"The Vet's Place" -Veteran Disability Issues


**Military Headlines for 29 July, 2005 **

        [Some   to Lose Hundreds in Pay Monday](http://tracking.military.com/cgi-bin/outlog.cgi?url=http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,74425,00.html?ESRC=eb.nl&code=050729DEBH02)

Congress Votes to Add Funds for Vets
Homeland Security Lists few Toxic Threats
Army Mechanic Acquitted of Desertion
Panel: Bush Was Unready for Postwar Iraq
Military Medical Center to Serve Severely Wounded
Hard Liners Lose Clout in N. Korea Talks
China Stocks Nukes as Anti U.S. Tactic
Navy’s Top Admiral Will Testify to Save Oceana
Hunter Says China Bolsters Case to Keep Sub Base Open
Security Costs Slow Iraq Reconstruction
For Combat-Weary Marines, Each Stint Adds to The Strain



Critics blast veterans’ mental health care


WASHINGTON, July 28 (UPI) – Several Members of Congress blasted the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon this week, saying the agencies not doing enough to aid soldiers returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with post-traumatic stress disorder.

**“All I hear is ‘we’re doing everything right.’ All I hear is ‘everything’s fine.’ Everything’s not fine - we have suicides,” Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif., told a panel of witnesses from the VA and the Army at hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday. He went on to call government claims about proactive treatment of PTSD in soldiers “demonstrably false.” **

Post-traumatic stress disorder, an anxiety disorder, was first identified in 1980 and occurs following exposure to a life-threatening event. Symptoms can include insomnia, nightmares and depression and nervousness. The disorder is marked by both biological changes and emotional symptoms…

**…Hoge told hearing attendees that about 30 percent of soldiers who served in the Vietnam War developed PTSD at some point during their lives. **

"Every time someone re-experiences an event or has a flashback … the memory becomes more and more intractable, the harder and harder it is for the persons brain wiring to go around the memory," explained Lizbet Boroughs, deputy director of government relations for the American Psychiatric Association…

…the Army is continuing to research how to reduce the stigma of PTSD and ensure delivery of mental-health services.

"The culture inside the military hasn’t changed that much," Mooney said. “Attitudes are not changing at the operational level as rapidly as knowledge of the condition.”…

**…Though he suffered from physical symptoms associated with PTSD – including high blood pressure, chest pain and erectile dysfunction – military primary care did not identify PTSD in Capt. Michael Jon Pelkey, his widow testified… **

…Thomas Berger, chairman of Vietnam Veterans of America’s PTSD and Substance Abuse Committee, told UPI the pre-deployment discussions are little more than a “pep talk,” and more needs to be done to inform soldiers about PTSD before they move to conflict zones.

**The VVA also submitted a statement to the committee indicating that the Pentagon’s post-deployment health assessment is a two page, multiple-choice test that “is hardly a useful mental health assessment tool.” The VVA statement also said soldiers lack the incentive to tell the truth about mental-health issues, because they fear that such issues could prevent their promotion… **

…Mooney explained that most returning active-duty troops are demobilized and given time to decompress, then are debriefed and screened, but National Guard and reserve troops go directly from the field to their home reserve centers and armories.

**“If they get any screening or treatment at all, it’s just for a couple days,” Mooney said. “There’s a disconnect in the prevention services.”… **

…“I think it’s real important that it not just be the Veterans Administration (helping soldiers),” Berger said. “It takes the whole community to reintegrate the person. People need to understand the sacrifice.”…

**…Legislation pending in committee, the Comprehensive Assistance for Veterans Exposed to Traumatic Stressors Act, would increase outreach to veterans and provide education to families and healthcare providers about PTSD. The bill would also require collaboration between the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs with regard to mental health treatment… **

…The Army’s Mental Health Advisory Team reported last week the suicide rate for soldiers in Iraq and Kuwait fell from 18 per 100,000 in 2003 to 8.5 per 100,000 in 2004. Soldiers’ morale is also improving, the report said. In 2003, about 52 percent of soldiers described morale as low, dropping to 36 percent in 2004.

**Veterans groups, the VA and the Army all praise the 207 Vet Centers that employ mostly veterans to provide health services to those returning from war. Last year, the VA hired 50 veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq to work in Vet Centers, and the agency is looking at adding 50 more. **

**The NIMH is also piloting a program called DE-STRESS designed to test methods for reducing PTSD symptoms using Internet-based programs. **

**VA officials and veterans’ groups also cited the success of groups embedded with combat units to evaluate and treat stress. **

Ryan** Holeywell**** is an intern for UPI Science News. E-mail: sciencemail@upi.com**


[left] **[font=Verdana]**House Veterans Affairs Chairman visits
combat wounded in Minnesota



[font=Verdana]Washington[/font]****[font=Verdana], [/font][font=Verdana]D.C.[/font][font=Verdana][/font][font=Verdana]Chairman Steve Buyer and Rep. John Kline (R-Minn.) on Tuesday inspected the care being provided to veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom recovering from combat wounds at the VA Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center (PRC) in [/font][font=Verdana]Minneapolis[/font][font=Verdana], [/font][font=Verdana]Minn.[/font][font=Verdana] [/font]

[font=Verdana]“We who have served have a responsibility that does not end with our uniformed service,” said Buyer, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm. “We must ensure that the VA system is properly equipped and its staff is well trained, so that when our servicemembers come back and need VA, it is there for them.” [/font]

[font=Verdana]During their visit to the center, which is part of the Minneapolis VA Medical Center, Buyer and Kline spoke with staff and patients. The center is one of VA’s four regional PRCs. It provides rehabilitation care for veterans returning from combat with severe injuries that may include traumatic brain injuries, amputations, blindness or hearing disorders, complex orthopedic injuries, and mental health concerns. The other VA PRCs are in [/font][font=Verdana]Palo Alto[/font][font=Verdana], [/font][font=Verdana]Calif.[/font][font=Verdana]; [/font][font=Verdana]Richmond[/font][font=Verdana], [/font][font=Verdana]Va.[/font][font=Verdana]; and [/font][font=Verdana]Tampa[/font][font=Verdana], [/font][font=Verdana]Fla.[/font][font=Verdana] [/font]

[font=Verdana]“There is nothing like being on-site and listening to the people who are actually giving the care and to the people who are actually getting the care,” Kline, a retired U.S. Marine colonel, said. [/font]

[font=Verdana]Patients in the centers have typically been treated at military treatment facilities and are transferred to the VA at a time coordinated between the military and VA for longer term rehabilitation. The center’s chief of physical medicine and rehabilitation, Dr. Barbara Sigford, said that almost half of patients have mental health concerns in addition to their other injuries. [/font]

[font=Verdana]“We are here because polytrauma is a prime example of battlefield-to-health care - seamless transition from DoD to VA,” Buyer said. [/font]

[font=Verdana]Buyer and Kline spoke privately with a wounded veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, an Army sergeant who praised his care at the PRC and compared it to the care he got at [/font][font=Verdana]Walter[/font][font=Verdana] [/font][font=Verdana]Reed[/font][font=Verdana] [/font][font=Verdana]Army[/font][font=Verdana] [/font][font=Verdana]Medical[/font][font=Verdana] [/font][font=Verdana]Center[/font][font=Verdana] in [/font][font=Verdana]Washington[/font][font=Verdana]. [/font]

[font=Verdana]“Rhetoric criticizing the Administration for its lack of care and compassion for our combat wounded is inaccurate, has a corrosive effect on those who are serving, and creates doubt whether care will be there for them if they need it,” Buyer said. [/font]

[font=Verdana]The system is not without flaws that must be corrected. VA staff told Buyer and Kline of problems they encounter getting complete medical records. Concerns about the sharing of sensitive personal information have impeded timely exchange of critical medical information between VA and DoD. VA thus depends on what military hospitals provide them. That makes VA’s job tougher. [/font]

[font=Verdana]“We have been at this for three years and we still have VA facilities across from military facilities and they can’t talk to each other. This is a leadership problem,” Buyer said. “We have great doctors, nurses, therapists and volunteers ensuring high-quality care – we saw that here today. They deserve the best systems to back them up, and that’s our responsibility in [/font][font=Verdana]Washington[/font][font=Verdana].” [/font]

[font=Verdana]“As a veteran and a Member of Congress I am encouraged by what we saw today,” Kline said. “The high standard of care provided to the patients at this facility is far beyond what was available to me and my contemporaries during my 25 years of service. I look forward to continuing to work with Chairman Buyer to ensure the standard remains high and our veterans continue to receive unparalleled care.”[/font]

[font=Verdana]More information about hearings, legislation, and other activities of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs can be found on our award-winning Website: [www.veterans.house.gov](http://veterans.house.gov/) [/font]



Military Headlines 08 August 2005

        [Families   Begin Funerals for Ohio Marines](http://tracking.military.com/cgi-bin/outlog.cgi?url=http://www.military.com/NewsContent/0,13319,FL_funerals_080805,00.html?ESRC=eb.nl&code=050808DEBH02)

Unit had Asked for More Marines
U.S. Embassy in Saudi Closes Over Threat
Survivors Mark Anniversary of Hiroshima
Ex-POW Jessica Lynch to Start College
Coast Guard’s Aging Cutters Lose Rust Battle
Detainees Under Harry Potter’s Spell
North Korean Threat Nudges Japan to Rethink Nukes
GOP Split Over Iraqis’ Readiness
Looking for a Bomb or a Smile
Morale Woes Rattle Guard
Reservists who Went to War Get Their Due


Military Report is the most comprehensive military benefits and quality-of-life newsletter for military personnel and retirees. Make sure that you and your colleagues subscribe for this free update publication.

08 AUGUST 2005

                                       **[Correction: Some Lose Hundreds In Pay](http://web50.military.com/cgi-bin/outlog.cgi?url=http://www.military.com/MilitaryReport/0,12914,74849,00.html?ESRC=miltrep.nl&code=050808TDVH02)** 

Deal of the Week: 10% Off Personal Camo Comfort Kits
Air Force Seeks Intern Applicants
Introducing the Jeep Everyday Heroes Reward
Air Force Looking for IAS Program Applicants
Navy Seeks Educational Programs Applicants
Navy Seeks Medical Commissioning Applicants
2005 GEICO Military Service Awards
Featured Job: Store Detective
Hearing on Readiness of Guard & Reserve
Army Creates Mentorship Websites
Household Goods Moving Plan Improves
Injured Sailors Get Clothing Allowance
DOL Improves USERRA Complaint Process
Long Term Care Insurance Still Available
Military Programs Ease PTSD Pain **
Navy Announces Law Education Program**
Overseas Quarterly Assignment Listing
Roadmap Helps Sailors Reach Education Goals
Laughlin Air Force Base Needs Volunteers
Army Medical Center Gets Rehab Center
VA Contract Opportunity
Congress Votes to Add Funds for Vets
Hearing on Readiness of Guard & Reserve
Many Veterans Qualify for VA Pension at 65
Two Bills Approved by Senate Committee
VA Awards Grants to Veterans Homes
Military Programs Ease PTSD Pain




August 12, 2005
Posted on ArmyTimes.com during the past 24 hours.
VA to review veterans’ PTSD cases**
By Rebecca Carroll
Associated Press

The government is going to take a new look at the claims of about a third of the military veterans who now get disability payments for post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Veterans Affairs Department will begin a yearlong review next month of 72,000 cases after an internal study found inconsistencies in the way the claims were decided, including many cases approved though they lacked required medical evidence…

[font=Verdana]…[/font]The review will cover veterans whose claims were approved between 1999 and 2004 and who receive full disability benefits — $2,299 a month — for PTSD alone or in combination with other conditions, said VA spokesman Phil Budahn. The review won’t consider the other side of the question, whether some veterans were wrongly denied benefits, and that has some critics upset.

“We need to pay as much attention to improper denials as we do to improper grants,” said Illinois Rep. Lane Evans, ranking Democrat on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee…



Military Report is the most comprehensive military benefits and quality-of-life newsletter for military personnel and retirees. Make sure that you and your colleagues subscribe for this free update publication.
15 AUGUST 2005** **

Blue to Green Program Offers Bonuse**
Deal of the Week: Buy a 1-Month Online Gaming Subscription Receive 1-Month Free
PTSD Survey Shows Increase
USAF International Affairs Program
Virtual Family Readiness Groups
Military Retiree Appreciation Weekend
DoD Launches New Online Library
DoDDS-Europe School Registration
Volunteer Youth Coaches Needed
DOD Announces Inaugural 'Freedom Walk’
Single Marine Program on MarineNet
Navy Website Promotes Health and Fitness
Featured Job: Firearms Instructor
New Program Recruits Native Speakers
Navy Fleetwide Survey Available Online
TRICARE Builds Its Uniform Formulary
TRICARE Survivor Benefits: Overview
Vacation Club Adds Nightly Getaways
Air Combat Command Addresses Issue of Suicide
Congress Seeks to Expand Death Benefits
TRICARE to All Reservists
Hawaii on a Budget
Print and Post This Week’s Military Report
Headline Military News


Veterans Report is the most comprehensive newsletter available to help Veterans stay current on benefits changes, learn about important legislation, get great discounts, and use the benefits earned in service. Make sure that you and your colleagues subscribe for this free update publication.

**22 AUGUST 2005
** [left] Book to Mark VJ Day 60th Anniversary
New National Cemetery Set To Open
VA Gives $1 Million For Veterans Home
VA Reviewing Approved Stress Claims
GI Bill Apprenticeship and OJT Program Offers Up to $12,000
WWII 60th Anniversary Commemoration
"Tribute to the Troops"
Headline Military News



Keep Retirement Savings Rolling After Separation An IRA rollover allows you to consolidate retirement funds after separation, but there are pitfalls to avoid. Here are five steps to get you started…More

** $1 Billion Awarded to Injured Retirees, $21 Billion to Go!** The Army CRSC Division has announced that $1 billion has been awarded to retirees with disabilities across all military uniformed Services through the Combat-Related Special Compensation (CRSC) program…More

**The Current Status of Concurrent Receipt
**Concurrent Receipt, or CRDP, is quite the hot topic these days. It seems there are as many interpretations of the law as there are eligible retirees. The following is a quick overview of the finer points of the law…More

**Get Household Goods Moved, Years After Retiring
**What happens if you retire but do not make your move within the usual 12-month period? If you visit most Personal Property/Household Goods Offices, they will tell you – if you ask them – that they will extend your move authorization for an additional year…More

**Military Struggling With Rising Health Care Costs
**Rising medical costs and the expansion of health benefits for retirees, Guardsmen and Reservists, and their families, are putting a strain on the military health care system, Defense Department health and personnel officials told members of Congress April 21…More

**Investigating the Life Satisfaction of Officers
**If you retired between 1993 and 1999 your participation in a survey is requested. Major Russ Graves (USAF, retired) is a graduate student at Texas A&M University investigating the life satisfaction of officers who retired during this period…More

**Support the Troops
**Subscriptions for Soldiers allows you to donate a magazine subscription to a servicemember for only $10. Plus $2 goes to support TAPS. Show your support today…More

**On Its Own: The Iraqi Navy in 2005
**What will the shape of tomorrow’s Navy and Coast Guard maritime security ship look like? Will it be the littoral combat ship? Or one-or more-of three other ship designs? …More


[center]29 AUGUST 2005


Air Force Finds Security Breach**

Deal of the Week: 10-50% Off Photo Dog Tags

Child Car Seat Guidance for Parents

Protection for Deployed Soldiers

FRA Provides Scholarships

Career Advice for Military Spouses

Reserve Officers Association Membership


Discrimination Against Servicemembers

Leave Refunds For Federal Employees

How the Montgomery GI Bill Works for You

Featured Job: Security Officers

Marine Clothing and Equipment Survey

Navy Increases Retention Bonuses

AAFES New Home Decor Catalog

One-Year Open Enrollment for SBP Announced

Stand Down Helps Homeless Veterans

         **[Deployment Financial Management](http://web50.military.com/cgi-bin/outlog.cgi?url=http://www.military.com/MilitaryReport/0,12914,76136,00.html?ESRC=miltrep.nl&code=050829TDVH16)**

SMARTWebMove Streamlines PCS Process**
TRICARE’s Extended Care Health Option**
Troops’ Gravestones Have Pentagon Slogans**
Update DEERS When a Baby Arrives**
Twin Cities Retiree Appreciation**



Veterans Report is the most comprehensive newsletter
available to help Veterans stay current on benefits
changes, learn about important legislation, get great
discounts, and use the benefits earned in service.

[center] [center]**12 SEPTEMBER 2005

VA Sets Up Toll - Free Nationwide Number for Veterans, Families

Deal of the Week: 15% Off Flag Cases, Medals, Ribbons & More

DoD Offers Help for Displaced Employees

FEMA Getting Assistance to Individuals

Government Contractors & Vendors Hotline

IRS Disaster Relief Toll-Free Number

Quantico Schools Looking for Substitutes

Military Logistics Summit September 28th - 30th

"Wounded Warriors" Lifted Up by Contributors

Featured Job: NYPD

Disaster-affected Legionnaires Offered Fast Assistance

VA Launches Hurricane Katrina Blog

New Increased GI Bill Rates for 2006

VFW Unmet Needs Program

VFW Help Hurricane Relief Efforts With Online Donation Form

Online Veteran Service Office Resources


Capitol Hill Watch****…Friday, September 16, 2005****

Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Approves Bill
****That Would Improve Access to Care, ****
Could Lead To Use of Private Contractors

The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday approved two bills by voice vote to expand health care for veterans,** CQ Today** reports (Barrett,** CQ Today**, 9/15). The first bill (S 1182), sponsored by Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho), would authorize a number of medical services at Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities and include provisions from a number of other bills. Under the legislation, VA could provide care for as long as two weeks for infants born to woman veterans at department health care facilities. The bill also would expand health coverage for veterans’ children who have certain disabilities, improve coverage for homeless veterans, and expand and improve mental health services for veterans. In addition, the legislation would require VA and the Department of Defense to study proposals to help eliminate the stigma related to mental health treatment among veterans and would allow veterans with health insurance who seek care at non-VA health care facilities to “receive the difference between what their private insurer would pay and what the VA would cover at one of its own facilities,”** CongressDaily** reports. The bill also would provide health care to all veterans in states affected by Hurricane Katrina and would waive copayments for their medical services and medications through Jan. 31, 2006 (Gruenwald,** CongressDaily**, 9/16).

VA Centers
The second bill (S 716), sponsored by Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), would expand outreach services at VA centers. Under the legislation, VA would have to employ as many as 50 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars to help others readjust to life after the wars. The bill also clarifies that the parents of an Armed Forces member who dies in service qualify for bereavement counseling from VA. In addition, the legislation would authorize $180,000 to VA for readjustment and bereavement counseling and related mental health services at department health care facilities for fiscal year 2006 (CQ Today, 9/15).


Senate Veterans Affairs passes
amendment 98-0 to halt VA
investigation of disability claims

Murray Protects Veterans with PTSD from VA Scrutiny, Stigma and Penalties

Senate Passes Murray’s Amendment Today; Blocks VA from Wasting Resources Investigating 72,000 Veterans and Penalizing Those with Paperwork Errors

For Immediate Release: Thursday, September 22, 2005

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash) stood up for America’s veterans by ensuring that those who need help with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are not scrutinized, stigmatized, or penalized by a planned VA investigation.

“Veterans with PTSD deserve the VA’s compassion and support, not costly investigations, penalties and stigma,” Murray said. “Veterans should not be punished for mistakes the VA has made, and that’s what my amendment ensures.”

Earlier this year, the VA announced plans to investigate the PTSD disability claims of 72,000 veterans. An earlier study of a small number of cases by the VA’s Inspector General found errors in about one-third of the claims examined. Many of the problems uncovered were paperwork errors. Murray and veterans organizations like the American Legion and the Paralyzed Veterans of America feared the VA would use the review to strip benefits from veterans with mental illness.

The review would also take time and resources away from processing current disability claims.

“The VA must not delay its work on today’s disability claims in order to investigate decisions it made years ago,” Murray said.

Murray said the VA’s review would send a message to veterans that if they seek help for PTSD, they will be subject to scrutiny.

“It’s already hard enough for veterans to seek care for mental health problems. I can’t stand by and let the VA throw down another barrier in front of veterans with PTSD,” Murray said.

Murray blocked the review today by inserting language into the FY 2006 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill, which passed the full Senate this afternoon. Murray’s language says the review cannot proceed until the VA justifies the program to Congress. It also ensures veterans cannot be stripped of their benefits except in cases of fraud.

Veterans leaders applauded Murray’s work.

“Senator Murray has given veterans some body armor to protect them from administrative errors and penalties,” said Skip Dreps, government relations director for the Northwest Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America, which represents 20,000 veterans nationwide, including 500 in Washington state. “We bore the burden of battle once, and we shouldn’t have to bear the battle again when our government makes mistakes in our benefits.”

Now that the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs bill has passed the Senate, it must be reconciled with the House of Representative’s version.

In other veterans news, last week, Senator Murray announced new transitional housing for homeless veterans in Washington state. She also voted against a bill that would drain resources away from veterans healthcare to conduct a study of workforce privatization.


Veterans Report is the most comprehensive newsletter available to help Veterans stay current on benefits changes, learn about important legislation, get great discounts, and use the benefits earned in service. Make sure that you and your colleagues subscribe for this free update publication.

  ** 10 OCTOBER  2005


VA and Goodwill Sign Pact
Deal of the Week: Special Military Discounts
Discounted Bus Tickets VA Patients
VA and Goodwill Job Program
** ABC Radio Salutes Veterans**
** Featured Job: Trainer**
** South Dakota Offers Bonus to Veterans**
** Online Veteran Service Office Resources**
** Veterans Business Outreach**
Veterans’ Records Accessible Online
** VA Sets Up Toll -Free Nationwide Number**
** Print and Post This Week’s Veterans Report**
** Headline Military News**

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