Update Includes the Following Articles:
∑ CR Update 21
∑ CRSC Update 10
∑ COLA 2004
∑ Veterans Day Free Meals
∑ APO ZIPS for Iraq
∑ Medicare Rates 2004
∑ Tricare Contact Data (Regional):
 
CR UPDATE 21: Technically speaking, the discharge petition is still alive,
because H.R. 303 has not been enacted as law. Both will expire with the
close of the 108th Congress (late 2004). Realistically speaking, however,
most legislators will consider this legislation as satisfying concurrent
receipt interests for this year. Legislators who were working to help
disabled veterans have told the veteran community that the present
compromise is, in essence, the best they can do this year. Congress is
seldom willing to fund a big-ticket benefit change all at once. This is a
deal that will let hundreds of thousands of seriously disabled retirees
stop forfeiting $2 billion a year from their paychecks. It is a step
forward that makes future progress easier to obtain to get the lower-rated,
non-combat disabled retirees covered under concurrent receipt. The more
people covered under concurrent receipt, the lower the cost of fixing the
problem for the rest. The compromise legislation leaves out 308,291 former
disabled career military persons who have disability ratings ranging from
10% to 40%. Also not covered are the estimated 194,000 veterans who did
not complete 20 years of service but are drawing military disability
retired pay, which is offset by Veteransí Disability Tax. Veterans need to
continue to press their legislators in the next Congress to eliminate
completely this tax through additional legislation. You can download the
complete 2003 Proposed Provisions for Concurrent Receipt and Expanded
Combat Related Special Compensation at
www.moaa.org/Legislative/Retirement/CRQAFunal.pdf . The following
additional clarifications have been promulgated that were not included in
CR Update 20:
 
TERA. Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) retirees are eligible for CR.
 
Chapter 61 Retirees. Chapter 61 retirees (those retired from active duty
for medical reasons) who are also eligible for longevity retirement (20
years or more for retirement purposes) will be eligible. Chapter 61
retirees with less than 20 years of service are not eligible for the
compromise reached in this legislation.
 
Application. Disabled retirees eligible for concurrent receipt do not need
to apply. DFAS will automatically identify you and increase your retired
pay appropriately by adding the payments to your retired pay. If you do not
currently receive a retired paycheck, you will begin getting one.
 
Election of CR or CRCS. Retirees eligible for both programs will be able to
make an election between the two programs, depending on which one is more
advantageous. The election can be changed each year. The procedures for
this election have not yet been developed.
 
Taxes. Concurrent Receipt is the restoration of retired pay, and thus will
be subject to the same tax provisions as your current retired pay.
 
Payment Start Date. Concurrent receipt payments should be effective with
January 2004 retired paychecks, paid Feb. 1, 2004. If DFAS is not
mechanically prepared to issue checks (a process that should be completed
by January at the earliest and June at the latest), then concurrent receipt
will be paid retroactive to that date.
 
Offsets. All offsets to retired pay inclusive of amounts received for
Individual Unemployable [TIDU], Dependent Compensation, and added special
compensation will be eliminated. Disabled veterans will continue to draw
these additional amounts without any reduction in their earned retired pay
by the end of the 10 year phase in period.
 
SCSD. Special Compensation for Severely Disabled payments will be repealed
as of January 1, since the first increment of concurrent receipt will be
bigger than SCSD for all recipients. SCSD was paid to retirees with at
least 20 years of Regular service who incurred VA disability ratings of 60%
or higher within 4 years after retiring. Payments ranged from $325 for 100%
rated down to $50 for 60% rating.
[Source: Various OCT 03]
 
 
CR UPDATE 10: DOD has released a revised CRSC application (DD FORM 2860
TEST (V2) dated September 2003) to replace the May 2003 test edition, which
is obsolete. The new form is available from the NAUS website: www.naus.org.
The new form should be used only for those who have not yet submitted their
CRSC claim under the initial CSRC program. The 2003 Concurrent Receipt
Compromise legislation has brought a major expansion to the program that
will go in to effect 1 JAN 04. Rules, which limited eligibility to
disabilities associated with a Purple Heart and combat- or
operations-related disabilities of 60-100% will be expanded to include all
such disabilities from 10-100%, regardless of Purple Heart status.
Additional elements of the expanded program are:
 
∑ Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) retirees are not eligible.
∑ Chapter 61 retirees who are also eligible for longevity retirement
(20 years or more for retirement purposes) will be eligible. However, their
CRSC entitlement will be calculated as if they had received a
non-disability retirement. They will not be reimbursed to the level of
their service-awarded disability retirement.
∑ CRSC eligible disabled retirees will receive compensation in
accordance with CRSC guidelines, which are yet to be promulgated. CRSC is
not restored retired pay, and as a special compensation is not subject to
taxation.
∑ Disabled retirees eligible for CRSC under the expanded program will
need to submit an application to their military service. DoD will most
likely not establish procedures for 10-40% disabled retirees to apply for
CRSC until this provision is signed into law. The program for these
retirees goes into effect January 1, 2004.
∑ CRSC payments for 10-40% disabled retirees will begin once the
application is approved, and will be paid retroactively to January 1, 2004
or the date the disability was awarded, whichever is later.
∑ If your CRSC qualifying disability triggers your Individual
Unemployability [TIDU], Special Monthly Compensation, or Dependent
Compensation eligibility, then these will be paid. If other non-CRSC
qualifying disabilities trigger your Unemployability, Special Monthly
Compensation, or Dependent Compensation eligibility, then these will not be
paid.
∑ Retirees eligible for both CR & CRSC programs will be able to make
a yearly election (during an open season) based on which option is more
beneficial to them. DoD will need to announce the procedures for both the
expanded CRSC program and the open season.
∑ Pending CRSC claims will be processed as usual and will continue to
be paid retroactive to June 1, 2003. DoD has not yet announced how the open
season option will interact with current CRSC claims.
[Source: Various OCT 03]
 
 
COLA 2004: The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released September's
inflation data, which finalizes the 2004 cost of living adjustment (COLA)
for military retired pay and other federal annuities. The 2004 COLA will be
2.1 percent for military and federal retired pay, VA disability
compensation, SBP survivor annuities, Social Security, and other federal
programs. The COLA for these programs will be effective 1 DEC 03, and will
be reflected in checks issues on 2 JAN 04.
In general, the COLA is equal to the percentage increase in the
Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W)
from the third quarter of one year to the third quarter of the next. For
the December 2003 COLA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures the
increase in the average CPI-W from the third calendar quarter of 2002 to
the third quarter of 2003. These averages are 176.6 and 180.3 for the third
calendar quarters of 2002 and 2003, respectively, and are derived from
monthly CPI-Ws developed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For more
information visit: http://stats.bls.gov [Source: Various 18 OCT 03]
 
VETERANS PARTY LAUNCHED: Tired of not having their voices heard by members
of Congress and broken promises from the administration, Florida veterans
have banded together and formed their own political party. Veterans have
officially launched the Veteranís Party of Florida (VPF) which was
officially approved by the Florida Board of Elections on 28 AUG
03. Florida has the second largest population of veterans in the country,
so the VPF has grown rapidly into a political voice/force to be reckoned
with. Additional information concerning this movement can be obtained from
Thom Mathey, State Secretary and Bay countyís coordinator for the veterans
Party at (850) 636-3347 or tmathey@arinc.com. Since the VPF formed in late
August, six other states have formed Veterans Parties - Kansas, Utah,
Washington State, Indiana, Texas, and West Virginia. All of these states
are officially registered. There are also approximately 16 other states in
the stages of forming. A party web site www.veteransparty.us has been
established that includes the party platform and links all the states. Here
you can find the status of each stateís progress and an email for the point
of contact in each state. [Source: VPF Press Release OCT 03]
 
 
VETERANS DAY FREE MEALS: Veteranís Day began at 11:00 a.m., November 11,
1918 (the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month) as Armistice Day,
the universal recognition to the celebrated ending of World War I fighting.
After World War II and the Korean War, Congress requested Armistice Day be
changed to honor those who have served the United States in ALL wars,
conflicts and during the course of duty. In 1954, President Eisenhower
signed a bill proclaiming November 11 as Veterans Day.
In a show of thanks to our nationís veterans, Bill McCormick and Doug
Schmick has offered to serve veterans for a change this year at their
McCormick & Schmickís family of fresh seafood restaurants in a recognition
of veterans courage and spirit. All veterans can receive a free lunch or
dinner on Veteranís Day from specially selected menu items with proper
identification (veterans ID, discharge papers, DD214). This restaurant
chain is located in 19 states and nearly 30 cities nationwide. You can
check www.mccormickandschmicks.com or your phone book to see if one is
located in your area. Walk-ins are acceptable but reservations are
encouraged. [Source: Class Act Group, Inc. - National Release 22 OCT 03]
Golden Corral Restaurants on Monday November 10th from 5 - 9 PM. is
once again offering all veterans[i.e. retirees, active duty, Reserves and
National Guard] of the U.S. military a free ďThank-you Dinner Buffet and
Beverage during their third annual Military Appreciation Night. The chain
is located in 39 states and has over 400 restaurants. The offer is based on
the honor system - no identification is required. An integral part of
Military Appreciation Night is the Disabled American Veterans organization,
the official voice of Americaís service-connected disabled veterans. The
DAV, which represents all of Americaís 2.3 million disabled veterans, their
families and survivors, will have members at the event in all restaurant
locations throughout the nation to distribute literature, sign up new
members and volunteers, and accept donations in support of the DAV. At last
yearís Military Appreciation Night an estimated 252,000 veterans enjoyed
free dinners. To locate the nearest Golden Corral Restaurant go to your
phone book or www.goldencorralrest.com for the address and phone number.
[Source: American Military Retirees Assn msg. 26 OCT 03]
 
 
APO ZIPS FOR IRAQ: The U.S. Military Postal Service has assigned new
geographic zip codes for units and personnel serving in Iraq. The intent of
the new zip codes is to decrease the time it takes for service members and
civilian employees to receive their mail, officials said, as well as to
improve postal service throughout Iraq. Family members and friends of
service members and civilians assigned to V Corps and 3rd COSCOM units that
currently use zip code 09302 and 09372 for their letters and packages are
now required to use a new zip code that reflects the unit and individual's
actual geographic location within Iraq.
The new geographic zip codes are as follows:
09333 - Al Asad
09332 - Babylon (MND CS)
09391 - Balad (LSA Anaconda)
09335 - BIAP
09334 - Mosul (LSA Diamondback)
09331 - Tallil (LSA Adder)
09393 - Tikrit (FLB Sycamore)
09375 - Umm Qasr (Camp Bucca)
09390 - Rasheed
09342 - Victory Base
09344 - Camp Dogwood
 
Mail with the zip code of 09302 and 09372 will continue to be
delivered to the intended recipient even after the change is in effect,
officials said, however they warned there may be a slight delay in
delivery. For service members assigned to the below listed units, the zip
code numbers will not change, and they remain as follows:
09325 - 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault)
09324 - 1st Armor Division
09323 - 4th Infantry Division
09320 - 3rd ACR
09322 - 2nd LCR
09347 - 173rd Airborne Brigade
09394, 09384, 09368 - 82nd Airborne Division
[Source: Milton Bell msg. 16 OCT 03 &
http://www4.army.mil/ocpa/read.php?story_id_key=5316]
 
 
MEDICARE RATES 2004: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
announced the Medicare premium, deductible and coinsurance amounts to be
paid by Medicare beneficiaries in 2004:
 
Medicare Part A, the deductible paid by the beneficiary will be $876 in
2004, an increase of $36 from this year's $840 deductible. Part A pays for
inpatient hospital, skilled nursing facility, and some home health care.
The Part A deductible applies only to those enrolled in the original
fee-for-service Medicare program. Those who enroll in private
Medicare+Choice plans may not be affected by the Part A increase, and may
receive additional benefits with different cost-sharing arrangements. The
Part A deductible is the beneficiary's only cost for up to 60 days of
Medicare-covered inpatient hospital care. However, for extended
Medicare-covered hospital stays, beneficiaries must pay an additional $219
per day for days 61 through 90 in 2004, and $438 per day for hospital stays
beyond the 90th day in a benefit period. For 2003, per day payment for days
61 through 90 was $210 and $420 for beyond 90 days. Most Medicare
beneficiaries do not pay a premium for Part A services since they have 40
quarters of Medicare-covered employment. However, seniors and certain
persons under age 65 with disabilities who have fewer than 30 quarters of
coverage may obtain Part A coverage by paying a monthly premium set
according to a formula in the Medicare statute at $343 for 2004, an
increase of $27 from 2003. In addition, seniors with 30 to 39 quarters of
coverage, and certain disabled persons with 30 or more quarters of
coverage, are entitled to pay a reduced premium of $189.
 
Skilled Nursing Facilities - The daily co-insurance paid by beneficiaries
for days 21 through 100 will be $109.50 in 2004, compared to $105 in 2003.
 
Medicare Part B - The monthly premium paid by beneficiaries enrolled in
Part B, which covers physician services, outpatient hospital services,
certain home health services, durable medical equipment and other items,
will be $66.60, an increase of 13.5 percent or $7.90 over the $58.70
premium for 2003. Most Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Part B pay the
monthly premium. About 95 percent of Medicare's 41.7 million beneficiaries
are enrolled in the optional Part B, which helps pay for physician
services, hospital outpatient care, durable medical equipment and other
services, including some home health care. Nearly 90 percent also have some
form of supplemental coverage (such as Medigap, Medicaid, or
Medicare+Choice) to help reduce out-of-pocket medical costs.
 
Medicare deductibles and premiums are updated annually in accordance
with formulas set by law. The Part B premium is required to be the amount
needed to cover 25 percent of estimated program costs for enrollees aged 65
and older. General revenue tax dollars cover the other 75 percent of the
costs. The same statute prescribes the method for computing the Part A
inpatient hospital deductible. States have programs that pay some or all
of beneficiaries' premiums and coinsurance for certain people who have
Medicare and a low income. Information is available at 1-800-MEDICARE
(1-800-633-4227) and, for hearing and speech impaired, at TTY/TDD:
1-877-486-2048. [Source: CMS Public Affairs Office News Release 16 OCT 03]
 
 
TRICARE CONTACT DATA (REGIONAL): Below are the Tricare regions, the areas
they represent and contact information for the support contractor that
administers each region:
 
* Region 1 (Northeast): Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia,
Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York,
Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, northern Virginia and northeastern
West Virginia
Sierra Military Health Services, (888) 999-5195
www.sierramilitary.com or http://tricarene.army.mil
* Region 2 (Mid-Atlantic): North Carolina and most of Virginia
Humana Military Healthcare Services, (800) 931-9501
www.humana-military.com/region2/home.htm or www.tma.med.navy.mil
* Region 3 (Southeast): Florida (excluding panhandle), Georgia, South Carolina
Humana Military Healthcare Services, (800) 444-5445
www.humanamilitary.com/region34/home.htm or http://tricare3.amedd.army.mil
* Region 4 (Gulf South): Alabama, Florida panhandle, eastern Louisiana,
Mississippi and Tennessee
Humana Military Healthcare Services, (800) 444-5445
www.humanamilitary.com/region34/home.htm or http://hsriv.keesler.af.mil
* Region 5 (Heartland): Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, most
of West Virginia, Wisconsin, the St. Louis area of Missouri, the Fort
Campbell area of Tennessee and the Rock Island Arsenal area of Iowa
Humana Military Healthcare Services, (800) 941-4501
www.humanamilitary.com/region5/home.htm or
http://dodr5www.wpafb.af.mil/welcome.htm
* Region 6 (Southwest): Arkansas, Oklahoma, western two-thirds of Louisiana
and most of Texas
Health Net Federal Services, (800) 406-2832
www.healthnetfederalservices.com or www.tricaresw.af.mil
* Region 7 and 8 (Central): Arizona (excluding Yuma), Colorado, Idaho
(excluding northern Idaho), Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana,
Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, western Texas,
Utah and Wyoming
TriWest Healthcare Alliance Inc., (888) 874-9378
www.triwest.com or www.tricarecr.carson.army.mil/leadagent.htm
* Region 9 (Southern California): Southern California and Yuma, Ariz
Health Net Federal Services Inc., (800) 242-6788
www.healthnetfederalservices.com or www.reg9.med.navy.mil
* Region 10 (Golden Gate): Northern California.
Health Net Federal Services, (800) 242-6788
www.healthnetfederalservices.com or www.tricareregion10.org
* Region 11 (Northwest): Northern Idaho, Oregon and Washington
Health Net Federal Services, (800) 404-2042
www.healthnetfederalservices.com or http://tricarenw.mamc.amedd.army.mil
* Tricare Pacific (Hawaii): Hawaii
Health Net Federal Services, (800) 242-6788
www.healthnetfederalservices.com or http://tricare-pac.tamc.amedd.army.mil
* Tricare Pacific (Westpac): Guam, Japan, Korea (888) 777-8343
http://tricare-pac.tamc.amedd.army.mil
* Tricare Alaska: Alaska
Health Net Federal Services (800) 242-6788
www.healthnetfederalservices.com or http://tricarenw.mamc.amedd.army.mil
* Tricare Europe: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Portugal,
Spain, Turkey and the United Kingdom. (888) 777-8343
www.europe.tricare.osd.mil
* Tricare Latin America & Canada: Latin America and Canada, (888) 777-8343
http://tricare15.army.mil/indexReg15.htm
* Tricare Puerto Rico & Virgin Islands: Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,
(888) 777-8343
http://tricare15.army.mil/indexReg15.htm
[Updated: SEP 03]
 
 
Lt. James "EMO" Tichacek, USN (Ret)
Director, Retiree Activities Office & U.S. Embassy Warden Baguio City RP
PSC 517 Box RCB, FPO AP 96517-1000
Tel: (63-74) 442-7135 or stateside FAX to email service 1-801-760-2430
Email: raoemo@mozcom.com (Primary) & raobaguio@hotmail.com (Alternate)
Web: http://post_119_gulfport_ms.tripod.com/rao1.html
AL/AMVETS/CORMV/DAV/FRA/NAUS/NCOA/PRA/TROA/USDR/VFW/VVA/CG33/DD890/AD37 member
Lt. James "EMO" Tichacek, USN (Ret)
Director, Retiree Activities Office & U.S. Embassy Warden Baguio City RP
PSC 517 Box RCB, FPO AP 96517-1000
Tel: (63-74) 442-7135 or stateside FAX to email service 1-801-760-2430
Email: raoemo@mozcom.com (Primary) & raobaguio@hotmail.com (Alternate)
Web: http://post_119_gulfport_ms.tripod.com/rao1.html
AL/AMVETS/CORMV/DAV/FRA/NAUS/NCOA/PRA/TROA/USDR/VFW/VVA/CG33/DD890/AD37 member
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