VetsFirst is pleased to announce our 2012 Public Policy Priorities. These priorities focus on the issues that are critical to ensuring that disabled veterans and returning servicemembers are able to have full independence while living and working in their communities.
Our priorities focus on three main areas:
1. Fostering community independence and integration
2. Ensuring timely access to quality health care and benefits
3. Promoting the rights of veterans with disabilities within VA and the world
Fostering community independence and integration means ensuring that disabled veterans have employment opportunities which includes the chance to advance in their careers. VetsFirst is also actively engaged in increasing housing accessibility and visitability to ensure that veterans with disabilities have more housing options. Lastly, we will continue to work to make sure that disabled veterans have accessible transportation options, including taxicabs.
Ensuring timely access to quality VA health care and benefits is critical to disabled veterans and their families. The backlog for receiving disability compensation remains a problem that must be addressed. VetsFirst is also concerned about the waiting times for veterans to receive appointments for mental health care within VA. Access to health care is important to ensuring that disabled veterans are able to remain in their communities.
Promoting the rights of veterans with disabilities within VA and the world is a broad area of focus that includes civil rights protections that promote equal opportunity. VetsFirst has taken a leading role in efforts to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Ratifying the CRPD, which is an outgrowth of the Americans with Disabilities Act, will allow our nation to remain the leader in disability rights. President Obama signed the treaty in 2009 but the Senate must act to ratify the treaty to give the US a seat at the world’s table on disability.
VetsFirst needs your help in promoting these priorities. Now more than ever, we must stay focused to make sure that veterans with disabilities receive the benefits they have earned.