Senator Mike Braun is honored that the American Legion and Vietnam Veterans of America have endorsed his bill (S. 3613) to strengthen benefits for children of Veterans affected by Agent Orange.
S. 3613 – “A Bill To Strengthen Existing Benefits For Certain Descendants Of Veterans Exposed To Herbicide Agents” – focuses on improving the support given to children of Veterans with Spina Bifida that can be linked to the Veteran’s service and exposure to Agent Orange. Currently, the families of the children are required to co-ordinate with the Office of Community Care–Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program to gain entry into the program and if accepted, must complete the coordination themselves for the child’s care and support. Sen. Braun’s bill requires the VA medical facility responsible for care of the Veteran parent assign a VA social worker or registered nurse to be the care coordinator for the Veteran’s child. This relationship would exist for the entirety of the child’s life, including scenarios in which the Veteran and/or spouse have passed away. Improvement of the VA process in helping families complete the evaluation phase, gain entry into the Spina Bifida program, and coordinate all the care and support required relieves an enormous burden on families and will undoubtedly enable more eligible children to be enrolled and improve their healthcare outcomes.
S. 3613 was introduced following Senator Braun’s request for further review into the Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program by working with the VA Office of the Inspector General. The VA OIG has now scheduled an investigation into the Community Care Program Office following the completion of Department of Justice actions into the financial scandals involving program administrators.