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VFW Magazine February 2018 : Page 12

WHERE VFW STANDS ON THE ISSUES L i sted below are VFW’s offic i al pos i tions on i ssues i mpactin g veterans, serv i ce members and t h e i r fam i l i es, as well as national defense and h omeland secur i ty. T h ey are based on national convention resolutions and rated as pr i or i ties by d i rect feedback from VFW members. VFW PRIORITY GOALS FOR 2018 VETERANS AND MILITARY BUDGETS Congress must fully fund VA and DoD programs and services. To achieve this, Congress must: • End bud g et sequestration and adjust outdated bud g et caps. • Authorize VA to receive reimbursements from Tricare and Medicare. • Never reduce one veteran’s benefits to pay for anot h er. • Adjust Grant and Per D i em pro g ram rates for i n fl ation. • Pro hi b i t VA compensation and non-serv i ce connected pens i ons from being considered countable income for homeless programs. EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT AND TRANSITION ASSISTANCE To ensure veterans have an opportunity to obtain meaningful employment a ft er leav i n g m i l i tary serv i ce, t h ey must h ave access to: • H igh -qual i ty and susta i nable education benefits. • Strong employment and training programs. • Vocational Re h ab i l i tation and Employment serv i ces t h rou gh out t h e i r l i fetime. • Small bus i ness development opportun i ties. • C i v i l i an credentials or academ i c cred i t for t h e profess i onal tra i n-ing they receive during service. • Government hi r i n g and contractin g opportun i ties. • A national veterans treatment court advocate w i t hi n VA. • Education and tra i n i n g i n new and expand i n g career fields. • Proper knowled g e and tra i n i n g i n trans i tion pro g rams. VA WORK FORCE DEVELOPMENT AND ACCOUNTABILITY To attract and ma i nta i n a high -qual i ty workforce, Con g ress and VA must: • Improve hi r i n g aut h or i ties to recru i t and reta i n high -qual i ty healthcare professionals. • Provide quality training programs for employees and managers. • Qu i ckly i nvesti g ate, d i sc i pl i ne and remove employees w h o underperform or endanger veterans’ lives. VETERANS HEALTH CARE Con g ress and VA must ensure t h at veterans rece i ve timely access to top-qual i ty, compre h ens i ve and veteran-centr i c care at no added cost to veterans by: • Consol i datin g VA’s commun i ty care pro g rams i nto a s i n g le, i nte-grated system. • Modernizing VA’s health IT systems. • Expand i n g current care gi ver benefits to veterans of all eras. • Strengthening VA and DoD health care and research for mental h ealt h and Traumatic Bra i n Injur i es (TBI ) . • Expand i n g g ender-spec i fic pro g rams and competenc i es. • Prov i d i n g care and benefits to veterans and fam i ly members impacted by toxic exposures. • Preventin g t h e i ncrease of p h armaceutical co-payments. • Conductin g med i cal researc h on t h e benefits of med i cal cannab i s. • Extending telehealth services. • Mak i n g nurs i n g h ome el igi b i l i ty part of t h e VA h ealt h care benefits packa g e. DEFENSE/HOMELAND SECURITY Congress, DoD and the Department of Homeland Security must fully support U.S. troops and t h e i r m i ss i on to fi gh t t h e war on terror i sm and protect our nation’s c i tizens and i nterests around t h e world by: • Haltin g t h e development and/or prol i feration of weapons of mass destruction. • Fully funding an integrated missile defense system. • Securing America’s borders. MILITARY QUALITY OF LIFE Congress and DoD must maintain a quality and comprehensive benefits and retirement packa g e t h at i s t h e backbone for an all-volunteer force. To achieve this, they must: • Preserve the integrity of Tricare. • Protect and i mprove on-base qual i ty-of-l i fe pro g rams. • Pass full concurrent rece i pt of m i l i tary retirement pay and VA d i sab i l i ty compensation. • El i m i nate t h e Surv i vor Benefit Plan/Dependency and Indemn i ty Compensation offset for surv i v i n g m i l i tary retiree spouses. COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS To ensure veterans and t h e i r dependents h ave timely access to earned benefits, Con g ress and VA must: • Requ i re treatment of presumptive cond i tions as a cla i m for d i s-ab i l i ty compensation. • Extend presumptive cond i tions for h ear i n g loss, tinn i tus, TBI and for veterans exposed to toxic substances. • Increase bur i al allowances, expand marker medall i on el igi b i l i ty and i nclude spouses’ i nformation on all h eadstones. • Reform t h e Gulf War Illness D i sab i l i ty Benefits questionna i re. • Address veterans’ homelessness by increasing the availability of affordable h ous i n g . POW/MIA Con g ress and DoD must make POW/MIA recovery a national priority by: • Ensur i n g t h e POW/MIA accountin g m i ss i on i s fully funded. • Expand i n g partners hi ps w i t h h ost nations and pr i vate/publ i c or g an i zations to ac hi eve t h e fullest poss i ble accountin g of U.S. m i l i tary personnel m i ss i n g from all wars. 12 • VFW  • FEBRUARY 2018

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