The Commission made 113 recommendations. All are important and should
receive attention from Congress, DoD, and VA. The Commission suggests that
the following recommendations receive immediate consideration. Congress
should establish an executive oversight group to ensure timely and effective
implementation of the Commission recommendations.
Recommendation 4.23 Chapter 4, Section I.5
VA should immediately begin to update the current Rating
Schedule, beginning with those body systems addressing the
evaluation and rating of posttraumatic stress disorder and other
mental disorders and of traumatic brain injury. Then proceed
through the other body systems until the Rating Schedule has been
12 Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans’ Disability Benefits in the 21st Century
comprehensively revised. The revision process should be
completed within 5 years. VA should create a system for keeping
the Rating Schedule up to date, including a published schedule for
revising each body system.
Recommendation 5.28 Chapter 5, Section III.3
VA should develop and implement new criteria specific to
posttraumatic stress disorder in the VA Schedule for Rating
Disabilities. VA should base those criteria on the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and should consider a
multidimensional framework for characterizing disability due to
posttraumatic stress disorder.
Recommendation 5.30 Chapter 5, Section III.3
VA should establish a holistic approach that couples posttraumatic
stress disorder treatment, compensation, and vocational
assessment. Reevaluation should occur every 2–3 years to gauge
treatment effectiveness and encourage wellness.
Recommendation 6.14 Chapter 6, Section IV.2
Congress should eliminate the ban on concurrent receipt for all
military retirees and for all service members who separated from
the military due to service-connected disabilities. In the future,
priority should be given to veterans who separated or retired from
the military under chapter 61 with
• fewer than 20 years service and a service-connected disability rating
greater than 50 percent, or
• disability as a result of combat.
Recommendation 7.4 Chapter 7, Section II.3
Eligibility for Individual Unemployability (IU) should be consistently
based on the impact of an individual’s service-connected
disabilities, in combination with education, employment history, and
medical effects of an individual’s age or potential employability. VA
should implement a periodic and comprehensive evaluation of
veterans eligible for IU. Authorize a gradual reduction in
compensation for IU recipients who are able to return to
substantially gainful employment rather than abruptly terminating
disability payments at an arbitrary level of earning.
Recommendation 7.5 Chapter 7, Section II.3
Recognizing that Individual Unemployability (IU) is an attempt to
accommodate individuals with multiple lesser ratings but who
remain unable to work, the Commission recommends that as the
VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities is revised, every effort should
Executive Summary 13
be made to accommodate such individuals fairly within the basic
rating system without the need for an IU rating.
Recommendation 7.6 Chapter 7, Section III.2
Congress should increase the compensation rates up to 25 percent
as an interim and baseline future benefit for loss of quality of life,
pending development and implementation of a quality-of-life
measure in the Rating Schedule. In particular, the measure should
take into account the quality of life and other non-work-related
effects of severe disabilities on veterans and family members.
Recommendation 7.8 Chapter 7, Section III.2
Congress should consider increasing special monthly
compensation, where appropriate, to address the more profound
impact on quality of life of the disabilities subject to special monthly
compensation. Congress should also review ancillary benefits to
determine where additional benefits could improve disabled
veterans’ quality of life.
Recommendation 7.12 Chapter 7, Section VI
VA and DoD should realign the disability evaluation process so that
the services determine fitness for duty, and service members who
are found unfit are referred to VA for disability rating. All conditions
that are identified as part of a single, comprehensive medical
examination should be rated and compensated.
Recommendation 7.13 Chapter 7, Section V.3
Congress should enact legislation that brings ancillary and specialpurpose
benefits to the levels originally intended, considering the
cost of living, and provides for automatic annual adjustments to
keep pace with the cost of living.
Recommendation 8.2 Chapter 8, Section III.1.B
Congress should eliminate the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency
and Indemnity Compensation offset for survivors of retirees and inservice
Recommendation 9.1 Chapter 9, Section II.5.A.b
Improve claims cycle time by
• establishing a simplified and expedited process for well-documented
claims, using best business practices and maximum feasible use of
information technology; and
• implementing an expedited process by which the claimant can state
the claim information is complete and waive the time period (60 days)
allowed for further development.
14 Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans’ Disability Benefits in the 21st Century
Congress should mandate and provide appropriate resources to
reduce the VA claims backlog by 50 percent within 2 years.
Recommendation 10.11 Chapter 10, Section VII
VA and DoD should expedite development and implementation of
compatible information systems including a detailed project
management plan that includes specific milestones and lead
Recommendation 11.1 Chapter 11
Congress should establish an executive oversight group to ensure
timely and effective implementation of the Commission’s
recommendations. This group should be cochaired by VA and DoD
and consist of senior representatives from appropriate departments
and agencies. It is further recommended that the Veterans’ Affairs
Committees hold hearings and require annual reports to measure
and assess progress.
Congress nor the VA has taken any action on this commission nor the Dole/Shalala Commission, they sent them out for further review by another group, now they want to hold more hearings and do more studies, I wonder if any Vietnam era veterans will still be alive when they get done studying the proposal for changes. Did it take General Omar Bradley this long back inthe 1950s the redo the VA compensation rules? I don't think so.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009