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Policy Topics: Veterans

Recent legislation has helped more veterans and their families access the mental health care and other services they need. More action will be needed on behalf of the nation's veterans of today and tomorrow.

Search our Legislative Action Center for legislation relevant to veterans and their families.

Understanding the Issue

Parity for Patriots: The mental health needs of military personnel, veterans and their families
June 2012 - The report calls for Purple Heart medals to be awarded for psychological wounds like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and for military commanders at all levels to be accountable for suicide prevention and elimination of stigma.

Veterans' Benefits Act of 2010 Signed Into Law
H.R. 3219 improves some of the services available to veterans, including homeless veterans.

Legislation for Veterans From 2007-2010: A Summary
This overview covers changes in VA appropriations, services for veterans and their families as well as mental health issues that occurred between 2007 and 2010.

Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2010
This legislation, effective Dec. 1, 2010, increases the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities as well as compensation for survivors of certain disabled veterans.

VA Eases Rules Related to PTSD
This fact sheet answers basic questions about the new PTSD regulations from the VA.

Military and Veterans Mental Health
American troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and other veterans cannot depend solely on the Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) for mental health care—even though the civilian mental health care system is in crisis, according to the annual convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) held this past week.

Energy Jobs for Veterans Act Passes House
The Energy Jobs for Veterans Act, also known as H.R. 4592, is intended to encourage the employment of veterans in energy-related jobs.

Officials Urge Collaboration in Suicide Prevention
A conference about preventing suicide among veterans, held by the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration, called for better cooperation between federal and private institutions.

Congress Recognizes Rising Military Suicides
Several members of Congress are interviewed in this article about the number of military suicides in 2009.

President Obama Signs Veterans Health Care Legislation 10/22/09
Veterans Health Care Legislation creates predictable funding for veterans’ health care.

VA, DoD Host National Mental Health Summit, 10/26/09
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DoD) hosted a first-of-its-kind national summit to address the mental health care needs of America’s military personnel, families and Veterans, harnessing the programs, resources and expertise of both departments to deal with the aftermath of the battlefield.

Homeless Women Veterans and Homeless Veterans with Children Reintegration Grant Act Proposed
H.R. 293 would provide reintegration services for homeless women veterans and homeless veterans with children.

Veteran Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Subsistence Allowance Improvement Act Proposed
This bill, known as H.R. 297, proposes to increases the amount of monthly subsistence allowance payable to veterans participating in the veterans' vocational rehabilitation program.

House Passes Increases for Veterans Mental Illness Treatment
By a vote of 409-4 the House today passed legislation funding the Department of Veterans Affairs for FY 2009. The bill (HR 6599) includes $3.8 billion for mental illness treatment and $584 million for substance abuse treatment in the VA, significant increases over current year funding.

War Supplemental Bill Adds $100 Million for VA Mental Health Services
Late last week Congress sent to the President the FY 2007 Supplemental War Spending bill, known as the U.S. Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act (HR 2206) that includes $466.8 million in additional funding for the Department of Veterans Affairs for the current fiscal year. President Bush signed the legislation on May 26.

Mental Health in the Military
Soldiers come home to face poor conditions or treatment.

GAO Report Finds Gaps in VA Mental Health Care
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report that faults the Department of Veterans’ Affairs for failing to fully spend a promised $300 million since 2005 to fill gaps in mental illness treatment for veterans and returning troops.

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes Veterans Spending Bill
On July 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported its version of the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Appropriations bill (HR 5385) that includes FY 2007 funding for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) and health care programs in the Department of Defense (DoD).

Your Right to Veterans Medical Benefits
The challenges of obtaining and using the benefits you need.

NAMI's Position on the Issue

Clarence Jordan Testimony on Behalf of Veterans, 3/10/2010
NAMI board member Clarence Jordan shared his perspective about the Veterans Administration with the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs.

NAMI's Where We Stand on Veterans
NAMI's position on the issue of veterans' mental health care.

Connie Walker Testimony 10/24/07
NAMI Veterans Council member Connie Walker testifies before the Committee on Veterans' Affairs on 10/24/07.

NAMI Board Member Fred Frese Testifies Before Senate VA Committee
On May 16, 2007, NAMI Board Member and Marine veteran Fred Frese testified before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee on the nomination of Dr. Michael Kussman to be the next VA Undersecretary for Health.

NAMI Veterans Council Testifies on FY 2008 VA Budget
The NAMI Veterans Council offered Testimony on the FY 2008 VA Budget on March 20, 2007.

Take Action

Contact Your Representatives about Veterans' Issues
Use our online advocacy tool to send a letter to your elected officials right now and make your voice heard on these issues. Use our suggested text or compose a letter of your own.

Sign Up for E-News Alerts
Keep up with the latest developments on this issue by subscribing to NAMI E-News, our free action alert newsletter.

Other Resources

U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

Veterans and Military Families for Progress
A grassroots organization dedicated to ensuring that the rights and needs of veterans, military service members (including active duty, guard and reserve) and their families are understood by the American public, endorsed by our elected officials, and protected by legislation, regulation and public policy initiatives.