Bergman, Correa, Mace Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Protect Veterans
Washington, May 11, 2023
Washington - Representative Bergman (MI-01) along with Representatives Lou Correa (CA-46) and Nancy Mace (SC-01) recently introduced H.R. 1822, the PLUS for Veterans Act of 2023, bipartisan legislation that will safeguard Veterans from fraud, abuse, and bad actors who seek to take advantage of them when they seek VA disability benefits. The bill will also protect Veterans’ right to seek private assistance when seeking benefits if they so choose.
Under the guise of legitimate organizations, malicious individuals have defrauded Veterans who turn to private entities for help with their VA benefit processes. To remedy this potential for systematic abuse, some proposals have sought to ban the entire industry of legitimate businesses that have helped thousands of Veterans. Instead of a heavy-handed ban, the PLUS for Veterans Act will preserve a Veteran’s ability to seek private sector help when preparing their VA applications by incorporating these businesses into the VA accreditation system – protecting Veterans and punishing bad actors that seek to mislead them.
“Currently, there’s far too much leeway for predatory businesses to take advantage of Veterans who are unfamiliar with the complicated VA disability process. It’s imperative that we close the loopholes that bad actors exploit and protect our Veterans from abuse. At the same time, we must ensure that every Veteran has the right to seek whatever private help they deem necessary when navigating their VA assistance. Whether they seek assistance in applying through their local VSO, a private business, or any other means, every Veteran should get the VA benefits they deserve without fear of being ripped off. I’m proud of this bipartisan step in the right direction, which will begin the necessary process of preventing fraud, unreasonable fees, and undue roadblocks for our Veterans,” Rep. Bergman stated.
“Every servicemember deserves our respect, gratitude, and most of all, the benefits and care we promised,” said Rep. Correa. “I am proud to join my colleagues today in introducing the PLUS for Veterans Act, to ensure that Veterans receive the care they deserve with the help of the private sector and the VA. This bill would incorporate private businesses into the VA accreditation system while imposing penalties on bad actors that seek to take advantage of Veterans.”
“As the proud daughter of an Army General, we understand how vital it is for our vets to receive the best care available. This legislation is a testament to our commitment to honoring the sacrifices and service of our brave men and women in uniform. The PLUS Act ensures veterans can access the benefits and services they deserve without unnecessary bureaucratic hurdles, streamlining the process and providing them with the support they need. It also ensures bad actors who take advantage of veterans are severely punished. We are committed to working towards a system which properly takes care of those who have served our country,” Rep. Mace said.
“As a veteran-owned-and-operated company, we pride ourselves on empowering veterans with choices, options, and the freedoms to succeed in life post-service. This bipartisan legislation builds upon the good intentions of previous efforts by preserving a veteran's right to choose how they navigate the government by securing for them a wide variety of options, while at the same time protecting them from predatory practices by legislating around fees and medical provider relationships. We applaud General Bergman, Congresswoman Mace, and Congressman Correa for their efforts, and look forward to working with Members of Congress, the VA, and the VSOs on continuing to serve our veterans after they have served our country,” said Lt. Col. Scott Greenblatt (Ret. U.S. Army), CEO & Co-Founder, Veterans Guardian VA Claim Consulting.
“Our mission is to bring veterans together using humor and camaraderie to improve mental health and prevent veteran suicide. Our therapeutic events are not where our mission ends, but rather where it begins. We seek to change the veteran outlook by empowering them, driving healthy culture in their community, connecting them with a network of resources and support, and helping them find physical and mental well-being," saidNate McDonald, VP/COO, Irreverent Warriors. "Those that would take advantage of veterans actively combat these goals and our mission. The PLUS for Veterans Act allows veterans the choice and freedom to make their own decisions regarding their disability claims, while at the same time protecting them from those who wish to prey on their veteran status. Our veterans have protected our nation and it's time that our nation protected them.”
"As the only Veterans Service Organization solely dedicated to advocating for men and women in the Special Operations community, we understand the challenges Veterans face when seeking aid with their earned benefits," said David Cook, Executive Director Special Operations Association of America. "The PLUS for Veterans Act empowers these men and women to choose how they navigate and receive their hard-earned benefits in a manner that works best for them and their families. We stand with the PLUS for Veterans Act."
“We launched the VA Disability Initiative to call attention to Congressional efforts that would limit a veteran’s ability to choose how they secure the disability benefits many of them rely upon. This bill takes the opposite approach by expanding a veteran’s options while ensuring any bad actors are heavily policed and punished. These men and women have sacrificed much for our country, and we owe them the highest levels of care and support upon returning to civilian life,” said George Landrith, Frontiers of Freedom.
“Veteran Benefits Guide strongly supports the PLUS for Veterans Act and commends Representatives Bergman, Correa, and Mace for their leadership on this important issue. The PLUS for Veterans Act would take appropriate steps to crack down on bad actors trying to take advantage of Veterans while preserving the right of Veterans to seek assistance from honorable companies in preparing their claims. Veterans deserve to have the choice of using experienced private sector guides to help them receive the full benefits they earned from their service in a timely manner," said Josh Smith, Founder & CEO, Veterans Benefits Guide.
Read the full text of the bill here