FRA NewsBytes January 2, 2015

FRA Newsbytes 01/02/2015

FRA Newsbytes 01/02/2015

In this issue:
FRA Launches 2015 Survey on Military, Veterans Benefits
CRDP/CRSC Open Season Begins in January
DoD Looking for Gulf War Vets for Detoxification Program/Study
New 2015 BAH and BAS Rates Available

FRA Launches 2015 Survey on Military, Veterans Benefits
As part of its mission to bring the concerns of enlisted personnel to Capitol Hill, FRA is conducting an online survey to determine which military and veterans’ benefits are most important to active duty and Reserve personnel, retirees, veterans and their families. The brief survey, available at www.fra.org/survey, asks current and former members of the uniformed services and their spouses to rate the importance of various benefits and quality-of-life programs associated with their service to our nation.

“As Congress explores ways to cut federal spending, many hard-earned benefits are in the budgetary crosshairs,” explains Tom Snee, FRA’s National Executive Director. “FRA is asking all current and former military personnel and their spouses to share their opinions about the programs they value most. Survey responses and comments from participants provide important reference information when we testify before Congress or meet one-on-one with lawmakers and their staff.”

FRA shares the survey results with elected officials on Capitol Hill, key committee staff, and leaders within the Departments of Defense, Homeland Security and Veterans Affairs—ensuring these crucial decision-makers understand the enlisted sea service perspective.

Visit www.fra.org/survey to let FRA know which military and veteran benefits are most important to you!

 

CRDP/CRSC Open Season Begins in January

FRA wants to remind retirees who qualify for both Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) and Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) that they can choose which compensation they prefer to receive in the coming year. According to federal law, retirees can receive either CRDP or CRSC, but not both, and they can make their election during the CRDP/CRSC open season that runs for the entire month of January 2015.

All eligible retirees should have received a CRDP/CRSC Open Season Election Form in the mail, which includes a comparison of the CRDP and CRSC entitlement amounts and information about tax implications. Retirees should return the form only if they wish to make a change from CRDP to CRSC or vice versa. No action is required to keep things the way they are and the current payment will continue uninterrupted. Forms must be postmarked no later than January 31, 2015, and the usual processing time for this change is 30 days. All elections remain in effect unless changed in a subsequent annual open season. For more information, go to: http://www.dfas.mil/dfas/retiredmilitary/disabil ity/comparison.html.

 

DoD Looking for Gulf War Vets for Detoxification Program/Study
The Department of Defense (DoD) is offering a detoxification program for a limited number of veterans who suffer from Gulf War illness. Veterans who were deployed to the Persian Gulf region any time between August 1, 1990, through July 1, 1991, and are experiencing Gulf War illness symptoms such as fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sleeping difficulties, memory problems, etc. are eligible, and there is no cost to participate. The therapy site is located in Annapolis, Maryland.

The procedure involves modest exercise and daily sauna therapy with a variety of nutrients. This regimen is designed to remove toxins from the veteran’s body and reduce symptoms. Participation is limited to 50 Gulf War veterans who suffer from Gulf War illness. The sauna procedure will last about 4-6weeks, with follow-ups three months later. For more information contact:

Crystal Grant, PhD
Clinical Trial Coordinator
University at Albany
Tel: 667-217-0218
E-mail: cgrant6@albany.edu

David O. Carpenter, MD
Principal Investigator
University at Albany
Tel: 518-525-2660
E-mail: dcarpenter@albany.edu

 

New 2015 BAH and BAS Rates Available
Defense officials recently announced that Base Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates will increase on average $17 per month or 0.5 percent. Individual rate adjustments will vary by pay grade, dependency status and assignment area. To find out the specific increase in your zip code go to: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/bahCalc.cfm. To learn more, read Tom Philpott’s syndicated “Military Update” column (12-25-14), available at http://www.fra.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=News&CONTENTID=16869&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm.

Also taking effect on January 1 are new rates for basic allowance for subsistence (BAS), which will increase by 2.9 percent. The new rates are $367.92 per month for enlisted personnel and $253.38 per month for officers.