Efforts to improve health care coverage and benefits for our current and past service members must be strengthened. Now more than ever, we must provide for the men and women willing to sacrifice for their country. We must ensure their health and prosperity not just while they serve,but when they return to civilian life. One in ten American civilians over the age of 18 is a veteran. Like the rest of us, veterans are anxious about their families, their health, and their jobs. After selflessly serving our country, many veterans are not enjoying the healthy and secure civilian life they deserve. Rep. Grijalva has been working diligently to make sure veterans’ voices are heard.
Rep. Grijalva has cosponsored numerous bills designed to better fulfill the needs of veterans. As an elected official, he feels it is his duty to fight for those that have protected our country. He's proud of his record on behalf of the veterans in District 3 and around the nation.
VA Announces Rollout and Application Process for New Veterans ID Card 11/29/17
After legislation passed in 2015 to honor veterans, the United States Department of Veteran Affairs announced that the application process for the national Veterans Identification Card (VIC) is now available. Veterans who have served in the armed forces, including the reserve components, and who have been honorable discharged will be able to apply for this ID Card. This card can be used in lieu of the standard DD-214 form to obtain promotional discounts and other services.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill
Support for the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2008 was vital because it provided for our veterans. As of July 2010, the Veterans Administration had issued more than $3.9 billion in tuition, housing, and stipends for 292,000 student veterans or eligible family members pursuing higher education. Rep. Grijalva is dedicated to helping returning veterans in Arizona take full advantage of these opportunities. This bill restores the promise of a full, four-year college education for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, making them part of our economic recovery. More than 500,000 veterans have already received these new college benefits. For information on who is eligible to apply, click here.
University of Arizona VETS
Rep. Grijalva helped the University of Arizona create a campus-wide Veterans Education and Transition Service program in the fall of 2008. The center provides comprehensive services to veterans attending the University of Arizona and other veterans in the community. The program provides academic courses focused on transition and reintegration, disability resources, advocacy and more. He was proud to support the University's pioneer role in serving veterans and helping them obtain an education to better their quality of life. This is the type of program all of District 3 should be proud of, and he intends to push the initiative on the national level.
Rep. Grijalva supports the Veterans Administration allocation of $39 million to fund 2,200 new transitional housing beds through grants to local providers. Making veteran homelessness a thing of the past requires federal, state and local cooperation between the public and private sectors. He supports the HUD McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grants program, HUD-HHS-Education Housing and Services Demonstration Vouchers and HUD-VASH vouchers for homeless veterans.
Traumatic Brain Injury and Mental Health for Veterans
The mental well-being of those returning from service is paramount, and unfortunately our services for returning veterans have often been inadequate. We need to bring our standards for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) into line with reality.
Servicemembers diagnosed with PTSD are now able to qualify for benefits if they can prove they were in a combat zone -- this is a crucial improvement over previous standards that encouraged soldiers to hide their symptoms. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) continues to be the signature wound of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with more than 100,000 troops diagnosed since 2003 with mild TBI. This number will increase as detection becomes more accurate. TBI is a complex condition that requires a full spectrum of specialized care. As a member of the Congressional Brain Injury Task Force, Rep. Grijalva fought for Department of Defense funding in fiscal year 2012 to care for wounded warriors with TBI and psychological health issues and to improve research into these critical areas.
Wounded Veteran Job Security
He is a cosponsor of the Wounded Veteran Job Security Act to clarify and strengthen the Uniformed Services and Employment Rights Act to ensure that our veterans are not discriminated against in the workplace for time spent receiving treatment for injuries caused by their service. Over 42,000 Americans have been wounded as a result of their brave service in Iraq and Afghanistan. They shouldn’t be penalized in the workplace because their service put them in harm’s way.
Congress and the Veterans Administration must work together to eliminate the veterans disability claims backlog. Steps have been taken in the right direction: the Veterans Benefits Administration has expanded its workforce by more than 3,500 people, started to accept online applications for initial disability benefits, initiated an innovation competition, launched over 30 pilot programs and initiatives to identify best practices, and invested over $138 million in a paperless Veterans Benefits Management System that will be deployed in fiscal year 2012. Veterans are already directly benefitting from this effort through a pilot program establishing “express lanes” for simple claim actions and quick benefits payments done on a walk-in basis. These are the types of advances we need. Rep. Grijalva will continue to support these and other efforts to improve and streamline the disability claims process in Congress, and his district staff has always been fully dedicated to assisting veterans in Southern Arizona.
Veteran in Need of Immediate Assistance?
Make sure to check out Rep. Grijalva's comprehensive Veteran Resource Guide by clicking here.
The Veterans National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK) has more than 150 professional staffers monitoring the lines 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, to ensure any soldier, veteran or family member in crisis can talk to someone who can help. You can also visit a suicide prevention chat room at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org to seek assistance.