Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Sen. Tommy Tuberville: Small modifications could make an enormous distinction for veterans

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It is a visitor opinion column

After we take into consideration “freedom” in our nice nation, we regularly take into consideration the rights and liberties we train every day – like these outlined within the First Modification of our Structure. Whereas the world watches on as freedom and democracy are beneath assault in Europe, People are reminded that the freedoms we get pleasure from every single day have been fought and sacrificed for; defended by women and men who bravely raised their fingers to affix a trigger greater than themselves. Those that bravely protected our nation over the a long time—our nation’s veterans – deserve an immense quantity of gratitude. Alabama alone is residence to greater than 400,000 veterans. One of many issues that conjures up me probably the most in my conversations with our veterans is their unwavering declaration that, no matter any conflict, accidents, or post-war struggles, they might gladly do it over again as a result of they consider that America is price combating for.

My father was a World Conflict II veteran, and rising up, he would emphasize the significance of exhausting work and exhibit nice love for this nation. His service, sacrifice, and patriotism stays with me to this present day, lengthy after he handed. It’s why I used to be so honored to be named to the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee. Once I got here to Washington, D.C., my workplace and I started working figuring out focused modifications we might make to enhance how the U.S. Division of Veterans Affairs (VA) delivers care and advantages to veterans and repair members. We figured that if we specializing in these modifications – irrespective of how small they appeared – we might positively have an effect on the lives of our veterans and their households. We began by listening.

We heard from numerous veterans who battle with their psychological well being. An growing variety of veterans endure from the results of Traumatic Mind Harm (TBI) or Put up-Traumatic Stress Dysfunction (PTSD). TBI and PTSD can result in different extreme psychological well being points, and typically suicide. We lose a mean of 18 veterans per day to suicide, and sadly, Alabama has one of many highest veteran suicide charges within the nation. There are evidence-based therapies for these affected by mind accidents and PTSD, however these therapies don’t all the time work for each veteran. If a veteran has exhausted accessible therapy choices, why not allow them to strive one other avenue – particularly if it’s doesn’t contain extra surgical procedure or extra medication? Hyperbaric Oxygen Remedy, or HBOT, is an FDA-approved therapy possibility for 14 totally different circumstances, and I’ve spoken with Alabama veterans who’ve skilled the advantages of this therapy. So, I launched the Hyperbaric Oxygen Remedy (HBOT) Entry Act of 2021 to make Hyperbaric Oxygen Remedy an possibility accredited by the VA for veterans who’ve tried no fewer than two evidence-based therapy choices and who’re deemed at high-risk of suicide or self-harm. We ought to be doing all we will to extend entry to further therapies for veterans who’re struggling.

The VA not solely delivers care to our veterans, however the company additionally oversees veterans’ advantages. The administration of a few of these advantages has not been up to date in a long time. Our workplace discovered most protection quantities for veterans’ life insurance coverage had not been elevated since 2005. After 17 years, it’s time for that quantity to be up to date. So I launched a invoice, the Supporting Households of the Fallen Act, to extend the utmost life insurance coverage protection quantities supplied beneath VA’s Servicemembers’ Group Life Insurance coverage (SGLI) and Veterans’ Group Life Insurance coverage (VGLI) from $400,000 to $500,000. Rising protection by $100,000 will give our veterans and their households higher monetary peace of thoughts, and guarantee their households are offered for ought to the worst occur. Our invoice has already handed the U.S. Senate and awaits motion within the U.S. Home of Representatives. I’m proud that my first standalone piece of laws to go the Senate was to assist veterans.

We additionally realized that some veterans’ dependents had missed out on receiving advantages due to an error made when the shape was crammed out. Difficult or complicated kinds shouldn’t be a barrier to advantages for veterans and their households. That’s why I launched laws to streamline Put up-9/11 GI invoice advantages to eligible dependents and guarantee complicated paperwork doesn’t hinder navy households from receiving training advantages ought to tragedy strike.

Lastly, our workplace was made conscious of instances the place veterans had the advantages they so rightfully earned stolen from them by their fiduciaries. The VA permits veterans to nominate somebody—typically a pal or shut member of the family—to assist oversee and handle their advantages if they’re unable to take action themselves. Sadly, dangerous actors have discovered methods to abuse this fiduciary relationship. Underneath present regulation, if a defrauded veteran passes away earlier than their fraud case with the VA is resolved, the veteran’s household can not search reimbursement for the funds. I don’t suppose that’s proper, so we lately launched the Restoring Advantages to Defrauded Veterans to repair that loophole. The invoice would guarantee a veteran’s property will be reimbursed for any funds misplaced to fraud ought to the veteran go away earlier than reimbursement is accomplished.

Our workplace is simply getting began in our work serving to veterans. We’re going to maintain listening to veterans’ wants and determining small, however significant, modifications we will make to enhance the VA. Due to the sacrifice of our veterans, People dwell freely within the best nation on the planet. Veterans have stood on the frontlines of freedom for us. Now, it’s time that we arise for them.

Senator Tommy Tuberville represents Alabama in the USA Senate and is a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs and Senate Armed Providers Committees. Could is Navy Appreciation Month.



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