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VA benefits package making its way through Congress

The United States House of Representatives has passed a series of measures designed to strengthen the quality of veterans benefits being offered to those who have served this country.

The measures are specifically targeted to reduce the rate of suicide among veterans by improving the quality of mental health services being offered.

One of the measures also includes the annual cost of living adjustment for veterans benefits. This provision is generally not controversial and is expected to pass again this year.

According to one Congressman, the measures are in part designed to make sure that veterans who are facing mental crises get adequate access to mental health care. The Congressman cited a statistic that suggests that, for every 20 veterans who commit suicide, 14, 70%, never get access to the health care offered through the Veterans Administration.

On the same theme, another Congressman offered an amendment to an existing measure that would allow reservists, as well as members of the Coast Guard and National Guard, to receive readjustment counseling, a benefit that helps servicemembers make the psychological transition from military life to civilian life.

Another proposed law will move the administration of certain career and ongoing education benefits and opportunities to a separate office within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Although these bills garnered unanimous support in the House of Representatives, they will still have to clear the Senate before reaching the President's desk for his signature. How these initiatives will ultimately affect vets in the Cleveland, Tennessee, area remains to be seen.

Still, it is important for veterans in this area to keep abreast of legal developments and to understand what benefits are available to them. When it comes to understanding one's available benefits, legal counsel may be able to assist in the process.

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