Honoring our veterans: Pt. 2
Posted: Friday, September 3, 2010 1:46 pm
By: Con John Tanner
Aside from direct Congressional action, the VA made recent rule changes that will greatly benefit veterans in Tennessee and across the country.
Congressional oversight efforts, coupled with bold legislation, has encouraged the VA to issue the following decisions:
• More Veterans to Qualify for PTSD Service Connection
VA simplified the process for Veterans claiming post-traumatic stress disorder. Prior to the new rule, veterans who applied for PTSD-related disability benefits were required to meet a stringent level of evidence, which delayed and denied benefits to thousands of veterans.
Now in order to receive benefits, a potential recipient need only provide proof of service in a war zone, combined with a later diagnosis of PTSD.
• More Illnesses Connected to Agent Orange
In October 2009, VA established a service-connection for Vietnam veterans with three specific illnesses (B cell leukemias, Parkinson’s Disease, and ischemic heart disease) based on evidence of an association with the herbicides referred to as Agent Orange.
As a result, veterans who were physically stationed in Vietnam will no longer need to prove a connection between these illnesses and their military service.
Unfortunately, a certain group of Vietnam veterans will not be treated or compensated as the VA continues to adhere to an arbitrary provision, requiring all beneficiaries to provide proof of “foot on land” in Vietnam.
We strongly urge VA to reverse its decision and compensate these deserving veterans.
We want to ensure that all of our veterans and military families are aware of the various resources available to them.
In particular, we ask veterans, their families and friends to be aware of signs of depression, as there is support for those who may be struggling.
The National Suicide Prevention hotline (1-800-273-TALK) has already served more than 115,000 veterans, family members, and friends.
Honoring our American heroes is a responsibility we all share. Over the past three years, we have sought to pass and implement legislation that will make a real difference in the lives of our service members and their families.
Americans see these initiatives as a small way of saying thank you to those who sacrifice so much on our behalf.
We hope you too will express your own gratitude to these brave men and women and thank them for their continued service to our nation, our communities and our families.
Tanner represents the 8th Congressional District in West and Middle Tennessee. Co-founder of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Democrats, Tanner serves on the Ways and Means Committee, where he chairs the Trade Subcommittee, and on the Foreign Affairs Committee. A veteran of the U.S. Navy and the Tennessee Army National Guard, Tanner chairs the U.S. delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly and is serving as NATO PA President.