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Foothills Veterans Stand Down
The next “Stand Down” will be held on April 12, 2024, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Catawba Valley Community College indoor Tarlton Complex. It’s located at 2550 US Hwy 70- SE Hickory, NC. Veterans are provided with: medical services, dental care, tax assist, employment counseling, eye care, haircuts, shoes, and community resources. As in the past, our chapter will be a major sponsor of this event, and event volunteer opportunities will be announced. Click button for more event info and news under "events/news" tab on Foothills Veterans website:
MOAA NEEDS OUR SUPPORT NOW ON THREE ISSUES!
(Click on button below to lend your support)
- Protect and control cost of TRICARE For Life benefits.
- Pass the Major Richard Star Act.
- Fix substandard barracks & housing situation.
GREATEST STORY NEVER HEARD!
The WWI "Harlem Hellfighters". On the History channel, February 4th at 9:00 PM. Exciting documentary on the leadership, sacrifice and valor of 15th National Guard. Mostly African-American unit...
MOAA Catawba Valley Chapter Charity
Christmas Dinner Lake Hickory Country Club
Click button to view event photos
TRICARE & Dental for Guard & Reserve
The National Guard Association of the U.S. (NGAUS) is asking for our advocacy help. The pending legislation is to provide Zero-Cost TRICARE and Dental to National Guard and Reserve service members. Considering the incredibly large share of missions and deployments covered by Guard and Reserve members over recent years, this is a well-earned and long-overdue benefit; plus, it helps ensure that servicemembers remain continually ready for deployment in terms of their health. Please communicate your support of this legislation (HR 4221 Health Care for Our Troops Act and HR 4220 Dental Care for Our Troops Act) by sending an e-mail to your respective legislators via the NGAUS website “Take Action” page at: www.ngaus.org/legislation/write-congress. (Link button below) There you’ll see a preformatted e-mail templet. The NGAUS “Take Action” system automatically finds and addresses your respective Representatives and Senators for you.
NC 4th Branch Pushing Government Retiree Tax-Exemption!
NC 4th Branch needs our help! Currently, local, state, federal government and military retirees who were vested in their qualifying retirement plans by August 12, 1989, do not paystate income tax on their retirement benefits. But THE REST of the NC’s city, county, state and federal government retirees do pay state income taxes on their hard-earned retirement benefits — simply because they began their public-service careers later than their predecessors.
We believe that’s unfair – but we’ve got good news… Bills have been introduced in the NC House (H46) and Senate (S4) to remedy this issue.However, for the bills to move forward they must be “heard” in each chambers’ Finance Committee. The 4th Branch NC (which [ORGANIZATION NAME] is a member of), has put together an easy process for you to contact legislators.
The message is pre-written and you can send in less than 2 minutes. (Only advocates with a representative or senator who chairs their chamber’s Finance Committee will be able to send emails. The online system will tell you if you are one of the advocates who can send their email.)
Regardless of whether you can send - please also consider signing up to receive future emails about this issue from the 4th Branch by checking the “send me email alerts". You will not receive other solicitations nor will your info be shared/sold.
No More Express Scripts Auto-Refills
Express-Scripts pharmacy is no longer allowed to automatically refill our prescriptions. Each refill request must be initiated/confirmed by the participating patient. In reaction to this development, Express-Scripts is now sending many more text and e-mail refill reminders and shipping status. By the way, Express Scripts has a mobile App for both Android and Apple smartphones; the App is titled “Express Scripts.” With it, you can manage your prescriptions and even load your COVID vaccine history into your smartphone!
STATE TAX EXEMPTION FOR USPHS AND NOAA RETIREES!
The NC Governor has signed HB103 (2022 Appropriations Bill) that now expands the military retiree state tax exemption to also cover U.S. Public Health Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency retiree pay. This was done by changing/correcting the current "military service" tax exemption for retirees to read "uniformed service." This USPHS and NOAA retirement pay tax exemption takes effect for tax year starting January 1, 2022. This success story is the result of NC CoC and chapter members lobbying/advocating to expand the no-tax benefit to cover USPHS and NOAA retirees. Congrats to our chapter's USPHS members!
Home Depot's Newly Revised
Military Discount Program
Home Depot has revamped its military discount program. Their discount program is available to all active duty, retired and former uniformed service members, including National Guard, Coast Guard, NOAA and USPHS. Plus, spouses of service members currently enrolled in the Home Depot Military Discount program may also establish their own separate account! The discount on in-stock merchandise is for 10 percent of purchase price, and each program participant receives a maximum cumulative annual discount of $400 per year. Enrolling is a bit complicated. First verify proof of service via the on-line service “SheerID.” Then, establish an account at: www.homedepot.com/military/discount. That gives you automatic discounts for both on-line and in-store purchases. Making in-store purchases involves using your “Virtual ID,” which is a QR code imbedded in Home Depot’s smartphone App, or obtainable via smartphone by logging into your Home Depot website account. Scan the QR code during checkout to get your discount on eligible items. Note, for security reasons, the QR code changes from time to time. Get full info by clicking on the words “Military Discount Benefit” located on the bottom of the www.homdepot.com homepage.
North Carolina Ends Taxation of Military Retiree Pay!
Great news for all military personnel, especially for those who retired in recent years and future retirees. On November 18th, NC Senate Bill 105 was approved by both houses of the state General Assembly and was then ratified. The Governor signed the bill that very same day, enacting it as State Law 2021-180. The law contains a provision to exempt all military retiree pay from state taxation. The provision also benefits Surviving Spouses who receive Survivor Benefit Plan payments.
You can view the section that provides this long-awaited benefit by visiting www.ncleg.gov and then typing in "S105" in the bill search box on the upper right-hand corner of the page. Then, on the left side, click on "SL 2021-180" and scroll way down to section 42.1A. This benefits only those who retired as members of the Armed Forces of the United States. The tax-exempt benefit goes into effect on January 1, 2022. Finally, all retired military personnel receive this benefit, no matter what their rank nor when they retire.
VA Authorizes Local Urgent Care
VA now offers an urgent care benefit that provides eligible Veterans with greater choice and access to timely, high-quality care. When using the urgent care benefit, Veterans must go to a contracted urgent care provider in VA’s network. Upon arriving, Veterans must state they are using their VA urgent care benefit. The urgent care provider will verify the Veteran’s eligibility before providing care. If a Veteran arrives at an urgent care network location and has difficulty receiving care, just call 866‑620‑2071 for assistance. To find an urgent care location in VA’s contracted network, search by ZIP at website: https://vaurgentcarelocator.triwest.com
Military Retirees Still Subject to UCMJ
The U.S Supreme Court recently determined that military retirees are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Although the retirees are no longer in uniform, they can be court martialed if they commit an illegal act, even if that crime is not related to military service. This became the Supreme Court’s official position by virtue of their rejecting an appeal (petition) regarding a military retiree who was court martialed and subsequently sentenced for an illegal act not related to his military service.
Along those same lines, U.S. Code Title 10, Armed Forces, Subtitle A. General Military Law, Part II Personnel, Chapter 47 Uniform Code of Military Justice, Section 802, Article 2. Persons Subject To This Chapter, states that persons subject to the UCMJ include: (4) Retired members of a regular component of the armed forces who are entitled to pay. (5) Retired members of a reserve component who are receiving hospitalization from an armed force.”
IRS Tax Fraud & Identity Theft Protection
Prevention, Detection & Victim Assistance
(Click on relevant button to IRS website)
SPECIAL VETERANS IDENTIFICATION CARDS (VIC)
The Veterans Administration issues a special Veterans ID Card (VIC) to be used in lieu of the standard DD-214 to show proof of military service. The VIC is for Veterans who do not carry a military retiree or Medically Discharged ID card. For further details and the procedures for obtaining a VIC, visit: www.vets.gov
North Carolina Special
Military License Plates!
Thanks unanimous approvals by the NC General Assembly, there are now fifty specialized plates relative to those who have served in the military, including one for the Merchant Marine Academy that some military officers have attended. The most recent addition is the Veterans plate for those who have served in the military, a specific plate for each branch of service. There are also three forms of disabled Veterans plates with the handicapped-parking symbol, none of those can be ordered on-line. Plus, a few others can’t be ordered on-line due to proof of eligibility requirements. Further info and ordering procedures are at www.ncdot.gov. Click on License Plate; then click on Specialized & Personalized Plates.
Veterans Administration App Store
The VA Mobile App store has a collection of thirty-seven different Apps (programs) developed specifically for Veterans care, such as: Concussion Coach, PTSD Coach, PE Coach. When visiting the VA's on-line App store, you not only see a description of the App, you can also view a short imbedded video explaining the nature and use of each specific App. All Apps work on web-based platforms (desktop, laptop, notebook, etc.). iOS and Android mobile devices (smartphones) can handle many but not necessarily all of the Apps. Once on the VA App store screen, click on the "App Store" tab, then “Platform” tab, and then on your category of device to see what Apps it’s capable of handling. You then know what Apps can be downloaded directly to your device. The VA Mobile App Store is at: https://mobile.va.gov
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