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Throughout my time in Congress I have been working to increase the availability and quality of veteran’s benefits. Under the leadership of the Democratic majority in the 111th Congress, the U.S. House of Representatives passed landmark legislation expanding veterans’ benefits including: incentives for businesses to hire recently discharged unemployed veterans; expanded housing assistance for disabled veterans; and expanded education opportunities for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

As a member of the House, I have consistently supported bills that invest in housing for troops and their families, support reservists in the National Guard, provide assistance to military homeowners, and fund warrior transition complexes to provide services to wounded soldiers and their families. I have also joined my colleagues in passing legislation to address glaring deficiencies at aging military hospitals and VA hospitals and improve claims and benefit processing.

I am proud of the role I have played in securing federal dollars for the University of Southern California’s Military Social Work Program, a high technology virtual reality program to expand the ability of educators to train a new generation of military social workers. We have a critical need for trained professionals who understand the unique needs of our veterans, as soldiers experience longer deployments and service-related injuries that can be life-changing for them and their families.

My husband is a veteran of the Marine Corps and as a family we have always had a deep respect for the sacrifices made by the men and women in our nation’s armed forces. We have a responsibility as a nation to ensure that we keep our promises to them and understand the importance of assisting them in their transition to civilian life and providing quality medical care for those in need.

In the 112th Congress I will continue to be an advocate for America’s veterans. I am proud that my colleagues in Congress come together to meet our shared responsibility to provide for our returning service-members.

Changes to VA Application Process for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Benefits

Due to changes in the benefits application process, the Department of Veterans Affairs has made it much easier for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder to receive treatment for this condition. As of July 13, 2010, the VA will no longer require veterans to provide documented proof of events that might have caused symptoms of the disorder. Now a department psychologist or psychiatrist will screen veterans to verify that the stressful experiences they recall are consistent with their military service and PTSD symptoms. The changes apply to claims received on or after July 13 as well as any pending claims. The VA also encourages veterans previously denied PTSD benefits to reapply.

For more information, see the VA fact sheet here. You may also contact my caseworkers in my Los Angeles office at 213-628-9230 with questions or problems regarding the VA.

California's Operation Welcome Home
For information about California's Operation Welcome Home, which aims to assist Californian veterans, please visit the website here.

Post 9/11 GI Bill
For information on the new Post 9/11 GI Bill and its resources for veterans, click here.
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