This Week In Military Community and Family Policy 05 Feb 2010 Pdf

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This Week In Military Community and Family Policy 05 Feb 2010 Pdf

  1. 1. PLEASE PASS TO ALL PERSONNEL 2010 Scholarship for Military Children Program Deadline for 2010 Scholarships for Military Children is Feb. 17 All applications for the 2010 Scholarships for Military Children Program must be turned in to a commissary by close of business Feb. 17. The following people are eligible to apply: dependent, unmarried children, younger than age 21 (age 23 if enrolled as a full-time student at a college or university) of active duty personnel, Reservist, Guard and retired military members, survivors of service members who died while on active duty, or survivors of individuals who died while receiving retired pay from the military. Eligibility is determined using DEERS, the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, database. Applicants should ensure they, as well as their sponsor, are enrolled in the DEERS database and have a current ID card. The applicant must be planning to attend, or already be attending, an accredited college or university full time in the fall of 2010, or be enrolled in a program of studies designed to transfer directly into a four-year program. Applicants should prepare to submit an essay on the following topic: "You can travel back in time; however, you cannot change events. What point in history would you visit and why?" --- Military Saves Campaign 2010 The 2010 Military Saves Campaign will kick off with Military Saves Week, scheduled from 21-28 February 2010. This annual campaign is conducted jointly by the Department of Defense (Military Community and Family Policy and the Military Services) and the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), an official DoD Financial Readiness Campaign non-profit partner. The goal of Military Saves is for Service members and families to make a personal commitment to saving their hard-earned pay for emergencies, for their near- and long-term financial goals, and for retirement. In taking positive action to save, they will avoid common financial pitfalls that confront many Americans, and most importantly, in ensuring they are financially ready, they will also be mission- ready, enabling commanders to support both current and future military operations. • Service members and family members are encouraged to go to www.militarysaves.org and register to take the “Saver Pledge”. This pledge states that members will commit to saving and encourage others to do so as part of a military savings “community”. • Conducted concurrently with the Military Saves Campaign will be the Military Youth Saves Campaign, an effort targeted at military children and youth to improve their financial literacy. • The Military Services are planning promotional events to raise awareness and participation in Military Saves at installations around the world to include financial fairs, guest speakers, fun runs, commander proclamations, “saver drives”, and others. --- Commissaries offer gift vouchers
  2. 2. The Defense Commissary Agency is offering gift vouchers at all of its 254 commissaries. These vouchers are available in $25 denominations. Anyone may acquire gift vouchers; however, only commissary authorized patrons may redeem them. Vouchers are available at commissary customer service areas, cash offices and from cashiers at full-service checkout lanes. There is no limit on the number of vouchers someone can purchase. However, to make large purchases of more than $1,000 in vouchers at a time, you must notify the store at least one week in advance. This allows commissaries to maintain enough vouchers for other customers. No additional fees will be added to the cost of purchasing or redeeming a voucher. --- The President’s FY 2011 budget proposal includes a provision to provide $439 million to build 10 new Department of Defense Education Activity Schools. This measure, directed by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, is part of a major, five-year effort to renovate or replace 103 of the schools by 2015. --- DoDEA joins the annual celebration of National African American History Month, also called Black History Month, this month. This event is celebrated each year in our schools in the month of February to recognize and appreciate the contributions African Americans have made to this nation in their struggles for freedom and equality. See our website celebration at www.dodea.edu --- DoDEA superintendents will participate in a working meeting on February 7-11 in Phoenix, Arizona, in conjunction with their attendance at the American Association of School Administrators' Conference. The meeting will focus on the theme "Making Connections for Continuous Improvement." The purpose of the meeting is to build capacity, strengthen leadership, making continuous improvement resulting in increased student achievement. --- Many DoDEA schools joined communities across the world in participating in Job Shadow Day <http://www.jobshadow.org/> , the kickoff to Job Shadowing 2010, a year-long initiative. On February 2, participating DoDEA students got an up-close look at how the skills they learn in school are put into action in the workplace. They shadowed a workplace mentor as he or she went through a normal day on the job. Job shadowing inspires children to be enthusiastic about their studies by showing them the correlation between what they learn in school and how it is used in the workplace. --- MWR Conducts Customer Satisfaction Survey
  3. 3. The Defense Department conducted the first military-wide survey to assess Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) programs during August 2009. Almost 25 thousand active duty Service members had an opportunity to rate customer service, operation hours, facility condition, and quality of services provided among other items responded to the survey. The result was an overall DoD customer satisfaction index score of 69 based on a 0-100 scale with 0 the worst and 100 the best possible. The scores do not represent “percent satisfied”; instead the scores represent the average rating of three customer satisfaction questions on a 0 to 100 scale. Seven MWR programs were rated for customer satisfaction. The Library Program scored the highest score with 74 and the other MWR programs followed with their respective scores: Single Service Member Program (73), Outdoor Recreation (72), Recreation Centers (72), Leisure Travel (72), and Automotive Skills (72), and Fitness Program (69). Although it is preferable not to make sweeping comments about scores, broadly speaking, scores in the 60s may be characterized as "fine but could use work," in the 70s as "good job but keep working on it" and in the 80s as "excellent - keep it up." The survey findings also indicate that MWR satisfaction has the greatest impact on “readiness.” Taken together, these findings suggest that improvement in Outdoor Recreation and Fitness programs will have the highest impact on the overall satisfaction with MWR and consequently on the “readiness” outcome. The Customer Satisfaction Index Survey is an important tool for developing MWR strategic plans, and as future funding justification for improvements to the MWR fitness and outdoor recreation programs to meet service member and family needs. The second DoD MWR CSI Survey will be conducted in 2010. --- Exceptional Family Member Program. The OSD Exceptional Family Member Program managers met with the TRICARE regional office Nurse Consultants for Case Management/Special Needs to discuss issues related to support for military families with special needs. The meeting provided the OSD staff the opportunity to describe the programs and resources currently available to families with special needs, including specialty consultations through Military OneSource (1-800-342-9647). The TRICARE representatives explained their roles in supporting military families with special needs. The next step will be a joint meeting with the TRICARE regional case managers/special needs and the OSD/Joint Service EFMP working group meeting. --- Financial Education DoD Policy Reminder In support of the upcoming Military Saves Week (21-28 February 2010), many installations are planning events to promote savings awareness and participation. DODI 1344.07 “Personal Commercial Solicitation on DoD Installations” contains guidance for the conduct of education programs onboard installations by outside entities. The DODI states that “under no circumstances shall commercial agents, including representatives of loan, finance, insurance, and investment companies, be used to provide educational programs on military installations.” Additionally, if the installation intends to utilize a non-government, non-commercial organization expert in personal financial affairs, with
  4. 4. appropriate disclaimers, the organization may provide free financial education services if expressly requested by the installation commander and approved by a Presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed civilian official of the Military Department in question. Consult the DODI for more details. Installations are encouraged to engage their on-base financial institutions (banks and credit unions) to provide free financial educational services. Per the DoD Financial Management Regulation (FMR DOD 7000.14R, Vol 5, Chapter 34), “on-base financial institutions shall make basic financial education counseling and services available without charge” and the installation commander must review any educational curriculum prior to delivery to Service members. Amplifying guidance is contained in the FMR; also, consult your specific Service’s financial education policies for additional details. --- Parenting Tip of the Week According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from a coronary event. It’s up to the family to help children overcome hurdles to good health. The American Heart Association recommends the following tips to help children develop healthy habits: 1. Get the whole family active. Plan times for everyone to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together. 2. Limit TV, video game and computer time. These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease. 3. Encourage physical activities that children really enjoy. Every child is unique. Let children experiment with different activities until each finds something that he or she really loves doing. They’ll stick with it longer if they love it. 4. Set specific goals and limits, such as one hour of physical activity a day or two desserts per week other than fruit. When goals are too abstract or limits too restrictive, the chance for success decreases. 5. Don’t reward children with food. Candy and snacks as a reward encourage bad habits. Find other ways to celebrate good behavior. February is American Heart Month. For more information about American Heart Month, including nutrition tips and facts about heart disease, please visit the Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov/features/heartmonth/ --- Financial Tip of the Week First-Time Homebuyer Credit: Members of the Military and Certain Other Federal Employees.
  5. 5. The Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, which was signed into law on November 6, 2009, extends and expands the first- time homebuyer credit allowed by previous Acts. The new law: • Extends deadlines for purchasing and closing on a home. • Authorizes the credit for long-time homeowners buying a replacement principal residence. • Raises the income limitations for homeowners claiming the credit. Under the new law, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2010 and close on the home by June 30, 2010. For qualifying purchases in 2010, taxpayers have the option of claiming the credit on either their 2009 or 2010 return. For the first time, long-time homeowners who buy a replacement principal residence may also claim a homebuyer credit of up to $6,500 (up to $3,250 for a married individual filing separately). They must have lived in the same principal residence for any five-consecutive year period during the eight-year period that ended on the date the replacement home is purchased. People with higher incomes can now qualify for the credit. The new law raises the income limits for homes purchased after November 6, 2009. The credit phases out for individual taxpayers with modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) between $125,000 and $145,000 or between $225,000 and $245,000 for joint filers. The existing MAGI phase-outs of $75,000 to $95,000 or $150,000 to $170,000 for joint filers still apply to purchases on or before November 6, 2009. Several new restrictions apply to homes purchased after November 6, 2009. • Purchasers must attach a properly executed settlement statement to their return. • No credit is available if the purchase price of the home exceeds $800,000. • The purchaser must be at least 18 years old on the date of purchase. For a married couple, only one spouse must meet this age requirement. • A dependent is not eligible for the credit. • The new law gives the IRS broader authority to deny first-time homebuyer credit claims, without having to first audit a taxpayer’s return. Known as math error authority, this authority applies, retroactively, to credits claimed on original and amended 2008 returns, as well as to claims yet to be filed. Additionally, there are new benefits for members of the military and certain other federal employees: • Members of the military and certain other federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and qualify for the credit. Thus, an eligible taxpayer must buy, or enter into a binding contract to buy, a principal residence on or before April 30, 2011. If a binding contract is entered into by that date, the taxpayer has until June 30, 2011, to close on the purchase. Members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community are eligible for this special rule. It applies to any individual (and, if married, the individual’s spouse) who serves on qualified official extended duty service outside of the United States for at least 90 days
  6. 6. during the period beginning after December 31, 2008, and ending before May 1, 2010. • In many cases, the credit repayment (recapture) requirement is waived for members of the uniformed services, members of the Foreign Service and employees of the intelligence community. This relief applies where a home is sold or stops being the taxpayer’s principal residence after December 31, 2008, in connection with government orders received by the individual (or the individual’s spouse) for qualified official extended duty service. The credit is still allowable even if this happens during the year of purchase. Qualified official extended duty is any period of extended duty while serving at a place of duty at least 50 miles away from the taxpayer’s principal residence (whether inside or outside the U.S.) or while residing under government orders in government quarters. Extended duty is defined as any period of duty pursuant to a call or order to such duty for a period in excess of 90 days or for an indefinite period. Question and Answer Q. Are both spouses required to be overseas for the requisite time period in order to qualify for the 2011 extension to claim the credit? A. Only one spouse must be overseas on official extended duty for the requisite amount of time for either spouse to be eligible for the 2011 extension of time to purchase a principal residence and claim the credit. --- Getting support: . Commanders can request support and resources from the Joint Family Support Assistance Program by calling the Joint Family Resource Center at 1-888-256-9920. . Military OneSource: This free 24-hour service, provided by the Department of Defense, is available to all active duty, Guard, and Reserve members and their families. Consultants provide information and make referrals on a wide range of issues, including financial issues. You can reach the program by telephone at 1-800-342-9647 or through the Web site at www.militaryonesource.com . We are pleased to announce Military OneSource (MOS) is providing free tax filing services and free tax consultations to military service members and their families during the tax season. Visit the website or call the phone number above for more information. --- Have a great week. Your MC&FP Team!

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