April 22, 2024
Austin, Texas, USA
Safety and Security

Serving Those Who Served: Different Legislative Acts to Support Veterans

Legislative Acts

It’s essential to support our veterans, who have served and sacrificed to keep our country safe. The Veterans’ Benefits Enhancement Act was created to help provide better healthcare and other services for veterans. The Veterans’ Employment Opportunities Act aims to help veterans find jobs after serving their country. At the same time, the Veteran Care and Support Act provides funding for programs that help veterans with mental health issues.

The Veterans Choice Act

The Veterans Choice Act, officially known as the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014, was a U.S. federal law signed by President Obama in response to issues with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system. It aimed to improve veterans’ access to healthcare by expanding options for receiving care outside the VA system.

The primary goal of the Veterans Choice Act was to address long wait times and inadequate access to healthcare faced by many veterans seeking medical treatment through the VA. The legislation provided funding to establish the Veterans Choice Program, which allowed eligible veterans to seek care from private healthcare providers if they experienced long wait times for VA appointments or lived more than a certain distance from a VA facility.

Under the program, veterans could receive medical care from non-VA providers and have their costs covered by the VA. It was intended to offer greater flexibility and convenience to veterans, especially those in rural or underserved areas with limited access to VA healthcare facilities. A few months back, in 2022, Congressman Brian Mast introduced the veteran’s homecare option in the act.

The Veterans’ Empowerment Act

The Veterans’ Empowerment Act was passed in 2017, allowing veterans to use their GI Bill benefits at any accredited institution of higher education. This means that if you want to use your GI Bill benefits for anything other than a traditional college or university, you can do so.

The act also helps veterans who want to return to school but don’t have the time or money to do so by funding online courses and programs geared toward job training.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, signed into law in 2022, provides health care and benefits to military members and their families exposed to contaminated drinking water at Camp Lejeune.

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022 also establishes a presumption of service connection for eight diseases associated with contaminated water exposure:

  • Acute myeloid leukemia
  • Multiple myeloma (MM)
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Bladder cancer
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL)
  • Parkinson’s disease

Almost 60,000 Camp Lejeune claims filed by veterans lie with the Secretary of the Navy. In May 2023, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio took up the cause by sending a letter to the Navy for immediate action.

According to TorHoerman Law, the Navy JAG and Tort Claim units now get only six months before a veteran can file a lawsuit in the district court. If the Navy JAG team can get to a settlement within six months, the case is closed then and there.

The Veterans’ Employment Opportunities Act

The Veterans’ Employment Opportunities Act is a bill that was passed in 1998. It helps veterans find jobs and makes it easier for them to find work. The act provides resources for veterans seeking a job, such as resume-writing workshops and career counseling services. According to a government website, one can apply if he or she has completed three or more years of active service under honorable conditions.

The Veterans’ Employment Opportunities Act makes it easier for veterans to get jobs by requiring employers who hire former service members to pay them at least one dollar more per hour than they would pay someone else without military experience.

The Veterans’ Homelessness Prevention Act

The Veterans’ Homelessness Prevention Act of 2013 authorized the VA to assist States, units of general local government, and private nonprofit organizations with programs that provide housing assistance to veterans who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The law requires public or private nonprofit organizations that receive VA funds to help ensure veterans get homes to stay. It also includes ensuring these veterans meet their privacy, safety, and security needs.

In 2019, this law was further expanded. The new bill added programs and revised policies related to veterans who are homeless or on the verge of becoming one. According to the new bill, those offering grants to homeless veterans will receive per diem payments.

With the new bill, it has also become mandatory for the VA to enter partnerships with nonprofit entities to fund legal services to veterans. This can include legal services related to housing, property transfer, family law, criminal defense, etc.

It also allows veterans who are a part of the Housing Choice Voucher Program and receive assistance under the same to get specified dental care. Further, the new bill supports low-income veteran families and helps them with permanent housing.

The Veterans’ Benefits Enhancement Act

The Veterans’ Benefits Enhancement Act of 2009 is legislation enacted in the United States. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama on October 10, 2008, and became Public Law No: 110-389.

The act aimed to expand and enhance several benefits and services available to veterans, particularly those who served in the armed forces during war or national emergencies. Here are some key provisions of the Veterans Benefits Enhancement Act of 2009:

  • Improved Disability Compensation: The act authorized an increase in disability compensation for veterans who have service-connected disabilities. It also expanded benefits for disabled veterans with children and increased the dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spouses and children.
  • Health Care Benefits: The act improved access to health care for veterans by expanding eligibility for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system. It allowed certain veterans previously ineligible to enroll in VA health care and provided additional resources for mental health services.
  • Education Benefits: The act enhanced educational benefits for veterans, including increasing the amount of financial assistance available under the Post-9/11 GI Bill and expanding eligibility criteria for certain veterans and their dependents.
  • Housing and Home Loans: The act expanded the VA’s home loan program by increasing loan limits and improving the availability of home loans for veterans. It also established additional protections for veterans facing foreclosure.
  • Caregiver Support: The act established a program to support and assist caregivers of seriously injured veterans. It recognized the vital role played by caregivers and aimed to improve their access to resources and services.

The Veterans Equal Access Act

The Veterans Equal Access Act (VEAA) is a piece of legislation that aims to improve access to medical marijuana for military veterans. It was first introduced in the United States Congress in 2015 and has undergone several iterations.

The primary objective of the VEAA is to allow veterans who reside in states where medical marijuana is legal to discuss and receive recommendations for medical marijuana treatment from their VA healthcare providers.

Under the current federal law, VA doctors are prohibited from discussing or recommending medical marijuana as a treatment option to their patients, even in states where it is legal. The VEAA seeks to change this restriction and allow VA healthcare providers to communicate openly with veterans.

It aims to provide veterans with greater access to alternative treatment options, particularly chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other service-related ailments. This is beneficial because medical marijuana can have many potential health benefits. For instance, at least 18% of veterans reported depression disorder in a recent survey. Medical marijuana can help overcome depression.

Conclusion

As you can see, many legislative acts are in place to help veterans. Some of these laws have been around for years, and others were created recently. While each addresses explicitly a different issue that veterans face, they all serve the same purpose, helping those who served us protect our freedom.

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