Year-End Legislative Update


New Veteran-Related Laws

In mid-December the President signed a number of bills into law prior to the 114th Congress adjourning for Christmas Break. The 115th Congress will begin on January 3, 2017.

Some key bills signed into law:

Faster Care for Veterans Act of 2016

Combat-Injured Veterans Tax Fairness Act of 2016

Communities Helping Invest through Property and Improvements Needed for Veterans Act of 2016 or the “CHIP IN for Vets Act of 2016”

No Veterans Crisis Line Call Should Go Unanswered Act (November 28, 2016)

The Jeff Miller and Richard Blumenthal Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2016 is an omnibus that contains many provisions assisting veterans that include:

Providing Guard Reserve veterans’ status after serving 20 years. These personnel used to only be considered veterans if they served in a federalized capacity, other than training, for more than 179 days. Even those who attended regular training and drill for two decades, but were never federalized, could not claim to be a veteran. AMVETS has long advocated for this measure, and is very pleased it is now law.

Improving aspects of veterans’ Disability Compensation, Court of Appeals, Claims, Burial Benefits, Education and Vocational Rehab, Small Business and Employment, Health Care, Homeless Prevention, and research related to descendants of veterans with toxic exposure while serving in the Armed Forces.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2016 was also signed into law, and among many other provisions, there was one related to those in the California National Guard who had to repay bonsues that were issued during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The provision places the burden on the Pentagon to prove that a soldier did not accept their enlistment bonus in good faith in order to seek recoupment. Additionally, the Pentagon will provide refunds to service-members and veterans who have already made repayments to the government.

Camp Lejeune Water

In September we sent out an alert related to Camp Lejeune contaminated water. We want to thank those who provided feedback to VA during the comment period on the proposed Federal Rule.

We will be sure to update as soon as we learn of new information.

Persian Gulf Memorial

Please consider a donation to Commander Chapman’s project which supports the creation of the National Desert Storm Veterans Memorial. Make sure to choose “Commander’s Fundraiser.”

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