Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Veterans Affairs


ItemVeterans Affairs
GeneralGrade
VA-1
The Promise: "...will fully fund the VA so it has all the resources it needs to serve the veterans who need it, when they need it."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:The final enacted FY2010 appropriation for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was $127.2B, $29.5B above the $97.7B appropriation for FY2009. The FY2010 appropriation included $71.3B for mandatory VA benefits programs, $53.1B for discretionary funding purposes, and $2.8B for Medical Care Collections Fund (MCCF).

For the first time, the VA's FY2010 appropriation included an advance appropriation to ensure uninterrupted funding for medical care for veterans for FY2011. The final FY2011 enacted budget for the VA was $125.5B, a slight decrease from FY2010.

VA funding for the remainder of President Obama's two terms in office was as follows:

FY2012 - $126.8B
FY2013 - $139.1B
FY2014 - $168.9B
FY2015 - $163.5B
FY2016 - $163.5B
FY2017 - $182.1B

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-2
The Promise: "...will also push to quickly build a new, state-of-the-art Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in New Orleans so that the city's veterans can get top-quality care."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Rebuilding the Gulf Coast and Preventing Future Catastrophes", dated 09/11/08.
Source: https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/550006/barack-obama-2008-rebuilding-the-gulf-coast-and.pdf
Status:Ground was broken on 06/25/10 for a new VA medical complex to be built in New Orleans -- an $800M facility scheduled to open in early-CY2014, 10 years after the Hurricane Katrina severely damaged the VA hospital that existed in the downtown medical district. Construction issues delayed completion of the facility until 11/18/16 and caused cost increases to about $1B.

The 31-acre complex contains 1.7 million square feet with 300 outpatient exam rooms, 200 hospital rooms, 20 intervention and surgery rooms, an emergency department, a research facility, rehabilitation services and a mental health division. The hospital employs 2,800 people and is able to handle 500K outpatient visits annually while serving over 70K veterans in the New Orleans area.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Health CareGrade
VA-3
The Promise: "Obama will expand "Vet Centers in rural areas so that veterans and their families can get the care they need where they live."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act signed into law on 10/22/09 included funds for investing in mobile clinics to reach veterans in rural areas.

Further, the FY2010 appropriation for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) included $250M to continue rural health initiatives and an additional $30M to increase the number of Community Based Outpatient Clinics in rural areas, benefitting approximately 41% of eligible veterans.

President Obama's FY2012 budget proposal included an additional $250M to improve access to care in rural and highly isolated areas by veterans and their families. His FY2013 proposal included continuation of the $250M historical funding level to "improve access and quality of care for enrolled veterans residing in rural areas."

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-4
The Promise: "...requiring individual, face-to-face post-deployment mental health screenings."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:Face-to-face screenings, designed to help members of the armed forces deal better with stress, also make it easier for them to seek substance abuse treatment, obtain marriage/family counseling, and help prevent suicides.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 (H.R. 2647) signed into law by President Obama on 10/28/09 was successfully amended to provide "person-to-person mental health assessment for each member of the Armed Forces who is deployed in connection with a contingency operation...At a time during the period beginning 90 days after the date of redeployment from the contingency operation and ending 180 days after the date of redeployment..."

On 12/19/14, President Obama signed into law the Carl Levin and Howard P. 'Buck' McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 3979). This Department of Defense (DoD) bill authorized $30.7B for the defense health program and codified the requirement for annual one-on-one, face-to-face mental health checkups for active duty and Selected Reserve troops, as well as in-person mental health screenings every 180 days during deployment. Under this legislation, the DoD must also provide periodic in-person mental health assessments reports to Congress.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-5
The Promise: "...will establish standards of care for TBI treatment, require pre- and post-deployment screenings and improve case management so that servicemembers get the best possible care."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:According to Pentagon statistics as reported in Congressional Research Service Report RS22452 of 08/07/15, more than 325K troops had been diagnosed with some form of Traumatic Brain Injury during the period CY2000 to mid-CY2015.

On 03/08/10, the VA issued Directive 2010-012 that set the standards for the screening and evaluation of possible TBI in Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) Veterans. This was an initial effort to satisfy the post-deployment screening aspects of this promise.

The Defense Centers for Excellence for Psychological Health and Traumatic Brain Injury (DCoE) has the mission to "develop state of the science clinical standards to maximize recovery and functioning and to provide guidance and support in the implementation of clinical tools for the benefit of all those who sustain traumatic brain injuries in the service of our country." The DCoE operates a 24/7 Outreach Center that provides a source of information to everyone (not only wounded warriors) on psychological health and TBI issues and resources and partners with the VA and a national network of military and civilian agencies, community leaders, advocacy groups, clinical experts, and academic institutions to establish best practices and quality standards for the treatment of TBI. The DCoE's work is carried out across these major areas: clinical care; education and training; prevention; research and patient, family and community outreach.

The Veterans Health Administration has a Polytrauma System of Care to treat and care for Veterans with TBI alone or in combination with other injuries and health conditions.

In its CY2013 report entitled "Returning Home from Iraq and Afghanistan: Preliminary Assessment of Readjustment Needs of Veterans, Service Members, and Their Families", the Committee on the Assessment of the Readjustment Needs of Military Personnel, Veterans, and Their Families of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine continues to stress that its extensive research into TBI treatment is stymied by the apparent non-availability of DoD/VA standards. Through end-CY2016, independent verification of the existence of standards was inhibited by the non-accessibility to DVBIC and DCoE websites by the general public.

While definitive standards for TBI treatment are still unavailable for public consumption, the availability of pre- and post-deployment screenings, coupled with improved case management practices indicates that tangible progress had been made on the establishment of standards by end-CY2016.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-6
The Promise: "As the nation's largest integrated health system, the Veterans Health Administration has already been a national leader in reform, particularly with electronic health records and prevention initiatives...will continue this trend to make the VA a leader of national health care reform so that veterans get the best care possible. This includes efforts to improve electronic records interoperability, expand effectiveness research, promote wellness programs, and instill more accountability for performance and quality improvement initiatives."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:On 04/09/09, President Obama announced the creation of a Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) to improve care and services to transitioning veterans by facilitating the flow of medical records between the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Once fully developed, VLER will include both administrative and medical information from the day a new recruit enters military service, throughout that servicemember's career, and after that servicemember retires or separates from active or reserve duty.

A proof of concept VLER prototype and production pilot was executed in the San Diego area during CY2009. On 01/30/10, the DoD and VA joined the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN). They announced on 03/08/10 that they had progressed to testing capabilities to complete data integration implementation, and were building adaptors to communicate through the NHIN with each other and with private providers.

As of end-CY2016, even private clinics and health facilities, using the Veterans Health Information Exchange (VHIE), had been able to exchange electronic patient records with the VA through the VLER Program, enabling access to patient records of active and retired military personnel who receive care at VA health care facilities.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-7
The Promise: "...increasing the VA budget to recruit and retain more mental health professionals..."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) FY2010 appropriation included an increase of $300M over the FY2009 appropriation of $4.3B for "programs addressing the wounded, ill and injured, traumatic brain injury, and psychological health. This includes includes "$1 million to provide education debt relief as a hiring incentive for mental health professionals." The DoD budget for FY2010 included $800M for improving the hiring and retention of psychiatrists and mental health professionals.

For FY2011, the President's budget proposal for the Department of Defense included $669M "to provide care for traumatic brain injury and psychological health" and $250M "for continued support of mental health and traumatic brain injury research". Also in the VA FY2011 budget proposal, the President proposed to invest $5.2B in "specialized care" for post-traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury and other mental health conditions. This number went up to $5.8B in FY2012 and $6.2B in FY2013.

The VA's budget steadily increased each year of President Obama's two terms in office, with total funding during his second term as follows: FY2014 - $147.9B, FY2015 - $158.6B, FY2016 - $162.6B, FY2017 - $176.9B. These funding increases permitted the increased hiring of mental health professionals.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-8
The Promise: "There will be a longterm need for strengthened specialty care within the VA, including additional polytrauma centers as well as centers of excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), PTSD, vision impairment, prosthetics, spinal cord injury, aging, women's health and other specialized rehabilitative care...he will expand the number of these centers of excellence and invest in specialty care."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:When President Obama assumed his office, the VA administered four (4) Polytrauma Rehabilitation Centers (PRC), one each in Richmond, VA; Tampa, FL; Minneapolis, MN; and Palo Alto, CA, supplemented by 21 Polytrauma Network Sites (PNS). These were further supplemented by 80 Polytrauma Support Clinic Teams (PSCT) at the nation's VA hospitals.

A fifth PRC was dedicated on 10/25/11 in San Antonio, TX.

By the end of President Obama's second term in office, the Polytrauma System of Care (PSC) continued to provide a continuum of integrated care through 5 Polytrauma Transitional Rehabilitation Programs (PTRP) at the five PRCs (up from four), 23 PNS (up from 21), 86 PSCT (up from 80), and 39 Polytrauma Points of Contact (POC), located at VA medical centers across the country.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
HomelessnessGrade
VA-9
The Promise: "Launch an innovative supportive services-housing program to prevent at-risk veterans and veteran families from falling into homelessness in the first place."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", dayed 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:The VA began a $26M pilot program in FY2010 to prevent homelessness and maintain housing stability for veterans' families. Further, the VA began supportive services in FY2010 for low-income veterans living in permanent housing to help prevent the onset of homelessness.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF): This program, authorized by Public Law 110-387 (Veterans' Mental Health and Other Care Improvements Act of 2008), provides supportive services to very low- income Veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing. SSVF was designed to rapidly re-house homeless veteran families and prevent homelessness for those at imminent risk of becoming homeless due to a housing crisis. Funds are granted to private nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives, which then provide very low-income veteran families with a range of supportive services designed to promote housing stability.

Based on an Annual Homeless Assessment Report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), veteran homelessness during the Obama Administration steadily declined as follows:
CY2009 - 75,600
CY2010 - 74,087
CY2011 - 65,455
CY2012 - 60,579
CY2013 - 55,619
CY2014 - 49,689
CY2015 - 47,725
CY2016 - 39,471
By end-CY2016, three states (Virginia, Connecticut and Delaware) as well as 66 communities had reported to the VA that they no longer had homeless veterans.

Also since CY2010, more than 600,000 veterans and their family members have been permanently housed, rapidly re-housed, or prevented from falling into homelessness through HUD's targeted housing vouchers and VA's homelessness programs.

During President Obama's two terms in office, significant progress was made to prevent and end veteran homelessness. The number of veterans experiencing homelessness in the USA declined by nearly half (46%) during the period CY2010-CY2016. The unsheltered homeless population -- those veterans living on the streets, in cars, abandoned buildings or other places not meant for human habitation -- declined by 53% over the same period. The HUD Point-in-Time (PIT) Count estimated that on a single night in January 2017, roughly 39,471 veterans were experiencing homelessness. Of these, 26,404 were sheltered and 13,067 were unsheltered or on the street compared to 45,642 sheltered and 29,958 unsheltered in CY2009.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-10
The Promise: "Expand proven homeless veteran housing vouchers to assist those already on the streets."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:According to a Veterans Administration (VA) and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report released in 02/11, nearly 76K veterans were homeless on any given night in CY2009, representing about 12% of all homeless adults nationwide that year.

The HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program serves hard-to-house, homeless veterans and their families with deep housing subsidies and intensive supportive services. HUD-VASH, a collaboration between HUD and the VA, grew from a small program serving fewer than 2,000 veterans in CY2008 to a major program with the capacity to serve more than 87,000 veterans by end-CY2016. The program contributed substantially to the 47% decline in the number of homeless veterans since CY2010.

There was a measurable increase in the number of housing vouchers made available to homeless veterans during President Obama's tenure.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
JobsGrade
VA-11
The Promise: "Will put additional resources into enforcement and investigation in order to crack down on employers who are not following the letter and spirit of the law in regards to military reservists."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans" dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:The "Uniformed Services Employment and Re-employment Rights Act" (USERRA) has existed since CY1994. This law has re-hiring enforcement mechanisms in place to protect honorably discharged reservists returning from active duty. This law requires an amendment to ensure that returning reservists are not subjected to discrimination by former employers.

In an effort to mitigate this situation, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the "Help Veterans Return to Work Act" (H.R. 3860) on 02/01/12. This bill did not progress beyond referral to the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs.

On 07/19/12, President Obama issued a memorandum with the subject "Ensuring the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) Protections." While this memorandum served to establish a "USERRA Employment Protection Working Group," it did not allocate additional resources to enforce and investigate employer discrimination against reservists returning from active duty. Rather, it simply directed participating agencies to "allocate sufficient resources to effectively implement the requirements of this memorandum, subject to the availability of appropriations."

On 09/28/16, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the "Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Improvement Act of 2016" (S. 3445) to improve the enforcement of employment and reemployment rights of members of the uniformed services. This bill expired with the 114th Congress at the end of CY2016.

This promise was not fulfilled.
0.00
VA-12
The Promise: "...will create a new 'Green Vet Initiative' that will have two missions: first it will offer counseling and job placement to help veterans gain the skills to enter this rapidly growing field; second, it will work with industry partners to create career pathways and educational programs."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "New Energy for America" dated 09/06/08.
Source: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/edg/media/Obama_New_Energy_0804.pdf
Status:As of 10/11, the jobless rate among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans grew to 12.1% according to Department of Labor statistics, 3% higher than the national average of 9.1% for that month. The 12.1% veteran unemployment rate was up from 10% in 11/10, which was up from 8.4% in 07/10 and up from 7.7% in 07/09. The primary reason for the high veteran unemployment rate was that few of the skills acquired by our warfighters were directly transferable to the civilian sector.

Nonetheless, under the Veterans Workforce Investment Program, $7M was allocated to create 3,000 jobs for veterans in the green sector.

The Department of Labor had a separate $100M initiative, created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, that funded green training for veterans.

In the private sector, "Green Collar Vets," headquartered in Mansfield, TX, provided "online assistance to veterans in selecting and securing their next career in the rapidly-growing, multi-faceted green industries."

On 08/05/11, President Obama announced the creation of a new career readiness training proposal, dubbed a "reverse boot camp," to assist troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to better transition to the civilian workforce. In his announcement, President Obama also proposed tax credit incentives for companies to hire unemployed and disabled veterans and returning service men and women at a cost of approximately $120M over two years. Legislation supporting these initiatives was signed into law on 08/03/11 as the "Restoring GI Bill Fairness Act of 2011" (H.R. 1383) sponsored by Representative Jeff Miller (R-FL).

The "3% Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act" (H.R. 674) was introduced by Congressman Walter Herger (R-CA) on 02/11/11. Title II of H.R. 674 is entitled "VOW to Hire Heroes." Subtitle A of Title II, entitled "Retraining Veterans" provided for the retraining of 45K veterans during FY2012 and 54K veterans during the period 10/01/12 through 03/31/14.

Section 261 of Title II, entitled "Returning Heroes and Wounded Warriors Work Opportunity Tax Credits" granted tax credits of up to $5,600 for employers hiring veterans who have been unemployed for at least six months; granted employers a $2,400 credit for hiring veterans unemployed for more than four weeks; granted tax credits of up to $9,600 for hiring disabled veterans who had been seeking work for more than six months; provided benefits to aging veterans for continued education; provided an additional year of help for job-hunting disabled vets; and allowed warfighters to apply for jobs before being discharged.

H.R. 674 was signed into law by President Obama on 11/21/11.

While no formal federal level "Green Vet Initiative" was created as promised, the programs initiated and the funds allocated for satisfying the two stated missions constitute promise fulfillment, as does the new tax credit incentives for industry to hire veterans. For example, the Denver-based non-profit organization "Veterans Green Job" has initiated a new "Veterans Green Force" recruitment and placement program that aims to place 300 veterans in "green" jobs.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Veterans' BenefitsGrade
VA-13
The Promise: "To reduce the Veterans Benefits Administration claims backlog, "Obama will hire additional claims workers and convene our nation's leading veterans groups, employees and managers to develop an updated training and management model..."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans" dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:As of 06/09, the VA had over 720,000 claims pending. A VA Inspector General report dated 09/23/09 laid the blame for claims processing delays on inadequate VA workload management practices, not on inadequate claims processing personnel resources.

The FY2010 Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act signed into law on 10/22/09 by President Obama included resources to continue moving toward his goal of reforming the benefits claims process, increasing funds for that purpose from $1.4B in FY2009 to $1.8B in FY2010. This translated into the VA's ability to hire 1,200 new claims processors in FY2010, bringing that workforce to 14,550 personnel.

The number of claims pending action went from 448,000 in 04/10 to 756,000 in 04/11. Claims exceeding 125 days processing time went up from 200,000 in 04/10 to 450,000 in 04/11, with processing time estimated at 180 days.

Despite processing over 1M claims in CY2010 and CY2011, the number of claims in progress at end-CY2012 was estimated to be 897,566, 67.6% or 606,754 of which were over 125 days old.

The backlog of claims peaked in 03/13 with 611,000 stuck in processing for over 125 days. A year later, that number had gone down to 344,000, an indicator that processing improvements were taking hold.

The claims processing system became increasingly strained by end-CY2014 as veterans from Afghanistan separated from active service, many of whom had multiple medical conditions. The claims backlog was further exacerbated by the aging of Vietnam-era veterans who were filing for medical benefits and previously unavailable benefits related to Agent Orange exposure. To mitigate that situation, President Obama requested $2.5 billion, an increase of $28 million over FY2014, in his FY2015 budget request for veteran benefits processing.

With the hiring of additional claims processors coupled with mandatory overtime, the veterans claims backlog was significantly reduced. On 06/30/15, the number of initial claims waiting in excess of 125 days for processing was estimated at 194,000. By 12/31/16, that number reportedly went down to about 70,000.

The backlog of VA claims was significantly reduced during President Obama's two terms in office.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-14
The Promise: "Obama will sign an executive order "ending the unfair ban on healthcare enrollment of certain groups of veterans, including 'Priority 8' veterans who often earn modest incomes."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans" dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:Priority 8 veterans are those who either have no service-connected disability or a 0% disability rating, with incomes above specified thresholds based on family size. For the VA's Income Year 2016, income thresholds for eligibility for free VA health care were $32,074 for a veteran with no dependents to $44,104 for a veteran with four dependents (an amount increased by $2,205 for each additional dependent over four).

Under President Bush, Congress authorized the expenditure of $375M to re-enroll some Priority 8 veterans, about 10% of the total number of eligible veterans.

When President Obama signed the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act on 10/22/09, he acknowledged that "for 500,000 Priority 8 veterans, we're restoring VA health care coverage". According to the VA, the correct number of Priority 8 veterans was closer to 265,000 at the time the law was signed.

Although this promise was for President Obama to sign an executive order on this matter, which he failed to do, by signing the above Act, he essentially delivered on this promise.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-15
The Promise: "As president, Obama will meet early in the budgeting process each year with congressional leaders and the nation's leading Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) to ensure the VA budget is always given must-pass status."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans" dated 09/09/08.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:The House passed H.R. 1016, the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009, on 10/08/09 by a vote of 419-1. The measure was then approved by the Senate on 10/13/09. President Obama signed this legislation into law on 10/22/09.

Starting in FY2011, the above Act requires the President to submit a budget request for the VA's medical-care accounts for the fiscal year after the one for which the budget is submitted.

The legislation also requires the VA to provide an annual report to Congress by 07/31 of each year, projecting cost estimates in advance of the current year's budget requirements.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-16
The Promise: "Obama will transform the paper benefit claims process to an electronic system that will be interoperable with the VA's health network as well as military records"
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans" date 09/09/08
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:The VA's 2010 budget included $3.3B to develop electronic health care records, paperless claims systems, and seamless integration of medical and service records with DoD. This level of funding was considered sufficient to get the promised transformation started and implemented.

For FY2011, the actual budget authorization for VA Information Technology (IT) was $2.994B.

Part of the President's FY2012 request for $2.019B for claims processing was for information technology enhancements. Further, of the enacted $3.161B for the VA's FY2012 discretionary funding for information technology, $70M was for the development and implementation of a Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) initiative and $148M for a paperless claims processing system.

For FY2013, the President's request for VA IT was $3.327B, $128M of which was specifically for the continued development and implementation of a paperless claims system under the Veterans Benefits Management System.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
VA-17
The Promise: "...would also extend the window for new veterans to enroll in the VA from two to five years."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Fulfilling a Sacred Trust With Our Veterans", Kansas City, 08/20/07.
Source: http://obama.3cdn.net/cc58c930c81a543386_a0m6b5dgf.pdf
Status:Veterans, including "new" veterans, who served in a theater of operations after 11/11/98 are eligible for an extended period of eligibility for health care for five years after their discharge.

H.R. 1460 was introduced by Congressman William Owens (D-NY) on 04/08/11 to provide for automatic enrollment of veterans returning from combat zones into the VA medical system. This bill and others like it such as the "Providing Real Outreach (PRO) for Veterans Act" (S. 1080) introduced during the 112th Congress (CY2011-13) did not get beyond initial committee reviews. These bills would have granted veterans returning from combat tours in Iraq or Afghanistan automatic enrollment in the VA if the terms of their discharge permitted.

However, not all service members got to serve in Iraq or Afghanistan by end-CY2016. Such veterans were assigned to a lower priority group for receipt of VA health care benefits, with those able to afford their own health care placed at the lowest end of the priority scale.

According to a VA representative responding to a telephonic inquiry (1-877-222-VETS), an otherwise qualified "new veteran" can enroll for VA health care benefits at any time and is not limited to two or five years after discharge.

This promise was fulfilled.
1.00
Veterans Affairs GPA0.94