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Representatives Stivers, Takano Bill Extending Wounded Warrior Benefits to Veteran Medical Professionals Becomes Law

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Washington, September 10, 2018 | comments
Recently, President Donald Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) in the House and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jon Tester (D-MT) in the Senate. S. 899 is now the law of the land and more veterans now have access to the benefits they need and deserve.
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WASHINGTON – Recently, President Donald Trump signed into law bipartisan legislation introduced by Representative Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Representative Mark Takano (D-CA) in the House and Senators Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Jon Tester (D-MT) in the Senate.  S. 899 is now the law of the land and more veterans now have access to the benefits they need and deserve.

Thanks to the Veterans Transition Improvement Act, newly hired veterans in frontline medical positions at the Department of Veterans Affairs (such as doctors, registered nurses, chiropractors, or physician assistants) can take the paid sick leave they need to receive care for service-connected injuries.  The law closes the loophole in previous law that prohibited these employees from receiving the same Wounded Warrior Act benefits veteran employees in other federal agencies received.

This change provides immediate paid sick leave for veteran employees in their first year of work that they otherwise would have to accrue over time or take unpaid leave to receive care for their service-connected injuries.

“When a careless and regrettable oversight at the federal level punishes the men and women who have and continue to sacrifice and serve our country, action must be taken,” Stivers said. “I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their help in righting this wrong, and I’m eager to see it take effect so that our veterans can get the care they need.”

“Veteran employees at the VA have already made incredible sacrifices and this law ensures that their paychecks will not continue to be one of them,” said Takano. “I thank my colleagues in the House and the Senate for their overwhelming support in expanding paid sick leave benefits to wounded warriors serving in medical roles at the VA. This is a just law for VA employees and for the veterans who require much-needed care.”

In 2015, the Wounded Warrior Federal Leave Act was signed into law to make paid sick leave available to some new veteran federal employees with service-connected conditions rated at 30 percent or more disabled so they could receive treatment. However, this did not extend to “Title 38” employees, which includes VA physicians, physician assistants, registered nurses, chiropractors, podiatrists, optometrists, and dentists.

According to March 2018 data from the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), there are over 14,000 “Title 38” vacancies nationwide.

This bill is supported by the National Association of VA Physicians and Dentists (NAVAPD), Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA), American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Association of the U.S. Navy (AUSN), American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE), Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA), AMVETS and the Federal Managers Association (FMA).

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