Legion to Congress: VA accountability means action, not just words

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On Feb. 18, The American Legion launched a Thunderclap campaign (#Accountable2Veterans) calling for action, not just words, when restoring accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs. More than 4,800 social media users signed up to support the campaign, creating a reach of more than 1.5 million.

On Feb. 24, American Legion National Commander Dale Barnett took that same message to Congress.

“We can only achieve accountability to America’s veterans if we work together – honestly and transparently – to prove that a grateful nation will put real execution behind all the words,” Barnett told a joint session of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans’ Affairs. “Congress, VA, the DoD and veterans service organizations must show those who have served in uniform that America can be as accountable to its veterans as veterans have been to America.”

In front of a dozens of Legion family members who filled both a hearing and overflow room, Barnett expressed disappointment over recent reversals of disciplinary actions handed down to VA employees who were found to have abused their positions.

“You cannot imagine how disappointed I and my fellow American Legion members were on Oct. 21, 2015, when five senior VA witnesses failed to appear at an accountability hearing, and the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs had to issue subpoenas to summon them,” Barnett said, adding that once two did show up, they invoked the Fifth Amendment to avoid explaining findings from the Inspector General that they had manipulated the system to the tune of about $400,000 in unscrupulous relocation costs and practices.

“Our disappointment only grew after additional hearings established wrongdoing, and punishments were imposed, only to be overturned in the appeals process,” Barnett said. “Veterans do not see this as accountability.”

Barnett said the United States has a moral contract to care for its veterans in a compassionate and efficient manner that is easily accessible. That includes proper staffing, a timely and accurate benefits adjudication and appeals process, and a seamless Choice Program that creates no additional burden to the patient.

And, Barnett said, it means “VA executives, managers and employees who fail to perform in a responsible or competent manner – or, worse yet, abuse their positions for personal gain – should be appropriately disciplined, to include termination. The American Legion, Congress and VA all supported the Accountability Act because it made clear that dereliction of duty would have consequences.

“The words are all there. Execution is the problem.”

In the area of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury, Barnett urged the government to look at treatment methods beyond prescription drugs. “The American Legion supports no fewer than six bills in the 114thCongress to recognize different ways to succeed in the battle to help veterans with PTSD and TBI,” he said. “All of these open the door to treatment that does not depend on drugs. I call on Congress to move bills such as these through the process and into law. You have The American Legion’s support.”

During his testimony, Barnett presented the Legion’s other legislative priorities to the committees. Those include providing effective assistance to military personnel transitioning into the civilian world, jobs and business opportunities that match the skills and training of those transitioning servicemembers, gaining passage of a constitutional amendment to protect the U.S. flag from physical desecration, and the budget resources necessary for the U.S. military at war today.

“Veterans and Americans at war today are looking to their nation for nothing less than action and accountability to back up those priorities,” Barnett said. “Too often, what they’re seeing is the assignment of blame over an inability to execute.

“We need to find different ways to succeed. It’s time to expand the definition of accountability.”

Following his testimony, Barnett, Legion staff and other Legion leadership went through a question-and-answer sessions with members of both committees. Several issues were discussed, including:

• VA’s claims appeals process. Barnett said the Legion wants to be a partner in helping reform the process, “but we need to make sure that our veterans continue to have full due process of law in any reform of that appeals process.” Louis Celli, director of the Legion’s Veterans Affairs & Rehabilitation Division, said confidence was an issue. “Our veterans do not have enough faith in (VA’s) adjudication system to know their claim was processed accurately the first time,” Celli said. “If we can get that adjudication system improved and processed the first time, we wouldn’t have 440,000 appeals. We have to fix the adjudication process from Day 1.” And Barnett said the use of American Legion service officers to file claims on behalf of veterans also will make a difference in the appeals process. “You need to have a service officer advising you,” Barnett said. “If you think you’re going to go into the claims process without a service officer, you are a lost cause. They’re a key to the solution.”

• Privatizing veterans health care and the future of VA. “If you listen to some people, they’re ready to shuck the VA now and send every veteran out into the community,” Bozella said. “We certainly don’t support that. Veterans need total health care. VA understands veterans. They understand the whole person. They understand the mental health aspects, as well as the physical health aspects and emotional health aspects, that go on to treating the whole person.”

• PTSD-TBI treatment. Barnett said prescribing drugs isn’t the only viable treatment plan. “We’ve got to do better than that,” he said. “There’s so many innovative ways out there. I’ve been with the equestrian therapy, dog therapy. It doesn’t work for every person. But we need to be innovative because our veterans deserve that. We should be looking at ways (to treat them) – not looking at ways NOT to treat veterans.”

• Transition assistance for servicemembers entering civilian world. James Oxford, chairman of the Legion’s Veterans Employment & Education Commission, said efforts to employ newly discharged veterans should begin earlier in the process. “We need to bring employers into the active-duty bases and … let them help those active-duty people transition,” he said.

 

66 Comments

  1. This is all hooey because the Congress has no intention of looking out for Veterans, any more than they will cut their own Salary of impose limits as to the length a congress may steal from the American people or for that matter "HONOR their OATH"!!!
  2. Can you visualize what the military would be like if it was unionized? The union within the VA is too big to fail. If upper management, not part of the union, tried to fix things, the union would attempt to do their best at destroying that person in charge. Get in line or you are out which is the agenda of far left. Many silos exist within the VA and one of its side effects is that communication is at its worse. Another problem is, “Would you communicate with the Old man in charge at the VA to discuss a problem when it’s possible that you could be demoted or lose your job”? Leadership according to polls is at its worse in America today.
  3. As the director for the Cherokee County Homeless Veteran Program we have encountered many Veterans in our community that have lengthy claims not being followed up by the VA. We recently were able to put the wife of a now deceased Air Force Veteran and Legion member, Tim Beumel, who for 20+ years has gone through the many hoops of the VA process only to still not having his PTSD and Cancer being service connected. We have taken this to the Atlanta TV and they are going to run several segments on how the VA is failing us you can check out Kim Beumel's story by contacting the WSB TV website in Atlanta. Don't forget our Veterans are husbands and fathers trying to support their families. In Tim's case he has two daughters who he left behind and a wife of 18 years. Hopefully the VA is listening.
  4. it is the responsibility of each community where there are VA facilities that those veterans and their advocates keep a constant communication with the directors, staff, and individual county service officers. Many times the veteran is afraid to make waves and perhaps hurt their own ongoing treatment plans therefore they keep quiet. There is only going to be change if we continue to be the loud and constant voice for our veterans.
  5. I do not have any statics about the numbers of ex-military people that are now in prisons across United States, but from what I have heard, there are is a great number. Since volunteers for the military have to have a clean recorder to enlist what happen while in the military that caused such a change so they end up in prison after getting out of the military. Has there been any effort to understand this problem? Is there any help for these people when released?
  6. It is apparent that we need a Veteran's Party. A party that solely attends to the needs of Veterans and will insure that "no lip service" is given, but action done.
  7. It seems as if major problems at the VA have been the "norm" for most of my adult life. And, efforts to correct those problems have failed more often then they have succeeded. I say it is well past time for us Veterans to seek a different approach toward effecting change. I watch other groups (like Black lives matter) get the "ear" of politicians and even the President for their causes, but all we get is more Washington "lip-service". I'm calling for massive demonstrations and serious efforts to identify politicians who with us (with action)and those who don't and unseat the ones who fail to back us. I see the Legion as one many organizations that can and should (must) begin to organize these demonstrations which, if necessary, include "civil disobedience" to make our voices heard. Time to "walk the walk".
  8. I have sat with a VSO Commander on a number o0f occasions when he has laid out his position before the House and Senate Veteran Affairs Committees. I've testified before the committees myself, along with my colleagues from all of the other major VSOs. Bottom line is Congress just pays lip service to the VSOs and the VSO Leadership, at all levels, won't hold them to the flames. When I was a County Veteran Service Officer my Congressman, both State Representatives and our State Senator all thought that I controlled the votes of 22,000 veterans and their spouses. Who am I to tell a politician when he/she is wrong. As long as they thought that I got stuff done. Maybe the VSO Post Commanders, Department Commanders, and National Commanders should get off of the "we don't play politics" mentality. The Legion makes no bones about telling the Committees he represents 2.2 million vets. How about the VSO leaders get together and tell their members which Congressmen and Senators that are not pro-veteran and need to get replaced. There are 22 million veterans plus spouses plus voting age children. These people vote, let those in Congress feel their wrath.
  9. people are too worried about which party is in control and not who is doing the right thing. Veteran's need to unite their vote. Then watch things happen
  10. I wish to extend my appreciation to National Commander Dale Barnett for his tenacity and for his desire for input in solving these problems for our veterans. Let's back him in his quest for our dedicated veterans!
  11. To the Commander, I do not mean to be rude but are you going to reply to any of us veterans? Jeff W
  12. Thanks to all that responded to the testimony. It reflects how much you care. For God and Country.
  13. So our American Legion does another "Dog and Pony Show" in a joint session of Congress spitting out lots of words for their Congressional record and just like previous appearances nothing beneficial will happen to reform the VA to help the veterans. As a Navy Vet and Legion member I don't know why I keep writing advisory comments as I believe that no one in a leadership position with the American Legion reads the comments made by any of us vets. Here is my opinion on why nothing constructive gets done: 1) Talking to the congressional members who helped create the bureaucratic mess in the VA will not accomplish anything unless you "Think-outside-the box" and offer specific solutions for a complex problem. In short shine the light on congressional leaders and challenge them to fix the problems they created. 2) Congress allowed Unions to organize, represent, and create the disciplinary hearing process that thwarts conscientious supervisors and manages from firing poor performing employees. When supervisors and managers see how their written documents are ignored and the employees subject to disciplinary action are not fired they just give up trying. Congress needs to temporarily suspend all Union representation for all VA employees, and allow the VA Secretary and managers, with proper documentation, to get rid of the dead-wood employees that are creating the problems. Disciplined employees can follow the civil service due process system to try and retain or get their jobs back, but in the mean-timed they are out of the way. 3) Finally, the Legion needs to point out to the Congressional leaders that one of the most derisive issues experienced by a majority of vets applying to the VA is the lack of documentation available to both the Veteran and the VA. Lost files is not the veterans fault, but the governments fault for not insuring safe keeping. My solution for this issue is for Congress to force both the DOD and the VA to have interactive computers that allow each agency to share information. A military record should be kept on both systems right from the day a person is accepted for military duty, and that needs to include all medical records too. Every member of our military should be given a copy of or if preferred by the service member computer access to their records every six months to read for review and corrections if needed. One military service is finished the service member should be given the chance to review the records and if approved be given a full legible copy of those records. Again those records need to be sent to a safe secure records keeping facility. As part of their separation from service all members should be given a written document outlining how to make contact with the VA to receive review and access for the VA services. With dual records available the VA should never have to ask the Vet to prove anything about his or her service and any medical issues. This dual process should virtually eliminate backlogs for acceptance into the VA, if eligible for any of its benefits. God I hope and pray that someone in the Legion leadership reads my comments and does something positive about them. For God and Country, Robert Whittaker
  14. As a former Army SGT, Desert Storm Veteran, and FORMER VA Nursing Assistant, GS-4, I can say that the work is difficult and when things go wrong, everything rolls down hill. Removing Union Representation for employees who are at the lowest levels of pay, would only subject them to more managerial abuse. Working 16 hour shifts, without lunch, breaks, or proper staffing is already a problem. Veterans working for the VA are hired under Vocational Rehab programs, and they are subject to 2 years of excepted service, which is basically a probationary period. Many VA facilities hire non veterans who are family and friends. Many positions are desk jobs and provide no bedside care. As far as records, military medical records disappear during times of war and deployment, so there is no proof of service connection after hostilities. Unit Logs, After Action Reports and Medical Records disappeared after Desert Storm. Many events were not documented, and Chemical Warfare Logs from 2-13-91 to 2-21-91 seem to be missing or incomplete. I have written Congressmen concerning the issue of eBenefits and missing military records, such as evaluations, orders, citations and training reports. I have even seen records from 1991, scanned into the system in 2014. So this is an example of Army record management. The Congress also has a bill toward a Cold War Service Medal, which should include funding for Military Record Management. The VA serves to protect the military, it focuses on minimizing veterans claims and disabilities. Misquoting pain scales, signs and symptoms as to provide data to minimize current and future claims. If you propose to remove union representation for low level staff, then consider abolishing the VA and referring all care, injuries and disabilities to private sector hospitals, which are not unionized. The Civil Service, Merit Protection Board rules in favor of a small amount of cases. Do you think the Military UCMJ process is just and provides fair rulings for enlisted personnel, compared to officers? Look at the statistics concerning sexual harassment. The best way to understand the VA, is to work in one of its hospitals or clinics. By the way, I signed up at the local VA Clinic a couple months ago, and got an appointment for 5 months later. The NP saw me, and ordered a Urine and CBC lab. No CMP, liver, renal or cholesterol tests. And No EKG for a patient over 50. Totally inappropriate for an over 50 initial exam under Clinical Guidelines. The Clinic has no mobile MRI or CT, and no outpatient orthopedic, neurology or cardiology. I was sent 60 miles away for a 5 minute exam. She has already left the VA. The Clinic is antiquated and in a dangerous section of the city, whereby few in the suburbs would want to venture it, and stand in line. After working for the VA and seeing first hand how Dr's discredit the chemical warfare and bunker exposures of Desert Storm veterans, as being in their heads, and fakers, I myself vote to CLOSE the system and send all veterans to private hospitals. The VA is a mess...
  15. Wow! Robert Whittaker for National Commander! I couldn't agree more and you articulate the issues and asymmetric ideas much better than I could. We have to stop with the dog and ponies and start with true accountability. It's like the security guard at the mall: Stop, or I'm going to say stop again. Until there is action and accountability by congress, there is just lip service by VSO's.
  16. Thanks for the update. I am one of the appeals for the reason you stated. If you read my decision that took 5 years to be denied their mind was made up from the get-go, Keep fighting for all us veterans!!
  17. Well,if your like me and got your V.A. benefits taken off of you because of OBAMA CARE!Because you earn over 37,500.00dollars a year, in combined household income.I always figured it was a privilege to serve. Im a veteran of Beirut,got malaria in Pamama,served a crap load of years, and not entitled to anything.I wish I had never served, and for most I wish I could recind and erase I had ever served these ungrateful scum.
  18. I applied for a ptsd program in California and was turned down. They said I did not qualify. They said my sexual trauma did not occur when I was in service which it did. I do not recall them being there when this hapoened. If they were why didnt they help me out. I do not understand why a woman vet can only get help if she had a sexual trauma when she was in. Why do we have to fight so hard to get any kind of care at all from the va. I am so fed up with the lip service.
  19. What will it take to get the VA straight, it has been a rough road and more rejection.
  20. I registered my Dad on Myhealthevet website found in the myhealth dot VA dot gov back in 2010, here in the Boston region. All of his VA providers were easily contacted via the secure e-mail feature. I could communicate about medicines, therapy, appointments, ordering wound care supplies etc. I never used the call center, in fact his Geriatrician gave me her private cell# when his condition became critical so that she was always available for consults. This is another example(patient portals on-line) of the VA leading the private sector. Probably half of the Medicare providers we use have portals today.
  21. Now all Veterans know how the Native American feel when our Government "kept"(actually lack thereof) their word to them. I have so far survived 7 years of nonhodgkins lymphoma and several years of Ischemic heart disease with a heart attack and 4 stents. I have all the Vietnam ribbons, medals along with the South Vietnam Cross of Galantry with the palm frond and 2 Campaign stars. All of my several months on 4 different times in Country was TDY with a USAF Rescue & Recovery Squadron. Unfortunately with all my moving around through the years and divorces I have lost all copies of TDY orders. I take responsibility for that loss. I am a certified Veteran Service Officer and have had many clients with the same problem. Unfortunately the military doesn't keep track of TDY's only PCS's so you can't get records of TDY when sending for records. The result is a denial from VA Disability because you don't have a copy of a paper. Even though all the Awards Decorations are in my permanent Military Records. At one point the 38 Code of Federal Regulations (the federal Reg. that governs disabilities)(CFR) honored having the Awards & Decorations in ones Military Records as proof of boots on the ground but some group of narrow minded politicians decided in their infinite lack of wisdom that that wasn't good enough. There are many other incongruities in the 38 CFR that appear to be designed to deny Veterans of their disabilities. The entire 38 CFR (all 2 inches thick of it) needs to be rewritten from cover to cover. I've written Congressmen more than once to no avail. All I've gotten back is lip service probably from an overpaid aide. My hope is that this movement by all the Veteran Service Organizations will be fruitful and also that the VA employees that committed any of the atrocities like those in question now are held accountable and dealt with as the criminal acts they were party to should be for justice.
  22. Been hearing this for 20 years when is it going to happen? If it is to be it is up to me. With paper you have a prayer without paper all you have is air. Scum-bags get laid off at the VA then get reinstated? We need to upgrade to VA 2.0 and wipe the slate clean. Are you hearing me. You need to get congressman on record to clean that rats nest out. Or elect ones that do. We need an AL initative with the full force of all the vest. AM legion. DAV all of us together. Cross platform VA 2.0.
  23. I am a medically retired US Army Veteran. Me and my wife bought a house near Ft. Leonard Wood. My neighbor who is a GS10 smokes pot and has ask me once if I wanted to join him. I said "no" yet when I ask how does a GS employee not get drug tested? He laughed, said they never piss him. Yet I can't land certain job's on base but my pot head neighbor is working to this day. This Government is so twisted.
  24. This is common, all you have to do is report it, send a letter to the base command, and to the OIG. Just provide the amount of information needed. Also instruct base command that the OIG has also been contacted, as to ensure they don't rip up your letter. Notify the OIG and instruct them that the base Command has been notified. They will end up doing a UA.
  25. Congress and the President signed into Law on October 9, 1996 the Defining Dates to declare who is and who is not a Vietnam Veteran. We were on inland waters and on land in 1963. This operation began in the fifties. Our leaders were spraying Agent Orange heavy especially in 62 and 63 and nobody informed us. Many have turned up with severe and some terminal health issues. Every Location such as Kansas City, St. Louis, Millington, College Park and NavyYard in D.C. refuse to help you and will not allow you to get past the bottem rung employee. Many employes are not veterans and reverse discrimination is at a highpoint. Many employees are uneducated, non veterans and of different gender and nationality than those I saw in Vietnam. Many employees have no idea or concept or knowledge when it comes to past wars, they use the system to benefit themselves. The Telephone is not answered on 95% of the calls and when they do answer, you receive no help. Leadership is pathetic , incompetent and lazy. I was told by an Archives Technician in St. Louis that I am not creditable, nor is my small ship and we were not in Vietnam. Another said, well nobody else has ask for help. An individual at NavyYard in D.C. interpets to her desire not to Law and it took her 5 months to inform me than I was not in Vietnam even though I proved I was and a few years ago the VA approved disability for Agent Orange which I did not get on the farm in Minnesota, I got diabetes in from being in Vietnam and I was 20 years old and 180 lbs in top condition. I have been fighting this for 4 years without success. Read Public Law 104-275 Section 505.
  26. The V.A. broke three laws on my 2010 rating decisions. Is anyone held accountable, no my case just takes another six years and counting. It's bad enough when they follow the laws, when they play fast and loose the veteran pays dearly.
  27. Blab Blab Blab. The only way to have the VHA system be accountable is to get rid of the dead weight. I just helped a fellow FEMALE veteran get the services she needed as I worked in the VHA system and told how to get services. I m 100% P&T and she is also. The VA blatantly lied to her about VHA directives being a suggestion of protocol. These directives are MANDATED protocol all VAMC's in the VHA system MUST follow. After I told her the route to take,all the sections to call especially the Women Veteran Coordinator she is on her way to getting the services she needs. I see this over and over for FEMALE VETERANS. Knowledge is power. Please DO NOT get me started on Veterans Choice, which is NO CHOICE at all. Just took money out of a VHA Fee Basis System many do not know about and funded SIX Figures salaries of Bean Cointers to LOOK at ways to nothings, hire HealthNet to add more administrative jobs but not hire the needed Doctors,Nurses and SoicalWorkers needed to provide caveat veterans of all ERA's. Many were injured ON DUTY and not in a War but in a Conflict ERA or un duly during Peacetime. I know the American Legion members can appreciate this. So all you MEN who are at the TOP of all the Veterans groups, welcome women veterans as we Women Veterans get things done. Just remember the old adage, behind every successful Man there is a Great Woman. Lookat who does the necessary grunt work for all the service organizations, the Auxillary which was 99% of the time comprised of WOMEN.. Nuff said.. Jersey Jeanne DAV, PVA, USAF (ret) and American Legion memember.
  28. Touché women are veterans too.. PTSD from being raped by our fellow military members especially higher ranking officials and not being able to get any support or justice.. That's can also cause PTSD and anxiety
  29. So back to the article. Where is the action? There isn't any. Year after year and session after session - it's just words. We, as a veterans advocate and voice have no power or recourse. This is proven time after time. They let us talk, give us a tour of DC and a cup of coffee and out the door we go. No action ever.
  30. My son returned from Afghanistan with PTSD and a TBI. The VA's response was to put him on powerful medications. When I found this out I told my son that he needed to advocate for psychotherapy to treat his PTSD. He took my advice and was involved in a CPT group for 12 weeks and is doing better. As a result of his experience I began providing counseling to veterans and am recruiting veterans and military for a PTSD group. It is not appropriate to provide our veterans with psychotropic medication without psychotherapy. I'm glad my son advocated for himself; however, there most of our veterans do not have a licensed social worker and trained psychotherapist as a father. Who will advocate for them. Thank you for addressing this issue. What can we do to ensure that they address this issue. What can we do to advocate for these changes. Kellie D. Cody Jr. Post 484 Hickory Corners, MI
  31. Most of the prescribed drugs side affects is suicide. That's why the patient must have psychotherapy to be monitored. What does VA think: One less vet to provide benefits too!! The VA staff who interact with veterans are the lowest grades and paid in the Federal Government you get what you pay for. The upper management don't interact with the veterans on s daily basis they make management decisions based statistics yet they get higher salaries... Smh
  32. VA Martinsburg, Wv VAMC will not respond to Congressmen or Senator --Senator Kaine's office was so frustrated the Vet handling my case there was all but in tears. I'm a Korean Vet. I suggest a Committee of 5 VETS and one VA employee at each VAMC who have the authority to transfer, demote, request (i.e. demand) the firing of those disgusting VA personnel who think it great to screw over VETS. All VA employees are not ASS holes--but way too many are. PTSD==I hate Oxycottin (??sp)--I like living in the moment not in la la land. Any VET in Combat or a combat situation for more than one minute has some level of PTSD. This is 2016 not 1918 when our guys were called cowards because they had SHELL ShOCK (PTSD) will they ever learn??? I agree with DRAFT no more multiple rotations to combat..
  33. Take away union powers like they did with FAA a long time ago! Hold those that defied the Congress in contempt and lock them up.
  34. I am a veteran of Korea and I have worked at different Government Jobs in the Power Industry. Things were so bad at Clear AFB, Alaska That I had to request a Congressional Investigation by my Representative in Congress. When they read my report they had a team down within three weeks. The Colonel heading the hearing refused to let me testify so I had to contact my Representative and he forced them to let me testify. The Colonel tried to withhold the most important part of my written complaint but I forced him to bring it out so I could record it for the record. Al the Employees found guilty of incompetence, hiding records, manipulating workers, withholding pay checks etc, Including the Superintendent and Chief Engineer of the power Plant and those in Personnel were not fired. They were sent to jobs outside Alaska with Promotions. Even the Base Commander and the Second in Command were relocated outside. They refused to re-instate me in my regular position, instead they offered me an alternate position, as they stated they are not going to admit cause, therefore they do not have to reinstate me with my back pay. I told them to stick it. You can not fire Civilian Government Employees, Regardless of what they are charged with. We need as many Veterans as possible to work in Government and then things will change, Not before as you can not Trust our Government. Too Many Crooks. I am going on 86 so I will not have to be angry much longer. God Bless America and let us Veterans Fight For Term Limits in Congress, the Supreme Court and everywhere else.
  35. As long as the VA is a government organization, it will be inept, unorganized, and ineffective. Shut it down. When soldiers no longer re-enlist and no more young men and women come forward to join, this congress will finally taken some action. The only way government works is when we force it to.
  36. I just see this administration doing anything to change what's going on inside the Veteran's Administration! After all the best way to kill a snake is to cut off it's head!
  37. Like always there are many words but little action. Although I am not a 100% trump fan - if he would fix the VA and fix immigration instead of just talk about it he would have my vote regardless of any other issues.
  38. Although I'm a 10 yr. Vietnam Era Vet, I don't use the VA. However, I am concerned about the treatment of fellow vets. I wish these articles had more details in them... e.g. Names of Congressmen, Senators and VA employees. Remember it is our tax dollars that is paying for services and it appears to be stolen public funds that should be prosecuted. If one fails to testify or be accountable for funds used, it should be grounds for immediate termination, forfeiting benefits (retirement/medical/etc...). They obviously cannot be trusted.
  39. I'm a disabled vet from the Vietnam era I'm rated at100% my claim was finally settled in sept of 2012 with my settlement was a letter stating that dependent pay was omitted from my settlement due to the fact that my wife's Ssan was omitted by accident by the vso who prepared my claim. I filled out the form sent me by the va for dependent pay for wife and stepson who was in school the entire time on sept 29 2012 as of today I called the va and was told the same lies I always hear they are working on it. After three years they cancelled my claim and reinstTed it the next day I guess someone somewhere put a time limit on them and they had surpassed it. Bottom line I still have not been paid the dependent pay due me. Is there any recourse?
  40. I have atotal of 120 % disability but when I get paid monthly it is only for 80%. Va says they use some formula that has been in place forever. The way they calculate your ratings are very discerning to say the least.. Also had to file for total unemployability regardless of how much disability I have over 100%. Doesnt make sense to me.A 100 is 100. why such a math that all vets call chinese math to come up with ones totals.. filed 9 months ago for unemployability, wonder how long will have to wait for rating. Havent heard from VA since I filed dont even know if they recieved my filing. Going to Congressman office next week to see if they are even looking at my case.
  41. The EO Vet Administration Management, Billing Personnel are incompetent. They should all be replaced by only VETS. Next allow vets to go to any hospital/doctor. Stop the Obama regime from destroying the country that I fought for ! I had to go to emergency care as the VA missed diagnosed me and I had to pay for medicine, Hospitals, and Radiology Doctors. This was later approved but not paid for by the VA bureaucatric policies and constraints. It was documented three times and lost, only with a form letter, unsigned and not dated, stating it was not an emergency contrary to all private doctors.
  42. Mike, I've been working on the VA Emergency 9-1-1 NO-PAY/SLOW-PAY Reform through our Legislative Post 861, Carmichael, CA. and have sent proposals for legislative changes to all members of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans affairs, plus sent a request to the Legion to do a feature article on how the VA screws people like you and me when it comes to paying for emergency care. Please contact me for more info on what we are doing and to join our project. You're not alone, brother. Thanks. Ernie Larson
  43. I agree also with Commander Barnett. The Veterans Administration has ALOT to clean up and make right. It takes not one voice but MANY VOICES to get this straightened out. Support Thunderclap campaign support everything that this country is supposed to stand for and represent for our veterans. Be active in any and everything you can to support the execution of the Accoutability Act and stop letting the VA and its counterparts provide "lip service" to its constituents. Thank you Commander Barnett.
  44. This need for accountability would not be necessary, nor would our nation's finest be subjected to the atrocities they have endured if the V.A. were to be operated by the private sector, and NOT the corrupt Government! That's it, Plain and Simple!!!
  45. I was stationedat Camp Lagune Marine Corp base I have had headack and bad stomach problems since i left their I feel my problems come fome the water while I was their.No one has ever addressed the water problems their or let me know of aproblem. I have spent most of my life as a Drinking water and Waste Water operator. Is their any infomation on the water problem at Camp Lagune in the 1960s.
  46. Thank you for addressing the claims and appeal process. Sad at best is how I describe it. Why are dependency claims taking years to complete? I work as a CVSO so I feel the pain of all my Veterans. I have my own claims at BVA level and soon it will be 5 years since I filed my original claims. This is a sad state of affairs. VBA needs the radar square on its claim process. It seems they get a pass from the media and not sure why.
  47. Thank you for addressing the claims and appeal process. Sad at best is how I describe it. Why are dependency claims taking years to complete? I work as a CVSO so I feel the pain of all my Veterans. I have my own claims at BVA level and soon it will be 5 years since I filed my original claims. This is a sad state of affairs. VBA needs the radar square on its claim process. It seems they get a pass from the media and not sure why.
  48. And the response was what? Absolutely no greater accountability. Elections have consequences. Until the electorate realizes that there will be more empty promises.
  49. Members of Congress , we need a LAW for a 6 months probation when elected and /or re-elected to "DO" your job with legislative action , or, OUT! Next high vote recipient goes IN, and, same application of "probation"! As a career retiree, I am FED up!! HOT AIR contributes to Global Warming. Basic issue in VA and Congress is INCOMPETENCE. "Boots on the ground" needs to be... " Boots UP some rears"!! I urge all American Vets to gather and have a several million person "March on Morons" in Washington and TELL them bluntly !! If George Washington were still alive, he would use those cherry trees on the DC Mall, to hang something(s)!!
  50. I fully agree w/commander Barnet, since I just saw some little bit of action for my claim which was sumitted in Dec 2012. A short time?? Like Hell! What we need in the VA is some military personnel,( NOT CIVILAINS)who understand what us military retirees and all military personnel. I am still fighting VA and the little they recently paid me since Dec 2012 to date was pitiful and they requested I pay back $3000 plus since they say they overpaid me, then to top that off, I am a 100% disabled Vietnam Veteran and they still have not begun to pay or give me monthly payments. I'll most likely die or starve to death before they help at all. They are only thinking of their own pockets and how long they can get away with helping us/those in need and to keep their jobs instead of thinking what we did for them and our country. I am now 80 years old and have no respect for the VA whatsoever and do not ever want any of their medical treatment. What they did in the past was an attempt to take me off my heart medicines and etc. so you see why I have no trust in them. Nuff Said!!! Yes I do have extremely bad feelings for them...
  51. I agree with your comments. We need vets in these sensitive positions and we need politicians to be equally responsible for the state of the VA. American Legion needs to identify those politicians who are "do nothings".
  52. Sad, Sad state of affairs. Our government at work in yet another attempt to provide service to a system that has been broken and will remain broken until employees who break the rules are walked out the door. Look at their track record so far. Sad, Sad.
  53. Thank you to the Legion and the Commander for taking the problem to the Congress. It is inconceivable that a person who served the country in the Military cannot get support for their ills, physical or mental. All Legion members need to talk to veterans who are not in the legion and make sure they get behind the movement. If Congress does not want to really ensure the VA is treating all Vets, vote them out, no excuses are to be tolerated!
  54. Vote more veterans in Congress and put an end to career politicians then maybe we will see some accountable.
  55. I once had a great opinion of the System, then my records disappeared, VA person said, "what files ? Now I am deeply sorry and hurt. What pulls the trigger??
  56. Very good presentation, I just hope we can get the politicians to finally work together to fix these problems instead of bickering and not getting anything done.
  57. I have to applaud the Legion for putting these issues on the table as priorities. I admit that I have not always agreed with the Legion and their efforts. This presentation of priorities reflect what is needed. Congressional members talk a good talk, but seldom follow it with action. Now the waiting game begins. Let's see what becomes it.
  58. The new phone system is standing between the veterans and the medical professionals we use to have answering the phones. I used to talk to a medical professional about health issues that should be by law private. Now we speak to a call center to a non-medical person and have to describe medical conditions to who??? I waited on hold 47 minutes last week to speak to someone and my cell phone went dead before they answered. Is this the new death list?
  59. The new world order is not for me. I am glad that I had malaria twice and two and a half tours in Nam and I will die sooner.Like hell I am!!!!
  60. If we knew which of our congress people "Vet Friendly" and which were not, by their actions an not from their rhetoric, we could eliminate some of the problems with the VA and as well as remove those who have taken advantage of the extremely generous relocation allowances for senior staff at the VA. Some of the things I have read amount to larceny at the very least. These people should not be reassigned (but Keeping their pay), allowed to retire, or just stay in place. At the very least they should be fired and forfeit their pensions. This will send a message to others to not repeat these activities.
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