The way forward in veterans advocacy

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At DAV’s annual National Convention, members are able to target the organization’s legislative and public policy goals for the upcoming year. In August, at the 2016 convention in Atlanta, DAV members adopted 143 resolutions to support and direct advocacy efforts on behalf of injured and ill veterans as well as their families and survivors.

“This is the voice of our membership speaking out on the issues that matter most,” said National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “They collectively give voice to crucial policies that veterans want addressed by Congress and the VA, but also allow our strong grassroots network to play an active role in shaping the work our national legislative staff does representing DAV in Washington every day.”

The following is a partial list of key resolutions adopted this year. To see the full list of resolutions, visit dav.org/learn-more/legislation/resolutions.

Disability compensation and other benefits

  • Support meaningful claims and appeals processing reform.
  • Oppose any recommendations by any commission to reduce or eliminate benefits for disabled veterans.
  • Oppose any proposal that would reduce payments of VA disability compensation by receipt of Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or any other federal benefit.
  • Support legislation to provide realistic cost-of-living allowances.
  • Support legislation to repeal the offset between military longevity retired pay and VA disability compensation.
  • Support legislation to remove the offset of Survivor Benefit Plan payments and VA dependency and indemnity compensation.
  • Support legislation to remove the prohibition against concurrent receipt of military retired pay and VA disability compensation.
  • Support legislation for presumptive service connection for diseases related to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
  • Oppose all attempts to change the basis of the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities from the “average impairments of earnings capacity” standard.
  • Oppose any change that would redefine serviceconnected disability or restrict the conditions or circumstances under which it may be established.
  • Support legislation to provide service connection to atomic veterans for all recognized radiogenic diseases.
  • Seek legislation to exclude veterans disability compensation from countable income for government programs.
  • Oppose any scheme to means test disability and death compensation.

Medical and health care services

  • Strengthen, reform and sustain the VA health care system.
  • Support legislation to provide comprehensive support services for caregivers of all severely injured and ill veterans.
  • Support enhanced medical services and benefits for women veterans.
  • Ensure priority access and timely, quality health care service are provided to service-connected disabled veterans.
  • Support enhancement of medical services through modernization of the VA health care infrastructure.
  • Support legislation to eliminate or reduce VA and Department of Defense health care copayments for service-connected disabled veterans.
  • Improve the care and benefits for veterans exposed to military toxic and environmental hazards.
  • Ensure proper screening and treatment for traumatic brain injury and post-deployment mental health issues.
  • Support sustained and sufficient funding to improve services for homeless veterans.

General Issues

  • Support meaningful accountability measures with due process for VA employees.
  • Support former prisoner-of-war slave labor claims against Japanese firms.
  • Support a national dialogue with federal and state governments, employers and unions to establish processes for military training to meet civilian licensure and certification requirements.
  • Seek the immediate release of any American prisoners of war and seek immediate return of the remains of any American who died during any conflict.
  • Extend military commissary and exchange privileges to service-connected disabled veterans.
  • Support legislation to provide families of veterans who are service-disabled business owners, either rated less than 100-percent disabled or who do not die of service-connected conditions, a reasonable transition period to restructure the business.
  • Support legislation to reduce the premiums for Service-Disabled Veterans Insurance to be consistent with current life expectancy.
  • Extend eligibility for Veterans’ Mortgage Life Insurance to service-connected veterans rated totally and permanently disabled.
  • Support veterans’ preference in public employment.
  • Extend space-available air travel on military aircraft to veterans entitled to receive compensation at the 100-percent disability rate.
  • Transfer the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service to the VA.
  • Support outreach and employment of women veterans.
  • Support the continued growth of the Veterans Treatment Courts throughout our nation.

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