Magazine article VFW Magazine

Budget Proposal a Disgrace

Magazine article VFW Magazine

Budget Proposal a Disgrace

Article excerpt

At the joint hearing of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees, the Chief outlined VFW's priorities.

The plight of this nation's former defenders in need is ignored in the Administration's proposed VA budget. The men and women of the VFW are deeply disappointed. This Administration must focus on the following eight issues.

VA Budget. The President's FY 2000 medical care recommendation is $3 billion short. The Administration's projection of $749 million from collection of medical insurance payments is painful fiction. The Veterans Medicare Demonstration project is on target, but it should be followed up with permanent legislation.

Long-term Care. This includes nursing home, chronically mentally ill and home care aid. State veterans homes also must play an increased role.

Veterans Benefits Administration. The average processing time for a benefits claim is now 160 days. Moreover, a full 36% of claims are adjudicated incorrectly. And proposed VBA funding is $39 million short.

New GI Bill. Enhanced transition assistance is vital. The Servicemembers and Veteranis Transition Improvement Act of 1999 (H.R. 606) contains educational and other necessary provisions. Small business loans must be made readily available.

Transitional Health Care. Affordable medical coverage for recently discharged non-career veterans should be enacted into law.

Pay Equity. Pay for the armed forces lags 13% behind that of federal civilian employees in equivalent jobs. Annual military COLAs should exceed the CPI until the gap is bridged. …

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