American Legion National Commander Addresses Joint Veterans Affairs Committee

American Legion National Commander Charles E. Schmidt recently testified before a joint session of the House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs committees. Schmidt said that at one point quality was the prevailing problem at the VA, not access, and that all worked together to turn VA into what is now described by patients and most experts as ‘the best care anywhere.’  An unpredicted result in many areas, however, became the long line to get appointments.  Improving access to care is now the challenge, and “there is …

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House Passes Four Bills to Help Vets With Broad Bipartisan Support

The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman released the following statement after four bills to boost veteran employment, honor our nation’s heroes and improve veterans’ experience with VA’s claims process passed the House of Representatives with broad, bipartisan support:  “The men and women who have fought for our great nation should never have to struggle to find a job or stumble through VA’s claims process. These common sense bills will help us keep the promises we’ve made to our service members.”

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2lRd12b

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Veterans Affairs Is Allowed Exemptions From Federal Hiring Freeze

House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairmen sent a joint letter to President Trump regarding the Federal hiring freeze, saying that one of our government’s highest priorities is to provide timely, high-quality care to the men and women who have bravely served our nation in uniform, and that a robust clinical workforce is vital to achieving that goal. Subsequently, the Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary announced that the VA has exemptions to the hiring freeze that enable VA to fill essential positions and ensure that veterans …

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Confirmation of VA Secretary Nominee Anticipated

Senate leaders have scheduled a confirmation hearing for VA secretary nominee David Shulkin on  February 1st, and signaled a likely easy path to approval of his nomination.  If confirmed, the 57-year-old Shulkin, who has served as VA Under Secretary for Health since June 2015, would be the first non-veteran ever to hold the post.  Many senators and veterans advocates have signaled support for him.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2k0gfyA

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VA to Provide Disability Benefits for Diseases Related to Camp Lejeune Exposures

Veterans Affairs (VA) has published regulations to establish presumptions for the service connection of eight diseases, including multiple myeloma, associated with exposure to contaminants in the water supply at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.  The presumption of service connection applies to active duty, reserve and National Guard members who served at Camp Lejeune for a minimum of 30 days (cumulative) between Aug. 1, 1953 and Dec. 31, 1987.

Read more: http://bit.ly/2iHHQVT

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Congressional Bills to Boost Veterans

Members of the 115th Congress began introducing a deluge of legislation regarding veterans, including bills aimed at extending benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans, revoking bonuses paid to VA employees, and expanding the rules of concurrent receipt of retired and VA disability pay.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2iHNd7u

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Veterans Affairs Progress Under VA Secretary Bob McDonald

This comprehensive article covers some key facts and figures on where the Veterans Affairs department stands today, based on current statistics and assessments of operations since VA Secretary Bob McDonald took office in August 2014.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/2iHy4mP

 

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Long List of Agent Orange Decisions Awaits VA in 2017

In 2017, the Department of Veterans Affairs faces an array of decisions related to the herbicide Agent Orange, which contained the toxic chemical dioxin and was used to kill vegetation during the Vietnam War.  The VA must decide whether to add new diseases to its list of conditions presumed to be linked to Agent Orange. It also faces calls to compensate naval veterans and veterans who served along the Korean demilitarized  zone .  Additionally, Congress passed a bill requiring VA to pay for analysis of …

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Nearly 100,000 Vets Enrolled in Burn Pit Registry

VA launched the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry in June 2014 to better understand the long-term health effects of exposure to burn pits and other airborne hazards during deployment. The number of new participants in this registry is climbing steadily, and will soon reach the milestone of 100,000 participants. As of December 9, 2016, the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry included 95,593 Veterans and Service members.  An estimated 3 million Veterans and Service members are eligible to join the registry.

Read more:  …

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Ways for Veterans to Appeal Their Disability Status

The Department of Defense‘s Physical Disability Board of Review (PDBR) serves as a means for veterans to appeal their cases with the possibility of modifying their assigned rating or disability retirement status.  (Read more:  http://bit.ly/2iw0SuZ) .  If vets disagree with the decision Veterans Affairs (VA) made on their disability compensation claim, the first step is to formally tell VA that they  disagree.  Vets can seek assistance from their local Veterans Service Organization (VSO), sit down with a representative at their local VA office, or call …

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