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Veterans Benefits COMMITTEE REPORT
Annual Resolutions Analysis

BY JERRY KLEIN, CHAIR
During the committee hearing at the National Convention in Springfield, the consensus of the attendees was to leave the past resolutions as published without modification. The committee recommendations below include specific reasons either to sunset some resolutions or to combine them with other ones. At the January Veterans Benefits Committee meeting, the Veterans Benefits Committee moved to support retiring some resolutions and combining others.

VB-1-95 Judicial Review: Until the new law that only partially removed the fee limit and which created the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (COAVC) is further amended, the resolution remains viable.

VB-2-95 Boards of Correction of Military Records: We recommend that this resolution be retired, because it is a no-win resolution that never will be accepted by Congress. VVA would do better by putting together and distributing a simple brochure on how to correct military records.

VB-3-95 Less-Than-Honorable Administrative Discharges: We recommend that this be retired. This is another no-win resolution. VVA would do better by putting together a brochure on Administrative Upgrade Discharges (which are also covered in the Veterans Benefits Manual for Services Reps) and have it available to the membership and for outreach.

VB-4-95 DVA Overpayments: This resolution should be retired because of the enactment of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1999. Also, the Debt Management Center on the VA webpage seems to be reaching out to veterans about their rights when a debt is owed to the federal government.

VB-5-95 Civil Liberties of Active-Duty Military Personnel: This resolution can be retired or revised. Not many Vietnam veterans remain on active duty.

VB-6-95 Just Compensation for Injuries Sustained by Active-Duty Military Personnel: This is an issue that can be brought to the attention of the Veterans Disability Benefits Commission, which is studying various facets of disability compensation and will be making recommendations to Congress and the President.

VB-7-95 Class Actions at U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims: Before the Veterans Judicial Review Act (VJRA) was enacted, VVA was able to help veterans in the federal courts by filing class-action lawsuits. The VJRA is silent on such cases, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims provides no rules for class-action lawsuits (Combine with VB-9-95).

VB-8-95 VA Implementation of Decisions Rendered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims: This resolution remains viable.

VB-9-95 Veterans Benefits and Services: Combine with VB-11-95, VB-12-95 VA Service-Connected Disability Compensation Payments and Military Retirement Pay Offset: This resolution needs to be updated to take into account congressional action to phase in concurrent receipt for some career veterans. This resolution also can be augmented or replaced with a new resolution that takes into account SBP/DIC.

VB-13-95 Preservation of VVA Service Representation at the National Level: Although the rendering of claims remains woefully untimely, this resolution is woefully dated.

VB-14-95 Attorney Representation at the VA: Recent legislation signed by the President allows this resolution to be retired pending implementation of the rules of practice, set to be published this spring or summer. This resolution is being challenged by the DAV and H.R. 1318 which would repeal the authority for agent or attorney representation in Veterans Benefits cases before the Department of Veterans Affairs. VVA remains opposed to this bill.

VB-15-95 Veterans and Hepatitis C: This should be retired, as it is a duplicate of G-7-99.

VB-16-99 Copy of Military Records Upon Discharge: Because the DoD 2007 authorization bill contains language requesting that all service members receive electronic copies of their military records upon discharge, this resolution should be retired.

VB-17-01 Criminal Background Check for Incompetent Veterans: VVA should consider retiring this resolution since it is no longer an active issue.
All suggestions should be forwarded to the Veterans Benefits Department at the National Office, or to John Margowski at jmargowski@vva.org or to Jerry Klein, chair, Veterans Benefits Committee, at jakleinvva@hotmail.com

Committee members: Jerry Klein, Chair; Rich Levesque, Vice Chair; Peter Bessigano, Al Butch Huber, John Margowski, Jim Pace, Pat Pudetti, Dick Southern, Sandie Wilson; Special Advisers: Kathleen Aylward-Barnes, Carol Scott; Staff Liaison: David Houppert.

 

 

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