VA and NAACP announce partnership to improve quality of life for Black and minority Veterans

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WASHINGTON — VA and the NAACP announced an agreement to work together to advance and improve the quality of life for all Veterans, including minority Veterans.

As a part of the partnership, VA and the NAACP will seek to increase the number of Black Veterans enrolled in VA health care, increase awareness of VA benefits and services among Black Veterans, and increase recruitment of culturally-competent providers at VA. VA and the NAACP will also meet regularly, share expertise and knowledge, and coordinate on outreach to minority Veteran communities.

“At VA, it’s our mission to serve all Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors as well as they’ve served our country,” said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. “This historic partnership with the NAACP will help us deliver on that promise, enhancing our outreach to Black Veterans and helping ensure that we provide every Veteran with the world-class care and benefits they deserve.”

As we commemorate the 75th anniversary of the integration of our armed forces, we must acknowledge the fact that Black Veterans have not always received the just treatment they deserve,” said NAACP & CEO Derrick Johnson. “That’s why the NAACP is proud to embark on this historic partnership with VA to further our commitment to ensuring that representation does not come without respect. We look forward to all that we’ll accomplish together on behalf of our Black Veterans.”

This partnership will be critical to VA’s goals to eliminate barriers and inequalities for Veterans who have historically been underserved, and to provide world-class care and benefits to all Veterans, their families, caregivers, and survivors. As a part of these efforts, VA also recently created a new Agency Equity Team — known as the I*DEA (inclusion, diversity, equity, and access) Council — which is responsible for helping VA improve outcomes for historically underserved Veterans, identifying and eliminating any disparities in VA health care and benefits, creating and implementing a VA Equity Action Plan, listening to and learning from historically underserved Veteran communities, and more. The Council is also working to eliminate disparities and barriers to recruit, hire, develop, promote, and retain employees, including those from historically underserved communities. 

Data recently released by VA shows that since 2017, VA has delivered disability compensation benefits to a higher percentage of Black Veterans than other Veterans. However, grant rates for Black Veterans were lower. Through this partnership and VA’s Agency Equity Team, VA is actively looking into these differences and working to address them.

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