A 58-year-old Massachusetts woman who suffered a paralyzing brainstem stroke 15 years ago while working in her garden was able to serve herself coffee using the BrainGate system and a robotic arm. (Photo courtesy of BrainGate2.org)
The Department of Veterans Affairs Act of 1988 elevated the administration into the Cabinet-level department we know today. It was signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on Oct. 25, 1988, and came into effect under the term of President George H.W. Bush on March 15, 1989.
To highlight our 25 years of service to Veterans, their families and survivors as the Department of Veterans Affairs, we’re sharing 25 facts you may not know about VA. You can find facts 1-5 here, facts 6-10 here and facts 11-15 here.
- In 2013, VA posted an all-time annual record of 629,000 home loans guaranteed; nearly 90 percent of all VA loans are made with no down payment. In 2012, VA guaranteed its 20 millionth home loan. In addition, VA maintains the lowest foreclosure inventory rate of any loan type on the market, despite the recent housing market crisis, and has helped prevent foreclosure for more than 335,000 Veterans since 2009.
- VA researchers and colleagues made headlines in May 2012 when they demonstrated that people with total paralysis could control robotic arms using only their thoughts. The revolutionary system called BrainGate, harnesses brain signals to command external devices. Watch the 60 Minutes story on BrainGate here.
- The National Cemetery Administration bested the nation’s top corporations and other federal agencies in a prestigious, 2013 independent survey of customer satisfaction, garnering the highest score in either the private or public sector in the history of the survey. For the fifth consecutive time, NCA ranked above other public and private sector organizations on the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey.
- Since 2004, the American Customer Satisfaction Index survey has consistently shown that Veterans receiving inpatient and outpatient care from VA hospitals and clinics give a higher customer satisfaction score, on average, than patients at private sector hospitals.
- Since the Post-9/11 GI Bill went into effect in 2009, VA has paid more than $38.9 billion in tuition and benefits to 1.16 million Veterans, Servicemembers and their families; and to the universities, colleges and trade schools they attend.