Paralyzed Veterans of America Blog

Update on the Status of VA Appeals Reform

Posted by Steven Henry, associate legislative director for PVA on Jan 3, 2019 11:45:16 AM

The appeals process for Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) benefits claims has been under scrutiny for lengthy wait times and inaccurate decisions. In hopes of streamlining and improving the process, the Veterans Appeals Improvement and Modernization Act of 2017 was introduced and subsequently signed into law in August 2017 (Public Law 115-55). The requirements in the law are scheduled to take effect in February 2019.

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Topics: VSO, Capitol Hill

Improvements in Air Travel are on the Horizon for People with Disabilities

Changes to the air travel experience of people with disabilities are on the horizon following the signing of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization Act of 2018 in October. The FAA Reauthorization included several provisions explicitly targeted at improving the air travel process, including security screening, for passengers with disabilities. PVA worked with many stakeholders to ensure that the needs of passengers with disabilities were included in the final bill.

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Topics: ACAAA, Capitol Hill, FAA Reauthorization, People With Disabilities

August is a Great Time to Connect with Your Members of Congress

Traditionally, August signals a long recess work period for members of Congress. It is during this time that Senators and Representatives devote extra time and attention to meeting with their constituents, touring important facilities in their states and districts, and otherwise reconnecting with the citizens and communities they serve. Both members of the House and Senate typically leave Washington at the beginning of August and do not return until after Labor Day. This year, however, the Senate is taking a shorter recess and will return in the middle of the month.

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Topics: Department of Veterans Affairs, Air Carrier Access Amendment Act, VA caregiver program, Capitol Hill, Congress, Department of Transportation

Protecting the ADA Remains a Top Focus for PVA

Posted by PVA Staff on Jul 19, 2018 11:32:56 AM

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990. It is the most comprehensive disability rights legislation ever enacted. The ADA prohibits discrimination against a person with a disability in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications.

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Topics: Tammy Duckworth, ADA, Advocacy, Americans with Disabilities Act, Capitol Hill, Congress, People With Disabilities

VA MISSION Act

Posted by PVA Staff on May 31, 2018 11:28:05 AM

On May 23, the United States Senate voted 92-5 for the VA MISSION Act. The bill is now headed to President Trump’s desk for signature. The House of Representatives passed the bill on May 16, by a vote of 347-70. This historic legislation will reform care in the community, assess VA’s infrastructure, and finally, correct the inequality of the VA Caregiver Program.

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Topics: Veterans Issues, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Affairs, Capitol Hill, People With Disabilities

Advocating to Expand Access to VA’s Comprehensive Caregiver Program

Posted by PVA Staff on Apr 11, 2018 10:28:23 AM

Eight years ago, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) started a program that was the first of its kind in the United States. Recognizing the degree of injury endured by service members returning home from recent conflicts, and the burden shouldered by their caregivers, Congress took bold action to enable VA to meet their needs by establishing the Program of Comprehensive Assistance for Family Caregivers. Limited to veterans injured on or after September 11, 2001, the program is designed to sustain a veteran’s caregiver and to recognize the sacrifice and service they provide to our nation’s heroes.

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Topics: Capitol Hill, People With Disabilities

Help us stop H.R. 620 and save the ADA – take action now!

Posted by PVA Staff on Feb 12, 2018 12:51:03 PM
H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017, also known as the “ADA Notification” bill, will be voted on by the House this Thursday, February 15. Please contact your Representatives now and ask them to vote "NO" on H.R. 620. This bill would weaken the  Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and make it harder for people with disabilities to participate in the mainstream of society.
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Topics: Capitol Hill, People With Disabilities

Trying To Plan Ahead Doesn’t Always Mean Success

Posted by PVA Staff on Oct 2, 2017 5:35:52 PM

In March 2015 we made the decision to fly to the National Paralyzed Veterans of America convention in San Diego. I am a quadraplegic and have not flown in almost fifteen years so I decided to contact Delta airlines by phone for a flight from Augusta, GA to Atlanta, GA. I had scheduled a connecting flight with Southwest (SW) for a non-stop flight from Atlanta to San Diego. When I made the Delta reservation, I spoke with a CSR by phone and gave him the make model and dimensions of my three hundred pound power chair. The man assisting me asked about time preference and we chose 10:20am on May 2, 2015. Nothing was ever mentioned about the size of the plane for flight 5138.

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Topics: Capitol Hill, People With Disabilities

Summit & the Future of VA - Interview with ED Sherman Gillums & KSEV Houston / Blaze Radio

Posted by PVA Staff on Aug 28, 2017 6:00:38 AM

Listen to the interview with Ed Sherman Gillums Jr., chief strategy officer of American Veterans on the future of veterans. 

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Topics: Capitol Hill, People With Disabilities

The DC VA Director Fire-Rehire Case Will Be the First Major Test of the New VA Accountability Law

Posted by Sherman Gillums Jr., executive director for PVA on Aug 11, 2017 5:18:55 PM

The phone rings after my call is transferred by the executive assistant to the hospital director's direct line.

The director picks up: “Hello.”

I speak: “Hello, Mr. Hawkins. I’m hoping to get your help with a problem that I’m having with the DC Prosthetic Office. I had a wheelchair ordered over seven months ago, and apparently the order isn’t even in the system now. I’m not sure what to do at this point. The casters on the chair I have now are broken, and I’m worried they’ll give out any day now.”

Pregnant pause.

Director speaks: “How did you get this phone number?”

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Topics: Capitol Hill

About PVA

For 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation. We assist all veterans and specialize in supporting paralyzed veterans through monitoring their care in VA spinal cord injury units, funding research and education in the search for a cure and improving care overall.

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