DAV, Department of Oklahoma participate in Veteran Stand down in Lawton Oklahoma in support of DAV Chapter 56 in Lawton.
A blind Army veteran walking with his guide dog to an Oklahoma City bus stop was attacked by a man who said he’d help him “see God.” The veteran, Gordan Allen Besaw, 51, had other plans and ended up holding his assailant down until police arrived. — in Bethany.
The VA Disability-Claims Backlog…and the VA’s Response http://ti.me/143RiFj
Part 2 of 3: What’s the VA doing about the backlog?
DAV Announces Retirement of National Adjutant Arthur H. Wilson http://bit.ly/13MpXHJ DAV announced last week that after nearly 50 years of service to the organization and 19 years in his current post, Arthur H. Wilson will retire as the organization’s CEO and National Adjutant effective May 31, 2013. DAV’s current National Headquarters Executive Director, J. Marc Burgess, has been appointed to become the new CEO and National Adjutant. Mr. Wilson, a 47-year DAV Life Member, will remain an active member of the organization. Mr. Wilson, a disabled Vietnam veteran of the U.S. Air Force, was appointed CEO and National Adjutant of the 1.2 million-member DAV in June, 1994. As DAV’s highest-ranking staff member, Mr. Wilson led, on average, 650 employees while managing the overall operations for the organization, one of America’s largest and most respected veterans service organizations.
DAV member Ruth Moore, for whom the recently reintroduced Ruth Moore Act was named, was presented with the Service Women’s Action Network’s Voice for Change Award today at SWAN’s 2013 Summit on Military Sexual Violence. Moore has been a brave and outspoken advocate for the rights of military sexual trauma (MST) survivors.
“My voice has been a voice for change over the past two years. But it isn’t my presence or my being that is so compelling to America. It is my story that people identify with. Why? Because it is our story,” said Moore, addressing an audience of many other MST survivors. “So today, I will accept this award with the knowledge that we all accept this award together. Because when I look at the people here, I see the bravery, courage, pain, anger, and conviction that I carry and live with every day.”
Chairman Jeff Miller (FL-01) introduced H.R. 562, the VRAP Extension Act of 2013. The bill would extend the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) through June 30, 2014, a move that would make it easier for program participants to finish job-training programs they have already started.
Originally created as part of the VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011, VRAP provides up to 12 months of education benefits to unemployed veterans between the ages of 35- 60, a group comprising nearly two thirds of all unemployed veterans. As the law currently stands, VRAP is scheduled to expire March 31, 2014. The extension would allow veterans using VRAP to continue to receive funding through what is considered the traditional spring semester of 2014 at the institution where they are enrolled, making it easier for more participants to complete training while receiving VRAP benefits.
“VRAP is a tremendous opportunity for unemployed veterans to receive valuable training for in-demand jobs, and I encourage all eligible veterans to apply.” said Miller. “The VRAP Extension Act of 2013 would simply extend the life of the program by another three months to help veterans finish training programs they have already started and continue receiving benefits during that time.”
The bill would also require an interim report to Congress to measure VRAP’s success in helping unemployed veterans find jobs.
The VA is proposing to add five diagnostic illnesses which are secondary to service connected TBI. The VA is proposing to add a new subsection to its adjudication regulation to state that if a veteran who has a service connected TBI also has one of the five illnesses, and then the illness will be considered service connected as secondary to TBI.
The regulatory change comes after the institute on Medicine strictly found “sufficient evidence of an association” between moderate or severe TBI and Parkinsonism, dementias (which VA understand to include present dementia of the Alzheimer type and post-traumatic dementia); depression (which also was associated with mild TBI); and diseases of hormone deficiency that may result from hypothalamic-pituitary changes. The report also found “sufficient evidence of a causal relationship between moderate or severe levels of TBI and diagnosed unprovoked seizures.
Maj. Gen. (ret) Aragon, State Secretary for Veteran and Military Affairs, has been able to acquire, at no cost of residents of Oklahoma, seven hyperbolic chambers for use by veterans diagnosed with PTSD and/or TBI. The chambers will be located in the Veteran Homes throughout the state and will be available for any veteran diagnosed with PTSD and/or TBI.
As a Friday deadline neared in Congress’s latest budget showdown, Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today questioned veterans group leaders about a proposal that would cut the benefits of more than 3.2 million disabled veterans and more than 55 million Social Security recipients.
Sanders has led opposition in Congress to reducing benefits by adopting a so-called chained CPI changing how the consumer price index is calculated. “It would mean very significant cuts for Social Security beneficiaries as well as for disabled veterans,” Sanders said at a joint hearing of the Senate and House veterans’ affairs committees.
Sanders asked representatives of veteran service organizations for their assessment of the proposal.
Tom Tarantino, the policy chief for the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, called it “a terrible idea.” He added, “It astounds me that we keep asking veterans to sacrifice more and more.”
H. Gene Overstreet, president of the Non-Commissioned Officers Association, called it “a bad idea” and said “veterans have paid their due.”
“Unconscionable,” was how Charles Susino, the World War II veteran and national commander of the American Ex-Prisoners of War, characterized the proposal.
The proposed change in how the consumer price index is calculated would result in significantly lower annual cost-of-living adjustments for more than 3.2 million disabled veterans receiving disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. Veterans who started receiving VA disability benefits at age 30 would have their benefits reduced by $1,425 at age 45, $2,341 at age 55 and $3,231 at age 65, according to the Congressional Budget Office. More than 55 million retirees, widows, orphans and disabled Americans on Social Security also would be affected by the switch to a so-called chained CPI.