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The Military Order of the Purple Heart
SOME GAVE ALL, ALL GAVE SOME

For Immediate Release

Washington, DC, March 2nd, 2010

JOINT HEARING OF SENATE AND HOUSE COMMITTEES ON VETERANS’ AFFAIRS SEEKS INPUT FROM THE MILITARY ORDER OF THE PURPLE HEART (MOPH).

On Thursday, March 4, 2010, National Commander Jim Sims will testify on behalf of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) before a Joint Hearing of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. 

This annual event brings together the leaders of all of the major Veteran Service Organizations, and allows those Members of Congress directly responsible for Veterans’ Affairs to hear first-hand the issues of most concern to veterans.  This year, Commander Sims will address many of the issues that veterans face, especially the top MOPH priorities for the remainder of the 111th Congress:

IMPROVEMENT OF THE TIMELINESS AND ACCURACY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERAN’S (VA) CLAIMS SYSTEM:

The VA continues to receive an almost overwhelming number of claims, and the MOPH believes that the backlog and the processing time for disability claims remain unacceptable.  . MOPH is pleased to note that the Administration’s budget request for 2011 includes an increase of $460 million and more than 4,000 additional claims processors for Veterans benefits.  MOPH firmly believes that the VA must aggressively embrace modern technology, in some cases with “off the shelf” technology, to address this problem, including the hiring of trained and qualified personnel.

TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AND POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (TBI/PTSD):

A 2008 RAND study indicated that approximately twenty percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans screened positive for PTSD or major depression but less than half of those suffering from mental health issues are receiving sufficient medical treatment.  Multiple deployments and inadequate time at home station or home base between combat deployments increases the rate of combat stress.  MOPH urges Congress to ensure that those members of the Armed Forces who are serving in harm’s way have access to the best medical/mental treatment available upon their return home.  All veterans should have available and convenient access to this earned care.

ELIMINATION OF THE SURVIVOR BENEFIT PROGRAM (SBP) AND THE DEPENDENT INDEMINITY COMPENSATION (DIC) OFFSET:

MOPH continues to believe that the current law codifies serious inequities.   Retired Members of the Armed Services continue to pay for the SBP coverage with their own monies.  This benefit should not be reduced for their survivors when their demise is due to injuries/illnesses incurred by the service member while in military service of the United States of America.

CONCURRENT RECEIPT OF MILITARY RETIRED PAY AND VA DISABILITY COMPENSATION:

In past years, Congress has granted authority for military retirees with a VA disability rating of fifty percent or higher to receive both military retired pay and their VA compensation.  It has also expanded Combat Related Special Compensation (CRSC) to Title 6l retirees.  MOPH believes that there are no differences between a military retiree with a ten percent disability rating and a retiree with a one hundred percent rating.  In other words, if the process is good for one retiree, why is it not good for all retirees regardless of that individuals retired status or percentage of VA disability?

PURPLE HEART PERPETUAL (FOREVER) STAMP:

MOPH has a long history of the pursuing the issue of a “forever” Purple Heart Stamp that would recognize the service and the sacrifice of those who have been awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds that they received in service to the United States of America.  MOPH, its 44,000 members, and many other VSOs remain steadfast in our belief that the Purple Heart stamp should be accorded the same status as the Liberty Bell Stamp that is a “Forever Stamp”.

On March 18, 2010, because of the importance of this singular issue and the extraordinary support and advocacy by Chairman Filner and the House Veteran Affairs Committee, Commander Sims will personally participate in a special hearing entitled “Claims Summit 2010: A Call for Solutions.” 

The organization now known as the "Military Order of the Purple Heart of the U.S.A. Inc.," (MOPH) was formed in 1932 for the protection and mutual interest of all who have received the decoration. Chartered by the Congress, The MOPH is unique among Veteran Service Organizations in that all its members were wounded in combat. For this sacrifice, they were awarded the Purple Heart Medal. With grants from the MOPH Service Foundation, the MOPH and its Ladies Auxiliary promote Patriotism, Fraternalism, and the Preservation of America's military history. Most importantly, they provide comfort and assistance to all Veterans and their families, especially those requiring claims assistance with the VA, those who are homeless, and those requiring employment assistance.  Through the VAVS program, MOPH volunteers provide assistance to hospitalized veterans at VA sites and State Veterans Homes.

For information contact:

National Legislative Director, Hershel Gober, 703-354-2140

Or

National Public Relations Director, John Bircher, 352-753-5535
Email: PublicRelations@Purpleheart.org
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