WASHINGTON — A federal court ruled Tuesday that the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot deny disability benefits to thousands of Vietnam veterans who claim exposure to cancer-causing chemical defoliants simply because those vets served in the waters off the country’s coastline, and not inland.
The ruling marks a major victory for so-called “blue water” Navy veterans who have fought the department for years over the denials. VA officials have said the existing scientific evidence doesn’t justify the presumption of toxic exposure for the group and have strongly opposed legislative efforts to overturn their decision.
But the 9-2 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturns past court opinions backing up VA, saying that Congress never intended to exclude servicemembers in the seas around Vietnam when they awarded presumptive benefits for certain illnesses related to Agent Orange exposure.
WASHINGTON — Today the U.S. Department of Veterans (VA) announced that it is prioritizing Veterans benefits appeals claims, effective Nov. 1, for victims in the Northern Mariana Islands who have been impacted by Super Typhoon Yutu.
VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals has determined that the significant effects of Super Typhoon Yutu were sufficient cause for the Board to advance the appeals for the Northern Mariana Islands municipalities determined to be disaster areas by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
“During this season of intense weather systems, VA is continually assessing how we can best support our Veterans as they recover from natural disasters,” VA Secretary Wilkie said. “Just as it did with hurricanes Florence and Michael, VA’s Board of Veterans’ Appeals is prioritizing the
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, announced today that she has passed several important measures into law to assist veterans. These items include provisions that Meng attached to the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, which was recently signed into law by the President. The measures include the following:
· Requiring the VA to investigate easing the burden of filing disability claims for veterans who participated in nuclear clean-up activities in Palomares, Spain and on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands. Currently, these veterans are not presumed to have been previously exposed to radiation when filing claims for disability and medical assistance. Rep. Meng introduced the Mark Takai Atomic Veterans Healthcare Parity Act which would provide healthcare benefits to veterans who participated in the nuclear cleanup of Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands during the late 1970s.
The U.S. Secretaries of Veterans Affairs (VA) and Defense (DOD) signed a joint statement Sept. 26 pledging that their two departments will align their plans, strategies and structures as they roll out a new electronic health records (EHR) system that will allow VA and DOD to share patient data seamlessly.
Signed by Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and VA Secretary Robert Wilkie, the joint statement reinforces both departments’ commitment to ensuring the successful transition from a legacy patient-data system to a modernized one that will continue to support active-duty service members, Veterans and their families.
“The joint statement between DOD and VA represents tangible evidence of our commitment to change how we deliver Veteran-focused, provider-friendly care,” Wilkie said. “The new EHR system will be interoperable with DOD, while also improving VA’s ability to collaborate and share information with community care providers. This will ease the burden on Service members as they transition from military careers and will be supported by multiple medical providers throughout their lives.”
SECRETARY OF DEFENSE JAMES N. MATTIS: Well, good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for being here this morning.
In January of this year, the Department of Defense released its National Defense Strategy. It was the first of its kind in a decade. And in it, we outlined the department's strategic priorities and the guidance that we wanted to give our departments below us for the budget request, tying the budgets to the strategy itself.
Today, thanks to strong bipartisan support in Congress and resulted in $717 billion budget authorization for 2019. And our military continues to grow stronger, more lethal, more agile, and certainly more deployable than a year ago.
When you retire from active duty, your TRICARE plan options will change. Retiring from active duty is a Qualifying Life Event (QLE). A QLE allows you to enroll in a new TRICARE plan or change your coverage options within 90 days of the life event. As a retiree, you’ll need to take action to enroll in a TRICARE plan if you want to continue to receive coverage for civilian care.
Dedicated to collecting the first-hand accounts of all veterans from WWI to present day, the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project (VHP) was created to preserve the memories of wartime veterans. VHP makes those personal accounts accessible to the public, which allows future generations to hear directly from veterans & better understand a veteran's service.
Established in 2000, VHP has more than 105,000 collections already archived & still is accepting new collection every day. VHP Director Karen Lloyd, a retired Colonel who served 28 years in the Army, said VHP is proud of that number.
We are working with the VHP & encouraging members to reach out to veterans within their own community, to listening to their stories & donate their work to their
After more than three years of planning and debate, the U.S. Commission on Fine Arts voted in June to locate the new National Desert Storm War Memorial adjacent to the National Mall at the intersection of Constitution Av & 23rd street, NW , in D.C. The commission voted 4-2 to approve the site, which will commemorate those who served in Operation Desert Shield & Operation Desert Storm in 1990-91.
"No one could have envisioned an American-led international coalition defeating the then-fourth largest standing army in the world in six weeks from the air & 100 hours on the ground," said Scott Stump, VFW life member of the Department of North Carolina & CEO & President of the National Desert Storm War Memorial Association. "But we did, & we did so magnificently, all because of our equipment, our training & our leaders - all of whom honed their teeth in Vietnam, where they learned how not to fight the next war."
Attached please find two letters from 38 veteran and military service organization leaders asking US Defense Secretary James Mattis and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Acting Director Mick Mulvaney to stop the rollback of servicemembers' rights under the Military Lending Act.
The letters are in response to Mr. Mulvaney's reported plan to stop the supervisory checks on banks and non-bank lenders for compliance with the provisions of the Military Lending Act, including the MLA's 36% cap on loans to servicemembers, and a plan to allow car lenders to circumvent the rules, as reported in these news articles:
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is expanding its partnership with Walgreens Boots Alliance to better coordinate medication and immunization histories of the nation’s veterans. The new "VA-Walgreens exchange” enables VA doctors to “easily view medications directly that are prescribed to VA-enrolled patients by community providers and filled at Walgreens pharmacies.”