National Defense Authorization Act Brings Support for New Veterans in 2013CONTACT: Zack Baddorf (212) 982-9699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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National Defense Authorization Act Brings Support for New Veterans in 2013
IAVA applauds Congress for passing the NDAA with critical support for veterans
NEW YORK (Dec. 21, 2012) -- Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America applauds Congress for supporting service members, veterans and their families through passage of the National Defense Authorization Act today.
“IAVA fought hard to make the National Defense Authorization Act work for veterans in the years ahead,” IAVA founder and CEO Paul Rieckhoff said. “This critically important piece of legislation represents a significant portion of IAVA’s Policy Agenda for 2012, and we applaud Congress for pushing it through. From transitioning into the civilian workforce, to protecting the GI Bill, to improving access to mental health care services, this bill is a big step forward for service members, veterans and their families.”
The NDAA includes provisions that support service members, veterans and their families in the following areas:
• Helping Veterans Transition to the Workforce: The NDAA addresses the significant challenge many veterans face in translating their military training to state civilian licenses and certifications. The NDAA requires states to consider military training and education for civilian certifications and licenses in comparable civilian jobs. The NDAA also enhances and simplifies the Troops to Teachers Program that provides a path for veterans to continue their service as teachers.
• Protecting the New GI Bill: The NDAA helps service members avoid predatory for-profit schools by requiring military bases and posts to review which for-profit schools and their recruiters are allowed access on base.
• Improved Access to Mental Health Care: The NDAA is a big step forward in improving access to and the quality of mental health care for active-duty, Guard and Reserve service members, military families, and veterans. It also establishes a pilot to use community partners to provide mental health services for Guard and Reserves who often struggle to find care. In addition, the NDAA strengthens suicide prevention programs, by both standardizing some of these efforts across the VA and DoD and by creating suicide training and prevention programs for Guard, Reserves and their families.
• Protecting Victims of Military Sexual Trauma: The legislation establishes a DoD Special Victims Units to respond to and investigate all reports of sexual misconduct. It also requires an independent review of all judicial proceedings and investigations on sexual misconduct. In addition, the NDAA mandates improved victim protections and reporting policies. It also requires that the military get its level of care for military sexual trauma victims up to what is done in civilian health care systems.
• Focus Efforts on Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): The bill mandates detailed planning to eliminate gaps and redundancies in DoD programs on psychological health and traumatic brain injury.
• Addressing VA Claims Backlog: Recognizing the lengthy backlog for getting claims processed at the VA, the NDAA requires the VA to provide a detailed report to Congress on how the claims backlog will be solved. This report is due no later than 60 days after the president signs the bill into law.
Headquartered in New York City, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, has more than 200,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.
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