VA Eliminates Verification Report
The Department of Veterans Affairs has announced that it is cutting red tape for veterans by eliminating the need for them to complete an annual Eligibility Verification Report (EVR). VA will implement a new process for confirming eligibility for benefits, and staff that had been responsible for processing the old form will instead focus on eliminating the compensation claims backlog. All beneficiaries currently receiving VA pension benefits will receive a letter from VA explaining these changes and providing instructions on how to continue to submit their unreimbursed medical expenses.
Veterans May See Local Doctors
A bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Al Franken and Rep. Tim Walz aimed at tackling the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefit-claims backlog passed the House of Representatives last week. The Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act of 2015 is a bipartisan, bicameral bill that allows local doctors to conduct disability medical examinations for veterans seeking benefits from the VA for the first time. Currently, veterans must visit a VA facility for the examination. Allowing veterans to see a local doctor for their initial exam is designed to conserve VA resources, cut back on long wait times at VA hospitals, enable quicker diagnoses of disabilities, and eliminate unnecessary trips to the VA for veterans in rural communities.
Concurrent Retirement & Disability Payments
The Concurrent Retirement & Disability Payments (CRDP) is designed to remove the offset of VA and DoD payments. The program provides a 10-year phase-out of the offset to military retired pay from receiving VA disability compensation for members who have a combined disability rating of 50 percent or greater. Members retired under disability provisions must have 20 years of service.
Skills Test Waived
Thirty-three (33) states agreed to waive the skills test for veterans and servicemembers who have military training that would entitle them to a commercial driver's license. A provision of the commercial learner's permit rule gives state driver licensing agencies the authority to substitute two years of commercial motor vehicle safe-driving experience in the military equivalents of commercial motor vehicles for the skills-test portion of the commercial driver license. The rule applies to active duty, Reserve, Guard and Coast Guard members, and veterans within 90 days of separation. More states are considering such a waiver. For more information, contact your state's motor vehicle administration or department of transportation.
Free Lapel Pin
If you are a Vietnam veteran, there is a lapel pin waiting for you. It has an eagle in the center and the words Vietnam Veteran around the outside. If you don’t have one, leave a message at the VFW and they’ll get one to you. The phone number is 936-825-3666. This is a long overdue and small recognition for your service. I salute you. Some limitations may apply.
The Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) program, commonly known as VOC Rehab, is an excellent benefit offered by VA that is not utilized by many eligible veterans who may need it. VR&E services can assist eligible veterans with resume development skills, job research training, employment accommodations and education in order to keep employed through different avenues. The program offers individual counselors to accommodate the different needs of the clients they serve. All veterans are encourage to learn more about this program’s services to see if you are eligible for this great benefit.