Congressman Posey sees opportunities for veterans in upcoming Congress

By Patrick McCallister

Republican Congressman Bill Posey, Rockledge, is hopeful the 115th Congress will be able to resolve ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs problems. He gave Veteran Voice an exclusive interview to discuss the coming session of Congress after the 2016 elections.

Republican Congressman Bill Posey, Rockledge, is hopeful the 115th Congress will be able to resolve ongoing Department of Veterans Affairs problems. He gave Veteran Voice an exclusive interview to discuss the coming session of Congress after the 2016 elections.

Congressman Bill Posey, Rockledge, thinks the 115th Congress has good opportunities to improve the Department of Veteran Affairs. The last couple years, he said, VA reforms have languished to death in the Senate.

“The Senate prevented any real meaningful reforms to the VA,” he told Veteran Voice in an exclusive interview. “The incoming administration, (Donald) Trump, has said his priority is to fix the VA.”

The Republican lawmaker was first elected in 2008, during a year when Democrats dominated the political landscape. No one would mistake him for being a fan of Barack Obama’s administration, which was swept into office in the same election. Posey got the nickname “Birther Bill” for proposing legislation requiring presidential candidates to provide their birth certificates. However, when reports about prolonged waits at VA medical facilities exploded in 2014 and many Republicans clamored for the removal of Secretary Eric Shinseki, Posey stuck by the former Army general.

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FDVA seeks more claims examiners

By Patrick McCallister

The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs, FDVA, wants to add some staff. That wish is in its 2017-2018 proposed budget that’s starting to make rounds among state House and Senate committees ahead of the upcoming legislative session, which is March to May.

“I’m asking to get 10 more (Division of Veterans’ Benefits and Assistance) people,” Glenn Sutphin Jr., executive director of the state’s veterans department told Veteran Voice. “We probably could use more, but you’ve got to be realistic about what you can do.”

The additional 10 workers would help veterans file claims and appeals to the federal Department of Veteran Affairs. Those who do that are usually called veterans service officers, but Roy Clark, director of cabinet and legislative affairs, said they get a different title at the FDVA.

“We call them veterans claims examiners,” he said.

The claims examiners, he said, work one-on-one with veterans and assist the state’s county veterans service officers with bedeviling claims.

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