6/16/2020 0 Comments
Jon Stewart, former Daily Show host and longtime advocate for 9/11 first responders, brought his trademark fiery spirit to a recent veterans event, asking the VA to grant presumption status to veterans exposed to toxins from burn pits before they die waiting on research to make the connection.
“If you can’t take care of those that are injured and face health issues, if we’re going to make them fight wars and then come home and fight for their lives, that has to change,” said Stewart, one of four speakers in an online discussion produced by The Washington Post. “That’s a model that has to change.”
Read the story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/jon-stewart-continues-advocacy-efforts-on-behalf-of-veterans-exposed-to-burn-pits/
Military families with special needs should be notified of actual availability of appointments – not just that special-needs providers exist – before moving to their next duty station, MOAA’s director of government relations for health affairs told lawmakers Wednesday during a House Armed Services (HASC) subcommittee hearing.
Karen Ruedisueli was one of five military family advocates who testified before HASC’s military personnel panel about problems with the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) and the Military Health System (MHS), including gaps in care that can be caused by lengthy waitlists as servicemembers move to new duty stations. She called on members of the subcommittee to address concerns of special needs families.
Read my story here: https://www.moaa.org/content/publications-and-media/news-articles/2020-news-articles/moaa-advocates-for-improvements-to-military-family-health-care-at-house-hearing/
The Department of Veterans Affairs has issued a new policy to protect veteran homeowners from predatory lending.
The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act of May 2018 protects veteran homeowners from predatory lending practices when obtaining a VA-guaranteed refinance loan. The VA Home Loan program works to maximize opportunities for veterans and servicemembers to obtain, retain, and adapt homes by providing fiscally responsible benefits in recognition of their service.
“We want to ensure veterans have the informed ability to take advantage of economic opportunities and make sound decisions that enable them to prosper when using their benefits,” said Peter O'Rourke, acting VA Secretary. “This is yet another tool that will help veterans meet their personal goals.”
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/VA-issues-new-policy-to-protect-veteran-homeowners-from-predatory-lending.aspx
Military retirees in Colorado scored a big victory last month when Gov. John Hickenlooper signed a law extending income-tax deductions for those under the age of 55.
The bill, which is designed to encourage veterans to stay in Colorado after leaving the military, allows retired servicemembers who aren't yet 55 to claim deductions in staggered amounts over four years.
Before this move, Colorado had been one of 10 states without any state income tax deductions for military retirees.
“The goal was to keep ... and attract veterans to Colorado,” said Shelly Kalkowski, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel who works on the Colorado Councils and Chapters of the Military Officers Association of America. “If they're Colorado residents [who] join the military, they want to live here but said it's too expensive to come back. This gives them a little more leeway in their disposable income to come here.”
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Colorado-Lawmakers-Pass-Bill-Reducing-Taxes-on-Military-Retirement.aspx
The president of the country's largest association of military officers lauded the VA Mission Act during an interview Wednesday on the Government Matters television show.
Lt. Gen. Dana Atkins, USAF (Ret.), also discussed pay raises and veteran healthcare during the show, which will air on the Department of Defense' American Forces Network. For those who live in the Washington, D.C. metro area, the show will also appear on News Channel 8 on Wednesday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. After it airs, the interview can be viewed on the Government Matters website.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/MOAA-President-talks-VA-Mission-Act-on-Government-Matters-TV-show.aspx
Hundreds of thousands of military families could find support and resources through proposed benefits in the 2019 defense spending bill.
Military families generally move every few years as their servicemember transfers to different duty stations, making it hard to build friendships or for spouses to find permanent employment. The Defense Department estimates there are 641,639 spouses of active-duty servicemembers.
The $717 billion National Defense Authorization Act that was passed by the House of Representatives last week includes several policies that could benefit spouses and families. The Senate is now marking up their version of the bill.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Military-Spouses,-Families-Would-Benefit-From-These-Policies-in-the-NDAA.aspx
[Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva/Marine Corps]
From credit for retirement pay for Reserve troops' maternity leave to tracking burn-pit exposure, the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act could bring comprehensive changes to the military.
The $717 billion defense spending bill was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday by a vote of 351 to 66. It now moves onto the Senate.
The bill authorizes DoD spending and sets personnel strength.
Here are five ways the 2019 defense spending bill will affect active-duty, Reserve, and National Guard troops.
Read the story here:
Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., right, urged the Senate to pass the VA Mission Act this week. [Robert Turtil/Veterans Affairs]
With overwhelming support, the U.S. Senate passed a bill to streamline the VA health care system, which could reduce veterans' wait times and allow more of them to seek out their own physicians.
The VA Mission Act was easily approved by the Senate with a vote of 92-5 on Wednesday. The bill, which previously passed the House by a vote of 347-70, will next go to President Donald Trump to become law just ahead of Memorial Day.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Senate-Approves-Big-Changes-to-VA-Health-Care.aspx
Several Veteran Service Organizations, including Rene Campos, stand behind Sen. Isakson as he pushes for VA Mission Act to pass this week. [AMANDA DOLASINSKI/MOAA]
Veterans are one step closer to a streamlined health care system that could reduce wait times and provide flexibility to seek out their own physicians.
After years of negotiations, Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is urging the full Senate's approval on the VA Mission Act during a vote this week - just ahead of Memorial Day. The bill has garnered support of more than 30 veterans' services organizations, including the Military Officers Association of America.
“This is in the best interest of the veteran,” said Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., the committee's ranking member. “Veterans, they like VA healthcare. With few exceptions, [they] like VA healthcare.”
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Senate-Leaders-Support-Big-Changes-to-VA-Health-Care.aspx
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks to reporters in the Rayburn House Building about the Burn Pits Accountability Act. [Amanda Dolasinski/MOAA]
Nearly every day during her 2003 deployment to Iraq, Christina Thundathil was tasked with cleaning burn pits - a duty that required her to light a fire in a large metal drum and stir waste for disposal.
She has no doubts the job made her ill, including her recent lung disease diagnosis.
As more veterans have come forward, two Army combat veterans serving in Congress - bolstered by support from MOAA and other members of the Military Coalition - are pushing a bill that would track servicemembers' exposure to burn pits or toxic airborne chemicals and share that information with Veterans Affairs facilities.
“I'm excited something can be done,” Thundathil said. “I want to leave the military in a better place than how I found it.”
On Thursday, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Brian Mast, R-Mich., both Army combat veterans, came together to push Congress to unite to pass the Burn Pits Accountability Act. The burn pits issue has been compared to the Vietnam era's Agent-Orange crisis. Agent Orange, an herbicide chemical sprayed by aerial troops to destroy vegetation used for enemy cover in Vietnam, has caused illness to more than 3 million, according to government data.
Read the story here: http://www.moaa.org/Content/Publications-and-Media/News-Articles/2018-News-Articles/Veterans-Affected-by-Burn-Pits-Applaud-New-Bill-to-Track-Exposure.aspx
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