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Calendar >  Representative Levin Veterans Update

Representative Levin Veterans Update

By   /  March 18, 2022  /  No Comments

Dear Neighbor, 

It has been a very productive few months in Congress when it comes to passing bipartisan legislation for veterans and their families. From addressing toxic exposure, to renaming the San Diego VA, we have been delivering for you, and I want to share some updates about that work. Please keep reading for important information on the progress we’re making to deliver the benefits you deserve, as well as other details on upcoming meetings and events for veterans.

As always, I want to hear from you about your priorities and the challenges you face. I encourage you to contact my office to share your thoughts and concerns. You can find other contact information by visiting mikelevin.house.gov.

Image Legislative Update
San Diego VA Medical Center Renaming
On March 3, 2022, the Senate unanimously passed Rep. Levin’s legislation to rename the San Diego Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) after U.S. Army CPT Jennifer M. Moreno, a highly decorated combat veteran from San Diego who was killed in action during a deployment to Afghanistan in October 2013. The bill was signed into law by President Biden on Monday, March 14th. This comes after Rep. Levin convened a panel of highly qualified servicemembers, veterans, and community leaders to collaborate on recommendations to rename the San Diego VAMC after a women veteran. The panel’s full report is available here.

Honoring our PACT Act of 2021
On March 3, 2022, this bipartisan bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives. This legislation will finally treat toxic exposure as a cost of war by addressing the full range of issues impacting toxic-exposed veterans, including access to earned benefits and health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Specifically, it will: provide health care for over 3.5 million toxic-exposed veteransconcede exposure to burn pits, radiation, and Agent Orange for veterans who served in certain locationsestablish presumptive conditions related to burn pit and Agent Orange exposureremove end dates for Gulf War Illness disability eligibilityallow individuals exposed to water at Camp Lejeune to bring an action in federal court to obtain reliefestablish a framework for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to review and grant new presumptive conditions in the futuretrain VA health care providers to diagnose and treat exposure-related conditionstrain VA claims processors to properly rate and adjudicate toxic exposure claimsimprove data collection between VA and the Department of Defense commission studies related to the incidence of cancer among veterans, health trends of Post 9/11 veterans, and feasibility of providing health care to certain dependentsRep. Levin also successfully amended the Honoring our PACT Act to include the Commitment to Veteran Support and Outreach (CVSO) Act, which establishes a grant program to expand the work of county veterans service officers who help veterans access their benefits.

Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act
In the Post-9/11 era, the Reserve Component has become an integral part of the United States’ defense plans as an operational reserve, a change from its traditional role as a strategic reserve.  However, personnel and benefits policies have not kept pace with changes in operational roles. 

There are increasing instances of servicemembers from the Active and Reserve Components serving next to each other, doing the same job, running the same risks, but receiving different pay and benefits. 

On January 12, 2022, the House passed Rep. Levin’s Guard and Reserve GI Bill Parity Act to count every day that a servicemember is paid and in uniform toward Post-9/11 GI Bill eligibility in order to achieve parity for National Guard and Reserve members.

Upcoming Events
Women’s History Month
In honor of Women’s History Month, Congressman Levin is hosting a small forum for active-duty women to meet with their Member of Congress, discuss pending military and veteran legislation, and receive a Congressional certificate of recognition. Active-duty officers or enlisted members of any rank and branch are welcome to participate. The forum will take place on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, at 3:00pm – 3:45pm PDT, at Rep. Levin’s Oceanside Office, 2204 El Camino Real, Suite 314, Oceanside, CA 92054. Please RSVP by emailing Gabby Ochoa at gabriela.ochoa@mail.house.gov.
If you would like Rep. Levin to recognize a woman veteran or servicemember with a Congressional certificate, please contact Gabby Ochoa via email or by calling (760)599-5000.

Vietnam Veterans Day – March 29, 2022
In recognition of the upcoming Vietnam Veterans Day, Congressman Levin’s office would like to extend any support you may require honoring Vietnam Veterans and their survivors. The office is available to provide Vietnam Veteran lapel pins for veterans and surviving spouses, certificates, and, in cases of larger events held by a VSO, a Record of Congress or a proclamation. Please send any requests to Gabby Ochoa at gabriela.ochoa@mail.house.gov.

Events in the CommunityVeterans Association of North County (VANC) and Hospice of the North Coast will put on a Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day Celebration on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 from 9am-12pm PDT at the VANC resource center in Oceanside, to honor Vietnam War veterans for their service. The keynote speaker is retired Marine Lt. Gen. Edward Hanlon Jr. A remembrance table will be set up for attendees to share photos and mementos of Vietnam veterans unable to attend. Bring photos and mementos of friends, family and loved ones to display on this table during the morning, and to be taken home at the end of the program.“Welcome Home” joins the Poway Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7907 and the Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 472 San Diego, on Saturday, March 26, 2022, at 12pm-3pm PDT, in thanking and honoring veterans of the Vietnam War for their service and sacrifice.District Veteran Service Organization (VSO) Meeting
On Monday, May 9, 2022, at the Oceanside Elks Lodge 1561, at 10:30am – 11:15am PDT, this meeting will be an opportunity for all district VSOs to express their legislative and local priorities as well as any potential concerns to Rep. Levin. Please RSVP by emailing Gabby Ochoa at gabriela.ochoa@mail.house.gov

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Updates
Proposal to expand presumed service-connected list related to military exposure
VA determined that there is a causal association between airborne hazards, specifically particulate matter, and carcinogenesis of the respiratory tract. VA is proposing a rule that will add presumptive service connection for several rare respiratory cancers for certain veterans. The cancers under consideration can be found here.

VA intends to focus its rule on certain rare respiratory cancers in veterans who served any amount of time in the Southwest Asia theater of operations and other locations. VA will invite and consider public comments as part of this process. Once rulemaking is complete, VA will conduct outreach to impacted veterans and survivors to inform them about potential eligibility.

VA outlines new goals towards ending Veteran homelessness
VA Secretary Denis McDonough established new goals in VA’s efforts to prevent and end homelessness among Veterans. During his visit to Los Angeles on February 25, 2022, McDonough participated in the local Point-in-Time Count and announced the following action being taken in the Greater Los Angeles area:Placing at least 1,500 Veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing, which would represent a greater than 10% increase in permanent housing placements since calendar year 2021.Increasing the percentage of Housing and Urban Development-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) vouchers under lease to at least 75%, which would represent the highest voucher utilization rate since 2018.Increasing to 50% the percentage of Veterans admitted to HUD-VASH who are housed within 90 days.Nationally, VA and its community partners will place at least 38,000 Veterans experiencing homelessness into permanent housing in calendar year 2022. This represents an increase of more than 10% over the number of Veterans placed in permanent housing in 2021. More information can be found here.

COVID-19 Booster Shots and Additional Doses
VA offers COVID-19 booster vaccinations six months after your second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccination, OR two months after the single Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) vaccine. You can only get a booster shot after completing the primary vaccine series. Veterans currently enrolled in VA health care may use VA’s online appointment scheduling tool to book appointments at the San Diego VAMC.

If you need assistance with a ride to your COVID vaccination appointment, VA San Diego can help with free Uber/Lyft rides.  Set up your vaccination appointment by calling 858-552-7475 and then call 855-205-7325 to organize the ride.

Veteran Rapid Retraining Assistance Program (VRRAP)
VRRAP, which Rep. Levin helped establish, continues to offer certain unemployed veterans with up to 12 months of tuition, fees, and housing to train for high-demand jobs. In September 2021, VA added 25 new occupations to the list of eligible occupations. This program expires December 11, 2022, so eligible veterans are encouraged to apply – and begin classes if approved – as soon as possible. Veterans may visit the VA’s education and training web page to determine eligibility and apply.Be sure to follow my FacebookTwitter, or Instagram pages and sign up for my e-newsletter for the latest updates from my office. Best,Image
Rep. Mike Levin
Washington, DC Office -1030 Longworth HOB -Washington, DC 20515 -Phone: (202) 225-3906

Oceanside Office -2204 El Camino Real Suite 314 Oceanside, CA 92054 -Phone: (760) 599-5000

Dana Point Office -33282 Golden Lantern Suite 102 Dana Point, CA 92629 -Phone: (949) 281-2449

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