VA Claims Process

Update on VA Claims Process

David Apperson, Rated 70% Disabled
VA Claim * xxx.xx.1776

Department of Veterans Affairs
Portland VBA Regional Office

Contentions: PTSD (Increase), Sleep Apnea, secondary to PTSD (Secondary), IU (New)

Attention Veterans Benefit Administration Management Team

I noticed the Claim for the above mentioned Contentions has been closed … without an Increase for Post-traumatic Stress, which was remanded back due to the fact I filed my initial claim for Head, Neck and Shoulder Injuries, … and whereby the Federal Judge determined I should be granted benefits from the date I first applied.

At this point, I do not know if the date would be in 2006 or if my claim will go back to 1990 when I initially applied but was denied by the VBA in Portland Oregon.

It has also come to my attention,… I have been Denied Service Connection for Sleep Apnea (Secondary to PTSD (Secondary) due to mismanagement of documents by VBA Employees -

Ever since I worked as a Law Enforcement Officer while stationed with the 1/32nd Infantry Regiment (The Frozen Chosen) in the Republic of Korea my sleep pattern has not been normal.

My work schedule during the 7 Months I worked in the capacity of a Unit Police Officer is as follows :

Day 1 * 7am – 7pm (12 Hour Day Shift)
Day 2 * 7am – 7pm (12 Hour Day Shift)
Day 3 * 7am – 7pm (12 Hour Day Shift)
Day 4 * 7pm – 7am (12 Hour Night Shift)
Day 5 * 7pm – 7am (12 Hour Night Shift)
Day 6 thru Day 7 * 7pm – 7am
(12 Hour Night Shift)
Day 8 Off
Day 9 Off

On Day 10 repeat sequence beginning at Day 1

This Work Schedule … and the Fact I was Injured at Various Times while serving Our Country in the Capacity as a First Responder is more than enough evidence that my Diagnoses of Sleep Apnea (No Stage 3 or REM Sleep) was Caused or Agitated by Military Service.

Due to the inability to get proper rest ... Sleep Apnea has affected my ability to work and my ability to exert myself physically. In fact, this stress has once again caused me not to sleep.

In 1980 while in Caldwell Idaho (Documented by the Dept of Veteran Affairs) I failed the physical exam to become a firefighter, which I had previously passed before I went into the United States Army !

Military records, presently in the hands of the Dept of Veteran Affairs (VBA), confirm I had sleep problems when I was stationed at Fort Campbell Kentucky with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division.

Also, the form related to Individual Un-employability … does not show I have already supplied the last five years of Work History to the VBA.

The preceding information was supplied on three separate occasions

1. ??? Corp * Earned $4500 Take Home every 2 Weeks after Taxes, and …
2. ??? Corp * Grossed $7200 a Month

Why didn't the VBA process my claims in sequential order, which would be basic common sense.

In other words, why would the VBA deny me Individual Un-employability before my VA claim for back, neck and shoulder injuries have been adjudicated ??? My claim for Un-employability is less than a year old while my claim for physical injuries is going on 9 years ... and the pain I suffer mixed with my medications have made it impossible for me to obtain gainful employment.

This action by the VBA borderlines on immoral and is a totally unethical practice committed by employees of the Dept of Veterans Affairs. VBA employees should be ashamed of themselves for utilizing such a dastardly tactic to deny or prolong a claim ! ! !

No wonder Veterans are committing suicide at an alarming rate ... and may I say, ... the blood of these Veterans is on the hands of the VBA employees and their managers !

Document submitted to the DAV for distribution to the Portland VBA via the Internet on 22 Oct 2014 0315 Hours -

VA Claims Process
Posted by David Apperson

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If No Creator * Then No Creation

Can't be True !

Mankind Has the Ability to Create
We were Created in the Image of the Creator

In fact, it would be much easier to win the lottery a 1000 times in one year ... ;
... than it would be for evolution to be true and factual !

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Military Veterans

Younger Military Veterans Bypass VFW and American Legion
Those who served in Iraq, Afghanistan gravitate toward modern organizations

By Jacqueline Klimas
The Washington Times

Kate Hoit served eight years in the Army Reserves, including a tour in Iraq, but when she tried to join her local Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, someone asked whether she needed an application for military spouses instead.

Now, Ms. Hoit said, she will never join the VFW or the American Legion. She said the organizations are unwelcoming and out of touch with the needs of post-Sept. 11 veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“I’m not going to go the VFW or the Legion and drink and smoke cigarettes,” she said. “I want to be out in my community.”

Her complaint is echoed by other veterans of the war on terrorism, who see the venerable veterans groups as fraternities of older men from previous wars. The new generation of veterans instead is gravitating toward groups organized around activities such as running or volunteering, and groups that allow nonmilitary members to take part as well.

Younger veterans say the traditional organizations differ in many ways from groups that appeal to them, including the types of advocacy they do and their ways of communication — “snail mail” versus email.

Chance Pellum is among the small percentage of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have joined the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Many others want more than smoky bars and feel unwelcome by Vietnam-era veterans, who make up the largest portion of the VFW and American Legion membership. (Associated Press)

Officials from the Legion and VFW say they are trying to maintain the valuable clout they have built on Capitol Hill and need support to help veterans navigate the bureaucracy of the Department of Veterans Affairs — benefits that the more modern groups don’t provide.

It’s a challenge for the traditional veterans organizations, who agree they need to change to stay relevant.

Post-9/11 veterans say a typical experience at a local post involves walking into a dimly lit hall only to find unwelcoming veterans 30 years older who are having drinks at 10 a.m.

“It’s just the most depressing place,” said Sgt. Matt Pelak, an Army veteran who spent three years in Iraq and still serves in the National Guard. “I can’t imagine a place that is further removed from my generation of veterans.”

Veterans also said such groups deepen the divide between civilian and military worlds because only veterans are allowed to join.

More Iraq and Afghanistan veterans say they are joining groups that allow them to stay active, continue to serve their country and interact with civilians to help reintegrate into society after serving overseas.

Team Rubicon lets veterans serve alongside civilian first responders and “get dirty” when a natural disaster strikes, enabling them to maintain skills they learned in the military, said Sgt. Pelak, director of strategic partnerships at the 4-year-old California-based organization.

Team Red, White and Blue, known by members as Team RWB, focuses on fitness and organizes group runs, bicycle rides, cross fit and yoga classes in regional chapters to help veterans deal in productive ways with stress from deployments or anxiety about the future, said Capt. Brennan Mullaney, the organization’s mid-Atlantic regional director.

Capt. Mullaney, who transitioned to the Army Reserve in 2010, said because it’s important for younger veterans, who have been part of an all-volunteer force, to be able to continue to serve their community and country. He said traditional organizations now consist primarily of Vietnam-era veterans, many of whom were drafted and tend to have “a different view of your service and what your nation owes you.”

Both the VFW and American Legion say Vietnam-era veterans make up the largest portion of their membership. Only about 15 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who are eligible to join the VFW have done so.

Membership in the VFW, which marked the 100th anniversary of its founding last month, peaked at 2.1 million in the early 1990s. That is down to about 1.3 million today, and the average age of members is nearly 70. The American Legion claims 2.4 million members, down from 3.1 million two decades ago.

Lynn Rolf, a former Army captain who served in Iraq, couldn’t wait to join the VFW, saying it was an honor to become a member of the same organization as his father and grandfather. Once at the post at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, however, he started to see some behavior he didn’t like.

“They didn't like the young guys, they didn’t think we knew what we were talking about. It wasn’t very family-friendly,” Mr. Rolf said. “But now it is.”

Rather than drop out, Mr. Rolf recruited his friends to join, took on leadership roles and changed the organization into something that fits his needs. When he hears the common complaints from Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, the VFW Western Conference vice chairman tells them to do the same thing and “force change.”

Part of the problem in recruiting younger veterans may be the VFW’s difficulty in explaining what services it provides, including legislative advocacy on Capitol Hill or helping veterans submit disability benefits to get the money they are owed quickly, Mr. Rolf said.

He said most younger veterans think of the local VFW post as just a bar.

Randi Law, a spokeswoman for the VFW, acknowledged it’s a common mis-perception that the organization is “working diligently to overcome.”

She said many posts have closed their food service operations, become smoke-free and begun offering amenities such as exercise equipment and playgrounds. Posts that don’t evolve, she said, face “an uncertain future.”

The VFW’s latest push to recruit younger members will send troops who enrolled in college after the military to Capitol Hill to lobby for veterans’ needs with VFW staff.

The American Legion also is working with students to recruit younger veterans by opening several posts on college campuses over the past five years, said Matt Herndon, deputy director of membership. These groups allow students and faculty who served to support one another and provide help in searching for work.

Mr. Herndon said student veterans who get involved in the Legion during college may be more likely to continue their membership and bring new ideas to posts after graduation.

But the organizations also acknowledge that they need to do a better job of explaining what they offer, including assistance with benefits claims, scholarships, grants, free calls home for deployed service members and advocacy in Washington.

“People are usually surprised to learn how much of an impact the VFW has already had on their lives,” Ms. Law said. “Without the VFW, there would be no VA. There would be no compensation, no benefits, no one to ensure our veterans and military families are cared for after serving our country.”

VFW service officers, who are familiar with VA bureaucracy and paperwork, can submit forms on behalf of veterans, help file appeals if disability benefits are denied, or simply offer advice to those who want to file their own disability claims regardless of whether the veteran belongs to the VFW.

Over the past two years, more than 200,000 veterans have taken advantage of the help and collectively obtained almost $6 billion in benefits from the VA, Ms. Law said.

Sgt. Pelak said his generation is grateful for the organization’s lobbying work on programs such as the G.I. Bill, but that’s not enough to recruit younger veterans.

Meanwhile, other organizations have stepped up to lobby for post-9/11 veterans.

Lt. Cmdr. Sean Foertsch, a Navy reservist who served in Afghanistan, said younger veterans typically don’t need service organizations to fight for the benefits they were promised. He said military personnel have largely been spared from the budget cuts that have hurt other parts of the federal government because of overwhelming public support for troops.

Lt. Cmdr. Foertsch, who decided not to renew his Legion membership this year, said older veterans groups are “more interested in being a political player than actually addressing the needs of vets.”

The groups that are popular with post-9/11 veterans, he said, are more focused on helping with reintegration into the community.

“That is where the models of Team RWB and Rubicon seem to gain more traction with younger vets — they are focused on the ‘who’ the veteran is as opposed to the ‘what’ they get from” veterans organizations, he said by email from Liberia, where he has just deployed to fight Ebola.

Bryan Allyn, a former Navy petty officer who served in Afghanistan, decided not to renew his Legion membership after two years. He said the VA has advocates to help him navigate the benefits process and he would rather cut out the middleman and do the work himself.

A Legion membership still offers exclusive discounts, such as 20 percent off prescription drugs and savings at hotels, but Mr. Allyn said other groups provide benefits that may be more appealing to younger veterans, such as VetTix.org, which gives free concert and sports tickets to veterans and their families.

“Basically, I was paying a fee but all I was getting was some address labels and discounts on rental cars and stuff,” he said. “Other than that, there was really nothing that was of benefit.”

Younger veterans say the problem extends even to how the groups communicate. The Legion’s postal letters often end up in the trash, Mr. Allyn said. Instead, Team RWB and Team Rubicon use social media, which connects large numbers of veterans across the country.

Older veterans said the traditional organizations have a legitimacy that can’t be conveyed by having 10,000 “likes” on Facebook, and they fear lawmakers on Capitol Hill won’t take the new organizations’ lobbying as seriously.

Mr. Herndon said the Legion is trying to use more social media such as Twitter and Facebook to communicate with members, though he acknowledged it could do better. He said the Legion has several “Cyber Posts” where veterans participate in meetings and talk with other members online through chat rooms or video conferences.

The VFW’s Mr. Rolf said veterans should feel welcome to join the old and new organizations.

While at the Kansas VFW, Mr. Rolf worked with members of Team Rubicon on tornado relief and knew it was a service group he wanted to join. After spending a lot of time on the road and putting on some weight, Mr. Rolf joined the fitness-oriented Team RWB and has lost 75 pounds running and participating in cross fit with the group. He now holds leadership roles in both of these groups and said they need to work more with traditional veterans groups — and vice-versa.

Military Veterans
Posted by Vets Helping Vets

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US Politics

In 1973, the percentage of veterans in the US House and Senate was 73.8 percent. Now, the percentage is down to just 20 percent.

The military has special needs that are different from the civilian world. We clothe them, we pay them, we give them a place to live and then we ask them to go and put their lives on the line and possibly die for us.

Care and thought have to be given before committing our military to battle, to war. Without military experience it is too easy for our senators and representatives to just vote to go to war.

Our commitment to people in the military doesn't end when they are discharged or retire. We have a moral and legal commitment to them to help them heal and to re-enter the workforce.

Unfortunately, some members of Congress have abrogated their obligations.

Senator Pat Toomey is an example of a member of Congress who has had no military experience and has voted against appropriate funding for the Veterans Administration and against bills that would have helped veterans find gainful employment.

Some of the best qualified people whom the military needs to accomplish its missions will not join the military without a guarantee of post-service care.

We need to elect senators and representatives who have had military experience to ensure we support the members of the military with adequate funding for their missions and for the after-service care they deserve and need.

US Politics
by Marc Yergin

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