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Advocacy for Veterans

  • The American Legion contributed to the passage of 13 bills signed by President Barack Obama that benefit veterans and their families, including legislation to improve GI Bill benefits, caregiver relief, VA medical facilities, and career opportunities for those who have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • The Legion's System Worth Saving Task Force conducted site visits at 46 VA medical facilities and produced its annual report to Congress, assessing quality, timeliness, access and other concerns requiring federal attention.
  • The American Legion's National PTS/TBI Ad Hoc Committee summoned medical and psychological experts to present information on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury in order to make recommendations for future VA treatment programs. The committee's work was reported in "The War Within," a three-part series in The American Legion Magazine which has been converted into a standalone multimedia package for distribution among national policymakers.
  • An American Legion national web survey of 3,012 female veterans provided data indicating areas of strength and weakness in VA's health-care services for women. A Washington press conference to reveal the survey results in March drew national coverage from C-SPAN, Stars and Stripes, the Christian Broadcasting Network and other media, and raised awareness of the issue among members of Congress and VA.
  • The American Legion attended more than 100 different congressional hearings in Washington during 2011, most of which addressed veterans benefits, economic opportunities and health care. The National Commander, National Legislative Commission and staff personally testified at no fewer than 10 hearings and submitted written testimony at four others. National presentations were also given at numerous meetings, forums, press conferences and roundtable discussions on Capitol Hill throughout the year. See Public laws in which The American Legion had a hand, 2011.
  • The Legion's national legislative agenda was presented, in both oral and written form, by National Commander Fang A. Wong at a joint session of the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Committees in September.
  • The American Legion's Regional Office Action Review (ROAR) team conducted site visits to six different VA regional offices nationwide to assess performance in the management of veterans benefits claims and to address stakeholder concerns. A national online survey conducted by The American Legion identified geographic trends in VA regional office performance to help guide questioning during the site visits.
  • A new Veterans Health Center portion of The American Legion national website was launched to improve understanding of veterans health-care benefits and provide online avenues of assistance.
  • Student Veterans of America (SVA) are provided office space in the Washington American Legion National Headquarters, and the Legion participates in SVA's national meetings and convention to see how to best meet the needs of young veterans pursuing college educations. The Legion also worked with SVA to co-sponsor national student-veteran symposiums in Washington, Minneapolis, Michigan and Nevada in 2011.
  • Active-duty personnel and newly discharged veterans were recruited to participate in usability studies to determine ways to help the national website better meet the needs of a new generation of veterans; changes based on that research were introduced in November.
  • The American Legion helped develop a new national Handbook for Homeless Veterans and Service Providers in 2011.
  • National roundtable discussions for providers of services to homeless veterans were conducted by The American Legion in Washington and Minneapolis.
  • A relationship between The American Legion and the Transportation Security Administration was established to improve airport screening procedures for disabled veterans.