The location of our Washington, D.C., office allows us to monitor all legislation affecting veterans, alert VFW membership to key legislation under consideration and to actively lobby Congress and the administration on veterans' issues. National Legislative Service establishes the VFW's legislative priorities and advocates on veterans' behalf. By testifying at congressional committee hearings and interacting with congressional members, the VFW has played an instrumental role in nearly every piece of veterans' legislation passed since the beginning of the 20th century. Everything we do on Capitol Hill is with the VFW’s Priority Goals and veterans' well-being in mind. With the strength of the more than 1.5 million members of the VFW and its Auxiliary, our voice on Capitol Hill cannot be ignored!
Among the VFW's most recent and important legislative victories was expanding college education benefits for military service members with the signing of the Forever GI Bill, and ensuring America's service members and veterans receive the care they deserve - whenever and wherever they need it - by passing the VA MISSION Act.
Our 2022 Priority Goals:
To fully fund programs for veterans, service members, and their families, Congress must:
o Reform the dysfunctional federal budget process.
o Authorize VA to receive reimbursements from TRICARE and Medicare.
o Never reduce one veteran’s benefits to pay for another.
Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs
To ensure veterans and their survivors have timely access to earned benefits, Congress and VA must:
o Pass comprehensive toxic exposure reform, including improvements to the claims process, to provide health care and benefits to all toxic exposed veterans.
o Consider treatment of presumptive conditions as a claim for disability compensation.
o Properly implement the modernized appeals process.
o Reinstate a pre-decisional review period for claims representatives prior to final ratings decisions.
o Require VA to accept private medical evidence in lieu of VA examinations.
o Update regulations and laws governing claims to account for digital claims processing.
o Improve the accuracy of disability compensation claims related to military sexual trauma.
o Increase Dependency and Indemnity Compensation benefits for survivors.
o Increase burial allowances to account for inflation and include spouses’ information on all headstones.
Education, Employment and Transition Assistance
To ensure veterans succeed after leaving military service, Congress, VA, DOD, and DOL must:
o Conduct oversight of transition assistance program pathway attendance and ensure access to community transition resources.
o Improve education benefits through increased online student housing allowances, child care stipends, parity for Guard and Reserve members, and elimination of delimiting dates.
o Enhance outreach and counseling for Veteran Readiness and Employment eligible veterans.
o Expand small business and entrepreneurship resources for veterans and military spouses.
o Expand preferences and tax incentives for hiring veterans and military spouses.
o Fund and track outcomes for career-focused training programs.
o Increase funding for HUD-VASH vouchers, grant and per diem payments, and pilot programs to combat veteran homelessness.
o Authorize more than one adaptive automotive grant for disabled veterans.
To ensure service members and veterans receive timely access to high-quality health care without increasing cost shares, Congress, VA, and DOD must:
o Reduce the number of service members and veterans who die by suicide to zero.
o Strengthen care and research for mental health and traumatic brain injuries.
o Require an assessment of Vet Centers to ensure adequate staffing, resources, and funding.
o Improve programs and services for women and minority veterans.
o Research and effectively treat health conditions associated with toxic exposures.
o Eliminate copayment requirements for preventive health care, including medications.
o Research the efficacy of medical cannabis.
o Preserve the integrity of TRICARE.
o Properly implement VA and DOD health IT systems.
o Expand telehealth services.
o Expand nursing home eligibility, and long-term care options.
Military Quality of Life
To maintain a quality, comprehensive benefits and retirement package that is the backbone for an all-volunteer force, Congress and DOD must:
o Increase military base pay comparability with private sector wages.
o Protect and improve on-base quality of life programs.
o Ensure that military housing is safe and free of toxic substances.
o End the military retirement pay and VA disability compensation offset.
o Ensure military family members are gainfully employed.
o Eliminate food insecurity in the military.
o Establish the Armed Forces University.
o Ensure equity of benefits for Reserve component service members.
o Improve stability and support for military families.
National Security, Foreign Affairs and POW/MIA
To fully support service members, and protect our nation’s citizens and interests around the world, Congress and DOD must:
o Expand partnerships with host nations and private/public organizations to achieve the fullest possible accounting of U.S. military personnel missing from all wars.
o Preserve the all-volunteer force.
o Ensure DPAA is fully funded to perform its personnel recovery mission.
Utah State Legislature - 2022
March 4, 2022, was the official last day of the 2022 General Legislative Session. What happens next?? The Governor may continue to sign or veto bills up until March 24th, which is 20 days after adjournment. Most of the bills listed here are enrolling! They'll wait their turn in line to be reviewed by the Governor.
HB0155S1 – VETERAN ACCESS TO STATE PARKS
Expands the State Parks Honor Pass Program to all veterans with any percentage of disability rating from the Veterans Administration.https://le.utah.gov/~2022/bills/static/HB0155.html
HJR011 – JOINT RESOLUTION SUPPORTING SERVICES FOR VETERANS
Encourages the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs to submit a grant application for replacement and expansion of the Salt Lake Veterans Home. With the passage of this Bill, $25 million has been appropriated for the Salt Lake Veterans Home. https://le.utah.gov/~2022/bills/static/HJR011.html
SB0048S01 – INCOME TAX MODIFICATIONS
Provides that a claimant may not claim a social security tax credit or a military retirement tax credit, if a retirement tax credit is claimed on the same return https://le.utah.gov/~2022/bills/static/SB0048.html
SB0058 – Day of Remembrance Observing the Incarceration of Japanese Americans During World War II
This bill designates an annual day of remembrance observing the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II. https://le.utah.gov/~2022/bills/static/SB0058.html
SB0233 – Military Servicemember Child Enrollment
This bill amends provisions regarding nonresident and open enrollment for children of military servicemembers, makes technical and conforming changes. https://le.utah.gov/~2022/bills/static/SB0233.html