It's a new year, and with a new year come new laws and regulations. Let's take a look at which ones will affect veterans and military members across the nation, both at the federal level and state-specific.
New State Veteran Benefits in 2019
California will extend a handgun purchasing ban for those under 21 to long guns. Military members may be excluded from this ban.
Effective Jan. 1, 2019, military firefighter training will be accepted as required basic training for full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters, including airport firefighters.
Military members who become delinquent on license fees or special, occupation or sales taxes can have the 10 percent penalty waived if they were unable to pay due to military service in a combat zone. This waiver applies only to combat-zone duty, and the taxpayer must provide proof of military service and make full payment of the taxes within 60 days of their return from military service.
Veterans and active-duty military members who are believed to have physical or mental health problems may now be considered "high risk" if they go missing. This makes it easier for law enforcement to locate missing veterans and expedites the missing person report.
Health-care facilities must provide a free copy of a homeless veteran's medical records when requested by the veteran or an authorized agent for the purpose of supporting a claim for disability benefits.
National Guard members from Indiana or an adjoining state who attend an Indiana public university are entitled to a tuition refund or credit and guaranteed re-enrollment if they are called to active duty during an academic term.
Sailors from any state who serve on the new USS Indiana submarine for at least 180 days are entitled to pay in-state tuition at Indiana's public universities if they enroll within one year of receiving an honorable discharge.
Disabled military veterans who do not desire to have a disabled veteran license plate but would like to use disability parking can obtain a placard to hang from their rearview mirror.
The property tax credit for service-connected total disability will increase from $2,000 to $4,000.
Under the New York Paid Family Leave act, workers will now get 10 weeks of paid time off to bond with a newborn, adopted or fostered child; to care for family members with serious health conditions; or to address issues related to a family member's military deployment.
On Jan. 1, 2019, the Oregon Equal Pay Act became effective. It guarantees that people receive equal pay regardless of age, disability, heritage, race, color, sexual orientation and veteran or marital status.
Federal Veteran Benefit Changes for 2019
A provision of the Forever GI Bill that provides more benefits for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Programs will become effective Aug. 1, 2019.
The VA will provide up to nine additional months of Post-9/11 GI Bill coverage to certain eligible individuals who are enrolled in a STEM program and use up all their GI Bill benefits.
This applies only to veterans who already have completed at least 60 semester or 90 quarter hours and are in a STEM program that requires more than the standard 128 semester or 192 quarter hours for a degree.
The VA can pay up to nine additional months of GI Bill benefits or $30,000, whichever is less. Those using the Yellow Ribbon program and dependents using transferred benefits are not eligible.
Disabled veterans with a 100-percent disability rating are now eligible for Space-A travel.
New UCMJ Article
Article 128b will be added to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, addressing domestic violence. It includes assault, intimidation, violation of a protective order, and damaging property or injuring animals in a domestic-assault situation.
High-Deployment Allowance for Reservists
A new law adds reservists mobilized under Section 1104(b) to those eligible for the high-deployment allowance of up to $1,000 per month.
New Tricare Retiree Dental Program
The big news in Tricare coverage is the replacement of the Tricare Retiree Dental Plan (TRDP) with the FEDVIP program. Also, family members of active-duty personnel are now eligible for vision insurance through FEDVIP.
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