Written by Jim Davis

Edited by Barbie Perkins-Cooper

Every day I hear from veterans, from all walks and talks of life. Repeatedly, these former members of the Armed Forces are treated as second class, or perhaps the ‘forgotten class.’ Veterans who express concern over the benefits they were promised for serving their country, the United States of America. Repeatedly, I hear the same story, over and over again, until these compelling stories appear to be a continuous loop video, replaying.  

The only difference is the name of the Veteran, the file, or report number, along with the scenario of events that cause delays in claims processing. Veterans who report the loss of records, documents, physician’s reports, filing denials, and on and on. The unbroken, never ending record of complaints could fill volumes of books that Congress and the media choose to ignore. The question is why?


Why must Veterans be treated in such a manner? The list of complaints and concerns from the Veterans perspective is undeniably frustrating, creating a psychological war that Veterans should not have to tolerate. Documented denials, unsanitary, unsterilized conditions in VA Medical Centers; veterans and family members waiting for hours just to be seen by a doctor. VSO’s [Veterans Service Organization] professionals refusing to accept and process a claim for benefits.


The communication received is an unspoken, but carefully articulated communicated symphony of, “You will probably die before your clam is approved.” Perhaps the denials, and lack of approval is a simple expression of when the Veteran dies, so does the claim. ( VSO’s continuously lose documents. VARO’s [VA Regional Office] shred documents, adding to the vicious cycle where the list never ends, and the continuous loop video continues to play – over, and over, and over again.

Every day hundreds of veterans die, many needlessly, many who never saw a penny in benefits! Why? Because of the VA’s wonderful unwritten and unspoken policy of deny, deny, until they die!


In the United States, chartered Veteran Service Organizations such as VFW, American Legion who  literally do nothing to help; in fact they truly fight against the veteran! So why pay membership fees to an organization entrusted to help veterans? Beyond me!


In the year 2009, America was promised ‘change.’ During speeches in late April and early May, President Barack Obama shared the knowledge that over 600,000 PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] claims were filed and 500,000 were denied! President Obama appeared to be disturbed over this discovery, but from a Veterans perspective, what good is a statement if actions are not taken, and if those who are guilty of denial and a lack of responsibility to perform their duties of servicing Veterans are still in control? Perhaps they should put themselves in the shoes of a Veteran and recognize how devastating it is to be told again and again that ‘your file is still under review…’ or, ‘the file is missing. The scenarios continue, until the Veteran feels defeated, or the Veteran dies without benefits.


Recently the media has reported stories of veterans described as “going postal,” or as in the case of SGT. John Russell who retaliated while serving in Iraq, killing five soldiers. SGT. Russell was reportedly on his third tour of duty in a combat zone. Stripped of his weapon, Russell was scheduled to have psychological counseling. Reports are a bit vague, but the story goes that while he was ‘escorted back to his unit, he took the weapon of his escort, went back to the clinic, and opened fire.’ Russell was scheduled to return home within a few weeks. He had much on his mind including the financial stress of deployment, and the adjustment to life back home. Apparently, the stress in a war zone, combined with the stress of returning to a normal life was too much and Russell reached his breaking point. SGT. Russell needed help compassion and understanding.


Additional reports in the news include reports about veterans so lost and devastated over the experiences of military life and combat they commit suicide. In these situations what has the VA, Congress, our President, the list of military organizations, and the Veteran Service Organizations done about this? Absolutely nothing!


Additional complaints include reports of medical issues including the Endoscope issue of improperly cleaned and sterilized equipment used in VA hospitals. An investigation has revealed countless veterans have been placed in serious risk of infection for HEPATITIS A, HEPATITIS B, HEPATITIS C, HIV, without the lack of proper notification. Reportedly, some Veterans have been notified tested and now are showing positive reactions; yet the VA responds by saying, “Oh you could have been infected a long time ago, no proof we caused this to happen to you! No proof, no documentation, NOTHING!


As the founder and advocate for Veterans-for-Change, I have received countless e-mails and phone calls from veterans and spouses of the vet being misdiagnosed, or improper prescriptions given, improper care, incomplete or incorrect surgeries being done, this list too just goes on and on. Obviously, there is a problem within the administration of the VA. I find it deplorable that I receive so many complaints, sounding like a continuous loop video recording, with one exception – the names and reports of the veteran is different, but the scenarios are so similar. Rarely, do I get e-mails or phone calls praising how wonderful he/she was treated. The VAMC – the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs believes in “the best!” Obviously, based on the continuous flow of complaints I receive, this philosophy is not practiced, or preached.


According to a recent report in Stars and Stripes, there are reportedly over 722,527 claims and appeals still pending and that number continues to climb steadily every month by an approximate count of 80,000 new claims. ( These claims are an astonishing number, an increase of 96,125 claims from last year. Three years ago the number of claims and appeals pending was 521,397. That was an average increase of 6,975 claims per month over 36 months and now it’s jumped to an estimated 80,000 new claims per month?


The VA claims they hired some 4,200 new claims processors in early 2007. Well it takes at best two years to properly train a claims processor and here we are mid 2009. Where were these new claims processors three years ago? And with the world still at war with Iraq and Afghanistan, these claims will continue to increase, due to the demands of the combat veterans who return back to America.


VSO’s are a whole new chapter in this story, and each is trained by his/her organization they represent, so training is not standardized, not equal, and in most cases superficial at best and it’s up to the individual VSO to “learn on their own!” Learning at their pace, without the ability to place themselves in the shoes of the Veteran. Many of these VSO’s appear to be clueless to the needs of America’s veterans.


Veterans dating back to WWII, Vietnam and up through Gulf War, and now Iraq and Afghanistan are still being treated worse than a second class citizen. Having to battle everyday, even after they’ve come home from a battle for our Country.


Psychological battles with the Government, Congress, and the VA just to receive the proper benefits and medical care so desperately needed by countless thousands of these deserving individuals is escalating and the VA needs to do something to improve and reward these veterans for their dedication and service!


Women vets have had a battle too! Women do not receive the same benefits, medical care, and attention needed. Yet they wore the same uniforms, fought on the same battle grounds, in the same foreign countries. Another serious injustice! Could this be another scenario of ‘second class citizen’ in the twenty-first century?


The average veteran community is estimated at 8-9% of the voting constituency for a Congressman or Senator. But that 8-9% can mean the difference between winning and losing an election, yet all 535 members of Congress still choose to ignore veterans, spouses, their children, while they still fight over granting the benefits and services each and every one military veteran was promised.


We the taxpayer funded the $700 billion dollar “economy boost” and what amazes me is we paid for Dog Parks, Convention Center Hotels, bridges to nowhere, CEO retreats, and additional money to improve an “international airport” which actually received 5-10 flights per day — if that.


Nevertheless, Congress refused to renew the E-Verify program and mandate that it be required of both civilian and governmental employers thus giving away millions of jobs to illegal aliens, which by the way are entitled to free medical, education, welfare, social security, housing, food stamps and a host of other programs. We as a nation appear to treat illegal aliens better, far better than we do our own, those who answered the call of Congress and our President to go to war and fight for our rights, freedoms and way of life, yet they fail to pay the bill when that bill comes due.


I’ve attended many functions at the American Legion Lodge or VFW Post, I have spoken with many veterans, overhearing conversations of woe is me, I can’t get this, can’t get that, yet when I speak with them and find out what the situation is, I make suggestions, and offer assistance; however, the general response is I can’t take a chance, I’d lose what little in benefits I get now. The belief is Total BS, totally unfounded.


In an effort to fight back, all Veterans need to put their military combat boots back on, stand tall, be proud of who they are what they’ve done and unite as one.


My advice, as the founder of Veterans-for-Change, and a family member of a Veteran who fought for, but lost his battle for benefits is a simple one — Speak out and let your voice be heard by your local Congressman and Senators. Make some noise. Stir the pot, and do not allow the VA to win the battle. You can do this by applying the following method:

·         Use the USDR Capwiz System and send out E-Mails by using their system to request your politicians support of the variety of Veterans bills pending or in committee (

·         Or join a veteran’s advocacy group and there are several hundreds.


I founded Veterans-For-Change in 2006 shortly after my father passed away. My mission was a promise made to him during his battle for life and benefits. I promised to continue his fight to insure all veterans received benefits and care as was promised.


Veterans-For-Change ( consists of a group of veterans, spouses, family members, and friends who care about Veterans and stand up to the plate to fight for what is right. As a group we develop a list of “hot issues” every month, draft a letter on the top 3-4 issues and submit this letter to the group.


Once the letter is approved by the group, we publish it; and all we ask our members to do is send it to your Congressman and Senators. The letters can be sent via Webmail, US Mail or fax whatever is most convenient for the member. As an active group for Veterans, our mission is to wake up Congress so our Veterans will get the benefits they deserve, without the psychological war they must battle now.


Veterans-for-Change follows each letter up with an article and press releases which are sent to some 4300 members of the media nationwide in an effort to gain more attention to the problems and issues facing our veterans.


Volunteering for any advocacy group is easy, painless, and might only consume 30-60 minutes of your time each month. The point is to become active in your and your fellow veterans benefits and to care about what you are doing and believing. Do not count on service organizations to do the work of an advocate for you; they simply will not do it.


Approximately 8-9% of the population in the United States are veterans, and if only 1% nationwide stood tall and spoke their minds, the results would be far more powerful than that of any service organization today! If you are a veteran and have a story to tell about your claim, the local VA facility, the doctors, nurses, medical care, [or lack of medical care] anything good or bad, please write to me and tell me at JDAVIS92840@SBCGLOBAL.


You do not need to tell me your name, just the story; city and state, we at Veterans-For-Change (VFC) will see to it that your stories are given to the members of Congress, Secretary of the VA, and all the VA committee members. But we do need you to speak out. The more veterans and spouses willing to get involved, the more our voices will be heard! There is POWER in NUMBERS! It is time for the Veterans Administration, and all the powers that be to stop treating, or mistreating our Veterans and it is time for our Veterans to be treated with respect, not as second class citizens who stood tall to fight the battle, only to be shunned, ignored, or forgotten during the process of the promised “Veterans Benefits.”


For more information/assistance:

[email protected]






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Jim Davis is the son of USMC MGySgt. Lesley Davis (Ret.) who passed away on April 24, 2006, from ALS caused by Agent Orange. His dad’s mission before he passed on was to ensure all veterans, spouses, children, and widows all received the benefits, medical care and attention, and proper facilities from the VA. Because of the promise made to his dad to carry on the mission, in May 2006 Davis began as a one-man show sending out 535 letters every single week to all members of Congress requesting and politely demanding the fulfill their promises made over the past decades to care for life those who wore the uniform and their families. Veterans-For-Change was born in August 2006 with a very small membership of 25 people composed of veterans, spouses, widows, family members, and friends and to date continues to grow.