United States Department of Veteran Affairs

Posted on January 29, 2010. Filed under: Blogroll, Communications, Economics, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, government, government spending, history, Investments, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Monetary Policy, People, Philosophy, Politics, Quotations, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Resources, Taxes, Technology, Video, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

    Saddling Posterity with Debt

“We believe–or we act as if we believed–that although an individual father cannot alienate the labor of his son, the aggregate body of fathers may alienate the labor of all their sons, of their posterity, in the aggregate, and oblige them to pay for all the enterprises, just or unjust, profitable or ruinous, into which our vices, our passions or our personal interests may lead us. But I trust that this proposition needs only to be looked at by an American to be seen in its true point of view, and that we shall all consider ourselves unauthorized to saddle posterity with our debts, and morally bound to pay them ourselves; and consequently within what may be deemed the period of a generation, or the life of the majority.”

~Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, 1813

US Debt Clock

http://www.usdebtclock.org/

 

Department of Veteran Affairs – $55.9 billion + $1.4 billion from the Recovery Act

United States Department of Veteran Affairs

http://www.va.gov/

United States Department of Veteran Affairs

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/fy2010/assets/vet.pdf 

 

The United States Department of Veteran Affairs: History

http://www4.va.gov/about_va/vahistory.asp

 

 

Department of Veteran Affairs – $55.9 billion + $1.4 billion from the Recovery Act

Over the next 5 years, Obama plans on increasing funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs by $25 billion. Unfortunately the budget does not focus on the exact details of where this $25 billion will go. The budget focuses on increasing high-quality health care for veterans, the developments of Centers for Excellence and increased access to mental and cognitive health care. It also provides for a pilot program with non profit organization to help veterans avoid homelessness.

 

Department of Veterans Affaits

 

Major Department of Veterans Budget Expenditures

Increased Funding and Benefit Expansion 

  • General expansion of services and budget increases – $25billion increase over 5 years
  • Restoration on health care eligibility for modest income veterans – no amount provided
  • Enhanced outreach and services related to mental health and cognitive injuries for veterans – no amount provided
  • Supports quick implementation of comprehensive education benefits – no amount provided
  • Supports effective implementation of post-9/11 GI Bill – no amount provided

http://www.onlineforextrading.com/blog/federal-budget-broken-down/ 

“…Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs is responsible for administering benefit programs for veterans, their families, and their survivors. These benefits include pension, education, disability compensation, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, survivor support, medical care, and burial benefits. Veterans Affairs became a cabinet-level department in 1989. 

Of the 25 million veterans currently alive, nearly three of every four served during a war or an official period of hostility. About a quarter of the nation’s population — approximately 70 million people — are potentially eligible for V.A. benefits and services because they are veterans, family members, or survivors of veterans. 

The Secretary of Veterans Affairs oversees a budget of approximately $90 billion and a staff of approximately 235,000 employees. …” 

http://www.whitehouse.gov/our-government/executive-branch 

United States Department of Veteran Affairs

“…The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a government-run military veteran benefit system with Cabinet-level status. It is responsible for administering programs of veterans’ benefits for veterans, their families, and survivors.

The benefits provided include disability compensation, pension, education, home loans, life insurance, vocational rehabilitation, survivors’ benefits, medical benefits and burial benefits.[1] It is administered by the United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

History

The United States has the most comprehensive system of assistance for veterans of any nation in the world. This benefits system traces its roots back to 1636, when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony were at war with the Pequot Indians. The Pilgrims passed a law which stated that disabled soldiers would be supported by the colony.

The Continental Congress of 1776 encouraged enlistments during the Revolutionary War by providing pensions for soldiers who were disabled. Direct medical and hospital care given to veterans in the early days of the Republic was provided by the individual States and communities. In 1811, the first domiciliary and medical facility for veterans was authorized by the Federal Government. In the 19th century, the Nation’s veterans assistance program was expanded to include benefits and pensions not only for veterans, but also their widows and dependents.

After the Civil War, many State veterans homes were established. Since domiciliary care was available at all State veterans homes, incidental medical and hospital treatment was provided for all injuries and diseases, whether or not of service origin. Indigent and disabled veterans of the Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, and Mexican Border period as well as discharged regular members f the Armed Forces were cared for at these homes.

Congress established a new system of veterans benefits when the United States entered World War I in 1917. Included were programs for disability compensation, insurance for servicepersons and veterans, and vocational rehabilitation for the disabled. By the 1920s, the various benefits were administered by three different Federal agencies: the Veterans Bureau, the Bureau of Pensions of the Interior Department, and the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers.

The establishment of the Veterans Administration came in 1930 when Congress authorized the President to “consolidate and coordinate Government activities affecting war veterans.” The three component agencies became bureaus within the Veterans Administration. Brigadier General Frank T. Hines, who directed the Veterans Bureau for seven years, was named as the first Administrator of Veterans Affairs, a job he held until 1945.

The VA health care system has grown from 54 hospitals in 1930, to include 171 medical centers; more than 350 outpatient, community, and outreach clinics; 126 nursing home care units; and 35 domiciliaries. VA health care facilities provide a broad spectrum of medical, surgical, and rehabilitative care. The responsibilities and benefits programs of the Veterans Administration grew enormously during the following six decades. World War II resulted in not only a vast increase in the veteran population, but also in large number of new benefits enacted by the Congress for veterans of the war. The World War II GI Bill, signed into law on June 22, 1944, is said to have had more impact on the American way of life than any law since the Homestead Act more than a century ago. Further educational assistance acts were passed for the benefit of veterans of the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Era, Persian Gulf War, and the All-Volunteer Force.

In 1973, the Veterans Administration assumed another major responsibility when the National Cemetery System (except for Arlington National Cemetery) was transferred to the Veterans Administration from the Department of the Army. The Agency was charged with the operation of the National Cemetery System, including the marking of graves of all persons in national and State cemeteries (and the graves of veterans in private cemeteries, upon request) as well and administering the State Cemetery Grants Program.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was established as a Cabinet-level position on March 15, 1989. President Bush hailed the creation of the new Department saying, “There is only one place for the veterans of America, in the Cabinet Room, at the table with the President of the United States of America.”

Function

The primary function of the Department of Veterans Affairs is to help veterans by providing certain benefits and services.

Veterans Benefits & Services include: Health Benefits, Services Appeals, Burial and Memorial Benefits, Compensation for injury and Pension Benefits, Education Benefits, Home Loan Guaranty Services[2], Insurance Benefits, Vocational Rehabilitation, Employment Services and Veterans Small Business Loans.

The medical aspect of the VA is a health-care system,[3] the American government’s second largest department, after the United States Department of Defense.[4] With a total 2009 budget of about $87.6 billion, VA employs nearly 280,000 people at hundreds of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, clinics, and benefits offices.

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs lists several benefits for veterans including education, home loans, deferred compensation, pension, survivors’ benefits, burial, vocational rehabilitation, employment, and life insurance.

Organization

The Department of Veterans Affairs is headed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The current Secretary of Veterans Affairs is Ret. General Eric Shinseki.

The Department has three main subdivisions, known as Administrations, each headed by an Undersecretary:

  • Veterans Health Administration – responsible for providing health care in all its forms, as well as for medical research, Community Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs), and Regional Medical Centers.
  • Veterans Benefits Administration – responsible for initial veteran registration, eligibility determination, and five key lines of business (benefits and entitlements): Home Loan Guaranty, Insurance, Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment, Education (GI Bill), and Compensation & Pension
  • National Cemetery Administration – responsible for providing burial and memorial benefits, as well as for maintenance of VA cemeteries

Costs for care

As is common in any time of war, recently there has been an increased demand for nursing home beds, injury rehabilitation, and mental health care. VA categorizes veterans into eight priority groups and several additional subgroups, based on factors such as service-connected disabilities, and one’s income and assets (adjusted to local cost of living).

Veterans with a 50% or higher service-connected disability as determined by a VA regional office “rating board” (e.g., losing a limb in battle, PTSD, etc) are provided comprehensive care and medication at no charge. Veterans with lesser qualifying factors who exceed a pre-defined income threshold have to make co-payments for care for non-service-connected ailments and pay $8 per 30-day supply for each prescription medication.

VA dental and nursing home care are more restricted. Reservists and National Guard who served stateside in peacetime settings or have no service-related disabilities generally do not qualify for VA benefits.[5] VA in recent years has opened hundreds of new convenient outpatient clinics in towns across America, while steadily reducing inpatient bed levels at its hospitals.

VA’s budget has been pushed to the limit in recent years by the War on Terrorism.[6] In December 2004, it was widely reported that VA’s funding crisis had become so severe that it could no longer provide disability ratings to veterans in a timely fashion.[7] This is a problem because until veterans are fully transitioned from the active-duty TRICARE healthcare system to VA, they are on their own with regard to many healthcare costs.

The VA has worked to cut down screening times for these returning combat vets (they are now often evaluated by VA personnel well before their actual discharge), and they receive first priority for patient appointments. VA’s backlog of pending disability claims under review (a process known as “adjudication”) peaked at 421,000 in 2001, and bottomed out at 254,000 in 2003, but crept back up to 340,000 in 2005.[8]

No copayment is required for VA services for veterans with military-related conditions. VA-recognized service-connected disabilities include problems that started or were aggravated due to military service. Veteran service organizations such as the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Disabled American Veterans, as well as state-operated Veterans Affairs offices and County Veteran Service Officers (CVSO), have been known to assist veterans in the process of getting care from the VA.

In the United States Federal Budget for fiscal year 2009, President George W. Bush, requested $38.7 billion – or 86.5% of the total Veterans Affairs budget – for veteran medical care alone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Department_of_Veterans_Affairs

 

Background Articles and Videos

 

 

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United States Department of Interior

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United States Department of Labor

United States Department of State

United States Department of Transportation

United States Department of The Treasury

United States Department of Veteran Affairs

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