Blog Archives

Former Illinois Guard Adjutant General Introduces New Bill to Speed Veterans Benefits

A new bill in Congress would force the Veterans Administration to provide at least partial compensation to veterans whose claims have been pending at least 125 days. The 125-day mark is significant because that is the average claims processing time the Department of Veterans Affairs projected it would meet by 2015. The bill, dubbed the Veterans Backlog Reduction Act, is sponsored by Representative Bill Enyart (D-Illinois). If it becomes law, The VA would have to pay 40 percent of the projected claim amount until the claim...

Is Your VA Hospital Spying on You?

Is your VA hospital spying on you? Well, maybe. If you’re a patient or visiting family member. In a recent case involving an elderly brain-damaged Korean War veteran, ongoing friction between a Tampa VA hospital staff and the patient’s family led nurses to install an observation camera in a smoke detector in the patient’s room. According to the Veterans Administration’s own internal Inspector General’s report, the staff’s intent was to try to determine who or what seemed to have been sabotaging the patient’s...

The Order of the Silver Rose

As Chief Frank Davis lay dying in his ICU hospital bed, he was forbidden to have live flowers. His daughter purchased for him a silver plastic rose, to which he said “I’d rather have this silver rose than all of the Purple Hearts in the Pentagon.” He died shortly afterwards of the cancer that was directly linked to his exposure to Agent Orange in Vietnam more than 20 years earlier. Those whose deaths are linked to their Agent Orange (and the other dioxin-rich defoliants) exposure from their service in Vietnam are ineligible...

Battle Brewing Over Veterans’ Benefits, Chained CPI

Veterans groups and elder advocacy organizations such as the AARP are lobbying overtime to protect their constituents from the long-term effects of a budget-saving measure designed to reduce the rate of increase of future Social Security benefits, retirement income and VA disability compensation. The United States Government, still smarting from a nasty recession and suffering the fiscal hangover effects of the so-called ‘Stimulus’ package, is looking for ways to rein in spending in order to preserve the long-term financial...

Study: 44 Percent of Returning War Veterans Experience Complications on Readjustment

A new study by the Institute of Medicine released today finds that some 44 percent – almost half – of returning war veterans are experiencing problems reintegrating into stateside life. Here are some of the key findings of the 483-page study: •  Veterans returning from deployment frequently suffer from a multitude of complicated health issues that present lifelong challenges and hinder readjustment. •  Many veterans who need treatment are not receiving it. System-wide challenges exist in the delivery of care...

Military Sexual Trauma: What Help is Available?

Last year, the Air Force was embroiled in a scandal centering on rape allegations at the basic training facility at Lackland Air Force Base, part of Joint Base San Antonio. At least one instructor, Luis Walker, was convicted of 28 separate UCMJ counts arising from the raping female trainee, and sexually abusing as many as nine others. Follow-up investigations ensnared twelve instructors accused of sexually victimizing 31 female trainees. A recent report recommended that military commanders do more to prevent rape and sexual...

FREE 2013 handbooks for military personnel

Here's our official press release for the 2013 books! If you have ever downloaded or purchased a book from us, please leave a comment to let us know if you found them useful and share our site with your friends and colleagues.   ARLINGTON, VA - Military Handbooks has released their FREE 2013 handbooks for military personnel. These handbooks, written specifically for military service members, include a variety of information about pay, benefits, education and transitioning from the military.   2013 Military...

Defense Bill Gets Rave Reviews from Iraq and Afghanistan Vets’ Lobbying Organization

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, a lobbying and advocacy group representing GWOT veterans, has come out in favor of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA), passed by Congress on the eve of the Christmas recess. Specifically, IAVA applauds features in the bill that favor younger veterans, specifically, as opposed to the older generation combat veterans of the Gulf War, Viet Nam and earlier wars. For example, while Viet Nam-era veterans are now beginning to enter their retirement years, Iraq and Afghanistan...

Report Blasts VA for Claims Error Rates, Inefficiency

A report by the conservative-leaning National Center for Policy Analysis has blasted the Veterans Administration for chronic inefficiency and poor disability claims processing performance. The Veterans Administration is disputing the findings. The original report, The Veterans Disability System: Problems and Solutions, found that over 6 in 10 denials of claims were found to be erroneous on appeal. This represents a significant amount of total claims, since 31 percent of initial claims are denied. The study’s authors find...

Disabled Veterans and Distance Learning Opportunities

There is no doubt that making the transition from military life to civilian life is an often stressful time, even for those without service-related disabilities.  As more and more veterans return home from Afghanistan and Iraq with a range of disabilities, the online environment may be a prime starting point for those needing to ease into civilian life.  Even for wounded veterans who wish to continue their service, having the ability to attend school anywhere, anytime may give them an advantage when or if they do choose to work...

VA’s Ability to Comply with Executive Order Hindered by Its Destructive Whistleblower Policies

On August 31, President Obama issued an executive order calling for improved access to mental health care services for veterans and their families, including additional mental health staff to ensure that all veterans in crisis receive care within 24 hours. However, the American Federation of Government Employees has also issued a statement, calling on the Department of Veterans Affairs to tighten their management and end retaliation against whistleblowers in order to ensure that the department can follow through on this important...

Sequestration Details Released

Do you know the amount of funding the Department of Defense will automatically lose on January 2nd, 2013 to the mandatory budget cuts known as sequestration? $54.7 billion The personnel accounts (military payroll) and the Department of Veteran Affairs exemption still stand. This is only the first cut that sequestration mandates over a ten year period, adding up to approximately $500 billion in cuts overall to defense. Sequestration is the requirement, by law, to automatically balance the national budget with mandatory...

VA’s 2013 Budget Submission and Goals

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a big goal for 2012: to transform the VA into a 21st Century organization that is Veteran-centric, results-driven, and forward-looking. To accomplish these objectives, the VA has established management systems to ensure accountability, maximize efficiency and effectiveness, and eliminate waste while improving the delivery of high quality and timely benefits and services to Veterans. The Department’s budget request for 2013 is $140.3 billion. This includes almost $64 billion in discretionary...

House Passes 2013 COLA for Veterans

The House has passed H.R. 4114, the Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2012. If it is signed into law by also passing the Senate vote, H.R. 4114 will increase the annual cost-of-living rate for veterans beginning on December 1, 2012. This year's estimated COLA increase will be approximately 1.9 percent. For many, passage of the COLA each year is merely a formality. But it has typically been pushed to the end of the year, and after there were a few last-minute votes in 2011 for military pay, it is a relief...

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