VAA Dispatch
Feb. 11, 2014

Parallels to Obamacare site woes seen as vets try to get benefits online
Fox News
The glitches and other problems with the Obamacare website that sparked a national firestorm are similar to those military veterans using the federal government's online benefits system have routinely faced for about the past 18 months. Eric Jenkins, a veteran and American Federation of Government Employees representative, recently told Congress that during January the Veterans Benefits Management System crashed about once a week with downtimes ranging from one hour to multiple days.More

Construction industry pledges to hire 100,000 veterans
The Washington Post
First lady Michelle Obama and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez will announce a pledge from construction companies to hire 100,000 veterans over the next five years as part of an initiative seeking to encourage non-government support for former troops. The agreement, involving more than 100 companies, comes as the construction industry is poised to gain 1.6 million jobs by 2022, giving it the 11th highest anticipated rate of growth at 2.6 percent annually, over that period, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics projections.More

Military leaders could learn a thing from business leaders
The Denver Post
Recent news cases and an internal Pentagon report have revealed horrendous cases of personal excess, financial abuse and personal exception to the standards and norms of professional military behavior by senior military officers from all branches of the Armed Services. The consequences of these ethical misdeeds by senior military leaders are a loss of trust and confidence in their abilities, decisions and future actions. The public, members of the armed services and our allies all have to ask how can we be an effective nation at war when we can't keep our zipper zipped or our hands out of the till?More

The 10 best jobs for veterans
Many veterans returning to the U.S. from stints overseas have years of job experience under their belts, yet they feel daunted by the challenge of making the transition into the civilian workforce. Here are the 10 best jobs for returning veterans.More

Do not base housing costs on BAH rates
Two recent comments have me thinking about Basic Allowance for Housing and actual housing costs. In one comment, a person wanted to know the BAH rate for their new location so that they could "tell the realtor." In the other comment, a service member bought a house "based on the BAH rate." This is a concern.More

Republicans readying alternative veterans bill
The Hill
Senate Republicans are preparing an alternative to Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders's, I-Vt., massive veterans bill that would repeal the $6 billion cut to military pensions as part of a larger package. The GOP alternative is being led by panel ranking member Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., as Republicans are balking at the way Sanders would pay for his $24 billion measure. More

Can Pentagon do more to help transitioning families?
If you've had military transition on your mind lately you may pay attention to what the military offers families as they look to rejoin military life. The answer? Nothing special. Instead, the Defense Department now is spinning some of their longtime support offerings as transition help. And some of that rebranding is great. More

Senate begins work to repeal veterans' pension cuts
The Hill
The Senate will begin work on a bill that would repeal the $6 billion cut to military pensions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed cloture on the motion to proceed to S. 1963, which was introduced by Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark. More

VA announces the 1st Industry Innovation Competition for 2014
Veterans Today
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced the first of multiple Industry Innovation Competitions in 2014, which identifies, tests and evaluates promising innovations that enhance the accessibility and quality of mental healthcare and services delivered to veterans.More

Veterans: VA reduced benefits backlog, but needs to get back in gear
The Christian Science Montior
The backlog of veterans disability claims was reduced 37 percent after peaking in March, but hit a plateau after the VA stopped its mandatory overtime policy. The path forward is unclear.More

Help veterans make the connection with resources
Make the Connection
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs created Make the Connection to help link veterans with resources they have earned. Especially in rural areas, the success of Make the Connection depends on support from everyone who interacts with veterans.More

How veterans are impacted by battlefield-related genitourinary injuries
Medical News Today
Modern combat and the global war on terror, with increased use of improvised explosive devices, have led to a nearly 350 percent increased rate of genitourinary injuries.More