Mar/Apr 2017 – DAV Benefits Protection Team Leader’s Article

Greetings from west Texas. I was honored when asked to become our Benefits Protection Team Leader for Texas. I was saddened when I learned our former team leader Comrade Howard Ray is seriously ill. Please keep the Ray family in your prayers.

Marc Burgess our National Adjutant, our Commander Dr. Edwards, and our Adjutant Teresa Johniken each talked with me about what this position entails. We, meaning our state office and each chapter is expected to advocate for or against a particular bill in our US Congress. This is not politics, but exercising our right to contact our elected officials and asking them to support, modify, or vote against a particular bill.

How do I know who represents me. In your local telephone directory you will find the names and offices of our state legislators and our U.S. Congressman and both our Senators. How should I contact them? Call the local office and ask what method is best to contact our elected officials.

How do I know what to discuss or to talk about with my elected office holder? DAV provides us with a list of topics for us to advocate for or against. With a new administration we need to keep ourselves informed, especially since two of the issues affecting our members is overhauling our military and fixing our VA, especially Health Care. Each of these offers opportunities to both help and harm our benefits.

Why should I get involved? Our By-Laws clearly state that we fight for the benefits we have earned; and that we offer our help to any veterans in need free of charge. So, when we took off our uniforms; we continue to serve. We must work with the 115th Congress to advocate our DAV position.      

How do I find the DAV Commanders Action Network? 1st go to DAV.org. There is a box at the top that says “Help DAV”. Then move the mouse over this tab and you will see a drop down listing and you should click on “Advocate”. You will now see a page titled “DAV Commanders Action Network”. This page can help in finding who are your elected officials. It allows you to sign up and get real time alerts about pending legislation. This is an important tool for Chapter Benefits Protection Team Leaders. This page also has a tab for current legislation and whether or not DAV supports the legislation. We can print out these bills and advocate for or against them with our elected officials. I encourage each chapter to print copies for those without computer access, so they may contact their legislative representative.

Here is a list of the current bills we support:

Benefits

H.R. 457: VA Appeals Modernization Act of 2017

Concurrent Receipt

H.R. 303: Retired Pay Restoration Act

Women Veterans

H.R. 91: Building Supportive Networks for Women Veterans Act (115th Congress)

 

H.R. 93: To amend title 38, United States Code, to provide for increased access to Department of Veterans Affairs medical care for women veterans.

I encourage each chapter Benefits Protection Team Leaders, chapter elected officers to look at the DAV Commanders Action Network and get behind our efforts to improve the lives of veterans and their families.

 

 Military retirees, veterans receiving VA compensation, and some 70 million Americans on Social Security will see a 0.3 percent cost-of-living increase at

Mike Rader, DAV Benefits Protection Team Leader
Disabled American Veterans – Department of Texas