• Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom Vets exposed to burn pits:

    Representative Elizabeth Esty, ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability and Memorial Assistance, introduced H.R. 1279, the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act. The bill would establish a Center of Excellence in preventing, diagnosing, mitigating, treating and rehabilitating conditions related to veterans’ exposure to burn pits during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.  The Center would be charged...

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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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Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom Vets exposed to burn pits:

Representative Elizabeth Esty, ranking member of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Disability and Memorial Assistance, introduced H.R. 1279, the Helping Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits Act. The bill would establish a Center of Excellence in preventing, diagnosing, mitigating, treating and rehabilitating conditions related to veterans’ exposure to burn pits during Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom.  The Center would be charged with using data from the registry to study whether exposure is associated with long-term health effects in veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to improving diagnosis and treatments for those exposed.

VA’s website states that exposure to toxins found in the burn pits may be associated with skin, eye, respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, or internal organ problems.  Exposure to burn pits is generally associated with short-term effects, such as eye irritation, acute respiratory symptoms, and skin itching or rashes.  However, according to a 2011 Institute of Medicine report, fine dust particles and pollution in Iraq and Afghanistan may actually be more responsible for respiratory illness claimed by veterans who served there.

DAV Resolution No. 237 supports improvement of care and benefits for veterans exposed to toxins and environmental hazards, including a rigorous research agenda to identify any associations between such exposures and adverse health outcomes.

Please write your elected officials and urge their co-sponsorship and support for passage of H.R. 1279.  Thank you for your continued efforts and participation in the DAV CAN (Commander’s Action Network).

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/dprk3QyjNOqJAwhgizvDsA

13 Sep, 2017  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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For World War II veterans with mustard gas and lewisite exposure claims, please read.

The recently passed Forever GI Bill (Public Law 115-48), signed by the President on August 17, 2017, includes a provision that requires the VA to reconsider previously denied claims for World War II veterans who were exposed to nitrogen mustard gas, sulfur mustard gas or lewisite as a result of government testing.

The provision directs the VA to reconsider all previously denied mustard gas and lewisite exposure claims of World War II veterans who were exposed during tests at 22 recognized locations.  The VA is instructed to consider that supporting documentation of the testing may be unavailable as these tests were classified, or the records may have been destroyed and veterans who participated were sworn to secrecy.

Unless there is evidence to establish otherwise, the VA is directed to presume full-body exposure of veterans who participated in these tests at the recognized locations and VA shall resolve any doubt in the veteran’s favor.

The acknowledgement of these exposures is significant as VA regulations list several presumptive diseases due to exposure to nitrogen mustard gas, sulfur mustard gas, and Lewisite.  To see those diseases as listed in 38 C.F.R. 3.316, Click Here!

Sen. Claire McCaskill, the measure’s original sponsor, first introduced the legislation in 2016 and again at the start of 2017, when the 115th Congress convened in January. But it was not until the measure was appended to the Forever GI Bill that it made a significant move forward.

This provision of the law is in accordance with a long-standing resolution (DAV Resolution No. 025), which calls for the VA’s expeditious handling of veterans’ claims and the payment of fair and just compensation for conditions associated with all veterans’ service and related exposures to toxic and environmental hazards.

In the near future, the VA will implementing this reconsideration and will be reaching out to those veterans concerned.  If you have any questions on the reconsideration of mustard gas claims for World War II veterans, please contact your local DAV National Service Office.  To find your local NSO Office, Click Here! To view Public Law 115-48, Section 502, Click Here!

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/zBsn6BRokAF2fmDpgQTU7w

10 Sep, 2017  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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Deborah Sampson Act has been introduced to improve and expand programs and services for women veterans

Deborah Sampson Act has been introduced to improve and expand programs and services for women veterans

Please add your support to this bill….Representative Elizabeth Esty has introduced the Deborah Sampson Act (H.R. 2452).   This comprehensive measure addresses gender disparities and would improve and expand programs and services for women veterans provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

If enacted, this bill would establish a pilot program for peer-to-peer counseling and make permanent group counseling retreats for women veterans recently separated from military service. It would increase training for providers delivering gender-specific care, expand days of care for newborns from seven to fourteen, authorize medically-necessary transportation for newborns, address privacy and security issues for women in VA health care facilities and correct infrastructure issues to improve the environment of care for women.  The legislation would also create a program to assist women veterans with legal services, authorize additional grants for organizations supporting women veterans with families and require data collection regarding women and minority veterans including a report on the availability of prosthetics for women veterans.

DAV’s 2014 report, Women Veterans: The Long Journey Home identified many of these gaps for women in VA programs and has long advocated for a more comprehensive provision of VA women’s health services that appropriately recognizes their service and meets their gender specific health care needs. The Deborah Sampson Act (H.R. 2452) is in line with DAV Resolution No. 225, which calls for enhanced medical services and benefits for women veterans.

Please contact your elected representative and urge co-sponsorship and passage of H.R. 2452. A letter has been prepared for this purpose or you may write your own message to express your personal views. Thank you for your support of our nation’s women veterans.

Click the link below to log in and send your message:
https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/CB1F_Kz35m_khlI2fgqNSQ

25 Aug, 2017  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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“Forever GI Bill” signed in to law

The Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017, H.R. 3218, passed by the House and Senate was signed by the President on August 16, 2017. Also known as the Forever G.I. Bill, the legislation improves provisions in the existing G.I. Bill and provides more flexibility for using educational benefits. The measure contains a number of provisions that specifically impact disabled veterans and their families, including:

Increases monthly Dependents Educational Assistance (DEA) payments by about 40 percent effective October 1, 2018 (note: effective August 1, 2018, DEA decreases from 45 to 36 months to be consistent with other VA educational programs);

Eliminates the 15-year limit for using the G.I. Bill, allowing for the use of the educational benefits for life, for those who were discharged after January 1, 2013;

Grants full G.I. Bill benefits to Purple Heart Recipients, regardless of total time in service effective August 1, 2018;

Provides G.I. Bill eligibility for reservists undergoing medical care for active duty injuries effective August 1, 2018;

Restores used G.I. bill benefits to enrolled students whose school permanently closes after January 1, 2015, effective November 14, 2017; and

Allows veterans who are National Guard members and Reservists who are receiving Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) benefits, to “pause” their eligibility so their time under the VR&E program is not negatively affected while called up for active duty orders. This provision takes effect immediately.

To see the complete text of the Forever G.I. Bill click here

21 Aug, 2017  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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The Veteran Tool Kit Program through the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (ADVS) is available to help unemployed veterans get the supplies they need to start working!

The Veteran Tool Kit Program through the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services (ADVS) is available to help unemployed veterans get the supplies they need to start working!

The Veterans department has kicked off a pilot program called the Veteran Tool Kit Program that offers $150,000 over the next year, with a maximum of $750 per veteran.

The funding is only for veterans who don’t yet have a job and not for someone who already has a job.

Funding comes from a donation fund that is funded through the purchase of veterans’ license plates.

The ADVS is working with the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES Veteran’s Workforce Services) to find veterans who are seeking employment and need that extra bit of funding to get to work.

Qualifying veterans must:

• Live in Arizona
• Be enrolled in an Arizona Department of Economic Security employment program (via AJC www.azjobconnection.gov)
• Identify the job they need supplies for (a job offer is required/supplies will be ordered via Amazon.com and shipped directly to the veteran)

Find your local DES Disabled Veterans Outreach Program (DVOP) Specialist here:
https://eol.azdes.gov/EOLSearchResults.aspx?cat1=11

25 Jul, 2017  Posted by Beth   No Comments »
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