VA Claims Update
The Department of Veterans Affairs is moving a step closer to fixing a disability claims system that for years has taken in more claims than are processed. The department is about to roll out nationally a new automated Veterans Benefit Management System to make claims determinations faster and more accurate. In 2009, VA produced 900,000 claims decisions, but took in 1 million new claims. VA increased its claims decisions to 1 million in both 2010 and 2011, but then took in 1.2 million and 1.3 million new claims, respectively. The new automated system will be launched in 16 of the VA's 56 regional offices this fall to complement ongoing manual efforts, with the rest of the ROs brought onboard by 2014. VA's intent is to have no claim older than 125 days, and for every rating decision to be 98 percent accurate. Read more.
VFW Attends Labor Department TAP Briefing
Last week, VFW had the opportunity to sit in on the Department of Labor's latest iteration of the redesigned transition assistance program, or TAP. DOL Veterans Employment and Training Service, or VETS, is in the process of reworking the curriculum for its two-and-a-half day employment workshop in an effort to ensure that transitioning service members have all the resources necessary to pursue a meaningful civilian career after military service, and has welcomed input from veterans' advocates like the VFW. Learn more about VFW's work to help improve TAP resources.
VFW Marine Completes Walk to Arlington
On Monday afternoon, VFW member and Marine Corps veteran Justin Kuhel arrived at Arlington National Cemetery, completing a 17-day, 400-mile walk from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio, to help raise the nation's awareness of wounded veterans. VFW Washington, D.C., staff were on hand at Arlington to greet Kuhel and accompany him on a visit to fallen comrades laid to rest in Section 60. Learn more about Kuhel's journey.
Congress on Recess; Share Your District Stories
Members of Congress will be in their home states and districts for the second week —returning to Washington on April 16th. Now is a great time to set up an appointment to discuss the VFW Legislative Priority Goals and urge them to support a budget that takes care of veterans and our active duty military, guard and reserve members and their families. If you have advocacy stories you would like to share for publication on the VFW Capitol Hill blog, simply fill out the online form or send details and photos directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
VFW has been in the forefront of the Tricare and Military Retirement issue and asks you to join with us in defeating any proposals that may be harmful to veterans and our military. Get talking points on our "Join the Fight" campaign and a complete listing of our Legislative Priority Goals. Remember, you have influence with your elected officials, use it. We cannot win the fight without your help and advocacy!
Two MIA's Identified
The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identifications of remains belonging to a Korean War soldier and Vietnam War airman. Identified are:
- Army Cpl. Henry F. Johnson, 20, of Conway, Ark. Johnson, of L Company, 3rd Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, was deployed in a defensive line that ran east-west across the center of North Korea when Chinese forces attacked on Nov. 25, 1950. It was later learned he was taken captive but died in the spring of 1951 as a result of malnutrition.
- Air Force Tech. Sgt. Allen J. Avery, 29, of Arlington, Mass. Forty years ago on April 6, 1972, six airmen were flying a combat search and rescue mission in their HH-53C Super Jolly Green Giant when it was hit by enemy ground fire and crashed in Quang Tri Province in South Vietnam.
Read more about their individual stories.
Sean P Eagan
Former Chairman American Cold War Veterans