Democrat Senator Patty Murray comes to the rescue of 72,000 honorable,
disabled veterans. Please have your federal political leaders support Senator Murray. Some politicians
do listen and care about veterans.
VA NEWS FLASH from Larry Scott at VA Watchdog dot Org -- 09-22-2005
SENATE VOTES TO BLOCK VA'S REVIEW
OF 72,000 PTSD CLAIMS
Now, the bill has to be reconciled with the House version. If it passes the House,
VA will have to justify the review program to Congress if they want to continue with it.
Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)
was instrumental in getting this passed. Here is a press release from her office. EMAIL SENATOR
PATTY MURRAY AT: http://murray.senate.gov/email/index.cfm ...........................................
Veterans with PTSD from VA Scrutiny, Stigma and Penalties
Senate Passes Murray's Amendment Today;
from Wasting Resources Investigating 72,000 Veterans and Penalizing Those with Paperwork Errors
of America Applauds Murray's Success
(Washington, D.C.) - Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) stood up for America's
veterans by ensuring that those who need help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are not scrutinized, stigmatized,
or penalized by a planned VA investigation.
"Veterans with PTSD deserve the VA's compassion and support, not costly
investigations, penalties and stigma," Murray said. "Veterans should not be punished for mistakes the VA has made, and
that's what my amendment ensures."
Earlier this year, the VA announced plans to investigate the PTSD disability claims
of 72,000 veterans. An earlier study of a small number of cases by the VA's Inspector General found errors in about
one-third of the claims examined. Many of the problems uncovered were paperwork errors. Murray and veterans organizations
like the American Legion and the Paralyzed Veterans of America feared the VA would use the review to strip benefits from veterans
with mental illness.
The review would also take time and resources away from processing current disability claims.
"The VA must not delay its work on today's disability claims in order to investigate decisions it made years ago,"
Murray said the VA's review would send a message to veterans that if they seek help for PTSD, they will
be subject to scrutiny.
"It's already hard enough for veterans to seek care for mental health problems.
I can't stand by and let the VA throw down another barrier in front of veterans with PTSD," Murray said.
the review today by inserting language into the FY 2006 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which
passed the full Senate this afternoon. Murray's language says the review cannot proceed until the VA justifies the program
to Congress. It also ensures veterans cannot be stripped of their benefits except in cases of fraud.
leaders applauded Murray's work.
"Senator Murray has given veterans some body armor to protect them from administrative
errors and penalties," said Skip Dreps, government relations director for the Northwest Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans
of America, which represents 20,000 veterans nationwide, including 500 in Washington state. "We bore the burden of battle
once, and we shouldn't have to bear the battle again when our government makes mistakes in our benefits."
the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill has passed the Senate, it must be reconciled with the House of Representative's
Rogers UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER September 19, 2005
A government review of 72,000 post-traumatic stress disorder
cases planned for early next year is an excuse to cut benefits for older veterans and toughen qualifications for future ones,
veterans groups and other critics contend.
The Department of Veterans Affairs intends to examine cases from 1999 to
2004 in which 100 percent disability benefits were granted primarily for combat stress. The process is expected to last about
In San Diego County, about 2,000 veterans have qualified for the rating of total disability caused mainly
by combat stress. They each receive a monthly tax-free payment of $2,299. It is not known how many of those cases will be
The review seemed necessary after an audit of 2,100 such cases nationally found that 25 percent of the
VA-approved awards lacked adequate documentation to prove eligibility, said department spokesman Phil Budahn. He said Veterans
Affairs has tightened oversight of its program this year by requiring more proof.
The reassessment is "a paper exercise,"
"No one is alleging that veterans are getting benefits they are not entitled to," he said. "Our assumption
is that the documents exist and we just didn't note them. The last thing we want to do is take away benefits. We are going
do all we can to work with veterans on this."
"If we made mistakes (in awarding benefits prior to 1999), it is not
fair to go back on long-settled cases," Budahn said.
Supporting documents range from unit reports to letters from
war buddies backing a veteran's combat experiences, he said.
"We will be looking for documents that make a solid case
that stressors occurred and that the veteran was (actually deployed) or in combat," Budahn said. "The cases that will be looked
at is the supply clerk who never left Fort Polk."
Representatives for veterans groups in San Diego and Washington,
D.C., say the department's intent is more bottom line and long range.
"This review is really all about wanting to
lower the cost of the war when the veterans come back from Iraq and Afghanistan," said William Rider Jr., president of the
La Jolla-based American Combat Veterans of War. "I think certain people in the administration and Congress see veterans as
a very large expense every year and they hate it."
Since 1999, the number of veterans receiving disability benefits
for post-traumatic stress disorder has jumped from 120,265 to 215,871. The corresponding payout has gone from $1.7 billion
to $4.3 billion. Roughly 10 percent of the increase is associated with veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Budahn
Next year, the department faces a budget shortfall of $2.6 billion. A resolution passed by Congress calls for
a $31 billion Veterans Affairs budget. According to a department report issued in May, if 25 percent of veterans are improperly
receiving benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder, their payments would amount to $860 million in 2004 and $19.8 billion
over their average lifetime.
That's just too much money for an historically underfunded system to ignore, said Dan
Goure, a senior defense analyst at the Lexington Institute in Arlington, Va.
"The Department of Defense is being eaten
out of house and home by health care costs," Goure said. "More retirees are going with military medicine, Congress is allowing
more National Guard and reservists to enter (the VA system) and the costs are rising. You have to say if you are going to
have this kind of ballooning in PTSD benefits, a review is appropriate."
Some veterans are indeed collecting benefits
without merit, said Rider, a former Marine rated in 1999 as 100 percent disabled because of post-traumatic stress disorder.
He worries that Veterans Affairs will use those cases as an excuse to cut payments for the deserving while tightening the
qualification guidelines for returning combat veterans.
Dave Gorman, executive director of Disabled American Veterans
in Washington, is also suspicious of the department's intentions.
"Why are they doing this review if not to cut benefits?"
Gorman said. "Remember these were claims that were allowed at the time. They are also not going back to review claims that
they denied and should not have been. . . . I think this is going to make VA decision-makers tighter with their grants for
Veterans will receive a notice if their case is picked for reassessment. Budahn said the department
will offer help in searching for additional documents to prove that someone has post-traumatic stress disorder.
what if no supplemental records are found?
"We are hoping that we are not put in that situation," Budahn said.
who lose benefits can contest their cases before the Board of Veterans Appeals, which is part of the VA. It usually takes
a year before a decision is rendered.
If that appeal is denied, veterans can seek a final judgment from the U.S. Court
of Appeals for Veterans Claims.
In order to
give out more PTSD disability benefits to the NEW veterans, someone in the VA ( And President Bush's Administration
) had a great idea to take away disability benefits from the OLD veterans... The below email is from
a disabled veteran, who just survived this new VA, Federal Government Witch-hunt.
It's clear by this honorable vet's email that the federal government had him bouncing around for weeks; which exacerbated
his VA known disability. Personally, I feel that this witch-hunt is not fair.
Thousands of honorable, PTSD disabled
veterans will have their disabilities exacerbated, just so the federal government can find a few dishonorable
vets, who committed some type of fraud.
CALL YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN AND ASK THAT THIS PTSD "REVIEW" WITCH HUNT END SO THAT NO MORE
INNOCENT VETS HAVE TO ENDURE THE HELL I HAVE JUST BEEN THROUGH.
I want to let all of those who have supported and encouraged me through the several week trauma
of the PTSD review by the VA that my personal case is NOW resolved in my favor. I just received a phone call from an
Under Secretary of the VA named David Spivey saying that I was absolved and that the matter was completely resolved in my
favor. With no further detriment to me.
I won't receive the actual paper with the words on it for several days but I trust the phone
call because I know who the Under Secretary is. I was given his name by a person from the Vietnam Veterans of America
who suggested I contact him. Mr Spivey also called the office of my Congressman Steve Pearce of the 2nd District
of New Mexico to say it was over and I won.
I was able to find official military files that documented my stressor. EXACTLY
as I described it in my claim. I found these files through the National Archives even though the Albuquerque,
New Mexico VARO claimed that absolutely NO records for my entire unit EVEN EXISTED.
I am deeply grateful to Congressman Steve Pearce of the 2nd District of New Mexico, all of Congressman
Pearce's staff especially Bob Carter a truly good man and Pam Benge his assistant.
I am equally grateful to the Vietnam Veterans of America who held out their hand to help
when I was a long shot under dog. Also to Cliff Snyder at the National Archives in College Park Md who found in a couple
of days the very records that the Albuquerque VA denied existed. Also to Paul Borunda a fellow Vietnam Vet who is my
friend and never failed to believe I was honest. And to fellow Vietnam Vet William Kizer who I have never met but who
gave me the strength to endure through encouraging Emails and phone calls. To screen name Mckinsi1 who suggested (insisted)
I go to the National Archives and to screen name onetwotreefour who actually found SOME records for me online.
And to VA Under Secretary David Spivey an unusual creature who actually ANSWERED his phone.
And not only took time to speak to a low level enlisted veteran like me but actually made phone calls on my behalf.
Lessons learned? Don't trust the VARO. Find an honest member of Congress like fellow Vietnam
Vet Steve Pearce and ask help. If you get a chance be sure to VOTE FOR A COMBAT VET! Be skeptical of anything
the VARO tells you. If the VARO says records don't exist mount your own search. Raise Hell and demand to be treated
fairly. Keep going up the food chain until you find someone smart enough to understand your problem.
When you feel like you have died from the stress do WHATEVER it takes to get through the day
and continue to fight again tomorrow. If you get a chance to help another Vet as people have helped me, DO IT. Join
the Vietnam Veterans of America. They are truly concerned with Veterans issues and veterans.
CALL YOUR SENATORS AND CONGRESSMEN AND ASK THAT THIS PTSD "REVIEW" WITCH HUNT END SO THAT NO
MORE INNOCENT VETS HAVE TO ENDURE THE HELL I HAVE JUST BEEN THROUGH.
If I forgot to thank anyone I apologize. My mind is shot I am going to go try to
rest. I am truly grateful to God for preserving me through this horrible trial.
President Bush's Veterans Disability Benefits Commission
One has to remember that this President has done allot of good for the
veterans of this country and is not out to get veterans and take away veteran benefits, one has to know the truth of the story
to make a decision this commission was appointed by the VA not the President. This new Doctor voted to run the VA
is the culprit of this commission.
of Veterans Affairs (VA) say that the below commission is only looking into PTSD fraud, but I'm sure many veterans with
true disabilities will be hurt and their disability benefits will be cut, or completely shut off. I'm sure
there is fraud in some of the PTSD claims, however, if a veteran with PTSD loses his or her valid disability benefits,
who will be there to help? Even without this commission, the VA plays many games with veterans over their disability
benefits. They played the usual games with me, before I received disability benefits.
many years, many procedures and tests for an average veteran to receive PTSD Disability benefits. (Additional
comments from another veteran are below.)
The Commission members are appointed by the President and leaders of Congress, and the
Commission is independent of the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense.
The purpose of the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission is to carry out a study of the benefits under
the laws of the United States that are provided to compensate and assist veterans and their survivors for disabilities and
deaths attributable to military service, and to produce a report on the study.
Please do not send questions about benefits or services or requests for assistance with claims or other services
to the Veterans' Disability Benefits Commission. You may refer such questions and requests to: https://iris.va.gov. The Commission is not in a position to answer questions or provide assistance over the internet for privacy
and security reasons. Thank you.
Please use the information below to contact the Commission:
1101 Pennsylvania Ave NW, 5th Floor Washington, DC 20004
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "Robert White" <etihwr2@c...> wrote:
Currently the VA is reinvestigating over 72,000 claims of PTSD for possible
fraud. If your one of these people they can take away your rating. This would be the only reason.
Since your T&P your not required to go back to the VA. If your seeing a private doc, and they do call upon
you, you can get a report from the private doc stating how bad your PTSD is. I would advise you to get a copy of
the Doc's CV as well as any medical studies the doc can pull up to support his claim. The VA and/or your rep
will let you know that your claim is being reinvestigated. Be prepared to resend in all the information you
did before to justify your rating. Best of luck to you. Robert White
Subject: Re: Fw: [Disabled Vets] Question about Reviews on PTSD Benefits
Thank you very much for the infor on this. I posted about it in a few other groups I belong to.
At any rate I hope I don't have to go through the process again. It wasn't any fun the first time. But at least this
time I have all my records which took about 15 years to find. Thanks to my senator from Maine in finding most of them.
I don't use the VA hospital other then to get my meds as if it was for them I'd be dead now, so as it is I end up
paying for a lot of outside medical doctors. I sure could use the money I pay them but there's not much one can do
and I'm happy at least I can get my meds and the check once a month. It's like now I'm having problems walking, do
to arthritis and tried to get a power scooter, well I'm on a waiting list and won't be seen for a year to start that process,
so I guess I'll just buy one myself or try though medicare. Anyway, it's always something.
Again, Thank you very
----- Original Message -----
To: email@example.com Sent: Monday, September 19, 2005 10:02 AM Subject:
[Disabled Vets] Question about Reviews on PTSD Benefits
Hi, I have a question
and hope someone can answer it before I have a damn stroke! I was awarded benefits in 2000 for PTSD.
On my rating Decision it states, "Therefore, the veterans condition is considered permanent
and Total. The veteran will no longer need to report for any future VA examinations concerning this
condition unless requested by the veteran." My question is I understand that veterans with
a PTSD claim will have to go back through the process or whatever to keep
their benefits? Can they just cut you off the list? Take away my monthly check which I depend on? I
don't use any of the medical services I can get except for getting my meds. 13 pills a day I take,
I use all outside doctors because I experinced if I had to wait to get in to see a doctor there
I would be dead by now. at any rate can some one tell me about this and what is going on. The VA
has not sent me anything about it.
Thank you Art
WITH A PROUD VIETNAM VETERAN
We are nearing 13,000 total supporters and nearing 11,000
petition signers. End this Political Abuse of Power now...
We, the undersigned
People of the United States, are deeply concerned how the State of New Jersey has denied a decorated, combat veteran of the United States, his due
rights as the plaintiff against a corrupt state government lawyer, Robert Correale, his former law
firm, Maynard & Truland and all state government politicians and state officials who have protected them.
We ask that you give John "Jack" Cunningham his Due Process that the State of New Jersey has denied
him for over a decade.
TYRANNY starts when court officials judge the citizens based on the laws,
yet ignore these same laws for themselves and friends.
Here's a great example of
TYRANNY starting in a State's Supreme Court.
Why did the New Jersey Supreme Court
attorney ethics authority insist Supreme Court Ethics Attorney Robert Correale be judged for violations
by the same ethics committee that he was Vice-Chairman of...
"A man good enough to shed his blood
for his country, is good enough to receive a square deal afterwards . . ." -- Theodore Roosevelt
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall
be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation."
traumatic events~such as natural disasters, abuse, crime, accident, rape, war etc.~ millions of people develop PTSD with symptoms raging from nightmares
to headaches, flashbacks, withdrawing from people, profound sadness, anxiety, anger, guilt, fatigue, pessimism, sexual problems
and emotional numbing.
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be
directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." -
TODAY'S BRAVE AND HONORABLE MILITARY
IS TOMORROW'S VETERANS
WITH THE HELP OF INTERNET
SUPPORTERS, Former CAP Marine, Veterans Advocate
And Webmaster Jack Cunningham, Takes On New
Jersey's Office Of Attorney Ethics' Corruption...
FOR THE NEW JERSEY SUPERIOR COURT SYSTEM TO LOSE A COURT TRANSCRIPT,
BEFORE IT CAN BE TYPED AND RELEASED AS EVIDENCE IN A FOLLOW-UP ETHICS CASE AGAINST A STATE OFFICIAL IS A DISGRACE AS WELL
AS A CRIME.