A Message from Your MFN Team
Happy New Year 2009!
Another New Year is upon us! The traditional images of Father Time and Baby New Year associated with this season are a great metaphor for the way we are approaching this year.
Father Time reminds us that this is a time of reflection as we remember the successes and challenges of 2008, and learn from these experiences so that we may be wiser this year.
Baby New Year, on the other hand, reminds us to keep that child-like sense of excitement as we look forward to the opportunites that will present themselves, and to go after these opportunities with the same enthusiasm and joy as a child taking his first steps.
We encourage you to keep these images in mind, and wish you the best in the coming year.
- Your MFN Team
News You Can Use
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Officials Set Military Housing Allowance Rates for 2009
Housing allowances for military members will go up an average of 6.9 percent in 2009, Defense Department officials announced today. Read More…
European Command Program Aims to Reduce Caregiver Fatigue
Recognizing the risk of burnout among caregivers providing warrior and family support, U.S. European Command plans to kick off a program this spring that incorporates principles introduced by bestselling author and lecturer Dr. Stephen Covey. Read More…
New Military Handbook Available for Guard and Reserve
Military Handbooks has announced the release of a new 2008 handbook for military personnel, the 2008 Guard and Reserve Military Handbook. Visit http://www.militaryhandbooks.com for more information.
Guard families eligible for child care subsidy
For National Guard members about to deploy there is help to assist spouses and family members with the costs of child care during deployment through the Guard's Child Care Subsidy Program.
AF officials streamline overseas outprocessing guidelines
Air Force Personnel Center officials here recently introduced a new initiative that will streamline final processing for Airmen retiring or separating from overseas areas. With this change, additional travel to a separation processing base is no longer required. Read More….
IRS Speeds Lien Relief for Homeowners Trying to Refinance, Sell
The Internal Revenue Service today announced an expedited process that will make it easier for financially distressed homeowners to avoid having a federal tax lien block refinancing of mortgages or the sale of a home. Read More…
Tax Information for Members of the U.S. Armed Forces
The tax laws provide some special benefits for active members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including those serving in combat zones. More Information
Comprehensive Tax Guide Available for Free at IRS.gov
The IRS has placed its comprehensive tax guide for individuals on IRS.gov, updating it for tax year 2008. The updated on-line version of IRS Publication 17, “Your Federal Income Tax,” contains more than 900 interactive links. Read More…
DFAS to release 2008 tax statements
Military service members, military retirees and annuitants, and federal civilian employees paid by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) can expect to receive their 2008 tax statements beginning in December 2008. More info...
Getting Rid of Your Old Computer?
Computers are a popular gift during the holiday season. People with a new computer often wonder about the best way to get rid of the old one. OnGuardOnline.gov, the computer safety Web site managed by the Federal Trade Commission, has some tips to make this task easier – and more secure. Read More…
Consumer Advice to Ring in the New Year
As 2008 draws to a close, the Federal Trade Commission has nine consumer tips that can yield big dividends next year. Recognizing a good deal, staying safe online, managing credit and debt, and reporting scams and deceptive offers are more important than ever in these uncertain economic times. Read More of the FTC’s tips…
Health Care Update
New Year Brings New Tools to Quit Tobacco
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) and TRICARE are offering new innovative online tools to help military service members keep their New Year’s resolutions to quit tobacco. Read More…
Computer/Electronics Accommodations Program More Widely Available to Wounded, Ill and Injured Service Members
A new Department of Defense (DoD) instruction on assistive technology (AT) will increase availability and awareness of AT to wounded service men and women at no cost to them. Read More…
Get Set for Winter Illness Season
In much of the Northern Hemisphere, this is prime time for colds, influenza (flu), and other respiratory illnesses. Read more…
The start of a new year often means the start of new habits. A healthy diet and regular physical activity can easily be achieved by making some of these easy, conscious decisions. Read More…
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Handbook Available from National Institute of Mental Health
A booklet on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that explains what it is, treatment options, and how to get help. For more information, visit this link.
Nearly 11,000 Survivors to Receive Retroactive Payments by New Years
The Department of Veterans Affairs has identified nearly 11,000 surviving spouses of deceased veterans who will receive a lump-sum payment before the New Year to correct an error in their VA benefits. Also documented were more than 73,000 who had been previously paid. VA officials are still tracking down eligible survivors. Read More…
VA Urges Vets to Sign-up for Direct Deposits
Every month, 730,000 veterans or survivors look for their compensation or pension checks in their mailboxes. Nearly all receive them, but theft and mail delays cause problems for some veterans, which can be prevented by direct deposits. Read More…
VA Expands Protections for Veterans with Missing Paperwork
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced special procedures for processing claims from veterans, family members, and survivors whose applications for financial benefits from VA may have been mishandled by VA personnel. Read More…
VA Announces Changes to Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced some severely injured military personnel and veterans will be eligible for improvements to the Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program, known as TSGLI. Read More…
VA Opening 31 New Outpatient Clinics
Veterans will have easier access to world-class health care under a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) plan to open 31 new outpatient clinics in 16 states. Read More…
VA Sends Latest Gulf War Illness Report to IOM for Review
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has sent the October 2008 report from the VA Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses to the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine (IOM) for review and recommendations. Read More…
TSGLI expands benefits for traumatically injured
More troops may now qualify for benefits under Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance because of newly expanded coverage following a review by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Read more...
‘Sentinels of Freedom’ Scholarships Help Wounded Veterans
The Sentinels of Freedom Scholarship Foundation provides four-year “life scholarships” to help severely wounded veterans become self-sufficient. More info...
Veterans and Military Family Health
There are over two million active and reserve members of the U.S. military and over 23 million U.S. veterans. They face some different health issues from civilians. Likewise, their families may face some unique challenges. Families may have to cope with:
- Deployment and separation from loved ones
- Illnesses and injuries, including disabilities
- Mental health effects of military service, including post-traumatic stress disorder
- Family issues such as disruptions in parenting and caregiver stress
K12 offers leading online curriculum and programs
MFN welcomes K12 to our network!
K12's mission since the beginning has been to provide any child the
curriculum and tools to maximize success in life, regardless of
geographic, financial, or demographic circumstance.
Find out more about K12's programs for Students, Teachers, Parents, and Administrators at their website.
Organization in the Spotlight
Nominate Your Employer for the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR), a Department of Defense agency, is seeking nominations of employers who support their military employers. Nominations for the 2009 Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award are being accepted now through Jan. 21 at FreedomAward.mil.
National Guard and Reserve members and their families are eligible—and encouraged—to nominate their employers.
The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of ESGR to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. The award is the highest recognition given by the U.S. Government to employers for their outstanding support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
Almost one-half of the U.S. military is comprised of the National Guard and Reserve. The Department of Defense shares these citizen warriors with their civilian employers, many of whom provide significant support to their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve.
Past recipients of the award range from a small family-owned transportation business in Utah to large businesses, including Chrysler and Dominion Resources, to the City of Austin, Texas, a public sector employer. Past recipients have provided full salary, continuation of benefits, care packages and even family support to employees fulfilling their military obligation.
The 2009 recipients will be announced in the spring and honored on September 17, 2009, at the 14th annual Secretary of Defense Employer Support Freedom Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. Recipients of the 2008 award met with President George W. Bush and Deputy Secretary of Defense Gordon England, and received their awards from Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Dr. David Chu, at a ceremony attended by members of Congress and senior government and military officials.
Click here to submit a nomination.
MFN Book Club
Your Military Family Network is Here! Order Your Copy Now!
The Military Family Network and Capital Books in Washington DC have published Your Military Family Network - the Nation's first military family resource guide! This 650-page book covers all major military support topics from enlistment to retirement! Learn how to create your own personal support network so you have what you need when you need it. Find chapters on money management, TRICARE, relocation, deployment, employment and education as well as military and veterans benefits, PTSD and much, much more. The book also features a compilation of state and local resources available to military families - for the first time in a comprehensive and easy format.
Retailing for $24.95, The Military Family Network is offering this valuable, must-have resource at $14.95+s/h. Buy it for yourself, your family, a friend or loved one – MFN guarantees best price on the web! To order your copy of Your Military Family Network or copies for your organization, please visit Your Military Family Network online or call 1-866-205-2850 for more information. Group discounts available – call or email sales@MilitaryFamilyNetwork.com for details.
This Month's Focus
National Guard to Support Presidential Inauguration
More than 4,000 citizen-soldiers and airmen from at least eight states will provide security, medical and other support during the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration, a National Guard official said today. Read more...
Mission Critical Information
Feeling Squeezed? GovBenefits.gov Could Help!
GovBenefits.gov is a partnership of Federal agencies with a shared vision - to provide improved, personalized access to government assistance programs.
Are there government benefit programs available to help you?
GovBenefits.gov will help you answer that question. Our online screening tool is free, easy-to-use, and completely confidential. We do not require your name, phone number, Social Security number, or any other information that could be used to identify you. You answer a series of questions about yourself, and then GovBenefits.gov returns a list of government benefit programs you may be eligible to receive along with information about how you can apply.
Angel Food Ministries Can Add Value to Your Monthly Food Budget!
Who is Angel Food Ministries? Angel Food Ministries is a non-profit, non-denominational organization dedicated to providing grocery relief and financial support to communities throughout the United States.
Homeowners, are you having trouble paying your mortgage?
Read more about resources that may help you avoid foreclosure,
this link for more helpful advice.
Air Force Personnel Center: Policy update to make civilian hiring quicker
To increase the efficiency in filling civilian vacancies, effective New Year's Day, selecting officials will have 45 days instead of 90 to choose the best-qualified candidate. Read More…
Here are some things you can do to keep yourself and your family safe. Read More…
Army Expands Military Funeral Honors for Soldiers
Starting early next year, the Army will allow full military funeral honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia for all soldiers killed in action .Read More…
Congress authorizes paternity leave
Eligible Airmen are now authorized 10 days of non-chargeable paternity leave following the birth of their newborns, courtesy of the 2009 Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act. The law applies to married, active-duty Airmen. The Airman's wife must have given birth to the child on or after Oct. 14, 2008. Read More…
Military Differential and Combat Zone Bonus Pay FSLG
The Heroes Earnings Assistance and Relief Tax Act of 2008 (Heroes Act) made significant changes to the treatment of military differential pay and combat zone bonus pay. This will change the way employers report these payments beginning in 2009.
MFN Military Friendly Deals
Gold, Khourey & Turak, a Moundsville, West Virginia, law firm appreciates and supports the commitment and sacrifice of those in the military, and of their family members. For a limited time, GKT is excited to provide complimentary copies of the book, Your Military Family Network, to military families living in the Ohio Valley. The 650-page book is authored by The Military Family Network and covers every aspect of military life from enlistment through retirement. Military families living in the following counties can click here and complete a form to receive your free copy of the book, courtesy of Gold, Khourey & Turak.
Ohio: Harrison, Jefferson, Belmont, Guernsey, and Monroe Counties
West Virginia: Hancock, Brooke, Ohio, Marshall, Wetzel, and Tyler Counties
Requests will be filled on a first come, first serve basis while supplies last.
The Scholarships for Military Children Program: 2009 Program Open!
The Scholarships for Military Children Program was created in recognition of the contributions of military families to the readiness of the fighting force and to celebrate the role of the commissary in the military family community. It is the intent of the program that a scholarship funded through contributions be awarded annually for each commissary operated by the Defense Commissary Agency worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.militaryscholar.org/about/about.shtml
Support Group's Scholarships Help Spouses Finish Education
Military spouses with an eye on professional certification or a post-secondary education may not have to foot the entire bill, thanks to a National Military Family Association scholarship program. Read more…
2009 Women's Health Calendar – Free!
Courtesy on Office of Women’s Health
Our FREE 2009 Women's Health Calendar offers information about common health problems and important symptoms to watch out for. You'll also find charts that describe the screenings and immunizations you need, tips on how to get a second opinion and how to read a drug label, and more – all in a handy, portable calendar you can keep with you year round! Order Now! Read more ...
Military personnel and their families get free tax help!
The military also has a strong Volunteer Income Tax Assistance ( VITA) Program. The Armed Forces Tax Council (AFTC) consists of the tax program coordinators for the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The AFTC oversees the operation of the military tax programs worldwide, and serves as the main conduit for outreach by the IRS to military personnel and their families. Read more…
Community Connections Update
Report Finds Mismanagement in America Supports You Program
The Defense Department Inspector General reports that the America Supports You program was being managed in a "questionable and irregular manner," the department's top public affairs official said today. Read More…