Wednesday, October 14, 2015
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Troops, retirees and their families living outside Europe no longer can directly book stays at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort in Garmisch, Germany, following a recent review of the eligibility regulations.
Under the rule change, the only way for individuals living outside Europe to stay at the Armed Forces Recreation Center resort is as a guest of an eligible person, or if they have been living in Europe — on temporary duty, for example — for at least 30 days.
During an internal review, officials determined that rules related to the Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Germany were not being followed, said Bill Bradner, spokesman for the Army Installation Management Command, which operates the AFRC facilities that are open to members of all services.
“It is an unfortunate development, and we’re so sorry this may limit lodging options for service members and retirees visiting Europe, but we must comply with the SOFA agreement,” Clesson Allman, general manager of the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort, said in a statement.
Those who made reservations before June 10 may still stay at the resort, one of four AFRC facilities worldwide but the only one in Europe.
For active-duty members stationed in Europe, there aren't any new restrictions or requirements for reserving rooms.
According to the regulation that defines eligibility for the Edelweiss, military retirees living in Germany are authorized to use the resort once they have the proper tax authorizations from the German government.
Active-duty members and retirees who don’t live in Europe must spend at least 30 days in Europe and have verification of eligibility from German customs officials before they can make reservations.
Active-duty and retired troops also can stay at the Edelweiss as guests of someone who has lived in Europe for at least 30 days. In that scenario, eligible patrons of the resort are allowed to sponsor up to three rooms, and must be present during their guests’ stay.
Posted by Steven Masone at 2:01 PM
Thursday, October 1, 2015
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) apologized on Wednesday for temporarily implementing what it called an “ill-advised” policy at some medical centers that banned veterans from bringing cellphones to appointments, according to a statement provided by the VA to the Washington Free Beacon.
Photographs emerged earlier this week showing official signs at VA medical facilities stating that a veteran would have his or her appointment cancelled if they bring with them a cellphone.
The photos, first published on the blog Disabled Veterans, depict of a list of “prohibited items.” Included within that list, along with guns, knives, and backpacks, is a photo of an iPhone.
“If brought to your appointment [these items] will result in the cancelation of your exam(s),” reads the flyer, which bears the VA’s official logo and slogan, “Defining Excellence in the 21st Century.”
These flyers were included in appointment packages to veterans, according to a VA official who spoke to the Free Beacon and disclosed that the flyers would be “immediately discontinued.”
“The flyer included in Veterans’ Compensation and Pension (C&P) appointment letters at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System’s (ECHCS) Golden community based outpatient clinic were ill-advised,” The VA official said in a statement.
Exams will not be cancelled if a phone is brought to a C&P appointment, the official made clear.
“All C&P program managers across the system have been informed that the distribution of these, or similar, flyers should be immediately discontinued,” the official said. “The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) goal is to provide veterans with the care and the opportunities for health that they have earned through their service and sacrifices.”
The flyers had originally caught some vets off guard and prompted Disabled Veterans’ Benjamin Krause to criticize the VA.
“The decision is a violation of due process and numerous laws protecting the rights of disabled Americans,” Krause wrote.
“The key here seems to be that VA forgets that veterans are also Americans who are protected by the Constitution and who also possess unalienable rights,” he adds. “Did we sign our rights away forever by fighting our country’s battles?”
Moreover, Krause wrote, “the leaflet does not explain what to do if the veteran is prescribed use of an iPhone or backpack as an accommodative device that helps the disabled veteran with a disability.”
Posted by Steven Masone at 9:23 AM