• Burn Pits Accountability Act Introduced in the House of Representatives

    On May 1, 2018, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI) introduced H.R. 5671, the Burn Pits Accountability Act. Since the Persian Gulf War, a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States was the use of burn pits.  Smoke from these pits contained toxic substances that may have short- and long-term health effects, especially for those who were exposed for longer periods.  Many service members reported acute symptoms of...

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About DAV East Valley CH8

About UsWe are dedicated to a single purpose: empowering veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. We accomplish this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America\'s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life.

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Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act of 2018 Introduced in Congress

Senator Deb Fischer (NE) introduced S. 2884, the Veterans Fair Debt Notice Act of 2018.

Image result for Senator Deb Fischer (NE)

This bill would require the VA to create a debt notice letter, with the assistance of veterans service organizations, to be written in plain language, providing a clear explanation of why the debt was created and the options available to the veteran.  The VA would further be required to develop a method that allows veterans to receive the debt notice via email as well as by standard mail.

Currently, VA debt letters are not written in easy to understand language and often lack an explanation of why the debt was created.  Many veterans do not understand the reason for the debt, their options after notification, and in many instances, do not receive the notice in a timely manner.  Enactment of S. 2884 would provide veterans with a better debt explanation and allow them to receive a more expedient notice via email.

DAV applauds the efforts to simplify the debt notice process and supports this legislation. S. 2884 is aligned with the intent of DAV Resolution No. 171, which calls for an improved debt notification process.  Please use the prepared letter or draft your own to urge your Senators to support and cosponsor S. 2884.

Our successes depend on our unified voices and we thank you for adding your voice to stand up for veterans and their families.

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04 Aug, 2018  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act Introduced in Congress

Senator Tina Smith (MN), introduced S. 2821, the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act. The bill is named after the late Hawaii Congressman Mark Takai, a veteran of the U.S. Army and Hawaii Army National Guard who passed away in 2016 and was the original sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives.

Image result for Senator Tina Smith (MN)

From 1977 to 1980, the United States conducted nuclear testing on the Enewetak Atoll. More than 30 megatons of TNT nuclear testing took place and a concrete dome was built to deposit radioactive soil and debris.  However, existing statutes only recognize those veterans who participated in nuclear testing on Enewetak Atoll from 1951 to 1959.

Current statutes regarding presumptive service connection for radiation exposure defines a radiation-exposed veteran as a veteran that, while on active duty, participated in a radiation risk activity.  S. 2821 will expand recognized radiation risk activities to include the cleanup of Enewetak Atoll from January 1, 1977, to December 31, 1980.  This bill will provide presumptive exposure to thousands of veterans who participated in the testing and clean-up and who were previously excluded as radiation exposed veterans.

DAV supports this legislation as it is in concert with DAV Resolution No. 043, to recognize veterans exposed to radiation while performing clean-up duties.  Please use the prepared letter or draft your own to urge your Senators to support and cosponsor S. 2821.

Your commitment and advocacy helps make DAV a highly influential and effective organization in Washington.  Thank you for all you do for America’s veterans and their families.

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04 Aug, 2018  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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Burn Pits Accountability Act Introduced in the House of Representatives

On May 1, 2018, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI) introduced H.R. 5671, the Burn Pits Accountability Act.

Image result for Tulsi Gabbard (HI)

Since the Persian Gulf War, a common waste disposal practice at military sites outside the United States was the use of burn pits.  Smoke from these pits contained toxic substances that may have short- and long-term health effects, especially for those who were exposed for longer periods.  Many service members reported acute symptoms of respiratory or eye irritation, gastrointestinal distress, or rashes during or shortly after exposure, but the research thus far has been inconclusive about whether there are longer lasting consequences to these exposures, as many veterans still struggling with conditions that arose during or after military service believe.

H.R. 5671 will require the Secretary of Defense to ensure that periodic health assessments ascertain whether a service member has been at a location when an open burn pit was used or exposed to toxic airborne chemicals.  It will further require the Secretary of Defense to enter into an information sharing agreement with the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.  If a service member was exposed, the VA Secretary will enroll the member into the VA Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry, unless the member elects not to enroll.

In agreement with DAV Resolution No. 120, DAV supports H.R. 5671-legislation that would ensure that exposure to burn pits and airborne chemicals are recognized by both the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.

Your commitment and advocacy helps make DAV a highly influential and effective organization in Washington.  Thank you for all you do for America’s veterans and their families.

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22 Jul, 2018  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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Update to H.R. 4843 to Include Military Installations in Thailand with Herbicide Exposure

In January 2018, Representative Bruce Westerman (AR) introduced H.R. 4843, a bill that would concede herbicide exposure to all veterans who served at any military installation in Thailand during the Vietnam Era for purposes of determining their eligibility for VA benefits. This measure is a companion bill to S. 2105, introduced by Senators John Boozman (AR) and Joe Donelly (IN).  DAV issued an alert in support of S. 2105 in December 2017.

Image result for Bruce Westerman (AR)

While VA’s internal manual acknowledges herbicide exposure for specific military occupational specialties on the perimeter of eight specific Thai Royal Air Force Bases, Thai statutes and regulations do not automatically recognize veteran exposure to herbicides while serving in Thailand during the Vietnam Era.

H.R. 4843 would automatically concede herbicide exposure for all veterans who served at military installations in Thailand during the Vietnam Era, regardless of the base, duty on the perimeter or military occupational specialty.  As a result, the presumptive diseases currently associated with herbicide exposure, including spina bifida for children, would be applicable to all veterans who served at military installations in Thailand during the Vietnam Era.

Consistent with DAV Resolution No. 214, DAV supports the recognition of herbicide exposure to veterans who served at military installations in Thailand so that the presumption of service connection for Agent Orange related diseases would be available to service members exposed to include those who served in Thailand.  Please use the prepared electronic letter or draft your own to urge your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 4843.

Your advocacy makes DAV a highly influential and effective organization in Washington, D.C.  Your voice makes a difference and we would not be as effective without you.

Thank you for standing with veterans and participating in the DAV Commander’s Action Network.

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08 Jul, 2018  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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A Bill that Requires the VA to offer Comprehensive Dental Care Has Been Introduced in the House

Representative Carol Shea-Porter (NH) introduced H.R. 4556, a bill that would require the VA to offer comprehensive dental care to all 9.1 million veterans enrolled in the VA health care system.

Image result for Representative Carol Shea-Porter (NH)

Current law limits eligibility for VA dental care to veterans with a service-connected disability rated 100%; veterans with a service-connected dental condition; former prisoners of war; and homeless veterans. Dental care is also available if a dental condition is aggravating a service-connected condition or complicates treatment of that condition.

This bill would eliminate these restrictions on eligibility for VA dental care, allowing all veterans that are enrolled in the VA system to access in-house dental care. The bill phases in the new eligibility over five years to give the VA time to invest in and increase its capacity to provide dental care.

This bill is in accordance with DAV’s Resolution No. 013, which supports legislation for VA to provide dental care services to all enrolled veterans.

Please use the prepared letter to ask your Representative to support passage of H.R. 4556. Thank you for your efforts and support of the DAV Commander’s Action Network.

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01 Jul, 2018  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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