Saturday, May 23, 2009

Paralyzed veterans shouldn’t be forgotten

Paralyzed veterans shouldn’t be forgotten

Published: Saturday, May 23, 2009
Paralyzed veterans shouldn’t be forgotten
EDITOR’S NOTE: In honor of Memorial Day on Monday, The Telegraph is turning over its editorial space today to Randy L. Pleva Sr., national president of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. Founded in 1946, it is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of individuals with spinal cord injury or disease.

On Memorial Day, throughout the nation, the men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice will be at the forefront of our thoughts. Sons and daughters, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, and other fallen comrades will be honored.

We will remember them all, those who fought in the “war to end all wars,” World War II’s Greatest Generation, the heroes of the Vietnam, Korean and Gulf conflicts, and the latest great generation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They shed their blood for the freedoms we too often take for granted. And yet we all know that freedom isn’t free.

These heroes “shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old, age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,” as the poignant verse says.

BACKGROUND: Memorial Day is the day we honor the memories of those individuals who gave their lives fighting for their country.

CONCLUSION: But on this day let’s not forget the thousands of paralyzed veterans and their need for comprehensive health care.

And for those of us who served and live every day with our injuries, these selfless heroes will forever be a permanent source of inspiration.

We honor their precious memory by fighting for the freedoms they held so dear and gave their lives for – for the freedoms to ensure that America’s paralyzed veterans don’t just live free, but live free with dignity and empowerment.

A nation where veterans’ benefits and health care are fully funded. Our new commander in chief and Congress should be applauded for providing a historic health-care funding increase for the Department of Veterans Affairs and addressing the need for sufficient, timely and predictable funding for VA. This means that we veterans are more likely to get the quality care we’ve earned in a timely manner.

A country that’s barrier-free everywhere for everyone – we need universal wheelchair access in the land of the free and the home of thousands of brave paralyzed veterans and millions of people with disabilities.

An American scientific and medical community that’s fully funded to achieve new treatments and cures – the truth is that the dream of new therapies, and even walking again, for many is within our grasp. To achieve the breakthroughs, we need more investment, now.

In their memory, we are resolved to win this fight to help all veterans and their families. Since Paralyzed Veterans of America ( was founded 63 years ago after World War II, we have fought for and secured billions of dollars in earned VA benefits and health-care funding.

We led the charge for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, an important first step for us folks in wheelchairs. With our 34 chapters we have invested more than $100 million to find new treatments and a cure for paralysis. And we plan to do a lot more.

“At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.”

We continue to fight in memory of that band of brothers and sisters whose sacrifice we can never repay.


This is the only veterans organization that I am a member of, they do excellent work on behalf of the veterans they represent. They do not demand high cost membership fee to be a member, but then these veterans have already paid a high price, physically........I am in a power chair due to heart failure which is Service connected I wish things were different but they are what they are....

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Friday, May 22, 2009

VA Recognizes Military Sacrifices on Memorial Day

WASHINGTON (May 22, 2009) - From parades to somber ceremonies and a
moment of silence, Americans will recall the sacrifices of military
members who paid the ultimate price for freedom on Memorial Day, Monday,
May 25.

"From May 23 to May 30, commemorative events at VA national cemeteries
will present a sacred responsibility for employees and volunteers to
honor these greatest of American heroes," said Steve Muro, VA's acting
under secretary for memorial affairs. "Since the birth of Memorial Day
in 1866, national cemeteries have been the most visible expression of
our country's gratitude for their service."

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will continue its annual
tradition of hosting services at most of its national cemeteries and
many other facilities nationwide. The programs, which are the focus of
Memorial Day events in many communities, honor the service of deceased
Veterans and people who die on active duty.

For the dates and times of Memorial Day programs at VA national
cemeteries, visit .

More than 100,000 people are expected to attend activities at VA's
national cemeteries, with color guards, readings, bands and choir
performances. The events will honor about one million men and women who
died in wartime periods, including about 655,000 battle deaths.

Some national cemetery observances are unique. At VA's most active
cemetery, in Riverside, Calif., volunteers have been reading aloud --
since Armed Forces Day, May 17 -- the names of more than 150,000
Veterans buried there, and are expected to continue at least until the
Memorial Day program. In one-hour shifts around the clock, 500
volunteers - two to four at a time -- alternate reading the names.

The Dayton, Ohio, National Cemetery will host members of Veterans
organizations on the weekend before Memorial Day who will display 400
donated burial flags along the main road. The cemetery also expects
2,000 children and youths, many from Scout troops, to decorate more than
40,000 graves on the weekend in two hours.

VA's 128 national cemeteries include 13 that opened in the last 10
years. Another 3 cemeteries are under development. VA currently
maintains 18,000 acres where 2.9 million gravesites are located. By
2010, Veterans' burial space is expected to be available to 90 percent
of Veterans within 75 miles of where they live.

Information about Memorial Day, including its history, can be found at

VA is a cosponsor with the White House Commission on Remembrance of an
annual Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m., Eastern time, nationwide on
Memorial Day, a time to pause and reflect on the sacrifice of America's
fallen warriors and the freedoms that unite Americans. Many
institutions will announce a pause in their activities -- from sporting
events to public facilities -- to call the nation together in a common
bond of silence.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day when the tradition of
decorating Civil War graves began. It still brings loved ones to the
graves of the deceased, often with flowers as grave decorations.
Decorations honoring Veterans buried in national cemeteries are American
flags -- either individual small ones on each grave, usually placed by
volunteers, or "avenues of flags" flanking both sides of the cemetery
main entrance road. Often these flags are the burial flags donated by
next of kin of Veterans buried in the cemetery.


My step father and my mother Dale (NMN) Jennings TSGT USAF Retired 1941-1961 1908-2000 Mildred Esther (McDaniel-Bailey) Jennings 1932-1996 are buried in Riverside National cemetary my father who served in the 1916 Mexican Punitive Raid under General John Pershing Melvin Lathrop Bailey is buried on Arlington Ave Cemetary Riverside California he lived from Feb 24, 1900 to May 25, 1972 he rode in the 7th Calvary D Troop 1914-1916

From Colonel Dan

If the VA truly wanted to recognize the Sacrifices..veterans made

So many Veterans wouldn't die, with VA claims pending
So many claims remanded
So many claims denied for years

Wouldn't be such a disparity in claims awarded between VARO
Wouldn't be so many Veterans homeless with VA claims pending

It is an insult for Politicians to give speeches on Memorial Day
After ignoring veterans for years
VSO's would return calls, VA would follow their own rules & law

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bill to repeal Feres clears first hurdle

Bill to repeal Feres clears first hurdle

By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday May 19, 2009 15:05:37 EDT

An effort to overturn a 59-year-old Supreme Court decision barring service members from suing the government for negligence inched forward Tuesday when a House subcommittee approved the Carmelo Rodriguez Military Medical Accountability Act.

The bill is named for a Marine Corps platoon leader and Iraq war veteran who was not told by military doctors that he had been diagnosed with melanoma, was not referred for treatment and, years later, was told the growth was a birthmark. Rodriguez, of Ellenville, N.Y., died from skin cancer in November 2007 at age 29.

Rodriguez and his family were barred from suing the government for medical malpractice by a 1950 ruling that became known as the Feres doctrine, which prohibits those on active duty from suing the government for negligence resulting in personal injuries.

If the bill approved by the House Judiciary Committee’s commercial and administrative law subcommittee is eventually enacted, service members could gain that right.

“Congress took an important step forward today toward lifting an unfair policy that has denied members of the military and their families any recourse when they are the victim of medical negligence,” said Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., who wrote the bill. “For far too long, this country has denied its servicemen and women, the very people who risk their lives to protect our freedom, some of the most basic legal rights afforded to every other American, including prisoners.

“This legislation provides members of the military and their families with a way of holding their medical providers accountable for negligent care,” Hinchey said. “They will no longer have nowhere to turn should something terrible happen.”

The full House Judiciary Committee is expected to consider the bill before the end of July.


I think this law is about 59 years to late, I fully support the repeal of "Feres".

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Secretary Shinseki Addresses the National Coalition for Homeless

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 21, 2009) - Yesterday, the Secretary of the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric K. Shinseki addressed the
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans National Conference (NCHV) at
the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia.

"President Obama has made it clear that homelessness among Veterans is
unacceptable," Secretary Shinseki said. "We have a moral duty to prevent
and eliminate homelessness among Veterans."

The NCHV is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Veteran-specific service organization
whose 250-plus member organizations represent a variety of homeless
providers in 45 states and the District of Columbia. It was organized
in 1990 by a small group of community-based service providers who were
troubled by the disproportionately large percentage of homeless people
who are Veterans. It serves as the primary liaison between the nation's
care providers, Congress and the executive branch agencies charged with
helping them succeed in their work.

This year, President Barack Obama is being awarded NCHV's highest award,
the Jerald Washington Memorial Founders' Award. Shinseki said the
president's "early work as a community organizer provided him first hand
experience about the devastation that is homelessness-for individuals,
for families and for communities. Now, as our president and as our
commander-in-chief, he is committed to combating this stain on the
American conscience."

Speaking to the NCHV attendees, Shinseki said, "We look forward to
working with this coalition. Your community-level experience has helped
tens of thousands of Veterans with a variety of problems. Your
expertise is respected, and I look forward to being your partner as we
eliminate homelessness among Veterans. "

During the conference Secretary Shinseki announced that VA is creating a
national center on homelessness among Veterans. The center is VA's
first opportunity to develop, promote and enhance policy, clinical care,
research and education to improve homeless services, so that Veterans
may live as independently as possible in a community of their choosing.
The center will be co-located with the Philadelphia VA Medical Center
and the Tampa VAMC with the support of host-site academic affiliates,
the University of Pennsylvania and the University of South Florida.

Secretary Shinseki applauded NCHV for the work they are doing and
highlighted some of the programs VA has to assist homeless Veterans:

* Health Care for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Program -- Established
since 1987, the program now has 132 sites with extensive outreach,
physical and psychiatric examinations, treatment, referrals and on-going
case management services.

* Domiciliary Care for the Homeless (DCHV) Program -- Started
with 13 medical centers, and has grown to 2,000 operation beds at 40
sites today. Rehabilitative residential services are offered on VA
medical center grounds or in the community to eligible Veterans.

* Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem (GPD) Program --
Authorized in 1992, it provides grants and per diem payments to help
public and nonprofit organizations establish and operate supportive
transitional housing and service centers. Today, VA partners with more
than 500 community organizations and has authorized 15,000 beds through
the GPD program.

* Stand Downs for homeless Veterans are one- to three-day events
designed to provide homeless Veterans and their families a variety of
services. In 2008, more than 30,000 Veterans and 4,500 family members
received outreach services from Stand Downs aided by 24,500 volunteers.

* Project CHALENG (Community Homelessness Assessment, Local
Education and Networking Groups) for Veterans -- Started in 1993, a
nationwide initiative in which VA works with other federal, state, local
agencies and nonprofit organizations to assess the needs of homeless
Veterans. The last estimate of the number of homeless Veterans on any
given night was 131,000, a reduction of over 47 percent from previous
estimates of 250,000 used six years ago.

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House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Holds Roundtable to Address Issues Confronting Women Veterans





House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Holds Roundtable to Address Issues Confronting Women Veterans

Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, May 20, 2009, Bob Filner (D-CA), Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, held a roundtable to address and assess the ability of the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide the right services to the country’s 1.8 million women veterans. The roundtable format allows participants from veteran service organizations, representatives of the VA, and interested stakeholders to come together to indentify the specific issues facing women veterans.

“Today we are on the forefront of embracing the needs of all veterans – not just the men,” said Chairman Filner as he opened the roundtable for discussion. “We know that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have seen the unprecedented call up of the National Guard and Reserve components. Today, women serve in the Guard and Reserve at a rate of over 17 percent which is 3 percent higher than that of the active duty military. We also know that women are serving in combat conditions right along side their male counterparts, which raises a whole new set of issues for these veterans.”

Participants discussed a number of issues that solely affect women or impact female veterans differently than male veterans. Broadly, the need was raised for a coordinated and national effort to provide programs and services for women throughout the VA. Although new services are being developed and implemented, the need is immediate for newly returning female veterans.

Secondly, there was a call for increased training for administrative and medical VA personnel. According to Anuradha K. Bhagwati, Executive Director of Service Women’s Action Network, “Many women veterans receive inferior treatment at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Attending a VA medical appointment as a women veteran can be a traumatic experience. VA employees sometimes fail to acknowledge the prevalence of servicewomen throughout the armed forces, forcing women to ‘prove’ their veteran status.”

Further, Grace After Fire Boardmember Kayla Williams described the misconception that women do not participate in combat, and therefore, are not eligible for service-connected benefits. Ms. Williams said, “Being in combat is linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but since women are supposedly barred from combat, they may face challenges proving that their PTSD is service-connected. One of my closest friends was told by a VA doctor that she could not possibly have PTSD for just this reason: he did not believe that she as a woman could have been in combat. It is vital that all VA employees, particularly health care providers, fully understand that women do see combat in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom so that they can better serve women veterans.”

Participants also discussed the prevalence of military sexual trauma and the difficulty women continue to face as they transition from military to civilian life. Women detailed a perceived threat to a successful military career if they report military sexual trauma. They also shared the emotional and bureaucratic difficultly of receiving service-connection for mental health care as a result of the trauma they endured. A 2008 VA study reported that 15% of women in Iraq and Afghanistan experience sexual assault of harassment, which presents not only a retention issue, but clearly undermines the readiness of troops in the field and poses a threat to national security.

Also noted was the need to increasingly represent women in VA research, the reality that many female veterans have families and small children, the fact that many women veterans are married to men in the military, and the difficulty to rely on peer support because there are fewer women that have served in combat than men.

The Chairman referred to H.R. 1211, a bill introduced by Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin that would direct the VA to study barriers encountered by women veterans, assess all health care services and programs provided by the VA for women veterans, and provide graduate education, training and certification for mental health professionals who provide counseling, care and services to women veterans suffering from sexual trauma and PTSD, among other things.

“Today’s roundtable brought together experts with a range of different experiences to identify the specific issues facing women veterans,” said Chairman Filner. “Now, with this better understanding, it is our job to work to provide better treatment and more accessible services. My hope is that these discussions will lead to bold and bi-partisan legislation that will effectively tackle the needs of our brave and honored women veterans.”


· Phyllis Greenberger, President & CEO, Society for Women’s Health Research

· Anuradha P. Bhagwati, Executive Director, Service Women’s Action Network

· Kayla M. Williams, Board Member, Grace After Fire

· Linda Boone, Past National President, American Legion Auxiliary

· Charlene Kee, President, AMVETS National Ladies Auxiliary

· Joy J. Ilem, Assistant National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans

· Jenny Lainhart, Vice President, Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States Auxiliary

· Penny Collins, Director, Membership Development, Fleet Reserve Association

· Josephine Anton, Chair, Women in the Military Committee, Jewish War Veterans

· Karin Romney, Service Support Manager, Military Order of the Purple Heart

· CDR RenĂ© A. Campos, USN (Ret.), Deputy Director, Government Relations, Military Officers Association of America

· Tamara L. Sullivan, President, Non Commissioned Officers Association, International Auxiliary

· Margo Sheridan, Tenth District Commander, Department of Virginia, Veterans of Foreign Wars

· Marsha Four, Chair, Women Veterans Committee, Vietnam Veterans of America

· Dr. Mary Nelson, Chair, Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, U.S. Department of Defense

· Shirley Ann Quarles, Chair, Advisory Committee on Women Veterans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

· Dawn Halfaker, Member, Advisory Committee for OEF/OIF Soldiers and Families, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

· Patricia Hayes, Director, Women Veterans Health Strategic Health Care Group, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

· Irene Trowell-Harris, Director, Center for Women Veterans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

· Lucretia McClenney, Director, Center for Minority Veterans, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

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Groups disagree about Gulf War illness research

Groups disagree about Gulf War illness research

By Kelly Kennedy - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday May 20, 2009 19:02:24 EDT

Top of Form

Bottom of Form

The Pentagon and Department of Veterans Affairs say an Institute of Medicine study shows there is no Gulf War “syndrome,” and that there is nothing unique about the symptoms 1 in 4 Desert Storm veterans suffer.

But the congressionally mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Illness say that not only is there a series of symptoms that make up a definable illness, they know what caused that illness.

Those opposing views were on full display May 19 in the first of three congressional hearings about Gulf War Illness.

“We do believe that Gulf War illnesses are real — but there is no unique set of symptoms,” said Craig Postlewaite, deputy director of force readiness and health assurance under the assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

He based that view on the IOM study that concluded veterans’ symptoms vary too much to be seen as unique and recommended no more epidemiological studies.

“We feel like their assessment is complete,” Postlewaite told the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ subcommittee on oversight and investigations.

The Gulf War advisory committee disagreed. “They have the same types and patterns of excess symptoms,” Lea Steele, immediate past scientific director of the committee, told lawmakers. “Our review provides a clear conclusion.”

She said the research shows that veterans who took the most pyridostigmine bromide — anti-nerve-agent pills — and used the most insect repellent, including flea collars, were most likely to suffer from the cluster of symptoms of known as Gulf War illness.

Victims of the sarin gas attacks in Tokyo as well as animal studies produced the same cluster of symptoms, she said. The pills, pesticides and nerve agent are similar chemicals, so it appears that troops essentially overdosed.

“Clearly, we need to get the research right,” said Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio. “And the need to get it right is urgent.”

James Bunker, who served as an artillery officer in the war, provided an example of why.

Bunker had a history of rushing through high school in three years, a great love of chess and an aptitude for math. But during the hearing, he stumbled over words and a piece of paper in his hands shook as he read his testimony. He no longer plays chess because he lacks the cognitive ability to plan out his moves.

After deploying with the 5th Field Artillery Regiment, he said his unit’s chemical alarms sounded. Soon after, he developed breathing problems, muscle twitches, leg cramps, vomiting and convulsing. He was given an antidote for nerve agent and sent home to a hospital.

Now, he has nerve problems in his right leg and has lost the use of his right arm. He suffers headaches, cognitive dysfunction, gastric reflux disease, fibromyalgia, mouth sores, skin rashes and sinusitis.

“It’s hard to live a life where you can be talking to someone normally one minute and the next you can’t make a sentence to save your life,” Bunker said. “Often, VA tells me this is all in my head or it’s depression.”

Paul Sullivan, executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, said sick veterans want to know why they’re sick, where they can get treatment, and that their healthcare and benefits will be paid for by the country that sent them to war.

“VA should publicly recognize our illnesses,” he said.

Sullivan asked that VA be investigated to see if the IOM study was properly conducted. Congress mandated that study, but VA limited its scope to exclude animal studies and research where exposure dosage was unknown.

That defines much of the available research; no one kept track of how much anti-nerve agent troops took or measured the amount of sarin they were exposed to when the military blew up a massive Iraqi chemical depot just after the 1991 war, making it impossible to document exposure dosages.

In its work, the Gulf War illness advisory committee did include animal studies and research where the dosage was unknown.

Steele said about half of troops who deployed for the 1991 war took anti-nerve agent pills and used personal pesticides such as DEET, and were also exposed to sarin.

“We have no indication that any of them experienced any acute symptoms of exposure,” Postlewaite said.

“What about Bunker?” asked Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.

“As you know, there are many reasons for seizures,” Postlewaite said, noting that current troops would again be given anti-nerve agent pills if battlefield commanders determined a need for them.

Sullivan also asked for training so VA doctors would be familiar with Gulf War illness — and that they be told it’s not a mental health condition.

Richard Weidman, executive director for policy and government affairs for Vietnam Veterans of America, asked that the government keep track of where current service members are located in the combat zones, and that VA include in their medical records a query of where veterans were located when they were deployed.

As it stands, there’s no way to look for patterns, he said. For example, if 30 veterans who all served in Baghdad develop brain cancer, VA would have no way to know whether this was a group that might have been exposed to a particular toxin.

“This is nuts,” Weidman said.

In one medical unit, he said, seven out of 150 people developed multiple sclerosis after serving in Desert Storm. “It’s astronomical. It doesn’t happen by chance.”

And it’s almost impossible to spot if no one keeps track of who served where, he said.

“If you don’t have the stats, you don’t have a problem,” Weidman said, implying that VA doesn’t want to know if there’s a problem.

“We have been and continue to be very concerned about these veterans’ health issues,” insisted Lawrence Deyton, chief public health and environmental hazards officer for VA’s Veterans Health Administration.

Deyton said Gulf War veterans experience symptoms at a rate 25 percent higher than veterans of that era who did not deploy.

But he acknowledged that VA could do better and said new VA Secretary Eric Shinseki has begin efforts to develop a simpler procedure for veterans to quickly and easily get benefits for service-connected ailments.

Congress decided to hold the series of hearings because of the new reports from the IOM and the research advisory committee, as well as the change in VA leadership.

Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs oversight and investigations panel, said many questions still need to be answered.

In the end, Mitchell said, “We still don’t know how to respond to Gulf War veterans who ask: ‘Why am I sick? Will I get well again?’ ”


One of the IOM reports they used was based on a flawed theory, they used the Edgewood Arsenal "med vols" from 1955 thru 1975 as the "control group" for the March 2003 Sarin Report and then intentionally ignored mustard agent that were in the gulf also at kamisayah when we destroyed it, they ignore the fact that 40% of the Edgewood veterans were deceased prematurely and that of the 4022 survivors 54% of them are disabled which these numbers far exceed anything for any simialr group of men aged 45-65 and the time the data was gathered as the Edgewood veterans were that age in FY 2000 if anyone really looked at the death and disability rates of the Edgewood "test vets" they would be screaming loud and clear for presumtive connections for Gulf War veterans let alone the 7120 men sued at Edgewood, yes the VA and DOD deny they harmed us at Edgewood between 1955 - 1975 so much for openness

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama Concurrent Receipt Plan Details

MOAA dot org

Obama Concurrent Receipt Plan Details

More details surfaced this week on the Administration’s proposal to expand concurrent receipt to service members who were medically retired, sometimes referred to as Chapter 61 retirees.

Under the Administration’s Omnibus proposal, all Chapter 61 retirees will become eligible for Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) over a five-year period starting in January 2010. The expansion will come in two phases.

The first three years of the five year phase-in opens CRDP eligibility to the more severely disabled Chapter 61 retirees with less than 20 years of service.

On January 1, 2010, Chapter 61 retirees with less than 20 years of service and a VA rating of either 90% or 100% become eligible.
On January 1, 2011, Chapter 61 retirees with less than 20 years of service and a VA rating of either 70% or 80% become eligible.
On January 1, 2012, Chapter 61 retirees with less than 20 years of service and a VA rating of either 50% or 60% become eligible.
The remaining two years of this phase-in extends CRDP to Chapter 61 retirees, regardless of years of service, with a VA rating of less than 50%.

On January 1, 2013, all Chapter 61 retirees with a VA rating of either 30% or 40% will become eligible.
On January 1, 2014, all Chapter 61 retirees with any VA rating become eligible.
Once this plan is completed, the only disabled retirees ineligible for CRDP will be non-medical retirees with 40% or lower VA disability ratings. The 10-year cost of the expansion is estimated to be $5.8 billion.

This new initiative represents a 180-degree turnabout from the positions of all previous Administrations, Republican or Democratic.

Our hope is that this signals a potential willingness to go ‘the final mile” in the future to cover all disabled retirees.

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