The Obama administration chose Veterans Day to disclose reform in favor of veterans per the push for Congress to enact measures to help military veterans gain easier access to health care, disability and educational benefits, an agenda that will improve the way the government treats veterans.
President Obama will urge Congress to improve the Choice Card program that allows veterans to receive private medical care. According to New York Times, the White House said that 7 percent more veterans have been able to take advantage of the Choice Card option over the past year, but that the program needs improvements. Earlier in November, Congress was tasked with overhauling the program.
The president’s calendar includes a reexamination of the disability claims process – what the White House has called a broken process – to facilitate the promptness of the appeal procedure, and pass legislation aiming to improve the quality of schools that serve veterans. Mr. Obama’s proposals come as the administration is promoting the results of an undertaking it took on in 2010 to reduce homelessness among veterans. According to the 2014 Point-in-Time Count, the number of Veterans who are homeless is down by 33 percent since 2010. Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia plans to announce that his state has become the first to end veteran homelessness.
According to the Veteran’s Administration, VA, web site: “In 2010, the White House and the VA issued a plan to end Veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Together with partners nationwide, the VA launched the End Veteran Homelessness initiative, an unprecedented effort to make sure Veterans are able to obtain permanent housing and that Veterans at risk of homelessness remain housed.”
During 2014, first lady Michelle Obama, as part of the nationwide effort, announced the Mayors Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness , which asked mayors as well as county and state officials to commit to ending homelessness among veterans in their communities. In New York, 20 mayors, county executives and town supervisors signed on.
Binghamton was the first city in New York to reach the goal, identifying and finding housing for 30 homeless veterans, according to data provided by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The Obama administration has unveiled the GI Comparison Tool to allow veterans to compare college and university options and the Yellow Ribbon Program to provide information to prospective students and their parents about annual costs and qualifying for additional financing beyond the GI Bill. Yellow Ribbon schools, in partnership with the VA, agree to pay some of the tuition not funded by the Bill.
As part of the announcement all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico will provide “recently transitioning veterans” and their dependents with in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, in line with a provision in the $16 billion overhaul of the Department of Veterans Affairs passed by Congress last year.