Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2017

Last Wednesday, the Senate passed H.R. 1329, the Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2017. This legislation would increase the rates of VA disability compensation, dependency compensation for surviving children and spouses, as well as the clothing allowance for veterans. Earlier this year, the House passed H.R. 1329, which now awaits President Trump’s signature. Once signed into law, the expected two-percent increase will become effective on Jan. 1, 2018.

Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015

The Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015 was enacted on July 20, 2015. The act requires the VA to issue an identification card to Veterans upon their request. The card will not replace the VA enrollment card. This card would simply confirm veterans’ status and is intended to be used to obtain discounts from retailers. VA will begin issuing the cards in November 2017. Veterans must log in to to apply for the card. If eligible, veterans will receive their cards in the mail within three weeks.

VFW Attends Blue Water Agent Orange Roundtable

Last Wednesday, the VFW attended a roundtable with nearly a dozen veteran and military service organizations, congressional staffers and veterans impacted by Agent Orange. The roundtable focused on the need to expand presumptive coverage for an estimated 90,000 veterans, as the needed legislation awaits congressional action. The VFW has testified in support of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017 several times and is working with VA and Congress to ensure benefits are expanded to Blue Water Navy veterans without eroding other veteran benefits. Additionally, the VFW continues to reaffirm its support for these veterans through the annual adoption of a resolution at the VFW National Convention calling for expansion of Agent Orange presumptive benefits to Blue Water Navy veterans.

Important Dates in November

The month of November has many important dates. Daylight Savings Time begins Nov. 5. Turn your clocks back one hour. Nov. 10 is Marine Corps birthday. Nov. 11 is Armistice Day and Veterans Day.

Pennsylvania Veteran Remains Recovered, POW/MIA Update

Army Staff Sgt. Michael Aiello, 35, of Springfield, Ill., was buried Oct. 28 in his hometown.

Army Pfc. Richard A. Lucas, 17, of Monmouth, N.J., whose identification was previously announced, will be buried Nov. 2 in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

Army Pfc. Walter C. Hackenberg, 22, of Snyder County, Pa., will be buried Nov. 2 in Middleburg, Pa. He was declared missing in action as of April 25, 1951.

Navy Shopfitter 3rd Class Francis L. Hannon was assigned to the USS Oklahoma, which was moored off Ford Island, Pearl Harbor. Interment services are pending.

Marine Corps Pfc. Arnold J. Harrison was assigned to Company B, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division. Interment services are pending.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Lester R. Walker – Based on a lack of information concerning his status, the U.S. Army declared him deceased and his remains non-recoverable.

Marine Corps Reserve Pfc. Donald E. Eichschlag was assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Fleet Marine Force. Interment services are pending.

Till next week, praying for all service members.

– Charles Castelluccio