President Donald Trump has not been shy about expressing his desire to build up the United States military, and this could be great news for service veterans. In a recent interview with a small group of reporters, Dr. David Shulkin said that he expects President Trump’s budget proposal to include slashes in domestic spending to help pay for a funding increase to the VA. Though he did not give any specific figures, the new secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs told reporters "This looks like an increase in resources for us. I'm confident this budget is going to reflect the president's commitment to his ability to deliver on his promises to make veterans care better and stronger."
Mick Mulvaney, the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, stated that President Trump’s budget plan would request a 10% increase in defense spending, totaling an additional $54 billion. In order to offset the costs, cuts would be made to domestic programs and foreign aid. President Trump echoed these wishes in a speech to a joint session of Congress last week.
The President has already granted 37,000 exemptions from the federal hiring freeze executive order he issued to fill more than 45,000 job vacancies in the VA. Shulkin also stated that he is seeking to fill jobs at claims processing centers. "If vets can't sign up for benefits, they can't access services,” he said.
Expanded Care Choices
Shulkin’s proposals have also called for allowing veterans to have more options for private care, without scraping the public VA program altogether. The program, dubbed “Choice 2.0” is looking to scrap the rule that says only veterans who have to wait more than 30 days or travel more than 40 miles for care can qualify to receive privatized care. The choice program was enacted back 2014 as a temporary measure, and is set to expire in August.
The American Legion was one of the veterans’ service organizations who urged President Trump to consider retaining former VA Secretary Bob McDonald, who was staunchly opposed to full privatization of veteran care. However, Trump chose Shulkin, who is the only holdover Obama appointment to still hold a cabinet rank in the new administration.
If you are a veteran of the United States Armed Forces who is seeking treatment for their medical conditions, do not hesitate to retain a Richmond Social Security attorney for assistance. At Harbison & Kavanagh, we have helped thousands of people get the benefits they need to obtain care for their injuries and conditions, including veterans looking for VA assistance. With 40 years of combined experience, we have the tools you need to get the most from your claims, and can walk you through every step of the process.Learn more about your case by calling Harbison & Kavanagh today at (804) 823-2050 for a free case evaluation!