FL Rep Jeff Miller, chair of the House VA Committee, speaks at an Oct 30, 2013, rally for advanced funding for VA programs surrounded by veterans service organizations representatives
October 30, 2013, Paralyzed Veterans of America, along with a broad coalition of veterans and military service organizations, gathered for a rally on the US Capitol and called for the immediate approval of legislation (H.R. 813 and S. 932) that would extend advance appropriations to all VA discretionary and mandatory programs, services and benefits.
In letters sent to the President, and House and Senate leadership, the groups stated the following:
Advance appropriations have shielded VA health care from most of the harmful effects of the recent government shutdown as well as prior continuing resolutions. Approval of this legislation would provide the same protections to all remaining discretionary and mandatory funded veterans programs, including disability compensation processing and payments.
As the recent partial government shutdown has proven: advance appropriations work. Thanks to their advance funding, VA hospitals and clinics were able to provide uninterrupted care to millions of wounded, injured and ill veterans. By contrast, other critical services for veterans were delayed, disrupted and suspended. Work was stopped on more than 250,000 Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims awaiting appeals, burials at national cemeteries were scaled back and vital medical and prosthetic research projects were suspended.
Had this stalemate continued for another couple of weeks, even mandatory obligations of the federal government, such as disability compensation and pension payments to veterans and their survivors, would have been halted. More than four million wounded, injured, ill and poor veterans rely on these payments; for some it is their primary or only source of income.
“It is simply unacceptable that there was even the threat of default on these payments,” said the groups. It is time for Congress to put the interests of veterans ahead of political benefit,” said Bill Lawson, national president of Paralyzed Veterans of America. “The only way to ensure that veterans receive the full range of health care and benefits that they have earned and deserve is to provide advance appropriations for all of the programs of the VA.”
Read the letters sent to the President, House and Senate leadership
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America's assistance to veterans