PROBLEMS WITH THE VA
The Military Teaches Soldiers Strength; the VA Teaches Veterans to Beg
These benefits are not a luxury or the thanks of a grateful nation; they are part of a service contract.
I come from a family of combat vets. We’ve all been fortunate enough to make it home, from WWII, Vietnam, and for me, Iraq. Military service is a family tradition, as is bitching about the VA. Dinner conversations include horror stories about wait times, neglect, and endless red tape. Often lost in the cycle of stories about VA screw-ups and VA reforms (inevitably followed by more stories of VA screw-ups) is the demoralizing affect that the process has on individuals by taking the very values the military teaches—integrity, hard work, accountability—and undermining them by making veterans act like beggars.
Report: Reprimanded doctors still get VA bonuses
The Department of Veterans Affairs awards performance-pay bonuses to doctors without a clear policy on merits for the payments that average $8,000 a year and that go, in some cases, to physicians disciplined or reprimanded, says a governmental review.
According to a Government Accountability Office report recently issued, investigators found that during the 2010 and 2011 fiscal years.
Officials at troubled VA hospitals received big bonuses
In January, a CBS News investigation found that a veterans' hospital in Pittsburgh knew for more than a year that it had an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease, but kept it secret until five patients died and 21 others became ill.
"It was a preventable situation," he said. "And the VA chose not to do anything about it. And if something was done, my dad would be alive today."
SUPERFUND SITES - U.S. BASES - CLEAN UP - AGENT ORANGE
Chanute Air Force Base: Rokke told the Press the reason Agent Orange hasn’t been tested on the base was because it was buried off base at Heritage Lake.
Agent Orange possibly on former base
"The document does not state “Agent Orange” was disposed but does discuss the possibility, based on interviews with base personnel in or around 1983, that four 55-gallon drums of the two herbicides, 2,4-dicholorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and/or 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T) may have been buried at Landfill 2 or Landfill 3"”
Those two compounds are present in Agent Orange, as stated on the Monsanto Company website. Monsanto was a manufacturer for Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
Starr also released a report titled the Final Focused Feasibility Study for Landfills from November 1999. In the 184-page study, the Air Force tested for 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) in the surface soil in 14 out of 36 sites (page 63) and in the subsurface soil in 15 out of 40 sites (page 67).
Superfund Site Progress Profile CHANUTE AIR FORCE BASE (EPA ID: IL1570024157) AT THIS LINK>>> http://cfpub.epa.gov/supercpad/cursites/csitinfo.cfm?id=0501172
VETERANS' CLAIMS - VA BACKLOG
VA Secretary stops in Waco to address backlog problems
The VA backlog is finally shrinking, despite a record number of claims and now, there's a plan in place to eliminate the backlog altogether.
In the last five months they've been able to clear 20% of the backlog. That's more than 135,000 claims and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki says it will steadily continue to go down. Backlog is categorized as any claim that is more than 125 days old.
"Today veterans including those here in Texas wait too long to receive the benefits they earn. This has never been acceptable that's why we put together an aggressive plan to fix what is a decades old problem. Eliminate that backlog in 2015. Not manage it better, not reduce it, but eliminate it," says Shinseki.
Vet's denied claim granted 10 years later — for $500,000
In the case of the $500,000 payout, the veteran sought out help from the VFW to refile his disability claim. Back in 1996, he petitioned VA raters for disability pay because of exposure to Agent Orange during his Vietnam tour, but was denied because his Ischemic heart disease was not on the list of injuries presumed to be service-connected.
He had open heart surgery and eventually a heart transplant. The operations made him largely unemployable, which caused significant financial hardship.
The Department did add ischemic heart disease to the presumptive list in 2010. Through friends, the veteran heard about the change and decided to seek out his local VFW representative for help.
Case handlers refiled the claim, and also had the veteran apply for war-related hearing loss and post-traumatic stress disorder. In April, he was rated 100 percent disabled, and began receiving monthly checks near $2,400.
York joins U.S. in honoring Vietnam vets
Vietnam veterans served in a difficult and domestically divisive conflict, and the nation's failure to provide a proper homecoming is a disgrace, "but perhaps through this anniversary we can help to make amends for this mistreatment," said Phil Palandro, director of York County Veterans Affairs.
Palandro said there are thousands of Vietnam veterans in York County. He said the war was hard in Vietnam, where guerrilla warfare made it difficult for veterans to know their enemies. It was also hard at home when veterans came home.
"It was not a very popular war and as the war dragged on it was even less popular," he said.
"Many of them came back to a not-so-friendly environment here. They were spit on and called names and had to be afraid to mention your service for fear that people are going to ridicule you."
BLUE WATER NAVY - AGENT ORANGE
Orange Crush - An Advocates View
One of the issues – among many having to do with our exposure to herbicides during the Vietnam War - that has received insufficient attention is the matter of the exposure in those Naval personnel referred to as the “Blue Water Navy” – those Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps personnel who served off the coast of South Vietnam; but, within range and often sight of the coast whose exposure to herbicides is unique and around which veterans’ advocates are currently engaged in a battle with the federal government. The following is taken from a scientific presentation given by the author to the first ever joint US-Vietnam Conference on the use of herbicides in Vietnam, held in March 2002, in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Blue Water Navy Association Sends Demand Letter to Secretary Shinseki
On April 30, 2013, The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, in conjunction with Military-Veterans Advocacy, Inc., sent a demand letter to Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) Secretary Erik Shinseki stating that if DVA does not implement the presumption of exposure to offshore Vietnam veterans by May 30, 2013, we will file a lawsuit in the Federal Courts to force that action. We are asking for immediate implementation of the provisions of the current HR-543 but under voluntary regulation changes within DVA.
Navy Vets Say They Suffer From Agent Orange
Navy veterans sued the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, demanding "the presumption of exposure to Agent Orange for members of the Armed Forced of the United States who served afloat off the coast of the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam War."
The Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Association, and Military-Veterans Advocacy Inc. sued Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki in Federal Court
The veterans claims they were exposed to Agent Orange while they were serving offshore Vietnam and the government won't pay their medical bills and denied benefits to survivors of veterans who "died from complication[s] of Agent Orange."