Intro

Welcome to our Big News section for all the latest news concerning Military Disability.

We'll do our best to keep you up to date on everything that could affect your disability. Since the majority of our news will cover legal issues that can be dragged out for a long time, if you'd like an update on an issue, let us know, and we'll do what we can.

Please feel free to comment and submit questions. We want to give you the information you need, so help us by letting us know what you want to know.

This page is strictly for the latest and upcoming news. If you are looking for specific information about the disability system or your disability, see our Military Disability Blog: Advice From the Big Guy or our website, www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com, for all the answers you'll need.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Act Signed into Law

The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act was signed into law on February 12, 2015.

As we reported on November 24, 2014, the law is named for Sgt. Clay Hunt, a decorated Marine who became a veterans’ advocate after leaving the military in 2009.  He suffered from PTSD but was given only a 30% rating from the VA. Getting the mental health care he needed was difficult, time-consuming and frustrating. He appealed his rating, but the VA lost his paperwork. After enduring the hassle of submitting it all again, he took his own life in 2011.  Just weeks after his death, the VA approved the appeal and awarded him a 100% rating. Tragic.

This SAV Act will require the VA Secretary to establish a website that will centralize information about VA mental health services and update it at least once each 90-day period.

The law authorizes the VA to begin a 3-year pilot program to recruit additional psychiatrists by offering to repay their psychiatric medicine-related education loans.

The VA will also establish another 3-year pilot program to assist service members with the transition from active duty to veteran status while improving access to mental health care. This program will be put into effect at a minimum of 5 Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISNs). Each program will include a community-oriented veteran peer support network and a community outreach team for all the medical centers in each of the VISNs.

The new law will give the VA Secretary the authority to work with nonprofit mental health organizations on suicide prevention among veterans and to select a VA director of Suicide Prevention Coordinator to oversee the program.

The law also allows combat vets access to VA medical care—including hospital and nursing home care—for conditions that are not service-connected for an additional year, as long as the veteran was discharged or released from active duty between 1 January 2009 and 1 January 2011 and did not enroll in the VA health system for such care during the 5-year eligibility period after their discharge.

In addition to these main points, the law also establishes ways to monitor the VA’s progress as it implements these new provisions.

We are encouraged to see steps being taken to help our veterans who struggle with these very real issues.  We sincerely hope that this new law will be effective in preventing and ultimately eliminating these terrible tragedies. 


If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, help is available.  We encourage you to reach out to the Veteran’s Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 or www.VeteransCrisisLine.Net or to any of the many local suicide crisis lines.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

The VA Is Building A New Digital Service

The VA has just announced that it is currently assembling a new technical team to create a new digital service as part of the major overhaul we reported on last November. The VA Digital Service will be focused on providing a wide variety of services to over 8 million veterans, including having access to all of their VA benefits by creating a single online account.

The VA is now accepting applications for positions on this new technical team. The positions range from software engineers, operations, and designers to system administrators and DevOps. They are especially interested in people with the following experience:

+ Building high-performing engineering teams from scratch
 + Migrating from legacy systems to modern infrastructure
 + Healthcare technology”

We know that many of you have the skill sets the VA is looking for. This is a good opportunity for not only a great job with great pay but also to help build a system that will directly benefit you and your fellow veterans.


For more information, go to http://www.va.gov/ds/, scroll past “Become a Founding Member,” and click on “Apply Today.” This will take you to a page with full job descriptions and information on how to apply.  Let’s keep our veterans employed!

Monday, February 2, 2015

VA Announces New MyVA Regions

Back in November, we reported that the VA was planning to reorganize its many programs into “one-stop” regions under the MyVA Initiative. Last week, the VA announced the boundaries of the 5 new MyVA regions. The new regions will allow veterans to more quickly and easily access VA benefits and services in their local area.


The overall goal for the MyVA Initiative is for the VA to become more centered around veterans and their needs, making it easier for them to get the information, care, and benefits they need by combining access to every benefit (medical care, retirement, housing, education, etc.) under one roof instead of having different facilities/call lines for each benefit.

The MyVA Initiative will also make things easier on our veterans by allowing lower level VA employees to perform higher tasks, like call center agents suspending or resuming benefits, thus limiting the number of steps it takes the veteran to perform these tasks.

The goal is to have this reorganizational phase of the MyVA program up and running by the end of June 2015.