Desired Improvements

For the Peace Corps to be the GREAT agency that Sargent Shriver and JFK envisioned, it must take care of ALL Volunteers who have served and fallen ill or become injured. Major institutional changes are necessary to address the numerous health issues that Volunteers endure throughout and upon returning from service.  For improvements unable to be made internally by the USDOL or the PC, we ask that Congress create appropriate legislation. A method of monitoring the Peace Corps and the USDOL with appropriate metrics are necessary to ensure accountability and adherence to improved policy.

What We Need From The Government

* Our requests address issues related to sick and injured Volunteers to include those Volunteers who also continue to mentally and physically suffer from sexual assault or other violent actions.

For the Peace Corps to be the GREAT agency that Sargent Shriver and JFK envisioned, it must take care of ALL Volunteers who have served and fallen ill or become injured. Major institutional changes are necessary to address the numerous health issues that Volunteers endure throughout and upon returning from service.  For improvements unable to be made internally by the USDOL or the PC, we ask that Congress create appropriate legislation. A method of monitoring the Peace Corps and the USDOL with appropriate metrics are necessary to ensure accountability and adherence to improved policy.

  1. A Bill of Rights that ensures that Returned Peace Corps Volunteers (RPCVs) are treated with the respect and honor that they deserve by the Peace Corps community, Peace Corps AND the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).
  2. Appointed Specialists in the Peace Corps to help RPCVs complete appropriate forms to apply for DOL medical claims, disability, access to medical care and treatment.  They will continue to support the RPCV as long as they shall need help to ensure that all medical bills associated with the claim are paid. They will also ensure that RPCVs inadvertently dropped from the USDOL/FECA system are reinstated. 
  3. A USDOL and Peace Corps Liaison: Person nominated and appointed by Peace Corps and DOL who is trained to educate claims examiners in the processing of Peace Corps claims, which are different from other Federal claims.
  4. Access to medical practitionersDepartment of Labor MUST make changes to the system to that sick and injured Volunteers have access to medical services, care and treatment by qualified practitioners. Peace Corps MUST enroll appropriate practitioners into the DOL system. Practitioners who MUST be included are specialists in infectious and tropical disease, mental health experts, and dentists.  
  5. Increase the Federal Pay Scale for the purposes of disability income, must be increased so that those unable to work will have a livable wage. An increase from 2/3 of a GS 7 step 1 to a GS 11 step 1 (approximately $23,560 annual income to $35,500 annual income). 
  6. Shift burden of proof for secondary health effects from primary health issue from the volunteer to the Peace Corps
  7. External Oversight of the DOL's processing of RPCV claims:  This MUST include accuracy and just timeliness with which OWCP adjudicates claims and payments for medical services, care, and treatment; oversight of systems and processes to include Affiliated Computer Services (ACS) to respond to pre-authorizations and payment of medical claims paperwork. Oversight must be extended to those who are able to return to work part-time, but need training or help ensuring that some USDOL/FECA coverage continues. 
  8. A Safety Net with intervention by Peace Corps when RPCVs are inadvertently dropped out of USDOL system. Some have been left without income or medical coverage for varying periods up to two years.
  9. Improved Health Insurance: USDOL does NOT grant health coverage for any other illnesses contracted before/after Peace Corps service that are not service related. for those who come home sick and for those who were uninsurable under Obama Care and may be uninsurable under the new administration. The current temporary "cobra" plan for RPCVs through Peace Corps did not meet the minimum requirements under Obama Care. The Peace Corps MUST provide access to an affordable group health insurance plan to include dental care and mental health coverage.
  10. Extend Filing Time Frame: Dispose of the three-year time frame for filing a USDOL for a health issue, as some acquired health problems do not manifest or become immediately serious.

Basic legislation has been proposed by Congressmen Poe and Kennedy. It must still be endorsed by other representatives in the House.
This will only happen if you send an easy, pre-written email to your representative to urge them to do so. Subsequently, legislation also must be proposed by the Senate and then voted on.