Veterans Benefits COMMITTEE REPORT
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
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.
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.
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.
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).
VA Implementation of Decisions Rendered by the U.S. Court
of Appeals for Veterans Claims: This resolution remains viable.
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
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.
and Hepatitis C: This should be retired, as it is a duplicate
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
firstname.lastname@example.org or to Jerry Klein, chair, Veterans Benefits
Committee, at email@example.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.