In This Issue:
1. VFW Presents Legislative Goals
2. House VA Committee Hearings
3. Relief for GI Bill Payments Coming
4. Vets Employment Initiative Launched 1. VFW Presents Legislative Goals:
The VFW presented its Top 5 legislative goals this week at a House Veterans Affairs Committee roundtable. The issues we want Congress to highlight this year are the claims backlog, employment and training, oversight of VA health care, and military-to-veteran transition issues, to include education. Committee members acknowledged that the VA claims backlog is among their top priorities, and they intend to hold oversight hearings on viable fixes to the critical problem. The VFW's 2010 legislative priority goals can be viewed at http://www.vfw.org/PR/Legislative/2010PriorityGoals%20PROOF.pdf
. 2. House VA Committee Hearings:
* The House VA Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing Thursday to review the various programs set up to assist veterans and wounded warriors in their transition to civilian life. Witnesses acknowledged progress has been made, but gaps still exit that impacts the new veterans. Committee members reiterated their intent to look at the medical record exchange between VA and DOD, as well as the use of the polytrauma centers across the country.
* The House VA Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity also met Thursday to discuss what progress had been to streamline the processing of Post 9/11 GI Bill claims. VA and its contractor, SPARWAR, were asked to discuss their short and long-term information technology solutions. VA maintained that any GI Bill claims submitted to them prior to Jan. 19 would be processed by Feb. 1. VA expects the long-term IT solution to be operational for the fall 2010 semester.
For complete coverage of both hearings, visit the House VA website at http://veterans.house.gov/
. 3. Relief for GI Bill Payments Coming:
Feb. 1 is the first date spring semester payments are due, and the VA has aggressively increased the processing of Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits so that student veterans are spared the financial hardships some faced during the fall 2009 term. They hired 530 more employees, bringing the total number of education claims processors to 1,200, and have so far processed more than 72,000 of approximately 103,000 spring enrollments received. VA also sent letters to university presidents and school certifying officials to emphasize the importance of the timely submission of school enrollment information. Since the inception of the Post 9/11 GI Bill last year, VA has paid more than $1.3 billion in benefits to more than 170,000 students. More information, as well as a "Hip Pocket" guide and checklist, is available on the VA's GI Bill Web site at www.gibill.va.gov
. 4. New Federal Job Site Launched:
The Office of Personnel Management launched a new website this week to help military veterans and their families find employment with the federal government. FedsHireVets.gov will become the main source for employment information for both veterans and hiring officials. View the site at http://www.fedshirevets.gov/