Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that veterans who submit to a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure can receive $1,500 in relocation assistance.  The agency has instructed mortgage servicers to provide the funds to help borrowers cover moving costs or other expenses incurred during the tumultuous process.  Borrowers can use the money to cover moving expenses or to simply pay for lodging while they deal with the pending loss of their home.

New Legislation would allow Veterans to use G.I. Bill funds for Franchise Training Programs.  The bill is H.R. 3351.  It would work in conjunction with S.1540/H.R.2888 and provide funds to help veterans get funding for ownership of a franchise.  The bills still have to make their way through the Congress, but they will go a long way in helping returning veterans open up their own businesses.  The tax credits would offset start-up costs equal to 25% of franchise fees, up to $100,000.

Veterans Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2011 increases the rates of VA disability compensation and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children by 3.6%.  This matches the COLA increase military retirees and Social Security recipients will receive.

FYI:  For those on active duty and either wounded or injured in the line of duty and because of your condition, are no longer able to perform your assigned duties and now have other duties not prescribed by your MOS, you are entitled to receive Social Security Disability in addition to your pay.  Social Security Disability is retroactive to your date of injury.  You will need all your military health records that reflect the wound or injury along with a letter of documentation from your doctor.   The application is on line at: www.socialsecurity.gov/ to apply for disability or call 1-800-772-1213.

If you know anyone transitioning from the military to civilian life there is a useful website at Adecco.  It is managed by former military and can assist with career services, employer services, and associated needs. They are at www.adeccousa.com.  In addition, the Small Business Administration provides services to Veterans who are looking to open their own businesses.  They provide counseling and training services. You can reach the New York State Program Coordinator, John Narciso, at www.nyvetbiz.com

Have a Happy St. Patrick’s Day and an enjoyable parade season. God Bless our troops and God Bless America.