Make your own free website on Tripod.com
National POW/MIA Awareness
Military Assocs.
Home
Ohio~Chapter 1
National League of POW/MIA Families
Voters Guide
Most Recent POW/MIAs
POW/MIAs
POW/MIA Articles
Statistics
9-11-2001
National POW/MIA Recognition Day
Wars
Family Information
Military Needs
Charging the Military
Today's Military
Sending Overseas
Health Issues
American Heritage
Yesterdays Military
My Sister in Arms
Veterans Day 11-11
Veteran's Bill of Rights
PTSD
Agent Orange
Casualty Counts
Links
Tricare Info.
Chemical Warfare
Military Assocs.
Do One Thing Nice
Wounded Warriors
Memorial Day

veteransheader.gif

Military associations — numbered
Military associations represent the interests of active, reserve, veteran and retired military members, and their families. The associations perform many different functions. They may lobby Congress and the White House on important military-related legislation, provide services to their members, inform their members and the general public about issues of concern, and help bring together military communities with similar interests or backgrounds. (more)

Military associations — A to M
Military associations represent the interests of active, reserve, veteran and retired military members, and their families. The associations perform many different functions. They may lobby Congress and the White House on important military-related legislation, provide services to their members, inform their members and the general public about issues of concern, and help bring together military communities with similar interests or backgrounds. (more)

Military associations — N to Z
Military associations represent the interests of active, reserve, veteran and retired military members, and their families. The associations perform many different functions. They may lobby Congress and the White House on important military-related legislation, provide services to their members, inform their members and the general public about issues of concern, and help bring together military communities with similar interests or backgrounds. (more)

General Information

(202) 756-7729

Address

Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission
1101 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
, 5th Floor
Washington, DC 20004

 

 

Executive Director

Mr. Ray Wilburn

Fax

(202) 756-0229

E-Mail

veterans@vetscommission.intranets.com

  1. ... 211; Fax: (816) 968-1149 or e-mail: map@vfw.org. Related Links ...
  2. Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US, vfw nonprofit service org, usa military veterans benefits, VFW programs, community service, patriotic and world events, american flag sales, clubs posts service to usa military veterans and communities, youth ...
  3. Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US, vfw nonprofit service org, usa military veterans benefits, VFW programs, community service, patriotic and world events, american flag sales, clubs posts service to usa military veterans and communities, youth ...
  4. ... E-mail us: >membership@vfw.org. >Call: 888-JOIN-VFW ...
  5. Veterans of Foreign Wars of the US, vfw nonprofit service org, usa military veterans benefits, VFW programs, community service, patriotic and world events, american flag sales, clubs posts service to usa military veterans and communities, youth ...

 

 
 

 
 
 

1-877-7AMVETS, amvets@amvets.org

 
 
   
 

Commander's Testimony

AMVETS National Commander Tom McGriff before the committee on Veterans’ Affairs United States House of Representatives concerning the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee accomplishments in fiscal year 2007 and looking ahead to fiscal year 2008

Sept. 20, 2006

Chairman Buyer, members of the Committee:

Earlier this month, we paused to remember the men and women who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. We watched in horror as American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Later, many of our worst fears were realized when three more planes were hijacked. The attacks against the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the failed attempt in rural Pennsylvania began a new era in American history. This era is marked by a new kind of patriotism our nation has never known. Instead of the fear and hopelessness the terrorists of 9/11 hoped to plant, courage and valor have grown. We rebuilt and regained our strength, and we will never let the images of the crashed planes, falling buildings and burning countryside fade from our memories.

Today, this nation is engaged in a different kind of war. We have a new generation of brave American’s once again deployed around the world, answering the call to arms. When they return home with physical and psychological wounds – most of which will never heal – we have a great moral obligation to care for them. I sincerely believe that an elected official has no greater duty than to provide for and be attentive to those who have bravely defended our nation and our freedoms.

Mr. Chairman, the focus of today’s hearing is to look at what the Committee has accomplished this year, and look ahead to next year. We certainly thank you and the Committee for its work in passing measures aimed to restrict protests at military funerals, enhance the Servicemembers’ Life Insurance program, provide veterans with a COLA, improve veterans housing, strengthen VA’s information technology, and other matters. But I think it is more important to look at where we are today, and examine the areas that need to be improved so VA can care for all veterans seeking care. I will focus my remarks on four issues: assured funding, veterans mental health, the claims backlog, and the veteran’s attorney legislation.


Assured Funding

First, assured funding. Every time we send our young men and women into combat, we are asking them to make a huge sacrifice for the rest of us. Their lives and their health care are the real follow-up cost to any war. The VA budget for fiscal year 2007 was a step in the right direction, but sadly, it does not go far enough to meet the needs of all veterans. Members of Congress touted that this is the first year The Independent Budget has been used to tabulate VA’s budget. I ask why? The Independent Budget has been in existence for over twenty years, and has been proven time and time again to be the most accurate estimate of VA’s funding requirements. If you are really serious about meeting the needs of veterans, use The Independent Budget’s figures for fiscal year 2008.

Veterans’ health care is an ongoing cost of war, and should be treated as such. No veteran should have to fight for the care he or she has earned by virtue of military service. But that is exactly what many veterans are forced to do. Access to quality health care has been compromised by budget shortfalls, rising medical costs and a sharp and steady increase in demand for services. The current discretionary funding formula pits VA against other agencies and billions in pork barrel projects. Over the years, this process has proven its weakness in providing for the needs of enrolled veterans. Frankly, the system needs to be fixed. The only way VA can fulfill its mission is for Congress to guarantee the funding it needs to operate.

Contrary to some belief, Congress would not lose oversight if assured funding in instituted. As with other direct funding entitlements, Congress would retain its current supervision of VA programs and health care services. Additionally, VA would still be held accountable for how its funds are being spent and how well its health care programs are managed. In fact, most federal health care programs are funded through mandatory funding. Isn’t it only fair to put our nation’s sick and disabled veterans on the same level as these other entitlements? The cost of freedom does not come cheap. Caring for veterans is an American responsibility, and one that should not be subject to an arbitrary and time-consuming process.

Mental Health

Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) have resulted in the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops since 2002. It is estimated that approximately a third of military personnel will need mental health treatment upon returning from these operations. For those who served in the Iraq, 35 percent requested mental health services one year after deployment or leaving the service. We've learned from past conflicts that war has long-lasting psychological effects. Mental and emotional problems can be just as devastating as physical wounds. But getting a handle on PTSD and other disorders is tremendously difficult. The effects vary for each person. Some never show symptoms, others show them immediately.

Unfortunately, VA has had an uneven record of service to veterans with mental health needs. We applaud Congress for having codified into law special safeguards to ensure VA gives priority to the needs if veterans with mental illness. But more needs to be done. VHA must invest resources in programs that aid patients’ recovery rather than managing and treating symptoms. VA should develop a continuum of care that includes case management, rehabilitation, peer support, work therapy, and other support services with an overarching goal of recovery. Additionally, VA must work hand-in-hand with DoD to help returning service members obtain treatment for war-related mental health problems. We are learning more everyday about the effects of war and the toll PTSD has on soldier’s lives, and I encourage this Committee to continue its efforts to help VA assist veterans on the long road to recovery.

Claims Backlog

VA continues to experience challenges processing veterans' disability compensation and pension claims. The backlog is at a critical stage, with significant errors numbering about 100,000 per year. The average initial claim takes more than six months to complete, and appeals of denied claims can take as long as three years.

VBA is also faced with many experience claims processors reaching the retirement age. According to VBA, it takes 2 to 3 years of experience for claims decision-makers to achieve a fully productive level of expertise. Currently, about half of VBA’s staff has 3 years or less of decision-making experience. VBA needs to tackle this problem now so they are not faced with even more inexperienced staff when the Baby-Boom generation retires. That means hiring and training new employees immediately. AMVETS believes VBA is capable of reducing backlogs and improving error rates, but only if and when new technology, better training, more staff, and real accountability is implemented. That takes time and money, not budget cuts and staff reductions, which have been proposed in recent budgets.

In fact, AMVETS is so passionate looking at claims and other VBA challenges, we are hosting a National Symposium for the Needs of Young Veterans in mid-October. The Symposium’s goals are to reach a consensus on the key problems facing veterans, offer solutions that will modernize the system, and suggest how to enhance benefits for the National Guard and Reservists. In November 2006, the Symposium will publish an action plan that will define, describe and prioritize the steps needed to provide a modern benefits program and an effective delivery system.

Our goal is quite clear – to raise public discussion about veterans benefits to a whole new level. One of the greatest and largely unrecognized challenges facing America is how we will provide for the needs of young veterans, namely those who are currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world today. If you are concerned about the future of veterans’ benefits in America, then I encourage you to support us in this endeavor and seriously study our action plan. I am confident the Symposium will provide Congress and VA will a realistic report that will improve the system now and into the 21st century.

Veterans Choice in Representation Legislation

AMVETS has many serious concerns with the House and Senate veteran’s choice of representation bills. As you know, the Senate passed their version, S. 2694, with a number of other non-controversial veterans benefits enhancements attached to it. We support the added language now contained in the Senate bill and urge its passage, but only without the attorney provisions.

Veterans service organization provide, free of charge, excellent representation and a broad range of services to any veteran - member or not - within the community. AMVETS has specialty-trained representatives stationed around the country to assist veterans wanting to file a claim. We have access to the VA system, know exactly who to contact, and are acquainted with the people who make the decisions. We feel we provide a greater and more efficient service than any lawyer could.

If lawyers are allowed into the system, it would overturn veterans protections that have been in place since the Civil War. It will not improve the procedure or make it more efficient. Just the opposite would be true. A good lawyer will do what they can to lengthen the process, potentially exploiting the system in order to maximize the result. The benefits system was designed be a non-adversarial, open, informal process to ensure veterans received the benefits promised to them. Adding lawyers to the mix will create a potentially hostile situation between the veteran and VA.

Furthermore, VA cannot handle lawyers. The VA benefits system is a labyrinth of laws and regulations that takes years of experience and training to understand and navigate. Most lawyers do not have an understanding of the complexity of veteran’s law, the vast VA bureaucracy, or even know what is rightfully due to a veteran. VA will not doubt be inundated with calls from legal aids wanting to know exactly how VA works and how to navigate through the department. VBA is financially strapped as it is, and claims backlogs continue to grow without this added burden.

Mr. Chairman, before you consider this provision, I would ask the Committee to explore ways to reduce pending cases by fixing staffing shortfalls, improving training programs, and holding claims processors accountable for the quality of their work. That is what is going to solve VA’s internal problems and claims backlogs, not attorney’s.

We have many challenges ahead. Record deficits are setting the stage for future budget cuts and many program efficiencies. While I certainly agree the federal government needs to get it’s fiscal house in order, I do not agree this should come at the expense of veterans and their families. I encourage this Committee to put aside political differences and political pressures and work together to create a budget that guarantees the care of all those who defend this nation. Veterans deserve a government that is committed to the same values they fought to preserve.

In closing Mr. Chairman, AMVETS looks forward to working with you and the Committee to ensure the earned benefits of all of America’s veterans are strengthened and improved. We must remain vigilant in our fight against those who would take away the freedoms for which so many veterans have fought. We must remain firm in our support of American troops at home and abroad and never forget their daily sacrifices.

I would like to say a special “thank you” to these members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and Reserves who continue to defend our nation. America is truly the land of the free and the home of the brave because of what you do.

This concludes my testimony. Thank you again for the opportunity to present our views, and I would be happy to answer any question you might have

 

 
DISCLAIMER

Fun Graphix is a non gain, non profit group for sharing purposes only.
DO NOT contact the Owners or Members over copyright issues.
All shares are done under the FAIR USE Act with out any gain or profit
& therefore is not a crime .
No Members claim to have made any of the graphics that they send to this lis/websitet. 
The graphics come from a wide variety of web sources & are therefore deemed to be public domain. As far as they are aware they are licensed for personal use only, & are by their respective artist. Any infringement of said copyright is non intentional.
The tubes/mists/graphix are for Non-Profit use ONLY any other use is prohibited.
All respected rights go back to the original creator

Visit www.CaringBridge.org

australianartilleryaward.jpg

The webmistress supports Feel Free Graphix.  You are more than welcome to right click on any graphix and "save as" name you decide and save to your computer.

1501.gif

This site is a member of WebRing.
To browse visit Here.

1501.gif

Please spread the word of our Prisoners of War and our Missing in Action. There are STILL Americans who don't know anything about them! There are Americans who don't know the true meaning of POW/MIA! TEACH THEM. NEVER FORGOTTEN!!

2124e9c1.gif

youare6.gif

1501.gif


Top List
Please CLICK and offer us up a VOTE? THANK YOU!!

IObit Freeware - Care For Your PC

Previous List Random Join Next Viper's Vietnam Veteran Page
SiteRing by Bravenet.com

Powered by WebRing.

1501.gif

Agent Orange Veterans
Powered By Ringsurf

Please enjoy a visit to my other websites, jammed full of graphix all free for the taking!

POW/MIA Awareness
Powered By Ringsurf

powmiaawarenessgraphixbanner.gif

fungraphixbanner.gif

militarybranches.gif

veteranshonorpowmia.jpg

Check out my iSOUND.COM listener profile