Friday, December 28, 2012

VFW Washington Weekly

Washington Weekly

Arrow December 28, 2012

Two Vet Bills Await Final Approval
The VFW's fall campaign, "Finish Strong for Veterans," appears to have paid off. Last week, the Senate passed two bills that we hope will be quickly approved by the House and sent to the President for his signature. H.R. 4057, the Improving Transparency in Education for Veterans Act, will improve consumer awareness and provide improved fraud protection for veterans as they choose where to use their Post-9/11 GI Bill. The second bill, S. 3303, contains several provisions, including: funding for the improvement and transfer of Clark Cemetery in the Philippines to the American Battle Monuments Commission, a Burn Pit registry, and a pilot program for off-base Transition Assistance Program briefings. The VFW National Legislative Service will keep you informed as these bills and others move forward in the remaining days of the 112th Congress.

Red Tape Cut for Veterans and Survivors
The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it is eliminating the need for an annual Eligibility Verification Report. Eliminating the annual report reduces a burden on veterans, their families and survivors who previously had to return the routine reports to avoid a suspension of benefits. Under the new initiative, VA will work with the IRS and Social Security Administration to verify continued eligibility for pension benefits. The new initiative also allows VA to redirect more than 100 employees to work on eliminating the claims backlog. Read more

HVAC Leadership Announced
House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) has made his recommendations for his four subcommittees when the 113th Congress convenes in January. Returning as chairman of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee will be Rep. Jon Runyan (R-N.J.). The three new subcommittee chairmen will be Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) for Economic Opportunity; Rep. Dan Benishek (R-Mich.) for Health; and Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) for Oversight & Investigations. The VFW encourages its national and department legislative committee members to use this opportunity to congratulate their respective subcommittee chairmen, and to continue to advocate for good legislation per our 2013 Priority Goals

Don't Cheat the VA
Ordered to pay $457,986 in restitution and sentenced to 30 months in federal prison,Charles C. Kaczmarczyk, 59, of Knoxville, Tenn., fraudulently obtained disability payments from the VA and Social Security Administration. Kaczmarczyk obtained disability payments based on a false claim of combat-related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and supported his PTSD claim with counterfeit Air Force records that reflected the award of two Purple Hearts and two Silver Stars. He also repeatedly lied to government investigators. Awaiting sentencing is David A. Bevilacqua, 65, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., who pleaded guilty this month to theft of government property. Bevilacqua applied for VA medical benefits by falsely claiming to have been honorably discharged when he was actually dishonorably discharged for going AWOL. He also falsely claimed to have received numerous medals, to include the Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, and claimed to have been in Force Recon and Special Forces in order to obtain increased benefits.

Korean War MIA Identified
The Defense POW/Missing Personnel Office announced the identification of remains belonging to Army Sgt. 1st Class Harold M. Brown, 20, of Winston-Salem, N.C. In late November 1950, Brown and elements of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, known as "Task Force Faith," were advancing along the eastern banks of the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea when they were attacked and forced into a fighting withdrawal. Brown was reported missing in action on Dec. 12, 1950. Read more


From the VFW Family to you and yours, have a safe and joyous New Year.

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    Sean Eagan

    American Cold War Veterans, Inc.
    Web: http://americancoldwarvets.org/
    Blog: Cold War Veterans Blog
    Email: Sean.Eagan@gmail.com
    Phone:  716 720-4000 
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