2019-2020 National Legislative Ambassador
Legislative: Reach Out and Advocate
An exciting year for the Legislative Program is upon us: new opportunities to explore ways to advocate for veterans issues. Let’s all reach out; touch someone and make it a better place for our veterans, active-duty military personnel, their families and our communities.
VFW Priority Goals
Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
To ensure veterans and their dependents have timely access to earned benefits, Congress and VA must:
- Properly implement the modernized appeals process.
- Consider treatment of presumptive conditions as a claim for disability compensation.
- Establish presumptive disability compensation benefits for hearing loss, tinnitus, TBI, and for health conditions associated with toxic exposures.
- Increase burial allowances to account for inflation and include spouses’ information on all headstones.
- Authorize more than one adaptive automotive grant for disabled veterans.
- Reform the Gulf War Illness Disability Benefits Questionnaire.
- Transfer the control of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery to NCA.
- Update regulations and laws governing claims to account for digital claims processing.
- Expand VA wartime benefits to early Vietnam veterans.
VFW Action Corps Weekly
Reach out and sign up someone for the VFW Action Corps Weekly!
The need for veterans to advocate as a group dates back to service members who fought for benefits after they returned home from war. The VFW National Legislative Service Department in Washington, D.C., including the VFW Auxiliary, also recognized the value of having grassroots advocacy play an important role in their efforts to advocate for veterans on Capitol Hill. For this purpose, the Action Corps was created a few decades ago.
Where are the Opportunities?
Daily, our veterans receive medical care in hospitals, nursing homes, community-based outpatient clinics or other medical facilities. There are many opportunities within medical facilities and schools to have interested parties sign up for the VFW Action Corp Weekly and provide feedback to their legislators. It is free and arrives in your email inbox every Friday.
Help interested parties subscribe in order to advocate on behalf of veterans, active-duty military personnel, their families and communities:
- VA doctors and nurses.
- Student veterans: through the Student Veteran Office at colleges and universities.
- Staff and students at military schools.
- New VFW and Auxiliary members, including members not already not signed-up.
- VA volunteers.
- Friends and co-workers.
When to Advocate
- An Action Alert has been issued by VFW Washington, D.C., office.
- A veteran issue of your concern appears in the VFW Action Corps Weekly.
- The need of the VFW Priority Goals to go public and to our Auxiliary members.
- You believe there are veterans’ well-being issues.
Reach Out and Help
- The most recent concerns in the VFW Action Corps Weekly need your action; that is, join the campaign to #AxeWidowsTax! We need legislation that eliminates with the “Widow’s Tax.” The House version (H.R. Bill 553) of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA) would eliminate the Widow’s Tax, which is a dollar-for-dollar offset of earned benefits for the surviving spouses of about 65,000 service members and veterans who have made the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately, the Senate version (S. Bill 622) of the NDAA does not. In the coming weeks, members of Congress will meet to resolve the differences between the Senate and House versions of the NDAA and determine if provisions to end the Widow’s Tax will make it into the final version. Since the provision to end the Widow’s Tax is not in the Senate version of the NDAA, it is in jeopardy of being left out of the final conference agreement. Contact your Senators and urge them to #AxeWidowsTax this year.
- Have the maximum number of VFW Priority Goals pamphlets been distributed and VFW Action Corps subscribers been attained? If not, I encourage you to reach out and speak with your legislators, medical field personnel, neighbors, and other community organizations and present your concerns about veterans issues and ask them to subscribe.
Thank you for your advocacy and action taken to help get a better place for our veterans, active-duty military personnel, their families and our communities.
Let’s continue “Serving our Veterans with Aloha” by demonstrating love, peace and compassion throughout our communities.