Stan Spangle Sr.: Funding for homeless veterans programs rises
First, a reminder for those who did not get the word yet, Saturday is our first veterans get-together of 2013. We meet at Highland United Methodist Church, 1015 Mill Ave. Let’s start the new year with a big turnout. Time: 11 a.m. till 2 p.m. or later if need be.
The number of homeless vets dropped 12 percent from January 2010 to January 2011 and from 67,495 in January 2011 to 62,619 January 2012. This improvement is attributed to the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program. The HUD-VA programs started with $60 million in 2011, $100 million in 2012 and $300 million for 2013. Lisa M. Pape the VA’s director of homeless programs was recently honored by the National Association of Social Workers, with Knee-Whittmon Award.
As most of you know, we recently lost a great champion of our military, Sen. Daniel Inouye. I had forgotten that he had been awarded the Medal of Honor for action in Italy during World War II. Sen. Inouye represented the people of Hawaii from the moment Hawaii became a state. He was also well-known for his tireless efforts to support our veterans, especially in health care and education will continue to benefit military service members and their families for years to come (the previous sentence is in line with comments made by many others).
Recently, The Retired Enlisted Association’s Deputy Legislative Director Mike Saunders, met with Allison Hickey, the DVA under secretary for benefits. Secretary Hickey is a retired Air Force brigadier general. Several issues were discussed, one being the VA’s claims backlog and the steps being taken to manage it. Secretary Hickey was quick to deny reports that have been circulating lately that state VA claims are denied at a 60 percent rate. She insisted that the study was flawed that provided that figure, and that the actual number is much lower.
According to news reports, Hickey also pointed out in regard to a recent controversy National Guard and Reserve Drill pay that 38 U.S.C. section 5304(c) prohibits the concurrent receipt of VA compensation and active service pay. Veterans eligible to receive both must elect which one they will receive — there is no offset. According to reports, staff at the Training Center may have been told that it is usually not a good idea to receive VA disability compensation, since it is usually less than drill pay. This could have been interpreted as an order to not let reservists harm themselves financially. By not filing a claim when it happens can cause problems down the road in proving service-connection.
Pray for the families of the fallen.
Stan Spangle Sr. is a 21-year veteran of the Marine Corps, serving in Korea and Vietnam. He’s a member of numerous veterans organizations. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.