The VFW National Legislative Committee members met with senators, representatives, and staffers in Washington, D.C., to discuss the VFW’s legislative priorities and to thank them for the historic passage of the Honoring our PACT Act. There was specific focus given to cracking down on predatory claim companies, eliminating the unjust offset for Chapter 61 retirees, and the role of economic opportunity in helping to prevent veteran suicide. The VFW will continue to advocate for these issues as the 117th Congress finishes its last few weeks in session.
Apply Now for 2023 VFW-SVA Legislative Fellowship
The application process for the 2023 class of VFW-SVA legislative fellows is open until Oct. 15. VFW members who attend an accredited institute of higher learning with an approved Student Veteran of America chapter will be chosen for the semester-long program that focuses on real policy issues faced by veterans, service members, and their families. The capstone of the program is participation in the 2023 VFW Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. Alumni of the program have become more active at all levels of the VFW and have been instrumental in changing laws to improve care and benefits for veterans.
House Passes 5 Veteran Bills
The House passed five VFW-supported bills –– H.R. 5916, Wounded Warrior Access Act; H.R. 7939, Student Veteran Emergency Relief Act of 2022; H.R. 8260, Faster Payments to Veterans’ Survivors Act of 2022; and H.R. 7735, Improving Access to the VA Home Loan Benefit Act of 2022, and H.R. 7846, Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2022. The cost-of-living increase for wartime disability compensation, additional compensation for dependents, clothing allowances, and dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children is estimated to be higher than in recent years to account for the rise in inflation. These benefits would receive the same percentage increase as is granted for Social Security benefits.
PACT Act Information for Survivors
With the passage of VFW-supported Honoring Our PACT Act, VA has made information available for survivors regarding Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) benefits. If you are the survivor of a service member or veteran who died from a service-connected condition linked to burn pit exposure, contact a VFW Service Officer to discuss your VA claim.
VA Caregiver Phase 2 Expansion
On Oct. 1, 2022, caregivers of veterans who served after May 7, 1975, and before Sept. 11, 2001, can apply for VA’s Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers (PCAFC). This program offers education and training, access to health care insurance, mental health counseling, financial stipends, and respite care, among other benefits, for caregivers of eligible veterans. As part of the VA MISSION Act of 2018, PCAFC will expand in two phases. The first phase, launched in 2020, is for caregivers of veterans injured in the line of duty on or before May 7, 1975. The second phase is for those injured in the line of duty between May 7, 1975, and Sept. 11, 2001.
Till next week, praying for all service members.
– Charles Castelluccio