Paralyzed Veterans of America's Government Relations Department has been progressively meeting with all new and returning members of Congress and their staffs to outline and discuss Paralyzed Veterans’s top legislative priorities. We continue to work on issues important to our members, veterans with spinal cord injury or dysfunction, specifically, and to all veterans. Our top five priorities for the first session of the 112th Congress are:
- Ensuring adequate funding is provided for the Department of Veterans Affairs for FY 2012 to include ensuring that necessary funding is included for full implementation of P.L. 111-163, the “Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010.” Additionally, we will work with the Administration, Congress, and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to follow through on the requirements for advance appropriations for VA health care for FY 2013, specifically to ensure that GAO finally provides the detailed analysis that is required of the President’s Budget Request.
- Improvements to the claims process that will ensure that veterans receive the compensation and ancillary benefits that they have earned in a more timely manner.
- Addressing the ongoing problems with inappropriate billing by the Veterans Health Administration, to include eliminating all billing for veterans rated with a permanent and total disability.
- Improve benefits for the most severely disabled veterans, specifically addressing the needs of severely disabled veterans who are in receipt of Special Monthly Compensation and Aid and Attendance benefits.
Working to refine and update current VA human resources policies and procedures, specifically in the areas of personnel recruitment and retention programs, employee education and training, and overall workforce succession planning to ensure proper and timely delivery of VA services to veterans.
In addition to the legislative priorities, we continue to emphasize the need to protect the VA health-care system. With growing pressure to allow veterans to have health-care options outside of the VA (vouchers, contracting, etc.), we must remain vigilant to ensure that the VA remains at the forefront of heath-care delivery.
We are also educating members of Congress about Paralyzed Veterans’s Vocational Rehabilitation Program and our newly launched Mission: ABLE Campaign. We are encouraging members to attend PVA’s Annual Golf Open where all proceeds will benefit our Vocational Rehabilitation Program.