by Melanie Lavelle
Hello beautiful NYC Veterans community. First, thank you for your service. Second, we know how hard you have had to fight even here at home for the benefits you’ve already earned. So pat yourselves on the back for all the hard work.
We are in full-on tax season right now, and we at Benefit Kitchen wanted you to know that you can get your taxes done for FREE here in NYC if you meet certain criteria. General eligibility for most free tax-preparation sites is that you must have earned $54,000 or less in 2016, or you need help because you’re disabled or 60 years or older.
Why is it important to use these free services? In America, two of the biggest tax preparers get 17 cents to the federal dollar we spend on the earned income tax credit. Big fees and sometimes questionable expedited cash practices eat into the tax credits you have earned. Please do yourself a favor and go find a site where kind volunteers trained by the IRS will do them for you--for free.
by Kristen L. Rouse
On January 12, 2017, Kristen Rouse, Founding Director of the NYC Veterans Alliance, was invited to give keynote remarks at a business breakfast hosted by Community Training & Employment Resources (CTER) and NYC-Society for Human Resources Management (NYC-SHRM) at the TD Bank at 2 Wall Street in Manhattan. Below is a written adaptation of Kristen's spoken remarks.
I joined the Army Reserve back in 1994, as a 21-year old who wanted to serve my country, make a better life for myself, and have an experience—wherever that might take me—that I could be truly proud of. I feel very fortunate to be able to report that these almost 23 years later, this has definitely come true. My military service has become an important part of who I am, as well as providing me with essential leadership, team-building skills, and job training that have served me well in my civilian career path.
But I am here to also tell you that it hasn’t always been easy. I’ve faced some truly difficult challenges during the course of my military service, but some of my hardest times over the years haven’t come directly from my military experience—some of my toughest challenges have been as a citizen-soldier trying to navigate civilian housing and employment when they seemed at odds with my service as a military reservist.Read more
by Molly Pearl
Last summer I finally came up for air. Almost two years after my husband’s cancer diagnosis, and a year after his bone marrow transplant, I waded out of the most intensive and challenging period of caregiving I ever experienced. I began to focus my care inward. I went to the doctor and actually talked about my own health. I went to the dentist. I got a massage. I slowly willed myself to stop anticipating an emergency every time my phone rang with an unfamiliar number. I began thinking about what it meant to move forward into a less intensive, yet longer-term caregiving role. “Cancer-free” does not equal a clean bill of health, and all the veteran caregivers out there will nod in understanding when I lament that a decline in physical health often exacerbates underlying depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health challenges. Many veteran caregivers finally get their heads above water only to see that dry land is farther off yet.Read more
In April 2016, the NYC Veterans Alliance partnered with WLIW21 on their Veterans Coming Home series. Many of our veteran and civilian members are featured in frank discussions of the divide that exists between those who have served in the military since 2001, and those who haven't--and what we can do better to bridge that divide. WLIW21 has now released the finished videos. Take a look:Read more
The NYC Veterans Alliance, in partnership with Pathfinder, is pleased to release an important set of surveys that will help to assess the needs of the NYC veterans community. If you’re a veteran or military member, student veteran, or spouse or domestic partner of a veteran or military member in NYC or the NY Metro area, we hope you'll provide critical input on specific issue areas.Read more
In December 2015, we asked the NYC veterans community to take our 2016 Policy Agenda Survey to help us assess the priorities we should focus on as we develop our 2016 Policy Agenda. The topics listed were based on the issues raised during our First Policy Agenda Meeting in September. The survey had 82 respondents, and they identified as follows:Read more
John Oliver speaks about his experience as the husband of an Army veteran who served in Iraq at the Forum on NYC Veterans Policy at the New York Public Library. It's too easy, he says, to just say "thank you" to veterans without making the changes needed to the infrastructure that should be taking care of them.
Forum on NYC Veterans Policy
Presented by the NYC Veterans Alliance
July 28, 2015 at the New York Public Library
Veteran Service and Discharge Status. Of the veterans and currently-serving members of the military who responded, 97.96% indicated they received an honorable discharge for their service or are currently serving. A smaller number of veterans were discharged under conditions that were not characterized as honorable.Read more