Washington, D.C. -- Senator Daniel K. Akaka (D-HI) today announced the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will abandon its review of 72,000 Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) claims. During a press conference highlighting concerns over veterans' healthcare and benefits, Senator Akaka learned that VA Secretary James Nicholson will cease the review.
"This is great news for all veterans, especially as we observe Veterans Day tomorrow," remarked Senator Akaka who just minutes before his announcement expressed disapproval of the review. He was joined by members of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Barack Obama (D-IL), and Ken Salazar (D-CO); and a dozen Vietnam veterans.
"Make no mistake, this review puts some veterans at risk of losing compensation they have already been awarded by VA. Sadly, some believe that revoking benefits from veterans is a good way to save money. Many times, VA compensation is the only source of income for families of severely disabled veterans -- the only way to put bread on the table," Senator Akaka told reporters.
Recently, Senator Akaka and several of his Democratic colleagues offered an amendment to bar VA from revoking any PTSD compensation benefits unless there is fraud on the part of the veteran. With the review now ceased, Senator Akaka looks forward to focusing efforts to providing additional funding to Vet Centers, which treats veterans suffering from PTSD.
Senator Akaka said, "In this current climate of conflict abroad, we should expand veterans' benefits and health care, not second guess benefits already bestowed upon veterans."
Senator Akaka is the Ranking Member on the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs.