Category Archives: uncategorized

LEGISLATION TO CREATE VETERANS COURTS IN NEW JERSEY CLEARS FIRST HURDLE

The “Statewide Veterans Diversion Program,” legislation sponsored by South Jersey’s Sen. Jeff Van Drew to help veterans and active military who are nonviolent offenders to get treatment rather than prison time, was approved by the Senate Military and Veterans Affairs Committee by a 4-0 vote at a hearing in Trenton on June 9. The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.

“Military servicemen and women, as well as veterans, often end up in the criminal justice system as a result of invisible wounds they suffer related to their service,” said Sen Van Drew, who represents Cape May, Cumberland and Atlantic Counties in the Legislature. “Given all they have done for our country, it is our responsibility to provide these individuals with the assistance and treatment they need to get on their feet and live as productive members of society.”

Under the bill, S-307, those eligible for the “Veterans Diversion Program” would be veterans or active military service members with a prior  diagnosis of service-related mental illness or for whom a law enforcement officer or prosecutor has a significant belief has a mental illness based on behaviors exhibited during the commission of the offense, while in custody, or based on information provided by family members or associates during the investigation. Active duty members include members of the National Guard and Reserve components who have served on active military duty in any combat theater or area of hostility.

Among those who testified at the hearing on the legislation were Joe Griffies, host of “The Welcome Home Show,” a program for and about veterans on WIBG Radio; Jack Fanous, Director of The G.I. Go Veterans Transition Center of Newark and The G.I. Go Fund; attorneys Thomas Roughneen and William Dennis Brown, Jr., a Navy SEAL and Iraq veteran; and Robert McNulty, Sr., chairman of the Government Affairs Committee of the New Jersey State Council of the Vietnam Veterans of America.

In a passionate speech about why veterans courts are needed in New Jersey, Griffies cited the case of a veteran who was arrested for driving down the center of a highway instead of the appropriate lane. Griffies said that was the way veterans drove in Iraq and Afghanistan to avoid the IEDs (bombs) that were planted in the driving lanes in those countries to kill American servicemen and women.

He concluded by noting that New Jersey is one of only 12 states throughout the country that does not have veterans courts — “and we have to do better.”

McNulty said that programs have been developed in recent years “to avoid unnecessary incarceration of veterans who have deployed to war and subsequently developed mental health problems. The programs aim to assist veterans who become involved in the justice system to get treatment for mental health problems that may exist– especially for veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq.”

In his testimony, Thomas Roughneen noted that, unlike a majority of parolees, “the re-arrest rates of veterans are at unprecedented lows. They are patriots, not criminals. In Buffalo, New York — home to one of the first and most widely studied Veterans Courts — not one single defendant has been re-arrested after going through the treatment program. Veterans Criminal Diversion Programs save money, families and lives.

“If our justice and mental health systems are collaborating, we can provide more positive outcomes not only for those with mental health illnesses, but for our taxpayers as well. Instead of a jail sentence or New Jersey taxpayers paying for drug and alcohol treatment, the VA pays. That is a cost savings and immediately adds treatment capacity.”

Vet Centers Are There For You

Vet Centers Are There For You, by Jill Drummond

Where can you turn when you’re struggling to readjust to life after a combat deployment? Who can you go to when you or a loved one are experiencing the distressing and often delayed impact of past combat experiences?  A Vet Center is a great place to start.

Many veterans and their families are struggling with the effects of wartime military service on their lives, careers and relationships.  And these effects can surface years, even decades after a combat deployment.

Military culture often encourages people to “suck it up and get on with it,” to ignore or deny distressing emotions.  In the heat of battle, of course it’s necessary to push feelings and normal human reactions aside, in order to survive and get the job done.   But while “Suck it up” is a good strategy for becoming an effective fighting machine, it’s a lousy strategy for becoming a healthy, fully-alive human being.

As a result of this way of thinking, it’s often hard for vets to admit to themselves, let alone to anyone else, that they could use help readjusting to life after combat.  Or that they are feeling just plain bad (anxious, irritable, depressed or numb.)

Many combat veterans experience a whole host of unpleasant symptoms once they return home.  The reason is that we are human.  Our human bodies are set up to function in certain ways, in order to ensure our survival.  When we experience or witness something life-threatening or terrifying, our bodies react to protect us.  This is the fight-or-flight response.  We react by fighting, fleeing or freezing.  Our bodies are supposed to work that way in order to survive a horrific event.

But if our bodies are just doing what they’re supposed to do, why do we suffer later?  As a result of accumulating research evidence, the Veterans Administration considers Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to be an actual physical injury to the nervous system, not just an emotional or psychological issue.  The reason is very simple.  In many cases, this fight-or-flight response, especially if it is intense, prolonged or continuous, leads to actual physical changes in the brain and nervous system.  (To learn more, read PTSD – An Injury To The Nervous System.)

The result is PTSD, a complex group of symptoms with the same underlying cause.  There is a noticeable difference between a “normal” brain and the brain of someone with PTSD.  The PTSD brain has a much higher base rate of arousal.  That means that when a vet (or any trauma survivor) with PTSD is “relaxed” and resting, their level of anxiety is already quite elevated.  It never gets back down to the same resting level it enjoyed prior to being exposed to the trauma.

Most early information on PTSD and trauma came from studies of male veterans of the Vietnam War.  Combat PTSD has been studied for years, but it may surprise you to know that it’s not only combat veterans who experience these aftereffects of trauma.  The traumatic event could also be a natural disaster, serious accident, violent crime such as rape or assault, childhood physical or sexual abuse, or even merely witnessing a horrifying event happening to someone else, especially a loved one.  And if you live with a spouse or parent who has PTSD, you may experience what is called “secondary PTSD.”

According to the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, “About 30 percent of the men and women who have spent time in war zones experience PTSD. An additional 20 to 25 percent have had “partial PTSD” at some point in their lives. More than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans have experienced “clinically serious stress reaction symptoms.”  It’s estimated that among people who are victims of a severe traumatic experience 60 to 80 percent will develop PTSD.

We now know that there are many people walking around with such an injury to their nervous system.  They may have flashbacks or nightmares, feel anxious, disconnected, depressed or generally terrible, and not know what’s happening to them.  (For a more complete list of symptoms of PTSD, read Recognizing PTSD.) They may not even be able to articulate how they feel. The good news is that the Veterans Administration has been studying the symptoms, causes and treatment of PTSD for decades and offers a variety of services to vets suffering from this painful but treatable disorder.

Within the VA there are large VA Medical Centers, smaller Outpatient Clinics, and the Vet Centers, which have been around since 1979.  They’re run “by vets, for vets.”  They are not run by the VA, although the VA funds them.  At a Vet Center, you can walk in at any time and find a warm welcome.  You don’t need to register with the VA to come to a Vet Center.  They’ll get you started and figure out what you need.  And you’ll meet other vets with experiences similar to your own.  Our local Vet Center in Lakewood, NJ provides readjustment counseling, veterans groups, psychoeducational seminars about PTSD, family groups, alcohol and drug assessment, suicide prevention assistance,  and specialized programs designed to help vets and their families.  They also have a food bank for vets who need this kind of assistance.

Take the first step by calling your local Vet Center now to find out how they can help you.  As my friend Sid, a therapist, tells his clients, “It takes courage and self-respect to ask for help.”  You’ve already demonstrated your courage in serving your country.  You can show the same courage in serving yourself and your family by calling a Vet Center now.  Remember, you are not alone.

To learn more about PTSD, its symptoms and treatment, see our article Recognizing PTSD.

PTSD – An Injury To The Nervous System

PTSD – An Injury To The Nervous System, written by Jill Drummond

It took a while for us to realize what was wrong.  My husband had been having increasing symptoms over the previous two years (impatience, irritability, drinking to numb feelings, depressed mood, sense of disconnection, inability to feel carefree and alive).  He no longer experienced flashbacks, nightmares or intrusive thoughts, which are the most dramatic and well-known symptoms.  But if you ask me, the subtler personality changes that happen with long-time PTSD can be just as troubling.

These changes had happened so slowly and gradually that I’d gotten used to them.  All I knew was that I was unhappy.  So I got some good therapy for myself.  After a while, it was as if I had taken off the blinders I’d been wearing for so long, and I could see what we’d been dealing with.   So I started reading books about combat experience, PTSD, and trauma.  What a huge relief to read about exactly what we’d been experiencing!  And I say “we” because PTSD affects both the person who experienced the traumatic event and the people close to them.  When I finally understood enough to speak intelligently and calmly about it,  I spoke to my husband.  We went through a checklist, and he agreed he needed treatment.  Once we got through to the right person, at our local Vet Center, that dear man set up an appointment to see us together the very next morning.

Here’s what we’re learning:

The VA (Veterans Administration) and most of our mental health field no longer consider PTSD to be a “mental illness.”  It’s often described as a normal response to an overwhelming or ongoing trauma, such as violent assault, combat, etc.  It’s just how human beings react.  Over half of men and women who have experienced combat or violence develop PTSD or “partial PTSD” (they have some of its symptoms.)  So here’s what the VA (and many trauma specialists) say:

PTSD is not a “mental illness.”  But it can cause symptoms of mental illness if not treated.  PTSD is an actual physical injury to the body (specifically the nervous system and brain).  It’s an invisible injury, because it can’t be seen on the outside of the body like a missing limb.  It is in the same category as TBI (traumatic brain injury).  The damage to a brain suffering from PTSD can actually be seen on scans of the brain.

The brains of “normal” people (without PTSD) have a certain baseline level of arousal/alertness.  When they are relaxed, activation is low, and when something upsetting happens, it spikes up and then settles down again.  But it doesn’t usually go into the “red zone” of the fight-or-flight reaction.  The trouble is that when you have PTSD, the original trauma or the continuous nature of the traumatic events resets the baseline level of arousal.  The brain has been changed.  So even when it is supposedly relaxed, the brain of someone with PTSD is at a much higher level of arousal (readiness to react) than before.  When something upsetting occurs, even ordinary everyday stressors, the PTSD brain spikes up, just like a normal brain.  But guess what happens.  It’s already quite highly aroused and ready to react.  And that ordinary, somewhat-upsetting event just pushed it into the red zone.  Fight or flight!  It doesn’t take much, if the brain is already at a heightened level of arousal.

During our first session with our calm and compassionate Vet Center therapist, we learned a lot about PTSD.  It all began to make sense.  My husband and I now understood what was happening and why.  There’s still a lot to work on, unraveling triggers and avoidance behaviors and looking at assumptions about the world, etc.  But we now understand PTSD in a way that doesn’t add shame to it.  And we are learning specific tools to manage and reduce symptoms.

Another thing we’ve learned is that since social support is such an important component of recovery, therapy that includes a spouse or family member is likely to be more helpful than therapy without the spouse’s involvement.  The VA doesn’t reach out specifically to spouses and families.  But the Vet Centers (partly funded by the VA but not run by the VA) do reach out to spouses.  Our therapist treats us as a team, working together on the process of recovering from PTSD and from the effects it has on family members.  That’s another thing we learned.  PTSD can have a very negative impact on families and relationships.  This is often referred to as “secondary PTSD.”

Our local Vet Center (Lakewood, NJ) is now developing a full outpatient PTSD program, which includes psycho-educational seminars for PTSD sufferers and their family members, veterans support groups, time-limited skills training groups for vets, family support groups, couples counseling and individual therapy sessions.  Comprehensive treatment will involve many different elements,  as veterans begin to heal the harm that has been done by combat trauma.  Getting together with other vets and family members who are recovering from PTSD is itself a wonderful support.  In addition to these traditional therapy approaches, our Vet Center also offers equine therapy (therapeutic experiences with horses), art therapy, music therapy and Tai Chi.

My husband and I saw a big change in both of us after just a few months of treatment. He is less stressed and has more patience. He’s enjoying life more. And when he does get triggered, he can usually recognize what’s going on and recover more quickly. He uses the tools we’re learning and is finding them to be really helpful. And I’m starting to relax and worry less about him. I’m not “walking on eggs” the way I used to, and my life feels much better.

It’s such a relief that we’re no longer alone with PTSD. Now we have many allies at the Vet Center.

You Could Hear A Pin Drop

Once upon a time when our politicians did not tend to apologize for our country’s prior actions, here?s a refresher on how some of our former patriots handled negative comments about our great country.

JFK’S Secretary of State, Dean Rusk, was in France in the early 60’s when DeGaulle decided to pull out of NATO.

DeGaulle said he wanted all US military out of France as soon as possible.

Rusk responded,

“Does that include those who are buried here?”

DeGaulle did not respond.

You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When in England , at a fairly large conference, Colin Powell was asked by the Archbishop of Canterbury if our plans for Iraq were just an example of ’empire building’ by George Bush.

He answered by saying,

‘Over the years, the United States has sent many of its fine young men and women into great peril to fight for freedom beyond our borders. The only amount of land we have ever asked for in return is enough to bury those that did not return.’

You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There was a conference in France where a number of international engineers were taking part, including French and American.

During a break, one of the French engineers came back into the room saying, ‘Have you heard the latest dumb stunt Bush has done? He has sent an aircraft carrier to Indonesia to help the tsunami victims. What does he intend to do, bomb them”

A Boeing engineer stood up and replied quietly:

‘Our carriers have three hospitals on board that can treat several hundred people; they are nuclear powered and can supply emergency electrical power to shore facilities; they have three cafeterias with the capacity to feed 3,000 people three meals a day, they can produce several thousand gallons of fresh water from sea water
each day, and they carry half a dozen helicopters for use in transporting victims and injured to and from their flight deck. We have eleven such ships;how many does France have?”

You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A U.S. Navy Admiral was attending a naval conference that included Admirals from the U.S. , English, Canadian, Australian and French Navies

At a cocktail reception, he found himself standing with a large group of officers that included personnel from most of those countries. Everyone was chatting away in English as they sipped their drinks, but a French admiral suddenly complained that, whereas
Europeans learn many languages, Americans learn only English. He then asked, “Why is it that we always have to speak English in these conferences rather than speaking French?”

Without hesitating, the American Admiral replied, “Maybe it’s because the Brit’s, Canadians, Aussie’s and Americans arranged it so you wouldn’t have to speak
German.”

You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AND THIS STORY FITS RIGHT IN WITH THE ABOVE…

Robert Whiting, an elderly gentleman of 83, arrived in Paris by plane.

At French Customs, he took a few minutes to locate his passport in his carry on.

?You have been to France before, monsieur?” the customs officer asked sarcastically.

Mr. Whiting admitted that he had been to France previously.

“Then you should know enough to have your passport ready.”

The American said, “The last time I was here, I didn’t have to show it.”

“Impossible.. Americans always have to show their passports on arrival in France !?

The American senior gave the Frenchman a long hard look.

Then, he quietly explained, ?’Well, when I came ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day in 1944 to help liberate this country, I couldn’t find a single Frenchman to show a passport to.”

You could have heard a pin drop.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Veteran Information Contacts (VA & Others)

Below are web-sites that provide information on Veterans benefits and how to file or ask for them.

Accordingly, there are many sites that explain how to obtain books, military/medical records, information and how to appeal a denied claim with the VA. Please pass this information on to every Veteran you know.

Nearly 100% of this information is free and available for all veterans, the only catch is: you have to ask for it, because they won’t tell you about a specific benefit unless you ask for it.

You need to know what questions to ask so the right doors open for you and then be ready to have an advocate who is willing to work with and for you, stay in the process, and press for your rights and your best interests.


War-Related Illness and Injury Study Center – New Jersey http://www.wri.med.va.gov/

Depression and Trauma http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/depression-and-trauma.asp

Appeals http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch05.doc

Board of Veteran’s Appeals http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/

CARES Commission http://www.va.gov/vbs/bva/

CARES Draft National Plan http://www1.va.gov/cares/page.cfm?pg=105

Center for Minority Veterans http://www1.va.gov/centerforminorityveterans/

Center for Veterans Enterprise http://www.vetbiz.gov/default2.htm

Center for Women Veterans http://www1.va.gov/womenvet/

Clarification on the changes in VA healthcare for Gulf War Veterans http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000016.html

Classified Records – American Gulf War Veterans Assoc http://www.gulfwarvets.com/ubb/Forum18/HTML/000011..html

Compensation for Disabilities Associated with the Gulf War Service http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/part6%20/ch07.doc

Compensation Rate Tables, 12-1-03 http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Rates/comp01.htm

Department of Veterans Affairs Home Page http://www.va.gov/

Directory of Veterans Service Organizations http://www1.va.gov/vso/index.cfm?template=view

Disability Examination Worksheets Index, Comp http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Benefits/exams/index.htm

Due Process http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch02.doc

Duty to Assist http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch01.doc

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ecfr/

Emergency, Non-emergency, and Fee Basis Care http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf

Environmental Agents http://www1.va.gov/environagents/

Environmental Agents M10 http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=1002

Establishing Combat Veteran

Eligibility http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=315

EVALUATION PROTOCOL FOR GULF WAR AND IRAQI FREEDOM VETERANS WITH POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHandbook1303122304.DOCand http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=1158

See also, Depleted Uranium Fact Sheet http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DepletedUraniumFAQSheet.doc

EVALUATION PROTOCOL FOR NON-GULF WAR VETERANS WITH POTENTIAL EXPOSURE TO DEPLETED URANIUM (DU) http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/DUHANDBOOKNONGW130340304.DOC

Fee Basis, PRIORITY FOR OUTPATIENT MEDICAL SERVICES AND INPATIENT HOSPITAL CARE http://www1.va..gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=206

Federal Benefits for Veterans and Dependants 2005 http://www1.va.gov/opa/vadocs/fedben.pdf
OR, http://www1.va..gov/opa/vadocs/current_benefits.htm

Forms and Records Request http://www.va.gov/vaforms/

General Compensation Provisions http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter11_subchaptervi_.html

Geriatrics and Extended Care http://www1.va.gov/geriatricsshg/

Guideline for Chronic Pain and Fatigue MUS-CPG http://www.oqp.med.va.gov/cpg/cpgn/mus/mus_base.htm

Guide to Gulf War Veteran’s Health http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/VHIgulfwar.pdf

Gulf War Subject Index http://www1.va.gov/GulfWar/page.cfm?pg=7&template=main&letter=A

Gulf War Veteran’s Illnesses Q&As http://www1.va.gov/gulfwar/docs/GWIllnessesQandAsIB1041.pdf

Hearings
http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch04.doc

Homeless Veterans http://www1.va.gov/homeless/

HSR&D Home http://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/

Index to Disability Examination Worksheets C&P exams http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/index.htm

Ionizing Radiation http://www1.va.gov/irad/

Iraqi Freedom/Enduring Freedom Veterans VBA http://www.vba.va.gov/EFIF/

M 10 for spouses and children < http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1007

M10 Part III Change 1 http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=1008

M21-1 Table of Contents http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/M21_1.html

Mental Disorders, Schedule of Ratings http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38CFR/BOOKC/PART4/S4_130.DOC

Mental Health Program Guidelines http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=1094

Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Centers http://www.mirecc.med.va.gov/

MS (Multiple Sclerosis) Centers of Excellence http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp

My Health e Vet http://www.myhealth.va.gov/

NASDVA.COM http://nasdva.com/

National Association of State Directors http://www.nasdva.com/

National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention http://www.nchpdp.med.va.gov/postdeploymentlinks.asp

Neurological Conditions and Convulsive Disorders, Schedule of Ratings http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/regs/38cfr/bookc/part4/s4_124a.doc

OMI (Office of Medical Inspector) http://www.omi.cio.med.va.gov/

Online VA Form 10-10EZ https://www.1010ez..med.va.gov/sec/vha/1010ez/

Parkinson’s Disease and Related Neurodegenerative Disorders http://www1.va.gov/resdev/funding/solicitations/docs/parkinsons.pdf
and, http://www1.va.gov/padrecc/

Peacetime Disability Compensation
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+38USC1131

Pension for Non-Service-Connected Disability or Death http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapteri_.html
and, http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapterii_.html
and, http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partii_chapter15_subchapteriii_.html

Persian Gulf Registry http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=1003

This program is now referred to as Gulf War Registry Program (to include Operation Iraqi Freedom) as of March 7, 2005: http://www1..va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication.asp?pub_ID=1232

Persian Gulf Registry Referral Centers http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=1006

Persian Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses Research 1999, Annual Report To Congress http://www1.va.gov/resdev/1999_Gulf_War_Veterans’_Illnesses_Appendices.doc

Persian Gulf Veterans’ Illnesses Research 2002, Annual Report To Congress http://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/gulf_war_2002/GulfWarRpt02.pdf

Phase I PGR http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=1004

Phase II PGR http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=1005

Policy Manual Index http://www.va.gov/publ/direc/eds/edsmps.htm

Power of Attorney http://www.warms.vba..va.gov/admin21/m21_1/mr/part1/ch03.doc

Project 112 (Including Project SHAD) http://www1.va.gov/shad/

Prosthetics Eligibility http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/ViewPublication..asp?pub_ID=337

Public Health and Environmental Hazards Home Page http://www.vethealth.cio.med.va.gov/

Public Health/SARS http://www..publichealth.va.gov/SARS/

Publications Manuals http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/publications.cfm?Pub=4

Publications and Reports http://www1.va.gov/resdev/prt/pubs_individual.cfm?webpage=gulf_war.htm

Records Center and Vault Homepage http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/default.html

Records Center and Vault Site Map http://www.aac.va.gov/vault/sitemap.html

REQUEST FOR AND CONSENT TO RELEASE OF INFORMATION FROM CLAIMANT’S RECORDS http://www.forms.va.gov/va/Internet/VARF/getformharness.asp?formName=3288-form.xft

Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses April 11, 2002
http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/Minutes_April112002.doc

Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans Illnesses
http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/ReportandRecommendations_2004.pdf

Research and Development http://www.appc1.va.gov/resdev/programs/all_programs.cfm

Survivor’s and Dependents’ Educational Assistance http://www.access.gpo.gov/uscode/title38/partiii_chapter35_.html

Title 38 Index Parts 0-17
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfrv1_02..tpl

Part 18
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&c=ecfr&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfrv2_02..tpl

Title 38 Part 3 Adjudication Subpart A “Pension, Compensation, and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr3_main_02.tpl

Title 38 Pensions, Bonuses & Veterans Relief (also § 3.317 Compensation for certain disabilities due to undiagnosed illnesses found here) http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title38/38cfr3_main_02.tpl

Title 38 PART 4–SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES Subpart B–DISABILITY RATINGS
http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=ab7641afd195c84a49a2067dbbcf95c0&rgn=div6&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.5.2&idno=38

Title 38§ 4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on unemployability of the individual. PART A “SCHEDULE FOR RATING DISABILITIES Subpart “General Policy in Rating http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=1b0c269b510d3157fbf8f8801bc9b3dc&rgn=div8&view=text&node=38:1.0.1.1.5.1..96.11&idno=38

U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims http://www.vetapp.gov/

VA Best Practice Manual for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) http://www.avapl.org/pub/PTSD%20Manual%20final%206..pdf

VA Fact Sheet http://www1.va.gov/opa/fact/gwfs.html

VA Health Care Eligibility http://www.va.gov/healtheligibility/home/hecmain.asp

VA INSTITUTING GLOBAL ASSESSMENT OF FUNCTION (GAF) http://www.avapl.org/gaf/gaf.html

VA Life Insurance Handbook ¬” Chapter 3 http://www.insurance.va.gov/inForceGliSite/GLIhandbook/glibookletch3.htm#310

VA Loan Lending Limits and Jumbo Loans http://valoans.com/va_facts_limits.cfm

VA MS Research http://www.va.gov/ms/about.asp

VA National Hepatitis C Program http://www.hepatitis.va.gov/

VA Office of Research and Development http://www1.va.gov/resdev/

VA Trainee Pocket Card on Gulf War http://www.va.gov/OAA/pocketcard/gulfwar.asp

VA WMD EMSHG http://www1.va.gov/emshg/

VA WRIISC-DC http://www.va.gov/WRIISC-DC/

VAOIG Hotline Telephone Number and Address http://www.va.gov/oig/hotline/hotline3.htm

Vet Center Eligibility – Readjustment Counseling Service http://www.va.gov/rcs/Eligibility.htm

Veterans Benefits Administration Main Web Page http://www.vba.va.gov/

Veterans Legal and Benefits Information http://valaw.org/

VHA Forms, Publications, Manuals http://www1.va.gov/vhapublications/

VHA Programs – Clinical Programs & Initiatives http://www1.va.gov/health_benefits/page.cfm?pg=13http://webmaila.juno.com/webmail/new/UrlBlockedError.aspx>

VHA Public Health Strategic Health Care Group Home Page http: // www.publichealth.va.gov/

VHI Guide to Gulf War Veterans ¬(tm) Health http://www1.va.gov/vhi_ind_study/gulfwar/istudy/index.asp

Vocational Rehabilitation http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/

Vocational Rehabilitation Subsistence http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/InterSubsistencefy04..doc

VONAPP online http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp/main.asp

WARMS – 38 CFR Book C http://www.warms.vba.va.gov/bookc.html

Wartime Disability Compensation
http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=browse_usc&docid=Cite:+38USC1110

Welcome to the GI Bill Web Site http://www.gibill.va.gov/

What VA Social Workers Do http://www1.va.gov/socialwork/page.cfm?pg=3

WRIISC Patient Eligibility http://www.illegion.org/va1.html

Agent Orange Zone

Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Vietnam Vets Push VA to Link Bladder Cancer to Agent Orange

Armed with new research, Vietnam vets push VA to link bladder cancer to Agent Orange


READ THE STORY
Each time, even as he found additional doctors to vouch for the link between his cancer and his service, the VA rejected Eller’s claim, arguing there was no proof.

Alan Eller has spent more than a decade trying to convince the Department of Veterans Affairs that his bladder cancer was the result of exposure to Agent Orange almost 50 years ago in Vietnam.
The Army vet has filed three claims with the agency, most recently in 2014, since a doctor told him the cancer was likely tied to the toxic herbicide.

 But a report last month by a prominent committee of scientists said there’s now research suggesting otherwise. As a result, the VA is studying whether it should reverse its position and add the condition to the list of illnesses it presumes to be linked to Agent Orange, which the U.S. sprayed across Vietnam during the war.

The VA has no legal obligation to do this and has previously declined to cover other conditions despite research supporting a connection. But if it does this time, the shift could mean thousands of dollars a year for some vets, and even more for those like Eller, who filed claims years ago. In such cases, the agency is required to pay disability benefits retroactively, dating back to the day a veteran first applied.
Eller, a retired welder from Indiana, could receive up to 13 years of back payments. Depending on how severe the VA rated his disability, that lump sum could reach six figures.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” said Eller, 69, who recalled nights in Vietnam spent sleeping in shallow tidal water that he believes was doused with Agent Orange. “I don’t have a lot of confidence in the VA.”

Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall Coming to Carteret NJ

[Carteret] Mayor Dan Reiman, the Carteret Borough Council and the Carteret Veterans Alliance have announced that the American Veterans Traveling Tribute (AVTT) Vietnam Memorial Wall will be visiting Carteret, N.J. The special 4-day exhibit will be open for display around the clock at the Carteret Park from April 28th at 3 p.m. to May 1st 3 p.m.

The AVTT Traveling Vietnam Wall is an 80% replica size of the original monument in Washington, D.C. Across its 360-foot length, the Wall bears the names of all 58,307 U.S. Military personnel who lost their lives in the Vietnam War. The Wall stands 8-feet tall at its apex. Like the war, itself, the Wall begins small rises to a peak, and then tapers off small again.

An honor escort is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, April 27 at 6:30 p.m. Riders from several veteran organizationswill escort the Wall from NJ Turnpike Exit-12 around town and then to Soldiers and Sailors Memorial in Carteret Park.

The 4-day exhibit will commence with an opening ceremony on Thursday, April 28 at 6:30 p.m. Following the ceremony, the Wall will be available for viewing twenty-four hours a day through 3 p.m. Sunday, May 1st.

A Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Ceremony will take place Saturday, April 30,starting at 3 p.m. and will feature a day long tribute of activities. A special performance by the elite Marine Corps Silent Drill Platoon will dazzle the audience with their intricate drill routine and unparalleled precision, including articulate rifle spins and exchanges. There will also be a fixed-wing aircraft fly over. A special candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. to remember those who sacrificed their lives and to honor those who fought in the Vietnam War. All military veterans and U.S. military service personnel and their families are encouraged to participate in the ceremony.

“The traveling memorial stands as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifices made in defense of our shared values,” said Mayor Reiman. “Hosting this event is our way of saying, ‘we remember your sacrifice and thank you for your service.’ I’m sure this event will bring a record number of participants.”

“Bringing the Vietnam Traveling Wall to Carteret will give everyone the opportunity to view the names of the 58,307 Americans who lost their lives during the Vietnam War,” said George Lisicki, former Commander-in-Chief, Veterans of Foreign Wars. “The Vietnam War was a reality that many Americans wanted to forget, but this Traveling Wall will enlighten all Americans of the sacrifices made by our young men & women. As you look at the names on this wall remember those who made the supreme sacrifice, and let’s not forget their families; they are true American heroes.”

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute is a non-government affiliated organization, committed to travel the U.S. to honor and remember those who served, and pay tribute to those who gave all in service. Built in early 1998, AVTT’s Traveling Vietnam Wall is the largest replica Wall traveling the U.S. It provides those who are not able to visit the memorial in Washington D.C. with the opportunity to honor and pay tribute to those who served in the Vietnam War.

“The Vietnam Veterans War Memorial is a testament to honor and recognize 58,307 men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice,”said Vinnie Bellino, Council President and Vietnam Veteran. “The Traveling Wall is a reminder as it travels from town to town to remind people of the sacrifice our men and women gave during the Vietnam War. Having the Wall come to Carteret will give people the opportunity to share this visual experience and pay their respects in honoring our heroes.”

The Vietnam Traveling Wall is expected to attract thousands of attendees, including a host of veteran organizations, public officials from the county and state, civic and community groups from throughout the area, as well as many supporters and friends of the U.S. military.

 As on-site parking is limited, residents and visitors are encouraged to utilize the shuttle stations that will be available for transportation to Carteret Park at the following locations:

  • Carteret Public Library (100 Cooke Avenue)
  • Carteret VFW Post 2314 (289 Pershing Avenue)

Shuttles will run from 2:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, and are ADA accessible.

The list of events is as follows:

Wednesday, April 27th

Vietnam Traveling Wall Honor Escort at 6:30 pm

Thursday, April 28th

All day exhibit viewing after 3 p.m.

Exhibit Opening Ceremony at 6:30 p.m.

Laying of wreaths

Friday, April 29th

All day exhibit viewing

Saturday, April 30th

Vietnam Veterans Day of Remembrance

Vietnam Veterans Remembrance Ceremony at 3 p.m.

Fixed-wing aircraft flyover

USMC Silent Drill Platoon performance

Name reading of 1,487 NJ Vietnam Veterans that were KIA

Special candlelight vigil

Sunday, May 1st

All day exhibit viewing until 3 p.m.

The exhibit will be open 24-hours a day for public display from Thursday, April 28th at 3 pm until Sunday, May 1st at 3 pm. The exhibit will be open to the general public free of charge.

Veterans Treatment Courts

Veterans Treatment Courts allow jurisdictions to serve a large segment of the justice-involved Veteran population. Because a Veterans court judge handles numerous Veterans’ cases and is supported by a strong, interdisciplinary team, the judge is in a much better position to exercise discretion and effectively respond than someone who only occasionally hears a case involving a Veteran defendant.

VA regularly works with Veterans Treatments Courts across the country through its Veterans Justice Outreach initiative. While VA cannot provide legal services for Veterans, there are a number of resources available. If you need legal assistance, contact your local Veterans Justice Outreach specialist who may know of community resources for legal assistance.

It’s time (long overdue) for Veterans Treatments Courts in New Jersey!

 More information about Veterans Treatment Courts is available from Justice for Vets at http://www.justiceforvets.org/.

VFW Action Corps Weekly

Changes to Spina Bifida Program: This week, VA implemented changes to health care and services it covers for certain children of Vietnam War and Korean DMZ veterans born with spina bifida. Starting this week, Spina Bifida Program beneficiaries are eligible to receive homemaker or home health aide services that provide assistance with daily living activities or instrumental activities of daily living that have therapeutic value. VA has also made changes to the list of health care services that require preauthorization. For more information on these changes, contact the Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program General Information at 888-820-1756.  You can also read more at:http://www.va.gov/purchasedcare/programs/dependents/spinabifida/.