Articles Posted in Retiree and Military Issue

Graduate_The new economic reality places a higher premium than ever on high-school diplomas and undergraduate degrees.  For that reason, Veterans are exploring educational opportunities, and not merely traditional community college or four-year institutions. Increasingly, Veterans are looking for education programs which provide hard, immediately useful skills.

To assist Veterans, the Federal government offers an array of programs for active-duty military and Veterans, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill.  States also provide assistance, with Texas offering generous support through plans such as the Hazlewood Act.  Despite the many state and Federal education options available, a large number of Veterans still have to rely on private student loans.  Given the tough job market, even degrees and trade skills do not translate to liveable salaries the way they once did.  This means a large number of Veterans have education-related debts, particularly loans, they simply can’t pay. Continue reading

Hickey_AlisonThen-Secretary for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Eric Shinseki, resigned in May 2014 after a shocking season of revelations regarding Veteran deaths at the hands of VA.  Last month, on October 16, 2015, VA Under Secretary for Benefits, Allison Hickey (pictured), resigned in the wake of a pay fraud scandal involving senior bureaucrats Diana Rubens and Kim Graves.

Rubens and Graves – ironically – were put in place by Hickey in 2014 to clean up following the international news coverage of Veteran deaths and VA’s back-log of benefits claims.  World-wide exposure of VA’s actions highlighted the shameful treatment U.S. Veterans suffer at the hands of the very agency that supposedly is dedicated to Veterans’ well-being. Continue reading

Archive photo of the 1973 NPRC Fire

Archive photo of the 1973 NPRC Fire

The National Archives tells the story.  On July 12, 1973, a fire at the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) destroyed approximately 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files (OMPF).

To its credit, the National Archives views the 1973 fire as an “unparalleled disaster” and a “loss to the cultural heritage of our nation.”   Acknowledging the tragedy, the National Archives has gone to extensive lengths to reconstruct the destroyed service files.  In the years since the fire, the NPRC has collected numerous series of records (referred to as Auxiliary Records) that are used to reconstruct basic service information in lieu of an OMPF.   Continue reading

upset-534103_640Veterans Day 2015 is next week – Wednesday, November 11, 2015.  Here in Texas, and around the United States, restaurants, retailers, and grateful citizens offer discounts and other benefits to acknowledge the service and sacrifice of our active-duty and Veteran military men and women.  Many websites provide detailed information regarding Veterans Day activities and discounts, so we won’t repeat them all here.

ID Required for Veterans Day Benefits

Unless you are in uniform, most establishments understandably request some form of military identification to establish eligibility for various discounts, including items and services they will provide for free.

Most businesses will accept at least one of the following forms of identification to establish eligibility for Veterans Day discounts: Continue reading

Bob Goss, founder of the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C.

Bob Goss, founder of the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C.

Back in September, we posted a blog about VA’s handling of the “Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014,” P.L. 113-146 (“Choice Act”).   The “Choice Act” was intended to improve Veterans’ access to medical services – especially private-physician-services – provided through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

We informed you that Congress passed the Choice Act to allow Veterans access to private physicians when VA is unable to schedule an appointment at a VA medical facility within specified wait-time limits, or when the Veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA medical facility or meets other eligibility criteria for using a private physician.  We also alerted you to the fact that, more than a year after Congress passed the Choice Act, VA’s handling of referrals to private physicians created more confusion and difficulties for Veterans without providing better care.

Well – on October 29, 2015 – VA published a notice titled “Expanded Access to Non-VA Care Through the Veterans Choice Program.”  What does this mean?  It means we’ve been heard!  VA’s “expanded access” isn’t a huge victory, but some of the improvements are those we called for and discussed in our September blog.

Continue reading

800px-Flickr_-_The_U.S._Army_-_Hovering_HawksIf you have read the news recently, you know there’s an epidemic going on.  Led by over 2,500 dismissals from Fort Hood, since 2009 the U.S. Army has separated  for misconduct at least 22,000 soldiers who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and returned with mental-health disorders.

As reported by National Public Radio, our nation’s own Army therapists appear to be conspiring against service men and women to characterize service-induced mental health issues as misbehavior and misconduct. Continue reading

Medical ExamMission focus is why we justly admire our active-duty and Veteran military personnel.  Unfortunately for our service members and Veterans, “Playing with pain” can quickly evolve from a mantra to a way of life.  This means that injuries and ailments are pushed aside, even if non-prescription painkillers are required.  To protect yourself and your loved ones, before leaving service, all active-duty military personnel should make it their mission to take this one crucial step, preferably in the year before they separate.  Here’s the step: a pre-discharge physical. Continue reading

Shocked LookPicture this scenario.  Today is Monday, October 19, 2015.  You open your mail.  Surprise!  You have a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  You read the letter.  It’s dated August 17, 2015.  The letter explains that you have 60-days from the date on the letter in which to respond…or else VA will reduce your benefits.  “Wait a second,” you think.  “Have I gone crazy?  Today is October 19, 2015.  Sixty days from August 17 is…(you count)…October 16th!”  The deadline has already passed!  You then scramble through the trash to find the discarded envelope.  You find the envelope.  Isn’t that something?  The letter is postmarked October 15, 2015!  What happens next?   Continue reading

Dee DoutelBob Goss, founder of the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C., has built his law practice around the concept of family and friends who have a passion to protect our troops.  As part of a series of conversations with our law office family and friends, it is a pleasure to introduce Ms. Dee Doutel, Senior Paralegal with the firm. 

Eleanor Meltzer:  Dee, it is great to talk with you today!  Could you tell us how you met Bob (Goss) and started working for the Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C.?

Dee Doutel:  I met Bob through a mutual friend of ours.  Two years ago, my eldest brother died suddenly and unexpectedly.  As a result, I was the lone surviving Officer and Director of the Corporation he co-founded and was forced to spend all of my time working on keeping the Corporation going while trying to find a buyer for its assets. Continue reading

Self_storage_unitsSelf-storage facilities are so popular they have their own national association.  According to the Self Storage Association (SSA), this industry generated $27.2 billion in annual U.S. revenues, in 2014 alone!  SSA asserts that the self-storage industry has been the fastest-growing segment of the commercial real-estate industry over the last 40 years.

Texas, of course, has its own self-storage organization, the Texas Self Storage Association (TSSA). Some sources identify Houston and Austin as No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the “Top 10” U.S. cities for self-storage, with San Antonio not far behind.

With so many people – including military personnel – moving to Texas, it is likely that you or someone you know has items in self-storage.  What does this mean?   Continue reading

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