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Veterans

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Our Veterans made great sacrifices for us on the battlefield and we owe them a debt of gratitude for that service. I am committed to ensuring our veterans can access the benefits they've earned through their service to a grateful nation. Whether it is accessing health care, employment and educational opportunities, or just support within our communities, our veterans deserve our  unequivocal commitment to ensuring their successful transition to civilian life.


First District Veterans Advisory Council 


I formed and meet with a local veterans advisory council as part of my ongoing efforts to hear directly from veteran constituents who have first-hand knowledge of the issues facing veterans in our community. We discuss legislative developments in Washington and also ways we can support veterans in our own communities. 


Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs)


On important issues like veterans affairs and ensuring our veterans are receiving the treatment and benefits they have earned and deserve, I rely on veterans service organizations (VSOs) to help keep me informed of what is going on in our local veteran communities. I meet with these groups regularly, both in Virginia and in Washington. Our conversations are an invaluable tool for me as I represent our veterans in Congress. 


Recent Legislation 

I introduced three bills on Vietnam Veterans Day 2017 aimed at removing administrative roadblocks to Veterans Administration (VA) services and improving the customer experience within the VA. 

The Veterans Choice Accountability Act expands Veteran access to Non-VA medical care and establishes a review of the VA’s implementation of the Veteran’s Choice Program. (The Veterans Choice Program allows veterans to seek medical care outside of the VA system if long wait times or a lack of specialists are a barrier to accessing care.) 

The Veterans Collaboration Act creates a VA Pilot Program to foster collaboration between qualified non-profit veterans service organizations (VSOs) and educational institutions that provide assistance to Veterans.

The Veterans Affairs Transfer of Information and Sharing of Disability Examination Procedures with DoD Doctors Act requires that the service member's separation physical examinations conducted by military doctors be used to determine service connected disability. This would speed access to care for veterans by not subjecting them to another round of medical screenings before a disability rating is issued. The bill also continues to demand that the VA and DoD share medical and service record data electronically.


Resources for Veterans 

My office stands ready and willing to assist First District veterans with VA benefits issues or any other problem veterans may be facing. In addition, below are a number of resources veterans may find helpful. 

For more information about the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 (GI Bill), please visit:
http://www.gibill.va.gov/

The Department of Veterans Affairs has founded a national suicide prevention hotline to ensure veterans in emotional crisis have free access to trained counselors.  To learn more please visit 
http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/

The Department of Defense has compiled a comprehensive handbook listing benefits for services members and their families upon separation or retirement as a result of serious injury or illness.  The handbook describes the disability eligibility process, various program qualifications, application procedures, and numerous resources.  For more information or an electronic copy of the handbook, please visit the following link: http://warriorcare.dodlive.mil/files/2015/10/FY2016-Compensation-and-Benefits-Handbook.pdf

The Department of Veterans Affairs has created a new veteran health portal to optimize medical care.  For more information, please visit http://www.myhealth.va.gov/
 
While there are many resources for veterans and their families available through the federal government, there are two organizations I know of that recognize the deep commitment and sense of service reflected in the sacrifice that our nation’s heroes have given.

For the families of fallen veterans, you can visit American Gold Star Mothers, Inc.’s website to learn more information about what services they offer and what they can provide you. 

For the families of active duty members who are currently deployed, you can visit the website for Blue Star families and see what information that organization can provide you. 

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