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Veterans Care and Benefits In 164 Billion VA Budget

Veterans Crisis LineSedona AZ (March 4, 2014) – Continuing the transformation of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) into a 21st century organization, the President has proposed a $163.9 billion budget, a 6.5 percent increase over Fiscal Year 2014, that will support VA’s goals to expand access to health care and other benefits, eliminate the disability claims backlog, and end homelessness among Veterans. The budget includes $68.4 billion in discretionary spending, largely for healthcare, and $95.6 billion for mandatory programs – mostly disability compensation and pensions for Veterans.

“This budget will allow us to continue the progress we have made in helping Veterans secure their place in the middle class,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “It is a tangible demonstration of the President’s commitment to ensuring Veterans and their families have the care and benefits they’ve earned and deserve.”

The $68.4 billion total in discretionary spending includes approximately $3.1 billion in medical care collections from health insurers and Veteran copayments.

“We remain committed to providing Veterans the opportunity to pursue their education, find meaningful employment and access high-quality health care,” Shinseki added. “From the men and women of ‘the greatest generation’ to the Veterans who have returned from our most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, no one deserves it more.”

Veterans AdministrationVA operates one of the largest integrated health care systems in the country with nearly 9 million enrollees; the ninth largest life insurance program; monthly disability pay, pensions and survivors payments to more than 5.1 million beneficiaries of monthly pay, pensions and survivor benefits; education assistance or vocational rehabilitation benefits and services to 1.2 million students; mortgage guaranties to over 2 million homeowners; and the largest cemetery system in the nation.

Here are highlights from the President’s 2015 budget request for VA.

Health Care

With a medical care budget of $59.1 billion, including collections, VA is positioned to provide care to 6.7 million patients in the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1. The patient total includes over 757,000 people whose military service began after September 11, 2001.

Major spending categories within the health care budget are:

• $7.2 billion for mental health;

• $2.6 billion for prosthetics;

• $561 million for spinal cord injuries;

• $229 million for traumatic brain injuries;

• $238 million for readjustment counseling; and

• $7.0 billion for long-term care.

veterans administration logo bannerExpanding Access

The President’s proposed budget would ensure that care and other benefits are available to Veterans when and where they need them. Among the programs that will expand access under the proposed budget are:

• $567 million in telehealth funding, which helps patients monitor chronic health care conditions and increases access to care, especially in rural and remote locations;

• $403 million for health care services specifically-designed for women, an increase of 8.7 percent over the present level;

• $534 million for the activation of new and enhanced health care facilities;

• $562 million to continue on-going major construction projects;

• $86.6 million for improved customer service applications for online self-service portals and call center agent-assisted inquiries; and

• $3.6 million to open two new national cemeteries in Florida and prepare for the opening of two new rural national Veterans burial grounds.

woman caregiver veteransEliminating Claims Backlog

The President’s proposed budget provides for full implementation of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s (VBA) robust Transformation Plan — a series of people, process and technology initiatives — in FY 2015. This plan will continue to systematically reduce the backlog and enable the Department to reach its 2015 goal – to eliminate the disability claims backlog and process all claims within 125 days with 98 percent accuracy.

Major transformation initiatives in the budget proposal invest $312 million to bring leading-edge technology to the claims backlog, including:

• $173 million ($137 million in Information Technology and $36 million in VBA) for the next generation of the electronic claims processing system Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS); and

• $139 million for Veterans Claims Intake Program (VCIP) to continue conversion of paper records into electronic images and data in VBMS.

women support veterans administrationEliminating Veterans Homelessness

A major strategic goal for the Department is to end homelessness among Veterans in 2015. The budget request targets $1.6 billion for programs to prevent or reduce homelessness, including:

• $500 million for Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) to promote housing stability;

• $374 million for the HUD-VASH program wherein VA provides case management services for at-risk Veterans and their families and HUD provides permanent housing through its Housing Choice Voucher program; and

• $253 million in grant and per diem payments that support temporary housing provided by community-based organizations.

Other Services for Veterans

vietnam vetOther features of the administration’s FY 2015 budget request for the department are:

• $257 million to administer the VA-run system of national cemeteries;

• $3.9 billion for information technology; and

• $1.2 billion in construction, cemetery grants and extended care grants.

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  1. AMERICAN says:

    NOTHING WILL CHANGE! CONGRESS WILL GIVE THE VA ‘BILLIONS MORE DOLLARS,’ and they will divide it up among themselves. Our Veterans will not get their compensation and medical care. These VA thieves will get more salary, bigger bonuses, more lavish vacations, more expensive homes, cars and etc.

    All of a sudden, every politician, Democrat and Republican is jumping to take on the VA Backlog. Not one of these men or women gave a second thought to the cruel way the VA is treating our veterans until the past few weeks. After the fiasco of the government shutdown, the spying incident, and the Obama-Care, that can’t be accessed, all the politicians from both parties are scrambling like rats on a sinking ship to save their jobs! These elected officials finally realize that us voters are going to get rid of every incumbent Congressman, Senator, and etc. in the next few elections. The President has already served his two terms, so we won’t need to vote him out.

    So now, here we are with all these politicians claiming they are going to fix the VA Backlog, and they deserve credit for it. All the while, things aren’t getting any better. Congress and the Senate, with the President’s blessing, have passed several pieces of legislation, given the VA billions of dollars, and 700,000 of our injured, sick and wounded American veteran soldiers are still suffering and dying while begging for help from the VA.

    The VA executives, lawyers and claims adjusters are sure enjoying that billions of taxpayers’ dollars. They are getting huge salaries, $20,000-$50,000 in annual bonuses for not doing their job, complete family medical benefits (not Obamacare, either), and trips to exotic places for so-called conferences in 5-Star hotels, with lavish meals, spas, and etc.

    Here is what happens at the VA every day. A VA claims adjuster picks up a veteran’s claim, glances at it briefly, and immediately denies it. Then a letter is sent to the disabled veteran. The veteran must then appeal this decision. Once the appeal is sent back to the VA and received, it goes into a much worse backlog, the VA Claims Appeals Backlog.

    This backlog is better known as cardboard boxes full of claims tossed into some storage room, never to be touched. Once the veteran’s claim reaches this appeals level, it will be 5-7 years, or maybe more before the claim is glanced at again. Most appeals are never worked on, because the claims that are in appeals do not count toward the number of backlogged claims the VA has to report. So, the goal is to deny as many claims as possible, get them into appeals, and forget they exist.

    While all this cruel, heartless behavior is going on at the VA, the executives, lawyers and adjusters are singing their national anthem, “DENY, DENY, UNTIL THEY DIE! What a National Disgrace!

  2. AMERICAN says:

    The VA is not settling claims and taking care of disabled American veterans! Hickey, Shinseki and the rest are DENYING nearly every claim, forcing all the veterans to submit appeals. Once the veterans’ claims are denied and shuffled to APPEALS, they no longer have to be counted as ” BACK-LOGGED CLAIMS.” So Hickey, Shinseki, and their band of heartless thieves can FORGET ABOUT all those injured, sick and wounded Americans who served our country and protected us all from harm! Once a veteran soldier’s claim reaches the appeals stage, it WILL BE YEARS before it is glanced at again, IF EVER! At the APPEALS STAGE, our WOUNDED WARRIORS must appear before a CIVILIAN VA JUDGE to BEG FOR COMPENSATION and MEDICAL CARE THAT THEY EARNED and RIGHTFULLY DESERVE for THEIR SERVICE TO THIS GREAT COUNTRY! These VA JUDGES are just more HIGHLY- PAID, PRIVILEDGED LAWYERS who never served a day of their lives in the UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES! OUR WOUNDED WARRIORS should not have to bow down to these guys and BEG FOR HELP! WE ALL NEED TO STAND UP and STOP the VA’s CRUEL TREATMENT of OUR AMERICAN MILITARY VETERANS TODAY!

  3. Please visit this link to learn more about this wonderful program for veterans — http://bit.ly/1nfD6R6

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