This Week in Veteran Affairs

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Senate Holds Veterans Budget Hearing
Last week, the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a budget hearing to discuss funding requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The VFW, along with Independent Budget (IB) co-authors, Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America, provided written testimony advocating for more VA funding. Due to the strain on the VA health care system, the IB recommends increased funding for staffing, PPE, and infrastructure upgrades.

Veterans Employment Bill Introduced
Last week, congressional leaders introduced the VFW-supported bipartisan bicameral bill to help curb veteran unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Representatives Phil Rose, M.D. (R-TN) and Mike Levin (D-CA), along with their colleagues; Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Jon Tester (D-MT), introduced the Veterans Economic Recovery Act of 2020, which would provide much-needed support for veterans who recently lost their jobs due to the pandemic. This proposal would offer eligible veterans one year of Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to be used at approved high demand programs to get them back into the workforce as quickly as possible. The VFW applauds our congressional leaders for swiftly introducing this legislation to help curb unemployment among veterans.

VA Resumes In-Person C&P Examinations In Some Locations
VA has announced that it will resume in-person compensation and pension (C&P) examinations at 20 locations across the U.S. The VA will continue to conduct telehealth examinations at locations where in-person exams have not yet resumed. If you live in one of the locations where in-person appointments have resumed, but you are unable to make your appointment or do not feel comfortable with an in-person C&P exam, please contact your service officer to reschedule. Find a VFW service officer near you to file a claim for disability benefits.

HVAC Health Subcommittee Holds Online Hearings
Last Wednesday, members of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Health, discussed VA’s preparedness for natural disasters during a pandemic. VA Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration/Operations, Security and Preparedness Daniel Sitterly, cited a three-phase (preparation, post-event, and recovery) disaster response during a pandemic. Sitterly stated, “The nation’s emergency management system works best and is most successful when it’s locally executed, managed by the states and federally supported.” It was also noted that the expansion of telehealth offers the capability to provide health care services to those at the disaster’s ground zero. Overall, the panelist their gratitude to Congress for the passed COVID-19 pandemic legislation that provides resources to expedite care where needed.

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