The American Legion has maintained an ongoing concern and commitment to disabled veterans and their families since the founding of the organization in 1919. The American Legion in the 1920’s was instrumental in creating the U.S. Veterans Bureau, forerunner of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The American Legion has continued to be a watchdog as well as an advocate of veterans programs and benefits. The mission of The American Legion Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation (VA&R) Commission is to ensure veterans, survivors and eligible dependents receive appropriate health care, education and training, and delivery of benefits.
The goal of the VA&R Commission is to develop policy on all VA health care, benefits and national cemetery issues that come before The American Legion.
The VA&R division breaks down into four separate branches: Health Care, Field Service, Insurance, and Veterans Claims and Appeals.
VA&R has long been involved with testimony before Congress dealing with specific issues of concern including the 22 VA Networks, the VA Budget, Long Term Care, Persian Gulf Illnesses, Agent Orange and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The volunteer program is the most important aspect of VA&R since it involves veterans helping veterans. Legionnaires log more than 1 million hours each year volunteering at VA hospitals and in the community. The VA could not survive without the endless hours provide by these volunteers.