Dean’s Priority: Supporting Our Veterans
“As a Gold Star Son, I know all too well the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families. I’m on a mission to ensure we take care of those who risk their lives in service to our country – and that we don’t forget about the families they leave behind.”
– Dean Phillips
Americans strongly believe we must support those who have served our nation and defended our liberty. Veterans and their families must be a priority when they’re sent into harm’s way; and they must remain a priority when they come home. Here’s what Dean would focus on:
The VA must have the resources necessary to meet the increasing needs of veterans and enable it to serve effectively as the medical home of every veteran in its care. Community care and related private sector programs must supplement and coordinate with VA services, not replace them. Private sector services must not result in gaps, delays, or defunding of essential VA care.
Mental Health, TBI and PTSD
A significant percentage of veterans, especially those who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, suffer from major depression, PTSD, or TBI. The VA must have sufficient resources for veteran outreach to identify those who need help and to perform the essential research that enables prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. VA resources should be coordinated with innovative private sector services (e.g., telehealth) when appropriate.
The VA estimates that 40,000 veterans were homeless in 2016. No veteran should be without a place to call home. The VA should fully fund existing homelessness programs and expand coordinated efforts in local communities to identify veterans at risk and to help provide solutions to their housing challenges.
Many veterans struggle to understand and navigate the VA system to apply for and receive the benefits to which they are entitled. The VA should place a priority on simplifying and streamlining the eligibility, benefits, and related administrative processes.
America built its middle class post-WWII in large part with a generous and effective GI Bill. Those education benefits have eroded in the ensuing years, presenting less opportunity to today’s veterans. America owes opportunity to those who have served honorably and must provide sufficient education benefits that enable our returning veterans to reintegrate into civilian life and continue to make contributions to American society.