‘Pink Slime’ ruled out
Following news reports on ground beef additives (pink slime), the Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) heard from many patrons suggesting that such products should be banned from the commissaries. “Although the USDA continues to assure us this approved process is safe, your concerns are important to us,” a DeCA spokesman said. “We will be modifying our contracts to phase out these products and require that our ground beef suppliers only sell us products not treated with this process,” he added.
Erroneous Letter Reported
Some military retirees in Maryland report receipt of a letter alleging an improper retirement exclusion on 2008 taxes. The letter also shows a balance due, usually several thousand dollars. A state representative said some letters were sent to retirees who had, in fact, properly reported their retirement income on their 2008 Maryland Income Tax Return. If you receive such a letter, call the Comptroller of Maryland at 1 800 648-9638 to verify whether or not you improperly reported your retirement income. Do not submit payment until your case has been reviewed.
VA Backlog Attacked
Department of Veteran Affairs is on track toward meeting one of its top priorities: breaking the back of the disability claims backlog, according to Eric Shinseki, Veterans Affairs secretary. “Our intent is to have no claim over 125 days.” VA has been testing a new electronic system in Providence, R.I., and Salt Lake City. The department expects to take the system to 16 regional offices in September, with all 56 regional offices to receive it by the end of fiscal 2013. During 2009, VA produced 900,000 claims decisions, but received 1 million new claims. The next year, VA increased its claims decisions to 1 million, but received 1.2 million new claims. “Last year, we produced another 1 million claims decisions and got 1.3 million claims in,” Shinseki said. With the process now automated, VA is able to process more than 600,000 Post-9/11 GI Bill claims faster, and with fewer mistakes, the secretary said. That experience demonstrated the importance of keeping manual processing going as automation is being rolled in, then gradually moving all the processes toward automation, he added.
Keep Address Current
Since military retiree and/or annuitant pay is sent Direct Deposit, some documents never reach those who have moved and failed to notify the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS). The address on record at DFAS is the one your parent service uses to contact you. It is important to verify the correct address on file at DFAS. Take care of it now or you may be scrambling around at tax time, wondering why you never received your payroll data. Addresses can be changed on MyPay. For more information call 1 800-321-1080 or visit www.va.gov. Include your Social Security number.
The Retiree Activities Office is open from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday. Visit our office at Colorado and D Street, call us at 301-981-2726, or email us at raoandrews.af.mil. Calling the office prior to visiting is recommended to ensure someone is on duty. The RAO also has a website at www.andrews.af.mil, click on "Retirees" on the right side of the page. There you will find a wealth of information that might be of interest to you. Copies of "Retiree Activities Corner" articles are online as well. Go to the retirees webpage and find information under the heading "Newspaper Column."