Monthly Archives: January 2017

Agency Spotlight–Common VA Worker Injuries

injuriesThis post will look at some of the most common injuries or illnesses that affect VA workers; slips and falls, torn muscles, psychological disorders, and more.

injuriesSlips and Falls

This is probably most prevalent in VA hospitals and clinics. Nurses, doctors, and medical technicians can easily be injured this way. Tripping over a cord or slipping in the hallway are all common, especially if there is an emergency and a nurse needs to get to a patient quickly.

Torn Musclesinjuries

This seems to be one of the most common injuries we see. The reason is simple: lifting a patient, or something too heavy, can cause back injuries, torn muscles, and damaged discs. One VA hospital, the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System, reported that they have reduced injuries among the nursing staff by up to 80 percent. They have done this by using an approach called “safe patient handling”. Special machines exist to help lift patients, like motorized hoists that lift heavy parts in factories. Most hospitals have not adopted this method.

injuriesPsychological Disorders

Stress is a big factor in these types of illnesses. Working in any hospital environment creates undue stress that can lead to not only psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety but also physical ailments as well.

Who We’ve Helped

We have helped many VA employees with their federal disability retirement claims. With over 25 approved VA cases in 2016 alone (and many more awaiting decision), we have helped VA employees get approved for mental and cognitive disorders, visual disturbances, spondylosis, dysthymic disorder, stenosis of the cervical and lumbar spine, and much more. Our successful cases include professions such as gardeners, program support assistants, police officers, financial administrative specialists, medical supply technicians, veterans service representative, and many more. If you are a VA worker who can no longer perform your job duties, please don’t hesitate to call us at 877-226-2723, or fill out this inquiry form, and find out how we can help you!

To learn more about risks VA workers face, and see what our VA clients have said about us, click below!

Common Cause of Injuries and Illnesses to VA Employees

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CSRS vs. FERS: Benefits and Offsets

csrs

Over the next few weeks, we will be looking at the difference between the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) and the Federal Employees Retirement Systems (FERS), specifically how they relate to Federal Disability Retirement. This post will focus on benefit offsets of these two. Every federal worker falls into one of these retirement systems. While most of those workers fall under FERS, it’s important to discuss these differences.

CSRS

Reductions in Disability Annuity

  • Survivor Benefits—If you’re married, your benefit is reduced for the survivor benefit. The exception to this is if your spouse consented to your election of less than a full survivor annuity. Also, your annuity is reduced if a court order requires a former spouse survivor benefit.
  • Unpaid Service—If no deductions were withheld on your creditable civilian service performed before October 1, 1982, and no deposit was paid, your annuity will be reduced. The annual reduction is 10 percent of the total deposit due. Any non-deduction service performed on or after that date can’t be used to compute annuity unless the deposit is paid in full.
  • Refunded Service—Creditable service for which you took a refund but didn’t pay a redeposit can’t be used in the computation of annuity.
  • CSRS Offset—If you had service that was subject to withholding for both CSRS and Social Security, you are subject to a reduction in your annuity. This only applies if the Social Security Administration (SSA) can pay you a benefit based on the portion of your federal service that was under both systems. This is called the CSRS Offset.

COLA’s for Disability Retirees

Your annuity is increased by Cost of Living Adjustments (COLA’s) that occur after retirement. The first COLA increase is prorated based on how long you have been retired when that COLA is granted.

FERS

Reductions in Disability Annuity

  • Survivor Benefits—If you are married, your benefits will be reduced for a survivor benefit, unless your spouse consented to your elections of less than a full survivor annuity. If the total of the survivor benefits equals 50 percent of your benefit, your annuity is reduced by 10 percent. If the total equals 25 percent, then your annuity is reduced by 5 percent.
  • Unpaid Service if ‘Earned Annuity is Paid—If there is a CSRS component in your annuity, the CSRS portion of the benefit will be reduced by 10 percent of any deposit owed for and CSRS non-deduction service performed before October 1, 1982. However, this doesn’t apply if the deposit was paid before retirement.

COLA’s for FERS Disability Retirees

If you’re under the age of 62 and your annuity was computed using 60 percent of your High-3 salary, you are not eligible to receive COLA’s in the first 12 months. COLA’s after this time are payable. Further, if you are age 62 at retirement or if you meet the age and service requirements for an immediate FERS annuity, all COLA’s occurring after the beginning date of your annuity are paid.

Benefits from OPM and OWCP at the Same Time

This is the same rule as CSRS (see above).

For more information on these interactions, click below.

CSRS vs. FERS Federal Disability Retirement Benefit Offsets

Our experienced team here at Harris Federal Law Firm has helped both CSRS and FERS employees with their federal disability retirement cases for years. If you are looking for a federal disability retirement lawyer, contact us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY FORM! The consultation is always FREE!

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Agency Spotlight–History of the VA Part 2

history

This two-part blog post will look at some of the issues that have plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs, including issues they face today. This post will focus on some of the headlines out of the VA in recent years.

Dentist Resigns After Possibly Infecting Vets

Last month, a story surfaced from Tomah VA Medical Center in Wisconsin of a dentist who resigned after possibly infecting almost 600 veterans. The dentist may have infected the veterans treated by him with Hepatitis B or C or HIV. The dentist failed to use proper sterilization procedures. Instead, he was using his own equipment-cleaning and reusing it which violates the VA’s regulations.

Hundreds of Vets Die Waiting for Care

A Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Phoenix, AZ has been in the headlines of late. Two hundred veterans died while waiting for medical care. The VA’s Inspector General’s office (OIG) found 215 deceased patients had open specialist consultation appointments the day they died. The report also found that one veteran never received an appointment for a cardiology exam “that could’ve prompted further definitive testing and interventions that could have forestalled his death.”

 

veteransUnion Challenges Recent Recommendations on Care for Vets

Because of the scandals that have gripped the Department of Veterans Affairs over the recent months and years, Congress established the Commission on Care. This new commission examined veterans access to VA health care to examine how best to effectively organize the VHA and deliver health care to veterans during the next 20 years.

In their final report on healthcare they write, “The evidence shows that although care delivered by the VA is in many ways comparable or better in clinical quality to that generally available in the private sector, it is inconsistent from facility to facility, and can be substantially compromised by problems with access, service, and poorly functioning operational systems and processes. The Commissioners also agree that America’s veterans deserve much better, that many profound deficiencies in VHA operations require urgent reform, and that America’s veterans deserve a better, organized, high-performing healthcare system.”

VHA Failed to Recoup Nearly $800K in Employee Recruitment and Relocation Debt in FY2014

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) relies heavily on financial incentives to recruit and retain critical staff. A recent audit showed that the VHA didn’t try to recoup outstanding debts of nearly $800K in FY2014 from employees who should’ve reimbursed the government. The audit reviewed the departments’ use of recruiting, relocation, and retention (3 R’s) compensation and found that the VHA didn’t enforce payment for roughly 55 percent of the established 238 incentives for which employees didn’t fulfill their recruitment or relocation obligations.

During the audit timeframe, the IG found that the VA’s personnel system lacked the ability to issue alerts when employees, who received one the 3 R’s, changed jobs, making the HR staff possibly “unaware of unfulfilled incentive service agreements.”

 

VA is Still in Need of Doctors and Nursesveterans

The VA’s largest staffing shortages are in 5 occupations: medical officer, nurse, physician assistant, physician therapist, and psychologist; their greatest need being medical officers and nurses. Medical technologist is also another occupation the department has had difficulty filling and retaining staff.

The VHA groups staffing losses into three categories—volunteer retirements, regrettable losses, and other losses. Regrettable losses are defined as “those individuals who resign from the VA or transfer to another government agency.”

Over the past few years, the VA has been on a hiring frenzy with doctors, nurses, and clinicians. They have used their Title 38 authority to offer more competitive pay to doctors and other healthcare professionals. Currently, they are trying to get authority from Congress to move other top management positions into Tittle 38. This would provide them with a greater hiring potential and more flexibility on pay.

New Legislation Could Make it easier to Fire VA Employees

Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has introduced the VA Accountability First and Appeals Modernization Act of 2017 (H.R. 611) to help make it easier to fire VA employees. This is a companion to a bill already introduced. This bill would increase the flexibility to make it easier to remove an employee for poor performance and misconduct as well as strengthening the protection for whistleblowers.

Lamborn made this statement:

“After 3 years of witnessing systemic abuse–including falsified waitlists, whistleblower retaliation, and abysmal patient care–this bill will provide real accountability and culture change at the VA. Too often, misbehaving and even criminal employees have continued to receive a salary at taxpayers’ expense. This strong piece of legislation expedites the discipline process to make it easier to demote or fire employees for misconduct. Although I recognize that the vast majority of VA employees are good people trying to serve our veterans, we cannot ignore the serious problems that result from employee misconduct. Eliminating the worst of the worst will send a clear message to all agency employees and will begin to change the culture of corruption that has become too prevalent at the VA.”

For more on each of these stories, click below.

Agency Spotlight–The Troubled History of the VA–Part 2 of 2

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Agency Spotlight–History of the VA

history of VA

This two-part blog post will look at some of the issues that have plagued the Department of Veterans Affairs, and continue to do so. This post will focus on the troubled history of the VA.

Scandal and controversy have plagued the Veterans Administration since its formation. One of the first issues came about after the Revolutionary War. Congress left promised payments, to disable veterans, up to the states. Therefore, only a few thousand who served ever received anything. Below is a timeline of some of the major scandals to hit the Veterans Administration.

1921—Congress created the Veterans Bureau to administer assistance to World War I veterans; however, it quickly fell into corruption and was abolished nine years later.

1930—The veterans Administration is established to replace the Veterans Bureau.

1932—Thousands of World War I veterans march on Washington to demand payment of promised wartime bonuses.

1947—A government commission uncovers waste, duplication, and inadequate care in the VA system and calls for changes in the structure.

1955—A second government commission again finds waste and poor care in the VA system.

1970’s—Veterans grow increasingly frustrated with the VA for failing to better fund treatment and assistance programs. They later recognize exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange by troops in Vietnam as the cause for numerous medical problems among veterans.

1976—The General Accounting Office investigated Denver’s VA hospital and found numerous shortcomings in patient care, including surgical dressings rarely being changed. They also looked at a New Orleans VA hospital and found increasing patient loads were contributing to the decline in quality of care.

1982—The VA Director Robert Nimmo described the symptoms of exposure to the herbicide Agent Orange as little more than “teenage acne”. He resigned and was criticized for his wasteful spending. The agency also issued a report supporting veterans claims that the VA failed to provide them with enough information and assistance about Agent Orange exposure.

1986—VA’s Inspector General’s Office found that 93 physicians who worked for the agency had sanctions against their medical licenses, including suspensions and revocations.

1989—President Ronald Reagan signed legislation which elevated the Veterans Administration to Cabinet status, creating the Department of Veterans Affairs.

1993—A backlog of growing appeals began to grow from veterans who were denied benefits.

1999—Lawmakers opened an investigation into widespread problems with clinical research procedures at the VA West Los Angeles Healthcare Center. This investigation followed years of problems at the hospital, including ethical violations by hospital researchers that included failing to get consent from some patients before conducting research involving them.

2001—Despite the 1995 goal by President George W. Bush to reduce wait times for primary care and specialty care appointments to under 30 days, GAO found that veterans were still waiting more than 2 months for appointments.

2003—The Commission appointed by President George W. Bush reported that as of January 2003, 236,000 veterans had been waiting 6 months or more for their initial or follow-up visits. This is “a clear indication of the lack of sufficient capacity, or at a minimum, a lack of adequate resources to provide the required care.”

2006—A VA employee stole sensitive records containing names, Social Security numbers, and birth dates of 26.5 million veterans. This employee didn’t have the authorization to take these records.

2009—The VA discloses that 10,000 veterans who underwent colonoscopies in TN, GA, and FL were exposed to potential viral infections due to poorly disinfected equipment. Thirty-seven tested positive for 2 forms of Hepatitis and 6 tested positive for HIV.

2011—Nine Ohio veterans tested positive for Hepatitis after routine dental work; performed in a VA Clinic in Dayton, OH. A dentist at that medical center admitted not washing his hands or even changing gloves between patients for 18 years. Also, this same year an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease began at a VA hospital in Oakland, PA. AT least 5 veterans died of the disease over the next 2 years. IN 2013, VA records showed widespread contamination of the facility dating back to 2007.

2012—The VA finds misidentified graves of at least 120 veterans in agency run cemeteries.

2014—The scandal in Phoenix, AZ occurred where hundreds of veterans died while awaiting care.

2014-present—Hundreds of veterans still see long wait times and some die while waiting for their appointments. There are still reports of veterans being potentially infected with diseases and viruses because of unclean equipment, which will be touched on in part 2 of this post.

For more on their history, click below.

Agency Spotlight–The Troubled History of the VA–Part 1 of 2

This is not meant to shine the VA in a negative light, rather bring light to the issues it faces. They have made improvements to become more patient-focused, but there is still a long road to ensuring that our veterans receive the best care possible.

If you are a veteran who has had your benefits claim denied, the team at Harris Federal Law Firm wants to help you! Our consultation is always free, so please give us a call at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form today! You have done a great service for our country, now let us serve you!

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How to Rapidly Cut Federal Employee Salaries and Agency Programs

spending

With an incoming administration in Washington, DC, there have been talks of cutting federal employee salaries and agency spending. And it seems like a real possibility due to the return of the Holman Rule.

What is the Holman Rule?

Congressman Holman served in 16 Congresses and died in 1877. He was a frugal man, with an intense opposition to federal spending. The Holman Rule was introduced in 1876 and its purpose was to cut government spending. It gave the House Committee on Appropriations the authority to cut back on spending. They did this by reducing the number of federal officials and cutting the salary of federal officials. The rule also allows members of Congress to target specific federal workers for firing or salary reduction and target individual government offices for reduction or elimination.

How can the Holman Rule, eliminated in 1983, affect federal workers now?

Impact of the Holman Rule

Adopted on January 2, 2017, the Holman Rule is back in operation under the Rules of the 115th Congress. These House Rules specifically state that the Holman Rule will serve the following purpose:

“The purpose of this provision is to see if the reinstatement of the Holman Rule will provide Members with additional tools to reduce spending during consideration of the regular general appropriation bill.”

It also enables the House of Representatives to reduce the number of federal employees at specific agencies or cut their pay. Basically, this allows Congress to reduce the workforce or compensation for employees in agencies covered by a specific spending bill where the provision or amendment is included.

Agency and Employee Impacts

These rules would allow the cutting back on programs in agencies through the appropriations process. In a press release, Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had this to say:

“Today, the House of Representatives will consider a rules package that aims to further undermine civil service employees’ protections by stripping away necessary safeguards. Reinstating the so-called ‘Holman Rule’ would allow any member of Congress to simply offer an amendment that could reduce the salary of any federal employee, or eliminate a federal employee’s position without hearings, testimony, or due process.”

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) had a similar position:

“The so-called Holman Rule undermines civil service protections for the millions of working people who process our Social Security checks, safeguard our borders, support our military, research cures for deadly diseases, and carry out programs and services that are vital to our nation. Reviving this rule means lawmakers will be able to vote to cut the pay and jobs of individual workers or groups of workers without getting input from the agencies where these employees work.”

President-elect Donald Trump has called for a hiring freeze and also a decrease in the size of government after a thorough agency review. He wants a list from department heads on any wasteful and unnecessary regulations so he can eliminate them. The Holman Rule would make it quicker and easier to accomplish this.

Any new transition in Washington comes with changes and the promise of change. While we don’t know what exactly will happen, it’s important to know these proposed changes. If you are thinking about leaving federal service now, we want you to be aware of all your options. Many federal employees don’t know about the federal disability retirement benefit; available to all federal workers who meet the eligibility requirements. You may qualify for it and not even know. If this applies to you, call our office and see if we can help you get your benefits. Call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. The consultation is always FREE!

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Does the Hiring Freeze Affect You?

hiring freeze

Joe Davidson, a columnist for the Washington Post, recently informed federal employees that the President just made good on one of his promises: a hiring freeze was included in the Trump presidential campaign’s “Contract with the American Voter.Staff writer Juliet Eilperin contributed to the story.

It was the second of six measures “to clean up the corruption and special interest collusion in Washington, D.C.” and part of his “100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.” The contract excluded the “military, public safety, and public health,” but during a signing in the Oval Office Trump only mentioned the military.

“President Trump’s action will disrupt government programs and services that benefit everyone and actually increase taxpayer costs by forcing agencies to hire more expensive contractors to do work that civilian government employees are already doing for far less,” said American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. “This hiring freeze will mean longer lines at Social Security offices, fewer workplace safety inspections, less oversight of environmental polluters, and greater risk to our nation’s food supply and clean water systems.”

“A hiring freeze will be harmful and counterproductive, increasing backlogs, decreasing service quality and causing more frustration for Americans seeking help from their government,” said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union. “Our government depends upon highly-trained and experienced federal workers being able to carry on with their important work. This puts up a substantial roadblock for agencies.”

Individuals hired by Obama, but who have not yet started working, still could be affected by a freeze. In an August 1981 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in National Treasury Employees Union v. Ronald Reagan, the court ruled that anyone who had been appointed after Election Day, but had not yet started work, were affected by the retroactive freeze because they had not actually become federal employees.

In 1982, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined hiring freezes imposed by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and determined that was not an effective strategy.

Hiring freezes have “little effect on Federal employment levels,” the GAO said. The report said the freezes “disrupted agency operations, and in some cases, increased costs to the Government.”

Brad’s tip: If you’re a federal employee and concerned about job stability and occupational difficulties during this shift in our government, don’t leave without taking everything you are entitled to!  Contact us at Harris Federal Law Firm, maybe we can help. Brad@HarrisFederal.com  (202) 601-2681

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The National Cemetery Administration

cemetery

There are three administrations under the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). This post will focus on the NCA.

Mission

The National Cemetery Administration honors Veterans and their families with final resting places in national shrines. They also provide lasting tributes that commemorate their service and sacrifice to our nation.

Vision

The NCA strives to be the model of excellence for burial and memorials for our Nation’s Veterans and their families.

Purpose

There are four main purposes for the NCA.

  • First, to provide burial space for veterans and their eligible family members.
  • Second, they maintain national cemeteries as national shrines, sacred to the honor and memory of those interred or memorialized there.
  • Third, to mark veteran’s graves with a government-furnished headstone, marker, or medallion, and to provide a Presidential Memorial Certificate in recognition of their service to a grateful nation.
  • Finally, to administer grants for establishing or expanding state and tribal government veterans’ cemeteries.

Veterans Cemetery Grants Program

This program, established in 1978 to complement the VA’s National Cemetery Administration, assists states and territories in providing gravesites for veterans in the areas where VA’s national cemeteries can’t fully satisfy their burial needs. The grants can be used for establishing, expanding, or improving veterans’ cemeteries that are owned and operated by a state.

To learn more about the NCA, click below.

Agency Spotlight–National Cemetery Administration

If you are a veteran now working as a federal employee and you have an injury or illness preventing you from performing your essential job duties, please contact us. You may qualify for a federal disability retirement. Contact us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. We are honored to help you in any way we can!

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New Department of Education Secretary

educationThe Department of Education has always had the goal of fundamental reforms that will benefit students of all ages and their families and help create a workforce that can compete with any in the world economy for decades to come, but big changes appear to be on the horizon.

Our new education secretary is Betsy DeVos.  She is a billionaire and was the former Republican Party chairwoman in Michigan. She has been a shining light to members of the movement to privatize public education by working to create programs and pass laws that require the use of public funds to pay for private school tuition in the form of vouchers and similar programs.  Public education advocates say that they fear she will help propel America’s public education system toward destruction.

Stephen Henderson, the editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, speaking of the Detroit school system has described it as “deeply dysfunctional educational landscape”… It was created by an ideological lobby that has zealously championed free-market education reform for decades, with little regard for the outcome. And at the center of that lobby is Betsy DeVos the west Michigan advocate whose family has contributed millions of dollars to the cause of school choice and unregulated charter expansion throughout Michigan.

DeVos isn’t an educator or an educational leader, nor is she an expert in pedagogy, curriculum, or school governance. In fact, she has no relevant credentials or experience for a job setting standards and guiding dollars for the nation’s public schools.

She is, in essence, a lobbyist — someone who has used her extraordinary wealth to influence the conversation about education reform and to bend that conversation to her ideological convictions. For 20 years, the lobby her family bankrolls have propped up the billion-dollar charter school industry and insulated it from commonsense oversight, even as charter schools repeatedly failed to deliver on their promises to parents and children.

If you’re a Department of Education employee and are concerned about job stability and occupational difficulties during this shift from public education to private contact us at Harris Federal Law Firm, maybe we can help. Call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form.

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Big Changes May Be Coming

committee

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He has big plans once President-elect Donald Trump takes office. He says he can focus more on the ‘reform’ part of his job since a republican will be in office. Below are some of the plans he has for federal workers.

One of his top agenda items will be to focus on legislative changes such as eliminating defined-benefit pensions for new federal employees and making it easier for agencies to dismiss employees accused of sexual misconduct.

He said his committee will push to move that new federal hires receive only a defined-contribution benefit, like the Thrift Savings Plan. He still needs to “work out the math” as to whether those employees would receive a more generous contribution toward the TSP to make up for the loss of pension, but did promise a “healthy” match from agencies. Now, who really knows what a “healthy” match is in this case.

Chaffetz has also promised to protect employees already vested in their pensions saying that he didn’t want to scare an employee already on the job and it would be “difficult” to go after existing workers’ retirements. He has spoken to House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis, but he hasn’t worked out an avenue for the reform yet.

Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va of the oversight committee, said his party would “resist and fight back” against any effort to lessen federal employees’ compensation. “It’s a cynical, destructive, and dishonorable way to approach civil servants who work awfully hard for the government every day.”

Chaffetz said his committee is also considering ways to shrink the size of the federal workforce. Republicans are “looking at” legislation to require 2-3 federal employees to leave before agencies could hire one new worker. He vowed to avoid a past issue where reductions in workforce have led to more contracted work, contradicting their intentions. He has also said that there are a lot of good quality workers but there are too many of them.

The committee will also make a clearer definition of what constitutes sexual harassment and assault for federal workers. Currently, it varies from agency to agency. The goal is to make rules for them to be dealt with in a much quicker manner. Chaffetz expressed a wariness of pursuing across the board reforms to federal hiring procedures, saying he would prefer to tackle the issue at individual agencies or regarding particular issues. He also wants Congress to pursue changes to the way agencies handle Senior Executive Service employees separately from the rest of the federal workforce. The committee will look at expediting terminations of SES workers at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He notes current laws provide far too much leniency for federal employees.

On the other hand, Connolly warned that the Republicans’ approach would undermine efforts to recruit a new wave of civil servants at a time when the federal workforce is disproportionately eligible for retirement, telling the party “you want to do everything in your power to make it a less attractive career path.” He went on to say, “Who is going to be motivated to work for the federal government?….Maybe that’s your intention.”

Added to all this, Chaffetz wants to reform the United States Postal Service. He will meet with cosponsors of this bill soon, including Gerry Connolly. It includes requiring all postal retirees to enroll in Medicare as their primary health insurance provider.

He also wants to push federal agencies to seek more opportunity to move their offices and employees outside DC. This could save the government a significant amount of money. About 15 percent of federal employees work in and around DC.

To end, he promised not to pursue exclusively trying to diminish and dismiss the federal workforce, noting there are some areas where Congress should boost compensation for government employees; for example, those working in IT positions.

Any new transition in Washington comes with changes and the promise of change. While we don’t know what exactly will happen, it’s important to be informed of these proposed changes. If you are thinking about leaving federal service now, we want you to be aware of all your options. Many federal employees don’t know about federal disability retirement. This is a benefit available to all federal workers who meet the eligibility requirements. You may qualify for it and not even know. If you think you fall under this, give our office a call and see if we can help you get the benefits you have earned. Call us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. The consultation is always FREE!

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The Veterans Health Administration

healthThere are three administrations under the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and the National Cemetery Administration (NCA). This post will focus on the VHA.

Mission

The VHA provides medical assistance through the administration and operation of numerous VA medical centers, outpatient clinics, Community Based Outpatient Clinics, and VA Community Living Center programs.

Their mission is to honor America’s Veterans by providing exceptional healthcare that improves their health and well-being.

 

Vision

“The VHA will continue to be the benchmark of excellence and value in health care and benefits by providing exemplary services that are both patient centered and evidence based. This care is delivered by engaged, collaborative teams in an integrated environment which supports learning, discovering, and continuous improvement. It will emphasize prevention and population health and contribute to the nations’ well-being through education, research, and service to the Nations’ emergencies.”

Several offices and programs support the VHA.

History

Just before the Civil War ended, President Abraham Lincoln signed a law to establish a national soldiers and sailors asylum. In 1873, it was renamed as the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers. It was the first ever government institution created specifically for honorable discharged volunteer soldiers. These became the template for VA Hospitals.

By 1929, the system had grown to 11 institutions and accepted veterans of all American wars. World War II brought the establishment of the 2nd largest system of veterans’ hospitals. A program began of building new ones. The VA’s Department of Medicine and Surgery evolved into the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) in 1991.

Today, this division employs more workers than all other areas of the VA combined. New programs provide treatment for traumatic brain injuries, PTSD, suicide prevention, women veterans, and more. Outpatient clinics and telemedicine services are now open to accommodate a diverse veteran population.

Eligibility for Benefits

To be eligible to receive VA health care benefits, you must have served in the active military, naval or air service and separated under any condition other than dishonorable.

The minimum duty requirements of veterans who enlisted after September 7, 1980, or who entered active duty after October 16, 1981, must have served 24 continuous months or the full period for which they were called to active duty. This requirement usually doesn’t apply to veterans who were discharged for a disability that occurred in the line of duty or for a hardship. The VA determines the minimum requirements when the veteran enrolls for VA health care benefits. By federal law, 8 priority groups determine eligibility for benefits.

To learn more about the VHA and the services they offer, click below!

Agency Spotlight–The Veterans Health Administration (VHA)

If you are a veteran now working as a federal employee and you have an injury or illness that is preventing you from performing your essential job duties, please contact us. You may qualify for a federal disability retirement. Contact us at 877-226-2723 or fill out this INQUIRY form. We are honored to help you in any way we can!

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