Key Accomplishments For Veterans During This Term Of Congress08/02/10
New VA Rule for PTSD Claims
In July 2010, the Department of Veterans Affairs published a final regulation regarding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to simplify the process for veterans to claim service connection for PTSD by reducing the evidence needed if the trauma claimed by the veteran is related to fear of hostile military or terrorist activity and is consistent with the new places, types and circumstances of the veteran’s service. You may find more information about this new rule online at http://www.va.gov/PTSD_QA.pdf.
Significant Legislation Passed by the House and Senate and signed into law by President Obama:
S. 1963, the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Service Act of 2010 (Public Law 111-163): Signed by the President on May 5, 2010:
S. 407, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-37): Signed by the President on June 30, 2009:
Increased the rates of Veterans’ disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, clothing allowance for certain disabled adult children and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children effective December 1, 2009 and pegs future cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) to the Social Security Act. Unfortunately, because of the economic downturn the Social Security Act COLA formula does not project COLAs in 2010 and 2011. Longer term, however, this could substantially benefit veterans and a bill has been introduced in the House to reform the way the Social Security COLA is calculated.
H.R. 1016, the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-81): Signed by the President on October 22, 2009:
Authorized funding for VA health care budgets one year in advance and will result in more timely and predictable funding to facilitate higher quality health care for veterans.
Significant Legislation Passed by the House, but not yet acted on by the Senate:
H.R. 1168, the Veterans Retraining Act of 2009: Would authorize the Secretary of Labor to pay a monthly allowance to certain veterans enrolled in employment and training programs that teach skills that are in demand. The bill passed the House by a vote of 356-0 on November 2, 2009.
H.R. 1170, Grant Program for Specially Adapted Housing: Would authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to make grants of up to $200,000 to encourage the development of new assistive technologies for specially adapted housing for disabled veterans. The bill passed the House by voice vote on May 19, 2009.
H.R. 1171, the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program Reauthorization Act of 2009: Would reauthorize the Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program through 2014, add an additional $10 million for services for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children and authorize the Secretary of Labor to establish grant programs to provide job training, counseling, placement services and child care services to help reintegrate veterans into the labor force. The bill passed the House by voice vote on March 30, 2009.
H.R. 1211, the Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act: Would expand and improve VA health care services for the 1.8 million women veterans by requiring the VA to provide medical care for newborn children of women veterans, establish a pilot program for child care services and enhance programs available to veterans suffering from military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder. This bill passed the House by a vote of 408-0 on June 23, 2009.
H.R. 2990, the Disabled Military Retiree Relief Act of 2009: Would expand eligibility for military retirement compensation and disability compensation to include veterans who retired or separated from service due to physical disability with less than 20 years of service or with disability ratings for less than 50 percent. This bill passed the House by a vote of 404-0 on June 24, 2009.