Veterans can remain optimistic

Anthony Principi, former secretary of veterans affairs, warned last week that disabled veterans and their families will suffer if Americans “lose faith in the integrity” of VA disability compensation system. Thankfully, for hundreds of thousands of Vietnam veterans in line to be compensated for three additional diseases linked Agent Orange exposure, few senators seemed ready […]

Udall PSA urges troops and veterans to claim stop loss compensation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., today released a 30-second video PSA urging active duty service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of service members who were involuntarily extended between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009, to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay.

Press release: Udall urges troops and veterans to claim stop loss compensation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall, D-N.M., is urging active duty service members, veterans, and beneficiaries of service members who were involuntarily extended between September 11, 2001 and September 30, 2009, to apply for Retroactive Stop Loss Special Pay. Under the 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Act, compensation is available to service members of every military […]

Retroactive compensation awarded

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Department of Veterans Affairs published its final regulation Aug. 31 for compensating Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease or B-cell leukemia, or their surviving spouses. Veterans diagnosed with these diseases only will have to show they stepped foot in Vietnam sometime from Jan. 9, 1962 through May […]

‘Quality of life’ benefit falls short

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Disabled veterans were thrilled in 2007 when the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission asked Congress to enact an immediate “quality of life” increase to disability payments from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The special increase, said VDBC commissioners, should be across the board, benefiting all veterans with service-connected health conditions, and […]

Honors — Aug. 29

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Lam New Mexico’s Ladies Auxiliary President Lee Ann Lam of Clovis, a member of Ledbetter-Mc Reynolds Chapter 3015, led the state delegation of the Ladies Auxiliary to the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) of the U.S., at the 97th National Convention held Aug. 21-26 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis, Ind. As leading representative […]

Military Update: Group hopes to ease GI Bill process

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Veterans and service members eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill already have an outstanding education benefit. But it soon could become even more valuable and easier to use. The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on Tuesday released details of the GI Bill reform package it approved two weeks ago. It includes […]

Wayland joins ‘Yellow Ribbon’ program

Kevin Wilson Wayland Baptist University is one of 1,100 schools that have joined with the Department of Veterans Affairs for the GI Bill’s “Yellow Ribbon” program. Wayland, based in Plainview, Texas, offers a campus in Clovis and a satellite office at Cannon Air Force Base. The Yellow Ribbon program, a key provision of the new […]

Final Agent Orange review ordered

An estimated 200,000 Vietnam veterans suffering from three diseases newly associated with exposure to Agent Orange are closer to receiving disability compensation following an appeals court order Aug. 2 directing VA to publish a final implementing regulation within 30 days. On a lawsuit brought by a coalition of veterans’ service organizations, the U.S. Court of […]

New Agent Orange claims deadline near

By Tom Philpott: Military Update The Department of Veterans Affairs likely will begin in October to pay thousands of disability claims to Vietnam veterans with ischemic heart disease, Parkinson’s disease and B-cell leukemia — illnesses newly associated with exposure to defoliants, including Agent Orange, used in that war. A 60-day countdown to the day that […]

Officials look to revamp GI Bill

Senior officials at the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense have joined veterans’ groups and representatives of academia to endorse a comprehensive bill from Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii) to reform the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Still to be determined is how to pay for the many provisions in the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Improvements Act of […]

VA secretary spurs revised PTSD regulation

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Many veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder must be asking themselves today why it took the Department of Veterans Affairs so long to ease the hassle of qualifying for compensation for mental wounds of war. VA officials aren’t sure themselves. But unsurprisingly they agree with veterans’ advocacy groups that the man […]

Panel told not to cut vet benefits

Advocates for military retirees and veterans urged a bipartisan commission studying ways to end runaway budget deficits not to lump military-earned benefits in with other entitlements eyed for cost controls. “There’s a fundamental difference between social insurance programs open to every American and military benefits earned by decades of service and sacrifice,” Steve Strobridge, director […]

Agent Orange aid hits roadblock

By Tom Philpott Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), chief architect of the pricey post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit for veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan war era, could become a new champion, for taxpayers, against what he perceives as excess spending on military pay and on a new wave of Agent Orange claims. Webb, a former […]

Korean War veterans reflect on Memorial Day

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David By Clarence Plank: Freedom New Mexico The Korean War is commonly called the forgotten war, but not for the men who served in the three-year conflict. Local veterans George Martin, Dale Davis, and David Ash share their experiences.

Veteran caregiver incentive offered

By Tom Philpott: Military Update Primary in-home caregivers to severely wounded veterans of current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will be paid a stipend by the Department of Veterans Affairs, under a bill Congress has passed unanimously. The stipend, payable to a spouse, parent, child, friend or even a hired caregiver, will be based on […]

VA acts to expand disability claims

By Tom Philpott: CNJ columnist About 86,000 Vietnam War veterans, their surviving spouses or estates will be eligible for retroactive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs — an average of 11.4 years for veterans and 9.6 years for survivors — under a draft VA rule to expand by three the number of diseases […]

Diseases linked to herbicide exposure in Vietnam expanded

By Tom Philpott: Military Update About 86,000 Vietnam War veterans, their surviving spouses or estates will be eligible for retroactive disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs — an average of 11.4 years for veterans and 9.6 years for survivors — under a draft VA rule to expand by three the number of diseases […]

Veterans’ stories need to be told

By David Stevens: Editor for Freedom New Mexico I never knew Glen Hubbard Stevens. My granddad’s little brother died 15 years before I was born. A newspaper obituary reports Sgt. Stevens was killed in action on D-Day, June 6, 1944, and that’s what’s inspired me to learn more about him. A real hero among us […]