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DoD To Implement Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay
The Defense Department announced today the services' implementation plans to provide retroactive stop loss special pay. Active, reserve and former service members who had their enlistment extended or retirement suspended due to stop loss are eligible for this special pay, if they served on active duty between Sept. 11, 2001 and Sept. 30, 2009.

Breaking News: VA Extends "Agent Orange" Benefits to More Veterans
Parkinson's Disease, Two Other Illnesses Recognized

Relying on an independent study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), Secretary of VA Eric K. Shinseki decided to establish a service-connection for Vietnam Veterans with three specific illnesses based on the latest evidence of an association with the herbicides referred to Agent Orange.

VA Warns Veterans of Telephone Prescription Scam
The VA is warning Veterans not to give credit card numbers over the phone to callers claiming to update VA prescription information.

Army Releases August Suicide Data
The Army released suicide data for the month of August today. Among active duty soldiers, there were 11 potential suicides, all of which are pending determination of the manner of death. In July, the Army reported no confirmed suicides and eight potential suicides among active duty soldiers.

DoD Announces Recruiting and Retention Numbers for August 2009

Agent Orange Linked to New Diseases
The Institute of Medicine (IOM) concluded that there is a suggestive link between exposure to Agent Orange and Ischemic Heart Disease, Parkinson's Disease and certain rare cancers.

VA's Suicide Prevention Program Adds Chat Service
The Suicide Prevention campaign of the (VA) is expanding its outreach to all Veterans by piloting an online, one-to-one "chat service" for Veterans who prefer reaching out for assistance using the Internet.

New Initiatives for Women Veterans
August 31, 2009 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) embarked on new initiatives to meet the unique needs of women veterans including (1) comprehensive primary care and specialized medical care at every VA medical center; (2) enhanced mental health care specifically for women veterans; (3) staffing every VA medical center with a women veterans program manager; (4) improving communication and outreach to women veterans; and (5) continuing the operation of organizations such as VA's Center for Women Veterans and the Women Veterans Health Strategic Healthcare Group. For more information about VA programs and services for women veterans, visit the Department of Veterans' Affairs Center for Women Veterans webpage www1.va.gov/womenvet and Women Veterans Health Care website (www.publichealth.va.gov/womenshealth).

VA Moves to Simplify PTSD Rules
August 31, 2009 - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is taking steps to assist veterans seeking compensation for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The VA published a proposed regulation in the Federal Register to make it easier for a veteran to claim service connection for PTSD. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted over the next 60 days. The text of the proposed rule is available on the Federal Register (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/E9-20339.htm) website.

DoD Establishes Suicide Prevention Task Force
The congressionally directed task force will address trends and causal factors, methods to update prevention and education programs, suicide assessment by occupation, suicide incident investigations, and protective measures for confidential information derived from investigations for the department.

VA Cancels Contract with UTSW Medical Center
Citing persistent noncompliance and numerous performance deficiencies, the VA will not exercise the third year of a five-year, $75 million contract with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSWMC) to perform research into Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses (GWVI).

Specter Prods VA On End-of-Life Advice
Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) called on the Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday to consider suspending its use of an end-of-life planning document that critics have dubbed the "death book for veterans."

Secretary Shinseki Moves to Simplify PTSD Compensation Rules
"The hidden wounds of war are being addressed vigorously and comprehensively by this administration as we move VA forward in its transformation to the 21st century," said Secretary Shinseki.

Army Releases July Suicide Data
There have been 96 reported active-duty Army suicides during the period Jan. 1, 2009 - July 31, 2009. Of these, 62 have been confirmed, and 34 are pending determination of manner of death. For the same period in 2008, there were 79 suicides among active-duty soldiershellip;

Army Releases June Suicide Data
Among active-duty soldiers there were no confirmed suicides and nine potential suicides. In May, the Army reported one confirmed suicide and 16 potential suicides among active-duty soldiers. Since that time, seven have been confirmed and nine remain under investigation…

VA Leadership Vows to Fix Problems Identified At Marion VA Medical Center
The VA today released the results of two investigations into concerns involving patient care at the Marion facility…

Judge Permits Lawsuit
A federal judge has ruled that two veterans groups can proceed with a class-action lawsuit claiming the Veterans Affairs violated veterans' civil rights by delaying and denying benefits…

Housing Grant Benefit for Injured Service Members Expanded
Service members who are seriously injured or disabled can now receive special adaptive housing grants from the VA…

VA Offers Hospice Care
The VA is providing hospice and palliative care to a growing number of veterans…

President Signs Los Angeles Bill
Bush signed a law which bars commercial development on the large West LA VA campus in Brentwood and Westwood…

Pay in Vets' Work Program Ruled Tax-Free Ruling on Compensated Work Therapy Retroactive Three Years
Payments provided to veterans under two specific programs of the VA -- the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) and Incentive Therapy (IT) programs -- are no longer taxable…

Some Military Members Can't Donate Blood
In-Depth Discussion of Variant Creutzfeld-Jacob Disease and Blood Donation …

Notification Procedure Changes Clarified
From now on, any telephone notification to next-of-kin family members of injured, wounded or sick Marines or sailors attached to Marine Corps units will come from Marine Corps Headquarters…

Behavioral Care Appointment Help Offered
Military families living in the U.S. who are enrolled in Tricare can now use a toll-free telephone number to locate and schedule appointments with behavioral care specialists…

New Army Web Site Shows Where the Troops Are
Service officials have created a Web site to keep interested parties informed as to which new soldiers are going where…



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