60 Minutes Segment on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2010
Most veterans in the United States I’m sure were glued to their televisions on Sunday evening to see the segment on the VA System.
I’m sure most of us were greatly disappointed that the anchor for the segment and/or his staff failed to dig deep enough to bring forth much more than they did.
The VSO did tell the truth, but I seriously doubt the entire truth. They do get points and for those points they get bonuses, pay raises, promotions, etc., but what he failed to mention is they can get points for merely opening the file and doing absolutely nothing.
They also failed to mention the fact that to become a Veteran Service Officer you can receive as little as ten (10) hours of training and the rest is “On The Job” and all at veteran expense!
The expense of a claim being improperly completed and documented to the point there would be an approval vs. a denial or a remand.
It was nice they lightly mentioned the IG’s report clearly stating that the VA’s own accounting of errors was far less than the actual and projected 200,000 claims had errors. Personally I feel this number is a great deal higher.
The Veteran Service Officer gets points, bonuses and perks for simply opening a file, but why do they not deduct points if a claim is improperly processed, or they didn’t take the time to insure all documentation was attached prior to sending to the Rating Officer, or onto the Board of Veteran Appeals? Doe this not make sense? Would this not force the Veteran Service Officer to due his/her due diligence at insuring the claim(s) were afforded the best possible care and handling?
Although the VA Under Secretary admitted to problems, why was General Shinseki not in the hot seat and addressing the problems directly and to the point?
ONE MILLION Claims and Appeals pending being processed. Does this number not anger or frighten anyone to the point that serious and drastic action is not being taken not only by the VA but by Members of Congress?
They also made mention the average wait time in claims was SIX MONTHS! Six months for who? OIF-OEF veterans? Maybe, but what about all those who served in WWII, Korea, Viet Nam?
Did you know if you served in those era’s your claims were almost immediately pushed to the back burner?
This was a PR tactic so they’d not lose numbers in new recruits! Putting force the face that if we show we treat veterans properly, efficiently and expeditiously then we won’t lose numbers of new recruits.
Many veterans enlisted or were drafted pre-1970 in which your enlistment contract said that if you served your 20+ years and retired they’d care for you and your family for life.
Then in 1970 “CONGRESS” elected to remove that clause from enlistment contracts! And as they say God Giveth, and God Taketh, so I do believe Congress is acting like GOD! Anything to keep from fulfilling a promise!
You as a veteran upon enlistment made a deposit payable to the United States of America up to and including your life! Upon honorable discharge or retirement, would you not be entitled to withdraw that deposit?
That withdrawal comes in the form of VA Benefits and medical care and should be payable on demand not after tons of paperwork, mountains of evidence, hours in the VA Hospital waiting to see doctors who by all accounts most couldn’t care less whether you receive benefits or not.
We have cases of medical malpractice by the dozens if not hundreds or more. VAMC’s using sorely outdated equipment, improperly trained staff, interns and residents practicing medicine without supervision and/or oversight. Doctors practicing medicine without a valid license not to mention they could be licensed but in another state.
What I’d like to know is when will the veteran population begin to wake up, stand tall and shout so the world can hear I’m pissed off and I will not accept this any more?
Don’t rely on the National Veteran Service Organizations to handle the problem, they already have a 4 decade history plus of not solving the problem.
And sitting in the local VFW or American legion bar drinking the $075 cent beers or the $1.25 cocktails and complaining I can’t get this or can’t get that doesn’t help either.
And to thwart off the old wives tale that if you speak out and exercise your constitutional rights of free speech that you’d lose what benefits you have already, is hugely false. And if anyone has had this happen to them I’d dearly love to hear from you!
Veterans, you answered the call to duty, you deposited one body, did your time, protected and defended our country and you served her well, now, will you join veterans nationwide in the efforts to gain the much needed benefits and services you were promised?
Check out the advocacy group: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/VETERANS-FOR-CHANGE
Join today and help us fight the fight you all have fought individually but now as a strong force and a single loud voice to be reckoned with!
If you simply need information, forms, then check out: www.veterans-for-change.com
At minimum call toll free 866-272-6622 and ask for your Congressman or Senator and ask them why you can’t get benefits and why they’ve not passed a single veteran bill in 2009, and if they’re up for re-election in 2010, remind them you just may not cast your vote in their direction!
Remember, WE put them in office, WE can take them OUT OF OFFICE!
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.