Tools and Services for Veterans
Veterans Day gives everyone a moment to honor and remember those who have fought and served our country through their military service. While there are many resources and organizations that help veterans and their families, the federal government provides unique tools and services to help those who have done so much for our country. Here are some of the most popular resources for veterans and active duty personnel from USA.gov:
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has a new mobile website created for use on all mobile devices. Here, service members, veterans and their dependents can find services and information, including facility locations, benefits and tips for returning service members.
November 11 was once "Armistice Day" in the United States, and its purpose was to honor the soldiers of World War I. In 1954, it became "Veterans Day." Learn more about the history of the holiday and find out about new initiatives to honor America’s veterans.
- There’s now a way to manage military benefits online—all in one place. Check out the VA ebenefits page where veterans can apply for benefits, view their current status, access records or browse benefits links to learn more about what is available.
- The mobile app PTSD Coach is available for iPhone and Android users. PTSD Coach was designed for Veterans and military service members who have, or may have, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD can cause severe anxiety and flashbacks after someone experiences a trauma or tragedy in their life. This app provides users with education about PTSD, information about professional care, a self-assessment guide, opportunities to find support, and tools that can help users manage the stresses of daily life with PTSD.
Mother, Father, Sister, Brother, Aunt, Uncle, Grandfather, Grandmother, Friend:
If you have been asked to co-sign a loan --- for anything at all --- there is a little bit of math you MUST understand before you sign anything:
1) co-signer =
2) borrower =
fully responsible for paying back loan
3) lender =
(creditor who could not care less that you did not understand that co-signer = borrower)
If you do not understand what those three identities are telling you, PLEASE do not co-sign a loan for anyone or anything without consulting an attorney first.
GENERATION DEBT -- HOBBLED BEFORE THEY START
. . "It's going to create a generation of wage slavery," says Nick Pardini, a Villanova University graduate student in finance who has warned on a blog for investors that student loans are the next credit bubble — with borrowers, rather than lenders, as the losers.
Full-time undergraduate students borrowed an average $4,963 in 2010, up 63% from a decade earlier after adjusting for inflation, the College Board reports. What's happening:
•Defaults. The portion of borrowers in default — more than nine months behind on payments — rose from 6.7% in 2007 to 8.8% in 2009, according to the most recent federal data.
•For profit-schools. The highest default rates are at for-profit schools that tend to serve lower-income students and offer courses online. The University of Phoenix, the nation's largest, got 88% of its revenue from federal programs last year, most of it from student loans.
"Federal student loans are like no other loans," says Alisa Cunningham, research chief at the Institute for Higher Education Policy. "The consequences are so high for making a mistake."
The Federal Trade Commission is starting to build the record, as a precursor to possible action to curb auto sales and financing abuses. This is an important first step, if they are going to exercise the new authority they have over auto dealers' sales and lending practices, under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.
The agency held the first roundtable in Detroit, and held a second one in San Antonio, TX in August that focused on dealer practices and their impact on military Servicemembers and their families. Among those who were invited to be on panels -- Holly Petreaus, Dwain Alexander, and Michael Archer.
This is a historic opportunity to raise awareness at the FTC regarding the problems Servicemembers and their families face. The FTC is actively seeking information, and may well act. No guarantees, but they do have --for the first time -- the authority to write rules under the Administrative Procedures Act, which means instead of taking a decade or more to issue a new rule, they could conceivably issue a new rule in closer to a year. They also have some enforcement authority, so may be able to crack down on illegal activity -- if they have sufficient documentation of widespread problems to act.
Here's a link to the FTC's announcement about the San Antonio roundtable, which includes other links to information about how to send in a comment. The more comments from the military / consumer perspective, the better, so please feel welcome to share this link with anyone you think would be interested, including organizations that provide assistance to Servicemembers and individuals who have been ripped off.
The third -- and probably final -- roundtable is scheduled for Nov. 17 at the FTC headquarters in Washington, DC.
Here's hoping we can persuade the FTC to live up to its consumer watchdog potential --
Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety
1303 J Street, Suite 270
Sacramento, CA 95814
Great news from KMUZ:
"Dear Board and key volunteers:
Our 501(c)(3) status has been approved by the IRS. Willamette Information, News, and Entertainment Service (WINES) is its own non-profit and is tax exempt from federal income taxes!!
Kudos to Dave and me for pushing through the arduous process of figuring out and filling out the forms. Special thanks to John Gear for his legal overview, w/out his suggested changes, we may still have been in legal limbo. And to Karen Lord, CPA who help us at the intial stages. And to Fritz Graham, Sen. Wyden's office, for bird-dogging our application on our behalf."