This week in the blog has been quite comment-provoking. We’ve told you about the hotline which was set up to attempt to reduce the number of veterans who commit suicide. Then we introduced a bill to be opened in Congress which addresses documentation of sexual assaults in the military. Veterans can be slightly assured about their benefits should the government remain unable to compromise and cause a shutdown. Lastly, and probably one of the more controversial topics we’ve brought up, is the rule change which allows post-prison veterans to receive VA health care while they are in transitional housing.
Set up in 2008, this hotline is open to anyone who calls it, but it is especially oriented toward veterans. Mental health professionals who answer the phones know the troubles and stresses that veterans face. Encourage veterans you know to call this line at 1-800-273-TALK. They don’t have to be on the very brink of suicide, they can call even if it’s just something they’re contemplating.
In an effort to prevent the errors of the past, and prevent further crimes from going unknown and unpunished, this new bill before Congress would require a standard method of record keeping for all reports of sexual assault. It would also require that the records be kept for the lifetime of the victim, instead of being destroyed within only a few years, as is the current practice.
Lots of different things have been published on the internet, so we tried to find the most reliable source for some information. Current plans say that veterans will continue to receive their benefits, although no new claims will be processed for the duration of a shut down. There is, of course, no guarantee that a shut down will, or will not, happen. We can only wait and see if Congress can reach a beneficial compromise.
This bit of news has caused quite a stir, and some strong feelings among the community. None the less, the VA believes that in the goal of helping veterans become better adjusted to civilian life, this is a step forward.