PROCESSING/APPROVAL FOR VA BENEFITS ESCALATES TO AN ASTOUNDING 1.2 MILLION+ CLAIMS

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Written by:    Jim Davis

Edited by:      Barbie Perkins-Cooper

 

GARDEN GROVE, CA – July 8, 2009 – Veterans-for-Change, a non-profit vocal group established for Veterans rights, benefits, and treatment identifies some of the most serious problems affecting veterans and their families every day.  The membership of Veterans-for-Change has defined many problems, related to veterans nationwide, and as a vocal group of advocates, we are extremely upset that the numbers of claims and appeals pending before the VA has reached an astounding 1.2 million claims.      

Another discovery is that many of these older claims are being placed on the back burner in order to handle the thousands of new Iraq veteran claims to be processed more quickly.  Veterans-For-Change and veterans nationwide find this an outrage and we are demanding immediate action be taken to handle the claims in order of receipt and to reduce this astonishing number of claims.  Veterans-for-Change is taking a stand to vocalize this information with the public, Congress and the media.

Filing for claims is an intense process that frustrates many veterans.  Many times, they give up out of frustration.  According to VA regulations, claims are to be processed, and the claims should error on the side of the veteran.  These claims are not the reality and the issues must be addressed.

Congressman Bob Filner of California serves as chairman on the House Committee of Veterans Affairs. According to the website, http://veterans.house.gov/ Congressman Filner believes, “There are few principles more important to me than ensuring that our veterans receive the honor and dedicated care that their courage and bravery demand.  Owing to that solemn duty, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is dedicated to improving health care and benefits for our veterans.”  Reportedly last year and again this year Congressman Filner said that claims for VA benefits should be processed immediately with a complete review of all approved claims for validity at a later date.  We agree! Perhaps it is time for Veterans-for-Change and the media to contact Congressman Filner to discuss the horror stories expressed, and experienced, by Veterans when they begin the process.  No one but a veteran can understand the excruciating, frustrating psychological war a veteran must fight, just to get these benefits.  It is an outrage that must be stopped!

Perhaps Congress is unaware of the process, along with the antiquated system.  Veteran Service Officers ARE NOT competently and efficiently trained.  Many cases have been filed by sending up the claims improperly completed or knowingly sent up with lack of proper documentation while knowing this important information is available.

There are too many remands from the BVA [again due to lack of proper documentation or incomplete claims] all simply adding to the very serious back log of claims and appeals now in the system. There are far too many reports of claims being remanded back to the VARO or DRO for various reasons, most in part due to lack of proper documentation, incomplete or improperly completed claims forms.

This antiquated process can be eliminated [or greatly reduced] by putting in place a Twenty-first century computerized claims system with all the necessary checks and balances of proper documentation, and all needed information completed properly before the claims processor can move on to the next field or screen and complete the claim application.

If members of Congress were to work with the VA and push for this kind of system, the monetary savings on paid staff alone would surely offset the costs involved on a daily basis.  This new and professional manner of conducting business with the VA, Veterans and all parties responsible for VA benefits, would certainly make the process an easier step-by-step approach while reassuring the Veterans that the promises made are achieved.

President Obama has said: “We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America, a commitment that begins with enlistment and must never end.”

You, as Americans, and politicians of a free society, do have a moral, ethical, and Patriotic obligation to provide benefits and care, regardless of the costs involved and in a reasonable timely manner! You do have a moral, ethical, and Patriotic obligation to care for those who did the job the average American Citizen didn’t want to do.

Our veterans cannot escape effects, physical ailments, illnesses, and emotional wounds of war. Freedom is not free; it comes with a price tag.  Veterans paid a gigantic price, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  Only a war veteran can comprehend how that price was paid for in full by our military and war veterans, along with their spouses and children! The price they paid for their devotion to their freedom does not have a monetary amount and it could be considered priceless since the effects of war leave so many emotional and physical scars that cannot be repaired.  The price our war veterans paid was distributed in full with blood, sweat and many tears! Veterans-for-Change finds this unforgivable.

Isn’t it about time Congress, the President, and the Veterans Affairs actually stood tall and paid that bill? Isn’t it time to help our wounded warriors, including those who suffer with PTSD, improper medical care and improperly cleaned or sterilized equipment, and Blue Water Navy Dioxin Exposure, along with the emotional scars, to be compensated?

The actions of Congress and the actions and policies of the VA seem to express so loud and clear that it would have been far better had our men and women not served or died at war than to suffer the denials, the schemes, shenanigans, and the maltreatment provided by the government of the United States.  The choice is yours. You must decide. Contact your Congressman today, and visit the website http://veterans.house.gov/ to learn how to take action to help our Veterans get the benefits they were promised.

For further information:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VETERANS-FOR-CHANGE/

Contact Jim Davis Veterans-for-Change:  [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.