Podcasts offers original podcasts for the military community. Whether you’re on active duty, a veteran, a spouse or family member, or just someone who’s interested in the military, you’ll find a podcast here that’s a “must listen.” Listen now, download for later, or subscribe via iTunes.

The Military Benefits Podcast: VA Healthcare Crisis Update



In this week's Military Benefits Podcast, we talk to benefits expert Terry Howell, who provides an update on the ongoing VA healthcare "wait list" crisis, and offers his predictions and what changes veterans will (and might) see with their healthcare moving forward.


Podcast Highlights:

- A follow-in audit by VA has found that delays in healthcare have occurred at VA facilities other than the Phoenix VA, with 100,000 on "wait lists." Full details have yet to be released.

-  The Senate has passed a reform bill this week that includes reforming the VA healthcare system. It is expected that the bill will change by the time it is signed into law (if it makes it that far). 

- The current crisis has come about due to the increased numbers of veterans needing healthcare, and "incentivization" within VA for creating wait lists. This is a phenomenon that occurs in healthcare systems other than VA, but it is clear that VA will be given a mandate to clean up its process.

- Another obstacle to VA reform is federal employment laws, which make it difficult to fire an employee for subpar performance.

-  The solution for this issue needs to be multi-pronged: a commitment to change, transparency, and honesty (i.e., pointing at funding or bureaucratic process as the major problem), 

- In the near term, expect to see more outreach to veterans from the wait list, and more healthcare options outside VA being offered to veterans, including care from private vendors, but keep in mind that moving care to an outside vendor will bring its own potential problems (i.e., transmitting health records back and forth, potential billing issues).

Related Links:

Military Advantage Blog
Military Benefits News and Resources

The Military Benefits Podcast: The American Legion on VA Healthcare Crisis


In this week's Military Benefits Podcast, we talk to Roscoe Butler, the America Legion's Deputy Director of Health, about the ongoing VA "wait list" controversy, what VA can do to remedy the situation, and the crisis center that the American Legion is setting up to help veterans with their health care claims.


Podcast Highlights:

- The American Legion's involvement with the VA crisis came about after the CNN report about 40 patients at the Phoenix VA dying due to delay in receiving care. After a site visit to the Phoenix VA and town hall meeting, the Legion's National Commander issued a release calling for the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel, and Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey (the first two persons mentioned have officially resigned since the release). 

-  A Legion team will be in Phoenix for one week (beginning June 9) to assist veterans with healthcare applications and provide support and feedback opportunities for veterans in the area. There will also be a town hall meeting to address veteran concerns. For more information, see this article.

- The Legion supports Senator Jeff Miller's bill, which gives the VA secretary authority to immediately fire VA senior executives based on performance. The Legion does not support a voucher system but supports (on an interim basis) veterans coordinating healthcare outside the VA system.

- The VA will be releasing a list of VA facilities across the country that are experiencing long wait times the week of June 9, and the American Legion plans to set up crisis centers similar to the one in Phoenix to help assist veterans.

Related Links:
Military Advantage Blog
The American Legion Website


The Military Benefits Podcast: The Veteran Resume



In this week's Military Benefits Podcast,'s Terry Howell returns to talk about the jump from military service to a civilian career, and how to construct a resume that best fits the companies and industries you're interested in.


Podcast Highlights:

- The age of the "one size fits all" resume is over; you need to create a resume that specifically targets the company or industry you want to pursue a civilian career in.

-  Use military-to-veteran skills translators online to get better keywords and job descriptions for your resume.

- Use the Department of Labor's Occupational Handbook to research hot and important jobs for the next few years, and find the best jobs that fit your skills.

- Research companies you are interested in, and be prepared to talk confidently about what you can bring to the company.

- During a job interview, having a clear, targeted resume and good knowledge about the company you're applying to will be key to success.

- Be prepared for culture shock when you transition to a civilian environment.

Related Links: Veteran Job Postings, Job Fair Listings and Tips Skills Translator
Department of Labor Occupational Handbook
National Veterans Employment Summit


The Military Benefits Podcast: Military Transition Tips



In this week's Military Benefits Podcast, we chat with Lida Citroën, who has made a career of helping people and companies create new or enhanced identities. She is donating her time, expertise and effort to help returning war veterans learn how to compete in a civilian career. She is also the writer of Your Next Mission: A personal branding guide for military-to-civilian transition. Listen to the podcast for tips on how to "brand" yourself for life outside the military, along with other job hunting tips.


Podcast Highlights:


Related Links: Veteran Job Postings, Job Fair Listings and Tips Transition Center
Lida Citroën
"Your Next Mission": Book Information (including donation options)

The Military Benefits Podcast: Tax Season Tips



As April 15 nears, we invite Navy veteran and financial advisor Cmdr. Todd Severance from the Echelon Group to join us, and offer his tax tips for servicemembers, military families and veterans.  Have feedback or comments? Sound off in the comments field below. For free tax preparation services and discounts for military families and veterans, see this article.



Related Links: Tax Articles and Guides
Todd Severance: Tax Tips on
The Echelon Group

The Military Benefits Podcast: Retiree Benefit Updates



What retiree benefits will change or might change in the DoD's proposed budget for 2015? In the latest edition of the Benefits Podcast, we sit down with benefits expert Terry Howell to get the latest word on COLA, possible changes to TRICARE, retirement compensation, and other benefits that may affect retirees. 

Have feedback or comments? Sound off in the comments field below. If you want to get in touch with your local Congressmen about these issues, visit the Legislative Center


Highlights from the Podcast:

- COLA rates will remain the same for all retirees who joined the military prior to 2014.

- Servicemembers who enter service in 2014 and beyond will be subject to a COLA rate that will be 1% lower than the current cost-of-living inflation rate, until they hit age 65 (no longer "working age"), where they will receive a COLA rate that matches the current inflation rate.

- In the proposed 2015 budget, TRICARE Prime, Extra and Standard would be consolidated in one TRICARE system, which includes the ability to go outside primary care physicians (as in Prime), but unlike Standard, there will be a "participation fee" which is essentially an annual fee.

- The TRICARE for Life system for retirees would include increased fees, capping out at $818 for flag officer retirees.

- Will these proposed TRICARE changes go through? We'll likely see some changes after both houses of Congress finish their review of the budget.

- The Military Compensation Retirement Modernization Commission has asked the Rand Corporation to examine different options for a new retiree pay and compensation system, including a "401(k)-like" program and lump sum retirement packages.

- Commissaries are eyeing a decrease in savings for all users (including retirees) from 20 percent to 10 percent.

- If you want to contact your local Congressman about these proposed changes, visit the Legislative Center.

Related Links:
DoD Proposes TRICARE Overhaul
TRICARE Benefits Overview
Commissary Budget Slashed
Military Retired Pay Overview


The Military Benefits Podcast: Proposed TRICARE Changes



In our inaugural Military Benefits podcast, benefits expert Terry Howell takes a look at the proposed TRICARE changes in the 2015 defense budget, and how it will affect military families moving forward. Have feedback or comments? Sound off in the comments field below.


Highlights from the Podcast:

- The proposed changes include elimination of TRICARE Prime and Extra, and the establishment of a single system with a premium similar to the current Standard program.

- The catastrophic cap would be increased to $5000 per military family. 

- The new system would change cost shares for active duty families, depending on whether the military family uses an on-base Military Treatment Facility or an off-base doctor. For example, if you are a retiree living far away from a base, this will probably result in increased cost shares for you.

- New annual premium for TRICARE for Life, based on a percentage of an individual's retirement pay (existing TFL beneficiaries are grandfathered in). TFL fees will increase each year up to 2019, capping out at $818 for flag officer retirees.

- Working-age retirees (38-65 years old) could be seen as being "in the crosshairs" if this legislation goes through, if they depend on TRICARE for their health care.

- Our "crystal ball" prediction: Even if TRICARE Prime and Extra are maintained, there will be a push to have a new premium for TRICARE for Life and TRICARE Standard.

- If you want to contact your local Congressman about these proposed changes, visit the Legislative Center.

Related Links:
DoD Proposes TRICARE Overhaul
TRICARE Benefits Overview



Senator Kay Hagan on Defense Budget, Benefits, and Pay


Senator Kay Hagan, D-NC, stops by the Editor’s Desk to talk about the latest around the defense budget, veteran employment, military benefits, and pay. Is the burden of sequestration here to stay? Hear Sen. Hagan's forecast.


Kelly McGillis Looks Back on 'Top Gun'


Kelly McGillis
Legendary actress Kelly McGillis stops by The Editor's Desk to talk about her role in the movie "Top Gun". What was it like working with Tom Cruise? How does she feel about the movie today? And what is her favorite line from the movie?


Military Benefits and the Fiscal Cliff


Philpott-150x266Benefits expert Tom Philpott stops by the Editor’s Desk to chat about what’s at risk as Congress edges the nation closer to the "fiscal cliff." What services might be lost? What payrolls could get trimmed? Who might be forced to make the transition to civilian life before he or she is ready?


< Previous podcasts


What is a Podcast? And other important questions

What is a podcast?

A podcast is like a radio show, each show includes a series of episodes. The episodes come in the form of an audio file (usually an MP3) that you can download to your computer and listen to whenever you want.

Are podcasts free?

Yes, absolutely.

How do I listen to a podcast?

Click play on the audio player. The file will immediately play on your computer and there’s nothing to download. This will not save the file to your computer.

What if I want to download one particular episode?
Right-click on the “Download” button for the show you want and select “Save Target As” to save the file to your computer.
How do I subscribe to a podcast?

To subscribe to our feeds click on one of the “Subscribe” buttons above for the show you’re interested in. You must have iTunes software in order to subscribe. You can download iTunes for free at