Showing posts with label Social Security. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Social Security. Show all posts

Friday, September 29, 2023

Bottom line on shutdown--we pay for the temper tantrums of a few

We're all angry members of Congress refused to do their jobs because they cannot get their own way and make demands on the majority of the other members. The minority don't care what they are doing to us, and frankly, they don't seem to care about anyone but themselves.

The bottom line on shutdown--we pay for the temper tantrums of a few!

Our troops won't be paid!
WASHINGTON —Military officials prepared Friday to cut pay for troops and civilians, and close offices and activities deemed not essential to national security as the deadline nears for the government shutdown that is expected to begin at 12:01 a.m. Sunday.

Troops will remain deployed to hotspots around the world, and civilians in critical chair-borne commands at the Pentagon and elsewhere will remain on job. But none will be paid unless an agreement on government spending or legislation authorizing military pay is reached.

President Joe Biden said Friday that the failure to pay troops would be a “disgrace.”

“We can’t be playing politics while our troops stand in the breach,” Biden said at the retirement ceremony for Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. (USA Today)

Social Security and Medicare won't stop. 

Social Security is considered a mandatory program, and it isn't funded by the shorter-term appropriations bills passed by Congress and signed by the president. That means its operations and funding don't stop when the government shuts down.

That's important for a large proportion of Americans, as about 67 million people receive monthly Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. Those benefits go primarily to retirees but also to people with disabilities, as well as dependents of deceased beneficiaries.

Medicare and Veterans Affairs benefits also continue to be distributed during a shutdown. (NBC News)
Veteran health care is not impacted. VA Medical Centers, Outpatient Clinics, and Vet Centers will be open.
VA benefits will continue to be processed and delivered, including compensation, pension, education, and housing benefits.
Burials will continue at VA national cemeteries. Applications for headstones, markers, and burial benefits processing will continue.
The Board of Veterans’ Appeals will continue decisions on Veterans' cases.
VA Contact Centers (1-800-MyVA411) and the Veterans Crisis Line (Dial 988, Press 1) are open 24/7.
VA will not provide Veteran career counseling or transition assistance program activities.
The GI Bill Hotline will be closed.
VA benefits regional offices will be closed.
VA will cease public affairs and outreach to Veterans.
VA will not permanently place headstones or maintain the grounds at VA national cemeteries.
VA will not process applications for pre-need burials.
VA will not print new presidential memorial certificates.

For the rest of the services you receive, contact the provider. We have a home health aide who is a private contractor and she won't be paid, so we won't have her for however long this lasts. 

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Seniors, veterans and troops, games and empty words to GOP House Members

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 27, 2023

"This is what gets us in the game" is what North Dakota Rep. Kelly Armstrong had to say about the House Debt Ceiling budget they just passed with 217 Republicans approving of it.

“This is what gets us in the game,” said Rep. Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota. “This is the first conversation. The next conversation is what comes next and we know that and this is part of negotiation. We know we don’t control all three. We don’t control the White House and the Senate but this gets us where we need to start.” (CNN)

According to his website Veterans, military and seniors are not even worth mentioning on his priorities but abortion tops the to-do list for him.

The fact that the debt was the result of what has already been spent. You may have heard that no matter how appalling the Democrats found the GOP priorities, like tax cuts for the rich, they passed a clean bill to raise the Debt Ceiling. The GOP has decided to treat it like a game. They want to make all the rules the rest of the country has to live with, or they are willing to crash the country.

Can this be the worst example of their depravity? It is not just the view this is all some sort of game. It is in the details of what all this includes.
In short, Speaker McCarthy’s plan to raise the debt ceiling would cut the VA’s budget by 22% next fiscal year, Young said. That would force the Veterans Health Administration to eliminate 81,000 jobs, meaning that veterans would be unable to make appointments for wellness visits, cancer screenings, mental health services, substance abuse disorder treatment, and other healthcare services, according to Young. These cuts would translate into 30 million fewer veteran outpatient visits.

The VA would face major budget cuts under the GOP’s debt ceiling plan (Task and Purpose) The VA has also issued a statement saying that cutting the department’s budget by 22% would limit the VA’s ability to provide telehealth services by reducing funding for the necessary information technology and support.

Speaker McCarthy’s proposal to raise the debt ceiling would also force the Veterans Benefits Administration to cut its staff by more than 6,000 people, and that would worsen the wait time for benefits by adding an estimated 134,000 claims to the disability claims backlog, the VA’s statement says.
These cuts to the Veterans Benefits Administration would come at a time when the VA is already seeing an increase in disability claims filed due to the passage of the PACT Act, which expands healthcare to veterans suffering from cancer and other ailments as a result of being exposed to toxic substances from burn pits and other sources along with Vietnam Veterans who are sick because they were exposed to Agent Orange, said Carrie Farmer, of the RAND Corporation.
Social Security and Medicare had been targeted along with everything else in this "game" but have been spared.
Discretionary spending includes things like weapons programs, servicemember pay, grants for schools that serve large shares of low-income students, rental assistance to house millions of poor and disabled, and money to fund research on cancer and other life-threatening diseases. It’s the spending that Congress approves through appropriations bills.

The House GOP bill doesn’t affect spending on Social Security and Medicare. Such spending, referred to as mandatory, accounts for about two-thirds of all federal spending. (AP)

Can you imagine any politician proud of the fact they wanted to cut them? They were! Just as they are proud of cutting the military spending for the sake of the troops right after they heard the troops with families cannot afford to pay rent!
"We have to use a moment like that to do things that the administration wouldn't otherwise do, the Democrats don't support," Banks said. He said spending caps, balanced budgets and cutting wasteful discretionary spending have to be on the table. (CBS News)
This is from Rep. Jim Banks during a sub-committee meeting and what he had to say when the cameras were focused on him, yet, he voted for the cuts!
You have reduced your end strength requests below the 2023 authorized numbers. So, you must ask yourselves why, and I ask what are you doing about it. What are you doing to ensure that you have the required end strength to fulfill this mission -- the mission requirements around the world, let alone issues like service members' food insecurity, identified by you to affect 25 percent of the force.

That is unacceptable. So, what are you doing about it? So, today we want to focus on what concrete actions are you taking to address all the problems that you face, whether it's recruiting, pay and benefits, food security, retaining talent, family issues, or the elimination of unnecessary bureaucracy. And we don't want more of the same.

Back to Kelly Armstrong and what he said when veterans were paying attention to what he said, his words are nothing but a bunch of words with no deeds to prove he values them!
Armstrong Presents Vietnam Veteran with Long Overdue Military Awards (Press Release)
November 10, 2021

Wahpeton, N.D. – Today, Congressman Kelly Armstrong (R-ND) presented Vietnam Veteran Al Collins of Wahpeton with nine military awards he earned while serving in the U.S. Navy. Collins was honorably discharged in 1971, but he did not receive the awards due to him until 50 years later.

"As a nation, we owe an immense amount of gratitude to the men and women who have served in our armed forces," said Congressman Armstrong. "Al Collins is an American hero who enlisted in the U.S. Navy at 19 and was deployed to fight in the Vietnam War. I am honored to finally present these awards to him that he earned more than 50 years ago while defending the freedoms and liberties we enjoy in the United States."

"I was surprised to hear that I would receive these awards. It feels really good, and I am honored to receive this recognition. I appreciate Congressman Armstrong and North Dakota Veterans Affairs helping me finally receive them," said Vietnam Veteran Al Collins.

"North Dakota is lucky to be home to great veterans like Alfred Collins. It is humbling to know the great sacrifices he has made for his country although it is unfortunate they have gone unrecognized for so long it is great that his family is able to share this moment with him. Thank you to Mary Vetter and Congressman Armstrong for all their efforts to make this happen," said ND Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Lonnie Wangen.

Sunday, October 30, 2022

What moral values are you willing to sacrifice for the only one you fight for?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 30, 2022

This election is not just about who takes control of the House and the Senate. This election is about the moral character of the people. We have many decisions to make. If one of your decisions is voting to take away the decisions of others before you vote on that one issue, open your eyes as to what else you are voting to approve.

First, consider that when I was pregnant with twins and miscarried, I hemorrhaged. My doctor, my husband, and I didn't have to struggle with any other question than to decide if my life should be saved or if I would be left to bleed to death. Today, that decision is what too many are facing and it is wrong. I wanted the twins but my body had other ideas. Some called me a murderer. The thing is, I made peace with God because I believed God could have fixed the twins, or at least saved the other one, but the truth was, He couldn't.

If you call yourself pro-life, then you need to take an honest look at what will come with the price for voting for politicians that claim they will end the right for others to choose what is right for them, just like me.
Judge not, that ye be not judged. 

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Scripture says that God is God of the living. Jesus gave instructions as to how we are to treat the living. Over and over again it is the premise of all that we do for each other instead of "to" one another. Your values are based on what you believe is a personal decision and protected under the laws of this nation. That same right is also protected and the majority of the people in this country respect that. If you believe all Christians are like-minded on anything, including the debate about the divinity of Jesus, then you do not fully understand, or appreciate the number of denominations that exist in every state, or value the same religious beliefs of other groups also devoted to their beliefs as they see fit to choose or any of the others not attending any house of worship other than their own, or those who simply do not believe at all. Each of us is free to choose for ourselves.

What do your values and scripture tell you about what else you will be approving of since the ones promising to end the right to choose are also planning for the rest of us?

Social Security and Medicare and you can read more of their plan to take away what we paid for, putting seniors out of the only income they have to pay their bills, pay their mortgages and rents, and feed themselves. We will not be able to afford medications or go to the doctor. We will not be able to have operations or receive any life-saving efforts. What about the lives of us that have lived all these years with the assurance that we would not become "freeloaders" as too many of them have called us? You can read more about who is pushing to take all that away and threaten our lives on this ABC news report. They also voted against reducing the costs we pay for medications.

Veterans Benefits, too many in the GOP call the benefits our veterans earned "entitlements" and fight against doing the right thing, just as they did with taking care of the veterans suffering from the results of burn pits. They would not have taken care of them if they were in charge at the time the Democrats put the bill up for a vote. They will also jeopardize the benefits of all other veterans because they have shown more loyalty to Trump than to the veterans that risked their lives serving this country.

They talk about the crime rates yet never mention they were responsible for not just the rise in crimes because of the guns they refuse to limit but protect the criminals that perpetrate most of what the rest of us have to deal with. Mass murders with weapons designed for war being legally purchased by the ones slaughtering children in school and in all other places, are protected by the same people while they claim the laws do not have to be changed to protect the rest of us. As a fact pointed out over and over again, the states with the highest per capita rates are controlled by Republicans.

But that's not all. If you watched any of the January 6th Committee hearings, it was clear that those same people lied to you about what Trump and his people claimed about the results of the election. They did not care about you or the truth. As a person of moral values, the truth should matter. Did you seek it? Did you open your eyes to what the truth is if you claim to be a "Christian" then why are you supporting the father of lies instead of the One you claim to love and vote on that one "moral" issue while ignoring all others when it comes to the living bodies with the soul God breathed into all of us?

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Seniors and disabled veterans, do not assume you will be getting the stimulus check

UPDATE Veterans urgent!

The Internal Revenue Service has set a deadline of May 5 for veterans to register for dependent payouts, after initially saying they would have only two days. But the guidance, along with warnings that veterans who don't complete the form now will have to wait until next year for their stimulus funds, has left some confused and scrambling.

"We have several veterans with no Internet access," one email received by said. "Are you able to get at least 25 copies of this IRS form mailed to us?"

UPDATE They changed their minds!

Mnuchin reverses course, won't force seniors to file tax return for coronavirus stimulus check
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration backtracked Wednesday evening on new rules for getting stimulus checks, saying Social Security recipients won't have to file a tax return to receive a payment.

The move is a response to pressure from elderly Americans and senators to rescind guidance issued Monday that said seniors needed to file a return to get the checks of up to $1,200, even if they weren't ordinarily required to file taxes.

Why some Americans may have to file tax returns before they see a coronavirus stimulus check

Lorie Konish
APR 1 2020
A $2 trillion stimulus bill passed by Congress last week included checks of $1,200 to $2,400 to be sent to Americans.
In the legislation, the government said it would deploy those payments using information from tax returns, or 1099 forms for others who don’t typically file those documents, such as some Social Security beneficiaries.
New guidance from the IRS said that those who don’t file returns will have to do so in order to get their payments. Now, some lawmakers and advocacy groups are pushing back.

NoDerog | iStock | Getty Images

There may be a catch for individuals who typically don’t file a tax return but are expecting to receive a stimulus check.

They may have to send a return to the government in order to get paid.

New guidance was released on Monday by the IRS, which said there would be “no action required for most people.”

For some, though, that’s not true.

“People who typically do not file a tax return will need to file a simple tax return to receive an economic impact payment,” the IRS stated. “Low-income taxpayers, senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans and individuals with disabilities who are otherwise not required to file a tax return will not owe tax.”

That new information drew strong pushback from certain members of Congress and advocacy organizations, who argue that those individuals should not have to file just to get their money.
read it here

Monday, February 10, 2020

Will Seniors have to share rooms with their grandkids?

Seniors need to watch out for budget cuts

If the economy is so great, as POTUS claims, why would he want to cut so much from seniors? Many of them voted for him believing his speeches on how he was not touching Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security...just like his tweet after the budget he submitted.

It proposes steep cuts in many domestic programs and increases in spending on the military and other programs that will appeal to Trump’s base as he campaigns for voters to return him to office for another four years.
Overall, Trump’s budget will seek $4.4 trillion in savings over a decade – $2 trillion of which would come from savings from entitlements, including $130 billion from changes to Medicare prescription drug pricing.

Democrats said that would amount to a half-a-trillion-dollar cut to Medicare, roughly $900 billion in cuts to Medicaid and a $24 billion cut to Social Security.

That was all from an article on USA Today, and you can read the rest here.

Trump's budget reflects campaign priorities but abandons pledge to wipe out deficit in 10 years

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Son buried Mom in backyard to keep VA and Social Security checks coming?

PCSO: San Tan Valley man buried mom's body in backyard, kept cashing her checks
News Staff
Posted May 22, 2019

SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- A man was arrested on Wednesday after confessing to burying his mom's body in his backyard to continue receiving her benefits, according to the Pinal County Sheriff's Office.
The arrest of 66-year-old Daniel Shannon comes after a nearly two-month investigation of the disappearance of his 97-year-old mother, Leonie Shannon.

On April 5, deputies went to a home near the area of Jasper Butte and Saratoga Meadows drives, after someone reached out to them with concerns about the whereabouts of Leonie, who had not been seen by anyone since December of 2018.

Daniel was the caregiver for his mother. At the time, he claimed she walked away from the home on Dec. 21, 2018. In addition to saying this isn't his mom's first disappearance, Daniel said they just started getting her Veterans Affairs benefits, and he didn't want to report her missing if she returned.

Daniel's story kept changing during the course of the investigation, PCSO spokeswoman Navideh Forghani said.
read more here

Monday, April 15, 2019

POTUS wants snooping on disabled vets who look too happy?

Disability Advocate Slams White House’s Veteran Surveillance Plan

The Hill
April 15, 2019

Republicans have long presented themselves as the unquestioned pro-military political party. In the last few months, however, conservatives have been targeting veteran benefits. Fox News hosts, Brian Kilmeade and Pete Hegseth, got in on the act recently, taking aim at vets who they believe to be claiming too many benefits.

The White House has recently taken aim at former troops as well, creating a new social media surveillance policy. According to the New York Times, the Social Security administration is on the look out for disabled vets who look too happy.

Lawyer, Robert Crowe, says, “There is a little bitty chance that Social Security may be snooping on your Facebook or your Twitter account. You don’t want anything on there that shows you out playing Frisbee.”
read more here

Monday, September 4, 2017

VA Declared Veterans Dead, Social Security Kept Paying Them?

Social Security pays millions to people VA says are dead

The Washington Times
By Stephen Dinan
September 3, 2017

It was based on a sample of 100 veterans the VA said were dead but whose names never were shared with Social Security. Of those, the audit was able to determine the status of only 30 people: 19 of them were deemed dead while 11 others were still alive, despite the VA’s records.

The Department of Veterans Affairs knew they were dead, but the Social Security Administration kept paying benefits to hundreds of people anyway, according to a new agency audit released Friday that says at least $37 million in bogus payments were made.
Photo by: George Walker IV The Department of Veterans Affairs hospital stands Wednesday, June 11, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. The director of the Tennessee Valley Healthcare System said Wednesday that it will soon receive as much as $15 million to address an audit showing long wait times for veterans. Juan Morales told reporters that the money will help pay for additional physician-support staff and fees that may be incurred if a veteran has to be sent to an outside provider. (AP Photo/The Tennessean, George Walker IV)

Investigators compared the VA’s record to Social Security rolls and found nearly 4,000 people who were listed as dead by the VA, but were still getting checks. Some of those people listed as dead were in fact still alive, but others were deceased — and their checks never should have been paid, the Social Security inspector general said.

Among the dead veterans was one who died in August 2008 but continued to get checks until March of this year, when the inspector general got a report from the State Department showing he had died abroad, in Thailand. Social Security paid out $160,000 in bogus payments in that case.
read more here

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Over 4,200 Veterans Mistakenly Declared Dead Get Benefits Back

Report: VA mistakenly classified 4,200 veterans as dead
Military Times
Leo Shane III
May 25, 2016

The issue stems from lingering errors in Social Security Administration’s record sharing with VA. When that department incorrectly listed a veteran as dead, VA policy was to cut off benefits immediately, doubling the frustration of victims looking to correct the record.
More than 4,200 veterans were mistakenly declared dead and had benefits cut off by Veterans Affairs officials over a five-year span, according to new department data that shows the problem was much bigger than previously believed.

The issue came to light after a congressional inquiry in 2015 by Rep. David Jolly, R-Fla., who for the last few years has been tracking multiple constituents’ complaints about premature death notices.

After initially estimating the total veterans affected as around a dozen each month, VA released new information on the problem this week, pegging the mistakes as harming more than 70 veterans a month.

“These numbers confirm our suspicion, that mistaken deaths by the VA have been a widespread problem impacting thousands of veterans across the country,” Jolly said in a statement.

“It’s a problem that should have been addressed years ago, as it has caused needless hardships for thousands of people who had their benefits terminated and their world turned upside down.”
read more here

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Veterans Caught Not Breaking The Law?

This is the headline on Washington Times
"Veterans caught triple-dipping on benefits"
Seems really bad right? Nope. This is the part that came further down the article.
"The arrangement is legal"
Few if able, stop working after they retire from the military. That means they pay into their pensions as well as Social Security. Hurt on the job then they get Social Security Disability plus any private insurance they pay for. Granted a service connected disability for what happened while in the military is another thing they paid for with their service.

So why all of a sudden are headlines like this coming out?
Veterans caught triple-dipping on benefits
The Washington Times
By Stephen Dinan
Thursday, October 30, 2014
The arrangement is legal, but it raises questions about the generosity of the American safety net system at a time when disability programs are already under severe financial stress.

One veteran on disability collected nearly $210,000 in benefits in 2013, while another earned more than $122,000 — nearly three times what his actual military pay would have been — according to a watchdog report being released Thursday that found tens of thousands of veterans are triple-dipping on disability.

Tens of thousands of veterans collect their military retirement pay and disability benefits from the Veterans Administration and disability checks from Social Security too, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. All told, nearly 60,000 triple dippers collected $3.5 billion in benefits.

“This report shows that, like other government programs, there is little coordination between these overlapping benefits, which increase cost[s] to taxpayers,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who requested the GAO report. “We should fulfill our promises to the men and women who serve, but we need to streamline these duplicative programs.”

For decades, up until 2004, the government clamped down on veterans taking both military retirement pay and VA disability benefits. The Pentagon docked retirement pay dollar for dollar up to the amount of their VA benefits.
read more here

Friday, March 21, 2014

VA needs to add Constrictive bronchiolitis

VA urged to make lung disease service-connected
Army Times
By Patricia Kime
Staff writer
March 21, 2014

A New York congressman wants the Veterans Affairs Department to make a rare lung disease found in some Iraq and Afghanistan veterans service-connected, meaning having the condition automatically would rate compensation and care from VA.

Democratic Rep. Tim Bishop wrote VA Secretary Eric Shinseki on March 12 urging him to designate constrictive bronchiolitis a service-connected condition.

The Social Security Administration in 2012 added the condition to its “compassionate allowances” list, meaning it is among conditions expedited through the claims process because they are “so serious they obviously meet disability standards,” according to the administration.

“I commend the Social Security Administration for making it a little easier for our nation’s veterans to access the benefits they have earned through their service; it is now time for the Veterans Administration [sic] to do the same,” Bishop said.

Constrictive bronchiolitis, also called obliterative bronchiolitis or bronchiolitis obliterans, is characterized by the narrowing or obstruction of the lung’s smallest airways, the bronchioles, by scarring or fibrous tissue.
read more here

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Shinseki explains why veterans are hurt by government shutdowns

Shinseki: Advance Funding Won't Solve VA Problems
by Bryant Jordan
Mar 13, 2014

Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki on Wednesday told a Senate panel that advance funding for all VA operations would not solve all the department problems in the event of another government shutdown.

Shinseki told lawmakers previously that he could not say whether advance funding – which the VA now gets for health care programs – would be a good idea. He told the House Veterans Affairs Committee last year the administration would have to look at the impact on other federal departments.

On Wednesday, he told the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee that advance funding has worked out for VA patients and employees and would seem “to make sense for our other accounts [operations].”

But then he indicated that advance funding probably would not help since other agencies that the VA must deal with do not have the same kind of protection.

“In the case of veteran benefits, we can’t process a claim within our own confines,” he said. “To process a claim, we have to go to Social Security to validate other disabilities, go to the IRS to validate ... threshold income requirements. We deal with [the Defense Department]. We deal with the Department of Education [for] the GI Bill, the Department of Labor on employability issues.”

“The best way for us to be meeting our full mission would be to have a budget for the federal government every year,” he said. “That would make all of our work much easier.”
read more here

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Social Security Disability Benefits for 100% Disabled Veterans

Disability Benefits For Veterans Who Have A Veterans Affairs Compensation Rating Of 100% Permanent And Total

Go her for more info Social Security

Banner depicting various veterans.
Starting March 17, 2014, veterans who have a VA compensation rating of 100% permanent and total (P and T) may receive expedited processing of applications for Social Security disability benefits.
What do I need to know about the VA and Social Security programs?
Both Social Security and VA pay disability benefits. However, their programs, processes, and criteria for receiving benefits are very different.
A VA compensation rating of 100% Permanent and Total does not guarantee that you will receive Social Security disability benefits. To be approved for Social Security benefits, you must meet Social Security’s definition of "disability." We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:
  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • We decide that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical 
    condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.
If you receive VA compensation, this will not affect your Social Security benefits.
As a veteran rated 100% P and T, how do I receive expedited processing for Social Security disability benefits?
First, you must apply for Social Security disability benefits. You can do this in one of three ways:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Social Security billed Vietnam Vet for a mistake made 41 years ago

Social Security bills disabled Hayward war vet over 41-year-old checks
The Daily Review
By Chris De Benedetti
POSTED: 11/23/2013

HAYWARD -- For Vietnam War veteran Thomas Testerman, a letter he recently received from the Defense Department was a reminder of the mistreatment his generation of soldiers faced.

Landing in his mailbox two days before Veterans Day, the letter informed him that he owes nearly $500 because of checks the Social Security Administration mistakenly sent him in 1972. If Testerman does not pay or dispute the bill, the letter stated, deductions from his monthly military retirement checks will begin just days before Christmas.

"The disabled vets from my era have been putting up with this crap for decades now," he said. "It's not right what they're doing to these guys."

Testerman, 61, of Hayward, says he nearly died from a lengthy list of wartime wounds, including severe injuries to his bladder, pelvis and scalp, and fractures to a hip, knee, femur bone and two vertebrae. Testerman, the son of a war veteran, says he lives in constant pain and, though he stands on his own, sometimes he must use a cane to walk.

"On a pain scale of 1 to 10, I walk around every day with a 7 or 8," he said.

While he was recovering 41 years ago, the government began mailing the monthly disability checks that he still receives today. Social Security then sent him a couple of checks, which perplexed him. Though he cashed a couple of them, Testerman consulted his attorney, who said he was not eligible for the Social Security payments. On his lawyer's advice, Testerman stopped cashing the checks, mailing them back for several months until the agency stopped sending them.

"Since then, I have just received my military disability retirement pay, which is about $600 a month," he said.
read more here

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cutting Social Security for Defense?

I sent out a Tweet a little while ago that putting Paul Ryan in charge of the budget was like putting an exterminator in charge of an ant farm. Dumb idea.

I want to apologize to exterminators. At least they work hard for a living.

I wanted to be happy today since last night was the first good night I had in 16 days. Wondering what to do if the yahoos in Washington couldn't flush their ego and to the right thing was really hard to take. After all, we had to fight for my husband's claim to be approved for 6 years. No, not the last six years but back in the 90's when it was a mess before.

That is the problem with congress. They never really manage to fix things for good. People complain about the backlog but never seem to remember that we've been here before, heard a lot of promises and things seemed ok for a while only to end up out of control yet again. You can look up some of the history of this from Wounded Times under VA Claims. Paul Ryan wanted to gut the VA among other things, so that left a really bad taste in our mouths when we kept reading reports on veterans suffering all over the country all over again.

Anyway,,,,What the hell were they thinking? Did they think it was a good idea to put someone from the Tea Party in charge of the budget for the country? If you are a veteran on top of being in the older generation, you'll love this one.  It just got dumber.

Harry Reid Says Hiking Defense Spending For Social Security Cuts Is A 'Stupid Trade'
Posted: 10/17/2013

WASHINGTON -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has no interest in a budget deal that trades sequestration relief for entitlement cuts, believing that future spending reductions scheduled to hit the Pentagon give Democrats the upper hand. Instead, the Nevada Democrat told The Huffington Post on Thursday, any large-scale debt-reduction deal must include increased revenue in exchange for changes to mandatory spending programs.

The government funding and debt limit bill signed Wednesday night sets a Dec. 13 deadline for budget negotiators to report back to Congress. If no deal is struck, Congress will have until Jan. 15 to approve continued government funding or face another shutdown.
read more here

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

President Obama needs to keep his promise on Social Security

President Obama,
With all due respect, you were elected the first time to keep your promises but in 2011, you caved in on what John Boehner and his people wanted even though the American people were not supporting what he claimed. For the last two years, they have obstructed bill after bill in the House and Senate. The majority of the American people once again voted for you last month after you said you cared about them but once again you are caving into John Boehner. He was re-elected to his seat in the House unopposed representing the 8th district yet you won the state of Ohio with 2,697,260 votes. Boehner won't even respect the voice of the people of his own state so why expect him to respect the voice of other Americans?

You promised to raise taxes on anything over $250,000 a year but now you are willing cave in on that promise offering John Boehner a deal? You are putting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid at risk for cuts to appease him? For what? You haven't even taken your second term oath yet you seem to expect Boehner will change and work with you?

Maybe it is time you were reminded on one simple fact. The members of the House and Senate are only elected by people in their districts. You were elected by the majority of the voters across the nation with a total of 62,611,250 votes including red states where you lost the state but did receive votes.

Alabama 793,620
Alaska 102,138
Arizona 930,669
Arkansas 389,699
Georgia 1,761,761
Idaho 212,560
Indiana 1,140,425
Kansas 427,918
Kentucky 679,340
Louisiana 808,496
Mississippi 538,260
Missouri 1,215,031
Montana 200,489
Nebraska 289,154
North Carolina 2,178,388
North Dakota 124,490
Oklahoma 442,647
South Carolina 845,756
South Dakota 144,988
Tennessee 953,043
Texas 3,294,440
Utah 229,463
West Virginia 3,294,440
Wyoming 68,780

In the words of Ronald Reagan "Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit." So maybe someone should remind Boehner of that simple fact too!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Retired Marine shares how it feels to be "dismissed 47%"

This retired Marine supports Barack Obama
October 04, 2012
Seacoast online
Sept. 28
To the Editor

I am a retired Marine veteran and I have voted all my life from the time I was age-appropriate. I am one of the dismissed 47 percent of the American people that Mitt Romney refers to as dependent on the government to take care of me.

I have earned my Social Security benefits, and I have contributed my income taxes all my life. I have raised eight grown adult children who now do the same thing, respect their right to vote, give to the needy and share what they have come to know as the American values.
read more here

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alliance for Retired Americans talks about news seniors need to know

Alliance for Retired Americans
Here is your September 28 edition:

Past Statements by Paul Ryan Shed More Light on his Policies Regarding Seniors A transcript of a speech made in 2005 by Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan has received renewed attention this week, after the national Catholic weekly publication America published an article on his remarks. Ryan, who has long described philosopher Ayn Rand as one of his inspirations, made the speech at the Atlas Society’s 2005 “Celebration of Ayn Rand.” Rand’s 1964 collection of essays is called The Virtue of Selfishness: A new Concept of Egoism.

In his 2005 speech, Ryan took an extremist stance on Social Security and Medicare. He called Social Security and Medicare “collectivist” and “socialistic” and described his plans for privatization. Ryan stated that he supported, “switching these programs— and this is where I’m talking about health care, as well — from a third party or socialist based system to an individually owned, individually pre-funded, individually directed system.” To see the full article and transcript, go to

Alliance Executive Director Edward F. Coyle commented, “These statements by Paul Ryan reinforce that he doesn’t intend to take the proper steps to protect or strengthen Medicare and Social Security, but sees them as a form of Socialism. Yet, Mitt Romney wants him to be his Vice President.” For quotes from Mitt Romney endorsing Paul Ryan's plans, go to

Early and Absentee Voting is Under Way in 30 States
According to NBC’s First Read (, “…voters in 30 states -- including the battleground states of Iowa, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Virginia -- are now casting ballots, either via absentee or early in-person voting.” Yesterday, early in-person voting began in Iowa and Wyoming, while absentee ballots are already being sent to voters requesting them in Alabama, North Dakota, and Illinois. By the end of next week, voters in five more states, including Ohio and Florida, will be on this list.

Many election experts predict that as many as 40% of voters will vote early or absentee for the November 6 election. “The explosion of early voting gives seniors more time to vote in an environment of harsh new voter identification laws in several battleground states,” said Ruben Burks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance. “The Alliance applauds states that have expanded their early voting programs to make the polls more accessible for all Americans.” To see which states have already begun voting, go to For general voting information in your state, go to

Affordable Care Act Saves Seniors $4.5 Billion on Prescription Drugs
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Medicare beneficiaries have saved a total of $4.5 billion on their prescriptions since January 2011 thanks to the 2010 health care reform law. The savings came both from increased coverage and from drug makers’ agreeing to lower their prices under the law. Through August of 2012, beneficiaries had saved an average of $641 this year. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has also begun to close the Medicare Part D prescription drug “doughnut hole” - the coverage gap that is on schedule to be completely eliminated by 2020.

Romney: Uninsured can get Health Care in the Emergency Room
Asked on the show 60 Minutes recently whether government has a responsibility to provide health care for the 50 million Americans who are currently uninsured, Mitt Romney responded, “Well, we do provide care for people who don’t have insurance, people—we—if someone has a heart attack, they don’t sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care.” However, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, part of HHS, the cost of a doctor visit in an emergency room averages $922, whereas an office visit averages $199.

Barbara J. Easterling, President of the Alliance, responded, “Mitt Romney’s answer showed a lack of comprehension of the actual costs incurred by ER visits. He seems to be saying that the emergency room is a viable health care solution for the millions of Americans who will lose coverage or be kicked off their insurance plans if he repeals Obamacare. To suggest that the ER could ever be a good substitution for affordable health care is utterly unrealistic.”

Alliance Leaders: Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly Honors Easterling
The Institute the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly honored Ms. Easterling on Thursday, giving her the Advocacy Award at the Institute’s Annual Gala Banquet. The Institute is a nonprofit and service organization serving New York’s growing Latino and other ethnic/racial minority seniors, and their families. They serve over 100,000 retirees in the New York City metropolitan area. “I want to thank the Institute for presenting me with your 2012 Advocacy Award. This is a great honor,” said Easterling. “Retirees and activists of all ages have much to be proud of, but our work is far from over,” she told the crowd.

Today, Ms. Easterling is speaking at a tele-townhall with the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, while Mr. Coyle is addressing the International Union of Police Associations in Bonita Springs, Florida.

NFL Referees’ Strike is Settled
The National Football League (NFL) and the NFL Referees Association (NFLRA) reached an agreement ending a three-month strike on Wednesday night. The NFL had locked out the regular referees in June, after heated arguments during contract renegotiations with the referees’ union. The main point of contention in the contract negotiations was the referees’ pensions, which the NFL wanted to replace with 401(k)s. NFLRA representatives had noted the unsavory irony of a league generating $8.3 billion in annual revenue wanting to cut retirement benefits.

“The elimination of defined benefit pensions has been happening in too many industries for too long,” said Mr. Coyle. “I congratulate the referees on fighting back.” Football fans everywhere had been up in arms about a call made by a replacement referee at the end of Monday night’s Seattle Seahawks-Green Bay Packers game. This year’s football season, which kicked off in early September, has seen three weeks of controversial calls made by replacement referees.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Defense contractor had 518 decorated heroes social security numbers online!

UPDATE October 14, 2012

Army vows to help heroes after data breach

Decorated soldiers’ SSNs exposed online
Army Times
By Joe Gould
Posted : Friday Sep 28, 2012

The Army is investigating how a defense contractor’s data breach left vulnerable the Social Security numbers of Army’s most highly decorated soldiers since 2001, when a comprehensive awards database was posted online.

The exposed database contains the 31 Social Security numbers for six Medal of Honor recipients — including former Staff Sgt. Sal Giunta, Sgt. 1st Class Leroy Petry and four posthumous recipients — and 25 Distinguished Service Cross recipients.

“That super sucks,” Giunta told Army Times when contacted about the breach Sept. 28.

“Just the people it encompasses and who’s included, it’s like an attack on America. But people make mistakes. I wish it wouldn’t have happened.”

The database, which contains 518 records of award recipients, appeared to have been posted online by an employee of Brightline Interactive, a creative services firm in Alexandria, Va.

The database also included records of Silver Star recipients, including their names, ranks, unit information, and the date, place and a description of their action. But the Social Security numbers for the 487 Silver Star recipients were not included on the website.

read more here

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Veteran has to prove he isn't dead yet

False government death reports leave people in the lurch
The phrase “dead man walking” doesn’t tell the full story of what Tremayne Gray once had to go through.

The Country Club Hills man also was a “dead man” searching for a job, filling out an application — and being turned down.

Gray was 20 years old at the time, and his prospective employer, in conducting a background search, found that Gray was dead.

“I was so stunned,” said Gray, now 35 and still very much alive.

Gray did not get that job or others he applied for shortly afterward. Who wants to hire a dead person?

But Gray’s plight is similar to that of thousands of Americans who mistakenly are reported dead every year by the Social Security Administration or other federal agencies. And Illinois has one of the highest rates of making such grave mistakes, according to a recent report by Scripps Howard News Service.

“It’s weird,” South Chicago Heights resident Jeffrey Zych said of his similar experience with “death.” “It’s weird that you could stand there in front of someone and they would not take your word that you were alive.
read more here
False government death reports leave people in the lurch