Veterans Issues

Supporting Our Troops and Our Veterans

Thousands of U.S. troops have been deployed around the world in the fight against terrorism. They serve in dangerous conditions, away from the comforts of home that we often take for granted. More than 5,400 U.S. troops have been killed in action in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 53,000 have been wounded, more than half of whom are so severely injured that their lives have been changed forever. Lack of proper medical care and limited employment opportunities cause many to struggle after they are discharged. Every year more than one million veterans are homeless. We owe each of these courageous men and women a lifetime of gratitude.

Unfortunately, heightened security prevents individuals from sending letters of appreciation and care packages to “Any Service Member” on their own, and the circumstances of underserved and homeless veterans makes them difficult to reach.

APWU provides support to active members of the military, wounded troops, and veterans. In addition to participating in existing programs, we have also developed several APWU programs for members to demonstrate their gratitude. However, these APWU programs are only possible through the continuing generosity and ongoing good will of our members.

Appreciation for our nation's veterans can be expressed by participating in one of the many APWU Support Our Troops and veterans programs throughout the year. Our collective participation in these programs will serve as a reminder that the sacrifices of these brave men and women have not been forgotten.

Veterans Resources

The organizations listed below provide a wealth of resources to veterans on a variety of concerns.

The men and women of the armed forces have served each of us through military service to our country. The liberties we enjoy today have been won through their sacrifice. Many of our APWU brothers and sisters have served or are currently serving, and we have an obligation to support them. 

In an effort to provide additional assistance and to keep our members informed about issues that affect them, a Veterans, Guard and Reservist Information Specialist (VGRIS) has been tasked to assist in providing information about protections, benefits and program services, and pending changes that may affect them.  APWU local and state organizations are encouraged to create a VGRIS position to assist APWU Veterans and/or their family members on what protections, benefits and program services are available to them. Inquiries should be directed to veterans@apwu.org

 

Veterans' Preference Information

Veterans who are disabled, who served on active duty in the Armed Forces during certain specified time periods or in military campaigns are entitled to preference over others in hiring for virtually all federal government jobs. The Postal Service grants veterans' preference to eligible applicants for Postal Service employment. See Handbook EL-312, 48, Veterans' Preference, for specific procedural guidelines.

Military Leave for Federal Employees

The U.S Office of Personnel management has updated its military leave guidance for federal agencies:

Know Your Military Leave Rights Before Deployment

The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) protects service members' reemployment rights when returning from a period of service in the uniformed services, including those called up from the reserves or National Guard, and prohibits employer discrimination based on military service or obligation. The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS) administers USERRA.

    USPS ELM 517

Veterans and Agent Orange

Health Benefits and Life Insurance Coverage During Military Service

  • This USPS instruction to postal managers outlines health benefits and life insurance coverage for Postal Service employees absent on leave without pay (LWOP) to perform active duty military service.

Credit for Military Service - Buying Back Military Time

As a general rule, military service in the Armed Forces of the United States is creditable for retirement purposes if it was active service terminated under honorable conditions, and performed prior to your separation from civilian service for retirement.

Far too many postal employees who have served in the military wait until immediately before retirement to buy back their service time, without realizing how long the process can take.

Obtaining all the necessary paperwork to buy back time may take several weeks; therefore, we recommend that you begin the process as soon as possible.

Why should you consider buying back your military time? Making military service payments could increase the amount of your annuity and could add credit to your eligibility for retirement. Making these payments will guarantee that you will not suffer a future reduction of your OPM annuity if you qualified for Social Security benefits. If your active military duty ended prior to Dec. 31, 1956, and you are in the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) program, you will receive full credit without needing to make a deposit for either your retirement eligibility or annuity calculations. These rules change, however, for CSRS and FERS employees who served in the military after Jan. 1, 1957. Information for these employees can be found in Chapters 21, 22, and 23 of the CSRS and FERS Handbook for Personnel and Payroll Offices, which can be found online at www.opm.gov/retire/pubs/handbook/hod.htm.

You can begin calculating what effect buying back your military time will have on your retirement eligibility by verifying the date your military service ended. To do so, you must obtain a copy of your discharge papers (Form DD 214) by submitting a written request to:

National Personnel Records Center
Military Personnel Records
1 Archives Drive
St. Louis, MO  63138

The NPRC may also be reached at:

Telephone: 314-801-0800
Fax: 314-801-9195

Upon your submission of Form DD 214, the finance center for your particular service branch will send you your estimated military earnings computation. The USPS Human Resources Shared Services Center can then use this information to determine the amount of your deposit, if applicable. If you choose to buy back your military time, the deposit must be paid prior to the date you retire from the USPS. Don’t forget to retain your proof of payment.

Have a loved one currently serving in the military?

The APWU continuously coordinates efforts to show support for union members and their loved ones who are serving in the military. We plan to send them care packages and acknowledge their sacrifice by posting their name, address, and photo on our Web site. To do so, we need their military mailing addresses. Please provide the requested information on the attached form, and send a photo (if available) to post as well. Please print neatly, and keep us advised of any changes in address or status.

Please return the form to veterans@apwu.org

 

Links

APWU is partnering with the Veterans Administration to introduce Make the Connection, a public awareness campaign that connects veterans, their friends and family members with information, resources and solutions to issues affecting their lives. The campaign offers VA-approved treatment and resources. It also provides hundreds of video testimonials from veterans who overcame various conditions and traumas, and offers information on how to recognize symptoms and where to seek treatment.  The campaign offers VA-approved treatment and resources. It also provides hundreds of video testimonials from veterans who overcame various conditions and traumas, and offers information on how to recognize symptoms and where to seek treatment.

Make the Connection offers assistance on improving relationships with friends and loved ones, preparing for deployment and transitioning from service, and dealing with the death of family and friends. It also offers assistance with job and employment issues, financial and legal matters, homelessness, physical injuries, chronic pain, spiritual concerns, retirement and aging, substance and alcohol abuse, anxiety, depression, anger, post-traumatic stress disorder and many other mental and physical health issues that afflict veterans.

The American Legion is a patriotic, mutual-help organization that provides community service and assistance to all veterans who served at a time when our nation was at war.

Department of Veterans Affairs (known as the VA) provides information on veterans’ issues, particularly on benefits: compensation and pension, education, vocational rehabilitation, home loans, and more. The agency offers special programs for homeless, minority, and female veterans. Applications for benefits are available online.

Disabled American Veterans provides assistance to veterans who were disabled during time of war or armed conflict. DAV is dedicated to a single purpose: To build better lives for America’s disabled veterans and their families. Their Web site offers a legislative program and volunteer opportunities.

Military.com connects U.S. Service Members, military families and veterans to all the benefits of service.

The Military Order of the Purple Heart is a congressionally chartered veterans’ organization exclusively for veterans wounded in combat. It publishes “Issues Affecting Veterans Today” and offers help with VA claims and military records requests.

The National Gulf War Resource Center is an international coalition providing information, support, and referrals for people concerned with the complexities of Persian Gulf War issues, especially Gulf War illnesses and service members held prisoner or missing in action.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America is a congressionally chartered veterans’ service organization that has developed a unique expertise on a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of veterans who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction.

Sons and Daughters In Touch help locate, unite and provide support to family members of those who died or remain missing as a result of the Vietnam War, and support to those who have experienced similar loss.

The Union Veterans Council brings working-class veterans together to speak out on the issues that impact us most, especially the need for good jobs and a strong, fully funded and staffed VA.

USO’s mission (United Service Organizations) is to provide morale-boosting, welfare, and recreational services to uniformed military personnel and their families.

Veterans of Foreign Wars assist our veterans and provide community service through programs and special projects that include citizenship education, youth development, and military assistance. The VFW offers news and informational resources, and its National Legislative Service office closely monitors legislation affecting veterans.

Vietnam Veterans of America is an organization dedicated to Vietnam-era veterans and their families. VVA provides a listing of service representatives by state as well as VVA Guides, which include: Agent Orange, VA Claims and Appeals, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, and VVA’s Guide to Veterans Preference. The organization also has a Government Relations page, which includes a Legislative Action Center and a locator page designed to help veterans find fellow service members.

If you have questions regarding APWU Veterans issues, please email veterans@apwu.org