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Rep Gil Cisneros Introduces the VALOR Act

Thousands of Korean-American Vietnam Veterans Could Receive VA healthcare Under This Bill

As reported January 22 by Abbie Bennett for Connecting Vets, Korean Americans who fought as U.S. allies in the Vietnam War don’t qualify for health care through the Department of Veterans Affairs. A new bill from Rep. Gil Cisneros, D-Calif., would change that. About 3,000 Korean Americans, who are naturalized citizens, served as U.S. wartime allies in Vietnam, but those veterans do not have access to VA health care, unlike U.S. European allies of World War I and World War II. The Korean American Vietnam Allies Long Overdue for Relief (VALOR) Act would amend Title 38 of U.S. Code to treat troops who served in Vietnam as a member of the Republic of Korea Armed Forces as veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes of granting them access to VA health care. That change would entitle those veterans to hospital and home care and other medical services.
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VA Disputes Findings

VA disputes science panel’s findings on proposed Agent Orange diseases; decision not expected until late 2020

As reported by Patricia Kime January 29 for Military Times, under pressure from Congress to determine whether to add four diseases to the list of Agent Orange-related health conditions, VA officials have disputed a scientific panel’s findings and said they will wait for additional research to conclude before making what could be a $15.2 billion decision. In a report sent to the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees on Monday, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said VA experts “noted significant concerns and limitations” with several National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, or NASEM, reports concluding that there is suggestive or sufficient evidence linking development of bladder cancer, hypothyroidism, Parkinson’s-like tremors, and hypertension to exposure to herbicides for defoliation in the Vietnam War.
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Your Next VA Home Loan

On Jan. 1, 2020, it became easier for you to use your VA home loan benefit to purchase, refinance, or construct a home with no down payment, regardless of the cost of the home. The VA home county loan limits were eliminated as part of the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019 for Veterans and service members with full entitlement.

Historically, VA only guaranteed home loans up to the county conforming loan limits (CLL) as determined by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. These loan limits reflect the changes in average U.S. home prices at the county level. If you chose to purchase, refinance, or construct a home above the CLL, the lender would likely require a down payment from you before they would choose to close on the loan. In counties such as San Diego, Calif., or Arlington, Va., the limit is much higher to reflect the average cost of a home. This meant that when using your VA benefit, the lender–not VA–would require you to pay up to a 25% down payment on any amount above the county limit.

As of January 1, first-time homebuyers, or homebuyers who have sold their home and have full benefit entitlement available, will no longer have to worry about loan limits or down payment requirements when purchasing, refinancing, or constructing a new home.

Learn more here.

VVA Rule on Campaign Endorsements

Vietnam Veterans of America and Campaign Endorsements

Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan noted today that VVA may not make any endorsements of political candidates for any elected office. “VVA’s Constitution and our not-for-profit tax status strictly prohibit the national organization, as well as local VVA chapters and state councils, from making any such endorsements. Occasionally, confusion arises when individual VVA members—who are often very politically active—are identified as representatives of our organization. To preclude any misunderstandings, as required by our membership, we must get the word out to clarify the record,” Rowan said.

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Veterans Initiative

The Veterans Initiative Needs Your Help

Objects taken from the battlefields of Vietnam are more than souvenirs or war trophies. Maps, stories, after-action reports, pictures, military items may have a story that could result in finding the location of missing war dead. Can you help?

Contact the Veterans Initiative at:

Veterans Initiative
Vietnam Veterans Of America
8719 Colesville Rd., Suite 100
Silver Spring, Maryland 20910