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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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johnc515

Va Gets $3.7 Billion To Hire More Caseworkers

Question

VA gets $3.7 billion to hire more caseworkers

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer

Posted : Thursday Jan 17, 2008 18:01:29 ESTPresident Bush signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 today, handing over an extra $3.7 billion to the Department of Veterans Affairs.Bush had to sign the act by Jan. 18, or VA would have lost the promised extra funding, which will be used to hire and train people to process the backlog of more than 600,000 benefits claims, said Dave Autry, spokesman for Disabled American Veterans. Some of the money also will go toward medical research for conditions such as traumatic brain injuries.

DAV and nine other veterans service organizations began a letter-writing campaign last week calling on veterans to urge Bush to sign the act in time for VA to get the extra money.

"For 5.8 million veterans, this new funding means more qualified doctors and nurses to improve medical services," Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, said in a statement.

Edwards chairs the House Appropriations subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

"For the 400,000 veterans, including combat-wounded vets, who are having to wait too long to have their [health] benefits cases reviewed, this bill means over 1,800 new VA caseworkers to reduce the unacceptable delays in receiving earned benefits," Edwards said. "For veterans with traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, mental health care issues, and lost limbs, this bill means renewed hope to rebuild their lives."

Veterans groups also immediately sent out statements praising Bush for signing the bill into law.

"I salute the president and Congress for making this additional funding available, and for their untiring support of military families past and present," said George Lisicki, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. "This budget puts veterans first, which will help ensure VA remains a world-class health care system that is accessible and responsive to those who may require a lifetime of care for their physical and mental injuries."

The American Legion said both Democrats and Republicans worked to make sure veterans did not lose benefits.

"The American Legion greatly appreciates the congressional leadership — from both sides of the aisle — for working closely with me and my colleagues to provide VA with a budget worthy of the sacrifices of the men and women of the armed forces, veterans, and their families," Marty Conatser, the Legion's national commander, said in a statement. "No veteran should ever be denied an earned benefit for honorable military service."

But Autry said funding for VA cannot continue to be handled in such piecemeal fashion.

VA needs to be able to plan for the future and can do that only with a stable budget — not with emergency appropriations year after year, he said.

"It's a serious concern," he said. "We've had years and years of delayed appropriations. You can't plan ahead this way."

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    • Rating "Protections"
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      Many veterans (and even their survivors) have succeeded in getting a disability, not on the presumptive list, service connected due to their proven exposure to AO.

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