Now that the election has come to a grinding halt. America has a new president. Although new leadership will take over soon, let’s not forget how Trump has prioritized our veterans, one thing that previous leaders did not do.
Trump Has Prioritized Our Veterans, Will Biden Do That Too?
Love him or hate him, President Trump has consistently praised our Servicemen and women.
Trump has prioritized healthcare, educational programs, protection, and accountability for our Veterans in a way that previous leaders have not.
Although Trump himself did not serve in the military, he values and finances our strongest lines of defense for our great country – both personally and professionally.
Accountability especially was a signature promise from President Trump, particularly after the Veterans Affairs scandals in Phoenix in 2014 and 2015.
Being a Veteran or a dependant of a Veteran comes with unique challenges and responsibilities that are often overlooked by the average person.
Ongoing physical health problems, mental health problems, constant upheaval, and separation, all plague families that have dedicated themselves to serving our country.
It is only right that we offer as much support to these families as we can.
1. Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act
President Trump signed the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2015 to allow senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to fire failing employees and establish safeguards to protect whistleblowers.
- Through 2019, more than 8,000 Veterans Affairs employees were removed, demoted, or suspended as a result of the Veterans Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act.
- “The standard is if you don’t live up to your oath if you don’t live up to the standards that our veterans expect, that you will be asked to leave,” VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. “This is a transformational moment in our history.”
2. Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act
In August 2017, after passing Congress unanimously, President Trump signed the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act.
- This streamlined and revised the lengthy process that veterans undergo when appealing disability benefits claims with the Veterans Affairs.
- The bill requires the VA to assist with a claim or supplemental claim up until a veteran claimant is provided notice of a decision.
3. Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act
In August 2017, the President signed the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act, an important step in providing our nation’s heroes the support they have earned.
- This funded the “Forever GI Bill,” which provided educational benefits to veterans, service members, and their family members, including tuition, fees, books, housing, and additional costs.
- The benefits of the “Forever GI Bill” now include one-year of unemployment compensation, financial assistance for vocational or higher education for returning war veterans or their dependents and financial assistance for starting a business and/or buying a home.
4. V.A. Choice and Quality Employment Act
The President signed the V.A. Choice and Quality Employment Act of 2017 to authorize $2.1 billion in additional funds for the Veterans Choice Program (VCP).
- President Trump signed a bill to allow the V.A. to fire incompetent employees.
- President Trump signed legislation to fully fund the popular V.A. Choice Program.
5. White House V.A. Hotline
In November 2017, the Trump Administration created a new White House V.A. Hotline, staffed by veterans and family members, who provide our nation’s Veterans with a direct, dedicated contact line to answer their needs and concerns.
- Since May 2019, the White House VA Hotline has surpassed 250,00 calls.
- The hotline is staffed by 60 agents, who answer calls 24/7/365. The number is 1-855-948-2311.
6. Access and Quality Tool in VA Healthcare
In April 2017, the VA launched its online “Access and Quality Tool” which provides veterans with data to help them make informed decisions about their health care.
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7. The VA Mission Act
In June 2018, President Trump signed The VA MISSION Act, which works to integrate the VA healthcare system and modernize it for the 21st century while providing Veterans with more choices in their healthcare options, whether from VA doctors or the community.
- Caregivers of Veterans from all eras may be eligible for training, education, respite care services, the Caregiver Support Line, self-care courses, and other services.
- In addition to general support, caregivers in our Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers may receive a monthly stipend, beneficiary travel, mental health counseling, enhanced respite services, and other benefits.
8. Telehealth for Veterans
In 2018, the VA announced three initiatives to expand access to healthcare for veterans using telehealth technology:
- “Anywhere to Anywhere Veterans Affairs Health Care” allows Veterans Affairs providers to use telehealth technology to serve veterans no matter where the provider or veteran is located.
- V.A. Video Connect allows veterans and providers to connect by video across the country.
- The Veteran Appointment Request (VAR) application allows veterans to schedule appointments at Veterans Affairs facilities on digital devices.
In April 2019, the VA Announced a major expansion of its telehealth offerings. This is to provide veterans living in rural or remote areas with the best possible care.
- The VA Telehealth initiative will involve partnerships with private sector companies including Walmart, T-Mobile, and Phillips.
The Veteran community thanks President Trump for his commitment and unwavering dedication to our nation’s heroes. The positive effects of his efforts will be felt for generations.
What can you say about how Trump has prioritized our Veterans during his term? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section!