Manage Your Subscription :   Subscribe to this newsletter ·  Unsubscribe from this Newsletter                                         February 2009        

A Message from Your MFN Team

Despite being the shortest month of the year, there are a lot of events in February. The 14th, of course, is Valentine's Day. You can find out much more about how this day became a romantic holiday at this website . There, you can also watch a romantic movie, "The Kiss," produced by Thomas Edison back in 1900.

Besides Valentine's, February is African American History Month, and the recent inauguration of Barack Obama will make this Feb. 16 an extra special Presidents Day.

Lou and Megan of the Military Family Network were among the estimated 2 million people at the inauguration ceremony. We are featuring article and images from the celebration on our site.

Additionally, February includes Groundhog Day (2nd,) Mardi Gras (24th) and the celebration of the end of the Vietnam war on Feb. 3, 1973.


News You Can Use

Google NewsGet The Military Family Network News delivered right to your email with Google News Alerts: Click here to subscribe

Defense Students Invited to Work With 'Best Minds' in Science

WASHINGTON, Jan. 5, 2009 – The search is on for three Department of Defense Education Activity students to represent the department’s schools at the 2009 Research Science Institute. More here

Soldiers, civilians get pay increase in new year

Active-duty personnel will draw an across-the-board 3.9 percent pay raise beginning Jan. 1. A sergeant with five years of service, for instance, will see an increase in monthly base salary of about $88 dollars. A captain with nine years of service would see nearly $200 per month extra. Find out more...

Economic Stimulus Payment Still Available in 2009 for those Who Missed Filing Deadline

If you missed the Oct. 15 deadline for filing an income tax return for a economic stimulus payment, don't worry. You can receive a payment in 2009 by filing an income tax return when the filing season opens in January. The IRS will have more information shortly.

Also, if you filed a tax return for an economic stimulus payment in 2008 and have not yet received a payment, check out Where's My Stimulus Payment?

For more information about stimulus payments, visit the IRS at this link. This section is for military personnel who are serving in combat zones.

Forget Credit Card - Think Tax Credits!

Tax credits can help pay the cost of raising a family, going to college, saving for retirement or getting daycare for dependents. But each year, many taxpayers overlook these credits, even though they often qualify for one or more.

While tax deductions and tax credits can both save money, they are fundamentally different. A deduction lowers the income on which the tax is figured, while a credit lowers the tax itself.

The popular credits listed below can help either lower a taxpayer’s bill or increase a refund. Read More

IRS Reveals Heart before Valentine’s Day: Lends Hand to Financially Distressed Taxpayers

The Internal Revenue Service today kicked off the 2009 tax filing season by announcing a number of new steps to help financially distressed taxpayers maximize their refunds and speed payments while providing additional help to people struggling to meet their tax obligations. Read More

Tapping Your 401(k): Hardship Distributions

A 401(k) plan may allow employees to receive a hardship distribution because of an immediate and heavy financial need. Hardship distributions from a 401(k) plan are limited to the amount of the employee’s elective deferrals and generally do not include any income earned on the deferred amounts. If the plan permits, certain employer matching contributions and employer discretionary contributions may also be included in hardship distributions. Read More

Knee Deep In Debt?

Having trouble paying your bills? Getting dunning notices from creditors? Are your accounts being turned over to debt collectors? Are you worried about losing your home or your car?

You’re not alone. Many people face a financial crisis some time in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse. Read More

Foreclosure Pitfalls – Watch Out for these Scams

The possibility of losing your home to foreclosure can be terrifying. The reality that scam artists are preying on the vulnerability of desperate homeowners is equally frightening…If you think you may be facing foreclosure, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know how to recognize a foreclosure rescue scam. And even if the foreclosure process has already begun, the FTC and its law enforcement partners want you to know that legitimate options are available to help you save your home. Read More

Mortgage Payments Sending You Reeling? Here’s What to Do

The possibility of losing your home because you can’t make the mortgage payments can be terrifying. Perhaps you’re having trouble making ends meet because you or a family member lost a job, or you’re having other financial problems. Or maybe you’re one of the many consumers who took out a mortgage that had a fixed rate for the first two or three years and then had an adjustable rate – and you want to know what your payments will be and whether you’ll be able to make them. Regardless of the reason for your mortgage anxiety, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, wants you to know how to help save your home. Read More

New U.S. Capitol Visitor Center

The new U.S. Capitol Visitor Center welcomed its first public guests last month. This 580,000-square-foot facility offers new amenities and services as visitors learn about America’s legislative process and about the art and architecture of the U.S. Capitol Building. In addition to a restaurant and two gift shops, visitors can enjoy lectures, special events, and changing exhibits.

Resolution Solutions!

Need some help keeping those New Year’s Resolutions? Here’s a smattering of government resources to help you keep some of the more popular ones.

The Last Reminder. We Promise! DTV Transition Update

For the many people who are still unclear about what they need to do to prepare for the Digital TV conversion, which occurs on Feb. 17, here’s a simple explanation:

1. Do you have a digital TV?
  Yes: Do nothing. You’re all set.

No: Go to #2.
2. Do you have cable or satellite TV service?
  Yes: You most likely need to do nothing, but check with your service provider to be sure.
  No: Go to #3.
3. Do you use rabbit ears or an outside antenna for your TV reception?
  Yes: You need to get a converter box now! Boxes are available in retail stores for about $40 to $70. You can put your name on a waiting list for a converter box coupon for $40 off up to 2 converter boxes per household. However, you may not receive your coupon in time for the transition.
  No: See #1 and #2.

That’s it in a nutshell, but if you want to read more, check out these sites:

Kids’ Vaccine Schedules Updated

Association of the US Army Family Programs Newsletter Great Opportunity to Stay Abreast of News that Matters to YOU!

This newsletter is published bi-monthly by the AUSA Family Programs Directorate, Sylvia Kidd. Here’s a peak at a few of this month’s highlights:

  • TRICARE Cost Increases Proposed
  • DoL Final Rule on Training and Employment
  • Kansas Vets Hunt and Fish for Free
  • Troops in Germany Face Tougher Traffic Laws

If you would like to receive the Family Programs Update by e-mail, please send a message to and type “subscribe” in the subject line.


Business Feature

K - 12 offers leading online curriculum and programs

K-12's mission since the beginning has been to provide any child the curriculum and tools to maximize success in life, regardless of geographic, financial, or demographic circumstance.

Find out more about K-12's programs for Students, Teachers, Parents, and Administrators at their website.

K-12 is also providing expert content on the MFN website - see this article about Online Education opportunities on our Kids and Education page.

Organization in the Spotlight

A "Gift to the Troops and Families" from Candlebox

The band Candlebox has song and video titled "Miss You," which they call "a gift to the troops." It was written for the singer's father who recently passed away. He was one of the brave men who landed on D-Day and used to share these stories with his son every June 6th. The band "wants all the brave men and women serving and their families to know they
are missed." Candlebox also plans to do free shows this summer for our troops. Visit our homepage for the video and more info.


MFN Book Club

Your Military Family Network is Here! Order Your Copy Now!

The Military Family Network and Capital Books in Washington DC have published Your Military Family Network - the Nation's first military family resource guide! This 650-page book covers all major military support topics from enlistment to retirement! Learn how to create your own personal support network so you have what you need when you need it. Find chapters on money management, TRICARE, relocation, deployment, employment and education as well as military and veterans benefits, PTSD and much, much more. The book also features a compilation of state and local resources available to military families - for the first time in a comprehensive and easy format.

Retailing for $24.95, The Military Family Network is offering this valuable, must-have resource at $14.95+s/h. Buy it for yourself, your family, a friend or loved one – MFN guarantees best price on the web! To order your copy of Your Military Family Network or copies for your organization, please visit Your Military Family Network online or call 1-866-205-2850 for more information. Group discounts available – call or email for details.


This Month's Focus

National African American History Month

To commemorate and celebrate the contributions to our nation made by people of African descent, American historian Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. The first celebration occurred on Feb. 12, 1926. For many years, the second week of February was set aside for this celebration to coincide with the birthdays of abolitionist/editor Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, as part of the nation’s bicentennial, the week was expanded into Black History Month. In 2000, President Clinton proclaimed February as National African American History Month. Learn more about our nation’s African- American forbearers at this link and find additional facts and figures by visiting here.


Mission Critical Information - Money

Now, Let’s Talk about Credit Cards - Credit Card Reform on the Way!

Credit card companies face major restrictions in how they do business under regulations that go into effect July 1, 2010 . The new rules forbid them from, among other things:

  • raising interest rates on existing account balances;
  • charging late fees if the borrower has not been given a reasonable amount of time to pay;
  • applying all payments to the balances with the lowest interest rates;
  • computing interest through unfair practices such as the “two-cycle” billing method.

 You can read more about the new rules in this Federal Reserve Board press release. 

There are things you can do now to take control of your credit card accounts and credit.  Check out these tips to get the most from your credit card  and tips to improve your credit score. Find more good advice in Taking Charge of Your Credit Cards, in the booklet 51 Ways to Save Hundreds on Loans and Credit Cards.  

Free! Money Smart - A Financial Education Program

The Money Smart Computer-Based Instruction ( CBI ) is a friendly and easy to use learning tool that teaches the 10 modules of the Money Smart curriculum through a computer. The CBI can complement formal classes or enable people to study independently at their own pace.

Each module generally takes between 20-30 minutes to complete. Students receive ongoing feedback and, upon successful completion of each module, can print out a personalized certificate of completion. Learn more by visiting .

66 Ways to Save Money


MFN Military Friendly Deals

Disney Parks offers free five-day admission to military personnel in 2009

As Disney Parks ask "What Will You Celebrate?" and invite guests to turn their personal milestones into magical family vacations in 2009, America's military personnel will have one more reason to celebrate: Free multi-day admission to Disney's U.S. theme parks. More Info…

Every day is Mom's Day at your commissary!

Every day in commissaries around the world mothers are shopping for their families. They often pay attention to everyone but themselves.

The Defense Commissary Agency would like to lavish some well-deserved attention on the military mom for a change. During this promotion, commissaries stateside and overseas will roll out their "red carpets" for mothers who populate all segments of the military community. Read More...

Scholarship application deadline is Feb. 18

Applications for the Scholarships for Military Children Program must be in the store--either by hand or mail--by close of business Feb. 18. Read More to learn how to apply at this link.


Community Connections Update

Random Acts of Kindness

Random Acts of Kindness Day is February 17. The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation, which encourages kindness in your family, classroom, community or workplace, declares the entire week of February 9-15th as Random Acts of Kindness Week. Find out more about this movement at their website.


Veterans Corner

VA to Provide Payments to Eligible Surviving Spouses

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced immediate actions to quickly identify and pay surviving spouses who are eligible to receive the deceased veteran’s VA compensation or pension benefit for the month of the veteran’s death. Read More...

VA Assisting Veterans with Health Care Costs

For veterans struggling financially due to a job loss or decreased income, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers an assortment of programs that can relieve the costs of health care or provide care at no cost. More info...

Veterans History Project

Every veteran has his or her own war, and each is custodian of a unique story and memories. At the Veterans History Project, we treasure the personal narratives sent to us by veterans from all wars. Vivid as if they happened yesterday, these heartfelt accounts make us laugh, cry and remember. The stories are not a formal history of war, but a treasure trove of individual feelings and personal recollections.

As we build this unprecedented collection documenting both veterans and civilians and their EXPERIENCES of war, we will introduce new themes on the Web site. Please join our effort by sending us your own recollections and memories. Each contribution makes this project all the more priceless. Learn how you can participate in The Veterans History Project.


© 2009, The Military Family Network
The Military Family Network - P.O. Box 16366 - Pittsburgh , PA 15242
Email: - Web:
Phone: 866-205-2850 or 412-531-1970 | Fax: 866-226-2859 or 412-531-1978

We welcome and appreciate forwarding of our newsletters in their entirety or in part with proper attribution. If you are currently not subscribed to our newsletter and would like to, click here. If you are a member of the media and would like to receive timely updates from The Military Family Network or help with a current story, please send an email to Luis Trevino , Vice President of Media and Communications at