VA Duty To Assist:  Thanks Tommy
FROM: DAV, Joseph A. Violante, National Legislative Director


DATE: June 9, 2000

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has introduced an amendment to S. 2549, the
National Defense Authorization Act.  This amendment, No. 3272, would restore
the Department of Veterans Affairs duty to assist claimants in developing
all evidence necessary to support their claims.  The amendment is modeled
after S. 1810, introduced by Senator Patty Murray (D-WA).

A vote on this amendment is expected next week.  Please take immediate
action by calling or writing your Senators today to urge their support for
this important amendment.  Below is a sample letter for your convenience, to
cut paste into an email or a mailed letter..

SAMPLE LETTER BELOW  (Cut Paste and Email)
As your constituent, I write to ask you to support Amendment No. 3272,
"Assist Former Service members with Claims Processing," to S. 2549, the
National Defense Authorization Act.  This amendment will improve the claims
and appeal processes for veterans seeking benefits from the Department of
Veterans Affairs.

Veterans seeking disability and other benefits need a claims system that is
simple, helpful, responsive, and timely.  This amendment will make the
system work better for veterans and more efficiently for VA.  Currently, VA
is struggling to overcome high error rates in its claims decisions and huge
claims backlogs, which result in delayed benefits for veterans.  Although
the availability of judicial review has had a positive effect, it has
increased burdens upon the VA and veterans seeking benefits.  This amendment
will make changes to simplify the claims and appeals processes and correct
some of the inequities in the current procedures.

Thank you for your consideration.  I would appreciate your letting me know
whether you will support this amendment.

Tommy Dorris
5/4th Artillery
Col. Jack
1/61st Infantry
Society of the 5th Division

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