Veterans’ Disability Compensation: Trends and Policy Options
Source: Congressional Budget Office
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) oversees a disability program that makes payments through the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) to compensate U.S. veterans for medical conditions or injuries that are incurred or aggravated during active duty in the military, although not necessarily during the performance of military duties. Compensable service-connected disabilities range widely in severity and type, including the loss of one or more limbs, migraines, scars, and hypertension. Payments are meant to offset the average earnings lost as a result of those conditions, whether or not a particular veteran’s condition has reduced his or her earnings or interfered with his or her daily functioning. Disability compensation is not means-tested; veterans who work are eligible for benefits, and, in fact, most working-age veterans who receive disability benefits are employed. Payments are in the form of monthly annuities and typically continue until death.
Adjusted for inflation to 2014 dollars, VA disability compensation to veterans amounted to $54 billion in 2013, or about 70 percent of VBA’s total mandatory spending, according to analysis by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). The remainder of the department’s mandatory spending that year was for programs that provide veterans with housing assistance, education, vocational training, and other assistance. In 2013, about 3.5 million of the nation’s 22 million veterans received disability compensation benefits. (Those benefits are distinct from the health benefits provided through the Veterans Health Administration [VHA].)
The Olympic and Paralympic legacy: Inspired by 2012 – second annual report
Source: Cabinet Office
This report describes the activities which took place in the second year since the Games to build a lasting legacy across a number of commitments, namely sport and healthy living, the regeneration of east London, bringing communities together, the Paralympic legacy and economic growth.
The report includes a foreword by the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London, and an assessment of progress by Lord Sebastian Coe, the Prime Minister’s Olympic & Paralympic Legacy Ambassador.
The Education Directory for Children With Special Needs
Source: U.S. Department of Defense
The Education Directory for Children With Special Needs provides military families with children with special needs the information they need to make informed assignment decisions and easier transitions.
The directory consists of two components:
- The Early Intervention Directory focusing on early intervention services for children birth through 3 years old
- The School-Age Directory focusing on education services for children with special needs, 3 through 21 years old
Both provide tools and resources to help with the transition to a new location. The Early Intervention Directory summarizes national and state level early intervention trends and includes descriptions of local early intervention service providers. The School-Age Directory summarizes national and state level trends for special education and includes descriptions of individual school districts.
Note: Not just for military families. Lots of good info here.
New GAO Report and Testimonies
Source: Government Accountability Office
1. Medicaid Payment: Comparisons of Selected Services under Fee-for-Service, Managed Care, and Private Insurance. GAO-14-533, July 15.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664783.pdf
1. VA Disability Claims Processing: Preliminary Observations on Accuracy Rates and Quality Assurance Activities, by Daniel Bertoni, director, education, workforce and income security issues, before the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. GAO-14-731T, July 14.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664762.pdf
2. Helium Program: BLM’s Implementation of the Helium Stewardship Act of 2013, by Anne-Marie Fennell, director, natural resources and environment, before the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources, House Committee on Natural Resources. GAO-14-751T, July 15.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664778.pdf
3. Federal Workforce: Human Capital Management Challenges and the Path to Reform, by Robert Goldenkoff, director, strategic issues, before the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and the Census, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. GAO-14-723T, July 15.
Highlights – http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/664773.pdf
Intellectual Disability, Australia, 2012
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics
Intellectual disability is a term used to describe a reduced ability to understand new or complex information and to learn and apply new skills (Endnote 1). The Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) defines intellectual disability as “difficulty learning or understanding things.”
Canada — Increasing opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity
Increasing opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity
Source: Public Health Agency of Canada
The Public Health Agency of Canada has partnered with Special Olympics Canada, the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation to increase opportunities for children living with intellectual disabilities to participate in physical activity.
Special Olympics Canada currently runs two initiatives, called “Active Start” and “FUNdamentals,” that provide children with an intellectual disability the opportunity to improve physical, social and cognitive abilities, thereby establishing a foundation for being physically active and healthy. With funding from the Government of Canada, the RBC Foundation and the Samuel Family Foundation, these programs will be expanded, reaching more children across Canada.
The goal of this partnership is to promote healthy living and healthy weights among children living with intellectual disability.
An analysis of 20 years of Cigna’s short-term disability claims shows that absence related to obesity, treatment for skin cancer and herniated disc surgery increased significantly from 1993 to 2012, while a reduction in absences related to depression coupled with an increase in prescribed anti-depressants may signal a hidden problem. These and other health trends identified by the analysis are important for employers to understand when structuring an integrated wellness and absence management program to improve workforce productivity.
Raising Expectations 2014: A State Scorecard on Long-Term Services and Supports for Older Adults, People with Physical Disabilities, and Family Caregivers
This report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute, The Commonwealth Fund and The SCAN Foundation shows some states significantly out-perform others in the delivery of long-term services and supports (LTSS) to older adults and people with disabilities.
While states are making measureable progress in improving long term services and supports (LTSS) – which includes home care services, family caregiver supports, and residential services such as nursing homes – widespread disparities still exist across the country, with even top performing states requiring improvement. Further, the pace of change remains slow, threatening states’ ability to meet the needs of the aging population.
The LTSS Scorecard evaluates performance in five key dimensions: (1) affordability and access, (2) choice of setting and provider, (3) quality of life and quality of care, (4) support for family caregivers, and (5) effective transitions. New indicators this year include length of stay in nursing homes and use of anti-psychotic drugs by nursing homes, raising serious concerns about the quality of institutionalized care.
Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering
Source: National Science Foundation
Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering provides statistical information about the participation of women, minorities, and persons with disabilities in science and engineering education and employment. A formal report, now in the form of a digest, is issued every 2 years.
CRS — The Education of Students with Disabilities: Alignment Between the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Education of Students with Disabilities: Alignment Between the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbilities, Georgetown University)
The largest sources of federal funding for elementary and secondary education are the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB; P.L. 107-110), and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA; P.L. 108-446). The ESEA provides funding and services for a broad population of students, including disadvantaged students, migrant students, neglected and delinquent students, and students with limited English proficiency. Approximately 6 million students with disabilities ages 6 through 21 attend elementary and secondary schools; however, they are not afforded special services under the ESEA due to their disability status. The IDEA provides funding and services specifically for those students with disabilities. Both the ESEA and IDEA aim to improve the educational outcomes for students with disabilities. The ways in which they do this sometimes differ, and when the laws are not fully or clearly aligned it can be difficult for educators to plan and execute an appropriate education for students with disabilities.
Facts for Features — Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities Act: July 26
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, commercial facilities, telecommunications, and state and local government services.
Inactivity Related to Chronic Disease in Adults with Disabilities
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Working age adults with disabilities who get no aerobic physical activity are 50 percent more likely to have a chronic disease such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, or heart disease than their active peers, according to a Vital Signs report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most adults with disabilities are able to participate in physical activity, yet nearly half (47 percent) of them get no aerobic physical activity. An additional 22 percent aren’t active enough. However, only about 44 percent of adults with disabilities who saw a doctor in the past year got a recommendation for physical activity.