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Veteran groups: ‘Billions of dollars are needed to address veteran issues’

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Spending to meet veteran needs in healthcare and benefits will fall short by billions of dollars in the coming years if Congress does nothing to resolve the issue, Matthew M. Burke of the Stars and Stripes reported on Friday.

Multiple veterans’ organizations, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, and American Veterans released a report, the 28th annual “Independent Budget” that calls for $72.9 billion in additional health, benefits, claims processing and infrastructure spending for the fiscal 2015 budget and would set aside money for future fiscal years.

Otherwise, several benefits for veterans may not be available in future years.

In the “Comprehensive Budget & Policy” document created by Veterans for Veterans, their mandates consists of four major-core components that Congress needs to install:

“Competent, compassionate, and consistently high-quality health care to all eligible veterans, and to their eligible families and survivors; timely and accurate delivery of all earned benefits to veterans, dependents, and survivors, including disability compensation, pensions, education, housing assistance, and other necessary supports.”

“Dignified memorial services to all eligible veterans, preserving our national cemeteries as shrines to those lost in or following service to the nation.”

The authors said, “We submit this report in the hope that legislators and VA policymakers will consider and incorporate our recommendations in developing legislation and making policy changes affecting VA for FY 2014 and beyond and for developing advance appropriations in VA health care for FY 2015.”

“We believe that by capitalizing on the strong foundation this document provides VA will be better able to improve its benefits and services and achieve operational excellence.”

The organizations are also calling for the House and Senate to immediately consider and approve H.R. 813 and S. 932 legislative bills.

In one particular area the authors mentioned, concerns problems with the VA Healthcare system as numerous complaints by veterans of various needs has been going on for some time.

Comments made by veterans can be seen on the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) - U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Facebook page and at various VA Medical Hospital Facebook pages such as the Atlanta VA Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia.

The complete 36-page Veterans for Veterans Comprehensive Budget & Policy report can be obtained here.

In related news, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are being accused of changing the rules to reach goals by accusing the VA leadership of playing games with Congress and creating policies to make the never-ending Veteran claims backlog look healthier than it really is.

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