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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.
End Food Insecurity for Young Military Families
Let’s all “Take Action” to eliminate Food Insecurity that tens of thousands of young military families now experience. That’s happening because younger enlisted families (E-1 to E-4) residing off-base or off-post receive a Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) that gets treated as income. Oddly enough, that wrongly perceived income makes them ineligible for the federal Substance Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). Thus, they must turn to local food pantries and food banks for subsistence. It's very humiliating for a military professional to get in line with society’s down and destitute to obtain groceries. Furthermore, it’s disgraceful that thousands of our young “troops” and their families are left in such dire straits.
The two houses of Congress are currently out of synchronization as they tackle this problem. MOAA’s preferred solution is passage of the Military Hunger Prevention Act (S 1488) to establish a Basic Needs Allowance program that would eliminate Food Insecurity amongst young military families. Passage of this bill would make a great Christmas present for young military families that are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living keeps rising. Please advocate for passage of this legislation by sending e-mails to your respective members of Congress via MOAA’s “Take Action” system at website: https://takeaction.moaa.org (Button Below) Draft e-mails are already staged for you, and the system will automatically and appropriately address multiple e-mails based on your location.
New 24-Hour VA Hotline
The Veterans Administration launched a My VA Hotline, which is now the starting point to all VA contact centers and will help veterans find the right person to address their needs. Veterans can call 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411) with the option to press 0 to be directly connected with a customer service agent to answer questions or connect to the appropriate VA expert. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. VA also maintains the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-2738255, by chat at veteranscrisisline.net and by text message at 838255. The VA also maintains the White House VA Hotline at 1-855-948-2311 which can be used “…for Veterans and their families to share compliments and concerns,” per the VA news release
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
(Or click on below button)