From: raoemo@mozcom.com

Sent: Wednesday, February 15, 2006 12:32 PM

Subject: RAO Bulletin Update 15 February 2006

 

RAO Bulletin Update

15 February 2006

 

THIS BULLETIN UPDATE CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING ARTICLES:

 

== Tricare User Fee [05] ------------------- (Increase details)

== Tricare User Fee [06] ------------------- (Proposal reactions)

== VA Budget 2007 ------------------------- (Insufficient)

== Tricare Uniform Formulary [08] ------- (8 more to 3rd Tier)

== VA Panel Hearing Change [01] ------- (Minor improvement)

== Military Funeral Disorderly Conduct -- (300 foot restriction)

== Photography Franchise Offer ----------- (Contest for vets)

== WRAMC Amputee Facility ------------- (Waiver allows Opening)

== Disabled Veterans Memorial ----------- ($65 million needed)

== Mobilized Reserve 8 FEB 06 ----------- (5000+ decrease)

== Purple Heart Stamp ---------------------- (Not discontinued)

== VA Priority Categories [01] ------------ (263,257 turned away)

== Disabled Retiree Back Tax -------------- (3 years refund limit)

== VA Health Care Funding [03] ---------- (Budget process flawed)

== Honor Guard Restriction ---------------- (Statute restricts support)

== Disability Retirement [02] --------------- (Discharge parameters)

== Dextromethorphan AAFES Sales ------- (Limitation on sales)

== Tricare Pharmacy Paper Claim ---------- (Paper trail to end)

== VA Claims Assistance [02] -------------- (Secondary claims)

== Foreign Service Officer Exam ----------- (Second career option)

== VA Help Lines ----------------------------- (Get second opinion)

== VA Nasopharyngeal Radium Therapy -- (Head/neck cancer cause)

== Texas Veterans Homes -------------------- (6 online - 1 to go)

== Parentage ------------------------------------ (How to verify)

== SSA Change of Address ------------------ (How to accomplish)

== Kentucky Military Legislation ----------- (Senate passes 3 bills)

== Green Card Lottery ------------------------ (90,000 selected for 2006)

 

 

TRICARE USER FEE UPDATE 05:  Military association representatives were

recently briefed by DoD on the exact details in their FY 2007 budget

proposal of the proposals affecting out-of-pocket costs paid by military

beneficiaries. These officials shared the rationale for the increased

enrollment fees, TRICARE Standard deductibles, and pharmacy co-payments,

aimed primarily at the 3.1 million military retirees under age 65, their

families, and survivors. It was emphasized the increases were needed to

sustain the benefit in the future for those who had earned it. They

highlighted recent expansions in the benefit and stated that beneficiary

costs needed to be brought in line both with increases in civilian plans

and with the original division of costs when TRICARE began. In 1995

beneficiaries paid 27% of the total health care costs, but are paying only

12% today. They noted there has been no change in TRICARE premiums in the

past 10 years, even as the DoD health care budget has doubled in the past

5 years, going from $19 billion in FY 2001 to $38 billion this year.

Internal efficiencies, they claimed, are not enough to stem the tide of

rising health care costs. They stated that beneficiary behaviors also

needed to change, but acknowledged the Department needed to give a higher

priority to preventive health programs after association representatives

noted that preventive health programs such as smoking cessation are not

TRICARE benefits.  As part of the FY 2007 budget proposal, DoD is seeking

the following changes:

 

 

     Create a three-tier TRICARE Prime enrollment fee system and increase

these fees substantially in FY 2007 and FY 2008, before setting future

increases to average changes in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan

(FEHBP). Currently all retirees under the age of 65 pay the same annual

enrollment fee for TRICARE Prime: $230 for an individual and $460 for a

family.

1)   Retired junior enlisted members (E-6 and below) would see Prime

enrollment fees increase to $275 for an individual and $550 for a family

in FY 2007 and $325 and $650 in FY 2008.

2)   Prime enrollment fees for retired senior enlisted (E-7 and above)

members would increase to $350 and $700 in FY 2007 and $475 and $950 in FY

2008.

3)   For retired officers, Prime enrollment fees would increase to $500 for

an individual and $1,000 for a family in FY 2007 and $700 and $1,400 in FY

2008, more than triple the current annual fee.

     Create a first-time-ever enrollment fee for TRICARE Standard, the basic

health care benefit to which military servicemembers, retirees, their

families, and survivors are entitled. The annual fee would only be charged

to retirees under age 65, their families, and survivors.

1)   In FY 2007, retired junior enlisted members in Standard would pay $75

for an individual and $150 for a family. In FY 2008, they would pay $140

and $280.

2)   Senior enlisted retirees in Standard would pay $100 for an individual

in FY 2007 and $200 for a family and $200 and $400 in FY 2008.

3)   Standard enrollment fees for officer retirees would start at $150 and

$300 in FY 2007 and rise to $280 and $560 in FY 2008.

     TRICARE Standard annual deductibles would also increase in two tiers

over the next two years from the current $150 for an individual and $300

for a family.

1)   For all retired enlisted members, they would rise to $175 and $350 in

FY 2007 and $185 and $370 in FY 2008.

2)   For retired officers, deductibles would increase to $225 for an

individual and $450 for a family in FY 2007 and $280 and $560 in FY 2008.

Thus, under this plan, an officer retiree and family would pay an

enrollment fee of $560 and then have to pay out of pocket to meet the $560

deductible before DoD would begin paying anything for the benefit they

earned.

     Change pharmacy co-payments slightly for all beneficiaries, except

active duty servicemembers who pay no co-payments. Medications obtained in

military hospitals and clinics would remain free. The co-payment for

generic medications obtained through the TRICARE Mail Order Pharmacy

(TMOP) would be eliminated (it is currently $3 for a 90-day supply) and

the co-payment for brand-name and the third-tier (non-formulary) drugs

would remain $9 and $22 for a 90-day supply obtained through the TMOP. The

elimination of the mail order co-payment for generic drugs is one way DoD

hopes to persuade more beneficiaries to use the TMOP rather than retail

pharmacies. Co-payments for generics in the retail pharmacy will increase

to $5 for a 30-day supply and $15 for a 30-day supply of a brand-name. The

third tier price of $22 would remain the same.

Under DoD’s proposal the following will remain the same:

 

1) The catastrophic cap of $1,000 per year for active duty family members

and $3,000 for retirees. The catastrophic cap is the maximum out-of-pocket

amount beneficiaries must pay in one year for covered costs.

2) TRICARE Prime co-payments for retirees will remain at $12 per medical

visit. There are no co-payments under Prime for active duty members and

their families.

3) No cost changes for TRICARE for Life beneficiaries other than the

increases in retail pharmacy co-pays.

4) No co-pays for medications obtained in military hospital and clinic

pharmacies.

 

     DoD will have to seek legislative approval from Congress for what

will probably be the most controversial of its proposed changes.

While it has the authority to increase TRICARE Prime enrollment fees

and pharmacy co-pays, it will need permission from Congress to create

the tiered system and institute the TRICARE Standard enrollment fee.

[Source: NMFA eNews 7 Feb]

 

TRICARE USER FEE UPDATE 06:  The former USN Surgeon General of the Navy

spoke out on the SECDEF’s testimony before the Senate Armed Services

committee 7 FEB regarding the Defense Health Program. His response pretty

well sums up why the less than 65 retirement community is being singled

out in the proposed Tricare increases.  VADM Koenig wrote:

 

“The problem with SecDef’s testimony and what the Department is requesting

is that virtually all of their re-balancing effort is being done out of

the wallets of a single beneficiary group - retirees and their families

under age 65.  The trap DOD is in is that retirees under 65 are the only

group that they can do this to.  The 24-star letter signers won’t let them

do it to active duty families because it will hurt recruiting and

retention.  Congress won’t allow DOD to hit the over-65’s with a premium

beyond part B for TFL because it was Congresses way of fixing the “broken

promise.”  So Rumsfeld is stuck, he has no where to turn but to those

retired and their families who are under 65.  Another interesting

revelation in his testimony, and I do not believe he wanted it to be quite

this transparent, is where he talks about employers telling people to go

use their Tricare benefit.  He acts as if this is wrong.  What is wrong

with people using the benefit they were promised, earned and are entitled

to?

Harold M. Koenig, MD

Vice Admiral, Medical Corps

U.S. Navy, Retired”

 

     Military Personnel Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham(R-SC)

appeared to support DoD’s initiative at the Senate Committee hearing.

Testimony before the House Armed Services Committee on 8 FEB drew a

far more chilly response than their Senate counterparts. Military

Personnel Subcommittee Chairman John McHugh (R-NY) and others

criticized the fee increases and questioned not only the department’s

savings calculations, but also questioned whether they would be

actualized. McHugh indicated he had questions about the morality of

imposing such large fee increases for the purpose of achieving budget

savings by driving people not to use the health benefits they earned

through a career of military service.

 

   According to MOAA’s analysis of the situation a great deal of the

Pentagon’s concern over rising health care costs involves the nearly $9

billion annual deposit to the TRICARE For Life trust fund that the

Administration wrongly counts against the defense budget.  Two years

ago, when Defense leaders said the Administration was making them take

this deposit out of hide at the expense of other Defense programs, the

Armed Services Committees acted to change the law to shift that deposit

from the Defense budget to the U.S. Treasury budget. The clear intent

was that TFL expenses weren’t to come at the expense of other readiness

needs.  Congress passed that provision as part of the FY2005 Defense

Authorization Act (Public Law 108-375). But the Office of Management

and Budget has since conspired with the budget committees to flout the

clear letter of the law and continue to charge the deposit against the

defense budget. That’s why the Administration has wrongly forced the

Joint Chiefs of Staff to choose between retiree health funding and

weapons programs. It’s a false and inappropriate choice. If the

Administration obeyed the law, the debate wouldn’t be necessary.

[Source: Brig Gen R. Clements USAF (Ret) msg 9 Feb & MOAA Leg UP 11 Feb

06 ++]

 

 

VA BUDGET 2007: Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Nicholson announced 6

FEB that President Bush will seek a record $80.6 billion in the fiscal

year 2007 budget for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The

overwhelming majority of the resources are targeted for health care and

disability compensation. The FY 2007 proposal represents an increase of

$8.8 billion, or 12.2%, above the budget for 2006. The FY ’07 budget

proposal calls for $38.5 billion in discretionary funding, mostly for

health care. For health care alone, the President’s request is an increase

of $3.5 billion (or more than 11%) over the FY 2006 level. The budget

proposal also would provide $42.1 billion in mandatory funding, mostly for

compensation, pension, and other benefit programs.  The budget request

still relies on $1.1 billion in cost-saving efficiencies. It appears to

table long-needed construction dollars, particularly in the area of grants

for state veterans homes and leaves CARES (Capital Asset Realignment for

Enhanced Services) under-funded. It takes a $13 million bite out of VA

research and fails to provide sufficient funds for staffing and training

in the Veterans Benefits Administration to address a claims backlog fast

approaching one million

 

     The budget proposal recycles two provisions from last year. In an

effort to help the VA care for those veterans who count on it the

most (those with service-connected disabilities) the VA is again

asking non-disabled, higher income veterans (Priority 7 and 8

veterans) to pay a $250 annual enrollment fee and higher pharmacy

co-payments (from $8 to $15). Priority 7 and 8  veterans were not

eligible to receive VA medical care at all, or only on a case-by-case

space available basis, until 1999 when new authority allowed VA to

enroll them in any year that resource levels permitted. VA officials

state these veterans typically have other alternatives for addressing

their medical care costs, including third-party health insurance

coverage, TRICARE, or Medicare, and thus believe it is acceptable to

ask Priority 7 and 8 veterans to assume a modest share of the cost of

their care. Secretary Nicholson stated that under no circumstances

will a veteran make a co-payment of any kind for the treatment of a

service-connected condition.

 

     A chart in the president’s budget request anticipates reducing the

number of vets who can use VA healthcare services by approximately

1.2 million in Priority Groups 7 and 8 in 2007 through implementation

of enrollment fees and higher copays.  The request assumes an

increase in third-party collections from insurance companies to $2.8

billion.  The administration’s 2006 estimate for third-party

collections was just over $2 billion.  These estimates may be overly

ambitious since the VA had $3 billion in uncollected debt as of early

2005. The budget request is intended to provide the resources

necessary to make servicemembers’ transition from active duty

military status to civilian life is as smooth and seamless as

possible. Men and women still on active duty should find it easier to

access VA benefits when they near the end of their military service

because of a program that allows early application for disability

claims and other benefits.  At

www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/PressArtInternet.cfm?id=1075  additional

info on the budget proposal can be found. [Source: VA Press Release &

NMFA eNews 7 Feb 06 ++]

 

 

TRICARE UNIFORM FORMULARY UPDATE 08: On 15 FEB 06 several drugs will move

to the third co-payment tier of $22 for a 30 day supply at network retail

pharmacies and $22 for a 90 day supply through the mail order pharmacy.

Third tier drugs are not available at military treatment facility (MTF)

pharmacies unless the prescription has been written by an MTF provider and

medical necessity is established. The drugs moving to the third tier are:

-     Alpha 1 Blockers (for prostate hypertrophy): Flomax

-     ACE Inhibitor/Diuretic (for high blood pressure):  Accuretic, Uniretic

-     ACE Inhibitor (for high blood pressure):  Aceon, Accupril, Quinapril,

Altace, Univasc

A summary of medications which have been moved to third tier status can be

found at www.moaa.org/serv_healthcare_drug_formulary_3rd_tier.htm.  For

more information on the Uniform Formulary and drug tiers, go to:

http://www.tricare.osd.mil/pharmacy/default.cfm. [Source: NMFA eNews 7 Feb

06 ++]

 

 

VA PANEL HEARING CHANGE UPDATE 01:  House Veterans  Affairs Committee

Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN), who recently unleashed a torrent of criticism

from veteran service organizations (VSOs), has reversed his original

decision and extended from 3 minutes to 30 minutes the amount of time VSOs

may have to present testimony regarding legislative priorities. Testimony

from VSOs on the President’s budget request and proposed policy

initiatives, however, will still be limited to three minutes, a

restriction which all the VSOs consider to be totally inadequate and

counterproductive. VSOs reacted angrily when Chairman Buyer last November

decided to do away with a decades-long tradition in which veterans groups

presented their legislative agenda to a joint meeting of the House and

Senate Veterans Affairs Committees. [Source: VetJobs Veteran Eagle

Newsletter 1 Feb 06]

 

 

MILITARY FUNERAL DISORDERLY CONDUCT:  Iowa has passed an Act relating to

committing disorderly conduct near a military funeral, memorial service,

funeral procession, or burial, and providing penalties. Specifically it

states a person shall not do any of the following within 300 feet of the

building or other location where a military funeral or memorial service is

being conducted, or within 300 feet of a military funeral procession or

burial:

a.) Make loud and raucous noise which causes unreasonable distress to the

persons attending the funeral or memorial service, or participating in the

funeral procession.

b.) Direct abusive epithets or make any threatening gesture which the

person knows or reasonably should know is likely to provoke a violent

reaction by another.

c.) Disturb or disrupt the funeral, memorial service, funeral procession,

or burial by conduct intended to disturb or disrupt the funeral, memorial

service, funeral procession, or burial.

 

     A person who commits a violation of above within 30 minutes

preceding, during, and within 30 minutes after a military funeral,

memorial service, funeral procession, or burial is subject to:

a.) A simple misdemeanor for a first offense which is punishable by

confinement for no

more than 30 days or a fine of at least $50 but not more than $500 or by

both.

b.) A serious misdemeanor for a second offense which is punishable by

confinement for no more than one year and a fine of at least $250 but not

more than $1,500.

c.) A class "D" felony for a third or subsequent offense which is

punishable by confinement for no more than five years and a fine of at

least $750 but not more than $7,500.

 

Nebraska, Kentucky, Indiana and Missouri have passed similar bills in

their house, but approval is waiting for their senate’s action.  That

leaves 45 states lacking in similar legislation.  [Source:  POVA VSO msg

26 Jan 06]

 

 

PHOTOGRAPHY FRANCHISE OFFER:  TSS Photography, a youth photography

franchise formerly known as The Sports Section, has announced it will

award a franchise territory worth $20,000 to a retired or

honorably-discharged member of the Armed Forces. The 250,000-population

territory can be anywhere in the country where TSS Photography does not

have a current franchise.  The winner will receive the franchise

territory, plus $5,000 in equipment and three nights at the TSS

Photography Convention Hotel for training and public relations support for

their opening–for a total value of $30,000. Candidates must submit an

essay focusing on what their service to America has meant to them, why

they would be an excellent franchise owner and why TSS Photography would

be their franchise of choice. The essay should demonstrate previous

entrepreneurial ambition, and dedication or commitment to their

communities through activities such as involvement in local organizations,

donations to charitable causes, or youth outreach. For additional

information refer to www.tssphotography.com. [Source: Armed Forces News 20

Jan 06]

 

 

WRAMC AMPUTEE FACILITY: Construction is expected to begin this spring on a

state-of-the-art rehabilitation facility for amputee Soldiers at Walter

Reed Army Medical Center even though the venerable military hospital is

scheduled to close in five years. The $10 million Military Amputee

Training Center [originally expected to open last month]  was caught in

limbo during the Pentagon's base closing process. Ground was broken in

2004, but construction did not begin begun last May when the Army ordered

a hold on all projects that could be affected by the Base Closure and

Realignment Commission. A waiver was granted in September to continue work

on the project. A contractor should be selected for design and

construction by the end of March, with construction to be completed in SEP

07. Walter Reed officials still expect the 30,000-square-foot addition to

the military hospital to include a running track, a climbing and

rappelling wall and a virtual-reality center, as well as a military

vehicle simulator to help some Soldiers return to the battlefield. It will

combine both new and existing counseling, occupational and physical

therapy services for amputees. However, amputee center is now considered

temporary, to serve Soldiers for only five to seven years due to the BRAC

decision. Walter Reed is supposed to move to an expanded suburban military

hospital in 2011, under the BRAC recommendations President Bush signed

last year. [Source: Reuters Alert News 18 Jan 06]

 

 

DISABLED VETERANS MEMORIAL:  Veterans who have been wounded face many

challenges - learning to live without sight or the use of limbs, retiring

from the only career they’ve ever known, and dealing with emotional scars.

A new memorial planned in Washington, D.C., will honor the dedication and

bravery of those permanently disabled veterans and express the nation’s

gratitude for their sacrifice.  The American Veterans Disabled for Life

Memorial will occupy a 2-acre site adjacent to the National Mall, within

full view of the U.S. Capitol. The focal point of the marble and glass

memorial will be a star-shaped reflecting pool with an eternal flame

rising from its center.  A grove of trees will stand sentry-like beside

the pool. The U.S. Congress approved this national memorial to be built in

Washington D.C. with the passage of Public Law 106-348. The Disabled

Veterans Life Memorial Foundation is raising the estimated $65 million in

private funds needed to build and maintain the memorial. By federal law,

the entire cost of the construction, plus 10% for the Memorial's perpetual

maintenance and preservation, must be on hand before groundbreaking.

Donations should be coordinated through the Disabled Veterans' LIFE

Memorial Foundation, Inc. (DVLMF). For more information on the Disabled

Veterans memorial or how to make a donation visit www.avdlm.com, write

Disabled Veterans LIFE Memorial Foundation, Inc. ,2300 Clarendon

Boulevard, Suite 302, Arlington VA 22201-3367 or send an email to

info@dvlmf.org.  [Source: Military Officer Jan 06]

 

 

MOBILIZED RESERVE 8 FEB 06:   Army National Guard and Army Reserve on

active duty in support of the present partial mobilization is now 107,200.

 In addition the other services have mobilized 5,286 Navy Reserve; 7,670

Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve; 7,072 Marine Corps Reserve; and

414 Coast Guard Reserve.  As of 11 JAN this brings the total National

Guard and Reserve personnel, who have been mobilized, to 127,127,

including both units and individual augmentees.  This is a decrease of

5,562 from last month’s 11 JAN total mobilization announcement.   At any

given time, services may mobilize some units and individuals while

demobilizing others, making it possible for these figures to either

increase or decrease. A cumulative roster of all Reserve contingent

personnel can be found at

www.defenselink.mil/news/Feb2006/d20060208ngr.pdf  for those now

mobilized. [Source: DoD News Release No. 114-06 8 JAN 06]

 

 

PURPLE HEART STAMP:   With the recent increase in postal rates, supporters

of the Purple Heart Stamp were concerned that the Postal Service might

discontinue the stamp which honors the heroes who have received the Purple

Heart Medal.  With support from a petition and letter writing campaign

launched by Sen. Hillary Clinton’s office and the Military Order of the

Purple Heart, the Postal Service announced last week that the Purple Heart

stamp is coming back as a 39-cent version. There was clearly a tremendous

amount of public support for keeping the stamp in circulation.  [Source:

AFA Update 11 Feb 06]

 

 

VA PRIORITY CATEGORIES UPDATE 01:   Three years ago, then-Secretary

Anthony J. Principi announced that the Department of Veterans Affairs was

suspending health care enrollment for some higher-income veterans who did

not have injuries or illnesses related to their military service.  The

move to exclude “Priority 8” veterans was unpopular, but Principi said it

was necessary to prevent the VA medical system from being swamped by the

rising number of veterans who were eligible for care. At the time, about

6.8 million veterans were enrolled in the VA health system. Now more than

7.5 million are enrolled which includes 5.4 million who received treatment

last year. However, others could not get in the door.  More than a

quarter-million (263,257) “Priority 8” veterans who tried to sign up for

VA health care coverage between JAN 03 and OCT 05 were turned away because

of the new effort to rein in costs.

 

      There are 24.4 million veterans in the United States, and 16.9

million are not enrolled in the VA health care system. As many of 10

million of those not enrolled are Priority 8 veterans, the VA says.

The annual household income cutoff for Priority 8 veterans varies by

region. It was $57,500 for a veteran with three dependents who lived

in Arlington or Fairfax counties, or in Montgomery or Prince

George’s counties in Virginia.  A VA spokesperson, said the affected

veterans could not enroll because they were not eligible. The VA

wants to be clear to vets that absolutely nobody is being cut from

VA health care rolls and no veteran will be disenrolled from VA

health care unless they specifically request it.  Rep. Lane Evans

(D-IL), ranking Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee,

called on the administration to increase the VA budget.  “There is

no reason for the VA to give the cold shoulder to veterans who have

served our country honorably,” Evans said in a written statement.

[Source: washingtonpost.com Christopher Lee article 10 Feb 06]

 

 

DISABLED RETIREE BACK TAX:   Most VA disability claims filed by military

retirees are resolved in less than a year. But lost paperwork,

administrative errors, and appeals of rejected claims delay thousands of

disability awards for years on end.  The tax free VA disability award is

retroactive to the date of the application. To accept award the retiree

must forfeit retired pay on which he has already paid taxes. But to get a

refund of back taxes paid, disabled retirees must file an amended tax

return for each applicable year.  That’s when retirees run into a major

problem because the IRS Code bars filing amended returns beyond the last

three tax years. As a result, VA administrative glitches and insensitive

tax laws cost these disabled retirees thousands of dollars through no

fault of their own.

 

     Veteran organizations and advocates have been seeking support for a

legislative solution to this unfair situation. Recently Rep. Sam Farr

(D-CA) and Rep. Mike Bilirakis (R-FL) expressed interest in

supporting this effort.  On 9 FEB Rep. Bilirakis introduced H.R. 4727

which is a positive step towards fixing this problem.  The bill,

known as the Disabled Veterans Tax Fairness Act, adds an exception to

the IRS statute of limitations that would allow disabled retirees to

file amended returns for more than three tax years in cases where the

VA approval is retroactive for more than that time. Efforts are now

underway to seek companion legislation in the Senate. [Source: MOAA

Leg UP 11 Feb 06 ++]

 

 

VA HEALTH CARE FUNDING UPDATE 03:   The Government Accountability Office

has made an initial report of an investigation requested by House

Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Steve Buyer (R-IN) and members of

the Senate. GAO blamed unrealistic assumptions, errors in estimates,

insufficient data, and an unresponsive budget model for health care

funding shortfalls at the Department of Veterans Affairs in fiscal years

2005 and 2006. GAO declared that the federal budgeting process itself,

which uses information up to three or more years old, had contributed to

shortfalls. Projections were understated for a number of reasons,

including returning Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom

soldiers and requirements for long-term care. The funding shortages, which

were discovered by VA officials in the spring of 2005, were ultimately

filled by supplemental funding. The GAO will continue its review of the

process used by the administration to formulate the VA budget.

 

     Lane Evans, ranking Democratic member, House Committee on Veterans

Affairs, says the Department of Veterans Affairs used phantom claims

to offset VA budget requests for health care. Basing his comments on

a Government Accountability Office report issued Feb. 1 (previous

item), he added that while calling for the establishment of user fees

and increased copayments for veterans seeking health care, and

altogether barring at least 260,000 veterans from the (VA) health

care system, the administration falsely claimed billions of dollars

in unsubstantiated management efficiencies.  Democrat Daniel Akaka,

Evans’ counterpart on the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs, said

it is distressing that VA’s health care budget over the past three

years has been built like a house of cards. Evans and Akaka stressed

that replacing the Administration’s savings claims in the VA budget

would have averted the needs for the $1.3 billion supplemental

request in 2005 and increases in pharmacy co-payments.  [Source:

Armed Forces News 10 Feb 06]

 

 

HONOR GUARD RESTRICTION:   Congress passed a law ensuring that all

veterans could receive full military honors at their funerals. But it

failed to include sufficient funding for the practice, and the military

has largely turned to veterans organizations to provide the service.

Veterans of WWII, the Korean War and other conflicts die are now dying at

an estimated rate of 1,800 a day nationwide.  A few states grant small

stipends to honor guards, but most do not. Now, a little known statute

being enforced by the Army further complicates veterans’ organizations

attempts to provide the service.  It was so little known that top

officials with the American Legion in Washington, D.C., weren’t familiar

with it until the Associated Press brought it to their attention.  The

statute prohibits the Army from supplying veteran organizations with

weapons or ammunition to provide the services if they do not use veterans

on the honor guard who were trained in the use of the weapons by the

military.

 

     The Army provides M-1 rifles and blank cartridges to honor guards

nationwide for funeral gun salutes.  However, it will not provide

ammunition to organizations that wish to use rifles not donated by

the Army. The Army admits it has little power to investigate whether

honor guards around the country are following the statute but the

materials will be repossessed if it is discovered that organizations

are.  Many organizations are limited in available personnel to serve

on their honor guards and supplement their resources with auxiliary

members such as the Sons of the America Legion. Primarily because

their older members can no longer participate due to age and their

younger members cannot take time of from their employment on a

regular basis to meet the need.  It would take an act of Congress to

change the statute.  Rep. James Oberstar [MN] is reportedly looking

into the issue.  [Source: NavyTimes.Com 9 Jan 06]

 

 

DISABILITY RETIREMENT UPDATE 02:  If you have been found to be physically

unfit for further military service and meet certain standards specified by

law, you will be granted a disability retirement. Military members with 20

or more years of active service (service retirement eligible) can retire,

regardless of the percentage level of disability, if they are found to be

unfit and removed from the service by reason of physical disability.

People with less than 20 years of active service at the time they are

removed from the service by reason of physical disability may be either

separated or retired, based on the following:

      1)  If you have a disability that is rated by the military

disability evaluation system at 20% or lower, you can be discharged

(most likely with severance pay, unless the condition existed prior

to service and was not permanently aggravated by service or

misconduct is involved). Those who are separated for disability may

be eligible for monthly disability compensation from the Veterans

Administration (VA).

     2)  If the condition is rated at or above 30%, and other conditions

are met, you will be disability retired.

Your disability retirement may be temporary or permanent. If temporary,

your status should be resolved within a five-year period.

 

     The amount of your disability retired pay is determined by one of

three methods:

     1)  Multiply your base pay or average of highest 36 months of active

duty pay at the time of retirement by the percentage of disability

which has been assigned. However, the minimum percentage for

temporary disability retirees will equal 50%. The maximum percentage

for any type of retirement is 75%.

     2)  Multiply only your years of active service at the time of your

retirement by 2.5% by your base pay or average of highest 36 months

of active duty pay at the time of retirement.

     3)  The third method applies to you if you were eligible to

retire/transfer under any other law. FAS will compute your

entitlements using both methods above, and use the one which results

in the greatest amount of retired pay. If you desire that another

method be used, you may request (in writing) that the other method be

used.

 

     The difference between temporary and permanent disability is the

stability of the medical condition. If you’re condition is not deemed

“stable” by the PEB, they will recommend you be placed on the TDRL

(temporary disability retirement list). When on the TDRL, you are

subject to reevaluation every 18 months and limited to 5 years max on

the TDRL. At the 5 year point, if not sooner during a re-eval, you

are removed from the TDRL and either found fit; permanently retired;

or discharged with severance pay.

If, on 24 SEP 75, you were either a member of an Armed Force or was under

a binding written commitment to become a member, and are

discharged/retired by reason of disability by the military disability

evaluation system (not VA), your retirement pay may not be taxed.

Otherwise, for a tax free retirement, you’d have to have a combat related

disability. If you go through the VA disability evaluation system and they

grant you disability compensation, it will not be taxed, regardless of

whether or not you were in the service on 24 Sep 75. [Source: New Mexico

e-Veterans News 6 Feb 06]

 

 

DEXTROMETHORPHAN AAFES SALES:  The Army and Air Force Exchange Service has

voluntarily started limiting sales of products with Dextromethorphan (DSM)

to customers over the age of 18. DXM is a common cough-suppressing

ingredient contained in more than 140 over-the-counter cough and cold

medicines. AAFES officials pointed out that when taken as directed and

used properly, DXM is safe.  However, recent media reports and research

indicate abuse of DXM is becoming more of an issue than previously

thought. While there is not yet a legal requirement to flag products with

this ingredient, as of 24 JAN AAFES is voluntarily limiting sales of

products with DXM to customers over the age of 18.  A message on the cash

register will alert cashiers to verify the age of the person buying

products with DXM. Customers can still find cough and cold medicines with

DXM in the Health and Beauty Care department of their BX/PX.  The only

difference customers will encounter will be at checkout.  [Source: Air

Force Retiree News 7 Feb 06]

 

 

TRICARE PHARMACY PAPER CLAIM:  Every month about 400,000 users of the

military’s retail pharmacy network, those who have other health insurance,

have to file paper claims with Tricare to be reimbursed for co-payments

and other costs incurred that their primary insurance won’t cover. The

paper hassle is about to end because Tricare is moving to online

coordination of benefits for the retail pharmacy network in the next

couple of months. At present a beneficiary using the retail network, who

has other health insurance, gives the pharmacist his/her primary insurance

information. The pharmacist bills the primary carrier via computer online

and quickly gets back information on what the beneficiary still owes in

fees or copayments.  But many retail network pharmacists do not go one

more step and communicate online with Tricare. So, in most cases, the

beneficiary is told to pay the balance and file a claim with Tricare for

full reimbursement.  When implemented, rather than filing paper claims,

beneficiaries will just wait a few moments in front of the pharmacist

while the unpaid portion of the claim is reviewed online by Tricare.  When

coverage is verified the Pharmacy will receive confirmation of payment

through the beneficiary’s secondary Tricare coverage. [Source: Philpott,

Trenton Times 6 Feb 06]

 

 

VA CLAIMS ASSISTANCE UPDATE 02:   The VA recognizes that disabilities

veterans may develop years after service may be directly related to

military exposure to certain conditions. For a summary of those

conditions, go to the VA Web site: www.va.gov and review the 38 Code of

Federal Regulations, Sections 3.309 to 3.317. If you feel any of the

presumptive conditions listed apply to you get a doctor’s opinion, a

diagnosis, your DD-214, and visit your veteran advocate to file a claim.

If not for you, then for your wife and children who would be eligible to

file for benefits if your death results from any related condition. A

small investment in the beginning will pay off for the rest of the

veteran’s life. Nam vets should be aware that veterans from the early

years of that conflict are now recognized by the VA as in-country Vietnam

veterans from 28 FEB 61 through APR 75. Some conditions to consider would

be:

-     Asbestosis. This can develop many years later from the veteran’s

exposure to the material during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, when asbestos

was used as insulation on all U.S. Navy ships and numerous military

barracks. If you have a lung disease, ask your doctor if it may be

related. X-rays will show asbestosis.

-     Conditions from exposure to atomic radiation and Agent Orange

-     Conditions related to vets who have been diagnosed with Gulf War Syndrome.

 

Claims can also be filed for secondary conditions. These are disabilities

that are proximately due to, or the result of a service-connected disease

or injury. Some examples are:

-     a veteran has a right knee service-connected injury.  For years he

favors his good knee, but it, too, goes bad. The veteran may file a claim

for his left knee condition secondary to his service connected right knee.

The vet will need a doctor’s opinion documenting that condition.

-     A psychological condition often causes hypertension and heart disease,

which VA and National Academy of Sciences studies have linked to the years

of stress from these conditions.  This can mean that a veteran who suffers

PTSD, major depression or similar disabilities can make a claim for

secondary hypertension/heart disease to his service connected

psychological disorder with a doctor’s opinion. Or his widow, if the

veteran died of a heart condition, may file a claim after producing a

doctor’s opinion that his psychological condition contributed to his

death.

-     Agent Orange Diabetes II that can lead to neuropathy, kidney, heart and

other secondary conditions, which the veteran should and could be rated

for.

-     Prescription drugs for a service-connected condition that causes other

medical conditions would be claimable. This includes dental conditions

that result form medications administered for the primary disability.

 

Remember, the VA hires highly educated, many legally schooled, rating

specialists, so give these VA employees the medical and legal opinions

they seek. These VA rating specialists are mostly pro-veteran, but they

too, have laws and rules set by Congress that they must adhere to. The

best way to work the system is to provide them with the documentation they

need to help you, the veteran.  If in doubt as to where to obtain claim

filing assistance refer to the Bulletin article “VA Claim Filing Sources”

available upon request. [Source: North County Times Mike Schuster article

3 Feb 06 ++]

 

 

FOREIGN SERVICE OFFICER EXAM:  Retirees looking for a second career might

want to consider entering the United States Foreign Service. The first

step in becoming a Foreign Service Officer is to take the Foreign Service

Written Exam (FSWE).  It is offered once a year in cities around the

world.  To be eligible for the written examination, an applicant must be:

1.   Between 20 and 59 years old on the date of examination. Appointment to

the Foreign Service must take place before the candidate's 60th birthday

2.   A citizen of the United States

3.   Available for worldwide assignment, including Washington, D.C.

 

     There is no longer a printed version of the application.  As of 2006

all registrations for the FSWE must be done online at

http://careers.state.gov/officer/join/examinfo.htm.  The exam is for

entry-level Foreign Service Officer positions in the U.S. Department

of State. Test date is 8 APR 06. Registration deadlines are 1 MAR 06

for foreign test centers and 8 MAR 06 for U.S. test centers.

Additional information regarding the Foreign Service and employment

therein is available at http://careers.state.gov.  [Source: US.

Embassy Manila Warden notice  Feb 06 ++]

 

 

VA HELP LINES:  The Department of Veterans Affairs provides toll free help

lines on VA benefits and programs at

https://iris.va.gov/scripts/iris.cfg/php.exe/enduser/cci/phonenbrs.php.  A

veteran who turns to the lines for information about benefits might want

to get a second opinion. According to a follow up study assessing

telephone service quality, it was noted in a 14 OCT 04 VBA Letter 20-04-42

that people who call the agency’s regional offices for help and advice are

more likely to receive completely wrong answers than completely right

ones. To see how well its employees answer typical questions from the

public, VA benefits experts in 2004 called each of the agency’s U.S.

regional offices, which process veterans’ disability claims.  The

so-called mystery callers, saying they were relatives or friends of

veterans inquiring about possible benefits, made a total of 1,089 calls.

Almost half the time they got answers that the VA said were either

completely incorrect or minimally correct. According to a VA memo, 22% of

the answers the callers got were “completely incorrect,” 23% were

“minimally correct” and 20% were “partially correct.” Nineteen percent of

the answers were “completely correct,” and 16% were “mostly correct.” The

program also found that some VA workers were dismissive of some callers

and unhelpful or rude to others. The results of the 2004 study are below

expectations and are disappointing to the organization.  The report

included comparisons to the previous 2002 study. Of special concern was

that the excellent and very good responses declined for courtesy and

professionalism (from 81 to 69%) and for willingness to help (from 76 to

62%).  Significant improvement, however, was made in prompt service (from

76 to 87%).  VA officials acknowledge in the letter that the agency needs

to do better. To read the VA survey online, which includes the questions

asked and the responses received go to

www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin20/letters/vba04_42.doc.  [Source: VetJobs

Veteran Eagle Newsletter 1 Feb 06 ++]

 

 

VA NASOPHARYNGEAL RADIUM THERAPY:  Veterans who remember being treated or

think they were treated with nasopharyngeal radium should tell their

physicians about it. Veterans who have health problems they think may be

related to nasopharyngeal radium also are encouraged to contact the

nearest VA medical center. Public Law 105-368 enacted in November 1998

authorizes examinations and treatment of head and neck cancers for

veterans who received nasopharyngeal radium treatments during active

military, naval, or air service. For veterans not otherwise enrolled in VA

health care, documentation of nasopharyngeal radium treatment in service

records may be required to be eligible for these services. Veterans who

are enrolled in VA health care receive medically indicated diagnostic and

treatment services without any need to document exposures.

 

     Radium was first used as a medical therapy in 1904. It was used

internally and externally to treat a variety of diseases and

conditions -- from cancer to goiters to scalp ringworm. It was used

on tissues unsuitable for surgery, only local anesthesia was

required, and it could be performed in a physician's office. The

treatment also was believed to be safer than conventional X-ray

treatment. During the 1920s, a new technique was developed using

radium to treat hearing loss in children caused by repeated ear

infections (otitis media). This technique was called nasophayrngeal

radium therapy. A radium-tipped rod was inserted in the nose and left

for several minutes. Often, several treatments were provided in a

series, each two to three weeks apart. The therapy also was used to

treat sinusitis, tonsilitis, asthma, bronchitis, and repeated viral

and bacterial infections. Because it was effective in treating otitis

media, military physicians used it to treat aerotitis media in

submariners, aviators and divers. Aerotitis media is hearing loss

caused by swollen tissue in the throat combined with rapid pressure

changes in the middle ear. The treatment was used to shrink tissue in

the throat and prevent ear damage from pressure changes. An estimated

500,000 to two million civilians, mostly children, received these

treatments. It is estimated that between 8,000 and 20,000 military

personnel received them during World War II and until about 1960.

Pressurized aircraft cabins and new treatments, such as better

antibiotics, as well as concerns about radiation safety resulted in

its discontinuation.

 

     Information on filing a claim for disability compensation may be

obtained by calling the nearest VA regional office at 1-800-827-1000.

For questions on nasopharyngeal radium therapy, veterans may call

VA's Public Health and Environmental Hazards Office at 1(202)

273-8578. Questions on enrolling for VA health care may be directed

to VA toll-free at 1(877) 222-8387. [Source: VA Fact Sheet Feb 99 &

e-Veterans News 4 Jan 06]

 

 

TEXAS VETERANS HOMES:  Veterans in Texas will have greater access to

long-term health care, thanks to a $10 million grant from the Department

of Veterans Affairs (VA) to build a state nursing home in Amarillo. The

$10 million grant will pay up to 65% of the cost to construct and equip a

120-bed state nursing home in Amarillo.  Overall cost of the project is

estimated at $15.8 million. In fiscal year 2004, the Department of

Veterans Affairs spent more than $4.9 billion in Texas to serve 1.6

million state veterans.  VA operates 10 major medical centers, with

outpatient clinics and Vet Centers in many communities. Texas also

operates the following State Veterans Homes (SVH):

     William R. Courtney Texas State Veterans Home, 1424 Martin Luther King

Jr. Lane, Temple, Texas 76504-5941 Tel:: (254) 791-8280  Fax: (254)

791-0262.

     Lamun-Lusk-Sanchez Texas State Veterans Home, 1809 North Highway 87, Big

Spring, Texas 79720-0793 Tel: (432) 268-VETS (8387) Fax: (432) 268-1987.

     Frank M. Tejeda Texas State Veterans Home, 200 Veterans Drive,

Floresville, Texas 78114-2709 Tel: (830) 216-9456 Fax: (830) 393-7764.

     Clyde W. Cosper Texas State Veterans Home, 1300 Seven Oaks Road, Bonham,

Texas 75418-3254 Tel: 903-640-VETS (8387) Fax: 903-640-4281.

     Ambrosio Guillen Texas State Veterans Home, 9650 Kenworthy St, El Paso,

Texas 79924 Tel: (915) 751-0967 Fax: (915) 751-0908

     Alfredo Gonzalez Texas State Veterans Home, 301 East Yuma Avenue

McAllen, Texas 78503 Tel: (956) 682-4224 Fax( 956) 682-4668

 

Construction was completed in 2005 for new homes in El Paso and McAllen.

Both have 160 beds, of which 60 are certified for Alzheimer’s care.  Texas

state veteran homes are skilled care facilities. They are not retirement,

assisted living, or personal care homes. All the homes are available to

veterans who were discharged or released from active military service for

a disability incurred or aggravated in the line of duty. Veterans must

have a medical necessity for skilled, long-term nursing care as determined

by a physician in concurrence with a VA physician in order to qualify for

a per diem from the VA that pays $59.36 per day toward the cost of care.

Some residents may be eligible for Medicaid to help pay for the cost of

their care. Medicare and Medicaid eligible residents are also required to

meet the same need for skilled care. Some veterans may be eligible for

benefits, such as pensions like Aid and Attendance, from the VA to help

pay for the veteran’s portion of the cost of care. The resident or their

responsible party is responsible for the remaining costs of care. There is

no per diem for nonveterans. Minimum occupancy rates are $63 a day with an

average cost of $100 a day. The rate for a basic semi-private room is

$133.00 per day.  Spouses of Texas veterans and Gold Star parents are also

eligible for care in SVH.  Spouses can share a room upon request, if

medical needs do not prohibit.  Residents must have lived in Texas for at

least one year immediately prior to application for admission or been a

Texas resident at the time of entry into military service, and have

honorable discharges. Application forms are available for download on

www.tvc.state.tx.us/cso.htm, from a Texas State Veterans Home, or by

calling the Texas Veterans Land Board at 1 (800) 252-8387 and requesting

one be sent by mail.  [Source: VA News Release 3 JUN 05 &

www.glo.state.tx.us/vlb/vethomes  Feb 06]

 

 

PARENTAGE:  Positive proof of parentage can benefit:

     Woman seeking child support from a man who denies he is the child’s father.

     Men attempting to win custody or visitation rights.

     Men wanting to confirm paternity of their child(ren) for peace of mind.

     An adopted child seeking his/her biological family.

     A person seeking to identify one parent when the other parent is

deceased or missing.

     A person seeking entry into the U. S. on the grounds that she/he is a

biological relative of a U.S. citizen.

     Someone wanting to determine grand parentage, inheritance rights,

insurance claims, or Social Security benefits.

 

Parental blood type combinations cannot prove parentage but can be used to

exclude a potential parent.  The following blood type mating will result

in the indicated possible an impossible offspring blood types:

     O + O can result in O but not A, B, or AB

     O + A can result in A or O but not B or AB

     O + B can result in O or B but not A or AB

     O + AB can result in A or B but not O or AB

     A + A  an result in A or O but not B or AB

     A + B can result in A, AB, B or O

     A + AB can result in A, AB or B but not O

     B + B can result in B or O but not A or AB

     B + AB can result in A, AB or B but not O

     AB + AB can result in A, AB or B but not O

 

     Eye color cannot indicate paternity.  In humans, there are three

genes that are known to control eye color. The expression of these

three genes can explain typical patterns of inheritance of brown,

green, and blue eye colors.  However, they don’t explain everything.

Grey, hazel, multiple shades of blue, brown, green, and grey are not

explained by these three genes. The molecular basis of these genes is

not known; what proteins they produce and how these proteins affect

eye color are not known. Eye color at birth is often blue turning,

turning darker color as the child matures. Why eye color can change

over time is not known. An additional gene for green is also

postulated, and there are reports of blue-eyed parents producing

brown-eyed children which the three known genes can’t easily explain.

Mutations, modifier genes that suppress brown, and additional brown

genes are all potential explanations. Bottom line, eye color can be

very complicated. If you are in doubt get a DNA test.  DNA results

are acceptable as reliable proof or disproof of parentage in legal

and immigration proceedings if performed by a certified laboratory

that maintains strict chain of custody and documented procedures.

DNA test results are the same whether performed from swab, tissue,

hair or fluid samples because the DNA is the same in all nucleated

cells of a person’s body. Every cell in body, except for red blood

cells, contains the same DNA. Red blood cells do not contain DNA.

Using DNA the mother does not have to be tested.  Accurate results

can be obtained from brothers or related individuals of the alleged

father. Although related individuals have similar genetic markers,

additional testing can be performed until one man is excluded.

Collection of samples from different individuals at different times

does not affect validity. Samples collected postmortem and properly

stored can also be used. Average cost of DNA testing dependent upon

the number of tests involved runs $200 to $400. [Source:

http://genetic-identity.com]

 

 

SSA CHANGE OF ADDRESS:  You can change your address and/or telephone

number online if:

1.)  You get Social Security disability, retirement, or survivors

benefits, and

2.)  You live in and are moving to an address in one of the 50 states, the

District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the

Northern Mariana Islands, or American Samoa, and

3.) The address change is for your own benefit or payment, and

4.) You can answer a series of questions that have to match SSA records, or

5.)  You have established a password to access your SSA information.

 

Be prepared to provide your full name and SSN, your mother’s maiden name,

your birth date, your complete new and old address including zip code, the

amount of your last SSA check, and your new phone number or a number SSA

can use to contact you at.  To protect everyone's privacy, each person who

wants to change his or her address must request it. For example, your

spouse and other members of your household will need to each log on or

call to do this. You can change your address or request a password by

calling 1(800) 772-1213 or logging onto

https://s044a90.ssa.gov/apps6z/ICOA/coa001.jsp. You have the option of

selecting when your change of address will take effect. Establishing a

password involves 3 steps:

Step 1 To create a permanent password, you need a Password Request Code (PRC)

Step 2 Wait at least 15 days for your PRC letter to come in the mail.

Step 3 Create your permanent password using the directions in your PRC

letter.

 

With a password you can:

1.)  Check your information and benefits

2.)  See your address, telephone number, direct deposit, Medicare and

payment information.

3.)  Change your address and/or telephone number in SSA records.

4.)  Request or change direct deposit

5.)  Start direct deposit of your checks or change your current direct

deposit to another account or financial institution.

6.)  Change your password.

 

Since SSA has no offices outside the U.S., they are assisted by the

Department of State's embassies and consulates throughout the world. In

the Philippines, the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office (VARO)

in Manila assists. If you are in Canada, British Virgin Islands or Samoa,

you can obtain services from an SSA Field Office. Locations can be found

at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/foreign/index.html.  If you are in any

other country, you can write Social Security Administration, Office of

International Operations, P.O. Box 17775, Baltimore, MD 21235-7775

[Source: SSA website www.sa.gov FEB 06]

 

 

KENTUCKY MILITARY LEGISLATION:   The Kentucky Senate recently passed three

bills of interest to local military families:

-     Senate Bill (SB) 2, also known as the “Military Families Benefits Bill,”

focuses primarily on National Guard and Reserve families, but also has a

provision to assist some active duty families. The bill would create a

Military Family Assistance Trust Fund. When a Kentuckian is deployed as a

member of the regular military outside the United States or a member of

the National Guard or Reserve on any federal active duty, the

servicemember's family may apply to receive a grant from the trust fund to

pay for necessities such as housing, utilities, groceries; health

insurance co-pay, and child care.

-     Senate Bill (SB) 47, which would expand to elementary and middle

schools what is currently the law for high schools, that one class period

be devoted to Veterans Day observances on or near Veterans Day.

-     Senate Bill (SB) 30, which would enable TRICARE-eligible state

employees to choose to remain in TRICARE and receive a state-funded

TRICARE supplemental insurance policy for themselves and their family

members rather than using Kentucky’s public employee health insurance

program.

 

The Kentucky Senate’s (SB) 30 bill is similar to actions by several other

states and private employers to encourage military beneficiaries to use

TRICARE as their primary insurance rather than using their

employer-sponsored insurance. DoD officials cite these actions and the

increasing numbers of military retirees opting to remain in TRICARE

instead of using their employer-sponsored plans as a major reason for its

proposals to increase beneficiary fees and cost shares.  [Source: NMFA

eNews 7 Feb]

 

 

GREEN CARD LOTTERY:   The diversity lottery (i.e, Green Card Lottery)

program is conducted under the terms of section 203(c) of the Immigration

and Nationality Act and makes available 50,000 permanent resident visas

annually to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the

U.S. The Kentucky Consular Center in Williamsburg, Kentucky has

responsibility for registering and notifying the winners of lottery. A

person can register only one time each year. For DV-2006 approximately

90,000 applicants were registered and notified and may now make an

application for an immigrant visa. Since it is likely that some of the

first 50,000 persons registered will not pursue their cases to visa

issuance, this larger figure insures that all DV-2006 numbers will be used

during the fiscal year 1 OCT through SEP 06. Applicants were selected at

random from over 6.3 million qualified entries received during the 60-day

application period. The visas have been apportioned among six geographic

regions with a maximum of 7% available to persons born in any single

country.

 

     During the visa interview, principal applicants must provide proof of

a high school education or its equivalent, or show two years of work

experience in an occupation that requires at least two years of

training or experience within the past five years. Those selected

will need to act on their immigrant visa applications quickly.

Applicants should follow the instructions in their notification

letter and must fully complete the information requested. Registrants

living legally in the United States who wish to apply for adjustment

of their status must contact the Bureau of Citizenship and

Immigration Services for information on the requirements and

procedures. Once the total 50,000 visa numbers have been used, the

program for fiscal year 2006 will end.

 

     Selected applicants who do not receive visas by 30 SEP 06 will derive

no further benefit from their DV-2006 registration. Similarly,

spouses and children accompanying or following to join DV-2006

principal applicants are only entitled to derivative diversity visa

status until 30 SEP 06. Only participants in the DV-2006 program who

were selected for further processing have been notified. Those who

have not received notification were not selected. The application

dates have already been exceeded for DV-2007 registration but

applicants may try in late 2006 for the upcoming DV-2008 lottery if

they wish. The dates for the registration period are published

annually when determined and noted at www.dvlottery.state.gov.

Complete information on how to submit an application, individuals not

eligible because if their country of origin, and what occupations

will qualify for the Diversity Visa Program is available at

http://travel.state.gov/visa/immigrants/types/types_1319.html. There

have been instances of fraudulent websites posing as official U.S.

Government sites. Some companies posing as the U.S. Government have

sought money in order to "complete" lottery entry forms. There is no

charge to download and complete the Electronic Diversity Visa Entry

Form. The Department of State notifies successful Diversity Visa

applicants by letter, and NOT by email.  [Source:

http://travel.state.gov/visa/visa_1750.html Feb 06]

 

 

 

Lt. James "EMO" Tichacek, USN (Ret)

Director, Retiree Assistance Office, U.S. Embassy Warden & VITA Baguio

City RP

PSC 517 Box RCB, FPO AP 96517

Tel: (760) 839-9003 or FAX 1(801) 760-2430; When in RP: (74) 442-7135 or

FAX 1(801) 760-2430

Email: raoemo@sbcglobal.net.  When in Philippines raoemo@mozcom.com

Web: http://post_119_gulfport_ms.tripod.com/rao1.html

AL/AMVETS/CORMV/DAV/FRA/NAUS/NCOA/MOAA/USDR/VFW/VVA/CG33/DD890/AD37 member

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