Highlights of the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2006

In December 2006, Congress approved new legislation to help veterans and their families. Some provisions include:
Increased support for those suffering from blindness, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis, as well as homelessness
Approval of $600 million for the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by Hurricane Katrina
Twenty-two major construction projects in 15 states
Improved outreach to rural veterans, including tele-health
More access to long-term care, including a program to allow community hospitals to become eligible for state veterans’ home per diem payments
Expansion of the veterans’ home loan guarantee program to include cooperative housing units
A new provision allowing veterans to hire an attorney to help file disability claims and to represent them if a notice of disagreement has been filed
Additionally, in reaction to the May 2006 theft of a VA employee’s laptop containing personal data of over 25 million veterans, the legislation also increased funding to improve the VA’s information security and to better protect veterans’ personal information.

The Herald Journal, December 11, 2006
www.thehj.com

Marine Corps Times, December 11, 2006
www.marinetimes.com