Welcome to October!
Here is our belated update for August, September, and Mid-October.
- First some Org Updates -
We are delighted to welcome 3 new volunteers to the team!
James - SEO Lead
Amberlyn & Steven - Grant Solicitation Leads
We recently validated our Veteran Owned status with the Rosie Network!
We published our third BLUF Military Benefits video breaking down the Career Intermission Program (CIP). CIP is a talent retention tool offered by all services to give military members a sabbatical from active service from 1-3 years to pursue a personal, family, or professional goal.
We created an Infographics page to consolidate our best to the point content.
Below is our popular Military Career Benefits Timeline
Finally, this is a reminder that our Donation Fund Application page is live.
50% of all donations go directly to the fund.
Our overall donation goal is $2K = $1K for the donation fund
If you are a military family in financial need, or know of one, please apply.
Application closes late November
- Here's a recap of the most popular recent benefit updates -
Extension of GI Bill Flexible Housing Flexibility
Microsoft Discount on 365 Family
VA Telehealth Expansion
2020 Payroll Tax Deferral
Offsetting Virtual Homeschooling Expenses
1. Extension of GI Bill Flexible Housing Flexibility
The recently passed Continuing Resolution to keep the government running in the new fiscal year also extended housing flexibility benefits to veterans using their GI Bill through December 2021.
This means veteran students can continue to receive full housing stipends if their traditionally in person classes moved online.
2. Microsoft Discount on 365 Family Reminder that Microsoft offers 30% off their 1-Year Subscription of Microsoft 365 Family Edition for military members ($69.99/yr vs full $99.99/yr)
Access for up to 6 people
Includes most popular Office Products
1 TB of online storage
Ongoing updates and security patches
**This is the new Home Use Program Offer**
To request the software with your military email go here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/home-use-program
Learn more here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/military
3. VA Telehealth Expansion
In September, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a new collaboration with Apple to increase Veterans’ access to virtual care benefits such as free iPads with cellular connectivity to eligible veterans
Learn more here: https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5521
4. 2020 Payroll Tax Deferral
2020 Tax Deferral - Military Must Know
From POTUS Aug 8th Executive Order
Defers Federal Social Security Taxes incurred Sep 01-Dec 31 2020 to be repaid Jan-April 2021 (On top of standard taxes)
According to Coast Guard memo - 6.2% tax on Basic Pay only applicable to all military making $8,666 basic pay or less per month (E1 to early O-5)
DFAS is not providing an Opt-Out Option
If you separate in 2021 but prior to April 2021, 2020 deferred taxes are taken out of your final pay
Recommendation: If you do not need the money to cover necessities Do NOT spend the ‘extra’ temporary cash flow UNLESS you have the additional cushion/income for 2021 to be taxed 2x
In other words - Normally the government takes some of your monthly delicious cake for social security. From Sep-Dec 2020 the government is saying ‘Hey you can keep that monthly slice we normally take’. The catch is that in Spring 2021 the government will want that 2020 slice back in addition to the 2021 monthly slice. So, if you don’t absolutely need that 2020 monthly slice, don’t eat it and put it in the freezer to give back when the government asks.
More info is expected soon, but for now we recommend:
IRS Notice 2020-65 https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-20-65.pdf
An Affected Taxpayer must withhold and pay the total Applicable Taxes that the Affected Taxpayer deferred under this notice ratably from wages and compensation paid between January 1, 2021 and April 30, 2021 or interest, penalties, and additions to tax will begin to accrue on May 1, 2021,
5. SCRA Update
For service families financially affected by stop-movement orders due to COVID-19.
In August, the Servicemember Civil Relief Act (SCRA) was updated to extend protections to service families affected by the DoD stop-movement order
Public Law No: 116-158 (08/14/2020)
Allows servicemembers to break a housing or vehicle lease without a 30 day notice due to a DoD stop-movement order
Retroactive to March 1st 2020
Families can request reimbursement for (extra) rental payments accrued during the stop-move order
Property managers can’t recoup those unpaid amounts
Servicemembers should consult their installation legal team if they feel they need help with the process
Good Army article to learn more here: https://www.army.mil/.../update_to_law_helps_soldiers...
Read the law here: https://www.congress.gov/.../publ158/PLAW-116publ158.pdf
6. Offsetting Virtual Homeschooling Expenses
Critical Benefit for All Service Families in need of extra funds to help offset virtual homeschooling expenses.
Each service Aid Society has set up grants and no interest loans specifically for at home virtual learning financial help
Note: If your service relief organization isn't nearby, one of the other service relief organizations can help process your request
Army Emergency Relief: - Homeschool & remote education for K-12 & undergrad (grant and/or loan up to $1.5K)
- Examples of supporting materials include traditional supplies such as pens and paper as well as educational technology including computers, tablets, and software.
- Retroactive to March 1, 2020, and will continue until rescinded by AER headquarters.
Air Force Aid Society: - For a limited time, they are offering a one-time $250 grant to eligible Air Force families with a financial need to help with virtual schooling costs for school supplies of their dependents in grades K through 12
- For questions, contact your local Airman & Family Readiness Center, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 703-972-2650, option #6
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society: - COVID-19 Rapid Response Loan: Eligible clients may apply for this interest-free loan of up to $1,500
Coast Guard Mutual Assistance: - $500 At home and virtual learning grant for expenses incurred 01 Aug - 01 Nov 2020. Application with receipt must be submitted by 15 January 2021
- $500 Child Care Grant
Wishing you and your family all the best as we continue to get through this pandemic!
CEO, BLUF Military Benefits