One of the most important ways a veteran can effect positive change is to advocate for it with our elected leaders. At DAV’s national convention each year, members gathered to discuss and approve the organization’s legislative and public policy goals for the upcoming year.
These legislative goals are based directly on resolutions submitted by DAV departments and chapters across the country, with DAV members serving as the driving force behind the organization’s advocacy mission. This year, at the 96th annual DAV National Convention in New Orleans, members adopted 149 resolutions to support and direct advocacy efforts on behalf of injured and ill veterans, families and survivors.
“Our legislative program is successful because our members are willing to speak up about issues that matter most,” said National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “We fight every day in Washington to ensure Congress and the Department of Veterans Affairs hear the collective voice of DAV members. Participation in the resolution process at the chapter and department level is critical, and provides a guide for important policy and legislative decisions we make every day on behalf of the organization.”
Following is a partial list of key resolutions adopted at the 2017 convention. To see the full list of resolutions, visit dav.org/learn-more/legislation/resolutions.
Disability compensation and other benefits
- Oppose reduction, taxation or elimination of veterans benefits.
- Support legislation to increase VA disability compensation rates.
- Oppose any proposal that would reduce payments of VA disability compensation by payments of Social Security disability insurance or any other federal benefit paid to a veteran.
- Support legislation wherein service in the waters offshore Vietnam establishes a presumption of exposure to Agent Orange.
- Support legislation to remove the prohibition against concurrent receipt of Survivor Benefit Plan and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.
- Support legislation to provide service connection for disabling conditions resulting from toxic and environmental exposures.
- Support legislation to provide realistic cost-of-living adjustments.
- Expand presumptions for service connection for former prisoners of war.
- Support legislation authorizing the presumption of service connection for all radiogenic diseases, and eliminate dose exposure estimate requirements.
Medical and health care services
- Strengthen, reform and sustain the VA health care system.
- Support legislation to provide comprehensive support services for caregivers of severely wounded, injured and ill veterans from all eras.
- Support enhanced medical services and benefits for women veterans.
- Ensure timely access to quality VA health care and medical services.
- Support program improvements and enhanced resources for VA mental health programs.
- Support enhanced treatment for survivors of military sexual trauma.
- Support humane, consistent pain management programs in the veterans health care system.
- Improve the care and benefits for veterans exposed to military toxic and environmental hazards.
- Support legislation to establish a comprehensive program for traumatic brain injury rehabilitation.
- Support sustained and sufficient funding to improve services for homeless veterans.
- Support sufficient, timely and predictable funding for all VA programs, benefits and services.
- Support legislation to remove the prohibition against concurrent receipt of longevity retired pay and veterans disability compensation for all longevity-retired veterans.
- Support veterans’ preference in public employment.
- Protect veterans from employment discrimination when receiving health care for service-connected conditions.
- Support the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
- Extend military commissary and exchange privileges to service-connected disabled veterans and their dependents.
- Seek the immediate release of any Americans who may still be held captive following any war, and the return and identification of the remains of any Americans who died during those wars.
- Extend space-available air travel aboard military aircraft to all 100 percent service-connected disabled veterans.
- Extend eligibility for mortgage protection life insurance to service-connected disabled veterans rated permanently and totally disabled.
- Increase the face value of Service-Disabled Veterans’ Insurance (RH).
- upport the continued growth of Veterans Treatment Courts for justice-involved veterans.