UPDATED: August 10, 2018 – The G.I. Bill, initially known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, was signed into law by President Roosevelt on June 22, 1944 and it was developed to provide a wide variety of benefits to Veterans returning from World War II.
It since has been extended and provides a wide variety of benefits for all vets, such as low mortgage rates, educational benefits, as well as other benefits conducive to vets, their families and their survivors.
Over the years, there has been a wide variety of organizations that have been established to render services on the half of the Veterans.
These services includes the Veterans Health Administration, the Veterans Benefits Administration, the National Cemetery Administration, the office of information Technology as well as other departments under the umbrella of the Department of Veteran Affairs.
Some 25.7 million vets and their family members have been eligible for the wide variety of VA benefits. And now, with 2017 fiscal year approaching President Obama is rolling out his VA Budget Request to take effect in 2017.
The request consists of an increase in funding that is needed to meet the financial obligations that have been made to retired military personnel.
The VA Budget Requested for the upcoming 2017 fiscal year is $182.3 billion. Of that, 56.8% or $103.6 billion is earmarked for mandatory areas, whereas 43.2% or $78.7 billion has been earmarked for discretionary funding.
The mandatory budget will consist of areas such as Compensation and Pension, Readjustment of Benefits, Insurance related issues, as well as funding earmarked for the Insurance “Second Bite” appropriation.
With the exception of the Insurance “Second Bite”, the remaining mandatory advanced appropriations were enacted in 2016 in the amount of $91,256 and the remaining total mandatory advance appropriations were requested for 2017 and 2018 in the amounts of $102,533 and $103,936 each year respectively.
What the discretionary budget means is that the budget (which includes collections), will address funding for areas such as Medical Programs, Information Technology Programs, Benefits Programs, Construction Programs as well as other programs.
VA Homeless Programs
Another program that will be included in the 2017 budget request for VA’s is the Veterans Homeless Program, where $1.6 billion in programs are being earmarked to provide assistance to retired military personnel who are in a homeless state. It is also designed to prevent those who are at risk of becoming homeless as well.
Other Uses of Discretionary Funding
Some other uses of discretionary funding are earmarked to address issues related to the backlog in VA Disability Claims.
Although progress has been made in this area already by approximately an 88% reduction from its initial peak, additional funding will be spent to rectify the issue in its entirety. Additional include, Pension Benefit Programs and Life Insurance Programs.
The new changes to the VA Bill has been developed with three strategic goals in mind. They include the following:
Strategic Goal Number 1 – To empower the vets so that their well-being is improved.
Strategic Goal Number 2 – To enhance and further develop trusted partnerships centered around programs that support vets.
Strategic Goal Number 3 – To manage and make improvements to the VA operations with the intent of delivering both a seamless and an integrated means of support
In order for the 2019 budget request to be effective as intended, other means will need to fall into place to ensure proper implementation and sustainability.
Those include areas such as ongoing audits, contract reviews, healthcare inspections, through evaluations, and administrative based investigative reports. The overall purpose is to address and continue to meet the increased complex needs of our vets.