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VFW WASHINGTON WEEKLY

May 20, 2011



In This Issue:
1. SVAC Criticizes Seamless Transition Initiative
2. Support Needed for Vet Employment Bill
3. Purple Heart Eligibility Revised


1. SVAC Criticizes Seamless Transition Initiative: On Wednesday, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee criticized the VA and DOD for a new system that is supposed to help wounded troops get disability compensation more efficiently. Instead, the Integrated Disability Evaluation System keeps personnel in the military longer than intended, which prevents some from taking job offers or even starting college on time. The new program's goal is to get wounded and disabled troops through the system in about 270 days, but March statistics reflect that goal was met only 15% of the time for active-duty troops. Officials said the new program is still better than the old system, which took on average 540 days to complete. Right now DOD envisions another year before the average processing time is reduced to 300 days. Visit the Senate VA Committee website for more details at http://veterans.senate.gov/hearings.cfm.



2. Support Needed for Vet Employment Bill: We need your support for S. 951, the Hiring Heroes Act of 2011, introduced by Senate VA Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA). This VFW-supported legislation would aggressively combat the unemployment rates for veterans that run as high as 27 percent for those in the 20-24 age group. The bill would require VA, DOD and Labor to identify the gaps between military training skills and civilian licensure and credentialing. It would also extend VA's Vocational Rehabilitation and Education program, plus authorize government agencies to direct hire, and make the Transition Assistance Program mandatory for all servicemembers. Contact your senators today at http://capwiz.com/vfw/dbq/officials/ and urge them to support S. 951. Read more about the bill at http://veterans.senate.gov/press-releases.cfm?action=release.display&release_id=1fc27742-327f-437d-9544-04058da51d3d.


3. Purple Heart Eligibility Revised: Both the Army and the Marine Corps will allow more battlefield concussions to be eligible for the Purple Heart. The decision to expand the definition for concussions means thousands of Purple Heart medals could be going to soldiers and Marines who may have been denied in the past. The new eligibility still requires all injuries to be the result of direct or indirect enemy action. The change is retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001.
      * Soldiers should reapply through their chain of command; Army veterans can call 888-276-9472 or send an e-mail to hrc.tagd.awards@conus.army.mil. Read more at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/index.asp.
      * Marines should consult the Commandant's coordinating instructions at http://www.marines.mil/news/messages/Pages/MARADMIN245-11.aspx/. Read more at http://www.marines.mil/unit/hqmc/Pages/Marineswithconcussion,mildbraininjuryqualifyforPurpleHeart.aspx.
      * The Departments of the Air Force and Navy are still considering regulation changes.

Home    Upcoming Events    Links of Interest    Ladies Auxiliary
Webmaster    Newsletters    VFW Documents    VFW NSFA Updates
Agent Orange    Contact Us    Stories    Friends of the Post
Let Them Not Go In Silence    Photo Gallery    Flag Rules and Regulations
Listen Up!: Commander’s Message    Freedom is NEVER Free!