This week, VA rolled out its budget request for 2014, which will seek $152.7 billion to increase capacity for programs and services delivered to Veterans.

To simplify a complex thing, here’s a primer on what the budget entails. There are two kinds of spending. The first is mandatory spending, which aims to cover our services like paying out disability, pension and education claims. That amount will climb to $86.1 billion.

The second kind is discretionary, which doles out funds for programs and services in need of expansion as our Veteran population grows. The request for 2014 is $66.5 billion. A big focus for this year’s budget is related to the processing of disability claims, which is something that can be done quickly and efficiently once technology-based solutions are in place. The request calls for $2.5 billion to further implement new technology and training, including $155 million for investment in the Veterans Benefits Management System.

On the health side of the house, $54.6 billion was requested for medical care, including $7 billion in mental health care—a boost of $469 million from last year. The effort to end Veteran homelessness would see an injection of $1.4 billion as measurable progress is being made not only to keep Vets off the streets, but to make sure they don’t end up there in the first place. About $422 million would be allotted for an ever-increasing number of female Veterans.

As for employment, $104 million will be invested in transition assistance for civilian life, along with a proposal to get 20,000 Veterans into infrastructure and law enforcement slots.

You can check out the full budget highlights here and the full proposal here.

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Published on Apr. 10, 2013

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  1. Sacha Mast April 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I am a follow concerned US Navy Veteran,

    I researched to write a paper for an English class. In my researched I found two keys point about this budget. 1 point: There is a proposed $155 million for a electronic claims system(VBMS), thats if it doesn’t get cut in the negotiation process. Don’t forget even though its desperately needed its gonna take time to work out the systems kinks, and time to train employees to use this system. This will be a process and not an over night fix.
    2 point: We need more employees. Even Joseph Thompson, a previous VA benefits chief to senators that “What the VA needs most, are more people..thousands more.” You need employees to scan all those thousands of paper piles into an electronic system, and you need trained qualified employees, preferably a veteran who understand fellow veterans needs and the military language, to process the disability claims at the same time! This will help elevate the errors on the claims and unclog the appeals process, which cant take up to 10 times as long as a first time claim.

    The VA official say the backlogs have no impact on veterans’ ability to get care. Well that just isn’t true, if read several of the veterans blog you read it all over the web about veteran being denied care for their medical issues. If you look at the VA’s backlog numbers its mostly Vietnam Veterans about 37% due to the new illness approved by Shinseki, they make up the majority of the disability claims in the system.

    This whole issue has me frustrated of how Washington and the VBA didn’t take into account how severals wars would impact veterans lives after they return home. It is our nations obligation to take care of them for their sacrifices they have given to our nation.
    I sure hope this proposed 2014 budget figures do not get cut in the negotiation process. Our Veterans desperately need this funding to help the VA system properly take care of the entitlements our veterans earned.

  2. John Lord April 11, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    This is great news. It will never cure our med problems and make us whole again, but maybe live a bit more comfortable w/ the family.
    But is still doesn’t explain why vet in Germany (Europe)can’t get the same care and / or medications as in CONUS! It seems that even if a Centre’ of Excellence recommends a product, medication or treatment — we can’t get it withthe same probllem as a CONUS VET. Even more aggrivating is we can’t get dental care, from a miliary hospital or normal dentist. The billing is still the same as if it was a stateside dentist.

    It get’s even more aggrivating when you realize that a 100% Service Connected vet you can’t get insurence, and the VA will not treet you.

    Total and perm’

  3. Marvin Johnson April 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Thanks for the help that the V.A. has given me. i only wish that I could get help with
    rent, and food care needs that some of us share.

    • Alex Horton April 22, 2013 at 11:55 am

      If you’re having trouble with housing, please give these resources a try and call 1-877-4AID-VET.

  4. Alisa April 11, 2013 at 12:58 am

    I am happy the VA is requesting more… But you have a salary freeze for the employees… Asking them to work more and get paid less… It would be nice to encourage the employees.. And pay them enough to live off of.

  5. Verna M. Scott April 11, 2013 at 12:00 am

    This is a appeal from a wife:
    Verna Maria Scott
    (Address removed)

    (Employee name removed)
    Veteran Service Center Manager
    Columbia Regional Office
    Department of Veteran Affairs
    6437 Garners Ferry Road
    Columbia, South Carolina 29209

    April 10, 2013

    Dear Mr. __,

    I am writing you, with a sincere consideration of what these processes are doing to our nation’s veterans, especially my husband. The Compensation and Pension examination on April 8, 2013, in the compensation and pension department was mentally destructive toward my husband, and while you’re contracted personnel are paid to do a job, but unless you understand this element of veteran population treatment and conditions, they shouldn’t be allowed to interact with our veterans. These are the same practiced that resulted in all the rest of the failed examinations, that it took a board of professionals that are engaged with our veterans, to correct the failed examinations of the past.

    These unconcerned or unqualified examiners aren’t interested in the truth, my husband during his examination, tried to point out his ailments, or conditions as a recorded fact in his VHA records, and the examiner just ignored him, as if it doesn’t matter. Veterans with as many issues as my husband struggle daily to survive, but what they don’t need to be asked questions, and then ignored as if they aren’t important, or the truth isn’t recorded by those who treat him. It took from 2002 to 2011, or so for the Department of Veteran Affairs to tell what was obvious then, if someone would have just looked, the truth and if not for that level of incompetency, most of my husband’s life’s problems, and hardships, and unfortunately, the hardship he by his illnesses caused to his family wouldn’t have happen. This agency is responsible for our hardships, because at all cost, to the point of even as evident today, destroying his records, they just wouldn’t admit the truth.

    If someone would have gave him the option of a physical when he discharged, instead of what is recorded a paper shuffle, you would have been treating all of his issues since 1989, and our hardships wouldn’t have happen, if someone would have told or admitted the truth, in 2002 or 2003, our hardships, and his decline in his health quite honestly it’s the department of veteran affairs, veteran benefit administrations fault. The problem with these processes is that you leave to the family to put the pieces back together what you allow those who aren’t qualified to handle or love ones.

    Mr. Ard, I as in most…

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