Veterans Affairs

President Obama in Charlotte, 8/26/14
Tasnim Shamma / WFAE

President Barack Obama spoke today to hundreds of American Legion veterans who had gathered in Charlotte, NC, for their national convention. His remarks come just months after a health care scandal and leadership change at the top of the Veterans Administration. The President announced 19 new executive actions to improve veterans' care -- one of which focuses on the rising rate of suicides among former soldiers.

President Obama To Speak To Veterans In Charlotte Today

Aug 26, 2014
Obama speaking in Mooresville, NC.
The White House

President Barack Obama is coming to North Carolina to speak to the American Legion convention, where Sen. Kay Hagan says she will talk to him about Washington's commitment to the state's military veterans.

The official statement might be the most passive aggressive technique in politics. And right now, there's a lot of passive aggression in the world of veterans affairs.

The Durham VA Medical Center
Durham VA Medical Center

The Department of Veterans Affairs is investigating allegations of improper scheduling at VA medical centers across the country. 

Leaked emails from VA offices in Arizona and Wyoming suggest employees changed records to falsely show that veterans were getting prompt appointments. VA Secretary Eric Shinseki is testifying about those allegations today on Capitol Hill.

This week, two employees at the Durham VA Medical Center were put on administrative leave amid similar allegations.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Veterans returning from deployment face a quickly-changing job market. Many have a difficult time explaining how their military experience has prepared them for the civilian work force. The unemployment rate for veterans is about 7-percent, on par with the national average.

The North Carolina National Guard Education and Employment Center helps guard members look for civilian jobs.

Manager and fellow veteran Austin Walther says they also help vets translate their military experience into civilian job skills.

The weight of paper files at the VA's Winston-Salem office threatened to collapse the floor.
Office of the Inspector General/Department of Veterans Affairs

U.S. Senator Kay Hagan says the Veterans Affairs office in Winston-Salem is cutting down on its backlog of claims. 

The Democrat from North Carolina says the office has processed all claims that have been waiting for two years or more.  Hagan says the average claim now takes 200 days, compared to more than 300 days a year ago.  The Winston-Salem VA processes nearly all claims filed in North Carolina. 

The Durham VA Medical Center
Durham VA Medical Center

The latest research suggests that for veterans, social support is just as important as medical care.

Host Frank Stasio talks with UNC Chapel Hill Associate Professor of Psychiatry Eric Elbogen, about his study showing that vets lacking social and financial stability are more likely to engage in violent behavior than those with posttraumatic stress disorder. Joining the conversation are Pete Tillman, public affairs officer for the Durham VA Medical Center, and Jason Hansman of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America.

The weight of paper files at the VA's Winston-Salem office threatened to collapse the floor.
Office of the Inspector General/Department of Veterans Affairs

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have been waiting months - sometimes years - for their disability claims to be processed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.  Recently, piled up claims threatened to buckle the floor at the Winston-Salem office. 

Eric Shinseki
Dept. of Veteran's Affairs

The UNC System hosted the federal government’s top Veterans Affairs official yesterday. V.A. Secretary Eric Shinseki met with UNC leaders to discuss expanding higher education opportunities for military veterans. 

Several UNC system schools have long and proud histories of educating military veterans. And as General Shinseki pointed out, veterans have a lot to offer the universities and the state of North Carolina as students and employees.

Soldier saluting
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

North Carolina will open its newest full-service State Veterans Home Thursday in Kinston.  Residents there can have on-site registered nurses, therapists and service officers to assist with VA benefits to deal with their physical injuries.  They will also be either next to, or a short drive from, a local hospital should they need more intensive medical care. 

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