We have 2 Action Item today at Issue 3 below
Summary of Issues
At Issue 1. we see COLA CLIMBING . COLA shows signs of growth. The Consumer Price Index remains in the red — but it’s looking better than it did last year. (See Issue 1 below for the details. GF)
At Issue 2. we see MOAA STORMS THE HILL. More than 160 MOAA leaders swarm Capitol Hill. This year, the “Hill-stormers” asked legislators to reject disproportional TRICARE fee hikes and (See Issue 2 below for the details. GF)
At Issue 3. we see REDUCING VETERAN SUICIDES. VA addresses suicide rates. Join the campaign to end this tragedy (See Issue 3 below for the details and send massages to our legislators. GF)
At Issue 4. we see STUDY SHOWS RESILIENT MILITARY FAMILIES. Military families are tough. RAND study indicates deployments result in few long-term adverse effects on families – but could there be more to the story? (See Issue 4 below for the details. GF)
Collectively We Can and Are Making a Difference
FOR ALL, Please feel free to pass these Weekly Legislative Updates on to your group of Veteran Friends –
don’t be concerned with possible duplications – if your friends are as concerned as we are with Veteran issues, they probably won’t mind getting this from two or more friendly sources
Issue 1. COLA CLIMBING
In order for a positive COLA next year, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has to make pretty significant increases.
The March CPI is 232.209, and remains .9 percent below the FY 2014 COLA baseline. Because there was not a positive COLA in FY 2015, the FY 2014 baseline is used.
The CPI for April 2016 is scheduled to be released on May 17, 2016.
Note: Military retiree COLA is calculated based on the CPI for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), not the overall CPI. Monthly changes in the index may differ from national figures reported elsewhere.
Related content: Retired Pay vs Active Duty Pay Adjustments
(Click on Retired Pay vs Active Duty Pay Adjustments here or above to see the details. GF)
Issue 2. MOAA STORMS THE HILL
April 15, 2016
MOAA council and chapter presidents from across the United States, accompanied by members of the national board of directors and headquarters staff, plus members of MOAA’s Currently Serving Advisory Council, Currently Serving Spouse Advisory Council, and Surviving Spouse Advisory Committee stormed Capitol Hill April 13 and visited nearly all 535 senators and representatives in support of key legislative priorities.
MOAA stormers used specially prepared color brochures to urge their elected officials to:
Reject disproportional TRICARE fee hikes
Eliminate the SBP-DIC Offset
(Click on the two links above to see the brochures. GF)
MOAA is gratified by your responses to the alert sent last Friday asking you to support this effort by emailing your legislators. MOAA members sent nearly 15,000 messages to Capitol Hill, and many legislators and staffers referenced the messages during their meetings with the MOAA stormers
The daylong event culminated with a dinner for MOAA Council and Chapter leaders and their spouses, featuring keynote speaker Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. The Congressmen has been a longtime advocate for survivors, and is the sponsor of legislation to repeal the SBP-DIC offset.
Wilson praised MOAA’s Storming the Hill activities, including the push to eliminate the SBP-DIC offset. “I’ve been working on this issue since I was elected 15 years ago, and I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels – until today. The information you gave me was the clearest [I’ve ever received on the matter].”
Retired Air Force Gen. Charles Robertson, chairman of MOAA’s board of directors, introduced Rep. Wilson and closed the evening by thanking the stormers who had taken to Capitol Hill earlier that day to engage their congressional representatives.
To learn more about this year’s Storming the Hill events, check out: www.moaa.org/storming.
(Click on www.moaa.org/storming here or above see the details. GF)
Issue 3. REDUCING VETERAN SUICIDES
April 15, 2016
This week, the VA announced a national campaign to reduce veteran suicide rates and refocus efforts aimed at further enhancing the department’s suicide prevention program.
Veterans Health Administration Under Secretary Dr. David Shulkin led a mental health summit bringing together mental health and suicide prevention professionals with caregivers, veterans and their families, veteran organizations, and members of Congress to help carve a path forward to prevent veteran suicide.
“We know that every day, approximately 22 veterans take their lives, and that is too many,” said Shulkin during the summit. “While no one knows the subject of veteran suicide better than VA, we also realize that caring for our veterans is a shared responsibility.
”The summit offered nine recommended actions to strengthen VA’s approach to suicide prevention, including:Elevating VA’s Suicide Prevention Program with additional resources;
Creating a goal of same-day evaluations and access by the end of 2016 to meet urgent mental health needs;
Establishing a new standard of care by using measures of veteran-reported symptoms to tailor mental health treatments to individual needs;
Launching a new study, “Coming Home from Afghanistan and Iraq,” to look at the impact of deployment and combat as it relates to suicide, mental health, and well-being;
Using predictive modeling to guide early interventions for suicide prevention;
Using data on suicide attempts for surveillance to guide preventive strategies;
Increasing the availability of naloxone rescue kits throughout VA to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses;
Establishing three regional tele-mental health hubs to enhance mental health access;
andContinuing to partner with DoD for a seamless transition from military service to civilian life.
As a follow-up to the summit, the VA asked MOAA and other military and veteran service organizations to engage in an outreach effort at national and community levels to help increase awareness and commit individuals to help prevent veteran suicide.
Improving mental health and suicide prevention programs have been major MOAA legislative goals for well over a decade.
In a joint hearing before the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees, MOAA emphasized the need for sufficient staffing, resources, and funding to help high-risk active and Reserve servicemembers prior to discharge, and the need for better resources to train and educate mental health providers on the unique cultural needs of veterans and their families.
From now through the end of September, which is Suicide Prevention Month, MOAA will be calling on you to share information about the VA’s suicide prevention efforts and available resources.
Additionally, please contact your legislators to support MOAA-endorsed legislation to improve the mental health and wellbeing of our veterans and their families:
- 1641, Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Actwould require the VA and DoD to jointly update clinical practice guidelines for the management of opioid therapy for chronic pain, including guidelines for treating post-traumatic stress disorder, psychiatric disorders, or substance abuse or addiction.
H.R. 1607, Ruth Moore Act would upgrade disability compensation procedures for veterans with mental health conditions related to military sexual trauma. The bill would also update regulations recognizing the full range of physical and mental disabilities that can result from the trauma.
MOAA applauds the VA’s efforts to break the cycle of suicide among our veterans, and we hope you will help us spread the word on available resources.
(Click on S. 1641, Jason Simcakoski Memorial Opioid Safety Act and H.R. 1607, Ruth Moore Act respectively here or above to send messages to our legislators. At those links scroll down on the right below Take Action Now and Enter Your Zip Code and then click on GO. At the next link scroll down under Issue Area to select an issue, e.g. Veterans affairs. Then edit the message if desired and fill in your personal information if it is not already shown. Then hit Send Message. GF)
April 15 2016
Published by AdminSpouse at 1:47 pm under Military Children,Military Spouses,News,Veterans
RAND released its Deployment Life Study last week, a longitudinal study of military families facing deployment. Nearly 3,000 families were studied from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps over a three year period, with each family being surveyed before, during, and after deployment, in four-month intervals.
Surprisingly, the study showed few long-term adverse effects on military families as a result of deployments, with the major exception of servicemembers who faced some kind of deployment-related physical, psychological, or combat trauma.
The study was largely motivated by the major deployment increases in the middle to late 2000s, but was not commissioned until 2009 and did not begin until 2011.
There are at least some questions whether the study captured a true cross-section of deployment-affected families. For example, the experience level of those surveyed indicates they were relatively seasoned military families. Many families highly impacted by deployment peaks may have left service or otherwise may not have been in the study at all, so those surveyed may represent a more resilient population.
Outcomes of the study may be helpful, however, in determining the focus of future support programs surrounding deployments. This was the first longitudinal study performed that surveyed multiple family members: the servicemember, the parent at home, and teen children between 11-17 (children younger than 11 were surveyed through a parent).
Key findings indicate:
- Integration outcomes vary more for servicemembers than spouses and children.
- Families that are not facing a deployment still face challenges related to military life, particularly around relocation.
- Pre-deployment readiness activities result in better outcomes for post-deployment.
- Families face lower levels of financial stress during deployments.
The study shows that familial reactions to deployment and military service are far more complex than previously understood. Not only should the results of the study be used to direct improvement of existing programs, it shows the need for ongoing collection of this kind of data. These kinds of studies take years to implement, and often, by the time this kind of one-time survey is approved and implemented, key opportunities to access information may be lost.
Read more about the RAND Deployment Life Study.
(Click on RAND Deployment Life Study here or above for the details. GF)
That’s it for today- Thanks for your help!