veterans and the many who serve them at VA, we would like
to thank the president for his support, as well as members of Congress
and our Veterans service organization partners for helping make this
bill a reality," Shinseki added.

Among the provisions of the legislation are:

*    Paying for on-the-job training, some flight training;
apprenticeship training and correspondence courses;

*    Allowing reservists and Guardsmen to have their time supporting
emergencies called by their state governors credited to the time needed
to qualify for educational benefits;

*    Providing one half of the national average for the program's
housing allowance to students enrolled in distance learning;

*    Pro-rating the housing allowance to exclude payments when
students are not in class;

*    Allowing students on active duty receive the stipend for books
and supplies;

*    Allowing people eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, but
participating in VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E)
benefits to choose between the GI Bill's housing allowance or VR&E's
subsistence allowance;

*    Permitting reimbursement for more than one "license and
certification" test;

*    Reimbursing fees to take national admission tests, such as SAT,
ACT, GMAT and LSAT; and

*    Establishing a national cap of $17,500 annually for tuition and
fees in a private or a foreign school, not including contributions by
educational institutions under the "Yellow Ribbon" program.

Information about the new provisions is available on the Internet at
www.gibill.va.gov <http://www.gibill.va.gov/> .

By the end of December 2010, VA issued nearly $7.2 billion in tuition,
housing, and stipends for more than 425,000 Veterans or eligible family
members pursuing higher education under the Post-9/11 GI Bill

Wisconsin’s Annual State Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day Ceremony to be held January 14

(MADISON – WDVA Press Release) - The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) will host a Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day ceremony, in the Richard H. Zeitlin Education Center of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum, on Friday, January 14, 2011 at 11:00 a.m.  The ceremony is being held in advance of the actual date of the observance, due to a state holiday falling on January 17.

WDVA Secretary Ken Black and Gulf War veteran Cpt. Angela Joseph-Gaffke of the Wisconsin Army National Guard will provide remarks.  WDVA Deputy Secretary Donna Williams will read a Governor’s Proclamation signed by Governor Scott Walker declaring January 17, 2011 as Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day in Wisconsin. 

2005 Wisconsin Act 37 was created designating each January 17th as Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day in the state, a day statutorily designated for recognition of those who still suffer from post-deployment health issues. 

Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to designate an annual observance, starting in 2006.

Those attending the ceremony will include members of the Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs, members of Wisconsin veterans service organizations, and Gulf War veterans.

Legislators, veterans and the public are invited to attend.  The Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs is located at 30 W. Mifflin St. in Madison, Wis., across the street from the State Capitol.

Media are invited to attend, as there will be opportunities for photos and interviews.  In addition, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum is opening a photography exhibit on January 14 that chronicles the Gulf War.  For further information about Gulf War Illnesses, as well as WDVA programs and activities, go to www.WisVets.com/GulfWar or call toll-free at 1-800-WIS-VETS (947-8387).

Wisconsin Photographer Chronicles Operation Desert Storm


New Exhibit Opening at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum

(MADISON – Wisconsin Veterans Museum Press Release) - The Wisconsin Veterans Museum will open The Scorching Desert Sun: A Wisconsin Photographer Chronicles Operation Desert Storm exhibit on Friday, January 14, 2011.  The exhibit will remain on display until March 31, 2011.
As a photographer for the 28th Public Affairs Team, U.S. Army Sergeant Mike Weber documented the actions of the 82nd Airborne Division during the ground phase of Operation Desert Storm.  From the capture of prisoners-of-war and the confiscation of ordnance, Weber saw it all.  The latter action, though, has proven to be the most difficult as Weber, like many of his fellow Gulf War veterans, still suffers from the effects of exposure to leaking or detonated chemical weapons.  This photography exhibit, culled from the collections of the Wisconsin Veterans Museum , chronicles Weber’s tour in Iraq , from staging in Kuwait , to the charge into Iraqi territory, and the American interaction with Iraqi civilians.

Questions about the exhibit may be directed to Jeff Kollath, Curator of Programs & Exhibitions at (608) 261-0541. 
Operated by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, the Wisconsin Veterans Museum is committed to honoring Wisconsin ’s military veterans and their role in shaping our nation’s history through unique collections, award-winning exhibits, and educational programs. 
The department and the Museum are located at 30 W. Mifflin St. in Madison , across the street from the State Capitol.  For more information go to www.wisvetsmuseum.com.

Project Hand-Over-Hand



Save The Date: April 6, 2011

Project Hand-Over-Hand

A networking conference to support veterans’ reintegration, scheduled for


Wednesday, April 6, 2011, in Rhinelander, Wisconsin

FEATURED SPEAKER:  Lieutenant Colonel Cynthia Rasmussen, RN, MSN, CANP, CLL

A Mental Health Nurse in the Army Reserve for 20 years, currently in her 6th year of active duty to support the Global War on Terrorism.


More than 28,000 military veterans—eight percent of the region’s population—reside in Northeastern Wisconsin. While these veterans come out of various branches of service and different eras, all the men and women share some common experiences from their years in uniform. At the same time, they may also share certain readjustment challenges in civilian society. This conference will address some of these challenges as they relate to:

  • Physical and mental health issues
  • Education and career direction
  • Employment
  • Social reintegration


This one-day conference, Project Hand-Over-Hand, offers regional businesses, colleges, service agencies, community leaders, public health, and private health care providers, information and resources to support military veterans as they adjust to civilian life. Veterans will learn about educational and career opportunities, and where to find and use available health care resources for supporting their transition to the civilian world.


· Veterans and their families

· Business owners and human resource managers

· Private health care providers

· Public health and social services

· Educators at all levels

· Community leaders and administrators

· Community members


There is no cost to military veterans and their families. Other attendees will be charged a modest fee to cover their breakfast and lunch on April 6, 2011.

Mark your calendar now! You will be receiving further information about registration, agenda, etc. in the coming months.

Please direct any questions to Ms. Bobbie Kolehouse at bkolehouse@nahec-wi.org

Project Hand Over Hand is a presentation of Northern Highland Area Health Education Center, affiliated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.

Council on Veterans Programs, Board of Veterans Affairs Meetings on Feb. 10-11 in Madison


The Board of Veterans Affairs, Board Committee and Council, and the Wisconsin Council on Veterans Programs will next meet on February 10-11 in Madison, Wis.

Attendees also have the option of participating in the meetings through internet video conferencing at the Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove, Wis. (Racine County) or the Wisconsin Veterans Home at King (Waupaca County). 

If you plan to attend at either of these alternate locations, please let Julie Van Metre know in advance by phone (608) 266-1315, or by email at, julie.vanmetre@dva.state.wi.us.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

PRINT AND SAVE: Veterans’ Affairs Key Legislators for 2011-12

The new Wisconsin state legislature has a markedly different makeup than the last one.

Written by Anthony Hardie, DAV-Wisconsin

(davwi.blogspot.com) - In 2009-10, Democrats controlled the Wisconsin Governor’s office and both houses of the legislature.  The Red tidal wave that hit the country last November 2nd hit Wisconsin perhaps the hardest, with Republicans now controlling the Governor’s office and both chambers of the Legislature by wide majorities.

In the upper house, the Wisconsin State Senate is controlled by 19 Republicans to 14 Democrats, a strong majority in the 33-member chamber.

In the lower house, the 99-member Wisconsin State Assembly is controlled by an even larger majority of Republicans, with 60 Republicans to 38 Democrats.  And, there is one Independent, Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer (I-Manitowoc), formerly a fiscally conservative Democrat. 



Assembly Veterans and Military Affairs Committee:

    Photo of Representative Spanbauer

  1. Chair:  Rep. Richard Spanbauer (R-Oshkosh)
  2. Evan Wynn (R-Whitewater)
  3. Jerry Petrowski (R-Wausau)
  4. Garey Bies (R-Sister Bay)
  5. Lee Nerison (R-Westby)
  6. Warren Petryk (R-Eleva)
  7. Ranking Member:  Nick Milroy (D-Superior)
  8. Mark Radcliffe (D-Black River Falls)
  9. Christine Sinicki (D-Milwaukee)
  10. Janis Ringhand (D-Evansville)

Senate Economic Development and Veterans and Military Affairs Committee:

    Photo of Senator Hopper

  1. Chair:  Sen. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac)  *Also on Joint Finance
  2. Rich Zipperer (R-Pewaukee)
  3. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) *Also on Joint Finance
  4. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine)  **Represents Union Grove Veterans Home area
  5. Ranking Member:  Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point)
  6. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee) *Also on Joint Finance
  7. Tim Cullen (D-Janesville)



Senate Joint Finance Committee Members

    Photo of Senator Darling

  1. Co-ChairSen. Alberta Darling  (R-River Hills)
  2. Vice Chair: Luther Olsen (R-Ripon)  **Represents King Veterans Home area
  3. Sheila Harsdorf (R-River Falls)
  4. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan)
  5. Glenn Grothman (R-West Bend)
  6. Randy Hopper (R-Fond du Lac)
  7. Lena Taylor (D-Milwaukee)
  8. Bob Jauch (D-Poplar)

Assembly Joint Finance Committee Members

    Photo of Representative Vos

  1. Co-Chair: Rep. Robin Vos (R-Burlington)   **Represents Union Grove Veterans Home area
  2. Vice Chair: Dan Meyer (R-Eagle River) 
  3. Dan LeMahieu (R-Cascade)
  4. John Nygren (R-Marinette)
  5. Pat Strachota (R-West Bend)
  6. Joel Kleefisch (R-Oconomowoc)  ***Wife is Lt. Gov. Rebecca KIeefisch
  7. Tamara Grigsby (D-Milwaukee)
  8. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse)




Senate Leadership

    Photo of Senator Fitzgerald

  • Majority Leader: Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau)

    Photo of Senator Miller

  • Minority Leader: Sen. Mark Miller (D-Monona)
  • GOP Caucus Chair:  Sen. Dan Kapanke (R-La Crosse)
  • Democrat Caucus Chair:  Julie Lassa (D-Stevens Point)  ****Also on Senate veterans’ affairs cmte.

Assembly Leadership

    Photo of Representative Fitzgerald

  • Speaker: Rep. Jeff Fitzgerald (R-Horicon)
  • Majority Leader:  Rep. Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford)

    Photo of Representative Barca

  • Minority Leader: Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha)
  • GOP Caucus Chair: Vacant after Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford) appointed to
  • Democrat Caucus Chair:  Rep. Kelda Helen Roys (D-Madison)