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

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?

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Canada shortchanged up to 272,000 disabled veterans of roughly $165 million

Anatomy of a blunder: How Veterans Affairs quietly buried a $165M accounting error

Murray Brewster
January 11, 2019

It was an incredibly simple (and incredibly daft) mistake — and it led to a $165 million federal fiscal faux-pas.

Veterans look on during Remembrance Day ceremonies at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018. New documents obtained by the CBC show how Veterans Affairs attempted to gloss over a $165 million accounting error affecting disability pensions. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press )

In 2001, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien made what appeared to be an innocuous change to federal tax forms.

It separated federal and provincial tax exemptions, shuffling the basic personal tax credit from one part of the document to another.

Staff at Veterans Affairs, who administer disability awards and pensions, did not pick up on the modification to the tax law for several years and ended up short-changing former soldiers — most of them elderly — who received disability pensions and awards benefits.

It was a mistake that cascaded, over time, into a whopping, multi-million dollar fiscal mess that Justin Trudeau's Liberal government began to mop up last fall.

CBC News has obtained hundreds of pages of documents under access to information legislation, and has conducted a series of background interviews with current and former federal officials, to understand the extraordinary blunder that shortchanged up to 272,000 disabled veterans of roughly $165 million.
read more here

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Remembering Those Who Also Paid Price

This Memorial Day, let's also remember those who nearly made 'the ultimate sacrifice' 
The Star-Ledger
By Mark Di Ionno
May 24, 2015

And now for a Memorial Day history lesson.

The American tradition of treating veterans badly started right here in New Jersey. The Pennsylvania Line of Continental Army --- with their enlistments up -- were forced to stay in service. When they walked off the job at Jockey Hollow in 1781, citing deplorable conditions and lousy pay, it was called a mutiny.

When the New Jersey Line tried it a few weeks later in Pequannock, two mutineers where shot by firing squad.

Nationwide, Civil War veterans suffering from "Soldier's Heart," known today as post-traumatic stress disorder, or "Soldier's Disease" which was addiction to pain-killing heroin, went untreated. They spent their lives in jails, asylums or run-down soldiers' homes.
A large group of unemployed World War I veterans called the "Bonus Army" marched on Washington in 1932. Two were shot and killed by police, and their camp was routed by Army troops led by two famous names in American military history: Douglas MacArthur and George Patton.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge vetoed a bill giving those veterans benefits, saying "Patriotism bought and paid for is not patriotism." Easy for him to say; he wasn't a veteran. Neither was Herbert Hoover, who ordered the attack on the camp.
"So here are guys, who can't stay in the military, and can't return to their civilian jobs. They have that warrior ethos – some have actually said 'I don't want to disobey orders' when I've tried to get them better benefits -- just so they don't slip out of the middle-class life they had before they got injured.

"I think the military takes advantage of their warrior ethos. They (the wounded) are afraid to say 'I'm more screwed up than you say I am.' To them it's weakness. So somebody has to fight for them."
read more here

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Department of Veterans Affairs Highers PR Firm for "Shareholders"

First Generation Delivers Video Series for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Allentown, PA (PRWEB) September 23, 2014

First Generation (FG), an advertising and integrated marketing agency and service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB), was recently awarded a contract with the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA), an administration within the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

The contract grants First Generation the opportunity to assist the VBA in effectively communicating changes in VA benefits and services to a wide variety of shareholders. The 508 compliant videos will describe new technology initiatives, transformation milestones and how to apply for benefits online.

Under the direction of the award-winning production team of Stephen White, David Beedle and John Costello, FG will script, direct and edit several public service announcements, develop multiple animated videos and produce over twenty video interviews to help the VBA communicate important information to valued shareholders.

"FG has a history of creating videos to assist the VA, and we are thrilled for the opportunity to continue to do so," says First Generation President, Alexandra Shade. "Our dedicated team of producers, directors and editors are eager to deliver high-quality videos to help the VBA accomplish their mission and reinforce our status as a robust partner for the U.S. government."
go here for more

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Army Captain didn't know about burn pit registry until VA event

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 3, 2014

The VA held a Welcome Home Salute 2014 and it was a great idea considering while military leaders keep assuring the public the troops are all informed about VA benefits, this proves they are not informed at all.
U.S. Army National Guard Camp Crowder, 890 Ray A Carver Ave, Neosho, MO 64850
Who should attend: Any Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn Combat Veteran that wants to learn more about VA services and get assistance from staff

Booths and information from the following areas will include:
Vet Center, Audiology, Dietitian, Mental Health, Dental, My HealtheVet, Health Educator, and more!

What exactly does the DOD explain to them about benefits when a Captain did not know about the VA burn pit registry?
One of the veterans who participated in the event was Capt. Charlie Ledgerwood, weekend training site commander at Camp Crowder.

“For me it is beneficial because I got to find out when I was deployed to Afghanistan in 2009, 2010 with the 203rd Engineers, that we had an open pit burn site at the air force base where I was stationed,” he said. “And now, there is an open burn pit registry so I need to get registered for that because I was there, in case I have health problems. I know that some of my troops have had health problems, so I am going to be calling them, letting them know about that.”

Group holds health event for combat vets
By Todd G. Higdon
Posted Aug. 2, 2014
Area war veterans had the opportunity Saturday to get information about veterans’ health care during an event at Camp Crowder.

“This is our 2014 Welcome Home Salute,” said Sarah McBride, public affairs for Veterans Healthcare System for the Ozarks, who held the event. “The event is targeted toward combat veterans, Operation Iraq Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation New Dawn, but it is open to any veteran who wants to come and learn about information. So we have VA services, as well as veterans benefits administration here, dietitians, we have got health, disease prevention, health promotion, enrollment and eligibility specialists, just to get the word out to returning veterans or any veteran who wants to information on it, what services are available to them.”
read more here

Reporters jumped all over the VA with story after story of what they got wrong but when they got things right, reporters were not really interested. They find veteran after veteran with complaints and horror stories but don't seem to manage to find the majority of veterans receiving great treatment. They don't seem interested in covering VA sponsored Stand Downs for homeless veterans all over the country. What makes all of this worse is, none of them are really interested in asking what the DOD is getting so wrong it makes it harder for military folks after they leave service. Congress sure as hell doesn't care or they would be holding the DOD accountable.

There has been a long history of the Vice Chiefs making claims about what they are doing and how it is working but this video from 2010 as they gave their speeches to Senators on the Armed Services Committee, the result proves their claims were false.

Did you know that while the DOD was ordered by Congress to do Pre and Post Deployment Screenings, they were not doing the Post deployments ones? They claimed they didn't have time or the manpower. In other words, the law didn't apply to them even though they were telling reporters they were doing everything possible to get them the help they needed on PTSD. Here is the video covered by CSPAN in a hearing back in 2010.

Enhanced Post-Deployment Health Assessment (PDHA) Process
(DD Form 2796)


DD Form 2796 - DoDI 6490.03, Deployment Health, 11 Aug 06 describes the post-deployment health activities. "The DD Form 2796 is required if a DD Form 2795 was required during the pre-deployment phase or per the decision of the COCOM commander, Service component commander, or commander exercising operational control if any health threats evolved or exposures (OEH or CBRN) occurred during the deployment that warrant medical assessment or follow-up." "Each individual who requires a DD Form 2796 must be scheduled for a face-to-face health assessment with a trained health care provider (physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, advanced practice nurse, independent duty corpsman, independent duty medical technician, or Special Forces medical sergeant) during in-theater medical out-processing or within 30 days after returning to home or processing station." The purpose of this screening is to review each deployer's current health, mental health or psychosocial issues commonly associated with deployments, special medications taken during the deployment, possible deployment-related occupational/environmental exposures, and to discuss deployment-related health concerns. Positive responses require use of supplemental assessment tools and/or referrals for medical consultation. The provider will document concerns and referral needs and discuss resources available to help resolve any post-deployment issues.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Forty-one Senators Told Veterans They Are Not Worth Votes

This is funny and sickening at the same time. Why? Because it is all true. But this wasn't just about voting against veterans.
Jon Stewart Is Shocked (But Not Surprised) By GOP Killing Veterans Bill
The Huffington Post
by Ross Luippold
Posted: 03/06/2014

When a bill came up for vote that would have expanded health care and education for veterans, we knew two things would happen next. First, Republicans would block the bill, because that's kind of their thing. Then, Jon Stewart would deliver a passionate monologue explaining just how disgraceful this is.
read more here

U.S. Senate Roll Call Votes 113th Congress - 2nd Session as compiled through Senate LIS by the Senate Bill Clerk under the direction of the Secretary of the Senate
Vote Summary
Question: On the Motion (Motion to Waive All Applicable Budgetary Discipline Re: S.1982 )
Vote Number: 46
Vote Date: February 27, 2014, 02:26 PM
Required For Majority: 3/5
Vote Result: Motion Rejected Measure Number: S. 1982 (Comprehensive Veterans Health and Benefits and Military Retirement Pay Restoration Act of 2014 )
Measure Title: A bill to improve the provision of medical services and benefits to veterans, and for other purposes.
Vote Counts:
YEAs 56
NAYs 41
Not Voting 3

NAYs ---41
Alexander (R-TN) 521,267
Ayotte (R-NH) 110,778
Barrasso (R-WY) 56,518
Blunt (R-MO) 497,874
Boozman (R-AR) 250,095
Burr (R-NC) 769,384
Chambliss (R-GA) 774,764
Coats (R-IN) 490,380
Coburn (R-OK) 340,395
Cochran (R-MS) 225,469
Collins (R-ME) 127,694
Corker (R-TN) 521,267
Cornyn (R-TX) 1,667,740
Crapo (R-ID) 138,108
Cruz (R-TX) 1,667,740
Enzi (R-WY) 56,518
Fischer (R-NE) 138,773
Flake (R-AZ) 527,400
Graham (R-SC) 420,968
Grassley (R-IA)233,815
Hatch (R-UT) 150,771
Hoeven (R-ND) 56,213
Inhofe (R-OK) 340,395
Isakson (R-GA) 774,464
Johanns (R-NE) 138,773
Johnson (R-WI) 409,419
Kirk (R-IL) 774,710
Lee (R-UT) 150,771
McCain (R-AZ) 527,400
McConnell (R-KY) 339,334
Paul (R-KY) 339,334
Portman (R-OH) 877,894
Risch (R-ID) 138,108
Roberts (R-KS) 223,708
Rubio (R-FL) 1,520,563
Scott (R-SC) 420,968
Sessions (R-AL) 414,963
Shelby (R-AL) 414,963
Thune (R-SD) 75,687
Toomey (R-PA) 953,644
Vitter (R-LA) 315,342
It isn't the first time. It happened last year too.
"Americans don't trust us," said Sen.Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. "And why should Americans trust us when we keep using gimmicks and budget sleight of hand to hide more spending and drive the country further into debt."
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs I have just added in these "Nay" votes population by state as of 9-30-13

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

"Veteran business owner" should be ashamed of himself

Duckworth rips witness over veterans disability claim
Posted by
CNN's Ashley Killough
3 hours ago

(CNN) – Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran and double-amputee, lambasted a witness during a congressional hearing Wednesday, accusing him of "gaming the system" for federal veterans benefits.

The witness, Braulio Castillo, had come under scrutiny from the House Oversight and Government Reform committee for allegedly claiming veteran disability status as a way to gain an advantage in contracting bids for the Internal Revenue Service.

Castillo, president and CEO of an IT company called Strong Castle, reported a foot injury he sustained in 1984 at the U.S Military Academy Preparatory School, according to a report released by the committee. He was honorably discharged in his first year at the school, and later went on to play football at the University of San Diego as quarterback and linebacker.
read more here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Election over stalled Veteran Benefits Bill Passed By Senate

Veteran Benefits Bill Passed By Senate

WASHINGTON — The Senate sent the White House a bill on Tuesday giving nearly 4 million veterans and survivors a 1.7 percent increase in their monthly benefit payments next year.

Democrats said the normally routine measure was delayed for weeks because an unidentified Republican senator objected to it.

Republicans were not given enough time to ensure that all senators were okay with the bill, said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. He said the clearance process was completed soon after Congress adjourned for the elections and that Democrats could have brought the bill up if necessary.

When the Senate returned this week, it acted quickly to ensure that checks issued beginning in January reflect the adjustment for the higher cost of living.

The House approved the measure in July. The bill now goes to President Barack Obama for his signature.
read more here

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Senator Murray slams VA for limiting caregiver benefits

Murray slams VA for limiting caregiver benefits
By Rick Maze - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Feb 10, 2011 10:25:39 EST
Many caregivers of severely disabled veterans will be unnecessarily excluded from a new benefits and support program because of limitations proposed by the Obama administration, the new chairwoman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee says.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., appointed chairwoman just two weeks ago, is launching a high-profile fight with the Veterans Affairs Department over eligibility rules for benefits for the caregivers of severely injured Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. When Congress passed the benefits law last year, lawmakers believed about 3,500 families would be helped. But Murray said Wednesday VA’s criteria for determining who is eligible would “severely limit” who is covered.


• VA outlines plan to help caregivers of wounded

• Senators: Why is help for caregivers delayed?

“I’m not going to let VA minimize the impact of the bill that we passed,” Murray said in a statement.

At issue is a proposed rule that would provide benefits and support only in cases where severely disabled veterans needs a minimum of six months of continuous support from a caregiver or would otherwise have to be hospitalized because of their medical condition, inability to care for themselves or personal safety. What the caregiver is doing cannot duplicate services provided by another entity.

VA officials said the idea is to narrow eligibility to veterans who are “most at need” and to a population that can be supported.

Murray said that is “simply not good enough.” VA intends “to limit this benefit to an even smaller group of caregivers than intended by Congress, which is unacceptable,” she said.
read more here
Murray slams VA for limiting caregiver benefits

Friday, October 24, 2008

Omnibus Veterans’ Bills Cleared by Senate

Sept. 27, 2008 – 6:38 p.m.

Omnibus Veterans’ Bills Cleared by Senate

By Matthew M. Johnson, CQ Staff

The Senate cleared legislation Saturday bundling up numerous measures aimed at improving veterans’ health care, housing, education and other benefits.

Provisions covering a range of programs for veterans were packaged into two big bills (S 2162, S 3023) that were sent to the White House for the president’s signature.

As introduced by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, D-Hawaii, chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the first bill (S 2162) would have authorized programs intended to improve treatment for veterans who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental illnesses. The Senate passed that version in June.

However, the House amended it with multiple other veterans’ provisions before passing it by voice vote Sept. 24. The final measure incorporated a compromise negotiated by House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner, D-Calif., and Akaka.

As cleared, the bill would authorize:

• $1.9 billion for Veterans Administration (VA) medical facility projects and major medical facility leases around the country.

• $60 million through fiscal 2011 for the VA to provide financial assistance to nonprofit organizations that support very low-income veteran families residing in permanent housing.

• $30 million for the VA to designate between four and six health care facilities as locations for epilepsy centers and to designate an individual in the Veterans Health Administration as a national coordinator for VHA epilepsy programs.

• $8 million through fiscal 2012 for the VA to carry out research into PTSD through the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

• $3 million for a two-year VA pilot program to test the feasibility and advisability of providing assessment, education and treatment of substance abuse via the Internet.

Second Package

The Senate also cleared another broad veterans’ measure that among other things would require the VA to implement regulations for notifying veterans who claim medical benefits about the status of their requests in simple terms.

Like the first package, this measure (S 3023) was sponsored by Akaka. It was passed by the Senate Sept. 16 and subsequently amended on the House floor by Filner and passed Sept. 24. Akaka negotiated with Filner on the amendments.

The base bill would require notifications to include information about whether a claim is new or old, the evidence generally required to substantiate that type of claim, and the timing of the notice.

The department could provide additional or alternative notice information if it would be relevant to benefits or services sought by veterans.

As amended, the bill included numerous other provisions to expand compensation and pension, housing, labor, education and insurance benefits for veterans, including ones that would:

• Increase, for a limited time, the amount of money a veteran can borrow for certain guaranteed housing loans. The new maximum guaranty would be one of three options: 25 percent of $417,000, where the median area single-family housing price is less than $417,000; 25 percent of the median price for a single-family home in localities where houses generally cost between $417,000 and $729,750; or 25 percent of $729,750 where the median area single-family housing price is greater than $729,750.

• Eliminate a requirement that a veteran’s severance pay for a combat-related disability be deducted from the disability compensation provided by the department.

• Give the VA authority to assign qualified veterans temporary disability ratings within 365 days of receiving an application.

• Allow a qualified dependent survivor to receive and update evidence for benefits that were requested by a veteran before their death.

• Create a new office to assist qualified dependent survivors to receive benefits and investigate issues.

• Require the department to redevelop its certification exam to test appropriate Veterans’ Benefits Administration employees and managers.

• Require an information technology plan for all aspects of the VBA disability claims processing system to reduce processing times.

• Extend the period of eligibility for dependent survivors to receive educational assistance to allow spouses of veterans with a service-connected disability to redeem the benefits within a 20-year window.

• Allow the department to award grants to establish a sports program for disabled veterans to participate in U.S. Paralympics competitions and establish an Office of National Veterans Sports Programs and Special Events.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

American Indians have highest per capita of service but get less benefits

Share recognition with American Indian veterans
September 5, 2008

An estimated 100 people gathered at the Royal Scandinavian Inn in Solvang, Calif., Santa Barbara County, to honor fallen American Indian veterans at the U.S. Native Warrior exhibit on Aug. 23.

The 30-panel exhibit primarily honors World War II veterans, but does list the numbers of those who served and died in each major war, according to the Santa Ynez Valley Journal. One panel pays tribute to the estimated 95,500 American Indians who have served since World War II, with a total of 1,119 lives lost, the Journal said.

It is a little known fact that, historically, American Indians have the highest record of service per capita when compared with other ethnic groups. Unfortunately, while they hold the highest record of service per capita in comparison with other ethnic groups they are the least likely to receive veterans benefits.

I'm not sure if there is a breakdown in communication, or if there is blatant discrimination occurring, but it makes no sense at all that these veterans are not being taken care of when they risked life and limb for this country.

I was devastated to learn that benefits are not the only rewards being kept - inadvertently or not - from American Indian veterans. Many are not receiving their earned medals. Veterans from the Persian Gulf War in 1991 who were gassed are not being given Purple Hearts, especially the disabled who could no longer work and were discharged honorably out of the military within a few years. If veterans in World War I were given Purple Hearts for mustard gas, then veterans from the Persian Gulf who were exposed to mustard gas and sarin most certainly should be. If you agree, please sign the petition to Congress at

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