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Oct 01 2010

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VFW Washington Weekly – October 1, 2010

In This Issue:

1. No COLA for 2011
2. CR Passes as Congress Recesses
3. Stop-Loss Payments Extended
4. VA Adds 9 Gulf War Presumptions
5. GAO Investigates Long-Term Neglect
6. Veterans Benefits Package Passes Senate

7. Two WWII MIA's Identified

1. No COLA for 2011: VFW has been made aware of a document going around the internet which falsely increases the VA compensation rates up to 50% effective December 1, 2010. The document is not valid. Congress did pass a COLA bill (HR 4667) which authorizes an increase in payments to recipients of compensation, Dependency and Indemnity compensation (DIC), the VA clothing allowance, and certain wartime disability and other compensation based on cost-of-living increases that are provided to beneficiaries of Social Security.  The COLA allowance this bill provides is based on changes in the Consumer Price Index, a calculation of inflation in the United States measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Data accumulated to date indicates that it is unlikely that the CPI will increase by an amount necessary for veterans to receive a COLA increase for 2011 The congressionally passed bill (HR 4667) summary is posted here: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.uscongress/legislation.111hr4667

4. VA Adds 9 Gulf War Presumptions: The VA published its final regulation in the Federal Register this week to establish new presumptions of service-connection for nine specific infectious diseases associated with military service in Southwest Asia beginning on or after the start of the first Gulf War on Aug. 2, 1990, through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.  With the final rule, a veteran only has to show service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan, and that he or she had one of the nine diseases within a certain time after service, and has a current disability as a result of that disease. Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Visceral leishmaniasis may appear any time after discharge; however, the other seven disabilities must be shown to a compensable degree within one year of discharge.  The nine new presumptions are: Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella Burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella, Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis and West Nile virus.  Read the VA press release at http://www1.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=1974

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