MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS
I am grateful to President Trump and to Members of Congress for entrusting me with the privilege of serving Veterans and the dedicated employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs as your Secretary. It is my highest professional honor.
Together, we’ll ensure our Nation’s obligation to provide care and benefits to those “who shall have borne the battle” and fulfill our institutional I-CARE Values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.
That obligation and those values are sacred to me, first, as an American - a beneficiary of the service and sacrifices of Veterans and their families who defend our uniquely American freedoms and opportunities. They’re also sacred to me because my father served the Nation as an Army psychiatrist, and both my grandfathers were Army Veterans. My paternal grandfather served as Chief Pharmacist at the VA hospital in Madison, Wisconsin, and as a young doctor, I trained in VA hospitals. So, serving the Nation and serving Veterans is a family tradition.
It was a privilege to serve as VA’s Under Secretary for Health over the past year and a half. Now, I look forward to continuing our collective efforts across the Department and our country to deliver the care and services our Veterans need and deserve. Among many critical efforts already underway, we will continue building on significant progress increasing access for Veterans, preventing suicide, addressing unique needs of women Veterans, supporting Veterans’ families and caregivers, continuing to drive down the disability backlog and Veteran homelessness, and pursuing necessary legislation to reform the outdated appeals process and for other critical legislative priorities.
With the support of the President, Congress, Veterans, their service organizations, and the American people, we - the dedicated employees of VA - will continue to fulfill President Lincoln's promise.
There is no nobler mission. There is no higher calling for any American. I am humbled and proud to serve with you.
David J. Shulkin, M.D.
The PVA Membership Application and the Certification of Membership Eligibility Form have now been merged in to one document. The Membership/Certification Application form will officially go into effect June 15, 2016.
All applicants must now submit a copy of the following documents with the Membership/Certification Application:
- Proof of U.S. or U.S. Territorial Citizenship (Birth Certificate, Passport, INS Form, or Voter’s Registration Form). **Original passport must be seen before being copied.
- DD214 showing character of discharge. **No longer accepting VA Medical Services Card.
- Medical Evidence of spinal cord injury or involvement (medical records or physician’s statement). **Medical evidence will be reviewed by Medical Services for determination of membership eligibility.
Please note that the applicant has the option to not be certified (check box on page 2), however, the required documents must still be submitted with the application.
Current members who joined using the old membership application and wish to be certified must complete the Membership/Certification Application form and provide the required documents. Requests for certification only
, can bypass the membership department and emailed directly to Larry Dodson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paralyzed Veterans of America Names Longtime Veteran Advocate to Lead Veterans Benefits Department
Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) is pleased to announce Peter Gaytan as associate executive director of its Veterans Benefits Department. Gaytan, an Air Force veteran, brings extensive experience in both nonprofit management, and veterans’ benefits and advocacy to the organization. Gaytan has held various positions at a number of large veterans’ service organizations, and is widely regarded as an expert in his field having appeared on national media outlets like CNN, CBS and Fox News to discuss veterans’ issues.
“It’s an honor to work for an organization that advocates for some of our nation’s most catastrophically injured veterans,” said Gaytan. “I’m excited to join the Paralyzed Veterans of America team and continue the important work of ensuring these veterans have all that they need to live long, productive lives.”
Gaytan has been advocating for America’s veterans and fighting to secure and protect their earned benefits for two decades. His experience includes managing the oversight and administration of benefits delivery, legislative portfolios, veterans’ health and rehabilitation, education and employment, and communications and public policy. He has extensive experience working with Congress and the Administration to improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims process as well as the quality and timeliness of health care delivery within the Veterans Health Administration.
Gaytan is a veteran of the United States Air Force where he served as an avionics technician, Honor Guard training flight instructor, military protocol liaison and port mortuary assistant. Gaytan has provided final honors for more than 200 military funerals. He also served four years in the Air Force Reserve as a Public Affairs Specialist. During his service, he earned the Air Force Commendation Medal; Air Force Achievement Medal; Good Conduct Medal and the Air Force Outstanding Unit Ribbon.
Gaytan holds a B.A. in Political Science from Wesley College, and is a graduate of the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland. He and his wife manage a non-profit therapeutic horseback riding program, providing lessons for veterans and their families free of charge. He is also a published author of the book “For Service To Your Country: The Insider’s Guide to Veterans’ Benefits”.
Veterans Benefits, the largest program area of Paralyzed Veterans, works through a nationwide network of 69 offices primarily co-located within VA spinal cord injury centers. This proximity makes Paralyzed Veterans service officers first responders who routinely oversee their care in Department of Veterans Affairs, ensure that they know and receive their benefits, and discuss options for education and employment—all from the bedside.
Last year, Paralyzed Veterans of America secured more than $1 billion in VA benefits for its veteran clients, and nearly $300 million in new annual and retroactive benefits. Such benefits include adaptive equipment, auto grants, burial grants, education, insurance, and others.
Looking to enjoy some accessible outdoor activities? Check out the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Wounded Warrior and Veteran Outreach Program page for information on parks, camping, and events across the state and nearby.
If you're interested, you should also check out the Department's State Park Passes page for information on how you can obtain your "Universal Disability Pass" which doesn't require renewal and gets you free access to day-use sites for life.
Department of Transportation's final rule may relieve some air travel challenges for passengers with disabilities
Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) applauds the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) final rule requiring large domestic airlines to track and report information about wheelchairs and scooters that will allow passengers with disabilities to make informed decisions about air travel.
Beginning with flights taking place on or after January 1, 2018, these airlines will be required to provide to DOT on a monthly basis, the total number of wheelchairs and scooters that are placed in aircrafts’ cargo compartments. Airlines will also need to report how many of those wheelchairs and scooters were “mishandled.” DOT considers a wheelchair or scooter to have been mishandled if lost, delayed, damaged, or pilfered.
“Damage to wheelchairs is a top concern for our members,” said Al Kovach, Jr., national president of Paralyzed Veterans. “We hope that these metrics will provide data that will reveal specific areas in which training may be needed to reduce damage and fulfill the requirements and spirit of the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA).”
Paralyzed Veterans submitted comments in response to DOT’s proposed rule in 2011. While supporting the proposed rule, Paralyzed Veterans noted that such information would provide the evidence needed to show a pattern or practice of mishandled wheelchairs and scooters, which could lead to enforcement through civil fines under the ACAA. Although not included in the final rule, Paralyzed Veterans also supported extending it to include other types of mobility devices and to cover devices stowed in the cabin.
In January, Paralyzed Veterans launched a website in honor of the 30thanniversary of the ACAA, where individuals with disabilities can share their air travel experiences, both positive and negative. These stories will help Paralyzed Veterans continue to advocate for improved access in air travel. The website can found at airaccess30.org
The Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) was passed by Congress and signed into law on October 2, 1986. This law guarantees that people with disabilities receive consistent and nondiscriminatory treatment during air travel and requires air carriers to accommodate the needs of passengers with disabilities.
In preparation for the 30th Anniversary of the ACAA, we are seeking your help in showing the progress that has been made as well as highlighting the work that still needs to be done to accomplish the spirit of the ACAA.
Please use our submission form to share your stories, photos, videos, and graphics about your air travel experiences as a passenger with a disability.
Thank you in advance for your participation!
Keep Better Track of Your VA Health Information Online
Back in 2013 VA became the first nationwide healthcare system to offer patient access to all clinical notes. Veterans with a Premium My HealtheVet account can easily access their clinical visit notes (VA Notes).
Through HealtheVet you can:Keep Up with All of Your VA Appointments
Refilll Your Prescriptions
Secure Message With Your VA Healthcare Team
Know the facts. Save a life.
Paralyzed Veterans of America Supporter Ben Affleck
Paralyzed Veterans of America - Colonial Chapter
700 Barksdale Rd, Unit 7
Newark, DE 19711
The Paralyzed Veterans of America, Colonial Chapter is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Veterans Service Organization