VA Appeals Reform Becomes Law


Last Wednesday, the president signed into law the VFW-supported Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017. The act provides three options for veterans to appeal disability rating decisions made by the Veterans Benefits Administration, as well as allows some veterans already in the appeals process to opt into the new system. The three options available to veterans dissatisfied with their initial claims rating decisions are to seek a higher-level review by a regional office on the same evidence presented to the original claims processors; to file a supplemental claim with a regional office that would include the opportunity to submit additional evidence; or to opt for an expedited consideration of their appeal directly to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals. The entire intent of the new law is to speed the appeals process.

President Approves GWOT Memorial

The president signed the VFW-supported Global War on Terrorism Memorial Act into law late last week, which now clears the way for the GWOT Memorial Foundation to secure federal approval for acreage on the National Mall and coordinate a national design competition. It also exempts the memorial from a 1986 law that requires Congress to wait 10 years after the official end of a military conflict before considering a war memorial in the nation’s capital. VFW National Commander Keith Harman praised the VFW members who are the driving force behind the new memorial: GWOT Memorial Foundation founder and executive director, Andrew Brennan, is a life member of VFW Post 3945 in Pittsburgh; Rep. Mike Gallagher, a life member of VFW Post 2037, Green Bay, Wis.; Rep. Seth Moulton, a member of VFW Post 2005, Marblehead, Mass.; Sen. Joni Ernst, a life member of VFW Post 2265, Red Oak, Iowa; as well as recognized veterans advocate Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

V-J Day Commemoration

Visitors to Washington, D.C., are invited to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of Victory over Japan Day at 11 a.m., Sept. 2, at the National World War II Memorial. The WWII Memorial has very few disability parking spaces and street parking could be limited since it’s the tourist season. Taxis are plentiful and recommended. The two closest Metro stations, Federal Triangle and Smithsonian, are both about a half mile away.

Important Days in September

Sept. 2 – V-J Day 1945, Victory in Japan.

Sept. 4 – Labor Day

Sept. 11 – Patriot Day

Sept. 25 – POW/MIA Recognition Day

Sept. 18 – Air Force Birthday

Sept. 24 – Gold Star Mothers and Family Day

POW/MIA Update

Marine Corps Reserve Cpl. Henry Andregg, Jr., 22, of Whitwell, Tenn., whose identification was previously announced, was buried in Chattanooga.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Max E. Harris, 21, whose identification was previously announced, was buried Aug. 27 in his hometown of Monticello, Ind. It would be later learned that Harris had been captured, but died while en route to a POW camp.

Army Pfc. Felipe A. Champion, 20, of Cameron County, Texas. Interment services are pending.

Air Force Col. Martin R. Scott, 34, of Tulsa, Okla. Interment services are pending.

Air Force Reserve 1st Lt. David T. Dinan, III, 25, of Nutley, N.J. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.

– Charles Castelluccio