from the inbox:
In response to an inquiry from Pennsylvania Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-8th District), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is clarifying their official policy to ensure that veterans who serve in Iraq as part of Operation New Dawn receive the full range of benefits to which they should be entitled.
In September, Murphy sent a letter to the VA Secretary Eric Shinseki expressing his concern regarding the impact that the name change from Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) to Operation New Dawn could have on our servicemembers and veterans’ benefits. Murphy’s concern stemmed from the fact that some benefits are tied directly to service OIF but that the danger inherent in deploying to Iraq – despite the official end of combat operations – qualified New Dawn veterans for benefits equal to those who served in OIF. He called on Secretary Shinseki to ensure that veterans who serve in Operation New Dawn receive benefits that were previously tied directly to service in OIF.
“As a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I am acutely aware of the dangers all soldiers face when deployed in theater. Therefore, I respectfully request clarification as to whether these remaining troops and others who deploy to complete operations in Iraq and Afghanistan after conclusion of OIF and OEF will still be eligible for veterans benefits that are attached to OIF or OEF service,” Murphy wrote.
In response, Secretary Shinseki reviewed VA regulations and clarified that troops who serve in Operation New Dawn will be eligible for benefits that pertain to OIF, preventing any possible obstacles to veterans receiving the benefits that they have earned. Shinseki thanked Murphy for bringing their attention to this issue and for the Congressman’s “distinguished service and continued work on behalf of our Nation’s Veterans.”