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VA Wants Veterans to Submit Benefit Claims Before Summer Deadline

This week, VA said they are encouraging veterans and survivors to submit benefits claims before a summer deadline. VA Under Secretary for Benefits Joshua Jacobs said in a press call that roughly 300,000 claims that have yet to be filed remain open from last summer, when VA pushed for veterans to file claims for compensation for exposure to toxic substances.

If they are not yet ready to submit an official benefit claim, veterans or their survivors can submit an “intent to file” to protect the earliest potential effective date for the claim while giving them a year to file the actual claim.

To date, more than one million disability claims have been approved due to the 2022 PACT Act.

Jacobs says they “are proactively reaching out by email, text and phone calls to all of those who submitted an [intent to file] between June and August of last year.”  

Read more from MilitaryTimes.


Lawmakers Look to Expedite Claims for Camp Lejeune Water Victims

Two Congress members have introduced the Camp Lejeune Justice Corrections Act, a bill that would accelerate federal claims for servicemembers exposed to toxic chemicals at Camp Lejeune and which updates the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022.

The new bill makes clear that plaintiffs are entitled to a jury trial, caps attorney fees, and expands jurisdiction to decrease the backlog of cases already in federal court.

The original bill went into law decades after testimonies of increased cancers, neurological disorders and birth defects among children of troops stationed at the base between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987.

Although over 220,000 claims and 1,700 lawsuits have been filed, the Camp Lejeune Claims Center says that only 63 settlements have been offered since 2022.

Legislators have been voicing concerns about the lack of attorney fee cap since the bill's passage in 2022. The updated bill puts a 20% cap on settlements and a 25% cap on judgements.

A plan to fast-track financial settlements introduced by the Navy in September would give $100,000 - $150,000 to victims of certain conditions like Parkinson's, kidney cancer and leukemia.

Read the full article from Military Times


McGill & Noble wishes you a peaceful and safe Memorial Day as we remember those brave men and women who gave their lives in service of our country.













VA Cited for Over Yearlong Delay on Benefits for Herbicide Exposure

A new report by VA Office of Inspector General shows that over 10,500 benefits claims for diseases related to herbicide exposure (such as leukemia and multiple myeloma) were overlooked for over a year by VA.

Issued Wednesday, the report found decision delays for a collection of VA claims submitted in 2021 from Navy veterans seeking compensation and healthcare benefits for conditions resulting from exposure to herbicides such as Agent Orange. The review was initiated after the inspector general learned of substantial delays in claims processing from Navy veterans who had not received decisions after more than a year.

Almost all of those claims involved medical conditions stemming from herbicide exposure and required review by teams with special training.

The report found that no action had been taken on 10,541 claims for more than a year, despite them being complete and ready to be forwarded to VA regional offices for decisions.

The audit found that VA's automated distribution tool for disseminating claims was limiting the number of claims sent to specialized teams because they have small staffs. The tool had also incorrectly given less precedence to some claims related to herbicide exposure.

Auditors directed VA to monitor the national work queue more carefully.

Read more from Stars & Stripes.


Veterans Bill Would Expand Caregiver Support and Improve In-Home Care Options

On Tuesday, lawmakers revealed a bipartisan veteran bill package that would significantly expand in-home care for older veterans, advance assistance for unhoused veterans, and require precise progress points in VA's electronic medical records revamp.

Key leaders from the House and Senate support the measure. Members of the House and Senate VA committees have been working on the proposals since last fall and view this legislation as an opportunity to quickly implement important changes for veterans and their families.

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Jon Tester (D-Mont.) called the bill package a compilation of “common sense” improvements to help veterans. Both Tester and Mike Bost (R-Ill.) said they hope to move on the issue as soon as possible. Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee ranking member Jerry Moran, R-Kansas, has also indicated his support.

Several veterans groups already back the measure, but House Democrats have not yet revealed their stance.

The legislation—named for former Sen. Elizabeth Dole—includes 15 bills from both Republicans and Democrats already pending in Congress.

One high-profile bill, the bipartisan Home Care Act, would expand access to home- and community-based services at VA medical centers, potentially allowing tens of thousands more veterans to receive medical care at home rather than in nursing homes.

The package would be paid for through new fees on VA home loans, an offset that lawmakers say prevents the legislation from breaking congressional budget rules.

Read more from Military Times.


Bill to Expand Veteran Benefits Connected to MST Stalled Due to Anticipated Cost

Lawmakers say that legislation requiring VA to accept crisis center reports, personal statements and other evidence to support benefit claims for MST in absence of official reports has stalled in Congress due to a projected $392 million cost to deliver such benefits through 2032.

The Servicemember and Veterans' Empowerment and Support Act—introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) in four separate congressional sessions—would expand access to VA benefits and services related to MST in instances where the veteran did not report an assault through the traditional military chain of command or when the incident report is missing from military records.

Veterans are now eligible for disability compensation for conditions related to MST, such as PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions that resulted from or were exacerbated by SA or harassment in service. 

Veterans can currently submit alternative (non-DoD) evidence in support of claims for PTSD, but veterans service organizations say that evidence is not always supported by claims processors—even though statistics have shown that most instances of SA go unreported in the military.

Roughly 128,000 veterans received VA disability compensation benefits related to MST in fiscal 2023—a figure that has basically doubled since 2019, according to the VA.

Read more from Stars and Stripes.


Advocates Warn New Rule Granting Benefits to Vets with Less Than Honorable Discharge Does Not Do Enough

Veteran advocacy groups say a new rule making thousands of veterans eligible for benefits formerly denied due to other than honorable discharge does not do enough to increase access to disability assistance, healthcare, and other VA services.

The rule, which will take effect June 25, states that veterans who can demonstrate that misconduct was caused by mental illness, TBI or other difficulties can now be considered for full VA benefits.

But veteran advocates say the new rule still places a huge burden on veterans to endure possibly years-long reviews of their discharge circumstances before they might be awarded VA benefits. Others note that VA must do more to ensure staff know about the new rule and apply it properly when reviewing VA benefits claims.

Significantly, advocates warn that veterans with less than honorable discharge status might not even be aware of the rule change and their possible eligibility for VA benefits.

In April, the National Veterans Legal Service Program and Swords to Plowshares filed a lawsuit to require VA to apply “character of discharge” differently for other than honorable discharges when considering VA benefits; the lawsuit was dismissed last week after the adoption of the rule change.

The legal director with Swords to Plowshares, Maureen Siedor, says that the rule change leaves VA adjudicators with extensive discretion in determining benefits and that VA is “still allowed to turn people away for minor misconduct.”

Read more from Stars and Stripes.


Veteran Advocates Push Supreme Court to Throw Out Laws Punishing Homelessness

Veteran advocates caution that a Supreme Court case centering on the criminalization of homelessness could seriously hurt efforts to help veterans struggling to get into stable housing. 

Johnson v. City of Grants Pass revolves around a town in Oregon that has passed regulations fining people $295 for sleeping outside in public and even threatening jail time for people with multiple “violations.” Supreme Court justices heard arguments last week and should issue a final ruling this summer.

Just a few months ago, HUD announced that there was a countrywide increase in veteran homelessness from 2022 to 2023. Forty-four veterans advocacy groups filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court earlier this year, arguing against the financial and criminal penalties introduced by the Grants Pass case.

“It is absurd to think that the use of civil penalties against veterans and others experiencing homelessness will do anything other than harm people for being impoverished and make it harder for them to get back on their feet,” said Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans, in a statement.

Dozens of demonstrators protested the unprecedented criminalization outside of the court last Monday.

Read the full article from Military Times.


Senator Demands Answers Following Reports of Issues with Disability Exams by VA Contractors

Senator Elizabeth Warren has sent a letter to VA Secretary Denis McDonough demanding that VA review the quality of its compensation and pension exams following multiple reports of inadequate and unprofessional treatment of veterans during exams conducted by private contractors.

Warren cites constituent reports of these examiners neglecting to review veteran service treatment records before appointments and contractors telling veterans “to meet them for exams outside of medical facilities, including co-working offices, broom closets and hotel rooms."

While Congress started allowing VA to use contractors for C&P exams in 1996, privatization has ballooned in recent years so that 90% of all VA disability exams are now performed by contractors. Government watchdogs have for years drawn attention to many problems with the privatized exams.

Warren's letter points to watchdog reports in addition to concerns shared with her by her constituents as she insists that VA share information such as the eligibility requirements for contractors, how service quality is assessed, and the average wait times for contracted exams.

Significantly, Warren's constituents have shared that while exams performed by VA doctors take roughly 10 days to complete, contracted exams take 30-45 days or longer and can require veterans to travel to multiple locations over several days.

Read the full article from


Recent Supreme Court GI Bill Ruling Could Mean More Money for Veterans

A Supreme Court ruling from last week could provide an extra year of federal tuition payments to millions of student veterans, but it is unclear when such payments could be issued. The ruling states that veterans can now use both post-9/11 GI Bill benefits and Montgomery GI Bill benefits to pay for college if they are eligible for both programs, where VA officials had previous required veterans attending school to choose one or the other.

Lawyers involved in the case say that up to 1.7 million veterans could immediately qualify for expanded education benefits under the ruling but that it could take quite a bit of time for payouts to happen.

Read more from Military Times.


Proposed Law Would Give Separating Troops One-On-One Counseling

A new bill would authorize accredited veteran organizations to place counselors in DoD transition assistance programs (TAP) for service members about to leave the military. The Enhancing Transitioning Servicemembers' Experience Act, introduced in March by Representative Derrick Van Orden (R-Wis.) and cosponsored by Representative Mike Bost (R-Ill.), would allow organizations to employ counselors in TAP classes at bases across the United States.

TAP classes are mandatory for separating service members and intended to give active-duty troops essential information related to accessing VA disability compensation and other benefits.

The VFW currently has full-time service officers at 24 military bases for one-on-one support at TAP classes. VFW counselors engage with roughly 10% of the total 200,000 separating troops each year, director of national legislative services for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Patrick Murray says. Disabled American Veterans and Wounded Warrior Project also send representatives to TAP classes, but Murray says access is contingent on the inclination of base commanders.

The new bill would require TAP classes to be held in person whenever possible, create a separate TAP track for National Guard and reserve members, and offer greater base access for VSOs to participate.

While TAP classes are currently required for service members, veterans have reported their commanders have downplayed the classes or even dissuaded them from attending.

Read more from Stars and Stripes.


Recently Approved Rapid Blood Test for TBI Could Accelerate Treatment for Service Members

The FDA has approved a blood test that detects concussions within minutes and could potentially help expedite treatment for military service members with TBIs.

The i-STAT mild traumatic brain injury cartridge spots biomarkers that indicate brain damage within 12 hours of injury to ascertain if a patient needs a CT scan. The rapid test, officially cleared by the FDA for marketing on March 27, could be a breakthrough in treatment for the approximately 1,600 service members who suffer a head injury each month and the over 5 million people in the US who go to the ER for possible head injury each year.

Developed by Abbott, the test gages the levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase (two head injury biomarkers) in a blood sample within 15 minutes.

Army officials claim the creation of a test for early detection of TBI has been a top concern for twenty years and that this new test will both help troops and enhance case management.

Abbott says FDA approval will permit the test to be used in health care facilities other than emergency rooms, like advanced urgent care clinics. Moreover, officials say the test is a significant advancement toward TBI testing in non-health care settings, such as the sidelines of sporting events.

Read the full article from


Federal Court Greenlights Lawsuit Accusing VA of Discrimination in Disability Claims

A federal court has rejected a government request to dismiss a lawsuit accusing VA of racial discrimination in disability benefit processing. The lawsuit can proceed, possibly paving the way for a legal review of over 50 years of VA benefits decisions to determine if Black veterans are less likely to have their claims approved due to systemic racism within the VA.

Advocates are celebrating the federal court's decision as significant, although the legal battle will probably continue for years to come. The lawsuit was originally filed by the Yale Law School Veterans Legal Services Clinic on behalf of veteran Conley Monk Jr in 2022.

Research from the Government Accountability Office released last year shows that, from 2010 to 2020, Black veterans were less likely than any other group to have their initial VA disability claims approved. While 75% of white veterans had their initial claims approved, only 61% of Black veterans saw the same result. But advocates say the issue of racism in claims determination dates back much further—anywhere from the 1970s to as early as World War II.

Yale clinic officials say they will assist with filing related administrative claims on behalf of veterans who believe they have been wrongfully denied because of discrimination.

Read more from Military Times.


Military's Rural Tricare Beneficiaries Strain to Access Health Care Amid COVID-related Hospital Closures

Lawmakers say military service members, veterans and their families living in rural parts of the U.S. face barriers to medical care as facilities try to rebuild systems devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the past, the DoD rejected claims that the pandemic negatively affected service member and veteran care—specifically for those living in areas where health care is already hard to access. A 2022 report noted closures impacting maternity and emergency care near certain military installations but otherwise showed only dozens of Tricare beneficiaries impacted per closure per year.

However, with continued closures, senior military leadership have turned their attention to the issue. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy James Honea told the House Appropriations Committee that his service has been discussing the issue with the Defense Health Agency, which provides medical care across all branches of the Defense Department.

Pandemic-related health care losses due to declining patient numbers, staffing shortages and low reimbursement rates closed nearly a dozen hospitals in 2023 alone. A study done last year by the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform suggests over 600 rural hospitals—almost 30% of all rural hospitals across the U.S.—face risk of closure due to financial burdens.

Because of deficits like this within the military medical system itself, the DoD revealed a plan in December to return military service members, veterans and their families to the military medical care community. A memo sent by Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks to senior defense officials shows the “goal is to review current staffing issues within military medicine, potentially shift care providers around as needed, and bring back Tricare beneficiaries who were pushed toward private-care options during a 2017 medical system overhaul.”

Read more from


Disputes Over VA Toxic Exposure Funds Could Delay Other Veteran Legislation

Republican and Democratic lawmakers fought last week over possible future changes to how the VA budget is handled—specifically squabbling over the department's Toxic Exposures Fund (TEF). Introduced as part of the 2022 PACT Act to cover the costs of expanded medical care and disability benefits, the TEF represents over 10% of all VA mandatory spending and was a key point of Republican opposition to passing the PACT Act.

The TEF has presented some problems and delays when making veteran legislation because of House rules requiring spending offsets. On several occasions in the past year, Congressional Budget Office planners have said that “proposed legislation seemingly unrelated to the toxic exposure benefits could still trigger new mandatory spending related to the TEF,” meaning—under House GOP rules—that lawmakers are required to find savings to offset those appropriation increases.

Democratic lawmakers have accused House Veterans' Affairs Committee Chairman Mike Bost (R—Ill.), who has proposed moving the money to discretionary accounts and limiting spending, of trying to undermine the fund and its protection for veterans receiving toxic exposure benefits. Committee ranking member Mark Takano (D-Calif.) has also accused Republicans of trying to use proposed changes to the TEF to “water down or reverse portions of the PACT Act.”

While VA officials have opposed major changes to the TEF for now, and while they have not proposed a funding fix, department officials have acknowledged the accounting problems. House and Senate appropriators should finalize plans for the fiscal 2025 VA budget in the next few months.  

Read the full article from Military Times


Lawmakers Press VA to Improve Response to Military SA

A bipartisan group of senators is urging VA leaders to help more victims of military SA learn about and access the services available to them, pushing VA to remove barriers to care for the one in three women veterans who have experienced MST or abuse.

A letter spearheaded by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash) and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee member Angus King (I-Maine) calls for the VA Women Veterans Call Center to do more outreach addressing women veterans with MST so that potential beneficiaries are aware of services available to them. The letter also requests more information on VA suicide prevention and medical center training requirements.

VA press secretary Terrence Hayes says VA officials are addressing these issues and that they intend to deliver improvements in the coming months.

Read more from Military Times


Congressional Budget Authorizes VA-Sponsored Psychedelics Studies 

The fiscal 2024 budget passed by Congress earlier this month includes an amendment allowing VA to conduct trials of some psychedelic therapies. The bill authorizes VA to spend $20 million on nationwide trials of these “breakthrough therapies.”


The psychedelic therapy provision was first introduced by representatives Jack Bergman (R-Mich.) and Lou Correa (D-Calif.)—co-chairs of the Psychedelic Advancing Therapies Caucus. While there are already eight psychedelic therapy trials underway via VA nationwide, these studies have not been bolstered by federal funds—delaying their accessibility for veterans who could potentially benefit from these drugs.


Currently, multiple federal government agencies are mounting research into psychedelic therapies, including the Defense Department and the FDA. Studies on MDMA and other psychedelics such as psilocybin have shown significant clinical potential for the treatment of PTSD, anxiety and depression.

Read more from Military Times


Court Ruling Says Veterans' Caregivers Can Appeal VA Eligibility Decisions

A US federal court recently ruled that caregivers of ill or injured veterans, who have been refused financial aid and services by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), may now appeal VA decisions to the Board of Veterans Appeals. Following a unanimous decision, this could potentially impact thousands of veteran families.

Originally, the VA insisted on appeals being made solely within the Veterans Health Administration, stating that the Board of Veterans' Appeals should not rule on caregiver claims. However, the court disagreed, asserting that only a select few medical decisions affecting support and assistance were outside the jurisdiction.

The case was brought by Marine Corps veteran Jeremy Beaudette, who is legally blind and 100% disabled due to a traumatic brain injury. After being removed from the VA's Family Caregiver Program, Jeremy and his wife Maya went through a series of appeals. Finally, the US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims ruled in their favor in 2021.

The VA and the Justice Department may potentially appeal this ruling to the US Supreme Court.  If the VA doesn't appeal, the case could result in potential retroactive pay and future compensation for thousands of affected families.

The Family Caregiver Program, which provides healthcare, benefits, and stipends to those supporting veterans, was initially created for post-9/11 veterans but has since expanded to include all combat veterans. Upwards of 400,000 veterans and caregivers could be eligible to reevaluate their cases, with an estimated 14,000 already having lodged appeals or requests for higher-level reviews.


Millions of Veterans Exposed to Toxic Substances Can Now Enroll in VA Health Care

Starting March 5, millions of veterans exposed to toxic materials while in service will be able to enroll in VA healthcare under an expansion of benefits mandated by the PACT Act. 

VA announced last week that “all veterans who have served in a combat zone since the Vietnam War, as well as those who participated in training or operations and came into contact with hazardous materials” will now be eligible for VA healthcare.

Read more from


VA Plans to Use AI to Improve Veteran Healthcare

VA officials say they are committed to using AI technology to improve the quality and accessibility of veteran healthcare while taking precautions to protect veterans' data.


While VA is already implementing AI in several ways, including in making more accurate diagnoses, lawmakers have “questioned the best practices that officials are using or plan to take on when employing the technology.”


Read the full article from Military Times.


Yale Research Shows Prevalent Anxiety in U.S. Veterans

"In a Yale-led study published earlier this month, researchers investigated the impact of Generalized Anxiety Disorder—a mental health condition characterized by persistent and excessive anxiety that can disrupt daily life and functioning—on military veterans."

The study results indicate a "linear correlation between the severity of anxiety symptoms and its negative effects on other psychiatric and daily functions," with researches arguing "that brief screening measures that assess both mild and severe anxiety symptoms could increase access to care for veterans."

Read the full article from Yale Daily News


Surviving Spouses of Service Members Could Access Job Program Under New Senate Bill

Under a newly-introduced Senate bill, surviving spouses of service members who died during active duty or of a service-connected disability would be eligible for a career counseling program through the Department of Labor's
Disabled Veterans Outreach Program, or DVOP. 

Read more from


Survey Shows Over Half of Gun-Owning US Veterans Store Firearms Unsafely

A recent survey finds that more than half of US veterans own firearms and that 53% of those who do own guns store them unsafely.

This percentage remains relatively high even as the DoD and VA have introduced more safe-storage campaigns over the past decade--a response to research showing a sharply decreased risk of death by firearm among those who keep their guns locked or unloaded. 

Read the full article from


Landmark New Study Shows Additional Cancers are Linked to Contaminated Camp Lejeune Water

A momentous new government study, whose research was initiated by the CDC in 2015, links additional cancers and health conditions to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune and could help establish more presumptive conditions for which exposed veterans and civilian personnel may receive government compensation.

Read the full article from CNN.


Senators Seek Answers from Defense Department on Service Members' Self-Inflicted Brain Injuries

In a request for the Defense Department to accelerate research into and protection work against brain injuries resulting from “concussive blasts from service members' own weapons,” Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on January 18 citing research that shows injuries to troops from their own equipment.  

In light of studies showing memory and cognition issues in military personnel who repeatedly fired heavy weapon (issues previously outlined in a New York Times investigation) and Defense Department statistics showing almost half a million troops diagnosed with some form of service-related TBI since 2000, the Senators are asking Defense Department leaders to “detail their research and protection work on the issue.”

Read more from MilitaryTimes


No Barriers USA 2024 Warriors Program Offers Basecamp Experiences and Backcountry Expeditions for Vets with Disabilities

Applications for the 2024 Warriors program of No Barriers USA opened on January 9. This year's program will offer basecamp experiences in Red Feather, Colorado and backcountry expeditions in Wyoming, North Carolina and Colorado for veterans with disabilities. A three-month program, No Barriers Warriors integrates "interactive online courses with an extraordinary multi-day, in-person, outdoor experience."

Read more about the No Barriers Warriors program at  

Apply for the program on the No Barriers website


VA Still Falling Behind Despite Completing Record Number of Claims 

VA staff "are on pace to shatter last year's workload levels, but that still might not be enough to make significant progress on the overdue claims backlog until next year."

In 2023, VA "benefits officials completed nearly 2 million veteran and survivor claims, the most in agency history and up almost 16% from the previous year." However, the number of backlogged claims "earlier this month topped 400,000, the highest that figure has been since June 2014."

Read more from Military Times.


LGBTQ Veterans Finally Benefitting from Honorable Discharge Status They Were Originally Denied

"In September, after a CBS News investigation documented the impact of a less than honorable discharge and exposed flaws in the military's system for reviewing discharges, the Pentagon announced that it would for the first time begin proactively reviewing veterans' records for a possible recommendation of a discharge upgrade. This means that these veterans would not have to apply for the upgrade themselves, a process that both veterans and experts told CBS News is often unsuccessful without the help of a lawyer. The department also launched a website with resources dedicated to helping LGBTQ+ veterans who believe they were wrongfully discharged for their sexuality."

Read the full article from CBS News.


Close to Half of Veterans Screened Found to Have Possible Toxic Substance Exposure

"Nearly half of the 5 million veterans that have been screened by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) under a new law have reported at least one possible exposure to toxic substances during their military service.

Announcing the 5 million screening milestone, the VA revealed that 2.1 million veterans — or 43 percent of those screened — were potentially exposed to such substances during their service."

Read more from The Hill


Military Toxic Exposure Concerns Remain High Among Veterans

VA "medical staff say patients continue to report high rates of concern about potential military toxic exposure injuries, underscoring the non-combat dangers faced by troops across different generations of military service."

"About 40% of veterans surveyed reported potential health concerns related to burn pit smoke, Agent Orange poisoning, water contamination or other military toxic exposure threats during their time in the ranks," and "[t]hat rate has remained steady over the course of the last 12 months."

Read the full article from MilitaryTimes.

We Wish You a Safe and Happy Veterans Day

Celebration on Veterans day



Veterans Receive Scam Calls Related to 3M Earplug Settlement

"Scammers trying to steal Social Security numbers and other personal data have been posing as a claims administrator in the $6 billion 3M earplug settlement, according to a federal judge.

Veterans and military service members who are among the 250,000 claimants in the Combat Arms settlement are urged not to give out their full Social Security numbers over the phone or email."

Read the full article from Stars & Stripes.


VA Works to Educate Veterans on Scams Amid PACT Act Filings and Camp Lejeune Water Litigation

The VA "is ramping up efforts to educate veterans on potential scams or fraud that could rob them of disability benefits or cost them, should they fall victim to such crimes."

"VA launched a new website last week,, that provides information on identifying fraud, reporting scams and vetting service representatives if they need help with claims."

Read more from


Pentagon Will Review Cases Of LGBTQ+ Vets Denied Honorable Discharges Under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

"Thousands of LGBTQ+ veterans who were kicked out of the military because of their sexuality could see their honor restored under a new initiative the Defense Department announced...on the 12th anniversary of the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' policy."

Many LGBTQ+ veterans have "found that without an honorable discharge, they were deprived of access to the full spectrum of veterans benefits, including VA loan programs, college tuition assistance, health care and some jobs."

The Defense Department now plans to review the records of veterans who served under "don't ask, don't tell" for a "possible recommendation of a discharge upgrade," meaning these veterans would not be responsible for applying for the upgrade themselves.

Read the full article from CBS News.


VA Not Likely to Resume Electronic Health Record Rollout Until at Least 2024 

"The Department of Veteran Affairs said Wednesday it may resume agency-wide adoption of its new electronic health records system next summer, after it was placed on hold in April due to problems involving patient health and safety and frustration among users."

Read more from Military Times.


VA to Conduct Review of Website After IT Issues Affect Almost 57,000 Veteran Disability Claims

"The Department of Veterans Affairs is conducting a 'full review' of all processing systems on its main website, after discovering technical problems that may have delayed disability claims for tens of thousands of veterans."

The technological issues that VA has identified have affected a percentage of veterans attempting to update dependency status or file disability appeals online since 2011.

Read more from Federal News Network.


Surviving Spouses of Service Members Fight to Retain Benefits After Remarrying

"Congress decided in the 1960s that widows and widowers would lose compensation, health care, educational opportunities, commissary access and other benefits if they remarry before age 55. Now surviving spouses and advocates are asking lawmakers to make the decision to undo those rules."

The bill, called the Love Lives On Act, "is the first 'comprehensive' legislative attempt to address nearly all benefits affected by the age requirement at once." 

Read more from Stars & Stripes

Upcoming Documentary will Honor First Black Tank Unit to Fight in Combat During WWII 

"The Army's 761st Tank Battalion, known as the Black Panthers, was the first Black tank unit to fight in combat in World War II and will be the subject of a documentary to air later this month."

Read more from Stars and Stripes.

PACT ACT Benefits: Claims received by August 9 will be eligible for 12 months of backdated compensation

Under the PACT Act, millions of Veterans who were exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange, and other toxic substances are now eligible for VA health care and benefits.

While there is no deadline to apply for PACT Act-related benefits, there is urgency. Most Veterans and survivors who apply for benefits or submit an “Intent to File” by August 9, if granted, will have their benefits backdated to August 10th of last year – the day that President Biden signed the PACT Act into law.

For more information, contact McGill & Noble at 919-493-8876, see, or call 1-800-MYVA411

VA Plans to Conduct First Major Survey of Moral Injury in Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs plans to conduct its first large-scale population study of moral injury ("the aftermath of circumstances that force a person to participate in or bear witness to events that contradict their own moral beliefs and expectations") to be "conducted among veterans of the post-9/11 wars."

Read more at MilitaryTimes.

Veterans Can Now File Supplemental Claims Online

As part of continued modernization efforts from VA, Veterans can now file supplemental claims online at Filing a supplemental claim is an option for Veterans who disagree with a previously denied claim decision regarding VA disability compensation or pension benefits.

Find more information about filing a supplemental claim at File a supplemental claim here.

Navy Secretary Signs Order Implementing Mental Health Care, Confidential Evaluations

On Monday, Secretary of the Navy Carlos Del Toro signed the order to implement the Brandon Act, "a set of policies that provide service members with a confidential evaluation and greater access to mental health care."

The Brandon Act "allows service members to seek confidential help for any mental health issue, at any time, in any environment, thereby reducing the stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment." The act also "requires a mental health evaluation as soon as service members self-report."

Read the full article from Stars and Stripes.

White House $3.1 Billion Program for Unhoused Includes Help for Veterans

"White House officials are pairing new legal support and job training programs for veterans with a $3.1 billion investment in general community support grants in an effort to further reduce the number of veterans facing homelessness. 

Administration officials unveiled the plans on Thursday, calling them 'the single largest investment in communities' homelessness response systems in history.'" 

Read the full article from Military Times.

VBA Introducing Automation Tools this Summer to Help Decrease Claim Backlog

"The Veterans Benefits Administration is looking to accelerate its use of automation tools this summer to keep pace with its workload and break new records on the number of claims it can process in a year."

Read the full article from Federal News Network.

VA Secretary Urges Veterans To Apply For Expanded Benefits From Toxic Exposure

VA Secretary McDonough has encouraged veterans with medical conditions related to toxic exposure, who now qualify for expanded benefits under the PACT Act, to file claims by August 9 in order to maximize the assistance they can receive.

"Filing by Aug. 9 can allow the benefits to begin retroactively on Aug. 10 of last year, when President Biden signed the bill, McDonough said."

Read the full article from Wisconsin State Journal.


VA Secretary Says Hiring Push Should Stop Increased VA Claims From Adding To Backlog

VA Secretary Denis McDonough expects that the agency's hiring push should help expedite the processing of a record number of VA disability claims--600,000 of which have been filed through the PACT Act since its passage in August 2022.

"The VA's backlog of claims, which are cases waiting more than 125 days for a decision, has remained at roughly 200,000, despite the increase in filings triggered by the passage last year of a law that expanded toxic exposure benefits."

Read the full article from Starts & Stripes.


Exposure to Blast Waves May Cause Brain Injuries Linked to PTSD, Suicide

A study by Navy researchers has found that "exposure to munitions blast waves from combat and training may be causing brain injuries, the aggregation of which is resulting in serious and often deadly ailments such as depression, PTSD and suicide."

The research finds that "[s]ervice members exposed to repeated enemy overpressure waves had higher risks for PTSD and depression than those exposed to only one overpressure blast or none" and identifies an "increased the risks of migraines and PTSD" for those repeatedly exposed to overpressure. 

Read the full article from DC Journal.


Poison Water at Camp Lejeune Led to Higher Rates of Parkinson's

Veterans and family members exposed to contaminated water at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune "are 70% more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than other service members, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association on Monday."

"The findings are the latest confirmation of the lifelong, devastating effects of the toxic water at the site from the early 1950s to the late 1980s. It also potentially adds new fodder to dozens of civil lawsuits pending against the government for the hazardous conditions there, which may have harmed more than 1 million individuals stationed at the North Carolina base."

Read the full article from MilitaryTimes .


PACT Act Triggers Over 500,000 Veteran Disability Claims

"More than a half million veteran claims have been filed under the PACT Act, the landmark legislation passed last year that eased requirements for many veterans exposed to burn pits and other battlefield pollutants to apply for disability benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs said Wednesday.

The Department of Veterans Affairs has so far processed more than 203,000 of those 500,000 PACT Act claims, resulting in more than $1 billion in compensation, with additional funds expected to be allocated as it works through all of the applications."

Read more from


VA Changes May Allow Veterans' Emergency Room Bills to be Repaid

"Veterans who received care at non-VA emergency rooms since 2010 could now get some of their out-of-pocket costs reimbursed years later, even if their claims were previously denied.

The VA is finalizing a new rule, published Feb. 22 and taking effect April 24, that would cover those past costs and reimburse veterans going forward."

Read the full article at

Read VA's new rule in the Federal Register


White House Selects Veterans Benefits Operations Leader

The White House nominated a new under secretary for benefits on Monday, preparing the Department of Veterans Affairs "to have all of its top leadership posts filled for the first time in more than six years."

Joshua Jacobs, currently a senior adviser at VA, has been selected "to serve as the top benefits official in the department after a six-month review of potential candidates by a special commission." His nomination "now goes to the Senate, where lawmakers are expected to review his credentials during the next few months."

Read more from Military Times.


Veterans in Suicidal Crisis Can Go to Any Health Facility for Free Emergency Care 

As of January 17, veterans in acute suicidal crisis can go to "any VA or non-VA health care facility for emergency health care at no cost–including inpatient or crisis residential care for up to 30 days and outpatient care for up to 90 days."

Veterans not enrolled in the VA system can also use this benefit.

Read more from Connecting Vets.

If you're a veteran in crisis or concerned about one, contact the Veterans Crisis Line to receive 24/7 confidential support. You don't have to be enrolled in VA benefits or health care to connect. To reach responders, Dial 988 then Press 1, chat online or text 838255.



What VA's PACT Act Week Of Action Accomplished

"During the [PACT Act] Week of Action, more than 160,000 veterans were screened for toxic exposures. Additionally, nearly 15,000 veterans applied for PACT Act-related benefits – a nearly 40% increase over the previous week.

In all, more than 200,000 veterans have applied for PACT Act-related benefits and more than 820,000 veterans have received toxic exposure screenings, with nearly 39% reporting a concern of exposure."

Read more at Connecting Vets.



Record Increase in VA Monthly Payment Compensation Rates

VA will increase compensation payment rates based on the latest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). Starting January 1, 2023, Veterans and beneficiaries who receive VA compensation benefits will experience an 8.7% increase in their monthly payments—the largest increase in over 30 years.

Read more information from VA.



VA Will Host Town Halls for Veterans and Families During ‘PACT Act Week of Action'

"During the week of December 10 to 17...more than 90 VA facilities around the country will be holding in-person town halls to provide information on what this historic [PACT Act] could mean for Veterans and their family members. There will be at least one event in all 50 states, as well as in Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia."

North Carolina

Fayetteville VA Medical Center
2300 Ramsey Street
Fayetteville, NC 28301-3856
Wednesday, December 15, 3 – 6 pm ET
Services offered: Health Care Eligibility and Enrollment, Benefits & Claims Assistance

Find more information at



Camp Lejeune Town Halls Aim to Help Those Exposed to Toxic Water

"Beginning Thursday, advocates [Retired Marine Master Sgt. Jerry] Ensminger and Michael Partain and attorney Erin Brockovich plan to hold three town halls in three days at locations in Raleigh, Greensboro and Winston-Salem to share information about the toxic water and offer help to those who have been exposed. They also plan to take questions from the audience."

Town hall meetings

–Nov. 3 at 6 p.m. in Raleigh; The Hibiscus Event Space; 3209 Gresham Lake Road, Suite 146

–Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. in Greensboro; Henry K. Burtner American Legion Post 53; 729 Creek Ridge Road

–Nov. 5 at 10 a.m. in Winston-Salem; The Enterprise Conference and Event Center; 1922 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.

Read the article from Stars & Stripes.



VA Has Received Almost 113,000 Claims Under PACT Act, Urges Veterans to Submit Claims Soon

The VA has received close to 113,000 claims under the new PACT Act, which "expands eligibility for health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits and other toxins."

The agency is encouraging veterans to submit their claims quickly so that their benefits can start from the day the PACT Act became law (October 22, 2022) and they can receive back pay. After August 10, 2023, "the PACT Act service-connection benefits will begin when they are filed."

Read more from Stars & Stripes.



More Same-Sex Couples Now Eligible to Receive VA Survivor Benefits 

Some same-sex spouses of veterans who had been ineligible for survivor benefits will now be able to receive these benefits due to policy changes announced by VA on Thursday and effective immediately.

"Officials said the move is designed to support same-sex couples who had been together for years but were unable to be legally married until 2015, when the Supreme Court required states to recognize same-sex relationships in the same way as heterosexual unions."

Read the full article from MilitaryTimes.



New Bill Would Allow Sexual Assault Survivors to Receive Retroactive Benefits

A new bill would "ensure veterans who are survivors of military sexual trauma can get retroactive disability benefits even if they wait years to report the incident."

The bill, introduced by lawmakers on Tuesday, "would allow veterans claiming disability benefits because of military sexual trauma to collect back benefits from the date of their separation from the military, rather than the date they make the claim."

Read the full article from



Thousands More Veterans Eligible for VA Health Care Starting in October

Under recently-passed legislation that expanded benefits for former service members exposed to environmental toxins, "tens of thousands" of veterans will be able to enroll in VA health care starting October 1. 

"To be eligible, veterans would need to have served on active duty in a combat theater after the 1991 Persian Gulf War, served against a hostile force after Nov. 11, 1998, or were discharged or released from active duty from Sept. 11, 2001, to Oct. 1, 2013."

"The largest group to be eligible are post-9/11 veterans who meet certain criteria and hadn't previously enrolled. They will have a one-year window to sign up, according to the law."

Some additional groups of veterans meeting certain criteria are also eligible to enroll. Read the full article from



Vets Can Apply For All PACT Act Benefits Now 

VA officials "are now accepting claims for all presumptive illnesses included in the massive toxic exposure legislation signed into law last month, including cases concerning burn pit smoke and carcinogenic chemicals that were not scheduled to go into effect for several more years."

While this move will likely cause an increase in backlogged claims in coming months, "senior VA staff say they believe the move will get veterans and their family members new benefits and healthcare faster, some as soon as early 2023."

Read the full article from MilitaryTimes.



Congress Passes Comprehensive Toxic Exposure Legislation

On Tuesday, Congress passed the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act (PACT Act), which could provide new disability and health care benefits to about 3.5 million veterans. 

Under this bill, veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan "would be granted presumptive benefits status for 23 respiratory illnesses and cancers believed linked to the toxic smoke." The measure "dramatically expands benefits for illnesses...linked to burn pit smoke in Iraq and Afghanistan, Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam and proximity to other harmful military contaminants in varied service eras."

Read more from MilitaryTimes.



Supreme Court Rules VA Does Not Need to Reconsider Benefits Decisions After Misinterpreting the Law

The Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that VA "does not have to conduct a new hearing to determine whether a former Marine Corps member deserves disability benefits even after the agency admitted it was relying on a faulty interpretation of the law when it first denied the man's claim."

Opponents say the ruling could have broader implications for other agency decisions. 

Read the full article from Government Executive



Veteran Toxic Exposure Bill Achieves Bipartisan Backing

The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, a measure addressing toxic exposure that could benefit "as many as one in every five veterans living in America today," looks likely to be passed into law "despite continued concerns from some conservative critics about the price tag for the sweeping measure." 

Read more from MilitaryTimes.



Researchers Believe Sarin Nerve Gas is Cause of Gulf War Illness

Dr. Robert Haley, director of the Division of Epidemiology in the Internal Medicine Department at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, says recent research shows sarin nerve gas is the cause of Gulf War Illness. His study, published last week in the journal Environment Health Perspectives "used genetic research and survey data to determine that U.S. service members exposed to sarin were more likely to develop Gulf War Illness, and those who were exposed and had a weaker variant of a gene that helps digest pesticides were nine times more likely to have symptoms." 

After almost three decades trying to prove "that an environmental toxin was responsible for sickening roughly 250,000 U.S. troops" who served in the Persian Gulf War, Haley hopes this research "could pave the way for more veterans to access health care and benefits and open up research into possible treatments."

Read the full article from



VA Secretary Says Proposed Budget Would Improve and Save The Lives Of Millions Of Vets

On Thursday, VA Secretary Denis McDonough told lawmakers that agency officials are requesting $300 billion--the largest VA budget in history--"because it will improve or save the lives of millions of veterans."

Read the full article from Stars & Stripes.



Supreme Court Hears Arguments On Veteran Benefits 

The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case involving the status of veterans' benefits. 

"[Veteran] Kevin George suffered from mental health problems that he said were worsened by his service in the military. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs denied him benefits using regulation that, decades later, was later found to be wrong. George had filed suit, but a lower court found that because he could not specifically pinpoint the rule as the reason he was denied benefits, he could not reopen his claim. George is asking the Supreme Court to find that his benefits have been improperly withheld."

See full video from PBS News. 



House Approves Bill to Increase Benefits for Veterans Exposed to Toxic Burn Pits

On Thursday, the House approved a bill that would drastically improve health services and increase disability benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

If passed into law, the bill would "open up [VA] health care to millions of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans exposed to toxic substances during their service even if they don't have a service-connected disability" and "provide new or increased disability benefits to thousands of veterans who have become ill with cancer or respiratory conditions such as bronchitis or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD."

Read more from ConnectingVets



Committee Passes Bill to Provide VA Health Care for Post-9/11 Toxic-Exposed Veterans

On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee passed bipartisan legislation to offer Post-9/11 combat veterans, including those suffering from conditions related to toxic exposures, access to VA health care.

Read more from the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.



New Automated System Being Tested by VA Could Accelerate Claims Decisions

Facing a backlog of more than 260,000 disability applications, officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs are testing a new automated system that could help render decisions on disability claims in a fraction of the time it currently takes for decisions to be made.

"The automated system being considered by the VA has proven to shorten the disability claims review process from 100 days to two under certain circumstances and conditions, according to the agency."




Biden Signs Into Law Two Bills Addressing Burn Pits 

As part of the Fiscal Year 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, two bills confronting the military's use of toxic burn pits have been signed into law by President Biden.

"The two bills aid in the effort for burn pit exposure to become a presumptive condition when the VA considers a veteran's disability claims."

Read the full article from Connecting Vets



Several Bills Before Congress Will Majorly Impact Veterans

Seventeen bills pending in Congress would impact veterans and veterans issues, including mental health, cancer treatment, dental care, and modernizing medical facilities.

Read the full article from ConnectingVets.



Navy to Reevaluate Discharge Upgrade Applications For Sailors, Marines With PTSD, TBI, Other Conditions

The Navy is reevaluating discharge upgrade applications of sailors and Marines diagnosed with PTSD, traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma, and other mental health or behavioral conditions.

Read more from NavyTimes.



VA Resumes Debt Collection After Pausing Due to Coronavirus 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has resumed overpayment notifications for new debts as well as debts deferred from April 6, 2020 through September 30, 2021 due to the pandemic.

VA will not deduct debts from benefits payments until January 2022.

For benefit debt information, submit requests online or call 1-800-827-0648.



LGBTQ Veterans Discharged For Their Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation to Receive VA Benefits

For eighteen years, LGBTQ military members were allowed to serve only if their sexual orientation or gender identity were not openly acknowledged. On Monday, the 10th anniversary of the repeal of Clinton's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, VA announced that service members who received other than honorable discharges for their sexual orientation, gender identity or HIV status are eligible for full benefits. 

"The VA said that veterans discharged under the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy alone have maintained general eligibly for benefits under statutes. The announcement simply reiterates what constitutes eligibility for benefits under law."

Read more from CBS News.



VA Will Fast-Track Compensation for Some Vets Exposed to Toxic Burn Pits

"The Department of Veterans Affairs on Monday created a fast-track to disability compensation for certain veterans who developed asthma, rhinitis or sinusitis because of their exposure to burn pits during overseas deployments.

The VA announced it will now process disability claims for those conditions on a presumptive basis, which lowers the amount of evidence that veterans must provide in order to receive benefits."

Read the full article from



With COVID Cases Surging, VA Urges All Veterans to get Vaccinated

VA officials implore all veterans and their family members to get vaccinated against coronavirus as soon as possible, as cases are again surging nationwide.

Assistant Under Secretary for Health Carolyn Clancy warned Wednesday that over 97 percent of patients hospitalized with COVID are unvaccinated.

Veterans can contact local VA medical offices for information on vaccine availability.

"At least 12,650 VA patients and 145 employees have died from virus-related complications since March 2020. Nationwide, the virus is responsible for more than 607,000 deaths over that time frame."

Read more at MilitaryTimes.

Find more information on the COVID-19 vaccine and how to receive it at



VA Plans to Cover Gender-Affirming Surgery for Trans Vets

VA Secretary Denis McDonough has announced that the department plans to cover gender-affirming surgery for trans veterans. Currently, VA health benefits include coverage for mental health services and HRT, but not gender confirmation surgery. The process for expanding health care benefits for trans and gender nonconforming veterans could take years.

Read more from The New York Times and The Hill.



Biden's First Budget Includes Huge VA Funding Increase

The White House has requested almost $270 billion for the VA budget for fiscal 2022. The 10% increase from 2021 would help finance agency concerns such as VA caregiver programs, suicide prevention and GI Bill upgrades.

With this proposed budget, “VA would receive $113.1 billion in discretionary spending, an 8.2% increase from 2021, not including medical care collections.”

Read more about the budget proposal at



Deadline Approaches for Troops and Veterans to Share Feedback with Military SA Commission

[TW: SA]




Military service members and veterans can anonymously share their experiences and suggestions about sexual harassment and assault in the military with a Pentagon commission that is seeking to make "targeted recommendations that can lead to systemic change."

The feedback form for the Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military, found here, will close June 2.

Read the full article from



Veterans Exposed To Agent Orange Outside Of Vietnam May Get Presumptive Benefits Status

This week, Reps. Matt Cartwright (D) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R) proposed legislation to “expand the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange for disability benefits to veterans who served in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia during the conflict.”

Veteran advocates have long urged Congress to establish Agent Orange benefits for veterans who were subjected to the chemicals in the 1960s/1970s but who were never in Vietnam.

Presumptive benefits status is important because it decreases the burden of proof for veterans filing for disability benefits. Currently, people who served in Vietnam and went on to suffer from certain “illnesses connected to chemical exposure — things like prostate cancer, lung cancer, and Parkinson's disease — can qualify for benefits simply by showing they served on the ground during the war there, or in the waters nearby.”

However, although Agent Orange was “widely used in nearby countries,” veterans who were in Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia are not given the same presumptive status and “must prove direct exposure to the chemical during their deployments”—which advocates say is “nearly impossible due to incomplete, aging military records.”

Read the full article from MilitaryTimes:



New Review Board Presents a Final Chance to Appeal Unjust Military Discharge

There is now an additional, final appeal option for service members who feel they have been unfairly discharged or dismissed from the military or who want to upgrade their discharge characterization.

The Department of Defense has announced the creation of a new path for service members who separated from the military on or after December 20, 2019 to appeal their discharge or dismissal.

According to an April 7 release from the Defense Department, the new Discharge Appeal Review Board (DARB) will provide a final review of service members' requests to upgrade their discharge or dismissal characterization after they have “exhausted all other available administrative remedies.”

Veterans with a military discharge status that is anything other than honorable “may be ineligible for state and federal benefits, including health care, education, property tax exclusions, employment preferences and even burial benefits.”

Read the full article at Read the original release from the US Department of Defense



Bulk of Wounded Female Veterans Experience Isolation and Loneliness, Survey Finds

A Wounded Warrior Project poll published Friday reveals that “most wounded female veterans feel isolated, lonely and believe they are not respected for their military service.”

The poll of women registered with the Wounded Warrior Project “revealed some 80% of respondents showed indications of loneliness and often struggled to connect with their peers, including female and male veterans.” A separate poll from the nonprofit showed that 63% of male respondents reported “feelings of loneliness and isolation.”

The survey also found that wounded women veterans were less likely than their male counterparts to be employed full time despite being more educated, and wounded women veterans who were employed earned less than their male counterparts.

Read the full article at Stars & Stripes, and find the original report at Wounded Warrior Project.



House Has Passed Bill Permitting All Veterans and their Caregivers to Get Vaccinated at VA

The House unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would “give VA the authority to vaccinate all veterans and their caregivers.” The bill will now go to the Senate.

The bill would allow VA to vaccinate a much larger group of people, including “all caregivers of veterans enrolled in various VA programs, and veterans living abroad who rely on the Foreign Medical Program.”

The bill specifies that veterans enrolled in VA care will be prioritized. However, some veterans are “ineligible for VA care because they do not have a service-connected disability or they have incomes above the department's threshold.” The legislation does not make it clear how veterans who would not ordinarily qualify for care would be "added to the VA's existing [vaccine] distribution system."

Read the full article at



VA Officials Urge Congress to Pass Relief Funding

VA officials have asked Congress to approve Joe Biden's proposal to give around $15 billion in coronavirus relief aid to the agency as part of the president's American Rescue Plan.

The plan totals $1.9 trillion and seeks to assist Americans suffering from the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of this sum, $15 billion is intended “for veterans' health care, staffing, suicide prevention, research and women's health, as well as expanding telehealth, serving homeless veterans and improving medical facilities and more.”

Read more at Stars & Stripes.



VA Debt Collection Continues

The Department of Veterans Affairs is “exploring options” to halt debt collection again after resuming billing in January.

Dat Tran, acting secretary of the VA, said that the department was “exploring options to pause federal collections on compensation and pension overpayments, and medical and education-related debts.”

President Biden signed an executive order focusing on economic relief two weeks ago, which his administration said “asked the VA to consider pausing federal collections on overpayments and debts.”

Read more at Stars & Stripes.



Biden Issues Executive Order to Delay VA Debt Collections

President Joe Biden is asking the Department of Veterans Affairs to suspend the collection of debts from veterans.

According to the White House, the economic relief order "will help approximately 2 million veterans maintain their financial footing by asking the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to consider pausing federal collections on overpayments and debts."




Biden Appoints Temporary VA Leadership While Secretary Nominee Awaits Senate Debate

VA data and technology expert Dat Tran will be acting secretary for the department until the Senate confirms nominee Denis McDonough for the permanent Cabinet position.

Read more at Military Times.



Army Will Review Discharge Records of Veterans who Suffered Traumas

As part of a class-action lawsuit, the Army will review thousands of discharge records of veterans impacted by military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, PTSD and other behavioral health conditions.

Due to the settlement, discharged veterans who "did not receive an upgrade to honorable from the review board between October 7 2001, to April 16, 2011" will be able to reapply.

The Army will also "change the procedures for how veterans apply to have their discharge status upgraded in the future and how the review board addresses these cases."

Read more at Stars & Stripes.



Senator Sinema's Veterans Mental Health Support Bill Becomes Law

On Monday, U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema's bill targeted toward increasing access to mental health services for veterans returning to civilian life was signed into law.

The Sgt. Daniel Somers Veterans Network of Support Act requires VA to “pilot a program that creates networks of support for service members transitioning to civilian life.”

Read more at KTAR News.



VA Disability Claims Backlog up to 300,000 During Pandemic

The head of the Veterans Benefits Administration said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic has caused a backlog of around 300,000 new VA disability claims.

Last November, the new claims backlog was at a record low 64,000 cases. But a large increase in backlogged claims came in the wake of widespread restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 after March 2020. Limited in-person exams just resumed in late August.

Restrictions at the National Archives warehouse have also “limited the VA's access to records needed to verify veterans' claims.”

Fortunately, the surge in backlogged cases seems to have “leveled off in recent weeks.”





On this Veterans Day, we honor the men and women who served the country. Thank you.  

Learn more about the history of Veterans Day

Veteran presenting flag

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation's history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."

In 1958, the White House advised VA's General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee's chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.



VA Will Outsource All Compensation and Pension Exams

VA has announced that it will stop conducting its own compensation and pension exams entirely and will instead contract them out to the private sector. Compensation and pension (C&P) exams are used to determine veterans' entitlement to VA disability benefits, and VA is currently working through a backlog of over 300,000 exam requests. While VA has come to rely more on contactors to do these exams in recent years, “the Government Accountability Office reported in 2018 that the department doesn't track whether contractors are meeting quality and timeliness standards.”

Read more at Stars & Stripes.



2021 Military Retiree and VA Disability Pay Raise

Military retirees, federal retirees, Social Security recipients, and individuals who receive VA benefits will get a 1.3% increase in the amount of their monthly payments for 2021.

The annual Cost Of Living Allowance (COLA) is slightly less than last year's 1.6% increase "but in line with the historical increases seen over the last 10 years."




VA Resumes In-Person Benefits Services

VA announced October 7 that in-person benefits services will be reinstated in certain locations throughout the United States.

Veterans can check the availability of nearby ROs by visiting VA Regional Offices Websites.



Congress Approves 2021 Cost-of-Living Increase for Veterans

A 2021 cost-of-living increase for veterans benefits, recently approved by lawmakers, is set to match whatever increase is passed by Social Security officials.

While the amount of the projected cost-of-living increase is unknown, "early estimates suggest anywhere from 1.1% to 1.3%."

The increase will take effect December 1, 2020. 

Read more at ConnectingVets.



Congress Passes Veteran Suicide Prevention Bill

On Wednesday, the House unanimously approved a bill that would grant as much as $174 million over the coming five years to organizations providing veteran suicide prevention services.

Entitled the Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act, this bill "creates a grant program that would allow up to $750,000 to be awarded to community organizations" and includes several other measures aimed at improving veteran care.

Read more at Stars & Stripes.



Veterans' Personal Information Compromised After VA Data Breach

VA reported Monday that a data breach may have compromised the personal information of about 46,000 veterans.

VA is already contacting impacted impacted veterans or their next-of-kin, and the department states that those who have not been contacted "are not at risk of having their information stolen."

Read full article at Stars & Stripes.


Legislation May Make VA Pay Medical Expenses for Veterans Exposed to Burn Pits

Legislation will be introduced this month requiring VA to cover medical costs for a host of illnesses related to burn pit exposure. 

Additional bills are being introduced with the goal of providing support to veterans with illnesses linked to toxic exposure, including the TEAM Act introduced by Senator Thom Tillis in July. 

Read more at WSB (ABC-2).



IRS Reopens Deadline for Veterans who Missed Coronavirus Stimulus Checks

VA Secretary Robin Wilkie urges veterans who think they may be eligible for coronavirus stimulus checks to contact the IRS to see if they are owed any money.

Veterans who missed out on child credits of up to $500 per dependent child now have until September 30 to register. Payouts are expected to be delivered by mid-October.

Read more at Military Times.



Senators Press USPS Leader on Issue of Veteran Prescription Delays

Lawmakers on Friday questioned U.S. Postal Service Postmaster General Louis DeJoy about delays in USPS service that have affected veterans' prescription deliveries.

DeJoy conceded that there have been some service issues but rejected the suggestion that there have been any major failures or deliberate delays. 

On Tuesday, DeJoy—a top donor to President Trump—announced he planned to stop certain changes (which some argued led to mail delays) until after November's election. 

Internal memos and USPS staff "said package delays, including veterans' prescriptions, were caused by new policies that discouraged overtime."

In a memo issued shortly after he took over USPS in June, DeJoy "mentioned the Post Office's continued financial struggles and announced new policies, including that the USPS would now accept delayed mail to save costs."

As of August 21, hundreds of veterans and caregivers along with "VA employees, pharmaceutical leaders and USPS staff confirmed that Postal Service issues are delaying veterans' medications, sometimes by weeks." They supplied documentation "showing medication shipping delays, internal memos and more."

Read more at Connecting Vets.



Help is Available for Vets Struggling to Make VA Home Loan Payments

For vets having trouble making mortgage payments on their VA home loans because of the pandemic, special assistance is available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act). The CARES Act "provides a mortgage payment forbearance option for all borrowers who are suffering financial hardship due to the COVID-19 national emergency."

Forbearance is an agreement between borrower and lender that adjusts the existing payment schedule by suspending or reducing payments for a specified amount of time, allowing monthly mortgage payments to be lowered or delayed during periods of financial hardship. 

The companies issuing these loans are required to grant borrowers forbearance if requested because VA loans are backed by the federal government. Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and all other federally backed loans are also covered under this rule.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is anticipating a large number of veterans (as many as 5,000 per day) to become delinquent on their mortgage payments and face foreclosure during this time.




House Committee on Veterans' Affairs Pushes Measures to Boost Representation of Women and Minority Vets at VA

On Thursday, the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs pushed to "enact measures that would boost the representation of women and minority veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs." VA supported bills to create a new Tribal Advisory Committee at the agency and add LGBT veterans to its Advisory Committee on Minority Veterans and supported legislation preventing VA from collecting copayments from tribal veterans.

But VA officials once again argued with lawmakers about a proposal to change the VA motto to make it gender neutral and inclusive. Since 1959, the motto has been a quote from former President Abraham Lincoln: “To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan.” Calls to make the motto gender neutral started two years ago.

Other bills discussed Thursday would boost maternity care at VA and allow for more access to birth control prescriptions. 

Read full article at Stars & Stripes.



Veterans Benefits Improperly Denied During Pandemic

Internal VA records show that about 20,000 benefits claims might have been wrongly denied during the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous veterans may have been denied benefits because they allegedly missed examination appointments the VA itself had already cancelled due to the coronavirus. 

Although VA ordered in early April that in-person benefits exams be cancelled because of the virus, and veterans were promised that their claims would not be denied solely for failing to report to an exam, veterans across the country now appear to have been denied benefits for precisely this reason.

These claims are now being reexamined by the Veterans Benefits Administration, although VA has not indicated when this review will be completed.

Read more from KARE 11.



VA to Pause Debt Collection Through 2020 Due to Coronavirus

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue its pause on certain debt collection at least through the end of the year.

VA will continue to suspend all actions on veteran debts that fall under the U.S. Treasury Department's jurisdiction. VA began its suspension of debt collection back in April, but how long this moratorium would last had previously remained unclear.

Read more at Connecting Vets.



Veteran Compensation and Pension Exams Continue in the Midst of Rising Coronavirus Cases

Coronavirus cases are rising dramatically nationwide, but VA officials are still attempting to resume Compensation and Pension exams in order to decrease a backlog of about 200,000 disability claims.

Veterans are now faced with the difficult decision of whether or not to put their health at risk for in-person exams in order to avoid further delays in obtaining VA disability payments.

Compensation and pension exams had been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic this spring—some being replaced with telehealth options and paperwork alternatives—but nearly 60 percent of the regular exam inventory remained unfinished. 

Read more at Military Times.



Lawmakers Debate Veterans' Access to VA Reproductive Health Care

Lawmakers on Wednesday debated VA healthcare issues including access to contraception, in vitro fertilization and abortion.

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, Subcommittee on Health and Women Veterans Task Force concentrated on veteran reproductive health services, including restrictions on these services that could unfairly impact women, LGBT and low-income veterans.

Read more at Military Times.



Tester Holds Discussion with Administration and VSO Leaders on Toxic Exposure

Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee Ranking Member Jon Tester held a roundtable discussion Wednesday with Chairman Jerry Moran (R-Kans.), stakeholders, and veterans' advocates to address issues associated with the effects of toxic exposures on service members and veterans.

At the discussion, Tester questioned Veterans Health Administration Chief Consultant on Post-Deployment Health Services, Dr. Patricia Hastings, on the continued delays in adding Bladder Cancer, Hypothyroidism, Parkinsonism, and Hypertension to the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) list of service-connected presumptive conditions.

Read more from the U.S. Senate.



Supreme Court Ruling Against Gay and Transgender Discrimination Does Not Apply to Military

Monday's landmark Supreme Court ruling prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender people does not affect military service members or Pentagon policy. But lawyers and LGBTQ advocates say the ruling could impact current lawsuits challenging Pentagon policy by making it harder for the Defense Department to defend the ban.

The Pentagon's 2019 transgender policy does not allow individuals who have been diagnosed with “gender dysphoria” to enlist in the military nor to serve as their preferred gender without a medical certification or waiver.

Read more at Stars & Stripes.



Military Data Reveals Dangerous Reality for Black Service Members and Veterans

A review of data provided by the Pentagon and Department of VA reveals that Black service members are less likely to become officers and, consequently, are more likely to sustain severe injuries during service than their white colleagues. This is linked to the fact that Black veterans are more likely to work frontline jobs during service.

While Black Americans enlist in the military at a higher rate than other people of color and white people relative to their share of the US population, Black service members remain underrepresented in officer ranks. The relative increase in minority officers has not been proportional to the steady rise in the number of minority individuals serving since military integration policies were implemented in the wake of World War II.

Read more at CNN.



Lawmakers Advocate for Veterans Denied Benefits Due to Canceled Exams

Veterans have been denied benefits throughout the coronavirus pandemic because their compensation and pension exams at the Department of Veterans Affairs have been canceled.

During a House Veterans Affairs Committee forum May 27, advocates criticized VA for its failure to address a huge backlog of compensation and pension exams, hundreds of thousands of which have been delayed during the pandemic so far.

Although no one from VA was present for the forum, VA announced the next day that in-person exams would begin to resume at some of its hospitals. VA began canceling C&P exams or transitioning them to telehealth appointments back in early April.

Read more at ConnectingVets.



Oversight Of Veterans Homes Will Be Investigated Following Virus Deaths

After a rise in coronavirus deaths at homes for aging veterans, the Government Accountability Office will investigate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' oversight of these state-run facilities.

The investigation comes at the request of a group of U.S. senators including Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Jon Tester of Montana.

In one of the deadliest known outbreaks at a long-term care facility in the United States, more than 70 veterans who contracted coronavirus at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home in Massachusetts have died. State and federal officials are now investigating the fatalities.

Read more at U.S. News & World Report.



Yale Legal Services Clinic Issues Report Confirming Guam Veterans' Exposure to Dioxin Herbicides Like Agent Orange

New research could help Vietnam-era veterans who served in Guam and who have diseases linked to Agent Orange file for disability with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Two veterans advocacy groups published a policy paper Monday saying that veterans who served on Guam between 1962 and 1975 likely were exposed to herbicides disposed of on the Pacific island or used for vegetation control.

 According to a new white paper released on May 8, 2020 by the Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School (VLSC) and the National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), veterans who served on Guam from 1962 to 1975 satisfy the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) legal standard for exposure to Agent Orange and other dioxin-containing herbicides. The conclusion is based on an exhaustive review conducted over nearly two years of government, private, archival, and oral history evidence of herbicide use in Guam during the Vietnam era.

“This white paper confirms the reports of countless veterans who served on Guam but whose claims the VA has wrongly rejected,” said Bart Stichman, Executive Director of NVLSP. “It is time that the VA acknowledge the strong evidence of toxic herbicide exposure in Guam and care for veterans exposed.”

“Like many of the early veterans' Agent Orange claims dismissed by the VA in the 1970s and 1980s, Guam veterans have been fighting for overdue recognition of their in-service disabilities,” said John Rowan, National President of Vietnam Veterans for America. “Guam veterans now have an overwhelming case that will require the VA to finally recognize these meritorious claims.”

For the island's role during the Vietnam War, Guam has been called “the site of the most immense buildup of air power in history.” At the height of bombing operations during Vietnam, three-quarters of all U.S. B-52 aircraft available for operations in Southeast Asia were based in Guam. This rapid U.S. airpower buildup in Guam — coupled with the unique climate conditions of the island and acute housing and water shortages — created a pressing need within the island's military leadership to control fire risks and tropical growth with heavy herbicide usage.

“Service members have said for years that they sprayed Agent Orange and other toxic herbicides all across Guam,” said Brian Moyer, a Marine veteran who served in Guam from 1974–76 and leads the group Agent Orange Survivors of Guam, a section of Military Veterans Advocacy. “So many of us were exposed and, sadly, many have already passed away — with no recognition from the VA.”

“Official government accounts of herbicide mishandling, improper hazardous waste disposal, and high concentrations of dioxin across Guam establish exposure pathways to support claims of service connection based on herbicide exposure,” said James Campbell '20, a law student in the Clinic. “We hope that veterans advocates and lawmakers will build on this report to address unremediated health risks and military pollution in Guam.”



VA Gets COVID Relief Funds To Reduce Homelessness

The Department of Veterans Affairs has obtained an additional $300 million to provide help to veterans who face homelessness because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This additional money is part of $17.2 billion supplied to VA by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and will fund VA programs that assist homeless veterans and prevent at-risk vets from becoming homeless. The programs include the Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program, Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program, and Health Care for Homeless Veterans Program.

Read more about these programs on For additional information on VA Homeless Veteran programs, click here.



VA Moves Benefits Hearings Online

The Department of Veterans Affairs has moved appeals hearings for veterans' benefits online, in keeping with a strategy of limiting person-to-person contact during the coronavirus pandemic by transferring as many of its services online as possible.

Virtual board hearings became a permanent option for veterans with the signing of the VA Tele-Hearing Modernization Act on April 10.

According to the release, the VA can hold 250 virtual hearings per week. Veterans have several choices on how to connect to a hearing, including the VA Video Connect App.

Read more.



VA Relaunched National COVID-19 Report Summary website

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the largest integrated health system in the United States with more than nine million enrolled Veterans and over six million Veterans receiving healthcare each year. VA employs nearly 380,000 individuals including more than 350,000 professionals within the Veterans Health Administration.

Yesterday, VA relaunched its  National COVID-19 Report Summary website that provides a real-time look at the status of COVID-19 patients who have been tested or treated at VA facilities.

The summary divides COVID-19 case counts into the following categories:

  • VA COVID-19 cumulative cases – Running total of all patients tested or treated at a VA facility for known or probable COVID-19. This includes Veterans, employees and non-Veterans. 
  • Active cases – Patients tested or treated at a VA facility for known or probable COVID-19 who have neither died nor reached convalescent status.
  • Convalescent cases – Patients tested or treated at a VA facility for known or probable COVID-19 who are either post-hospital discharge or 14 days after their last positive test, whichever comes later.
  • Known deaths – All deaths among patients tested or treated at a VA facility for known or probable COVID-19. The refence “inpatient” indicates the death occurred in a VA hospital; “known other” indicates the death was reported to VA but occurred elsewhere. 

VA is grouping active and convalescent cases into the following categories: Veteran, employee, veteran-employee and all other which includes civilians admitted to VA hospitals as humanitarian cases, Tricare patients, active- duty military and other groups.

VA states that its reporting tool reflects the most accurate and timely information that VA can assemble at this time. The data represented is updated from VA's automated biosurveillance system every hour. 



VA health executive acknowledges lack of protective gear for hospital workers

For weeks, VA officials denied claims from employees at VA hospitals that they were working with insufficient protective gear.

Veterans Health Administration executive Richard Stone now acknowledges the shortage, saying that millions of masks on order from VA have “disappeared,” with supplies being redirected to the national stockpile.

See full Washington Post article here.


UPDATE: IRS sets new May 5 deadline to get info from veterans who missed stimulus checks

Treasury officials have set a new May 5 deadline for veterans with dependents who missed out on coronavirus stimulus checks. Some money could be delayed until Spring 2021 if qualifying veterans do not act soon.

IRS officials state that they do not have record of whether lower-income veterans automatically receiving stimulus funds also have dependents. If they do not contact the IRS, eligible veterans will receive their $1,200 individual payout this year, but not the additional dependent money (up to $500 per dependent).

The new May 5 deadline also applies to recipients of Supplemental Security Income.




IRS backtracks on coronavirus checks deadline, but warns veterans must act quickly

Treasury Department officials reversed a previously announced Wednesday (4/22) deadline for disabled veterans who missed their coronavirus stimulus checks to register with the Internal Revenue Service, but households could still miss out on dependent payments if they do not take action quickly.

Disabled veterans who do not earn enough income to file annual tax returns—along with many others who receive federal support—did not have a current record and bank account on file and therefore missed out on stimulus checks.

Although VA and Treasury officials have now allowed for automatic payments of $1,200 to existing veterans benefits accounts, veterans with dependents could miss out on payments of $500 or more if they do not register with the IRS soon.

IRS officials confirmed on Wednesday (4/22) that veterans can still update their dependent eligibility information if they have not yet received stimulus payouts, but they did not say when those payouts will occur, and what the new deadline will be.




VA Suspends All Action On Veteran Debts For 60 Days

Many veterans are about to get some relief from the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last Friday, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Debt Management Center said it would suspend all action on veteran debts for 60 days.

Also, the USDVA said it would suspend collection action or extending repayment terms on preexisting VA debts, as the veteran prefers.

This affects all veteran debts under the Treasury Department's jurisdiction. The USDVA said it will continue to evaluate an extension of the timeline during the pandemic and will update its website if an extension is warranted.

Any veterans and family members affected by COVID-19 that may have a benefit debt and need temporary financial relief should contact the DMC at 1-800-827-0648 for help.



VA and IRS Announced that COVID Stimulus Cash Payments Will Be Automatic for VA Beneficiaries

Federal officials said veterans who receive compensation and pension benefit payments from VA will be sent the money “without additional paperwork or IRS filings” thanks to a new system set up by the government agencies.

The new system links existing VA records with the IRS check distribution programs, identifying veterans who are eligible for the stimulus money but may have slipped through the bureaucratic cracks.

VA officials said the payments will be automatic for non-tax filing VA beneficiaries. However, individuals who have not filed a tax return and have a dependent will need to visit the IRS web site and update their account to reflect the extra money owed.

More information on the economic impact payments is available on the IRS web site -


VA has posted Coronavirus FAQs: What Veterans Need to Know on its website.  

VA answers health-related questions such as what to do if you have an upcoming VA health appointment or need to renew a prescription. Benefits-related questions are also addressed.




Over 3000 Covid-19 Cases and Almost 150 Deaths in VA Facilities Nationwide