Displaying 1 - 10 of 123 Forum Posts1 2 3 4 5 Next
  • Jan 09, 2019 11:43 AM
    Last: 7d

    With a new year, and new elections, comes new laws and legislation. I wondered how the New Year would play out for veterans receiving benefits from the government, so I found an article from military.com that spells out what changes we will see for Veterans' benefits. Having veterans in my family, I'm always keeping my eyes peeled for any changes that come through the pipeline. I think it's important to know what changes are being made on the 'Hill' that will affect our veterans. You may not be former military personnel yourself, but it touches our friends and family members, in one way or another. The article breaks down new changes to Veterans' benefits on a state level, as well as Federal, but I wanted to focus more on the Federal, since it will affect veterans on a broader spectrum.

    Here's the breakdown:

    GI Bill

    A provision of the Forever GI Bill that provides more benefits for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Programs will become effective Aug. 1, 2019.

    The VA will provide up to nine additional months of Post-9/11 GI Bill coverage to certain eligible individuals who are enrolled in a STEM program and use up all their GI Bill benefits.

    This applies only to veterans who already have completed at least 60 semester or 90 quarter hours and are in a STEM program that requires more than the standard 128 semester or 192 quarter hours for a degree.

    The VA can pay up to nine additional months of GI Bill benefits or $30,000, whichever is less. Those using the Yellow Ribbon program and dependents using transferred benefits are not eligible.

    Space-A Travel

    Disabled veterans with a 100-percent disability rating are now eligible for Space-A travel.

    New UCMJ Article

    Article 128b will be added to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, addressing domestic violence. It includes assault, intimidation, violation of a protective order, and damaging property or injuring animals in a domestic-assault situation.

    More UCMJ changes can be found here.

    High-Deployment Allowance for Reservists

    A new law adds reservists mobilized under Section 1104(b) to those eligible for the high-deployment allowance of up to $1,000 per month.

    New Tricare Retiree Dental Program

    The big news in Tricare coverage is the replacement of the Tricare Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) with the FEDVIP program. Also, family members of active-duty personnel are now eligible for vision insurance through FEDVIP.

    One change I'm happy to see is the VA adding 9 additional months to Post-9/11 GI Bill coverage. I think it will certainly gives veterans more wiggle room when they use up all their GI Bill benefits.

    What changes do you find more impactful? There's always more we can do for our veterans, but are there changes that need to be implemented further?

  • Jan 02, 2019 02:13 PM
    Last: 13d
    Definitely will keep this link in mind. I wanted to see how much it has increased from 2004 to 2018. I wasn't surprised what I saw. One thing that I couldn't quite figure out was on the first line of 2018 on Household size 1, I see that it says "48 States, DC, Guam, and US Virgin Islands," but then when I look at 2004, it just says "48 States 1." Did they not count Guam in 2004? I'm really fuzzy on my politics from 2004. I could have sworn there was some territorial dispute going on, at least with tax brackets.
  • Dec 30, 2018 02:53 PM
    Last: 17d

    Ok, my dad has thought of this, and has told my mom many times "I could retire right now, and we could move to Thailand, and live like royalty there." It seems as though my dad isn't the only American considering becoming a expat. Many advantages exist for those who consider retiring in another country. Of course, these pros don't come without their cons. So I looked into it. Found a decent article that lays it out on Forbes.

    One of the main advantages to retiring abroad, especially in place like Mexico, Portugal or Spain is the U.S. Dollar goes a long way. What costs an arm and a leg in the states could be pennies on the dollar(quite literally) in other countries. Another consideration would be changing locations where the climate is more hospitable, such as the beaches of Thailand. One very important consideration is healthcare. We all know healthcare in America is a joke compared to many other countries. Places like the countries listed above, including Korea offer amazing healthcare to Americans. This would be an excellent advantage for those retiring with health conditions.

    So what are the cons? There are few, but they don't necessarily outweigh the pros, in my opinion:

    Do you have family obligations?

    Do you have an ailing family member who needs you near, either for healthcare reasons or in case of an emergency?

    What are you thoughts on being a minority in another country?

    In many countries, Americans can be spotted from a mile away. Are you ok with a language barrier? Are you willing to change with and learn a new culture altogether? It isn't difficult to navigate another country. But it should still be considered.

    Some other considerations from the Forbes article:

    Politics—How comfortable are you with other rules of government and law? Are you comfortable with a socialist or communist government? How about a dictatorship?

    Attitude Toward Americans—Would you be comfortable overcoming negative attitudes about who you are and where you come from?

    Likelihood of Natural Disasters—Have you had experience living with the threat of hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, or volcanic eruptions? Are you comfortable with the likelihood of one or more of these?

    Health Care—How healthy are you currently? Do you need constant monitoring for a health condition? How attached are you to your current doctors?

    Language/Communication—Do you speak another language well enough to converse about important issues? How willing are you to learn another language? Are you willing to take classes to learn another language?

    Ease of Travel—Do you want or need to travel back to the United States frequently? How easily do you travel?

    Entertainment & The Arts—How important to you is American TV, opera, symphony, museums, and theater? Are you willing to give up the kind of entertainment you are used to?

    Shopping—How important is the ability to shop in places like Trader Joe's, Nordstrom or Target? Will you have trouble giving up the opportunity to buy what you want easily and quickly?

    Infrastructure and Technology—How attached are you to 24/7 electricity? Fast Internet speeds? Uninterrupted phone service? Will you need these for work?

    In my opinion, it's totally doable still. It should be considered at least once before you retire. Does anyone agree? Are there cons that I missed? If you do agree, where would you be fine with being an expat? I'd live in Spain myself. :)

  • Dec 27, 2018 04:22 PM
    Last: 20d
    J.K.Logic Wrote:
    Probably should stay at 100% to qualify as top priority, and then start paying off loans in tiers of disabled priority after that, if it ever grows to be able to do so.

    I agree. That's an interesting way of thinking about it, priority wise. It would definitely give more structure to such a program. Perhaps going down by fifths or tenths. I'm no expert, so I wouldn't know where to comfortably put the cut-off. I hope they're able to reach out to more veterans, especially since like the article said, so many of them are defaulting on their loans. All in all, good news for sure!

  • Dec 26, 2018 06:54 PM
    Last: 8d
    J.K.Logic Wrote:

    Look out though, Overton window works both ways.. wonder what the right will start saying they want, to combat this tactic.

    Very true. I'm thinking perhaps they'll move more towards supporting ideas and reforms that would protect private insurance companies.
  • Dec 26, 2018 06:54 PM
    Last: 8d

    This isn't news to anyone who keeps up with American politics, but I wanted to get the conversation started. I found an article from Bloomberg that seems to paint an interesting picture of the struggle between the right and the left on this topic. According to the article, supporters are in it for the long-haul. Dem presidential hopefuls are clamoring to co-sponsor similar legislation. The right has been opposing any increase in Medicare spending. But after a couple of national polls were done, it seems as though the American people might be on board for it one day, although that one day will probably be after the 2020 election.

    The concept of Medicare for All, if written well, could be solid for those who can't get the insurance discount through an employer. Perhaps both sides of the political spectrum could compromise on Medicare having a buy-in option instead of it being universal. I think there is a possibility that one day we'll see this or something like it coming into legitimacy. What do you think? Also, what kind of political shift would it take for Medicare for All to be a reality one day?

  • Nov 07, 2018 12:27 PM
    Last: 15d
    It will be exciting, to say the least. Yet, at the same time, I can see the dreaded gridlock on the the horizon. I absolutely hope that isn't the case. What do you think this means for the Mueller investigation?
  • Nov 07, 2018 12:42 PM
    Last: 21d

    The midterms are pretty much locked in, and the celebratory confetti is already being swept from the floor. One of the major things we can take away from these elections is a large influx in female electees.

    At least 101 women were elected to the House of Representatives, which is a new all-time high for their numbers in the House. Women almost broke their gubernatorial win record of 9 this election. One other remarkable stride was the increase in diversity for both the Senate and House with two Muslim women being elected to seats in congress.

    What does the "pink wave", as they're calling it, mean for U.S. politics in the future? I found a good article from Time. One quote decently answers that question:

    “Having extra women in these institutions makes just a little bit more cultural change in how things are done,” says Stephanie Schriock, president of Emily’s List, which works to elect pro-choice women Democrats. “Women get more bills passed, their bills have more cosponsorships than their male counterparts, women in general are more progressive.”

    With that being said, do you think it's true? Will this large influx of female electees significantly shape U.S. politics in the years to come? I argue that it will. Perhaps the Government not being such a "boys club" will have a significant impact on legislation in the future.

  • Nov 06, 2018 07:25 PM
    Last: 2mo
    J.K.Logic Wrote:

    I hope voters aren't paying attention mainly to just that. But if they are, much as it pains me (as it feels like a massive democracy failure), I understand.

    Isn't that a scary thought? If they are informed, then they'll know how important this gov election will be for the states, as well as the outcome of the next big election. I can just hear it in speeches in local town halls, "Redistricting is coming soon, this is our last chance to lock it in, people."
  • Nov 06, 2018 05:02 PM
    Last: 2mo
    bryce28 Wrote:
    Unless all this immigration talk is really just fear mongering.
    In my opinion, it mostly is. To the individual I can see it's important issue-wise. I just wonder if it is really in anyone's best interest for there to be a majority either way.