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Posted at 03:00 PM on Thursday, October 4, 2007 by post9431WASHINGTON, Oct. 4, 2007--The national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is applauding the 13 members of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission for keeping a promise to make the system better for disabled veterans, servicemembers and their families. The commission unveiled their 562-page report yesterday after more than two years of research and interviews.
VFW Commander-in-Chief George Lisicki, a Vietnam veteran from Carteret, N.J., said that some in the veterans' community were initially skeptical because they thought the commission was formed to cut programs and benefits. "But there is no doubt from the report that the skeptics were wrong," he said. "The commission kept its promise to care for those who have borne the battle."
The commission report includes 113 recommendations, 14 of which were considered to be priorities. These recommendations would require the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a permanent committee to regularly update the rating schedule that guides the VA's evaluation of service-connected disabilities, especially where it concerns traumatic brain injuries, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders, and other mental or neurological injuries or diseases. The commission said the rating schedule revision is needed to include compensation for the impact a service-connected disability has on an individual's quality of life, something current law provides only to the most seriously disabled.
Also recommended was the elimination of the ban on concurrent receipt for all military retirees and those who are medically-separated before reaching the 20-year retirement point, as well as ending the offset that currently prevents survivors of veterans who die on active duty or as the result of service-connected disabilities from collecting both their Defense Department Survivor Benefit Plan payment and VA Dependency and Indemnity Compensation.