VA offering personal health care handbooks to vets

WASHINGTON – Veterans enrolled in VA health care in coming months will receive personalized handbooks with information on their benefits, local medical facilities, applicable copays and how to schedule an appointment.

The booklets are part of a new push by VA officials to keep veterans informed about available services and benefits available , department officials said. Distribution of the handbooks began this month, and 8.5 million are expected to be sent out to every veteran enrolled in the system by the end of the year.

Independent vets budget seeks more construction money

WASHINGTON – The White House’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal on Monday drew mostly positive reviews from veterans groups, in large part because the Department of Veterans Affairs is one of only a few agencies that will see a jump in funding over last year.

But that doesn’t mean the veterans can’t find any room for improvement. A coalition of veterans advocates released the annual VA independent budget Tuesday morning, pushing lawmakers to find a few billion to fund medical services and construction projects.

Questions linger on funding for veterans programs

WASHINGTON – Since November, members of the House Veterans Affairs Committee have been pushing administration officials to clarify whether veterans programs could be trimmed as part of more than $500 billion in defense funding cuts mandated under the sequestration mechanism initiated by the failure of the congressional debt reduction panel last fall.

Last week, the head of the veterans committee said he’s frustrated he still doesn’t have an answer for advocates worried about how benefits and service may be hurt.

VFW: Retirement changes could hurt recruitment

The following is part of an occasional series of guest columns highlighting the work and concerns of veterans groups. Richard L. DeNoyer, a retired Marine and Vietnam combat veteran from Middleton, Mass., is the national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. and its auxiliaries.

America’s 10-year fight in the Middle East has produced a battle-hardened generation of young folks, who by and large have the full support and appreciation of a grateful nation. This is most welcoming to my generation of Vietnam veterans, who returned home to a vastly different reception.

Joblessness drops 4 percent for recent vets

WASHINGTON — Veteran unemployment dropped across the board in January, with those who served in recent wars seeing the sharpest decline, down from 13.1 percent in December to 9.1 percent.

That represents the lowest jobless rate for post-9/11 veterans since December 2009.

Vets finding jobs in health care industry

WASHINGTON — Health care companies have become the latest bit of good news for veterans looking for work, even those without any formal medical background, according to employment advocates.

Brad Cooper, executive director of the White House’s Joining Forces effort, said last month that about 30,000 veterans and military spouses have been hired through their industry partnerships. Health care firms have been a surprise entry in those totals, ranking at the top among better-known veteran-friendly industries such as transportation and information technology.