Military Minute

Nolan County Veterans Service Office 235.2214
Veterans Administration 1.800.827.1000
Big Spring/Abilene VA 1.800.472.1365
President Obama has announced a 1.3 percent pay raise for military members next year, a level that's less than what's specified under the law. The presidential order is consistent with the Pentagon's proposed budget for fiscal 2016, which begins Oct. 1. The 1.3 percent figure is slightly higher than the 1 percent pay increase that service members have received the past two years. While Senators on a key defense panel agreed with the administration's military pay proposal, Republicans on the counterpart panel in the House of Representatives supported a higher cost of living adjustment for military members. However, they didn't specify a figure in their draft version of the legislation and effectively left the decision up to Obama. Troop advocates have criticized military pay raises that are not consistent with the law. The spending plan calls for a raise of 1.3 percent in fiscal 2016 and 2017, 1.5 percent in fiscal 2018 and 2019, and 1.8 percent in 2020.

If you have some free time on your hands and would like to give back helping others, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a network of volunteers to help with day-to-day VA related activities. The volunteer pool for the Big Country and Permian Basin areas is handled through the Big Spring location. Here, you can apply to volunteer at VA locations in Abilene, Big Spring, San Angelo and Odessa. The process includes some paperwork and includes fingerprinting for security reasons. For example, a lot of volunteers are drivers that deliver Veterans to their appointments. But, of course, there are many other areas where your skills could be helpful. Being a Veteran yourself can be a big plus. Currently, there are a combined total of 66 volunteers for these locations. If you would like to find out more about becoming a VA volunteer, talk to Volunteer Services in Big Spring. That toll-free number is 1.800.472.1365. As soon as the recording starts, press “0” for the operator.