Hands Off Our Veterans' Healthcare and Disability Benefits

January 8, 2024

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For this edition of Home Front, we want our members to know that the slogan of our ongoing campaign is, “Hands Off Our Veterans’ Healthcare and Disability Benefits.” The purpose of this issue is to encourage our APWU Veterans to get involved in and stay informed on the important information highlighted in the 2023 VA Healthcare Benefits Handbook.

The APWU has recently discovered that most of our veterans are not aware that a Veterans Healthcare Benefits Handbook even exists. The information in the Veterans Benefits Handbook is extremely important because it provides the necessary information to protect our veterans from being duped by erroneous contractors who want to get their hands on our veteran benefits. Our goal is to keep our APWU veterans informed and updated on Veterans’ Benefits information.

Most veterans assume that an Honorable DD-214 is all they should need for basic veteran healthcare benefits, which is false. There are numerous veteran healthcare regulations implemented in the 2003 Veteran Healthcare Reform Act that prevent many of our APWU veterans from receiving the healthcare benefits they deserve. The VA handbook clearly states the following:

Basic eligibility for VA healthcare: (Page 7)

“If you served in the active military, Naval or Air Service, and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA healthcare benefits. Current and former members of the Reserves or National Guard who were called to active duty (other than for training) by a Federal Order who completed the full period of their order to active duty, may also be eligible for VA healthcare.

Financial Reporting Requirements: (Page 10)

“While many Veterans qualify for enrollment and cost- free healthcare services, based on a comprehensible service- connected condition, or other qualifying factors, certain Veterans will be asked to complete a financial assessment at the time of enrollment to determine their eligibility for cost free medical care, medications, and travel benefits. The assessment is based on the previous year’s gross household income of the veteran, spouse, and dependents, if any. Some veterans may be required to pay a co-payment for treatment of non-service related conditions.”

Finally, for this issue, we encourage our veterans to contact their local area Congressional leaders. Call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 to be connected to your representative and tell them, to "keep privatizers ‘Hands Off Our Veterans’ Healthcare Benefits!’” APWU veterans want the return of a fully trained and staffed VA Federal Government Employee Healthcare System. APWU veterans want the benefits they earned for servicing America, under the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act. They also want to eliminate the major Trump-era roadblock called the VA Missions Act, which primarily blocks or prevents many of our APWU veterans from VA enrollment and military service related disability benefits by denying enrollment based on household income, and the privatizing of the VA’s electronic claim filing, enrollment, and emergency care systems.

These are just a few issues that we want to highlight for you. Please continue to be diligent and up to date with the current state of eligibility for veteran healthcare. It is your right to stay informed. ■

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