VFW WASHINGTON WEEK REVIEW

VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY
June 22, 2012

In This Issue:
1. VFW Testifies on   Changes to Disability Claims Process
2. VFW Testifies on   Economic Opportunity Bills
3. House and Senate   Say Veterans’ Legislative Package on the Way
4. VFW Joins Defense   and VA Officials to Discuss Suicide Prevention
5. DAMA Subcommittee   Hosts Bill Hearing
6. Senate Retiree   Commission Survey Results
7. Detroit Veterans   Hiring Fair:
8. WWII GI Bill   Birthday
9. Five MIAs Return   Home
1. VFW Testifies on   Changes to Disability Claims Process: On Tuesday, the VFW   testified before the House VA Committee regarding VBA’s transformation plan   to digitize the disability claims process aimed at improving accuracy and   wait times for veterans. The hearing centered on the Veterans Benefits   Management System (VBMS) which focuses on a paperless IT system that is   critical to VA reaching its goal of eliminating the backlog and providing   quality decisions. VFW testified that the new program should be fully tested   to identify short comings, but that VBA must walk a fine line between rolling   out the program too soon and delaying too long while seeking to fix all the   problems. Members of the committee stressed their frustration with the   process saying that the department has been working on different   “transformation” plans for decades with little progress while the   claims backlog remains stagnant. To learn more about the hearing or to view   the webcast, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/watch-live-vfw-to-testify-on-va-claims.html
2. VFW Testifies on   Economic Opportunity Bills: On Thursday, the VFW testified   before the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity. Our testimony centered on   two bills (H.R.4740 and H.R. 5747) designed to improve protections for   military home owners, and another bill (H.R. 4115) that would close licensing   gaps for veterans. We also voiced our concerns to the committee regarding a   proposal in H.R. 3860 which would exclude large businesses from claiming   financial hardship exemptions under USERRA. We cited that poor enforcement of   current USERRA policy kept more veterans from keeping their jobs, and that by   making changes to the policy, we risk making service members and veterans   less attractive to potential employees, as reported in a recent study by the   Center for a New American Security. To learn more about VFW’s stance on each   of the bills, to view the recorded webcast, or to read the CNAS study, click   here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/watch-live-vfw-to-testify-on-veterans_21.html.

3. House and Senate   Say Veterans’ Legislative Package on the Way: This week, the   House and Senate reported that they have reached a compromise on providing   care for military families exposed to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. As   a result, legislators also indicate that a comprehensive veterans’   legislative package is on the way addressing 50 specific provisions passed   through the committees over the last year. Your VFW is tracking down details   on the legislative package and will bring you full coverage in next week’s   Washington Weekly. To learn more about these initial reports, check out   Military Times coverage here: http://militarytimes.com/news/2012/06/military-lawmakers-propose-va-care-for-those-exposed-to-lejeune-water-062212w/

4. VFW Joins Defense   and VA Officials to Discuss Suicide Prevention: VFW attended the   VA-DOD annual Suicide Prevention Conference where Secretary Panetta laid out   his goals for combating the rising number of military suicides and mental   health issues facing service members. VFW will continue to monitor both VA   and DOD mental health programs to ensure improved services and outcomes for   all military personnel and veterans. In the meantime, If you are a veteran in   crisis, help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week though the   Veterans Crisis Line. Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and press “1” to   speak to someone now. You can also log on to www.veteranscrisisline.net for   confidential chat or text a message to 838255. To learn more about the   conference, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/vfw-joins-defense-and-va-officials-to.html

5. DAMA Subcommittee   Hosts Bill Hearing: Earlier in the week, the House VA   Subcommittee on Disability and Memorial Affairs discussed several bills that   would enhance protections for veterans. The bills included:

* H.R. 5948, the Veterans Fiduciary Reform Act of 2012 would provide reforms   for those veterans requiring a fiduciary.
* H.R. 3730, the Veterans Data Breach Timely Notification Act requires VA to   notify veterans within 5 days in the event of a data breach where personal   information has been compromised.
* H.R.2985, the Veteran’s I.D. Card Act, l would direct the VA to issue a   veteran’s ID card upon request to any veteran who is not entitled to military   retired pay or enrolled in the VA system.
To view a full list of witnesses, read their prepared statements, or view a   webcast of the hearing, visit the House VA Committee website at: http://veterans.house.gov/hearing/legislative-hearing-on-hr-2985-hr-3730-hr-4481
6. Senate Retiree   Commission Survey Results: Last week, we told you that the   Senate was looking to form a commission to review the military retirement   system, but sought to lock out veterans’ advocates like the VFW from   participating in the commission. We asked you what you thought, and wanted to   share the results one week later:
* Do you think this Commission would have the best interest of service   members and retirees in mind? No: 97% Yes: 3% (448 votes)
* If this Commission drastically changed military retirement benefits, would   you continue to serve or encourage others to serve a full career? No: 94%   Yes: 6% (316 votes)
* Would your Senator’s stance on this issue weigh into your decision on   election day? Yes: 94% No: 6% (331 votes)
Thank you for reading, and thank you for leaving your comments on the blog,   Facebook, and the poll website. To view the original posting, click here: http://www.vfwonthehill.org/2012/06/what-do-you-think-senate-seeks.html
7. Detroit Veterans   Hiring Fair: More than 16,000 VA, federal, and private-sector   jobs across the country will be up for grabs at the free Veteran Hiring Fair,   June 26-28, in Detroit. Sign up online and request a customized coaching   session to help build a stronger resume and better prepare for interviews.   You can also schedule interviews with employers who are looking to fill jobs   immediately. And signing up also gets you a pass to the Veteran Open House,   which is also free. For more information or to sign up, go to http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/6989/vas-business-conference-and-hiring-fair-putting-vets-back-to-work/

8. WWII GI Bill Birthday:   Today marks the 68th anniversary of the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of   1944, more popularly known as the GI Bill of Rights, which the VFW played a   leading role to get signed into law by President Roosevelt. The impact of the   World War II GI Bill was felt from Wall Street to Main Street as veterans   became college graduates, bought homes, and started businesses and families.   The new law also transferred a number of Army hospitals to the VA to increase   their capacity to care for wounded, ill and injured veterans. VFW’s   centennial history book, “Our First Century,” provides excellent   detail on how one of the most significant pieces of legislation of the 20th   century was created. Copies are available for purchase through the VFW Store   at http://www.vfwstore.org/detail.aspx?ID=22679.

9. Five MIAs Return   Home: The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office recently   announced the identification of remains belonging to four airmen and one   soldier who had been missing in action from World War II and the Korean and   Vietnam Wars. Returned are:
* Army Air Forces 2nd Lt. Emil T. Wasilewski, 22, of Chicago. On Sept. 13,   1944, Wasilewski and eight other crew members were aboard a B-17G Flying   Fortress that crashed near Neustaedt-on-the-Werra, Germany. Only one of the   crewmen is known to have successfully parachuted out of the aircraft before   in crashed.
* Army Cpl. Robert I. Wax, 21, of Detroit. In August 1950, Wax and Battery A,   555th Field Artillery Battalion, were fighting against North Korean forces in   a battle known as the “Bloody Gulch,” near Pongam-ni, South Korea.   Wax would be listed as missing in action on Aug. 11.
* Air Force Lt. Col. Charles M. Walling, 27, of Phoenix, and Maj. Aado   Kommendant, 25, of Lakewood, N.J. On Aug. 8, 1966, Walling and Kommendant   were flying an F-4C Phantom II that crashed while on a close air support   mission over Song Be Province, Vietnam.
* Air Force Capt. Clyde W. Campbell, 24, of Longview, Texas. On March 1,   1969, Campbell was piloting an A-1J Skyraider that crashed while on a close air-support   mission over Houaphan Province, Laos.
Read their individual recovery stories at http://www.dtic.mil/dpmo/news/news_releases/.

 

OEF/OIF/OND POST DEPLOYMENT REINTEGRATION CLINIC

The Manchester VA Medical Center has established an OEF/OIF/OND Post-Deployment Reintegration Clinic. The purpose of this clinic is to provide OEF/OIF/OND Veterans, that have newly returned from a deployment cycle, a one-stop shopping model of integrative primary and behavioral healthcare as well as an opportunity to seek after-hours care and engage with key community resources. Returning Combat Service Members are eligible for five (5) years of cost-free medical care (from the date of honorable or general discharge) for any medical condition, including an aggravated pre-existing condition (as verified by a VA provider) that may potentially be related to your combat service while in a theater of combat operations during a period of war or “hostilities” after November 11, 1998.  Some of the services that will be offered at the clinic include:Primary Care Clinic  Behavioral Health Clinic Polytrauma/TBI Clinic OEF/OIF/OND Case Management Dental Clinic Veterans Benefits administration My HealtheVet                                              Chaplain Service Manchester Vet Center Army Wounded Warrior Program Deployment Cycle Support Program Care Coordination Services

The new clinic will be available, for a limited time, on Wednesdays from 4:30PM to 7:30PM. It will be located in the Medical Center’s Primary Care Clinic. Please contact David Simpson, OEF/OIF/OND Program Manager or James Mazzuchelli, OEF/OIF/OND Case Manager, Monday through Friday (8:00AM to 4:30PM) at 603-624-4366 extensions 6483 or 6932 to make an appointment for the clinic. The VA Medical Center is located at 718 Smyth Road, Manchester, NH.