Department of Florida

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September 2021

Changes to the VA

By the time this reaches you I’ll have been to this years’ National Convention and will come away re-energized and with much great information to share.

In the meantime, I’m happy to let everyone know that at long last, the VA has begun processing claims for even more presumptive conditions that have long since been affecting our brother and sister veterans who served in Southwest Asia: asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis. These are caused by exposure to particulate matter during their tours of duty, a/k/a Burn Pit Exposure. Let’s help by directing them to Post Service Officers to get the claims process started. To speed up just the appeals process, the VA has appointed twenty new Veterans Law Judges with an eye towards reducing the wait time for claims that have been denied and are in appeal.

While this pandemic persists, the VA hospitals and CBOC’s (Community-Based Outpatient Clinics) have greatly limited what volunteers can do, our VAVS volunteer personnel continue to show their dedication by helping in as many ways possible, even virtually. They often reach out by phone to those among us who’ve been affected by COVID to let them know they’re not alone.

In line with VA healthcare, the VA has stepped up its availability for mental healthcare. Not only has the pandemic caused many to suffer physically but emotionally as well. Another element is that now that the situation in Afghanistan being what it is there. Many of our fellow veterans of that war will need a hand to reach out and an ear to listen to them. Let’s step up and wrap our arms around them.

As I’ve mentioned before, women veterans now have greater access to healthcare than ever, and it doesn’t end there. Along with other steps, the VA is conducting a two-day virtual boot camp for women veteran entrepreneurs. It’s been recognized that women veterans have a strong work ethic and success rate. I encourage every Post to reach out to our sister veterans not only for membership purposes but because their contributions can be of such great value.

In closing this month’s article and just as I’ve done before I will tell everyone to stay safe and healthy.

Alan Cohen
Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation