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In This Issue: March 27, 2012 Latest News

Newly Disclosed Records Reveal Hundreds More Illegal Personality Disorder Discharges

VVA Finds Illegalities in Discharges

VVA Staff Named to Serve on VA Disability Benefits Group

Rowan Testifies Before House and Senate on VVA’s 2013 Legislative Priorities

Town Hall Meetings

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHA)

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day VVA 1047

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, Buffalo, New York

VA Expands Medical Forms Program to Support Faster Claims Processing

VA Gulf War Task Force Report Released

Special Notice: If you are a veteran in emotional crisis and need help RIGHT NOW, call this toll-free number 1-800-273-8255, available 24/7, and tell them you are a veteran. All calls are confidential.

VA Caregiver Hotline

VVA Press Release

Newly Disclosed Records Reveal Hundreds More Illegal Personality Disorder Discharges

(Washington, D.C.) Since 2008, the Department of Defense (DoD) has illegally discharged hundreds of veterans on the alleged basis of personality disorder (PD), denying them veterans’ benefits, according to a Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) analysis of newly disclosed records released. The analysis further concludes that since Fiscal Year (FY) 2002, the Navy has discharged the most service members on this basis in absolute terms (7735), and in FY 2006, the Air Force set a military record for the Afghanistan and Iraq era when PD discharges accounted for 3.7 percent of all airmen being discharged (1114 of 29,498 service members).          

The VVA report, Casting Troops Aside: The United States Military’s Illegal Personality Disorder Discharge Problem, is based on records obtained by VVA in federal Freedom of Information Act litigation. The report found that, since 2008, internal DoD reviews discovered hundreds of illegal PD discharges, and since FY 2001, the military has discharged over 31,000 service members on the alleged basis of PD.

PD can be used as the illegal basis for incorrectly discharging veterans suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The DoD considers PD a preexisting condition, and a PD diagnosis renders veterans ineligible for several benefits. 

[ read complete press release ]

 

Personality Disorder Discharges

VVA Finds Illegalities in Discharges

Since 2008, the Department of Defense (DoD) has illegally discharged hundreds of veterans on the alleged basis of personality disorder (PD), denying them veterans’ benefits, according to a Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) analysis of newly disclosed records.  The VVA report, Casting Troops Aside: The United States Military’s Illegal Personality Disorder Discharge Problem, is based on records obtained by VVA in federal Freedom of Information Act litigation.  The entire report is available online at: http://www.vva.org/ppd-whitepaper.html

Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) Work Groups

VVA Staff Named to Serve on VA Disability Benefits Group

Along with representatives from other veterans service organizations, Jim Vale (Director of VVA Benefits Department), Lauren Kologe (Deputy Director of VVA Benefits Department), and Dr. Tom Berger (Executive Director of VVA’s Veterans Health Council) have been appointed to serve on one or more of the Veterans Affairs Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD) work groups that are updating the VASRD guide.  The VASRD is used by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as part of the process of adjudicating disability claims. It is a guide for evaluating the severity of disabilities resulting from all types of diseases and injuries encountered as a result of, or incident to, military service. This degree of severity is expressed as a percentage rating which determines the amount of monthly compensation.

There are 16 workgroups based on the VA’s “body system” classification scheme:  Jim Vale is serving on the work group whose focus is eye injuries; Tom Berger is serving on both the mental health disorders and cardiovascular work groups; and Lauren Kologe is serving on the respiratory, skin, rheumatology, and dental and oral groups. 

VVA Testimony

Rowan Testifies Before House and Senate on
VVA’s 2013 Legislative Priorities

For the seventh year, Vietnam Veterans of America National President John Rowan presented the organization’s legislative priorities to a joint session of the U.S. House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees. He declared the fullest possible accounting of the nation’s POW/MIAs is the highest priority, and stressed the importance of supporting the US-Russia Joint Commission on POW/MIAs.

[ read John Rowan's letter to the U.S. House and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees ]

Rowan said the educational benefits of the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill have been in part undermined by predatory for-profit institutions of higher learning—a situation that must end. For tips on how to avoid scams and diploma mills, see http://www.accreditedonlinecolleges.net/all-about-accreditation/ and for a list of fraudulent accrediting agencies, see http://www.credentialwatch.org/non/agencies.shtml

Rowan also stressed the need for more transparency at the VA and the continuing need for vigilant oversight and accountability.

He also talked about the importance of nurturing and protecting veteran-owned small businesses—“Veterans hire veterans”—and stressed that the VA should be helping these businesses. Unfortunately, the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation has done just the opposite.

Rowan said he was proud that VVA has had an 80+percent success rate in bringing veterans’ claims to the Board of Veterans Appeals. He argued, however, that that figure also indicates a thoroughly unacceptable 80 percent failure rate by the VA in properly adjudicating these veterans’ claims.

For President Rowan’s full testimony, go http://www.vva.org/testimony/2012/032112.pdf


POW/MIA Ceremony Video - View on YouTube

Town Hall Meetings

Vietnam Veterans of America Missouri State Council Presents an Agent Orange Town Hall Meeting

Saturday March 31, 2012
12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
We look forward to your joining us at:
University of Missouri
Chamber Auditorium located at the MU Student Center
2500 Rollins
Columbia, MO 65211

Agent Orange, an herbicide chemical containing dioxin, used to defoliate the Jungle in Vietnam may have exposed more than 2 million U.S. Military personnel from 1961 to 1970.

This panel discussion presents the facts one needs to know that affects not only the Vietnam Veteran but his Children and Grandchildren. We are at a time in our life to get information gathered and out to everyone.

[ download the flyer here ]


VVA Chapter 604, Topeka, Kansas to Hold
Faces of Agent Orange Town Hall

Sunday April 1, 2012
2:00 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Colmery-O'Neil VA Medical Center
2200 SW Gage Blvd
Building 24 Theatre
Topeka, KS 66622

For More Information, contact:
Bill Martin at martinwilliamL@yahoo.com
785-845-1665

[ download the flyer here ]

 

ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), sometimes called ADD (attention deficit disorder), is linked with hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, and attention problems in both children and adults. It's estimated that up to 12 percent of school-aged children and 6 percent of adults have ADHD, making it harder for them to focus on tasks, manage their time, control their behavior, or even sit still.  There is no single test to diagnose ADD/ADHD. To reach a diagnosis, a doctor or specialist may do a physical exam to rule out any physical problems, as well as ask questions about behavior in certain situations.  Treatment is often a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. The goals of treatment are to help the person control impulsive behaviors, do better in school or work, and improve social relationships.

Welcome Home Day Event

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, VVA 1047

Friday, March 30, 2012

Harrison Mid Michigan VVA 1047 will have a short honor service outside of the Clare County Courthouse. There will be music and specials all day.

[ download the flyer here ]

Welcome Home Day Event

Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Day, Buffalo, New York

VA Western New York Healthcare System
Vietnam Veterans of America

Welcome Home All Vietnam Veterans - Friday, March 30

Buffalo VA Medical Center - 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Batavia VA Medical Center - 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

[ download the flyer here ]

VA Press Release

VA Expands Medical Forms Program to Support Faster Claims Processing

(Washington, D.C.) The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today the release of 68 new forms that will help speed the processing of Veterans’ disability compensation and pension claims.

“VA employees will be able to more quickly process disability claims, since disability benefits questionnaires capture important medical information needed to accurately evaluate Veterans’ claims,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “Disability benefits questionnaires are just one of many changes VA is implementing to address the backlog of claims.”

The new forms bring to 71 the number of documents, called disability benefits questionnaires (DBQs), that guide physicians’ reports of medical findings, ensuring VA has exactly the medical information needed to make a prompt decision.

When needed to decide a disability claim for compensation or pension benefits, VA provides Veterans with free medical examinations for the purpose of gathering the necessary medical evidence. 

Veterans who choose to have their private physicians complete the medical examination can now give their physicians the same form a VA provider would use.  It is very important that physicians provide complete responses to all questions on the DBQs.  VA cannot pay for a private physician to complete DBQs or for any costs associated with examination or testing.  

[ read entire press release ]

 

VA Press Release

VA Gulf War Task Force Report Released

(Washington, D.C.) The Department of Veterans Affairs has released the second in a series of annual reports from its Gulf War Veterans Illnesses Task Force, outlining how the department will address the concerns of Veterans deployed during the Gulf War of 1990-1991.  The report is available on the Internet at http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/2011_GWVI-TF_Report.pdf.

“This report, which considered input from nearly 500 Veterans who responded to the draft report, provides a roadmap for our continued enhancements in the care and services we provide to Gulf War Veterans,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We will also apply lessons learned from this Task Force to our engagement with Veterans of all eras.”

VA issued a draft version of this report for public comment on Oct. 21, 2011.  During the 30-day comment period, VA received over 450 comments through a special social media website created for this purpose, along with twenty-five other comments received through mail, e-mail and telephone calls.

[ read entire press release ]

 

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