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Washington Update or Monday, December 19th, 2016

PHOTO:  Remembrance Wreaths- Wreaths rest against headstones following the Wreath Across America event in Arlington National Cemetery, Va., Dec. 17, 2016. This is the 25th year that the wreaths have been placed at Arlington. Army photo by Rachel Larue/Arlington National Cemetery

 

 

TREA Washington Update for Monday, December 19th 2016

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS, HAPPY CHANUKAH

And a   

HAPPY NEW YEAR

To You all

After a very tough year it is time to celebrate and remember all our blessings. The staff of the Washington Office wishes you love, joy and hope for this season and for all of 2017.

On Friday President Obama signed the Mill-Blumenthal Omnibus Veterans Bill. And now almost all office holders have left Washington to celebrate somewhere else. (The traffic is improving every day.) We expect it to stay quiet until the 3rd of January and then it is off to the races. See you all next year.

DFAS Releases 2016 Tax Statement Schedule

 

DFAS Issues Warning About Fraudulent Emails

 

DoD Unveils Redesigned National Resource Directory

 

House, Senate Pass Bill to Stop Improper Taxation of Disability Severance Payments

 

VA Grants Full Practice Authority to Advance Practice Registered Nurses

 

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DFAS Releases 2016 Tax Statement Schedule

 

2016 tax statements for military, retiree, annuitant and federal civilian employee customers serviced by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service will be distributed mid-December through January 2017.

The IRS tax forms will be available via myPay, the Department of Defense online pay account management system (https://mypay.dfas.mil/mypay.aspx) for most of the 6.3 million DFAS customers. The electronic online forms are available one to two weeks earlier than those sent to customers electing hardcopy delivery by mail.

For the second year, DFAS will also be providing IRS Forms 1095-B or 1095-C for military, retiree and federal civilian employees who receive healthcare insurance coverage through the Tricare or Federal Employee Health Benefit programs.

DFAS officials encourage everyone paid by the agency and will be receiving tax documents over the next month and a half to select electronic-only delivery of their documents to help reduce costs for the military services and federal government departments or agencies. While the deadline for opting in to electronic deliver- only for W-2s has passed for 2016, selection can still be made for 1095 forms until Dec. 31.

2016 tax statement myPay and USPS mail schedule: 

Form/Document

Date available onmyPay

Dates mailed via the U.S. Post Office

Retiree Account Statement (RAS)

Dec. 11, 2016

Dec. 12, 2016 – Jan. 10, 2017

Retiree 1099R

Dec. 16, 2016

Dec. 12, 2016 – Jan. 10, 2017

Annuitant Account Statement (AAS)

Dec. 14, 2016

Dec. 16,2016 – Jan. 10, 2017

Annuitant 1099R

Dec. 15, 2016

Dec. 16,2016 – Jan. 10, 2017

Military VSI/SSB W-2 *

Not available viamyPay

Jan. 5-12, 2017

Reserve Army, Navy, Air Force W-2

Jan. 6, 2017

Jan. 10-12, 2017

Navy SLRP W-2

Jan. 7. 2017

Jan. 12, 2017

Marine Corps Active & Reserve W-2

Jan. 12, 2017

Jan. 14-17, 2017

Civilian employee W-2 (DoD/Non-DoD)

Jan. 12, 2017

Jan. 15-17, 2017

Army Non-Appropriated Fund Civilian Pay W-2 **

Jan. 12, 2017

N/A

Military/Military Retiree IRS Form 1095

Jan. 17, 2017

Jan. 10-31, 2017

Civilian employee IRS Form 1095

Jan. 20, 2017

Jan. 25-31, 2017

Active Duty Army, Navy, Air Force W-2

Jan. 21, 2017

Jan. 22-27, 2017

Vendor Pay MISC W-2

Jan. 31, 2017

Jan. 20-31, 2017

Travel (PCS) Pay  W-2

Jan. 31, 2017

Jan. 20-31, 2017

Civilian employee 1099 Interest (DoD/Non-DoD)

Not available viamyPay

Jan. 27, 2017

Vendor Pay 1099

Not available viamyPay

Jan. 20-31, 2017

* Voluntary Separation Incentive/Special Separation Benefit
** Military non-appropriate fund civilian employees receive tax statements from their respective military service.  Army NAF employee tax statements are made available via myPay.

 

 

DFAS Issues Warning About Fraudulent Emails

 

BEWARE! Several myPay customers have informed us that fraudulent SmartDocs email messages are being sent that could put your information and finances at risk.

The reported invalid emails contain what appears to be from a valid SmartDocs email address. The originators of these emails have “spoofed” their messages to hide their true origin and placed the SmartDocs address in the “From” line to make the email appear legitimate.

Valid SmartDocs messages from DFAS are always sent in plain text, do not include attachments and do not ask you to send any information in response. Your email program may automatically convert a valid SmartDocs message into HTML and convert some text into clickable links. We recommend that you do NOT click on any links within any email message.  To access a site referenced in an email, open your browser and type the link (URL) directly into the browser.

Don’t get fooled. If you receive a SmartDocs message that contains a link, don’t click on it.  If a URL is listed in the message type it in manually within your browser.  Delete  unexpected or unsolicited  messages that contain  attachments or that request you to send information back.

Becoming a victim is easy.  Utilizing a few basic precautions with email handling are critical to protecting your information, finances and identity.

 

 

DoD Unveils Redesigned National Resource Directory

 

The National Resource Directory (www.nrd.gov), a website that provides access to services and resources at the national, state and local levels, unveiled an updated design and layout last week. The updates were implemented to make the site more user- friendly for the thousands of service members, veterans and family members who use the Directory each month.

“The National Resource Directory has been an invaluable collection of resources for our service members, veterans and their families,” said James Rodriguez, deputy assistant secretary of defense, Office of Warrior Care Policy. “Improving the site and expanding its capabilities was an easy decision.”

Enhancements to the Directory include a refreshed appearance, updated search engine, and behind the scenes software updates that will improve the speed and accuracy of managing the programs and services listed. Also included in the redesign is the addition of widgets­, a stand-alone application that organizations can use to enable access to Directory functions through their own websites.

“The National Resource Directory is a great place for everyone to find vetted and organized resources, but it can be particularly helpful for those professionals and other organizations helping to coordinate care for our wounded, ill and injured service members,” said Rodriguez. “For our Recovery Care Coordinators, those men and women who are working each day to support wounded, ill and injured service members, the updates to the National Resource Directory will allow them to find and connect service members with appropriate resources more efficiently.”

The Directory continues to be one of the largest online collections of government and nongovernment resources specifically designed for service members, their families, military caregivers and veterans. With a unique collection of more than 18,000 organized and vetted resources, the Directory provides information covering a variety of topics, including benefits and compensation, education and training, family and military caregiver support, health, homeless assistance, housing, and other services and programs.

The Directory’s participation policy uses crowd-sourced data points from watchdog organizations in addition to government data sources to ensure the quality of resources on the site.

 

 

House, Senate Pass Bill to Stop Improper Taxation of Disability Severance Payments

 

Last week Congress passed the Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016, which ends the taxation of severance payments from the Department of Defense to combat-injured veterans. The bill now heads to President Obama’s desk, where it is expected to be signed.

The legislation directs DOD to identify veterans who have been separated from service for combat-related injuries and received a severance payment that was improperly taxed by the federal government. It instructs DOD to determine how much the combat-wounded veterans are owed and allow veterans who have been improperly taxed to recover the withheld amounts.

Under federal law, veterans who suffer combat-related injuries and who are separated from the military are not supposed to be taxed on the one-time lump sum disability severance payment they receive from DOD. Unfortunately, taxes on combat-related disability severance payments have nonetheless been withheld from qualifying veterans due to the limitations of DOD’s automated payment system. Veterans are typically unaware that their benefits were improperly reduced as a result of DOD’s actions.

U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and Mark Warner (D-VA) introduced the identical legislation in the Senate in March.

It is estimated that over 13,800 veterans may have been denied full severance pay as a result of wrongful taxation as far back as 1991.

 

 

VA Grants Full Practice Authority to Advance Practice Registered Nurses

The Department of Veterans Affairs Has Issued the Following Press Release

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that it is amending provider regulations to permit full practice authority to three roles of VA advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to practice to the full extent of their education, training, and certification, regardless of State restrictions that limit such full practice authority, except for applicable State restrictions on the authority to prescribe and administer controlled substances, when such APRNs are acting within the scope of their VA employment.

“Advanced practice registered nurses are valuable members of VA’s health care system,” said VA Under Secretary for Health Dr. David J. Shulkin. “Amending this regulation increases our capacity to provide timely, efficient, effective and safe primary care, aids VA in making the most efficient use of APRN staff capabilities, and provides a degree of much needed experience to alleviate the current access challenges that are affecting VA.”   

APRNs are clinicians with advanced degrees and training who provide primary, acute and specialty health care services; they complete masters, post-masters or doctoral degrees. There are four APRN roles: Certified Nurse Practitioner, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, and Certified Nurse Midwife.

“CRNAs provide an invaluable service to our Veterans,” Under Secretary for Health Shulkin continued. “Though CRNAs will not be included in VA’s full practice authority under this final rule, we are requesting comments on whether there are access issues or other unconsidered circumstances that might warrant their inclusion in a future rulemaking.  In the meantime, we owe it to Veterans to increase access to care in areas where we know we have immediate and broad access challenges.”

All VA APRNs are required to obtain and maintain current national certification.

The final rulemaking establishes professional qualifications an individual must possess to be appointed as an APRN within VA, establishes the criteria under which VA may grant full practice authority to an APRN and defines the scope of full practice authority for each of the three roles of APRN. Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists will not be included in VA’s full practice authority under this final rule.   

VA is the nation’s largest employer of nurses; as of July 2016 its workforce of approximately 93,500 nurses (RNs, LPNs, NAs) includes approximately 5,769 APRNs

 

 

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