Showing posts with label VA Compensation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label VA Compensation. Show all posts

Thursday, April 28, 2022

VA added 9 more respiratory cancers as presumed disabilities

Nine new cancers added to the presumed service-connected list related to particulate matter

News Sections: #VetResources, Benefits, Top Stories
Published On: April 26th, 2022
Bryan Lett is a USMC Veteran and public affairs specialist for VBA’s Office of Strategic Engagement
Department of Veterans Affairs On April 26, VA announced the addition of nine rare respiratory cancers to the list of presumed service-connected disabilities due to exposure to fine particulate matter for Veterans who served any amount of time in

Afghanistan, Djibouti, Syria or Uzbekistan during the Persian Gulf War, from September 19, 2001, to the present, or The Southwest Asia theater of operations from August 2, 1990, to the present. VA is taking a new approach to making decisions on presumptives, one that takes all available science into account, with one goal in mind – getting today’s Veterans, and Vets in the decades ahead – the benefits they deserve, as fast as possible.

VA identified, through a focused review of scientific and medical evidence, a biological plausibility between airborne hazards, specifically particulate matter, and carcinogensis of the respiratory tract; the unique circumstances of these rare cancers warrant a presumption of service connection.

Veterans and survivors who had claims previously denied for any of the below respiratory cancers are encouraged to file a supplemental claim for benefits;
Squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx;
Squamous cell carcinoma of the trachea;
Adenocarcinoma of the trachea;
Salivary gland-type tumors of the trachea;
Adenosquamous carcinoma of the lung;
Large cell carcinoma of the lung;
Salivary gland-type tumors of the lung;
Sarcomatoid carcinoma of the lung and;
Typical and atypical carcinoid of the lung
VA will contact impacted Veterans and survivors to inform them about their eligibility and it will provide information on how to apply.

To apply for benefits, Veterans and survivors may visit or call toll-free at 800-827-1000.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

POTUS drained swamp of intelligent life

Veterans are paying attention 

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 24, 2019

The President drained the swamp, like he said he would. He did not warn us he meant he would drain it of intelligent life!

Most of us are turning off the TV whenever President Trump makes another stump speech, or attempts to hit and run the country with Tweets. The problem with that is, if we are not paying attention, we're going to wake up one day and discover that there are no longer any more veterans in the country. They will be called something else to avoid any connection to the sickening way they have been treated since the Revolutionary War.

If you do not know the history of betraying they have endured, begin with the mutiny in Pennsylvania.

So far, we have heard that President Trump thought it was a good idea to take away "unemployable" from older veterans. He had been advised that since they are too old to work, they should not depend on what "permanent and total" compensation they budgeted their lives with. 

This message sent veterans into panic mode. It meant thousands a month from their disability awards, loss of covered medical care for them and their families, loss of property tax benefits...and the list goes on.

Never an apology for what veterans were needlessly subjected to, he just moved on. Now we read from the White House that everything is wonderful for veterans in his eyes.


"My administration is committed to taking care of every warrior that returns home as a veteran." 

Does that mean the veterans already here will not be taken care of? It may seem like a silly question, but given what we have already seen, it is a fair question.

At least that is what the headline is from the White House. Like every other administration, it all depends on what they know and who they have advising them.

WASHINGTON — They were called the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” by people inside the government. A damning exposé dubbed them the “shadow rulers of the VA.”

In the early days of the Trump administration, a trio of businessmen — one of whom was a member of the president’s private Mar-a-Lago club — worked behind the scenes to shape policy at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the $200-billion federal agency that provides healthcare to nearly 9 million vets. As ProPublica and other news organizations documented, Marvel Entertainment Chairman Ike Perlmutter, a doctor in West Palm Beach named Bruce Moskowitz, and a D.C. lawyer named Marc Sherman formed a triumvirate of outside advisers, vetting VA personnel decisions, corresponding with the agency’s leader, and proposing their own ideas for reforming the VA. Rolling Stone

Add to that the latest on "suicide prevention efforts" that have been slammed by experts, but praised by FOX along with using the ear worm of "22 a day" committing suicide, instead of actually reporting facts on that one too!
But even the VA isn’t sure about the drug, named Spravato. Its medical advisory panel voted in June to classify the drug, known in its generic form as esketamine, as “non-formulary,” meaning it was not included on a list of VA-approved medications that are covered by the agency’s pharmacy benefits. The Center for Public Integrity was the first to report on the June vote. McClatchy
There is a list of things claimed, but apparently, the White House must not be aware of closely we do pay attention to what is going on. No President can possibly know everything that goes into making a country work right. He/she, has to depend on experts in their fields to intelligently advise, instead of just agreeing. If you have not been a long time reader, there is not one single President or party that has not been subjected to accountability. I have done it on various sites since I got online in 1993.

Last year it was reported that many disabled veterans had to pay income taxes for their student loans to be forgiven.

Disabled no longer face big tax hit when student loans are forgiven The bad news is that the change, part of a massive overhaul of the tax code spelled out by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is not retroactive.

Borrowers whose student loans are forgiven on or after Jan. 1, 2018, due to “total and permanent disability” no longer have to pay federal income taxes on those forgiven loans."

We know we cannot trust politicians. They do one thing after saying they were going to do something the opposite way. We cannot trust reporters to make sure what they say has been verified or not. We sure as hell cannot trust them to actually look into the archives to discover what the historical record has to reveal. We have to do those jobs for them! After all, considering that this is our lives on the line, it is all too personal to us.
PROVIDING THE SUPPORT OUR HEROES DESERVE: President Trump will continue to ensure our veterans receive quality healthcare and have access to the resources they need to succeed.

This Administration is working tirelessly to ensure that veterans receive the highest quality of care and support possible.

The President signed the VA MISSION Act, providing more healthcare options for veterans by consolidating existing programs and expanding access to care in veterans’ own communities.

President Trump is also committed to ending the tragedy of veterans’ suicide, securing $8.6 billion in funding for VA mental health services.

President Trump’s PREVENTS Initiative executive order established a task force to help better understand and prevent suicide.

Since the President’s election, veteran unemployment was reduced to the lowest level ever recorded.

Seriously? With the results we have been living with? Instead of waiting in line at the VA for an appointment, they have to wait in line for private doctors to be taking new patients. Then they have to wait for a referral once they finally find one. Top that off with a lot of doctors do not want to accept VA payments since they take too long to pay.

Spending up for privatizing efforts.(I blame both on this one including all the members of congress who were no longer ashamed of how they failed our veterans.)

Trump said he passed a private-sector health care program, Veterans Choice, after failed attempts by past presidents for the last “45 years.” That’s not true. The Choice program, which allows veterans to see doctors outside the government-run VA system at taxpayer expense, was first passed in 2014 under President Barack Obama.

The part that gets me is, as much as members of Congress belonging to the Republican Party complain about how lousy civilian healthcare is, they think it is a good thing to subject veterans to it! Thank them for this one even though Obama signed it. He should have known better because before he took over the oval chair, he was on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.

The Veteran Unemployment Rate Dropped To Lowest Level In 20 Years In 2017

A fascinating report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has more on this.

Military suicides reached an all-time high in 2018, Pentagon says

Increase in homeless veterans. You can find this by a simple Google search in your state.

More veterans committing suicide in public, and at VA facilities. They are also facing off with police officers more often.

If there is any wonder as to why 68% of Americans disapprove of the "job" he is doing, ask a disabled veteran who has had to suffer after doing their jobs because politicians don't do theirs.

UPDATE Add this to all of that.
Internal VA emails critical of unofficial Trump 'advisors'
By: Zachary Cohen
Posted: Aug 25, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Career officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs expressed deep frustrations over having to entertain "ridiculous" policy recommendations from a trio of influential Mar-a-Lago club members during President Donald Trump's time in office, according to documents released by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics.

A series of internal emails spanning from November 2017 to June 2018, show that VA officials wrote to senior staffers with concerns about how this group of three, known within the department as "the Mar-a-Lago crowd," was given the authority to influence policy despite having no government experience or expertise in veterans issues.
read it here

Friday, March 22, 2019

VA overpays over time...then takes money back all at once?

Should veterans have to pay for VA’s benefits errors?

Military Times
By: Leo Shane III
March 20, 2019

“We’ve got to stop the VA from pulling the rug out from under veterans and their families.”

A group of Senate lawmakers is again arguing that if veterans are overpaid on benefits because of accounting errors, they shouldn’t be punished for the federal government’s mistakes.

Legislation introduced Wednesday would require changes to how the Department of Veterans Affairs handles benefit corrections, including limiting the amount they can withhold from veterans’ future payouts to cover the debt.
Volunteers gather at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., for a clean-up event on June 2, 2018. (Gene Russell/VA)

“It’s wrong to put the debt from the VA’s accounting mistakes on the shoulders of men and women who have served their country,” Sen. Jon Tester, ranking member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a statement. “For some veterans, these benefits make the difference between paying monthly rent or missing payments.

“We’ve got to stop the VA from pulling the rug out from under veterans and their families.”

Under current law, VA officials can withhold 100 percent of a veteran’s monthly benefits to cover past overpayments, even if those mistakes are the fault of federal officials.
read more here

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Did you know that bankruptcy can cost you VA benefits too?

Bankrupt vets can lose their disability benefits. This new effort would protect them.

Reboot Camp
By: Joshua Axelrod
March 7, 2019

Two senators just introduced a bill designed to shield veterans’ disability benefits from debt collectors.

When a disabled vet declares bankruptcy currently, the law allows debtors to count a veteran’s disability benefits as disposable income, allowing them to seize the benefits.

Yet Social Security disability benefits are exempted by law from being lumped into a person’s disposable income in bankruptcy filings, and disability benefits in any form aren’t taxable and therefore generally not considered disposable income.

This state gives vets and their families free college tuition — without touching their GI Bill benefits The Honoring American Veterans in Extreme Need (HAVEN) Act seeks to create the same immunity in bankruptcy cases for benefits provided by the VA and Department of Defense to disabled veterans and their surviving spouses.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, introduced the bill, which has already been endorsed by 10 Republican and 10 Democratic senators. It has also earned the support of organizations like the American Legion, Disabled Veterans of America and the American Bankruptcy Institute, among others.

“Right now, veterans and their families are forced to dip into their disability-related benefits to pay off bankruptcy creditors,” said Baldwin during an unveiling event for HAVEN in her Senate office. “And that’s not right. This reform will protect veterans’ disability benefits when they fall on hard times.”
read more here

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Disabled Gulf War Veteran has VA benefits restored because reporter cared!

Disabled Campbell County veteran's VA benefits restored

By: Don Dare
Posted: Feb 14, 2019

LAFOLLETTE, Tenn. (WATE) - A disabled Campbell County veteran has had his VA benefits fully restored following a WATE 6 On Your Side investigation.

Mike Sanders is a Gulf War-era veteran. The former Army sergeant badly injured his back during his service and is now unable to work. From 1987-1994, he served as a research lab assistant with the Chemical Corps, and later as a field medic.

Two weeks ago, WATE reported that Mike Sanders was losing his benefits after earning 18 cents in salary in 2017. The VA took quick action to correct a mistake.
read more here

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Veterans love their country but now you may understand why they fear the government

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 16, 2019

Erosion: The gradual destruction or diminution of something. The Latin version means to "wear or gnaw away." No one ever thought that this would be happening to the debt this nation owes our veterans, but some members of Congress are not even ashamed it is happening. 

They are actually pushing to do even more gnawing away of benefits disabled veterans fought for.

Veterans risked their lives for this country. They became disabled doing it. They were promised to be taken care of. Then they had to fight the government to have their claims approved. All too often, it took years of suffering medically and financially.

Once their compensation was granted with a "total and permanent" rating of 100%, they though this was a guarantee that they would never have to worry about again.

For the last few years, they have been discovering that word "permanent" was subject to change. 

Some want to say that cutting the "unemployable" percentages from ratings makes sense because senior disabled veterans were retired like everyone else. What they do not want to acknowledge is the fact that once the disabled veterans stopped working because of their disability, they stopped paying into the system.

Social Security benefits are based on how much they paid into the system. That means most of our disabled veterans, especially Vietnam veterans, will not be able to survive. If you think that the rate of senior veteran suicides is high now, this will push even more over the cliff.

What most people do not know is how far the rating goes.

A veteran with 100% disability receives $3,057.13 per month. If they are married, it is $3,227.58. For the rest of the breakdown, go to the VA chart.

If they cut the unemployable and reduce the claim, to 90%, that reduces the amount down to $1,833.62. At 80% it is $1,631.69. At 70% it is down to $1,403.71. 

How can they pay their mortgages and rents with that huge drop in compensation? They will not be able to.

We cannot make plans for our "golden age" when we do not know what Congress will pull next. We cannot depend on the VA when it is being sold piece by piece to private "providers" accountable to no one, being pushed into the healthcare system members of Congress keep trying to kill off.


But, this gets even worse.

Losing that 100% rating, will also cause the loss of most of their medical coverage not tied to their claim, and for their spouses and kids. 

It will cost them college benefits and their kids. Not that they even have that working the way it should.

They lose real estate tax breaks from their states as well as reduced fees from their cities and towns.

Discounts offered from businesses to disabled veterans will end because they are no longer 100% disabled.

This is why veterans and families like mine are freaking out. 

Yet again, the Congressional Budget Office, the CBO, has put out another report that this benefit should be cut to save money. They were not even ashamed to admit it December 13, 2018.
"End VA’s Individual Unemployability Payments to Disabled Veterans at the Full Retirement Age for Social Security"

And if you think I'm kidding on the Vietnam veterans part, here you go!
"VA's regulations require that IU benefits be based on a veteran's inability to maintain substantially gainful employment because of the severity of a service-connected disability and not because of age, voluntary withdrawal from work, or other factors. About 48 percent of veterans receiving the IU supplement were 67 or older in September 2017, up from about 40 percent in September 2010. That rise is attributed largely to the aging of Vietnam War veterans."
And then there is this part.
This option consists of two alternatives, both beginning in January 2020. Under the first alternative, VA would stop making IU payments to veterans age 67 or older (the full retirement age for Social Security benefits for those born after 1959). That restriction would apply to both current and prospective recipients. Therefore, at age 67, VA disability payments would revert to the amount associated with the rated disability level.

Under the second alternative, veterans who begin receiving the IU supplement after January 2020 would no longer receive those payments once they reach age 67. In addition, no new applicants who are age 67 or older would be eligible for IU benefits after that date. Unlike under the first alternative, veterans who are already receiving IU payments and are age 67 or older after the effective date of the option would continue to collect the IU supplement.
Thank God they are no longer running Congress and did not push their through but what about the next time? Why should we have to worry about this one thing we were supposed to be able to trust from our government?

Here are a few thoughts I can actually publish other than the ones I am thinking: 

How about making permanent actually mean that? 
How about never subjecting our disabled veterans to these nightmarish threats ever again? 
How about actually making sure the veterans who have 100% rating right now, no matter how the VA has decided to break it up--down--all around, and make it a flat 100% they never have to worry about again?

As for when to reduce the ratings, start when you guys in Congress reduce the tax cuts you gave the wealthy first. You always manage to find the money for them...but not for our disabled veterans!

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Congress targets VA unemployability again!

This is the part that gets me

The CBO suggested removing veterans from Individual Unemployability once they reach age 67, claiming those veterans would be eligible for Social Security by that time.
Without a clue that when a veteran cannot work, they are not paying into the system and cutting benefits will remove thousands from their budget, remove healthcare benefits that are cover them and remove any other benefits, like property taxes in most states, plus all the other things THEY WERE PROMISED THEY COULD TRUST! We do not see them taking back the tax breaks they gave the wealthy!


Group urges White House, VA to reject resurfaced proposal cutting disabled, unemployed veterans' benefits

Published: December 17, 2018 

WASHINGTON — A cost-saving proposal that sparked backlash from veterans in 2017 has resurfaced in a new Congressional Budget Office report as an option to help reduce the federal budget deficit.
The report suggests removing approximately 235,000 disabled veterans from a Department of Veterans Affairs program called Individual Unemployability in 2020, projecting it could save $47.6 billion in the next 10 years. Veterans removed from the program would see their monthly incomes decrease by an average of $1,300, according to CBO estimates.

One veterans group, AMVETS, is urging the White House and the VA to publicly disavow the proposal before it creates a groundswell of anger within the veteran community.

“We want the White House to immediately make a statement saying this recommendation is out of line and will not be considered,” said Joe Chenelly, director of AMVETS. “We understand that the White House is looking to trim costs, but this cannot be an option in that.”


Friday, April 27, 2018

Ret. Air Force Col Saw Disability Check Fly Away?

Local veterans report that their disability payments have been hijacked
John McCarthy
April 27, 2018

Bill Grooten was surprised to receive a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs last month confirming the change he made to banking information where his monthly VA disability check would be deposited.

The reason he was surprised was that he had made no such change.

Grooten, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, immediately contacted the VA. But by then, his $3,500 monthly disability check had already been deposited in Bank of Internet USA, an online bank headquartered in San Diego.

The VA told Grooten that his bank might have been the site of the breach. But the Bank of America said it found no evidence of unauthorized activity with Grooten's account.

Chip Hanson, who is active in the local chapter of Disabled American Veterans, said that he has heard of as many as 75 veterans in Central Florida having had similar problems.
read more here

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Make sure members of Congress give their benefits up first!

It is no secret how I feel about politicians. One huge reason why I do not post on any of them, is none of them have lived up to what this country deserves. It makes it worse, when they do not live up to what veterans deserve!!!

I am limited on what I want to say at this moment, so, unlike most of my rants, it will be very short and simple.

The next time you hear any politician talk about doing harm to our veterans, by cutting their benefits, raising co-pays, taking about sending them into the private healthcare system the rest of us have to deal with, basically disrespecting the fact these veterans were made promises for their service, remember this.

When members of Congress, with the authority over the VA, fail to do their duty, they still get to retire with full benefits they were promised. They get their healthcare taken of. It would take an act of Congress to take away anything from them. 

Why should they reward themselves after betraying our veterans? Privatizing the VA? Cutting benefits from older veterans? Increasing fees? Decreasing coverage for Medicare and Medicaid? Cutting Social Security?

If they try to cut anything from our veterans, make sure members of Congress, including those who retired, give their benefits up first!