FOIA Service #vcu #veterans #affairs

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FOIA Service

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Freedom of Information Act Service

Who We Are

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has a right of access to Federal agency records, except to the extent that such records are protected from release by a FOIA exemption or a special law enforcement record exclusion.

What We Do

It is VA’s policy to release information to the fullest extent under the law. The VA has a decentralized system for handling FOIA requests.

FOIA Requests

Reports

FOIA Law and Guidance

VA FOIA Service ensures that VA policies comply with Federal regulatory requirements and legislative mandates and it promulgates those policies throughout the VA.

FOIA Law

VA FOIA Regulations and Policies

  • Veterans Affairs Directive 6300 – Records and Information Management (February 26, 2009)
  • Veterans Affairs Handbook 6300.3 – Procedures for Implementing the Freedom of Information Act (January 12, 1998)
  • 38 CFR Part 1 and 2 – Release of Information from Department of Veterans Affairs Records
  • CFR 1.460 – 1.474 – Release of Information from Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Records Relating to Drug Abuse
  • CFR 1.475 – 1.484 – Disclosures With Patient Consent
  • CFR 1.485 – 1.489 – Disclosures Without Patient Consent
  • CFR 1.490 – 1.499 – Court Orders Authorizing Disclosures and Use
  • CFR 1.500 – 1.527 – Release of Information from Department of Veterans Affairs Claimant Records
  • CFR 1.575 – 1.584 – Safeguarding Personal Information in Department of Veterans Affairs Records
  • CFR 1.460 – 1.599 – GPO Version of 38

FOIA Guidance

Other Useful Sites





Transfer Post-9 #new #gi #bill, #post-9/11, #gi #bill, #wave, #gi, #gibill, #va

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Education and Training

Transfer Post-9/11 GI Bill to Spouse and Dependents

The transferability option under the Post-9/11 GI Bill allows Servicemembers to transfer all or some unused benefits to their spouse or dependent children. The request to transfer unused GI Bill benefits to eligible dependents must be completed while servicing as an active member of the Armed Forces. The Department of Defense (DoD) determines whether or not you can transfer benefits to your family. Once the DoD approves benefits for transfer, the new beneficiaries apply for them at VA. To find out more, visit the DoDs website or apply now .

Type of Assistance

Eligible Servicemembers may transfer all 36 months or the portion of unused Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits (unless DoD or the Department of Homeland Security has limited the number of transferable months). If you’re eligible, you may transfer benefits to the following individuals:

  • Your spouse
  • One or more of your children
  • Any combination of spouse and child

Available Benefits and Eligibility

Family members must be enrolled in the Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System (DEERS) and be eligible for benefits at the time of transfer to receive transferred benefits.

The option to transfer is open to any member of the armed forces active duty or Selected Reserve, officer or enlisted who is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and meets the following criteria:

  • Has at least six years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval and agrees to serve four additional years in the armed forces from the date of election.
  • Has at least 10 years of service in the armed forces (active duty and/or Selected Reserve) on the date of approval, is precluded by either standard policy (by Service Branch or DoD) or statute from committing to four additional years, and agrees to serve for the maximum amount of time allowed by such policy or statute.
  • Transfer requests are submitted and approved while the member is in the armed forces.

Transfer Process. While in the armed forces, transferors use the Transfer of Education Benefits (TEB) website to designate, modify, and revoke a Transfer of Entitlement (TOE) request. After leaving the armed forces, transferors may provide a future effective date for use of TOE, modify the number of months transferred, or revoke entitlement transferred by submitting a written request to VA. Submit a TEB request now for your Service component approval (non-VA Link). (NOTE: When the milConnect Home page displays, select Education then Transfer of Education Benefits [TEB] from the menu bar.)

Upon approval, family members may apply to use transferred benefits with VA by printing, completing, and mailing the VA Form 22-1990e to your nearest VA regional office of applying online. VA Form 22-1990e should only be completed and submitted to VA by the family member after DoD has approved the request for TEB. Do not use VA Form 22-1990e to apply for TEB.

Other Factors to Consider

  • A childs subsequent marriage will not affect his or her eligibility to receive the educational benefit; however, after an individual has designated a child as a transferee under this section, the individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.
  • A subsequent divorce will not affect the transferees eligibility to receive educational benefits; however, after an individual has designated a spouse as a transferee under this section, the eligible individual retains the right to revoke or modify the transfer at any time.

If a Servicemember wants to reallocate transferred benefits they can do so using the TEB Portlet in MilConnect at https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect. If a Veteran wants to reallocate benefits they should contact the VA using our “Ask A Question” website http://gibill.custhelp.com .

If transferred benefits are totally revoked for a dependent a Servicemember must resubmimt a transfer request for the dependent via MilConnect, a Veteran cannot re-transfer benefits to a dependent if the dependent’s transfer eligibility was previously totally revoked.

Family member use of transferred educational benefits is subject to the following rules:

  • May start to use the benefit immediately
  • May use the benefit while the member remains in the Armed Forces or after separation from active duty
  • Are not eligible for the monthly housing allowance while the member is serving on active duty
  • Can use the benefit for up to 15 years after the service members last separation from active duty
  • May start to use the benefit only after the individual making the transfer has completed at least 10 years of service in the armed forces
  • May use the benefit while the eligible individual remains in the armed forces or after separation from active duty
  • May not use the benefit until he or she has attained a secondary school diploma (or equivalency certificate), or he or she has reached age 18
  • Is entitled to the monthly housing allowance stipend even though the eligible individual is on active duty
  • Is not subject to the 15-year delimiting date, but may not use the benefit after reaching 26 years of age

More Information

  • View the official DoD website for information on transferability (non-VA link)
  • Get the fact sheet on transferability of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits
  • For specific questions about your eligibility, the status of your transfer request, and service specific questions about the TEB Portlet, please contact the appropriate career counselor or personnel center from the following list:




Are internet affairs different? #monitor #on #psychology, #research #findings,,internet #affairs, #cybersex, #emotional

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Are Internet affairs different?

The typical affair used to start in the office and move to a seedy motel room, but the vast reach of the Internet has brought infidelity into many couples’ homes over the past decade.

The growth in steamy chat room conversations and cybersex also has triggered a rethinking of the meaning of infidelity. If there is no physical contact or actual sex, is it still an affair?

“It’s not just that you’re communicating with someone online but that there is a sexual or emotional nature,” says Katherine Hertlein, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas who studies online affairs. “With the Internet, we’re moving away from just physical ideas about infidelity and acknowledging emotional infidelity.”

While there is no universally accepted definition, an Internet affair frequently involves intimate chat sessions and sexually stimulating conversation or cybersex, which may include filming mutual masturbation with a Web camera.

Several studies suggest that even when there is no in-person contact, online affairs can be just as devastating as the real-world variety, triggering feelings of insecurity, anger and jealousy. Women usually feel more threatened by the emotional betrayal of a partner’s online affair, while men are more concerned about physical encounters, Hertlein says, but the gender differences are lessening.

“That is starting to even out in part because of the equality of opportunity that the Internet brings to everybody,” she says.

While men traditionally have been the more unfaithful sex, gender roles are reversing in some cases as more women experience cybersex. “I think there is this bias that women don’t cheat for sexual reasons at all,” Hertlein says. “Women are supposed to be the nurturers and the matriarchs in our society.”

Due to the secretive nature of online affairs, reliable statistics are hard to find, but a 2005 study of 1,828 Web users in Sweden offers evidence about the prevalence of cybersex and online affairs. Almost a third of the participants reported cybersexual experiences, and people in committed relationships were just as likely to engage in cybersex as those who were single. But gender and age made a difference. While men’s interest in cybersex decreased with age, women’s interest increased slightly, with 37 percent of women age 35 to 49 reporting cybersexual experiences compared with only a quarter of men in the same age group (Archives of Sexual Behavior. Vol. 34, No. 3).

A 2008 Australian study offers more insight into Internet affairs. It found that of 183 adults who were currently or recently in a relationship, more than 10 percent had formed intimate online relationships, 8 percent had experienced cybersex and 6 percent had met their Internet partners in person (Australian Journal of Counselling Psychology. Vol. 9, No. 2). More than half of the respondents believed an online relationship constituted unfaithfulness, with the numbers climbing to 71 percent for cybersex and 82 percent for in-person meetings.

Kimberly Young, PhD, who directs the Center for Internet Addiction Recovery in Bradford, Pa. says about half of the couples in her practice are seeking counseling because of online affairs or excessive use of online pornography. Young sees more women who are online cheaters, in part, she says, because women gravitate toward erotic chats and webcam sessions while men often are drawn to pornography.

“The Internet is opening up these new ways of exploring your sexuality and that includes infidelity,” she says.

Right under your nose

Americans now spend as much time online as they do watching TV — about 13 hours a week. While TV viewing has remained fairly constant, time spent surfing the Web has increased more than 120 percent over the last five years. With the burgeoning use of the Internet, many practitioners are seeing more couples because of online affairs and are addressing new issues in therapy, psychologists say.

“It starts in the home, which is very different than most affairs. It starts right under your roof,” says Elaine Ducharme, PhD, a psychologist in Glastonbury, Conn. who specializes in cybersex addictions. “You can’t usually get rid of your computer in the house. Every time you walk by, you’re asking yourself if he or she is using it for an affair.”

While most relationships are hampered by such workday realities as household chores and paying the bills, online relationships exist in an electronic nether world where strangers can construct their own identities, Hertlein says. “On the Internet, you can be whoever you want to be. You can type, backspace, delete. You don’t have to be this constrained person you think you should be.”

Fantasy also is a huge factor in online affairs, and fantasy always trumps reality. “Your primary partner will never be able to compare with the fantasy partner,” Hertlein says. “They will never win.”

According to Young, people with low self-esteem, a distorted body image, an untreated sexual dysfunction or a prior sexual addiction are more at risk to develop addictions to cybersex or online pornography.

Therapy can be more complicated if the cheating partner doesn’t believe his or her online activities qualify as an affair, Ducharme says. “The excuses are, ‘I didn’t have sex with this person. I didn’t go out and see anybody or catch any diseases,’” she says. “But the other partner often feels such an emotional betrayal that they are going through the same feelings as if their partner was having a real affair.”

Online affairs can contribute to divorce and child custody fights as the involved partner becomes more enmeshed in the online relationship. A 2008 article in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy (Vol. 34, No. 4) by Hertlein and a colleague reviewed eight studies of Internet affairs and documented many negative effects from online romances, including less interest in sex in the committed relationship and neglect of work and time with children. Almost two-thirds of the participants in one study reported they had met and had sex with their Internet partners; only 44 percent of them reported using condoms.

Reasons behind cheating

Several studies have focused on the “AAA engine” that drives online affairs, namely accessibility, affordability and anonymity. “The Internet is extremely accessible no matter where you are,” Hertlein says. “You could be at home or at work or sitting on the couch with your partner chatting to someone online.”

As costs for Internet access have dropped, online affairs are also very affordable. They can be easy to conceal, as long as the cheating partner deletes the Web browser history and any incriminating e-mails. “It’s really difficult to track what your partner is doing,” Hertlein says. “There aren’t receipts for hotels or dinners or excursions.” With the faceless nature of the Internet, anonymity also is easy to come by. People often feel more comfortable revealing intimate details of their lives to relative strangers because the relationship exists only in cyberspace, Ducharme says. “Things happen so quickly online,” she says. “Some people really begin to think the other person is in love with them. They develop this intimacy and fantasy relationship. The cool thing about fantasy relationships is they don’t require any work.”

Therapy is similar for online or traditional affairs, with couples working on issues of trust, betrayal and forgiveness. Hertlein also encourages couples to use the Internet to strengthen their relationships by enjoying pornography sites together or visiting websites for ideas about romantic dates or new sexual skills.

After an Internet affair, couples often need to move the home computer to a public space, such as the living room, and install tracking or blocking software, Ducharme says. But to build lasting trust, couples must dig deeper in therapy.

“In terms of treatment, the first step is about the individual taking responsibility for the online affair,” she says. “But the couple also needs to examine what was happening in their marriage that led to one of them cheating online.”

Brendan L. Smith is a writer in Washington, D.C.





Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance – Life Insurance #va, #veterans #affairs, #insurance, #servicemembers,

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Life Insurance

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance

Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance (VMLI) is mortgage protection insurance that can help families of severely disabled Servicemembers or Veterans pay off the home mortgage in the event of their death.

Eligibility

VMLI is only available to Servicemembers and Veterans with severe service-connected disabilities who:

  • Received Specially Adapted Housing (SAH) grant to help build, remodel, or purchase a home, AND
  • Have the title to the home, AND
  • Have a mortgage on the home

Veterans must apply for VMLI before their 70th birthday.

Benefits

VMLI provides up to $200,000 mortgage life insurance and is payable only to the mortgage holder (i.e. a bank or mortgage lender), not to a beneficiary. The amount of coverage will equal the amount of the mortgage still owed, but the maximum can never exceed $200,000. VMLI is decreasing term insurance which reduces as the mortgage balance declines. VMLI has no loan or cash values and does not pay dividends.

Cost/Rates

To determine your VMLI premium amount consult the VMLI Premium Calculator.

Applying for VMLI

Servicemembers or Veterans who receive a grant for the purchase of Specially Adapted Housing are advised by Loan Guaranty personnel at their interview of their eligibility for VMLI to cover the unpaid mortgage on their home.

The Specially Adapted Housing Agent will help the Servicemember or Veteran complete VA Form 29-8636, Application for Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance. If a Servicemember or Veteran does not apply for VMLI coverage at that time, VA will send a letter informing them that they are eligible for such coverage. In addition to completing VA Form 29-8636. the Servicemember or Veteran must provide information about their current mortgage.