Category Archives: VA

Your Place for Veteran’s Administration News.

Bremer County VA State of Affairs

Bremer county VA2Bremer County VA State of Affairs

The 2015 calendar year is over and we’re continuing to break records in relation to how busy our office has been. You’re doing your job, veterans and family, as you’re getting the word out that there’s benefits to be had and, most likely, you’re eligible for some! In the past five years, we’ve seen a 292% increase in overall office contacts and 90% increase in benefits delivered to the veterans and their family members in Bremer County!!  We can’t tell you how our new staff have affected your overall benefits yet because the Geographic Distribution of Expenditures (GDX) Report from the Department of Veterans Affairs doesn’t come out until the spring but we’re anxiously awaiting that report to be released and will ensure to let you know, good or bad, how our new Bremer County Veterans Affairs staff is doing. One thing we know, at present, we’re certainly much busier than we were two years ago! As is always the case, don’t be afraid to let us or the County Commission on Veterans Affairs is doing. Our Commission represents the veterans of Bremer County and if they do not know how we’re doing, they can’t help make changes to the program. Remember, we work for you, the taxpayers of Bremer County. We are NOT state or federal employees and changes can be made if we need to make them.

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tee tourney

2016 TEE Tournament Registration

Registration is now open for the 2016 National Veterans Training, Exposure, and Experience (TEE) Tournament!

Each year, hundreds of disabled Veterans from across the country participate in this annual event, one of the nation’s top adaptive golf events for blind and disabled Veterans. This year’s event will again occur in Iowa City, Iowa from September 12-16. While golf is the featured event, participants also can develop new skills and confidence through participation in other adaptive sports activities including bowling, kayaking, horseback riding, tandem biking, fishing and Frisbee golf.

Registration ends on July 1, 2016. Any Veteran with visual impairments and other disabilities receiving care at any VA medical facility is eligible to apply to attend the TEE Tournament. The event is hosted by the Iowa City VA Health Care System, with sponsorship support from Veterans Canteen Service (VCS) and many others.

Please help spread the word! You can find more information at and by following VA Adaptive Sports on Twitter at @VAAdaptiveSport or on Facebook at .


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home base iowa



Veteran Virtual Job Fair

Please mark your calendars and attend the Home Base Iowa Military Online Career Fair, for veterans, service members and their spouses on March 9, 2016 from 12:00 to 3:00 PM.
To give military job seekers the opportunity to network with Iowa employers, we are excited to invite you to participate in the Home Base Iowa Military Online Career Fair, hosted by DirectEmployers Association, the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) and the State of Iowa.
During this free event, you will have the opportunity to engage with recruiters from various Iowa employers looking to hire veterans, transitioning service members and their families in quick, text-based chat conversations – all from the comfort of your home, office, smartphone or tablet!
How It Works:
• Create an account, complete your profile and register for the event
• On the day of the event, log in and get in line at employers’ virtual booths to be connected with recruiters in quick chat conversations
• After 8 minutes of conversation you will have the option to rate the conversation and type notes and will then be connected with the next available employer
After the event ends you will be able to look back at your conversations and notes for follow up!
To learn more about the event, click Here.

Agendas and Minutes

Board of Supervisors Agenda, January 27, 2016

Board of Supervisors Minutes, January 27, 2016

Bremer County VA State of Affairs

State of Affairs12193873_1006789549342544_6722434469076727751_n
November was another busy month for the staff of Bremer County Veterans Affairs! We finished planning and carrying out another very successful Veterans Day event with about 500 veterans and their family members joining us throughout the day and Neal spent several evenings in your communities providing outreach. Additionally, we had over 300 contacts with you, our veterans, through office visits, phone calls, text messages and emails!!
We have 72 active claims that are in various stages of development and as you’ve all heard before, if you want something done, do it right the first time so you don’t have to keep doing it. Right now, we’re booked out a month which is MUCH better than in previous months and, generally speaking, we’re heading into our slower season although, based on last year, that has yet to be fully determined.
Obviously, we understand that it’s difficult to get in touch with us sometimes but we want to ensure that you should continue trying. The Director is seeing appointments and working on claim development, at least, eight hours a day and there is ALWAYS a Clerk on duty to answer phone calls and to meet you at the door.
DSCN0163-800x350We ALWAYS welcome to our County Commission on Veterans Affairs meetings, which are generally scheduled at 3:00 pm on the second Tuesday of each month. You can find out what’s going on in the office, new initiatives and address your concerns about the veterans affairs program. This is your opportunity to have your voice heard by the entire Commission!
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No COLA Increase for 2016
Cost-of-LivingIn mid-October the announcement came that there will be no Cost-of-Living Adjustment for military retirees, veterans receiving benefits and social security recipients. This is only the third time in forty years where there hasn’t been a COLA increase.
The reason there’s no COLA increase for 2016 is because there was no inflation and that’s what increases are tied to. The price of goods and services used in the calculation of inflation actually fell in 2015, particularly gas prices.
Government Executive details the calculation of whether or not there will be a COLA increase this way:
The average of the July, August and September 2015 Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W), along with the average from the third quarter of 2014, is used to calculate the 2016 COLA. The annual COLAs are based on the percentage increase (if any) in the average CPI-W for the third quarter of the current year over the average for the third quarter of the last year in which a COLA became effective. In this case, that is 2015 and 2014.
There has been backlash in response to the lack of a COLA increase this year, particularly as seniors are feeling the pinch of higher medical costs and in particular, rising health insurance premiums.
BEGXKX Wooden Judges Gavel

BEGXKX Wooden Judges Gavel

Despite the lack of an increase, some lawmakers are looking toward legislation to remedy what they say as being to unfair to seniors, veterans, social security recipients and military retirees.

Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) introduced the Seniors Deserve a Raise Act on October 16.
“Simply put, most of our parents and grandparents desperately need a raise. And they clearly deserve on,” said Grayson about his bill, which has 43 co-sponsors. “My bill calls for a 2.9 percent COLA for 2016, and ensures we give them a more accurate cost-of-living increase in the years ahead. Our seniors are seeing their costs rise – their Social Security payments need to rise as well.”
Grayson’s legislation calculates future COLAs based on the Consumer Price Index for the Elderly, also referred to as CPI-E. This is a formula that’s specific to the lives of seniors because it incorporates the price of items that are most relevant to this segment of the population, including medical costs and prescription drugs.
This is compared to the way COLA increases are calculated now, which relies on the CPI-W, that looks at the costs of goods like food, housing, energy, clothing and transportation.
Despite the legislation many are not expecting it to make a difference anytime soon, particularly since Rep. Mike Honda of California introduced the CPI-E act on the House floor in July, but it’s since been stalled in committee.
“The costs seniors bear are different than those for younger people,” said Honda, when announcing his bill. “Our current method of accounting for cost-of-living adjustments does not take that into consideration. We need to recognize this discrepancy and change the formula that determines federal retirement programs to make sure our seniors can enjoy a safe, secure and healthy life in their later years. Seniors depend on these programs and deserve to be treated fairly.”
The full list of groups impacted by COLA stagnancy or increases includes:
• Retired military veterans
• Disabled veterans
• Veterans pension recipients
• Survivor benefit annuitants
• Surviving families of veterans (Parent’s and Indemnity Compensation)
• Social security recipients
• Federal civilian retirees
• Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients
• Those eligible for Medicare Extra Help and Medicaid
• Individuals participating in federal and state food and housing assistance programs
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Christmas Families, 2015
christmas tree 1Last year, we began adopting several veteran families in the community that were struggling to provide their family with a semblance of Christmas. The support, last year, was unbelievable and each of the families were astounded at the willingness of our communities to step up and make a difference in their lives.
This year, we’ve decided to adopt two families that are struggling and we’re asking for your help! If you’re interested in assisting one of our veteran families, please see their needs and wants lists below and consider helping one of our own out. If you would like to donate items or allow us to purchase them for you, please drop your donations by the office and, feel free to include a Christmas card from your family to the veteran!
Family One
Family one is a single mother and her three year old son. Her favorite colors are blue or gray and his favorite color is blue.
Three Year Old Son:
• Warm socks
• Shoes – Size 11 (Children’s sizes)
• T-shirts – Size 4/5T (Long or Short)
• Tracing letter book
• Coloring books (Trucks, Cars, Boats or something similar)
• Peg Puzzle of the United States or World Map
• Books to read for bedtime
• Posters – Lightning McQueen or any Cars Character
• Legos
• Blue Ray Movies such as Peter Pan, Planes, Monsters Inc., Bambi, Aladdin, or Finding Nemo
• Long-sleeve T-shirts – Size Medium
• Running Tights
• UNI Zip-Up Sweatshirt
• 4 x 6″ Picture Frames
• White Canvas – For Painting
• Fruit-scented candles
• Shower Body Scrub
• Hand Blender for smoothies, drinks, etc.
Family Two
Family two is a full family with four children. Their list is split up by family member with the veteran and his wife combined.
Nine year old girl who likes pink
• Clothing (She wears children’s size 14-16)
o Leggings
o Tops
o Socks
o Pretty much any kind of clothing
• Legos
Eleven year old girl who likes blues and pinks
• Clothing (She wears children’s size 8)
o Leggings
o Tops
o Socks
o Pretty much any kind of clothing
• Anything having to do with art like canvases or paints
Ten month old twin girls
• Clothing (They wear 12-18 month old clothing) (They need EVERYTHING)
• Dolls
• Books
• Learning Toys
• Laundry soap
• Dish soap
• Shampoo
• Body soap
**They would really like to be able to have a Christmas dinner