With our Oct. 28 “A Day to Change Direction” event and Veterans Day right around the corner, the holidays quickly approaching and many new VFW initiatives on the horizon for service members, veterans and their families, fall is already proving to be an extremely busy and productive time for the VFW and its members.
With more information available within the email below, here’s a snapshot of a few important initiatives already upon us:
• If you know of a youth interested in their share of more than $3 million in scholarships and awards, the Voice of Democracy and Patriot’s Pen essay entries are due to VFW Posts on Oct. 31.
• If you’re a student veteran interested in advocating for veterans on Capitol Hill, the clock is ticking. The application deadline for the VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship is Oct. 20.
• If you’re a student veteran, or know someone who is and could use some help paying for school, the VFW’s “Sport Clips Help A Hero Scholarship” application is due on November 15.
Your VFW Membership Team
VA APPEALS REFORM NOW LAW
VFW proud of united Congress and White House
WASHINGTON (Aug. 23, 2017) — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is saluting President Trump for signing into law today the VFW-supported Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017.
“Today’s signing is the culmination of more than a year’s work by the VFW and other partner organizations with Congress and the VA to build consensus on how to better help veterans access their benefits,” said VFW National Commander Keith Harman. “Under the old system, appeals could take up to five years or longer to adjudicate, and veterans had no way out. Maintaining the status quo was unacceptable, so the VFW and our partners acted with a unified voice,” he said.
“As a former veterans’ service officer myself, I know first-hand that many of the veterans the VFW helps every day to access their earned benefits will be better served under this new framework,” said Harman. “We look forward to working with the Department of Veterans Affairs to make sure this new framework results in timely, understandable and accurate benefits decisions for veterans.”
The new law provides three options for veterans to appeal disability rating decisions made by the Veterans Benefits Administration. It also allows some veterans already in the appeals process to opt in to the new system. Under the new process, the three options available to veterans dissatisfied with their initial claims rating decisions are to seek a higher-level review by a regional office on the same evidence presented to the original claims processors; to file a supplemental claim with a regional office that would include the opportunity to submit additional evidence; or to opt for an expedited consideration of their appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The entire intent of the new law is to speed the appeals process, which the VFW wholeheartedly supports.
Harman noted that today’s signing was the third major veterans bill signed within the past two weeks. The other two were the VA Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017, which provides six additional months of funding for the VA Choice Program, as well improves hiring VA authorities and authorizes the department to enter into 28 new leases for medical clinics and research; and the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2017, a beefed-up Post-9/11 GI Bill that protects the educational benefits veterans, service members and their families earned, expands access and eligibility, and removes the 15-year, use-or-lose restriction.
“Ending sequestration and fixing the VA are the VFW’s top two legislative initiatives,” said the VFW national commander. “The passage of all three bills are great leaps toward fixing the VA and restoring the faith of veterans in their VA — all thanks to a united Congress and a new president who vowed during the campaign trail that he would take care of veterans, service members and their families, and who has so far been true in both word and deed.”
Read the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 here.
ABOUT THE VFW: The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is the nation’s largest and oldest major war veterans organization. Founded in 1899 and chartered by Congress in 1936, the VFW is comprised entirely of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. With nearly 1.7 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in almost 6,500 Posts worldwide, the nonprofit veterans service organization is proud to proclaim “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS” than the VFW, which is dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs. For more information or to join, visit our website at www.vfw.org.
Contact: Joe Davis, VFW Director of Communications, Publications and Public Affairs, firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRESIDENT APPROVES NEW GLOBAL WAR ON TERRORISM MEMORIAL
VFW members are driving force behind its creation
WASHINGTON (Aug. 21, 2017) — The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is saluting President Trump for signing the VFW-supported Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act into law late Friday. The signing now clears the way for the GWOT Memorial Foundation to work with the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission to secure federal approval for acreage on the National Mall, as well as coordinate a national competition for the memorial’s design. It also exempts the GWOT Memorial from a provision in the Commemorative Works Act of 1986 that requires Congress to wait 10 years after the official end of a military conflict before considering a war memorial in the nation’s capital.
“Sixteen years ago, no one would have thought it possible for America to fight a nonstop, multi-front war for so long with just an all-volunteer force,” said VFW National Commander Keith Harman, who served in Vietnam as a UH-1 Huey helicopter crew chief and door gunner. “That we have — that they have — and continue to do so magnificently, is a testament not only to this generation’s patriotism but of their character, as well. The VFW is very proud to support this memorial, and we are extremely proud that VFW members are the driving force behind its creation.”
The GWOT Memorial Foundation founder and executive director, Andrew Brennan, is a life member of VFW Post 3945 in Pittsburgh. The legislation was introduced in the House by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), a life member of VFW Post 2037 in Green Bay, Wis., and Rep. Seth Moulton, a member of VFW Post 2005 in Marblehead, Mass. Its companion bill in the Senate was introduced by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a life member of VFW Post 2265 in Red Oak, Iowa, and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), a strong veterans’ advocate who also co-chairs the Senate Post-9/11 Veterans Caucus.
“This historic signing is dedicated to our 3 million brothers and sisters who have deployed in the Global War on Terror, especially to the ones we have lost, and those who face great obstacles since their return home,” said Brennan, a West Point graduate, who served in Afghanistan as a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot. “I’m very proud of the VFW’s early support, and when the time comes, I look forward to a significant presence at the memorial’s groundbreaking and its grand opening, hopefully alongside our nation’s other war memorials.”
Follow the memorial’s progress on the GWOT Memorial Foundation website.