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The New VA Secretary and His Plans for Veterans

Published on April 1st, 2021

Denis McDonough, the new U.S. Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and sworn in on February 9, 2021. He is the eleventh VA Secretary to take office. 

For Veterans and their families around the country, the plan that Secretary McDonough has for the VA is important in how it will affect their lives. Below, we’ll go over some important takeaways for how this new appointment can better the lives of Veterans.

What are Secretary McDonough’s highest priorities?

The highest priorities are the VA’s three core responsibilities. Providing all Veterans with timely, world-class health care, ensuring they and their families have access to the benefits they’ve earned, and honoring Vets with a final resting place that serves as a lasting tribute to their service.

Healthcare and benefits are two important goals that Secretary McDonough emphasized. The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse effect on a lot of things in this country, including the healthcare system. The volume of people sick with COVID, added to the number of patients with other ailments, has overwhelmed hospitals, doctor’s offices, and clinics. 19.7 million appointments were delayed, moved, or cancelled for veterans. 

What are some immediate actions taken to achieve this?

The American Rescue Plan is a key aspect of obtaining that goal. The Plan allocates funding to help improve the VA healthcare system. Over 9 million Veterans are enrolled in VA healthcare programs. With the shift to telehealth, keeping up with the changes in the healthcare industry becomes even more important. This plan will hopefully enable the VA to strengthen and expand their telehealth options. 

What else does the American Rescue Plan do for Veterans?

The funding that the plan provides will strengthen the overall medical care for Veterans. In addition to basic needs, such as PPE, it will improve emergency readiness , modernize the supply chain, and better manage patient flow. This means that people will not only be able to feel safe by wearing masks and protective gear, but they will be able to obtain their medications and get appointments. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has had severe effects on this country and the world. Unemployment levels have been at an all time high. Outside of healthcare, the funding from the plan will support Veterans who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness. There will also be a concentrated effort to reduce compensation and pension claim backlogs, which grew almost triple in size. These measures will hopefully help more Veterans and their families access the benefits that they deserve. 

What other plans does Secretary McDonough have?

The other main point that the new VA Secretary articulated was building Veterans’ lives and making sure everyone is safe and accepted. This translates to helping build civilian lives through education and jobs. It also means that all Veterans feel safe from discrimination, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, women, and Veterans of color. 

The Biden Administration also pledged that they would seek to boost the VA budget to attract more doctors, psychiatrists, and health care workers to the VA from the private sector to improve VA service.

Receiving benefits as a disabled Veteran

For disabled Veterans, this plan aims to get more of the benefits that they should be receiving and clear up the delay. If you have been wrongly denied benefits by the VA, call Jackson & MacNichol today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation about how to appeal the wrongful denial of your disability benefits. Our experienced Veterans benefits attorneys get justice for Veterans.


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