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

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

Thursday, March 29, 2018

POTUS committed an evil act pretending to care about disabled veterans!

Vietnam Veterans Woke Up To Attack
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 29, 2018
The "duty and honor" words have just turned into words for millions of our disabled veterans and families. They did their part, lived up to the oath to "protect and serve" this country. Yet the obligation this nation owes them has just been torn apart by the whims of the Commander-in-Chief.

What am I talking about? Treating veterans as if the promises made to them can be broken as easily as cowards breakup on Facebook or Twitter.

Right now, on Vietnam Veterans Day, as President Trump gloats for signing the Bill into law last year, he has chosen to begin the biggest assault against them.

Apparently he has decided our veterans should be treated just like all other citizens having to deal with private health care. 

"President Trump suggested Thursday that he fired David Shulkin as his secretary of Veterans Affairs because Shulkin wasn’t adequately aligned with his desire to quickly give veterans more options to get VA-funded care in the private sector."

“We made changes because we want them taken care of, we want them to have choice so that they can run to a private doctor and take care of it, and it’s going to get done,” Trump said during a speech in Ohio. “It’s going to get done. We’ll always protect the people that have protected us. We have to.”
That obligation this nation promised them has just been broken! Sending them into the mess the rest of us deal with is evil! They prepaid for their care the day they ended up with wounds they will carry the rest of their lives.

He also decided that older veterans should no longer be guaranteed the benefits they were told would be "permanent and total" should be cut because they are too old to work.

Any clue what these two things are doing to them? Any clue what kind of unjustified assault this is for them?

If we allow this to happen, then every generation should be terrified of what else they will take away after you put your lives on the line serving this country!

Congress has allowed all this to happen to you because far too many of them agree that you are no longer worth treating like you did something worthwhile by making sure this nation remained free!

Congress has had the jurisdiction over how all of you are treated since 1946. We all need to be asking why it is the VA has gone from one crisis situation to another while veterans suffered, waiting for the promises to be fulfilled.

In order to destroy the VA, they allowed all the suffering to continue and they got away with it because too many were pretending they cared about those who dared to risk their lives. 

If you think this is political, you're right because all politician have been dismissing the IOU we owe veterans!
Time to honor the IOU
Chaplain Kathie
March 23, 2009

There are wounds you can see with your eyes.

Then there are wounds you can see part way with your eyes.

His hair will grow back in and cover the scar of his head wound, but you will not see what has happened to his life after.

But there are also wounds that cut so deeply you never manage to see what is right in front of your eyes.

You need to see these wounds, these hidden casualties of war, with your heart.

Sometimes they grieve and the pain fades while memories linger. For far too many the pain feeds on the sensitive soul within the heart of the warrior.

They come home, try to return to friends and family but they are not the same. They want to excuse it as everyone else has changed instead of them until they finally stop denying the nightmares and flashbacks have managed to change the way they think and react to others.

Paranoia takes over and trust erodes. They cannot trust what friends tell them or even what their spouse tells them anymore. They cannot trust strangers. When it's the government they cannot trust, it hits them like a knife in the back.

Imagine if you served your country, followed orders, did what you would not do of your own accord for the sake of others, risked your life and ended up finding that the war came home with you, but the government decided to ignore all of it. They ignore what they promised you to take care of your wounds and provide for your family when you were not able to. This would cause a deeper wound within you as well as resentment. It would eat you away. It would make any shred of hope within you evaporate. You would find it unnecessary to wake up in the morning because everyday would be one more never ending nightmare.

For too many, PTSD has been allowed to fester like gangrene on their soul. Every relationship they had begins to fall apart. They are blamed for all the turmoil in the family and financial difficulty. They are blamed for drinking too much or turning to drugs to kill off feelings they can no longer bear on their own. They are then abandoned by family and friends they used to have before the wound of PTSD took control over their lives.

Abandoned by the government they thought they could trust, by family they thought would love them no matter what, friends they thought they could trust, what's left? Faith? Faith in what or whom? Faith in God? Could you hold onto faith in God when everyone has turned their back on you? Could you hold onto faith when you believe that you've been judged and are being punished for what you had to do? Wouldn't you wonder where God is when everything is happening to you and inside of you without anything or anyone coming to help you? Pretty impossible when you think of all that is involved in claims denied or trapped in a backlog with hundreds of thousands of others reduced from human to a number.

When claims are denied while the veteran carries the wound inside of them, it entraps every part of the veteran's life. There is nothing that is not being consumed by PTSD. This is a battle against evil for the sake of the good but the good end up being disarmed by everything that comes with PTSD.

First came denial. They were told they could train their brains to deal with the traumas they would face in combat. They were told that only the weak would fall prey to the wound of the mind. They were told this by people without a clue that it is not really a wound to the mind and that the mind cannot be trained to do something it was never intended to do. PTSD is a wound to the soul. It is a wound that strikes the sensitive and sets off changes in how the mind functions protecting itself from further harm. If they are changed by trauma it has to be their fault. Unable to think of themselves as weak, they believe they can get over it if they try hard enough. After all, they know they are not weak and they know they are not a coward. They know they are just as strong as everyone else they served with. They'll just have to get over it, bury it inside of themselves and never allow anyone to see their wound. There can't be anything "wrong" with them.

Then comes anger. They can't get over it. They can't stop the flashbacks and nightmares. They can't calm their nerves. They are quick to react with anger because that is a sign of "toughness" masking the pain inside. They get angry with themselves because they cannot move on the way everyone else they know did. They take out what they see as their own weakness on everyone around them. They push friends away and disconnect from family as walls are being built brick by brick around their soul.

When someone finally gets to them to help them heal, when they finally understand PTSD is not a sign of weakness and it is not their fault, they must find the courage to seek help. They need to talk to strangers about what is in their hidden world of pain. The walls begin to come down because relief restores hope of healing but soon they discover the same government they risked their life for is denying ownership of everything that is happening to them. Claims are denied. They are chastised for being weak by commanders. They are punished for drinking or doing drugs to relieve the pain. They are discharged with the wound disregarded. They are told they will no longer have their base housing. They are told they will no longer have their basic needs taken care of. They are told they are no longer worthy of any of it and they are told their service to the nation is no longer needed. They have lost everything they had including themselves.

When PTSD is disregarded until they become a combat veteran civilian, they arrive at a point where they are able to seek help from the VA. They know they can no longer function on a job because of the gangrene of their soul, nightmares robbing them of rest and flashbacks draining them of strength. They turn to the VA to be treated so they can heal and financially compensated for when they cannot work but end up being told whatever is happening to them is not the fault of the government. They find their claims denied and any responsibility the VA doctors tell them belongs to the government is ignored by the government.

This is what we face when we finally get to them. This is what we face when we finally get them to the point where they understand PTSD is a normal reaction to the abnormal world of combat. How can we offer them any hope of healing when it is being denied and their lives are still falling apart? How can we tell them the devastation of their lives goes on with these denied claims but they need the government to treat them?

I can come up with videos to get them to understand PTSD is a wound. I can email back and forth with them and their families until my fingers are ready to fall off but all the education I can offer, all the hope I can demonstrate from coming thru the darkness in my own family, will do them virtually little good when the help they need is being denied to them.

I cannot replace hope when it is being denied by someone else. I cannot tell them to trust the VA or the DOD to take care of them when they are telling them "no" all the time. All the hope that is there for them is impossible for them to get to when doors are shut and they are told the responsibility for their state of life belongs to someone else.

It's time we paid the IOU we gave them the day they were sent to serve. It's time the DOD stopped telling them they can train their brain to be tough enough to take it when it is their soul that is attacked by the horrors of combat. Stop doing the same research that was done 30 years ago. Stop asking the same people the same questions settling for the same answers they heard 30 years ago.

We still owe Vietnam veterans the truth. We still owe them the knowledge they were denied over 30 years ago and compensate them for the wounds they brought home with them. It’s too late to save most of their families from falling apart but it’s not too late to restore relationships they had. In many cases it’s too late to save the homes they lost because they couldn’t earn income to cover their mortgages as PTSD claimed more parts of their lives but we can provide them with the compensation to secure their futures. In doing so, we will honor the debt that should have been pain long ago but we will also restore within them the belief their service was honored, their sacrifice was worth it because this country honored it.

Vietnam Veterans Day is March 29. The last accountable death was in May of 1975 but the fatalities truly connected to the Vietnam War are still happening today. They die from Agent Orange exposure related illnesses. They die on the streets and in shelters across this nation. They still die from reaching for alcohol and drugs to cope with untreated wounds. They die when they can no longer find the strength to carry the burden their service caused by their own hand. None of their deaths are counted as the price paid by them. We need to get this right for them and stop ignoring them within the growing numbers of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan flooding the system seeking the same help that was not available when Vietnam veterans came home. None of the accomplishments reached for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder would have been begun had it not been for Vietnam Veterans fighting for it and all other veterans.

We can build them monuments from coast to coast but if we do not honor the living monuments of sacrifice to this nation they are all reduced to hunks of rock. We can give them parades and all the flags in the world, but until their sacrifice to that flag is truly honored, they are all empty gestures. We can place all the flowers we want at their graves but until we honor all the living the lives already gone will have disregarded.

As we try as a nation to honor the IOU to the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, we must pay the original debt we owed to the Vietnam Veterans. This is not an option. Taking care of them is not something that can be put off any longer or we further assault their service to this nation. We further deny them justice. We further allow them to pay a price for a debt we owed to them.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Veterans Court Making A Difference For Those Who Served

Veterans Court helping make a difference
Sioux City Journal
Nick Hytrek
Mar 19, 2016
"It got me in touch with benefits I didn't realize I was entitled to," said Linton, an Army generator mechanic from 1992-95 who was convicted in May of first-degree theft. Completing Veterans Court is a condition of his probation.
Tim Hynds Sioux City Journal
SIOUX CITY | Standing at parade rest in a Woodbury County courtroom, Nick Sampson tells a judge about the progress he's made in his treatment for mental illness.

He believes he's been doing well while on pretrial release since his arrest last summer on a charge of reckless use of a firearm.

District Judge Jeffrey Poulson agrees, so much so that he approves Sampson's request to visit his father out of state this summer. Then Poulson promotes Sampson, an Army veteran, to Phase 3 of the Woodbury County Veterans Treatment Court and gives him a military-style dog tag with the word "Honor" stamped on it.

The dog tag is symbolic of the work Sampson has done since his arrest. But the real reward, he said, is the alternative Veterans Court has presented him.
read more here

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Friday, November 1, 2013

Congress trying to CYA fix on Veterans funding

This is a great thing to do because as the article points out, veterans and their families are tired of being used in political games. Those games include everything else veterans care about.

Taking care of the VA is good but what about Social Security? What about Medicare and Medicaid? What about taking care of the roads we all travel on and bridges? How about police and fire departments across the nation? What about the FDA making sure food, water and medications are safe? What about the food stamp programs that put food on the tables of far too many veterans as well as active duty families need?

"An estimated 900,000 U.S. military veterans will lose some or all of their Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits on Friday."
How about fixing everything instead of playing some kind of game to make sure everything veterans fought for and still care about work? As for work, have members of congress done anything to make sure there are jobs for all of us? We kept hearing about jobs from politicians but one second they say "government doesn't create jobs" and the next they want to blame the other politicians for not making any. Which is it folks?
VA opposes shutdown protection only for itself
By Rick Maze
Staff writer
October 30, 2013

A politically popular proposal to protect all veterans programs from harm during future government shutdowns is meeting opposition from an unexpected source: the Veterans Affairs Department.

But VA’s opposition might not matter.

The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee passed bipartisan legislation in August to create a two-year discretionary budget for veterans programs to prevent disruption if Congress does not pass a VA budget by the Oct. 1 start of the fiscal year.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Independent who heads the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said Wednesday that his committee will pass similar but even more expansive legislation in November that would protect not just discretionary spending for things like benefits processing, information technology and cemetery programs but would also provides advance funding for benefits, paid with what is known as mandatory funding.

“Failure to pay mandatory benefits would be a disaster,” Sanders said. “As we saw this month, in the event of a prolonged shutdown, VA would not have been able to issue disability compensation, pension payments or education benefits. The veterans community is not particularly wealthy. Many of them depend on these benefits to feed themselves and their families, to pay their rent and to make ends meet.”
read more here

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

More bad news for veterans, thanks to Congress

VA backlog continues to mount; no clear solutions in sight
By Leo Shane III
Stars and Stripes
Published: February 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — VA Secretary Eric Shinseki pledged Tuesday that his department will make progress toward ending the benefits backlog this year. House and Senate leaders promised to tackle the issue in upcoming hearings. Veterans groups are lobbying lawmakers this week on the depth of the problem.

But exactly how anyone can fix the mounting headache remains unclear.

As of last week, the benefits backlog – the number of claims pending for more than 125 days – sat above 600,000 cases, up about 7 percent from a year ago. The average claim takes about 270 days to process.

Department officials have offered a host of solutions over the last year, but have no positive trend to show for it. More claims adjusters, different processing methods and closer coordination with veterans groups have yet to pull down the overdue case numbers.
read more here

VA protected from sequester cuts, but veterans will feel the pain
By Leo Shane III
Stars and Stripes
Published: February 26, 2013

WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs will be spared when sequestration hits March 1.

But veterans will not.

Despite assurances that veterans benefits and services will be exempt from the budget cuts, veterans and their families will share the suffering along with military counterparts. The result could mean more homeless veterans, less help for those looking for work, and tens of thousands of furloughed veteran struggling to make ends meet.

“There’s a very large concern about the secondary effects (of sequestration) on veterans programs nationwide,” said Joe Davis, spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “We still don’t know all the ways veterans might be hurt.”

VA programs and payouts are exempt from the mandated spending cuts. White House and department officials have promised that that disability benefits, veterans education funds and health care services will continue uninterrupted.
read more here

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Veterans still not aware of benefits they paid for

VA Says Most Vets Still Unaware of Benefits
Nov 20, 2012
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
by Chris Adams

WASHINGTON - More than half of America's veterans say they have little or no understanding of the benefits due them, despite efforts over recent years to match returning soldiers with the help and services they need.

An analysis of Department of Veterans Affairs survey data found that younger veterans - those who served in the post-9/11 war period - are better versed in their benefits. But even among those veterans, 40 percent say they have little or no understanding of their benefits, a figure that climbs to two-thirds for those unfamiliar with life insurance benefits available.

The VA said it's working hard to boost benefits awareness and has taken steps in recent years to do so.

"We want to accept them into the VA. We want to help them," said Joseph Curtin, who recently became the VA's director of outreach.

One major change will come Wednesday when a new law will mandate all departing service members go through a series of detailed benefits sessions. Until now, participation in such sessions varied by service and was often optional.

The VA had been reaching 150,000 service members per year; under the mandatory, beefed-up, sessions, that is expected to rise to 307,000.

America's veterans are eligible for a range of benefits, from access to the VA's well-regarded medical system to lifetime payments for disabilities suffered during military service to access to education, life insurance and home loan programs.

But VA data show that participation varies widely by geography. In addition, a veteran's understanding of what's available varies greatly by period of service.

McClatchy Newspapers analyzed the VA's 2010 National Survey of Veterans, conducted about every 10 years to determine the state of America's veterans. Included are several questions about veterans' health coverage as well as understanding of the VA benefits package. McClatchy also reviewed benefits data by state in 2011, the most recent year available.

When asked about the VA benefits, veterans' responses are all over the map, depending on their age and the benefit in question.

Among all veterans, 59 percent said their understanding of available benefits was "a little" or "not at all," according to the analysis of the VA's survey data.
for list of VA Benefits read more here

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Florida veterans and families not getting benefits they should

Little-known veteran pension hard to get and easy target for scammers
Sun Sentinel
By Ben Wolford
November 17, 2012

Problems with a Veterans Affairs benefit have created a scam industry and left thousands of seniors ignorant of a pension they are entitled to receive, veterans advocates and congressional investigators say.

Many families are unaware of the pension for ailing combat veterans and their dependents, footing the bill for their care as up to $24,239 a year for each veteran sits unused. Advocates blame poor outreach by the Veterans Affairs Department, a massive federal agency that wields $127 billion each year.

Families that do know about the Aid and Attendance pension, sometimes called the widows' pension, find themselves confronted with daunting paperwork. The applications, once submitted to one of three centralized processing offices, can take more than a year to approve.

Lisa Fitter spent 14 months seeking a pension for her mother-in-law, the widow of a World War II veteran, who suffered a massive stroke in May. The Fitters have struggled to provide 24-hour home care, and they pay an aide $15 to shower her each day.

"There is no excuse when you're dealing with a 96-year-old woman," said Fitter, 47, a Wellington Realtor. "She could have died."

Federal Veterans Affairs officials in Washington, D.C., and St. Petersburg did not respond to a series of questions and requests for interviews by email and phone.

But a spokesman told The New York Times in September that 38,076 veterans and 38,685 spouses were granted an Aid and Attendance pension in 2011. That year 1.7 million World War II veterans were alive and eligible for the pension.

Since December, hundreds of thousands have died, but more Korean War veterans, who number more than 2 million, will become eligible. The issue has particular resonance in Florida, where 187,900 World War II veterans reside, according to Veterans Affairs. The Census reports that about 32,846 Korean and World War II veterans live in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

The benefit is a kind of last thank you for low-income veterans — or their spouses or dependent children — who are older than 65 and rely on others for daily care. They must have been a member of the Armed Forces at least one day during wartime and need not have been injured in combat.

On average, veterans received $9,669 in 2011, and their survivors received $6,209, according to a federal report published this year.
read more here

Friday, November 16, 2012

VA training benefits for Marine stress out family

Family of veteran on the brink after VA benefits don't arrive
Posted on November 15, 2012

AUBREY, Texas -- A North Texas mom says she’s working three side jobs because the Veterans Administration is four months behind in releasing GI Bill benefits to her husband, a Marine veteran who just came home from Afghanistan.

To cover the monthly rent, she sells jewelry at living room parties and cleans funeral homes at night.

"It's frustrating," said a tearful Tiffany Nichols. "I'm sorry. It's really frustrating."

Jerron Nichols, a Marine veteran just back in April from Afghanistan, took an apprenticeship as a utility lineman in June. As part of the GI Bill, Jerron is entitled to a housing benefit while he learns a trade. It's money the family counted on when it rented their home.

How far behind is the government?

"Almost five months," Tiffany Nichols said. "They owe us a little over $4,000."
read more here

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Florida veterans has millions of dollars unclaimed

Our daughter grew up with cable TV and the Internet. My husband and I met while working for a cable company. It was really odd when I was taking Digital Media classes at Valencia College and had to explain to the younger students (my daughter's age) that when I was growing up, we actually had to get up to change the channel on the TV, typed on paper with ink ribbons and had to white out typos instead of just using delete on the keyboard. Spell check was called the dictionary.

When Vietnam veterans came home, and all the generations before them, finding out what benefits they earned for their service was really hard for them. It was even harder to be able to find their "brothers" and "sisters" for emotional support.

Claims were a nightmare as well and everything was done with regular mail. Thank God the DAV was there to help with filing claims because most veterans had no clue what to do including my Dad, a Korean War veteran.

Times have changed but what has not changed is what this country owes our veterans. Yes, owes our veterans because they paid for it all when they put their boots on and left US soil to fight the battles this country decided had to be fought.

Florida veterans group on mission to deliver benefits
FDVA: Millions of dollars unclaimed
Sep 6, 2012
Written by
R. Norman Moody

Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs on Wednesday launched a statewide multimedia campaign to connect veterans with millions of dollars of federal and state benefits that they’ve earned but are not claiming.

The nation’s third-largest population of veterans collects than $13.7 billion a year in federal compensation, education and pension benefits, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs medical services and military retired pay, according to FDVA, but apparently millions more is available.

“I think it’s a very proactive approach,” said Bill Vagianos, president of the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center. “Hopefully, we’ll see an improved process. It needs to be more veterans-focused instead of so bureaucratic.”

The outreach campaign will use everything from traditional newspaper advertising to a new website and smartphone app to reach out to different generations of veterans, from World War II to those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Some of Florida’s veterans fought for our freedom in the days before television, while others never knew a time without personal computers, yet they all share the admiration of a grateful nation,” said Mike Prendergast, executive director of FDVA. “If they aren’t receiving the benefits and services they rightfully earned, we must use every approach available to reach them and set things right.”
read more here

They did their jobs. Making sure they get what they need when they come home is our job now.

Florida is blessed with a lot of groups and a lot of people doing whatever it takes to make sure that happens for our veterans and Bill Vagianos has been tied to most of what is taking place for Florida veterans.

I met Bill when he was working to take care of homeless veterans for Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. This man hardly ever stops. If he is involved in anything, you know it'll work.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Vietnam Veterans of America calls for legislative fix to VA contracting rule

Veterans group calls for legislative fix to VA contracting rule
Federal News Radio
Monday - 8/13/2012
By Ruben Gomez

Vietnam Veterans of America has thrown support behind a congressional effort to loosen a rule that governs service-disabled veteran-owned businesses working for the Veterans Affairs Department.

"Congress may need to move to synchronize the standards of control between VA and [the Small Business Administration]," said Rick Weidman, VVA's executive director for policy and government affairs, in an interview with Federal News Radio.

Weidman criticized a VA rule requiring that service-disabled veterans competing for SDVOSB contracts unconditionally control decision-making within their companies. He said SBA regulations allow more flexibility.

"Literally every day I get emails on both sides of this issue," he said. "And the two sides being people begging for help to throw the frauds out because they're stealing the business, and letters from veterans who are saying, 'look, you know me Rick. You know my business. And [VA is] saying that I'm not qualified.'"

Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio), chairman of the Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, is crafting legislation to force VA to loosen its rule. Johnson said he favors SBA's process, although he did not say exactly how the bill would change the steps VA uses to verify SDVOSB program eligibility.
read more here

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Statement from Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki

Statement from Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki

on the American Jobs Act

"Yesterday, the President sent the American Jobs Act to Congress for consideration. With the American Jobs Act, the President is again demonstrating unwavering support of Veterans and of business by putting forward an aggressive plan that will help create new jobs for Veterans and boost the American economy.

"By providing tax credits from $5,600 to $9,600 to encourage businesses to hire unemployed Veterans, the American Jobs Act not only helps put more Veterans back to work, it sends a message that a grateful Nation honors their service and sacrifice. Congress should pass this bill as soon as possible.

"As the President said in his address to Congress and the Nation, 'We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, and risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.' We at VA could not agree more.

"Under the President's leadership, VA will continue to prepare the next generation of leaders by administering the new Post-9/11 GI Bill to over 558,000 Veterans and family members. In October, thanks to strong leadership from the President and Congress, VA will expand that GI Bill program to provide vocational training and other non-degree job skills for Veterans -- a tremendous opportunity to create more good-paying jobs for Veterans in a matter of months.

"The President also challenged the private sector to hire or train 100,000 unemployed Veterans or their spouses by the end of 2013. We at VA already employ over 100,000 Veterans, about 30 percent of our workforce. Our goal is to up that to 40 percent. VA joins the President in challenging the private sector to join us in this important effort to support Veterans."

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bachmann discovers targeting veterans not a good idea

In a lame attempt to defend Bachmann, Doug Sachtleben, (Bachmann's spokesman) said "Congresswoman Bachmann is not advocating for veterans' benefits to be abolished. She has always said that our nation must properly care for its heroes," but she was not saying she wanted to abolish the VA. She may say it but never proves it.  She was saying the veterans are not worth what they are getting. The same thing the rest of us have. Get hurt on the job and you get Workman's Comp plus Social Security Disability. Instead of Workman's Comp veterans get VA Comp. This statement was not defending what she wanted to do. What does she think proper care of our heroes is? Is it telling them their benefits are open to be slashed because she doesn't feel like paying them? Is it telling them that tax cuts for the rich should be funded off their backs? Maybe now people will finally see that when a politician says one thing but does another, it's what they do that really matters. Talk of supporting the troops and veterans is cheap and when they pull something like this, they show how little they really do value the "heroes" they say they care about. Her own spokesman couldn't even defend her properly. If she really thought this was the right thing to do, her spokesman should have defended her reasons to do it instead of twisting it around. Not that it would have made this right but it would have at least shown she believes in what she says.

House of Representatives
Bachmann Takes Heat From Veterans' Group for Proposing Benefits Cuts
Published January 29, 2011
Conservative Rep. Michele Bachmann is taking heat from the nation's largest combat veterans' organization for proposing, as part of a broad list of spending cuts, a combination of reductions and caps in veterans' benefits.

"No way, no how, will we let this proposal get any traction in Congress," Richard Eubank, head of Veterans of Foreign Wars, said in a written statement released Friday.

The Minnesota Republican congresswoman, who is positioning herself as a leading critic of the Obama administration in the wake of the midterm elections, earlier this week outlined $400 billion worth of possible spending cuts. The plan projected huge savings from drastic measures like abolishing the Department of Education, overhauling farm subsidies and eliminating a host of Justice Department grants and programs.

Tucked into the outline was $4.5 billion in cuts targeting veterans. She proposed capping increases for health care spending at the Department of Veterans Affairs and cutting disability payments "to account for (Social Security) disability payments."

Reached for comment, Bachmann spokesman Doug Sachtleben told in an e-mail that Bachmann is not pushing a "budget plan" and "has not introduced legislation to cut veterans benefits."

"Congresswoman Bachmann is not advocating for veterans' benefits to be abolished. She has always said that our nation must properly care for its heroes," he said.

Rather, Sachtleben described the proposal as a "list of suggested cuts to open things up for discussion" on how to reduce the nation's $14 trillion debt.

Mission accomplished.

Eubank called the pitch for veterans' payment cuts "totally out of step with America's commitment to our veterans."

"There are certain things you do not do when our nation is at war, and at the top of that list is not caring for our wounded and disabled servicemen and women when they return home," he said in a statement, urging Bachmann to tour a Minneapolis VA medical center and trauma center.

"The day this nation can't afford to take care of her veterans is the day this nation should quit creating them," he said.

Read more: Bachmann Takes Heat From Veterans' Group
For more on this

Bachmann tells veterans you aren't worth it

Disabled veterans decry wrongheaded, heartless cuts

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tampa woman gets jail over VA benefit fraud

This makes my blood boil! This is not a matter of a widow of a veteran fighting to have a claim honored but a woman with the nerve to take money from the VA after a widow had died. She had nothing to do with the disabled veteran that was willing to die for this country and nothing to do with the life of the wife at his side. She just must have decided that she didn't need to earn any of the money she was taking without a clue of what kind of price others paid. In a time when there are claims tied up in a backlog, claims denied and veterans suffer, here we have someone making a living off of the legacy of a veteran!

Woman Gets Prison For Veterans Benefits Fraud

Published: April 2, 2009

A Palmetto woman who pleaded guilty to cashing veterans benefit checks in the name of her boyfriend's dead mother was sentenced today to five months in prison and five months of house arrest.

Lynn Weber, 55, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew to pay $62,960 in restitution.

A woman named Eleanor Edwards was the intended recipient of the checks from the Veterans Administration Dependency and Indemnity Compensation program, which is paid to eligible surviving spouses of veterans who have not remarried, according to court documents.
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Woman Gets Prison For Veterans Benefits Fraud/

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

House passes 8 veterans’ benefits bills

House passes 8 veterans’ benefits bills

By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Jul 30, 2008 17:26:37 EDT

Veterans with disabilities clearly connected to military service, such as amputated limbs as a result of combat wounds, would get speedy approval of claims to receive veterans’ benefits under a bill approved Wednesday by the House.

The Disability Claims Modernization Act, sponsored by Rep. John Hall, D-N.Y., is one of eight veteran-related bills that the House of Representatives rushed to pass before leaving town for a summer break that will stretch into early September and feature a lot of campaigning by lawmakers seeking re-election as well as the Democratic and Republican presidential nominating conventions.
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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When will VA heads put veterans first?

House bill creates VA ombudsman's office
By Andy Leonatti
CongressDaily June 9, 2008 WASHINGTON - Citing the confusion veterans face when trying to arrange benefits, the House Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee passed a bill Thursday creating an ombudsman office within the Veterans Affairs Department (VA).

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Paul Hodes, D-N.H., was adopted by unanimous voice vote, along with the adoption by voice vote of a substitute amendment from Veterans' Affairs Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael Michaud, D-Maine.

The bill instructs the VA secretary to create an office of the ombudsman, and designate the head of the office.

The office would act as a one-stop shop for information on benefits administered by the VA, including medical, housing and education. When testifying in support of his bill before the Health Subcommittee on June 14, 2007, Hodes said the VA has separate hotlines for different benefits, and the process can be confusing to veterans returning from overseas.

Michaud's substitute amendment expanded the duties of the new office. Under the amendment, the VA secretary will designate an ombudsman director in each of the department's three administrations, health, benefits and cemeteries. The ombudsman director in each administration will report to the head ombudsman.

The amendment also defines the official duties of the office of the ombudsman as providing patient advocacy and problem resolution, provide assistance in understanding benefits, provide information on claims submissions and field complaints from veterans.

The VA secretary will also designate six regional ombudsmen throughout the United States for both the health and benefits administrations.

However, the VA does not support the bill. VA Undersecretary for Health Michael Kussman testified at the Health Subcommittee hearing on the bill that it would create an unnecessary level of bureaucracy within the VA. Kussman added the VA already has officers such as patient advocates and benefit counselors, and many state level veterans departments also have counselors.