Email Alert – 21 July 2014: New VA Funding Request Mirrors Predicted Budget Shortfall

Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson requested $17.6 billion in new funding for the department at a Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing Wednesday, almost directly on par with the figures DAV and other authors of the Independent Budget (IB) have estimated as shortfalls in the VA budget.  The request breaks down to roughly $6 billion annually over the next three years.

Gibson noted the funding would be used to hire 10,000 clinical health staff and pay for medical equipment, renovate hospitals and repair clinics to expand usable …

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Email Alert – 18 July 2014: VA Rejects Link Between Gulf War Service and Some Cancers

The Department of Veterans Affairs has rejected a request from members of Congress and veterans advocates to make brain cancer, lung cancer and migraines presumptive conditions for Gulf War veterans.  Officials said they cannot prove the high rate of these illnesses among Gulf War vets are related to military service.  Although Gulf War veterans already have presumptive status for numerous other conditions, data recently released by the VA show that 80% of disability claims filed by Gulf War vets for conditions related to the war …

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Email Alert – 16 July 2014: Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans and Ship Accountability Acts

Susie Novis, President of the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), has encouraged  Congressional Representatives to support the following bills relevant to Navy and Marine Corps Vietnam veterans:  H.R. 543, the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, and H.R.1494, the Blue Water Navy Ship Accountability Act.  These important bills will ensure that sailors and marines who were exposed to Agent Orange while operating on Navy vessels in the territorial waters of Vietnam during the Vietnam War will receive healthcare coverage and compensation.  Agent Orange is a carcinogen …

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Email Alert – 14 July 2014: VA Nominee Bob McDonald Pledges More Effective Agency

In his introduction at VA headquarters, Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Bob McDonald said his priority in leading the department will be to create “a VA that is more effective, more efficient, and that truly puts our veterans first.  At the VA, the veteran is our customer, and we must all focus — all day, every day — on getting them the benefits and the care that they’ve so earned,” he told a crowd of VA employees and veterans advocates.  “That’s the only reason we’re here.” …

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Email Alert – 11 July 2014: Veterans Warned About Fraudulent Pension Scams

Veterans are being warned about fraudulent offers of help in qualifying for benefits through the Veterans Pension Program.  Examples of such scams include organizations that call veterans and offer to help with their VA pension claim for a fee, and people who charge thousands of dollars in advance to represent vets before the VA.

Read more at:  http://www.dav.org/learn-more/news/2014/pension-scams-bilk-veterans-va/

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Email Alert: 9 July 2014 – Why Veteran and Military Associations Matter

Veterans Service Organizations and other similar associations have a significant positive impact on military and veterans benefits.  An MOAA article summarizes some of the benefits won through the lobbying efforts of such organizations since 2001 and the resulting financial impacts.  As the article says, membership in such associations matters.  The membership size of the organization can affect its influence on our lawmakers.

Read more at:  http://bit.ly/1qtzYUH

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Email Alert – 7 July 2014: New VA Secretary Nominee Not a Healthcare Expert

A onetime Army Ranger and former CEO of a Fortune 500 consumer products company, Robert McDonald, may face his toughest challenge yet in fixing the huge Veterans Affairs Department. Veterans groups worry that the longtime corporate executive, nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the VA, may have trouble adjusting to a far-flung bureaucracy of more than 300,000 employees, where hundreds of hospital directors and other career executives wield great power far from the agency’s Washington headquarters.

Read more at:  http://bit.ly/1iXNuxt

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Email Alert: 4 July 2014 – No Guarantee of Quick Senate Approval of VA Secretary Pick

Debate over the White House nomination of former Procter & Gamble president and CEO Bob McDonald to head the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs is likely to take weeks.  Neither a confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs or a full chamber floor vote will happen until lawmakers return from leave after the Fourth of July weekend.  The chamber will then have four weeks  to vote on the VA secretary nomination before a month long recess in August.

Read more at:  http://1.usa.gov/TFhNNr

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Email Alert – 2 July 2014: Understanding the VA Appeals Process

Appeals of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ benefits rulings have been taking well more than a year to resolve.  There are three different types of BVA hearings you may have: a travel board hearing, a hearing in Washington D.C., or a videoconference hearing.   These hearings are conducted in very similar fashion. But electing to use a videoconference hearing is much quicker to obtain a date, and the success rate for the appellant is even slightly better.

Read more at: http://bit.ly/1z2C5S0

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Email Alert – 30 Jun 2014: Former P&G Chief to be Obama’s Nominee to Lead the VA

President Obama on Monday will nominate Bob McDonald, a West Point graduate who served as chief executive of Procter & Gamble, to take over as head of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs, according to White House officials.

Read more at: http://tinyurl.com/k5hwy43

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