"For their service and sacrifice, warm words of thanks from a grateful nation are more than warranted, but they aren't nearly enough. We also owe our veterans the care they were promised and the benefits that they have earned. We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America. It's a commitment that begins at enlistment, and it must never end. But we know that for too long, we've fallen short of meeting that commitment. Too many wounded warriors go without the care that they need. Too many veterans don't receive the support that they've earned. Too many who once wore our nation's uniform now sleep in our nation's streets."

-President Obama, March 19, 2009


  • The The Recovery Act provides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans
    • The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) enables the VA to improve medical facilities and national cemeteries, provide grants to assist states in acquiring or constructing state nursing homes and extended care facilities, and to modify or alter existing facilities to care for Veterans.
    • VA will dedicate ARRA funds to hire and train 1,500 temporary claims processors to speed benefits delivery to Veterans and pursue needed information technology initiatives for improved benefits and services. Funds will also be used to oversee and audit programs, grants, and projects funded under ARRA.
    • As part of the President’s Recovery plan, VA will also make one-time payments of $250 to eligible Veterans and survivors to mitigate the effects of the current economy. These payments will be issued as early as June 2009. VA estimates $700 million in payments will be made to eligible beneficiaries as part of this measure.

The President announced the Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Initiative. Both the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs will work together to define and build a system that will ultimately contain administrative and medical information from the day an individual enters military service throughout their military career, and into the Veteran phase of life.

A 21st Century VA

The President’s message to those who serve is this: when you come home to America, America will be there for you. This Administration will ensure that DoD and VA coordinate to provide a seamless transition from active duty to civilian life and help fix the benefit bureaucracy. This Administration will work towards modernizing the way health care is delivered and benefits are administered for our nation's veterans.

VA Healthcare

With Secretary Shinseki, the President will make sure the VA provides veterans the best care possible. This means improved care for poly-trauma, vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, and women's health.

Because the nightmares of war don't always end when our loved ones return home, this Administration will work to meet the mental health needs of our veterans. Untold thousands of servicemen and women and veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other serious psychological injury. This Administration is determined to address the challenges of caring for those affected by PTSD when they return home.

Because thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans have suffered from Traumatic Brain Injury, one of the signature injuries of these wars, this Administration will continue to improve services for cognitive injuries and ensure our veterans receive the on-going care they need. and the President supports advance appropriations for the VA budget so that healthcare for veterans is not hindered by budget delays.

VA Services

We all share the shame of well over one hundred thousand veterans going homeless on any given night. This Administration will work on pilot programs with not-for-profit organizations to make sure that veterans at risk of losing their homes have a roof over their heads.

Finally, this Administration recognizes that our veterans deserve something more -- an equal chance to reach for the very dream they defend. This Administration is committed to providing the resources to effectively implement the Post-9/11 GI Bill – providing every returning service member with a real chance to afford a college education.


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A 21st Century Department of Veterans Affairs

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