June 14, 2017
CBS/AP | CBSNews.com
Congress approved long-sought legislation Tuesday to make firing employees easier for the Department of Veterans Affairs, part of an effort urged by President Trump to fix a struggling agency serving millions of veterans.
The bill will make it easier for VA employees, including executives, to be fired by lowering the standard of evidence required to "remove, demote or suspend" someone for poor performance or misconduct. It also gives whistleblowers more protections, including preventing the VA from removing an employee with an open whistleblower case.
June 12, 2017
Natalie Gross | Military Times
What is tuition assistance?
Tuition assistance, informally called TA, is a federal benefit that covers the cost of tuition, up to particular limits, for active-duty service members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, as well as some National Guardsmen and reservists.
The funds are paid directly to schools by the service branches.
Are there limits or specific requirements?
June 12, 2017
Natalie Gross | Military Times
What is the Post-9/11 GI Bill?
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is a generous education benefit for the latest generation of service members and veterans. It includes payment of tuition and fees, a monthly housing allowance and a stipend for textbooks and supplies.
June 9, 2017
Jack Encarnacao | Gov Tech
(TNS) -- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has stopped updating a performance database that charts error rates at local offices — a system vets advocates say was a useful tool to hold the agency accountable, including at the Boston office.
The system, called ASPIRE, was introduced with fanfare in 2010 as a way to hold the VA up to a higher standard for avoiding the kinds of errors and oversights that cause wounded ex-warriors to get inaccurate disability ratings, denying them vital compensation.
June 8, 2017
Roy Maurer | SHRM
Private-sector California employers might soon be able to establish a voluntary preference for hiring military veterans regardless of when the veterans served, thanks to a bill that recently passed the state assembly.
The veterans' hiring preference currently in use is limited to Vietnam-era veterans and only immunizes employers from gender discrimination claims.
June 7, 2017
Eric Feldman | WishTV
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Researchers at Purdue University will soon start a potentially groundbreaking study that could help more veterans suffering from PTSD get service dogs.
The research could for the first time prove scientifically that service dogs help these veterans. Purdue researchers just received more than a half million dollars to conduct this two year study.
The potential is sweeping change in Washington, D.C. and another resource for vets.
Zoe is Nick Hamilton’s service dog. Hamilton served three tours in Iraq and now suffers from PTSD.
June 6, 2017
Stephen Simpson | Military Times
June 5, 2017
Donovan Slack | USA Today
WASHINGTON — The secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs says veterans shouldn’t have to wait for a better medical record system, so he’s citing a public interest exception to federal contracting rules and tapping a private company — without competitive bidding — to build a new system.
Secretary David Shulkin said Monday the department will use Cerner Corp., the same company modernizing medical record keeping for the Department of Defense.
June 2, 2017
Leo Shane III | Military Times
WASHINGTON — The new Veterans Affairs administration is backing off the department’s 7-year-old target of reaching zero homeless veterans across America, but insists they aren’t giving up on the cause.
In an interview with Military Times this week, VA Secretary David Shulkin said he no longer sees zero as “the right goal” for his department’s efforts, and instead is focused on cutting the current number of homeless veterans down from about 40,000 to somewhere below 15,000.
May 25, 2017
Mark Geil | Phys.org
In 1905, an Ohio farmer survived a railroad accident that cost him both of his legs. Two years later, he founded the Ohio Willow Wood company, using the namesake timber to hand-carve prosthetic limbs. The company grew, surviving the Great Depression and a fire that destroyed the plant, and still thrives today in rural Ohio. Few who work there now might remember the curious footnote in the company's history that occurred during World War II, when the rebuilt factory was diversified to build parts for PT boats and B-17 bombers.