Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committe Clears Putting Veterans Funding First Act

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The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee cleared several  bills that will improve access to healthcare and shield veterans from any budget or shutdown uncertainly that may occur in the future.  The senate version of The Putting Veterans Funding First Act (S. 932) was cleared and sent for consideration on November 19th.  The bill will fund all VA programs a year in advance.

Currently, only VA medical care accounts are provided an advance appropriation.  The House cleared a similar bill (H.R. 913) in August which calls for advance funding beginning with the 2016 budget.  The House version currently has a 74% chance of being enacted. The Senate’s version currently has 40% chance of being enacted.

The Putting Veterans Funding First Act of 2013 – Authorizes the provision of advance appropriations for the following discretionary (under current law, medical care) accounts of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA):
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Other bills cleared by the Senate include:

S. 1604 Veterans Health Care Eligibility Expansion and Enhancement Act of 2013

  • Expands the period of eligibility to enroll in VA healthcare for Post 9/11 combat veterans to include Guard and Reserves from 5 to 10 years. It also simplifies VA method in determining eligibility based on income thus allowing more veterans to enroll in VA.

S. 1593 Servicemember Housing Protection Act of 2013

  • Extends protections for service members with regards to sales contracts, mortgage penalties and provides further improvements under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act or SCRA. All of the bills now move to the Senate floor for debate.

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Smile Veterans…VA Extends Optional Dental Coverage

Health Benefits    VA Dental Insurance Program  VADIP

 

 

 

VA has partnered with Delta Dental and MetLife to allow eligible Veterans, plus family members receiving care under the Civilian Health and Medical Program (CHAMPVA), to purchase affordable dental insurance.  Applications are now being accepted, and coverage for this new dental insurance will begin Jan. 1, 2014.

Coverage will be available to veterans and eligible family members throughout the United States and its territories.

More than 8 million Veterans who are currently enrolled in VA health care can now choose to purchase one of the offered dental plans. This three-year pilot program is designed for Veterans with no dental coverage, or those eligible for VA dental care who would like to purchase additional coverage.

Participation will not affect entitlement to VA dental services and treatment. Historically VA’s free dental services have gone to Veterans with dental problems connected to a medical condition that’s officially certified as “service connected.”  Free dental services will continue for those Veterans.

Also eligible for the new benefits are nearly 400,000 spouses and dependent children who are reimbursed for most medical expenses under VA’s CHAMPVA program.  Generally, CHAMPVA participants are spouses, survivors or dependent children of Veterans officially rated as “permanently and totally” disabled by a service-connected condition.

There are no eligibility limitations based on service-connected disability rating or enrollment priority assignment.

Dental services under the new program vary by plan and include diagnostic, preventive, surgical, emergency and endodontic/restorative treatment. Enrollment in the VA Dental Insurance Plan (VADIP) is voluntary.  Participants are responsible for all premiums, which range from $8.65 to $52.90 per month for individual plans.  Copayments and other charges may apply.

People interested in participating may complete an application online through either

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Government Chooses Foreign Aid Payments over America’s Veterans and Grieving Families

VFW Disgusted with Elected Leadership and Steps in to Help Military Families

Military Aid Groups Step Up to Help Military FamiliesWASHINGTON (October 9, 2013) — The nation’s oldest and largest war veterans’ organization is disgusted with the partisan bickering and government paralysis caused by a White House and Congress who will not budge from their ideological extremes in order to properly take care of America’s true heroes.

“Monday’s news that the government will not transport or make a death assistance payment to grieving military families was the last straw. It is absolutely appalling and nothing short of a travesty that elected officials continue to receive paychecks and benefits while not providing for those who deserve it most,” said William A. Thien, the national commander of almost 2 million members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and its Auxiliaries.

Since the shutdown started, 17 servicemen and women have been killed in combat. Normally their families would receive $100,000 from the military within 36 hours to help pay for immediate needs. But now, those payments are not going out and, like everything else associated with this shutdown, they’ve gotten caught up in a partisan feud.

Military death benefits enable grieving family members to travel to Dover Air Force Base to greet their loved one’s flag-draped casket returning from overseas. The money also helps them pay for the funeral.

“Because of failed leadership, we have 56 closed Department of Veterans Affairs regional offices, 7,000 furloughed employees, and more than 4 million disabled veterans and survivors who were told next month’s disability or survivor benefits check will be delayed,” he said. “We also have a hypocritical National Park Service that closes our nation’s war memorials to veterans and a federal government that continues to make foreign aid payments while our own national security is threatened because Congress has failed to pass a defense budget or put an end to the sequester.

“This is totally unacceptable and disgraceful that our elected leaders in Washington would allow this to happen,” said Thien. “We need leadership, not more rhetoric, and if the government is unable to take care of veterans, then the government should quit creating us,” he said. “And should another military family crisis arise like yesterday’s failure, I can guarantee the VFW will provide whatever financial assistance necessary to those families.”

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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 it is also the 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 their website at http://www.vfw.org.

Boy Died to Give Us Our Freedom

New Caregiver Resource Directory for Warrior and Veteran Caregivers

Warrior Care BlogThe Defense Department’s Office of Warrior Care has compiled a Caregiver Resource Directory specifically for the caregivers of recovering service members.

The comprehensive directory contains general contact information for more than 300 supportive government and non-profit organizations.

Much of the directory’s information is also helpful to seasoned Veteran Caregivers, extended wounded warrior family members, and concerned veterans help groups across the U.S. who are in need of informational resources.

Caregiver Resource Directory

Click Here to Download/print or bookmark the Caregiver Resource Directory

If you are a Wounded Warrior or Warrior Caregiver, read their most recent posts:  

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