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  • VA secretary promises in writing not to cut benefit program for disabled vets

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON – Months after President Donald Trump’s administration backed off a proposal to slash benefits for the country’s most disabled veterans, organizations such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars were still receiving calls and emails from panicked vets.

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  • Why so many veterans go hungry — and VA’s new plan to fix it

    Type of content: News

    When Greg Stegall left the Navy at 30 years old, he found himself utterly adrift: a single dad with no degree, no clear plans for the future and a short résumé in a down job market. Struggling to find work, Stegall put his son in a boarding school for poor children and asked his parents for money and food.

    Nearly 30 years later, Stegall — now 58 — oversees a program at a Pennsylvania food bank that delivers meals to hungry veterans. But he still regularly sees other vets in similar situations.

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  • New VA claims process promises decisions within 30 days

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — Veterans Affairs officials on Thursday unveiled a new disability claims process they promise will result in decisions within 30 days, potentially shaving months off some veterans’ current wait.

    But that timeline doesn’t factor in advance work veterans must do on their own to collect relevant medical tests and service documents. And for now, the new process is only open to veterans looking to upgrade existing disability claims, not new cases.

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  • New Pentagon rules aim to broaden reviews of 'bad paper' dismissals

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — Veterans advocates are hopeful that more veterans with “bad paper” dismissals will be able to upgrade their discharge status now that defense officials have released clearer guidance of how to handle a host of mental health and injury cases.

    The new memo, released Monday by the Pentagon’s personnel and readiness office, states that reviewers must take into consideration “conditions resulting from post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, sexual assault or sexual harassment” when deciding whether to upgrade a veterans’ status.

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  • In Reno, Trump signs bill to overhaul VA appeals process

    Type of content: News

    RENO, Nev. — Under a bill President Donald Trump signed Wednesday, veterans will have more options to appeal denied claims for Department of Veterans Affairs benefits – a process that now leaves veterans waiting an average of five years.

    Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization bill on stage at the 99th American Legion National Convention in Reno, Nev. The Legion was one of the groups that supported the overhaul.

    During a speech before the signing, Trump touted the legislation as “historic.”

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  • In Norfolk, VA Secretary outlined 5 priorities for overhauling veterans' care

    Type of content: News

    Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin described the VA system much like he might a patient.

    “The VA has a lot of problems right now, and I describe it as being in critical condition,” Shulkin told reporters Wednesday. “That means we need to intensively monitor the progress of the organization, but I believe we’re moving in the right direction.”

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  • Advocates Push Senators to Pass GI Bill Expansion Before Summer Recess

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — House lawmakers overwhelmingly passed a massive expansion to GI Bill benefits last week. Now supporters are wondering if Senate officials will be able to do the same.

    Advocates for the plan on Monday lobbied upper chamber leaders not to derail the popular legislation with “political grandstanding,” saying finalizing the sweeping reforms should be an easy task before senators break for the summer.

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  • Plan to overhaul GI Bill moves through House, on to Senate

    Type of content: News

    Major reforms to veterans’ education benefits are one step closer to becoming law after the House of Representatives unanimously voted in favor of the legislation Monday.

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  • Despite promises, VA Secretary can't shake privatization concerns

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON — Nearly half a year into his job, Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is still trying to convince critics that his efforts to improve the department won’t lead to privatizing care and support programs for veterans.

    In an editorial in USA Today Monday morning, Shulkin — the only holdover of former President Barack Obama’s administration to President Donald Trump’s Cabinet — called lingering fears of VA privatization “unfounded” and stated again that “we will not allow VA to be privatized on our watch.”

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  • Major Veterans' Groups Voice Concern Over Senate Health Bill

    Type of content: News

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Major veterans' organizations are voicing concerns about a Senate GOP bill to repeal the nation's health care law, fearing the impact of rising insurance costs and worried the underfunded Department of Veterans Affairs won't be able to fill the coverage gap.

    While there are more than 21 million veterans in the U.S., only about 8 million receive health care from the VA. The others rely on Medicaid, purchase insurance on state or federal exchanges, have employer-provided insurance or have no coverage at all.

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