Weekly Recap (May 22-26)
Some of the top stories circulating the veteran community.
Budget 2018: Choice Program wins, elderly veterans… not so much. On Wednesday, Department of Veteran Affairs officials defended plans that include a $186.5 billion VA budget and cutting the department’s Individual Unemployability (IU) program. While budget jumps six percent in VA funding, over 225,000 vets over the age of 60 could be impacted by the change.
Currently, the IU supports pays out the 100 percent disabled rate to veterans unable to work and who may be just under a 100 percent disabled rating. Administration officials would like to stop those payouts once the veteran is eligible to collect Social Security.
“There are always hard decisions to be made,” stated VA Secretary David Shulkin after a House Veteran Affairs Committee budget hearing that day. “ Sometimes that means you have to adjust current programs to support the growth of other benefits. That’s what we’re seeing here.”
Stolen Valor culprit to see prison time. Wisconsin resident Kenneth Jozwiak forged a DD-214 in 2014 claiming he was wounded several times while serving as a Navy SEAL in Vietnam. Jozwiak managed to defraud thousands of dollars from the Department of Veteran Affairs. On May 18, Jozwiak plead guilty to unlawfully exhibiting and military discharge certificate, making a false statement to federal agents, theft of government money, and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding.
Jozwiak will serve four years in prison, one for each purple heart lied about.
Amazon looks to hire talented veterans. Amazon launched its Military Leader’s program January 2017 in an effort to bring veterans into its fold. Amazon committed to hire 25,000 veterans over the next five years and seeks to structure its logistics operations around skills and techniques learned by servicemen and women. “When they come to Amazon they’re super-successful,” explains Rachel Lessard, a former nuclear submariner and current recruiter for Amazon’s Leader program. “ They have a bias for action and have proven their ability.”
Vietnam Wall hits Cedar Falls AMVETS. A mobile version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial made it’s way to Post 49 this past Sunday. Several members of Post 49 Riders escorted “The Wall that Heals” along Interstate 35 to AMVETS grounds, and opening ceremonies hosted speakers from various veteran organizations as well as elected officials. Second vice commander Wayne R. Heiselman stated that more than 200 volunteers staffed the exhibit, educating those who came and assisting in directing visitors to names on the wall. Nearly $10,000 was raised from the community in an effort to bring the wall to Cedar Falls.