Monday, January 12, 2009

"Priority 8 Veterans"

Dear Fellow Veterans and Military Family Members,

As you may have heard, one of the priorities of General Shinseki, when he takes over as head of the Department of Veterans' Affairs is to re-open enrollment for VA care to those who were classified "Priority 8 Veterans" – veterans who didn't have service connected injuries, or were rated with a zero-percent disability rating, and had an income over a certain level.

As the Military Times put it, "Priority 8 veterans were blocked from enrolling in the VA health care system in 2003 as a budget-cutting move to help ensure funding for veterans with service-connected disabilities."

This was supposed to be a temporary move, but has stayed in place. One positive step happened last year when Congressman Chet Edwards fought for and got $375 million in the budget to expand enrollment for some Priority 8 veterans.

We're fully supportive of the move to reopen VA services to veterans like these, but it will take some education in Congress about how the budget-cutting move affected the veterans community.

If you were classified as Priority 8, and denied VA care because of it (or know someone who was) please let us know. We would like to tell your story to Congress, so they know the negative effect of the policy, when General Shinseki comes to them to request lifting it.

Just send an email to me with your story, at

Thanks for all of your help, and Happy New Year!


Peter Granato
Iraq War Veteran
Vice Chairman,

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