The National Office of the Veterans of Foreign Wars has created a special Thanksgiving “Thank You” message for all VFW Service Officers, Members and supporters.
VFW National Commander sends President and Congress formal letter
October 03, 2013
Dear Mr. President, Speaker Boehner, Representative Pelosi, Leader Reid and Senator McConnell:
The United States federal government is ending Day Three of a shutdown that both political parties created. On behalf of 22 million veterans and 2.3 million service members and their families, I urge all of you to start doing what’s best for the country and not your own political interests. Every American is or will feel the effects of this budget impasse, but I am writing to you concerning the effects on our nation’s veterans, our military personnel and their families.
The lack of a budget prevents countless veterans from taking advantage of transition assistance programs provided by the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Labor. The lack of a budget will increase the VA claims backlog, and stop VA disability compensation and survivor benefit payments to millions of combat-wounded veterans and widows because Congress won’t extend the department’s authorization into the new fiscal year. Many of these heroes depend on those payments to pay for their daily living expenses.
Our national security is threatened and at risk because of the lack of a defense budget and the ongoing sequester. Training is what makes our military the strongest in the world, but without a budget, aircraft are being grounded, ships are staying in port, and our Army and Marine Corps ground forces are not receiving the necessary training they need to successfully accomplish their assigned missions and, more importantly, to survive to do it again. We are also hearing the intelligence community is affected by the government shutdown, too. Haven’t we all learned the lessons of 9/11? National Security and those who defend us cannot be shortchanged.
September 27, 2013
In This Issue:
1. Budget Impact on VA
2. Budget Impact on DOD
3. Affordable Care Act Update
4. Congress Extends Veteran Programs
5. MIAs from Three Wars Identified
1. Budget Impact on VA: Certain Department of Veterans Affairs programs, like
yments for disability compensation, GI Bill education benefits, survivors benefits, and pensions for current beneficiaries, are not subject to the annual discretionary funding battle, and are therefore not impacted by the potential lack of an FY 2014 budget or Continuing Resolution on Oct. 1. Those veterans currently scheduled for burial should also be interred as scheduled. There should also be no noticeable change in healthcare, because the VFW led an effort to get advance appropriations signed into law that gives the Veterans Health Administration a preapproved budget two years out. Inpatient and outpatient care will continue to be provided, to include the filling of prescriptions, counseling services, surgeries and dental treatments, and the National Veterans Crisis Line, 1-800-273-8255, will remain operational. Advance appropriations, however, does not extend to VA’s two other agencies, the Veterans Benefits Administration and National Cemetery Administration, where veterans could see noticeable changes in customer contact and claims processing. VA said it has sufficient funds to keep its 57 VA Regional Offices (ROs) open through Oct. 4; however, if a budget or Continuing Resolution is not passed before Oct. 7, VA will be forced to close its ROs until Congress acts. This is important because all claims are processed by the ROs. Veterans will still be able to file claims electronically, but not in person. This also means no one will be processing their claims, which would further increase the backlog. The VFW is working hard to get all VA funding protected by advanced appropriations. To learn more about how a potential government shutdown would affect VA services, click here: http://www.va.gov/opa/docs/Field_Guide_20130927.pdf.
2. Budget Impact on DOD: The lack of an approved budget or Continuing Resolution will have a tremendous impact on the Department of Defense, should the federal government shut down on Oct. 1. All nonessential activities will cease in order to keep combat forces and forward deployed forces operational. In a telephone conference this afternoon, DOD told the VFW to expect the following actions to take place when the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1, barring a last minute funding extension:
- · Personnel: All military personnel will report to work. They will receive their Oct. 1 paycheck because it was earned in September, but subsequent pay will be accrued but go unpaid until a budget or CR is passed. All appropriated fund civilian personnel will also report to work, but only those deemed mission critical—security and fire protection, for example—will remain on duty. Everyone else will be furloughed in a non-work, unpaid status. Nonappropriated fund civilians and military retiree pay should not be effected. Temporary duty and permanent change of station assignments may be cancelled or delayed.
- · Operations & Maintenance: Aircraft and ships are already flying and sailing less, and ground troops are training less because of the current budget reduction and sequester. A government shutdown makes everything worse. Acute and emergency medical and dental care will continue, but routine appointments will be cancelled or delayed. Other military service providers, such as legal and human resources, will remain open but be minimally staffed due to the civilian workforce furlough. All DOD schools and childcare centers will remain open, but stateside commissaries will be closed. The duration of the shutdown will directly impact the severity of cost-saving measures.
Congress has a lot of work to do in a very short amount of time, and it all starts with getting rid of sequestration and passing a defense budget now. Add your voice to the fight today by contacting your congressional members at http://capwiz.com/vfw/issues/alert/?alertid=62940921.
3. Affordable Care Act Update: Thanks to the VFW and our friends in Congress, every veteran, service member, dependent, retiree or survivor enrolled in VA healthcare or any of the military’s 10 Tricare programs, plus the U.S. Family Health Plan, are deemed to have met the minimum essential coverage standards required by the new Affordable Care Act. Minimum essential coverage must be in place by Jan. 1, 2014. People who fail to do so will be assessed a fee for every month they do not have adequate coverage; the fee will be collected from 2014 tax returns. VA enrollees can learn more at www.va.gov/aca; Tricare enrollees at http://www.tricare.mil/Home/Welcome/AboutUs/MEC.aspx; and everyone can learn more about the new Affordable Care Act at www.healthcare.gov.
4. Congress Extends Veteran Programs: This week, Congress cleared VFW-supported legislation that will extend several programs within VA and the Department of Labor Veterans Employment and Training. H.R. 1412, the Improving Job Opportunities for Veterans Act of 2013, authorizes employment assistance under the Homeless Veteran Reintegration Program, which provides job placement, on-the-job and classroom training, career counseling, and money management skills. The program was extended through FY 2014. The bill also authorizes supportive services for veterans and their families, extends housing grants for disabled veterans requiring housing modifications, and allows VA to continue providing child care assistance for veterans receiving health services in their facilities. The bill now heads to the President for his signature. To read the final version of the bill in its entirety, click on http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.1412.EAS:/.
5. Four MIAs Identified: The Defense POW/MIA Office announced the identification of remains belonging to four MIAs from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Recovered are:
- · Army Air Force 2nd Lt. Vernal J. Bird, 26, of Lindon, Utah. On March 12, 1944, Bird, a member of the 13th Bombardment Squadron, 3rd Bombardment Group, was piloting an A-20G Havoc aircraft on an attack mission over the island of New Guinea. Bird’s aircraft did not return to base.
- · Army Cpl. Armando Alvarez, 20, of El Paso, Texas. In late 1950, Alvarez and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, also known as Task Force Faith, were forced into a fighting withdrawal to a more defensible position south of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea. Alvarez was reported missing on Dec. 2, 1950.
- · Air Force Majs. James E. Sizemore of Lawrenceville, Ill., and Howard V. Andre Jr., of Memphis, Tenn. On July 8, 1969, Sizemore and Andre were on a night armed reconnaissance mission when their A-26A Invader aircraft crashed in Xiangkhoang Province, Laos.
Read their individual recovery stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.
As always, we want to share your advocacy stories on the VFW Capitol Hill blog. To share your stories, either fill out our online form by clicking here, http://www.vfw.org/Forms/Capitol-Hill-Blog-Submissions/, or simply email photos and stories directly to email@example.com.
To sign up new veterans’ advocates to receive the Washington Weekly every Friday, click here: http://capwiz.com/vfw/mlm/signup.htm.
The homeless veterans stand down is tomorrow in Nashua Harbor Homes 45 High Street from 10 am – 3 pm.
We need volunteers to help pass out items if you are available or wish to donate new clothing or personal items please contact John Rubery 603-785-1116
Thank you for your support
Homeless Veterans and VAVS Rep
The VFW Department Service Office is pleased to announce
the following new addition to our schedule of
JOSEPH J. JEFFREY MEMORIAL POST #7217
Northwood Community Center
135 Main Street
Northwood, NH 03261
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 9TH, 2013
12:00 NOON- 2:00 P.M.
Your VFW Department Service Office will be conducting an informative
class concerning benefits Widows of Veterans are entitled to submit
VA Claims for, after the loss of their Veteran Spouse.All Veterans are invited
and encouraged to attend this event, which is designed to help those they
leave behind have a better understanding of what potential benefits are
available to them, and how your VFW Department Service Office can assist
you with submitting claims to the VA.
Veterans do NOT have to be eligible for membership within the VFW
to attend this class… If you are a member, or are considering becoming
a member of our Veteran’s Organization, a portion of your Membership Dues
helps to fund Community Outreach Events like this one, and enables the
Service Office to continue to assist veterans and their widows across our
state in navigating through the VA Claims system.
The VFW Department Service Office is pleased to announce the following recent addition to our schedule of Outreach/Community Events:
KINGSTON MEMORIAL POST# 1088
93 RTE 125
KINGSTON, NH 03848
PH#: (603) 642-5510
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23RD,2013
10:00 A.M.- 12:00 P.M.
• Your VFW Department Service Office will be conducting an informative class concerning benefits Widows of Veterans are entitled to submit VA Claims for, after the loss of their Veteran Spouse.
• ALL VETERANS are invited and encouraged to attend this event, which is designed to help those they leave behind to have a better understanding of what potential benefits are available to them, and how your VFW Department Service Office can assist you with submitting those claims to the VA.
• Veterans DO NOT have to be eligible for Membership within the VFW to attend this class…If you are a Member, or are considering becoming a Member of our organization, a portion of your Membership Dues helps to fund Community Outreach Events like this one, and enables the Service Office to continue to assist veterans and their widows across our state, in navigating through the VA Claims System.
• Due to the high number of people who have previously attended this event at other locations across our state, calling the Post prior to the night of the event to let them know you will be attending is strongly encouraged, to enable the Post to provide enough seating for everyone who wishes to attend the event.
VFW IN WASHINGTON TO DISCUSS CRITICAL ISSUES
WASHINGTON (September 16, 2013) — The top leadership of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is in Washington for the VFW’s Fall Legislative Conference and to meet with key officials in the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense.
“It is critical for the VFW to give our veteran and military communities a voice on Capitol Hill, especially with the end of the federal government’s fiscal year two weeks away and still no end to the continuing damage sequestration is doing inside the Defense Department,” said VFW National Commander William A. Thien, a Vietnam veteran from Georgetown, Ind. “That’s why it’s so important for the VFW National Legislative Committee to gather here twice a year to petition Congress on issues that are vitally important to all veterans, service members and their families.”
Leading a list of five critical issues to be presented is the budget sequestration, followed by military sexual assault protections, in-state tuition for all GI Bill recipients, grandfathering the Tricare Prime benefit for all current military retirees, and the passage of advanced appropriations for all VA programs. Thien is also scheduled to meet with the VA secretary as well as senior DOD officials. VFW Senior Vice Commander-in-Chief John Stroud from Nevada and Junior Vice Commander-in-Chief John Biedrzycki from Pennsylvania are scheduled to meet with wounded troops and their providers at Fort Belvoir, as the 70 legislative committee members stress the five critical issues inside the offices of all 535 members of Congress.
“The failure of Congress to pass a budget is having a perilous impact on a Defense Department that, despite appearances, is very worried about its ability to respond to a new contingency tasking elsewhere in our troubled world,” said Thien.
“The lack of a FY 2014 defense budget and the continuing sequestration is causing concerns our fighting force and their families do not need or deserve, not while they continue to shoulder 100 percent of a 12-year of war that has not yet ended. Congress must pass a budget for the Department of Defense and do so now.”
ABOUT THE VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is a nonprofit veterans’ service organization composed of combat veterans and eligible military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is the nation’s largest organization of war veterans and its oldest major veterans’ organization. With nearly 2 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in more than 7,000 Posts worldwide, “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS.” The VFW and its Auxiliaries are dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs worldwide. For more information or to join, visit our website at www.vfw.org.