Navy claims a win over synthetic drug use
The number of positive results for synthetic drug in urinalysis tests has decreased significantly since testing began in March 2012, according to data presented to Navy leaders by the Navy Alcohol and Drug Prevention (NADAP) office.
For the past year, the NADAP office has focused on educating Silors on the risks to their health, career, and family, of using synthetic drugs like spice and bath salts.
There is also encouraging news in the responsible use of alcohol efforts. “During the past year, driving under the influence and alcohol-related incidents (AI) have continued to drop. The number of these incidents is down by more than 20 percent since 2006,” said Dorice Favorite, NADAP director. The NADAP office contributes to this improvement through a comprehensive communication strategy that includes complimentary prevention awareness campaigns that reach out to all audiences, she added.
Overhaul of MilitaryRetirement Proposed
A recent article by Military Officers Association of America’s Director of Government Relations, Mike Hayden, explains how some former Pentagon leaders and “think tank experts” have called for a complete retirement overhaul criticizing the 20-year retirement as either unaffordable or unfair to those who leave before that point, or both. Their points have gotten traction as a new commission — established as a result of provisions in the FY 2013 National Defense Authorization Act and tasked with reviewing and perhaps overhauling military compensation and retirement benefits — began its work in July.
TRICARE Prime Update
The Department of Defense (DoD) will reduce the number of TRICARE Prime service areas in the United States beginning Oct. 1, affecting about 171,000 retirees and their family members. Those beneficiaries affected received a letter earlier this year explaining their options. Current details on Prime service areas and the option for beneficiaries to sign for email updates are available at TRICARE’s Changing to Prime Service Areas webpage at http://www.tricare.mil/PSA. A ZIP code tool is available on the site to help beneficiaries determine if they live in an affected area. As always, TRICARE beneficiaries are still covered by TRICARE Standard.
More on VA Claims Processing
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that veterans filing an original fully developed claim for service-connected disability compensation may be entitled to up to oneyear of retroactive disability benefits. This is only for veterans who are submitting their very first compensation claim as an FDC. The retroactive benefits are in effect Aug. 6, 2013, through Aug. 5, 2015. FDCs can be filed digitally through the joint, DOD-VA online portal, eBenefits.va.gov. VA encourages veterans who cannot file online to work with an accredited veterans service organization that can file claims digitally on veterans’ behalf. For more information, visit VA’s Fully Developed Claims webpage www.benefits.va.gov/fdc/
Special Leave for Gay Marriage Travel
Defense Secretary Hagel announced that gay and lesbian members of the military who wish to marry now qualify for up to 10 days of uncharged leave to travel to a state where such marriages are legal. In addition, the DoD will begin granting full benefits to same-sex couples, including TRICARE, housing allowances, subsistence allowances, and family separation allowances by Sept. 3.
Locate old military buddies
Use the Military.com Buddy finder to reconnect t with military buddies you’ve lost touch with. You can search over 20 million records by name, service or pay grade. Visit www.military.com/buddy-finder.
DoD gears up to issue ID cards to same-sex spouses DoD facilities are gearing up to issue identification cards to same-sex spouses beginning Sept. 3, according to Pentagon officials.
“All spousal and family benefits, including ID ads, will be made available as of Sept. 3, 2013,” said Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nate Christensen.
“The department will make the same benefits available to all military
spouses, regardless of sexual orientation, as long as service member-sponsors provide a valid marriage certificate from a jurisdiction — including those overseas — that recognizes samesex marriage,” Christensen said.
Entitlements such as basic allowance for housing and family separation allowance are retroactive to the date of the Supreme Court’s decision — June 26, 2013. For service members married after that date, the entitlements will be paid from the date of the marriage. TRICARE — the military health care program — is tied to the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System.
TRICARE will be available to same-sex spouses beginning Sept. 3, 2013.
There are 15 countries that recognize same-sex marriage. In the United States, 13 states and the District of Columbia recognize same-sex marriages.
Many U.S. service members live in jurisdictions that do not recognize same-sex marriages. As operational requirements permit, commanders may allow military personnel in same-sex relationships up to 10 days of nonchargeable leave for the purpose of travelling to a jurisdiction that allows same-sex couples to be married if they are stationed more than 100 miles from
one of those areas.
“Personnel stationed within the continental United States may receive up to seven days non-chargeable leave and those stationed at overseas assignments may receive up to 10 days nonchargeable leave,” Christensen said.
New Military Life app
Being a military spouse can be a challenging job, but life just became a little bit easier thanks to the National
Military Family Association. Each of us face different life challenges in the military and now there is one simple place to find the answers to those questions.
Most military families keep their phone with them continually, especially during deployments. We all love a good app and we can now access military information quickly and easily using the FREE MyMilitaryLife app. That’s right; you’ve just connected with a portal of helpful information in the palm of your hand.
Using the app couldn’t be easier: download it, complete a quick survey to tailor the app just for you, and voila! You’re on your way, delving into deployments, moving, retirement, kids and even pets. If you’ve asked the question, the app has the answer.
MyMilitaryLife can be found on iTunes, Google Play and at www.mymilitarylife.org/. While on the web portal, be sure to check out the video about how the app works, user’s tips and tricks, how to share information with others, and how to customize your app.
ScanMyPhotos.com offer for military
This photo scanning service digitizes photos. It is offering a special no-charge rush delivery for photo scanning orders received by military personnel. Their orders will be prioritized for complimentary rush service — completed in five business days — for no additional charge. Visit ScanMyPhotos.com for more info.