Advocacy in action: 2009 Legislative agenda
December 24, 2008
Making certain that this country lives up to its commitment to disabled veterans and their families and survivors is one of the DAV’s primary objectives. A nationwide grassroots effort by DAV and Auxiliary members has been very successful in preserving and improving veterans’ programs.
And while the DAV has achieved an unmatched record of service and advocacy on behalf of our nation’s former servicemen and women, we must continually defend against efforts to curb or eliminate benefits and services for disabled veterans and their families.
As the official voice of America’s service-connected disabled veterans, our task is to build government and public support and awareness of veterans’ issues and help secure adequate federal funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs that will ensure the viability of programs for our nation’s disabled veterans.
DAV’s annual legislative goals guide the organization’s advocacy for disabled veterans. Those goals are drawn from resolutions adopted by the delegates to our National Convention each year. The following are some of the major objectives our organization will pursue during the 111th Congress.
Disability Compensation & Other Benefits
Medical & Health Care Services
- Support legislation to repeal provisions allowing attorneys to charge veterans a fee for benefits counseling or any claims services before the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Oppose any change that would redefine service-connected disability or restrict the conditions or circumstances under which it may be established.
- Oppose any proposal that would offset payments of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or any other federal benefits by the amount of VA compensation.
- Oppose any change in law to provide for lump-sum payments of VA disability compensation.
- Support legislation to provide service connection to atomic veterans for all recognized radiogenic diseases.
- Support legislation to remove the prohibition against concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability compensation for all longevity retired veterans.
- Support compensation of Persian Gulf War veterans for illnesses circumstantially linked to their service in the Persian Gulf War.
- Support an expansion of POW presumptions.
- upport presumption of exposure to traumatic stressors for veterans who served in a war zone and suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.
- Oppose any scheme to means-test disability and death compensation.
- Increase disability compensation.
- Restore protections against unwarranted awards of veterans’ benefits to third parties in divorce actions.
- Support legislation to remove the offset of Survivor Benefit Plan payments and VA dependency and indemnity compensation.
- Support legislation to make VA health care funding sufficient, timely, and predictable.
- Ensure that priority access and timely, quality health care services are provided to service-connected disabled veterans.
- Ensure proper screening and treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-deployment mental health issues.
- Support equal medical services and benefits for women veterans.
- Support the repeal of VA and Department of Defense co-payments for medical care and prescriptions.
- Support repeal of beneficiary travel pay deductibles for service-connected disabled veterans and support increased benefit travel reimbursement rates.
- Support legislation to provide relief for family caregivers.
- Support enhancement of long-term health care to service-connected disabled veterans.
- Support increases in grants for automobiles or other conveyances available to certain disabled veterans and to provide for automatic annual adjustments based on the increase in the cost of living.
- Provide an increase in the specially adapted housing grant and automatic annual adjustments based on increases in the cost of living.
- Support legislation to reduce premiums for Service Disabled Veterans Insurance consistent with current life expectancy.
- Increase the face value of Service Disabled Veterans Insurance.
- Extend eligibility for Veterans Mortgage Life Insurance to service-connected veterans rated permanently and totally disabled.
- Seek the immediate release of any American who may still be held captive following World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Persian Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and seek immediate return of the remains of any Americans who died during those wars.
- Provide educational benefits for dependents of service-connected veterans rated 80% or more disabled.
- Encourage all disabled veterans, their families, and friends to become registered voters and to vote.
- Increase the burial allowance for service-connected disabled veterans.
- Extend military commissary and exchange privileges to service-connected disabled veterans.
- Extend space-available air travel aboard military aircraft to 100% service-connected disabled veterans.
- Condemn public desecration of the flag of the United States.
- Construct a memorial to commemorate the sacrifices of America’s disabled veterans.
- Eliminate the delimiting date for eligible spouses and surviving spouses for benefits provided under Chapter 35, Title 38, United States Code.
- Support legislative measures assisting disabled veteranowned businesses.