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Action center advocates for veterans

Featured in Legislative Center

The American Legion offers a web portal to share your views with your congressional representatives.

The Legislative Action Center is regularly updated with information about congressional bills of interest to veterans and current servicemembers such as the current legislation calling for reform at VA. During times when Congress is in session, the action center provides a valuable service to Legion members including:

• The ability to search and find contact information for congressional representatives.

• Links to current legislation of interest to veterans and others interested in military affairs.

• A way to directly contact the president and your representatives on specific pieces of legislation such as this week’s House bill on VA accountability.

Legionnaires from all across the nation can have an impact on bills before Congress. For example, in two days leading up to the vote on the VA accountability bill, visitors to the Legion’s action center page sent more than 15,000 messages to the president and members of Congress.

The American Legion’s Legislative Division also sends out action alerts via email when important legislation is pending. The alerts provide key message points and a specific request for action. It’s free and easy to sign up for the action alert email. Sign up here.

As the nation’s largest and most powerful veterans service organization, The American Legion counts on its members at the local and national level to advocate for veterans and their family members. The National Legislative Commission encourages members of The American Legion Family to work toward achieving legislative victories on behalf of America’s veterans, using the Legislative Action Center.

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Eddie E Haigwood

May 30, 2014 - 3:55pm

I served in viet nam , was exposed to agent orange, and have less than a year to live because of cancer. The V A has denied me full disability for my wife of 45 years. Now isn't that a kick in the ass?

Anthony W. Vigil

May 27, 2014 - 8:32pm

Note: After receiving a disability pension rated pension from the VA Adminstration Regional Office in ~ 2004, under duress...I was told I had to give it up...because I would soon receive social security. If I continued to receive the VA disability pension fund which was 70%, I would have to pay back amounts received by me. Problem still is this: I know various veterans, including my deceased half brother who were receiving both entitlements, so why was mine denied and removed after receiving it for approx. one yr. I don't think this is fair treatment to all veterans. Here is a long letter to the Veterans Administration, 500 Gold Ave. SW. Albuquerque, NM. 87102, after sending "appeal and appeal", and following their set-up protocol for legating appeals and claims. _____________________________________________________________________ Notice of Appeal and Disagreement December 12, 2011 Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office Attn: Loren Pierce Veterans Service Center Manager 500 Gold Avenue S.W. Albuquerque, NM. 87102 In Reference Reply To: 340/211/LMH C 23 602 004 Vigil, Anthony W. Dated: October 13, 2011 Dear Sir: Based on all of the paperwork received, approved, and certified by the VA Regional Office, Albuquerque, NM. back to 2005, “ I disagree with your current findings”, the VA’s final conclusions, assessments, and denial of “any per cent of disability rating”. The VA Regional Office, in reality is “in-denial and is implying that I am in good health”, it is in-denial, in what it has previously “granted and awarded and entitled me”, including a previous disability percent rating, which I had previously used at the VA Hospital, in Albuquerque, NM. Until it was “rescinded and take away by the VA Regional Office, and no longer possess. I possess (and again include herewith) paperwork, sent to me by the VA Regional Office in the past as evidence of the above subject matter. (All copies were previously submitted to the VA Regional Office, prior to November 2011). Pg. 2. “I am in disagreement, in conflict, and in opposition, to the October 13, 2011 VA Regional Office Letter” received by me, and appeal the VA findings and conclusions, provided to me under the VA Form 4107. I “disagree and counter” the VA’s determination, on the basis that a “previously disability per cent rating and monetary compensation” had been granted and entitled to me. (Pertinent paperwork enclosed herewith). The VA is in total denial that this ever occurred. Some entitlement time lapsed and thereafter the above…was taken away ~ 2007. (Enclosed VA previously received paperwork is evidence of my granted entitlement. After ~ 2007 the VA Regional Office removed, my granted and established disability per cent rating, which I was using at the VA Regional Hospital, where I was receiving co-payment medical care and treatment. I presently (2011) have no disability percent rating documented at the hospital, which I can use, and now pay for all co-payments and services provided at the VA Hospital. Based on the VA’s reasoning…for denial of every medical condition in the Oct. 13th letter under: “Reason For Denial”, titled: “Disability Rating Denial” – (pg.2.) #1, 2nd paragraph the VA states: “It is also noted that pension is based on disability, income, and net worth”. My response to the above is: “I was primarily interested now (2011), on re-establishing my previously granted by the VA disability percent rating, with or without any monetary compensation, to be re-inserted and used at the VA Regional Hospital, Albuquerque, NM. which I was previously (2005-2007) able to do, until the VA removed this! I thought I had made this abundantly clear to the VA, that I preferred to have back my disability percent rating status to the VA Hospital as a priority, vs. any monetary compensation of any kind, which I would or would not be have received from the VA”. The VA October 13,2011 letter also states: “If your income or net worth exceeds the limit, then NSC pension will be discontinued”. Pg. 3. My response to the above is: “I personally know veterans associates and friends, including my brother, who are presently receiving (both) benefits of a VA Pension and in addition a social security check as well, “is that not illegal, hypocritical as per the VA’s policy and doctrines”? The discontinuance of benefits was implied to me by the VA, when I was eligible to receive social security benefits. The veteran must give up one compensation to receive the other, but not both? So why are some receiving both benefits? Throughout the VA Denial Letter of October 13, 2011 received by me, the VA administrator/clerk of the letter, uses the word Preponderance in various paragraphs? The VA administrator “implies, injects, and suggests the following”, “that I have juiced-up my military service and medical history as summated”. “That I have concocted, pretended, made real, made up a fraudulent fairy tale, fantasized, of my military service evidence, which I had provided and submitted to the VA. The VA Regional Office, has had…more than one administrator/clerk handling my claim, throughout this whole ordeal, my claim has “changed hands several times”, which makes no sense to me, but it has made some kind of sense to the VA”? What merits all of this? It was not one particular defined person working and concentrating on my claim throughout the whole ordeal. Much of my medical history, and paperwork (proof) submitted (prior to Nov 16, 2011), and to the date of “Disagreement Letter to the VA”, was “mishandled, misfiled, lost, disregarded, not used, negated or ignored”. One prime example was: My heart surgery (not attained at the VA Hospital), Albuquerque, NM. but at The Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque, NM. July of 2000. The following are my responses to counter and respond to…the VA Regional Office Veterans Service Administrator’s remarks and comments on the October 13, 2011 Letter received by me: Pg. 4. 1. Asbestos – Asbestos exposure did occur, while in military service in the U.S. Air Force, at March AFB, Riverside/Hemet, CA. during the 1960’s. My NCOIC/Supervisor was MSgt. Walter Williams. This is…in complete opposition to what the VA states on the Introduction Rating Decision front pg. and 2nd paragraph of the VA October 13, 2011 Letter received by me. 2. Heart Condition – Had occurred as early as 1993-1994, diagnosed, and evaluated by VA Dr. Joe Valdez, at VA Hospital, Albuquerque, NM. This in complete opposition to the VA looking at medical evidence of sorts, but “only looking back no further than ~ 5 years”! My condition went beyond a five year period. My medical history goes back beyond ten years. 3. The VA October 13, 2011 Letter received, under Introduction – Rating Decision Pg. 2. 1st Paragraph states the following: “The record shows that this is the first time that you have applied for VA disability compensation”. My response is: This is NOT…the first time that I have applied for a VA disability compensation (or) …for a “disability per cent rating, to be used at the VA Hospital, in Albuquerque, NM. for medical care”, which I had possessed before 2010. This is a complete fabrication and invention, and a down right “lie” on the part of the VA administrator, who is not informed! 4. The VA October 13, 2011 Letter received, under Introduction – Rating Decision Pg. 2. 4th Paragraph states the following from the VA: “You reported that you had not been seen by these providers in years and requested that we continue with your claim without reviewing these records”. My response is: I did state that I had not seen the providers mentioned by the administrator since ~ 2000, this was because the VA prior to the most recent contact and conversation with a administrator, on the phone, “already had, or was supposed to have medical information on my behalf (prior) to the yr. 2000 and back to the 1990’s”! If I mentioned to the VA administrator to examine medical evidence “without reviewing” Presbyterian Hospital heart surgery medical information, or any other medical information, it was only because it was understood, that I had submitted all of the medical history and information “at the beginning of the claim submittal at ~ 2009 – 2011”! And (prior) to the most recent VA administrator conversation over the phone, and not a person to person contact which occurred in Pg. 5. mid – 2011. It is apparent, that some if not all of the large amount of submitted medical information by me to the VA Regional Office, was not used, or it was lost, negated, considered unacceptable by the VA. The heart condition and surgery medical information concluded (July 2000) outside of the VA Hospital, at Presbyterian Hospital, Albuquerque, NM. by Dr. Lawrence A. Nair and Dr. Lagerstrom, has also been “lessened, negated, denied, not used, and or thrown out the window as relevant evidence. 5. The VA October 13, 2011 Letter received, titled – Rating Decision Pg. 2. below Decision title, the VA states the following at No. 1. “Entitlement to non-service connected pension is continued”? My Response is: I am NOT NOW…presently, nor have I since ~(2007) received “any pension compensation” (or) any percent of disability rating from the VA Regional Office, to use for medical care or other, at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque, NM. ? Both of the entitlements were removed by the VA Regional Office, as it was from the Veterans Medical Hospital records as well. This statement by the VA Regional Office Administrator, is full of “contradictions, disputes and the lack of knowledge of the claimant’s medical history or financial status past and present”. 6. To The VA October 13, 2011 Letter received, titled – Service Connection For Asbestos Exposure Pg.7. 3rd. Paragraph. My Response is: Refer to previously submitted medical evidence forwarded to the VA Regional Office. Refer to military service record DD-214. Refer to submitted information to military service duty station, and assignment squadron named as: 22nd (CES) Civil Engineering Squadron, March AFB. Riverside/Hemet, CA. During the period of 1963 thru 1967. 7. To The VA October 13, 2011 Letter received, titled – No. 5. Service Connection For Lower Abdominal Pain Pg. 8. My Response is: As early as 1993-94, I was diagnosed at the VA Medical Hospital, Albuquerque, NM. through a MRI evaluation test, requested by one…VA Dr. Joe Valdez. A herniated and slipped disc was found and is still present, which also caused Sciatica Damage. Conclusion in this regard: The VA Regional Office has only evaluated and explored medical records for the “past ~ five years at most”! This specific condition in addition to abdominal problems go back to ~ 1993-1994, as far as using the VA Medical Hospital in Albuquerque, NM. is concerned. Pg. 6. 8. To The VA October 13, 2011 Letter received, titled – No. 7. Service Connection For Kidney Stones (Claimed As Stones And Kidney Pain) Pg. 9. My Response is: Contrary to the VA Regional Office administrator’s claims of “Preponderance”, on my part to this claim, kidney stone condition was found and treated at the VA Regional Medical Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland during (2002)! (The VA is again in-denial of my claims) . I lived in Maryland during 2002, as per IRS documents for that year. Available upon request. This information was previously made available to the VA Regional Office, but…is now…probably “misplaced just like other medical information which I have submitted”. In addition, with resources available to the VA Regional Office, there is “absolutely no reason, for the VA to not be able to obtain medical records” and information for the VA facility in Baltimore, MD. This is unacceptable and unprofessional behavior, on the VA’s part. “I disagree, dissent and object to the decision to deny any type of compensation, and or disability percent rating to be used by me at the veterans medical hospital”, as was submitted to me by: The Veteran Administration Regional Office and administrator(s) in the “denial letter final conclusions received on or after October 13, 2011”. Note: Enclosed herewith and returned and forwarded to the VA Regional Office is the following. Pre-submitted before the present (11/16/2011) medical records, decisions, disability ratings, entitlements, other related personal history which was received, initially by me. Medical records and history prior to 2010 and 2011 are enclosed, other than what the VA already has on it’s behalf, as proof and evidence for my “disagreement and appeal”! Sincerely, Anthony W. Vigil USAF 19783472 Vietnam Era Veteran cc/awv


May 23, 2014 - 12:51am

I'm a female veteran,having needed a PC in order for consultation,was reassigned to a prime I-physician,I wasn't given chance to explain need just had a pain contract shoved at me"sign or I won't treat you".I'd not expected such abrasive attitude,yet the conversation was only question asked/answered.physician wouldn't converse.I felt totally coerced,bullied,and forced into compliance.I've been on a chronic pain regime for 14yrs,can't take the drug they insist,can't take tylenol ,due to nurse overdosing THEN physician along with the orthopedic p.a. after exhausted attempt of biofeedback,physical therapy,tens unit,every drug they could come up with,settled on the regime of Fentanyl patch,breakthrough worked fine,but anytime a new physician decided they want to not use it,there is no compassion,consideration as to the fact I've tried everything.HAD the THEN physician felt it wasn't acceptable,I wouldn't have been on it. There is no high for a chronic pain patient,just the ability to have better quality of life.Right now,I asked for reassignment,I was told to deal with it.My PC terminated instead of tapering,wrote the wrong morphine,said to return medicine would replace with correct script.the doctor lied,got back the medicine never wrote the replacement medicine.Literally,since all the VA issues in the news,I can't get anyone to even talk.I sent 2call to chief PC,3text to PC,2assist exec to director No ONE will respond. What do I do,pt advocate told me not to waste their time,they weren't there to help me,but the ear of director. Where do I go?100%t/p ...and they won't talk?


May 23, 2014 - 10:39pm

Can you email with this info?

Andrew Murdoch

May 22, 2014 - 11:28pm

When I was new to the VA I was seriously overmedicated and without a way to express what was going on in my head. All I got was medication, Now that I am older (63) and wiser I am expressing my dilemmas and victories to a mental health Social Worker at the Vet Center in Portland OR and the Vet Center in Grants Pass OR. It is well worth the drive to attain peace of mind (270 miles and 35 miles respectively).

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