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Federal Employees News Digest : Sep 9, 2013
ees-health-benefit-program-questions- answers.pdf. FEEA halts furlough- related loans The Federal Employee Education and Assistance Fund last week said it would suspend new furlough-related emergen- cy loans to civilian federal employees. FEEA said that since the beginning of its fiscal year on May 1, emergency loan volume nearly doubled each month, and reached a record high of more than $235,000 lent just in August. Typically, the average loan volume for the organi- zation is less than $50,000 per month. The group said that total emergency loans in the first four months of the fis- cal year topped $500,000, or nearly 90 percent of annual loan volume for the past several years. "This unprecedented need has cre- ated cash flow problems for the orga- nization, which now must dramatically cut back new loans in order to remain solvent," FEEA said. A week earlier, FEEA had warned of the impending crunch and noted that it had helped 550 employees from 41 states who were furloughed from the Internal Revenue Service, Environmental Protection Agency, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Labor Department, as well as the Defense Department, and the Departments of Army, Navy and Air Force. The group said it would notify employees who recently submitted applications for furlough loans, and will keep their applications on file so they can be reevaluated if FEEA's financial situation improves. Independent of the furlough-related loans, FEEA said it will continue to provide no-interest emergency loans to feds who meet FEEA's general guide- lines for financial need---those who are having trouble paying for basic needs like rent, mortgage or utilities due to emergency circumstances beyond their control. FEEA said furloughed employ- ees may still apply for those loans if they "have other life circumstances beyond furloughs that have created the financial hardship." FEEA is soliciting donations on its website at: www.feea.org/programs/ emergency-assistance/furlough-aid- information. ••• In Brief VA bolsters on-campus vocational counseling The Department of Veterans Affairs said it will add 62 additional colleges and universities across the country to its on-campus VA vocational rehabilitation counseling program. The move will bring to 94 the num- ber of schools where VA offers coun- seling services through the depart- ment's VetSuccess on Campus initiative. Through the program, on-campus VA counselors are available to refer vets for counseling or medical services, as well as help them enroll in and apply for VA educational, medical and other benefits. Educational institutions that partner in the effort schools provide office space on campus for the VA counselors. "VetSuccess on Campus is an innova- tive approach to help veterans in the often difficult transition from military service to academic life," said Allison A. Hickey, VA undersecretary for benefits. "Placing experienced VA counselors directly on college campuses strength- ens VA's partnership with institutions of higher learning and creates myriad opportunities to help veterans succeed." VA said that since implementation of the Post-9/11 GI Bill four years ago, the department has issued about $30 billion in payments to help about 1 million ser- vice members, vets and family members pursue education. To see more, go to: www.va.gov/opa/ pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=2474. DOD expands job help for military spouses The Defense Department last month said a new arm of its Spouse Education and Career Opportunities program will provide additional help to military spouses seeking employment. Meg O'Grady, the program manager of the new Spouse Ambassador Network, said the new "network of networks" is a collaboration of SECO's Military Spouse Employment Partnership and various military support organizations, according to the American Forces Press Service. The partnership includes 200 busi- nesses that pledged to hire military spouses, O'Grady said. Other participat- ing organizations include the Military Officers Association of America, National Military Family Association, Blue Star Families and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, all of which have chap- ters and members in the communities where military spouses live, according to O'Grady. The effort had its roots in a series of working groups where military spouses themselves developed a mission state- ment and cultivated a group of orga- nizations that work to provide career resources and tools for military spouses in their communities. "The organizations that are part of September 9, 2013 Vol. 63, No. 8 4 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com continued from page 3 continued on page 5
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