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Veterans Benefits Information

Over Veterans’ Protests, Trump Vetoes Measure to Block Student Loan Rules

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President Trump sided with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over veterans groups, vetoing a measure that would have blocked new regulations that tighten access to student loan forgiveness.

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American Legion implores White House to protect vets ‘borrower defense’

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American Legion National Commander James “Bill” Oxford is imploring President Trump to sign legislation which would relieve students from repaying loans that were issued because they were defrauded by disreputable schools.

“Veterans have been aggressively targeted due to their service to our country,” American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford said. “Student veterans are a tempting target for certain online and for-profit schools to mislead with deceptive promises, while offering degrees and certificates of little-to-no value. We urge President Trump to sign House Joint Resolution 76, which allows for a ‘borrower defense’ to be used by students to obtain discharges to loans that were issued because of these false promises. This is the type of legislation that our delegates called for when they unanimously passed Resolution No. 82 at our 2017 national convention.”

Oxford added that Trump stood with veterans in 2019 when he exercised his executive authority to order the Department of Education to forgive hundreds of millions of student loan debt for veterans with severe disabilities. “We are hoping that President Trump will once again come to the aid of student veterans,” Oxford said. “Under current conditions, it is nearly impossible for veterans to successfully use a ‘borrower defense.’ The American Legion believes this needs to be fixed. We hope that he will sign this needed legislation.”


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The American Legion welcomes Trump tweet on National Guard extension

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The head of the nation’s largest veterans organization praised a tweet by President Trump today indicating that federal orders for members of the National Guard would be extended through the middle of August.

The tweet comes just eight days after The American Legion called for an extension, which would entitle certain National Guard members to additional home loan, education and retirement benefits since their federal orders would now exceed 90 days.

“We know that the coronavirus emergency will not suddenly end at 89 days,” American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford said. “Yet thousands of outstanding men and women of the National Guard left their homes and risked their lives in response to this emergency. From cleaning nursing homes to delivering supplies, the National Guard has been a national treasure. The American Legion welcomes the president’s tweet indicating his plans to extend the Title 32 orders, which would enable these heroes to accumulate benefits that they have certainly earned.”

The president’s tweet stated, “The men and women of the National Guard have been doing a great job fighting the Coronavirus. This week, I will extend their Title 32 orders through mid-August, so they can continue to help States succeed in their response and recovery efforts.”


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The future depends on renewals and new memberships

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In recent months, The American Legion has generated substantial public awareness from coast to coast. Isolated, disabled veterans have been helped through American Legion Buddy Checks, which continue. Dozens of local posts have conducted emergency blood drives to fill critical needs at hospitals. Legionnaires have made protective masks, distributed supplies, fed families and inspired the nation.

“This does not happen without an incredible membership of dedicated military veterans and their families who know what it takes to succeed in a life-and-death mission,” American Legion National Commander James W. “Bill” Oxford says. “New members help us expand our outreach and allow us to serve more people who need our help. Renewals give us the privilege of keeping up our services functioning, no matter how circumstances change.”

Oxford is urging members to renew in The American Legion today, asking former members to rejoin and inviting all honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces to become Legionnaires now when communities need the unique skills, compassion and mission readiness of those who have served in uniform.

Secure, convenient online membership renewal can be completed online at www.legion.org/renew. All honorably discharged veterans who have served since Dec. 7, 1941, are now eligible to join The American Legion and can do so safely and easily at www.legion.org/join.


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Job searching in the era of COVID-19

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Job hunting is daunting in the best of times, and as many companies move to remote work and many workers are being furloughed and laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it may seem nearly impossible. For veterans and those who are coming off active duty during the pandemic, it can be an especially daunting task.

The American Legion spoke with Brian Parker, assistant vice president of Corporate Communications, and Joel Kohn, vice president of Sales and Marketing at Fidelis Sustainability Distribution, LLC, to get their input on current trends and tips searching for jobs during a pandemic.

“There’s a lot of hope out there and companies are hiring,” said Parker, noting it does depend on the industry. “Look for jobs in the supply chain, logistics and for essential-worker types of positions. These are industries that are continuing to boom during the pandemic and will continue to boom after. If there’s a second wave, these are going to be the more secure jobs.”

For veterans who are looking for their first post-military job, these positions can be ideal. And while they may not be the perfect position long-term, they offer real-world experience in the workforce.

LinkedIn and other social media platforms are excellent resources when on the job hunt and these sites are seeing increased activity during an era of social distancing. Parker said one of the most important things you can do regarding your social media accounts is simply to keep them up to date.

“(LinkedIn) is often one of the first places a hiring manager is going to go to make sure your resume is matching your LinkedIn profile,” he said. “I would also add anything to your LinkedIn that you can’t fit on your resume. Hiring managers want to see results, demonstration you know the job, and demonstration of qualities you learned in the military. Look at LinkedIn as an open canvas.”

“I think anyone who has served (in the military) has inherently marketable skills,” Kohn said. “I look at it similarly to college grads joining the workforce where there’s almost a catch-22 where folks don’t want to hire you because you lack specific experience. Well how do you get that experience if no one will hire you?

“Ultimately, it comes down to someone willing to take a chance on you and that’s all on you. You have to be able to use creative intellect to translate how you as an individual can be a benefit to any organization. Know enough about the position you’re trying to fill and leverage your specific experience.”

When it comes to reopening, Parker believes businesses will be initially very cautious and very bottom-line focused.

“They want employees that will produce and eventually gain additional business for them because we’re in an environment where even after we get out of this pandemic, we could fall back into this environment at any point. You want to be sure you’re positioning yourself in an organization that’s going to make you extremely valuable.”

Kohn encourages job applicants to remain optimistic and adaptable.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty right now,” he said. “Never give up, because you never really know when that opportunity is going to pop up. Maintain contact with prospective employers and your veteran network.

“Don’t sell yourself short. Have an understanding of whatever job you’re looking for and have the creative intellect to seamlessly translate what you did in the military to make that hiring manager comfortable in taking a chance on you.”

To learn more about these companies and to view open positions, visit NavyFederal.org and FidelisSD.com.


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Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at www.archives.gov