During the first week of April of this year, a team from will be in Washington, DC on yet another attempt to protect veteran’s disability compensation from the reaches of divorce courts. This will be the 6 trip to our nation’s capitol for some of the OFFE members. Operation Firing For Effect has established a positive reputation on the Hill and I am certain that this time will be no different, as many friends and supporters are attending the 4 day project. OFFE National Chairman Gene Simes is point-man and the person to contact for details at 315-986-7322 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 315-986-7322 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or by email at: [email protected] All media inquiries should contact OFFE National Media Coordinator, Sandra Rucker at 785-608-9701 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 785-608-9701 end_of_the_skype_highlighting, or by email at: [email protected]
If you are in the DC area on the 4th, 5th,6th and 7th of April, we need your support desperately! The time to stand-up for the protection of our troop’s disability benefits is NOW!
The OFFE team will man room 2103 in the Rayburn Building on the 4th 5th and room 121 in the Cannon House Building on the 6th and 7th. Appointments have been arranged with a number of ranking Congresspersons during the 4 day mission. OFFE volunteers will be arriving in DC from Iowa, Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Kansas, just to name a few states. The OFFE team will man the Congressional rooms from 10AM until 4PM on all 4 days.
The OFFE group is expecting about 30+ volunteers to attend the OFFE event in DC. The OFFE team will be coming from all over the US, many of the group have been victimized by a divorce settlements – in which their veteran’s disability benefits were calculated into their divorce as ‘INCOME’ and divided with their ex-spouse in the form of support payments and legal cost. OFFE has documented several hundred personal incidents where USC, Title 38, section 5301 has been violated,.
OFFE’s presentation includes a 10 minute video of Newscast from several TV stations across the country. The TV broadcasts highlight cases of 5301 abuse from several states across the country, including the Memorial Day story of a wheelchair-bound veteran arrested and jailed because he refused to give up his veteran’s benefits. To date, 10 members of OFFE have been arrested and jailed for the very same reason.
The end result of the 5301 injustice is that combat disabled veterans who were injured on the battlefield can no longer afford to live, much less start a new family. In many cases the injured veteran gives up half or more of their veteran’s benefits. Many of our homeless veterans today are homeless because of a divorce settlement, while many others have chosen suicide over relinquishing their combat related benefits to their ex-spouse.
OFFE has received hundreds of complaints from both men and women US military veterans concerning the lack of Federal protection of their benefits from the clutches of State sponsored Family Courts. According to the wording in USC Title 38, 5301 veteran’s disability benefits are protected from use in ANY legal process, and Civil Court is a ‘legal process’. 5301 makes NO exceptions for the Federal protection of veteran’s benefits. Even after a veteran has received their VA benefits, 5301 states that they are still ‘Federally Protected’. Unfortunately, attorneys have found ways to circumvent the federal laws and strip combat disabled veterans of the benefits they were awarded and protected by the US government.
USC, Title 38, 5301 is merely one of the issues the OFFE Team is planning on addressing. Apparently many veterans who are facing a divorce upon their return to the US are loosing child custody cases because they have been deployed overseas for extended periods of time. According to some divorce attorneys, since the veteran ‘volunteered’ to serve in the US military, the veteran ‘willingly abandoned’ their spouse and children, and therefore they should lose their child custody rights. In addition, many divorce attorneys claim military veterans are capable of physical abuse of a spouse or child by virtue of their military training – which teaches them how to kill and destroy, or they have actually experienced combat and/or suffer from PTSD. I personally heard this language used against Special Forces, Green Beret, Ernie Pridemore during his divorce case in Key West, Florida late last year.
According to OFFE National Chairman, Gene Simes, combat disabled veterans are routinely stripped of their veteran’s disability benefits by civil divorce court judge’s nationwide everyday of the year. The OFFE team has also discovered State family courts in general have absolutely no respect for the disabled US veteran, or their rights. Civil court judges do not recognize the Federal laws which protect our disabled veterans and their benefits. This unjust practice by divorce court judges has resulted in disabled veterans becoming homeless, and even suicidal.
Gene Simes summarized the 5301 situation like this; “When a combat disabled veteran falls on hard times, loses their job, their house, facing bankruptcy, experiencing failing health, emotionally unstable and going through a divorce, the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness can be overwhelming. When facing such hardships in life the one thing a disabled veteran should be able to count on are their military benefits – which in many cases they earned on the battlefield with their blood, sweat, and tears. It is at these low points in life when these disability benefits are needed the most, and when they can help the greatest. To allow anyone the ability to capriciously or arbitrarily take these benefits from them is cruel and unjust. I honestly believe the 20th Congress of the year all the way back in 1828 wrote this law with all of this in mind. And our research supports that argument,” Simes added.
Last year, OFFE submitted a formal written request to California Congressman Bob Filner for a public hearing before the House Committee on Veterans Affairs to present 12 personal testimonies from disabled veterans (both male and female) directly affected by the 5301 issue. Filner never even acknowledged receipt of OFFE’s letter. Congressman Jeff Miller has replaced Filner as Chairman of the Committee on Veteran’s Affairs. Miller is a former supporter of the Florida Firebase Network and has been invited to attend OFFE’s presentation.
Operation Firing For Effect has been at the forefront of the national debate over ‘protection of veterans’ benefits’ for several years now. For more about this story and to view the News videos, visit; ‘AREA 5301’