LEGISLATIVE

2019-2020 Legislative Program:  A few things ~  First, you will receive points for All-State only. One (1) point will be awarded each month a Post submits a legislative report or response letter with your monthly Community Activity report. ➤ Please send to both Comrade Director Bob Lutz via activity@vfwmi.org. and please send a copy of your legislative activity only via leg@vfwmi.org.

 

Second, please note, Attending other Veterans groups meetings counts as Legislative (and others). 
See the All-State Guide via Activity Evaluation, which is also on this site under 'Programs.' See:

https://vfwmi.org/di/vfw/v2/default.asp?pid=8877


VFW Action Corp Weekly – 03 April 2020

COVID-19 Economic Impact Payments and Small Business Assistance:  "
Veterans are not alone in facing economic hardship during the COVID-19 outbreak, and thankfully there is relief coming. Veteran-run small businesses and VFW Posts will be eligible for some economic relief for employees of these businesses through the Small Business Administration. Additionally, veterans and survivors who do not file taxes because they rely on VA benefits are eligible for the economic stimulus checks due in a few weeks. However, there is uncertainty on whether such individuals will need to submit information to the IRS before being able to receive the stimulus checks.”  See also:  Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (the "Act”), Became Public Law No: 116-136 on 27 March 2020.

Per IRS website:  "Here is what you need to know about your Economic Impact Payment. For most taxpayers, payments are automatic, and no further action is needed. This includes taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees.

Who is eligible?

U.S. residents will receive the Economic Impact Payment of $1,200 for individual or head of household filers, and $2,400 for married filing jointly if they are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible Social Security number with adjusted gross income up to:

    $75,000 for individuals

    $112,500 for head of household filers and

    $150,000 for married couples filing joint returns


Taxpayers will receive a reduced payment if their AGI (Adjusted Gross Income) is between:

    $75,000 and $99,000 if their filing status was single or married filing separately

    112,500 and $136,500 for head of household

   $150,000 and $198,000 if their filing status was married filing jointly

 

The amount of the reduced payment will be based upon the taxpayers specific adjusted gross income.

Eligible retirees and recipients of Social Security, Railroad Retirement, disability or veterans' benefits as well as taxpayers who do not make enough money to normally have to file a tax return will receive a payment. This also includes those who have no income, as well as those whose income comes entirely from certain benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income benefits.

Retirees who receive either Social Security retirement or Railroad Retirement benefits will also receive payments automatically.  Retrieved on 09 April, 2020 via:  https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payment-information-center.


Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act -- Public Law No: 116-139 (24 April 2020): The law will provide over $483 billion in additional funding to support the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program, as well as COVID-19 testing efforts, and healthcare organizations providing diagnoses, testing, or care for individuals with COVID-19. The PPP and the EIDL both exhausted the originally allotted funds.

EIDL (should be accepting more applications soon); Many Posts have applied:

VA to Rescind Decades-Long Claims Review Policy:  "…VA announced, in a memorandum, that it will rescind its policy of permitting accredited service officers to review claim decisions within 48-hours prior to formal promulgation of ratings. VA stated that this policy change is due to a lawsuit it faces from an attorney who was denied access to the 48-hour review process. Unlike veteran service officers (VSOs), attorneys are not permitted to review claims decisions within the 48-hours preceding promulgation. VA also stated that 48-hour review policy is no longer necessary due to the efficient system of filing and appealing claims made possible by the Appeals Modernization Act. During the 48-hour review period, VSOs inspect claims for accuracy to ensure that all claims were properly evaluated and are free from error prior to a veteran receiving notification of a ratings decision. The VFW strongly opposes this policy change as this decision will invariably cause harm to veterans who file claims for disability benefits.” Please contact your federal representatives.


Senators Seek Funding for Veterans Using FMP
:  "Last week, Senate offices sent a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie requesting that he use funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Emergency Response (CARES) Act to cover the costs of COVID-19 testing and treatment for veterans eligible for the VA’s Foreign Medical Program (FMP) with the assumption that COVID-19 could aggravate all service-connected disabilities.” Please support this effort. Note: "VA relies on FMP to provide services at the Manila Outpatient Clinic in the Philippines, as well as to the thousands of Veterans who use the program throughout the world. In Fiscal Year 2019, more than 5,000 Veterans utilized FMP in over 90 countries ranging from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom.”

 

 

VFW Supported Federal Bills (February 2020). See for complete list: https://votervoice.net/VFW/bills

Please support:

 

The Retired Pay Restoration Act (HR 303; 2019):  "Military retirees who have a service-connected disability rating below 50 percent have their retirement pay reduced, dollar for dollar, by the amount of disability compensation they receive. This demeaning tax, created by Congress to save money, forces those who have dedicated their careers to military service to make do without benefits they need to provide for their families.” Please contact your federal Representatives to support this bill.

 

Burn Pits Accountability Act (2019):  H.R. 663 and S. 191 ~ Would improve how DOD tracks, treats, and prevents the harmful impact of burn pits in GWOT and Persian Gulf War veterans. Also support:  HR 4137 (2019).

Senate Advances VFW-Supported Mental Health Bill:  "[T]he Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs held a markup to discuss and advance the VFW-supported S.785, Commander John Scott Hannon Veterans Mental Health Care Improvement Act of 2019, which would improve VA mental health care programs and services for veterans. The bill would also establish two grant programs, one to enable non-government entities to provide supportive mental health care services and another to expand telehealth programs such as Project ATLAS. The committee also advanced legislation to improve health care for women veterans, expand transportation grants for veterans who live in rural areas, expand veterans preference for reserve component members, and confirm Judge Grant Jaquith to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. The bills and Judge Jaquith’s nomination now await consideration by the full Senate.

Legislation Introduced to Establish a Presumption for Blast Exposure:  "…Representative Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) introduced VFW-supported H.R. 5739, the Blast Exposure Protection Act of 2020. This important legislation would establish a presumption of service-connection for disabilities associated with blast exposures, which will make it easier for veterans to prove that health conditions are related to their military service. "Traumatic brain injury and other conditions associated with blast exposure are very serious health issues,” stated VFW National Legislative Service Associate Director Matthew Doyle. "Many service members go untreated for blast injuries while in service, which makes it difficult to prove that these conditions were caused by an event in service. The VFW is proud to support the Blast Exposure Protection Act of 2020, which would ensure that veterans who were exposed to blasts during military service receive the care and benefits they desperately need.” Please support this act.


 

National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission Discusses GWOT Memorial:  "…VFW National Legislative Service Associate Director Matt Doyle attended a meeting to discuss the placement of the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) Memorial. At the meeting, the National Capitol Memorial Advisory Commission (NCMAC) discussed VFW-supported H.R. 5046, the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act. This important legislation would authorize the GWOT Memorial to be placed within the Reserve, an area in Washington, D.C., that encompasses the National Mall and the Tidal Basin. Under the Commemorative Works Act, only Congress may authorize the placement of a memorial within the Reserve. The NCMAC considered whether the GWOT Memorial should be placed at any of the sites specified in the Global War on Terrorism Memorial Location Act and the potential impact of placing additional monuments and memorials within the Reserve.” Please support this bill.


Helpful Links:


VFW Legislative Priorities (including VFW Priority Goals)
:
https://www.vfw.org/advocacy/national-legislative-service


VFW Action Corps Weekly
https://www.vfw.org/actioncorpsweekly


State of Michigan Senators, Representatives, and Bills:  www.michiganlegislature.org

   House Clerk Phone:  517-373-0135
   Secretary of the Senate Phone:  517-373-2400

Federal Bills:  https://www.congress.gov//

   U.S. Senators:  www.senate.gov
   U.S. Representatives:  www.house.gov




Jennifer L. Smith,
Veterans of Foreign Wars
  Dept. of MI Legislative Director

420 W. Kilborn Street

Lansing, MI  48906
Phone:  (517) 819-3551

Email:  

leg@vfwmi.org