President Obama recently revealed his proposal for the fiscal year 2016 budget which would allocate $168.8 billion in funding to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The proposed budget intends to help the VA meet its goals of reducing the benefit claims backlog, expand access to VA care and services, end veteran homelessness, and transform the VA into a more veteran-centric program.
The budget has been allocated into two portions, $73.5 billion for discretionary funding (mainly for healthcare) and $95.3 billion for mandatory benefit programs (disability, pension, etc). The proposed budget also includes a request for $66.6 billion (including collections) for the 2017 advance appropriations for medical care. It also includes a request of $104 billion for advance appropriations for Compensation and Pensions, Readjustment Benefits, and Veterans Insurance and Indemnities for 2017.
These budget allocations are higher than the 2015 fiscal year. The discretionary funding is up 7.5 percent and the appropriations requested for 2017 medical care is up 5.4 percent. There is a $63.2 billion budget allocated specifically for health care that was broken down in the VA’s announcement as follows.
- $7.5 billion for mental health care
- $2.8 billion for prosthetics
- $556 million for spinal cord injuries
- $232 million for traumatic brain injuries
- $243 million for readjustment counseling
- $7.5 billion for long-term care
Another portion of the budget that targets expanding access to health care puts $1.2 billion into the telehealth program and $86.6 million towards improved customer service technology such as self-serve online portals and call centers.
The VA is responding to the information it gathered from speaking directly to veterans and their representatives, as well as members of their own staff in regional offices and facilities across the nation. By better understanding what veterans and their caretakers want from VA services, the department can better serve its population by revitalizing and creating services to meet those needs.
With a budget that would help secure veterans’ disability benefits for fiscal year 2016 and the VA stepping up its game to eliminate the claims backlog, now is the time to file your benefits application. Veterans Help Group® is here to help if the VA denies your claim for disability benefits or gives a low disability rating. Call today – 1-855-855-8992.