On August 13, 2018, the president signed the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. Although the NDAA is primarily a legislative vehicle for the Department of Defense (DoD), it contains several provisions that pertain to service disabled veterans and their families, including several that address DAV policy priorities, such as:
- Space-available travel on DoD aircraft for veterans with service-connected disabilities rated as permanent and total. Veterans who are service-connected permanent and total are eligible to fly on military aircraft, space permitting. This provision can be found under Section 624 of the NDAA and is in accord with DAV Resolution No. 274.
- Extension of certain morale, welfare, and recreation privileges to certain veterans and their caregivers. Beginning in January 2020, service-connected disabled veterans and their caregivers will be eligible to use base commissary stores and Morale, Welfare and Recreation facilities. This provision can be located under section 621 and is in agreement with DAV Resolution No. 270.
- Improvements to the Transition Assistance Program (TAP). TAP prepares transitioning service members for civilian life. This provision includes mandatory instruction on preparation for civilian employment, VA benefits, and transition assistance. It also allows for transitioning service members to elect two days of specific training of their choice. These improvements are in agreement with DAV Resolution No. 304 and can be found in the NDAA under section 552.
- Study on availability of long-term care options for veterans from VA. The study will focus on long-term care options from the VA for veterans with combat related disabilities. This provision can be found in the NDAA under section 738 and is aligned with DAV Resolution No. 085.
These policy changes have been important priorities for our members for many years. For veterans whose ability to work is impacted by a service-connected disability, the cost savings associated with access to base commissary and exchanges and Space-A flights will be a significant benefit. To view the full text of the “John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act of 2019” click here.