January is almost finished, but the Department of Veterans Affairs has its work cut out for it in 2012. Throughout the year, military families should expect to hear and see the VA take on several issues.
The VA budget for fiscal year 2012 is $58.5 billion. However, the federal budget plan also apportioned a mandatory $63.8 billion for veterans programs, such as the VA home loan program. So for future military homeowners who thought the program was in jeopardy due to budget cuts, fear not.
Portions of that $58.5 billion already got allotted for the following uses.
Current war veterans
Research and treatment for Afghanistan and Iraq veterans landed $3 billion. By the VA’s estimate, the department will aid more than 530,000 veterans from those two wars in 2012. Through research and treatment, the VA plans to focus on traumatic brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder among other mental health issues.
The VA budget for FY2012 features $4.9 billion for programs working to reduce veteran homelessness. FY2011 set aside $600 million less to alleviate this problem. VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki wants to move every homeless veteran off the street and into homes by 2015.
Programs that treat veterans at home or when they visit certain facilities earned $600 million more this fiscal year for a total of $6.9 billion. The VA deems these long-term care programs. A caregiver program, designed to give training and stipends to families of injured vets, will launch thanks to $200 million.
Slightly more than last year, medical and prosthetic research will get some fiscal love. Almost $600 million will fund the research.
For the future
Congress’ budget plan earmarked $52.5 billion for FY2013 for the VA. That’s guaranteed money for the VA’s mandatory expenditures, such as medical programs for veterans. Given all the hang-ups on the budget, Congress wanted to—and did—make sure the VA would not be one of the first agencies to hit the chopping block.
Image courtesy of DrStarbuck under a Creative Commons License on Flickr.