Veterans Benefits Information

...online guide to VA benefits

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size
Veterans Benefits Information

Retroactive Traumatic Injury Benefits No Longer Just For OEF/OIF Injuries

E-mail Print PDF
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is extending retroactive traumatic injury benefits to Servicemembers who suffered qualifying injuries during the period Oct. 7, 2001 to Nov. 30, 2005, regardless of the geographic location where the injuries occurred.

Read More
 

Veterans Gather for Summer Sports Clinic

E-mail Print PDF
Today, more than 100 recently injured Veterans are gathered in San Diego for the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, a special rehabilitation-related sporting event, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Read More
 

Today is POW-MIA Recognition Day

E-mail Print PDF

The American Legion is committed to achieving a full accounting of all POW/MIAs from the Gulf War, Vietnam War, Cold War, Korean War and World War II. This means returning living POWs, the repatriation of their remains, or finding convincing evidence why neither of these is possible.

The American Legion supports the continued declassification of all POW/MIA information, the strengthening of joint commissions with Russia, North Korea and China, and adequate resourcing of investigative efforts and field operations to resolve POW/MIA issues. The American Legion has also worked continuously with both Congress and DoD to improve the policies and programs for the accountability of missing persons. This includes urging the president and Congress to fully fund the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Office (DPMO) for its current and future mission of ensuring the accountability of U.S. servicemembers. The American Legion will continue to speak out and exert maximum pressure on both the administration and on Congress to fully account for America's POW/MIAs.

National POW/MIA Recognition Day
For years, The American Legion supported a National POW/MIA Recognition Day, which is now recognized annually on the third Friday of September. This commemoration is set aside to honor the commitment and sacrifices made by this nation's prisoners of war and those who are still missing in action, as well as their families.

Until July 18, 1979, no commemoration was held to honor POW/MIAs. In the first year, Congress passed resolutions and the national ceremony was held at the National Cathedral in Washington. The 1st Tactical Squadron from Langley Air Force Base in Virginia flew the Missing Man formation. A poster was published by VA which contained only the letters POW/MIA. That continued until 1982, when a black and white drawing of a POW in captivity was used to show urgency of the situation.

Every year, National POW/MIA Recognition Day legislation was introduced until 1985, when Congress determined that commemorative days would no longer be considered. The president now signs a proclamation each year.

The National League of Families proposed the third Friday of September as a commemoration date. Most of the National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies have taken place at the Pentagon. Now, they're held throughout the nation and around the world on military installations, ships, schools, churches, etc. The focus is to ensure that America remembers its responsibility to stand behind those who serve it and to make sure that we do all that is possible to account for those who have not returned.

POW/MIA Empty Chair
Resolution 288, adopted at the 67th American Legion National Convention, calls for designating a POW/MIA Empty Chair at all official meetings of The American Legion as a physical symbol of the thousands of American POW/MIAs still unaccounted for from all wars and conflicts involving the United States.

For a recent briefing to The American Legion by DoD's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, click here.


Read More
 

Legion backs push to pass VA funding law

E-mail Print PDF

The American Legion is lauding freshman Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada for his campaign to encourage colleagues to put aside their differences and quickly pass a bill that provides funding for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The Senate and House of Representatives passed separate versions of the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2055) in mid-summer. However, minor differences remain that must be reconciled before the legislation can be combined and signed into law by President Obama.

On Sept. 15 Heller, a new Senator but a veteran Congressman, sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, urging them to pass the legislation as soon as possible so as not to endanger, among other things, the timely payment of benefits to veterans.

"The benefits owed to the men and women who have served in the armed services should not be jeopardized because Congress has not had the self-discipline necessary to pass a responsible budget," Heller said. "Both parties from the House and Senate need to work out their differences and pass this legislation so our veterans can be certain they will receive every benefit promised to them. Moving this process forward is the least we can do for the men and women who have selflessly served our nation and risked their lives for the freedoms we enjoy today."

American Legion National Commander Fang A. Wong also added, "This is a point I'll be making on Sept. 21st in my testimony before the Senate and House Veterans' Affairs Committee. It would be easy for Congress to include VA funding in a continuing resolution, but that won't get the job done. They need to iron out a few minor differences in conference committee - this should be completed outside of a continuing resolution."

To date, a conference committee to settle the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Mil Con-VA Appropriations Act has not been formed.

"Our nation's veterans didn't take the easy way out while serving their nation," Wong said. "The best thing Congress can do is fund the VA for the entire fiscal year and stop playing political games with this issue."


Read More
 

Chairman Murray and Ranking Member Burr Call on VA to Provide Answers about Department's Budget Projections

E-mail Print PDF

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Patty Murray and Ranking Member Richard Burr sent a joint letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki expressing their concern that VA may not have sufficient resources to adequately address increasing demand for veterans’ health care in FY 2012.  Chairman Murray and Ranking Member Burr’s letter asks VA for specific assurances that VA remains ready and able to provide the health care upon which more and more veterans depend.

The full text of the Senators’ letter is below:

The Honorable Eric K. Shinseki
Secretary of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420

Dear Secretary Shinseki:

In this time of economic uncertainty, with an increasing number of our servicemembers returning home, the demand for medical care at VA medical centers is certain to grow.  This demand, coupled with the lower than expected Medical Care Collections Fund (MCCF) collection rate, and recent reports regarding staffing reductions and emergency budget cuts at certain medical centers, underscores the critical need to ensure resources are being maximized and Department appropriations requests are accurately projected.

We are therefore writing today to confirm that VHA appropriations and carry-over for FY 2012 are on-track to meet the needs of our nation’s veterans, so that the care provided to our veterans remains the highest quality.

We understand from your July 21, 2011, sufficiency review of advance appropriations for FY 2012 medical care that the Department’s appropriations request was based, in part, upon projected carryover funds and revenues from the MCCF.  MCCF collections, along with operational improvements, and cost savings in acquisitions, fee care, and other programs, are key components of budget and operations planning and must be accurately projected.

We also understand that for the first quarter of FY 2011, VHA reported a 12.3 percent variance between its planned and actual collections, in the amount of nearly $100 million.  As of second quarter FY 2011, MCCF collections were 8.5 percent below plan and 5.2 percent below the same period last year.  Similarly, for third quarter FY 2011, collections remain 5.7 percent below plan.  In your July report, you stated that “there remains an element of risk to the sufficiency of the FY 2012 budget” and quoted a June 14, 2011, GAO report:

If the estimated savings for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 do not materialize and VA receives appropriations in the amount requested by the President, VA may have to make difficult trade-offs to manage within the resources provided.

Such difficult trade-offs are evident throughout the VA health care system.  We understand, for example, that the Indianapolis VAMC faced an $18 million budget shortfall at the start of FY 2011.  Against this backdrop, and challenged by an unprecedented demand for services from veterans, the medical center reduced expenditures and slowed the hiring of additional and replacement staff.  Similarly, the Tampa VAMC continues to take steps to address a budget deficit that is currently near $17 million and has been as high as $47.5 million this fiscal year.  Such steps have included a reduction in staffing through attrition by 111 positions, and cuts from lab services, mental health programs and education funds.  Each of these actions, while fiscally sound, could have an adverse impact on patient care quality.

As we enter into FY 2012, it is imperative that VHA remains ready and able to provide the quality medical care upon which our veterans depend.  Accordingly, we ask that you detail for us your plan to increase MCCF collections, so that collections goals in FY 2012 are met.  Additionally, please address whether there are budgetary shortfall risks at VISNs or medical centers for FY 2012.  Are VHA appropriations and carryover on-track to meet VHA needs?  Finally, do you anticipate that VISNs and medical centers will be able to meet budgetary obligations without having to significantly draw upon reserve funds?

Thank you for providing this information to us.  Ours is a shared mission to safeguard the health and well-being of our nation’s veterans and we look forward to working with you to this end.


Sincerely,


Patty Murray                                                                                                    
Chairman


Richard Burr
Ranking Member


Read More
 


Page 2415 of 2457


Did you know?

The issuance or replacement of military service medals, awards and decorations must be requested in writing.

Requests should be submitted in writing to the appropriate military service branch division of the NPRC. Standard form (SF 180), available through the VA, is recommended to submit your request. Generally, there is no charge for medal or award replacements. For more information, or for the mailing address of the military branch office to submit your request to, call 1-86-NARA-NARA (1-866-272-6272) or visit the NPRC website at www.archives.gov