September 26, 2014
In This Issue:
1. DOD Expands Military Financial Protections
2. Camp Lejeune Care Update
3. Campaign and Election Update
1. DOD Expands Military Financial Protections: The Department of Defense today announced a regulation proposal that will reduce predatory lending practices, expand protections provided service members by closing loopholes in current rules, and ensure military families receive the important consumer protections they deserve. The proposed actions will apply to the protections found within the "2006 Military Lending Act," and include payday loans, vehicle title loans, refund anticipation loans, deposit advance loans, installment loans, unsecured open-end lines of credit and credit cards. The proposal will be published in the Federal Register for public comment on Monday, Sept. 29, and is on display today athttp://www.ofr.gov/(S(stnraikvfefq3v2y11k3buzu))/inspection.aspx. To read more about the proposal, go to http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=16954&source=GovDelivery.
2. Camp Lejeune Care Update: The Department of Veterans Affairs released final regulations for the "Honoring America's Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act." The published regulations put in motion VA's ability to provide hospital care and medical services for veterans, and to reimburse eligible Camp Lejeune family members for out-of-pocket health care costs related to any of the 15 covered medical conditions listed in the law (P.L. 112-154). What you should do now:
* Call 1-877-222-8387 and ask to be added to VA's Camp Lejeune database. VA will contact you after Oct. 24.
* Gather documents showing your relationship to a veteran who served at Camp Lejeune, such as marriage license or birth certificate, and copies of orders or base housing records that showed you lived on base for 30 days or more between Jan. 1, 1957 and Dec. 31, 1987.
* Keep receipts for health care expenses you paid for a covered condition on or after March 26, 2013. This is the date when Congress began to fund this program. Hold on to your documents and receipts. You'll be able to submit these starting Oct. 24.
For more information about VA's Camp Lejeune program, including eligibility and how to apply, visit http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/camp-lejeune/ or call 1-877-222-8387.
3. Campaign and Election Update: With federal midterm elections just weeks away, it is critical that VFW members and advocates get involved at every level. Now is the time to Host Town Hall and Candidate Forums, to conduct voter registration drives, and to begin organizing transportation assets to help veterans get to the polls. Below is some information to help you plan and educate others on the issues important to the VFW and the military and veterans' communities.
* Know the Issues and How Your Members of Congress Vote: Let your elected members know that you are prepared to hold them accountable on the issues they debated and voted on in the 113th Congress. The link to congressional voting records is here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/keyvotes.xc/?lvl=C. Ask your elected officials how they plan to address the VA access issue and provide the necessary funding. Do they plan to end Budget Sequestration and provide what DOD needs to take care of our troops and their families? For a list of our current talking points and recommendations, click here: http://www.vfw.org/VFW-in-DC/National-Legislative-Service/.
* Conduct a Voter Registration Drive and Get Out the Vote Campaign: It's not our job to tell people who to vote for, but it is our responsibility to ensure that all who wish to vote can cast a ballot. Contact your local Board of Registrar to get materials and ideas on how to conduct a voter registration drive. Arrange transportation (car and vanpools) on Election Day to get VFW and Auxiliary members who can't drive themselves to the polls. Assist in getting absentee ballots for those in long-term care.
For more information, check out our Veterans' Vote brochure at http://www.vfw.org/uploadedFiles/VFW.org/VFW_in_DC/Veterans%20Vote%20brochure.pdf.
* Attend or Host a Town Hall Meeting or Debate: Campaigns and congressional offices post where and when candidates are holding town hall meetings. Attend and ask questions on the future of VA and DOD quality of life programs. Contact current members of Congress -- visit their website and click on "Contact," then on "Ask to Speak." Find your member's website in the House at http://www.house.gov/, and in the Senate at http://www.senate.gov/. For other candidates in your state, contact them through their campaign headquarters or websites.
* Involvement in Political Campaigns: The VFW wants you to support candidates at every level. Here are the Do's and Don'ts of getting involved in political activities as a VFW member: http://www.vfw.org/uploadedFiles/VFW.org/VFW_in_DC/VFW%20Involvement%20in%20Elections%20and%20Political%20Activities%202014.pdf.
*Effective, Oct. 3, your VFW Action Corps Weekly will be sent by Lianna Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org. Teresa Morris will be retiring from the VFW on Sept. 30. The VFW thanks her for being part of our family for 27 years, and we wish Teresa and her family fair winds and following seas in their futures.
To sign up new veterans' advocates, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.
As always, we want to share your advocacy stories on the VFW Capitol Hill blog. To share your stories either fill out our online form by clicking here, http://www.vfw.org/Forms/Capitol-Hill-Blog-Submissions/, or simply email photos and stories directly to email@example.com.
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