Veterans Choice Card

Jon Stewart Nails It On Veterans Choice Card

Benjamin KrauseThe Veterans Choice Card debacle met its match this week when Jon Stewart hammered Veterans Affairs over its ridiculous “as a crow flies” 40-mile measurement system. The very next day, VA changed its tune and ended its straight-line measurement system.

RELATED: Veterans Choice Farce Exposed By Dying Veteran

You may not be familiar with the Veterans Choice Card and its related problems if you have been living under a rock on veterans issues. For the rest of us, the program has posed a unique problem because it gave America the impression veterans actually had a choice.

Come to find out, Congress severely restricted the actual “choice” veterans have by ensuring VA made two major decisions to keep costs low. Real “veterans choice” would cost around $50 billion, but politicians across the aisle opted for using the sound byte without allowing most veterans who wanted choice to actually have that choice.

RELATED: Outcry Over Lack Of Veterans Choice

The recently reversed restriction was using the “crow flies” measurement. Its removal resulted in the program immediately doubling in cost to $20 billion. The second restriction is the “40 miles from the nearest VA facility” restriction. The problem with the latter is that it means a veteran is not eligible so long as they are near a facility regardless if the kind of care the veteran needs is even offered by the facility.

Two examples of this were covered on the Daily Show including my client Paul Walker. VA told Paul Walker he had stage four liver cancer. Paul lives over 40 miles away from the facility he needs to see for cancer treatment, but he lives only 20 miles from a VA dental clinic. A VA operator denied his request for care on national news.

After word got out three weeks ago, public outcry followed. That outcry and similar stories pushed VA to make a reversal of its “crow flies” measure in three weeks. That never happened in the Shinseki Veterans Affairs.


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  1. The Choice program is 2 tier program
    1. veterans who have an appointment but it is more than 30 days
    2. veterans who need to see a specialist that the VA does not have
    the problem is that they combine both tiers when they are separate. tier 2 should not have been included in the Choice program it should have only been fee basis clerks, tier 1 fine if the veteran wants to see a provider before his appointment which is in 5 months from today sure get him to see a outside provider faster. Yet the issue here is that the VA only has 1 non va compliance person who does the data logs that takes them months to upload. So the time they upload the data log it will be 5 months and the veteran will have to go to his appointment and will not be authorized even though he waited more than 30 days. So tier 2 they are making veterans wait 30 days out even though the VA does not provide that type of specialist at the VA. So that should not be the case this is why it’s a cluster fluck. To many middle men delayed process and some kind of justification to deny veterans health care AKA Arizonax2

    1. I live 38 mile from the VA clinic back four years ago I was contracted out to a fine Orthopedic/neurosurgon on the Fee Based program. I was very satisfied with his care I saw him for a year and a half, Then they said the cost where prohibitive and scheduled me for the VA pain clinic sixty miles away, but my wait time was 60-90 days for a appointment. Oh by the way the VA pain clinic is 240 miles from my driveway to there. As every Vet knows the choice program is a farce and I don,t see any positive change coming any time soon.

      1. The biggest reason the Choice Card does not work in one word. ”UNION”
        All federal employees are eligible to join the union. And most receive a good deal of pressure to join. The unions know that if the choice card works many will be out of a choosy job.

  2. The Choice Program is a farce. Under Obama and like many other federal programs, VA care is virtually non-existent for many vets. The Choice Program was nothing more than something the Administration can point to and say “see what we did”. No one ever looked back to see that things actually got better. How sad.

    1. 10 Billion dollars was already stolen in the last 10 years from the veterans affairs. so who stole that money?

  3. VA ONE BIG BIG FEDRAL RICO CRIME RACKET FROM AFGE UNION CONTRACTS HELL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. I have a service connected disability, and it took me 6 years to get any level of care. Then another 7 years to get physical therapy. After being approved for physical therapy and told to use the Veteran’s Choice program. I have had nothing but problems getting them to pay the doctor that they approved me to go to. Since March it has been a constant phone hassle to get a simple address changed. An address that will allow the provider, I was approved for, to get paid. It’s now July 8th and I am being switched around from department to department, and no one seems to be able to help. The provider has not been paid, and I may now have to find a way to cover the costs of the VA approved Physical Therapy. It’s ridiculous.

    Years ago you could call Fee basis, give them a provider, they would approve or deny your provider, and there was never another issue. Now they’re using this 3rd AND 4th party. The right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing inside their own facility. All their systems are linked, but no one can answer a question, or fix a problem.

    1. Carr – you are right on. I am a 100% combat service related veteran. I have been trying to get a VA health care provider since November 2014. I have spent hours calling a bunch of numbers and the Veterans Choice Program is a joke. The Phoenix VA deserves all of the negative press, worse yet, it is getting less efficient, and mismanaged care is rampert. I have spoken with VA officials and still no change. I am almost at the point of suicide, it would be the end of all my VA troubles.

      1. I understand, I am a not combat vet. But I suffer from ptsd. I’m having trouble as well getting the promised care. 1 false pregnancy briefing, and my twin daughters are dead. Too bad i’m a man. 7 of my last 8 mh appointments were cancelled, one on the day my children died. Then I work there and over heard three providers in the hallway stating that .we come there just for checks. How about that. I complained , and still is trying to get seen by a community doctor, as I have totally lost confidence in the department doctors. Tried to comply still to no avail. Don’t u give up. I know how easy it is to end it all, trust me. We can’t stop unless our service would be in vain. Lets not let them win. Lets fight by conversation. Maybe someone who could do something about it will here us.

    2. I am a 65 nearly 66 year old combat veteran of the War in Viet Nam with over 104 combat missions. I have been fighting the VA for more than 6 years to get benefits that I earned. I called the VA and was told the average wait time for my claim to be processed was roughly 450 days. This is RIDICULOUS. The VA personnel should be purged leaving only those who actually do something FOR the vets.

  5. The TriWest/Open Choice programs contracts cost $18.9 million in 2014 compared to the $4 million it would have cost NOT to use the TriWest/Open Choice programs, and just keep going directly through the VA. And the Inspector General’s office couldn’t figure out how the contracts were substantiated in terms of “costs savings.” For more info go to and type in “TriWest” in the search box, and you will get two documents that reveal what a mess this all is.

    1. I waited 30days for a appointment with provider. Clerk deleted it so I made a new one. Same clerk cancelled it w/o informing me rescheduled it again not informing me. I’ve made complaints for 15 yrs now tired cant take it anymore. Will go into debt using Medicare insurance. I have heart issues not ever followed up on by provider. EKG no techs. Fibromyalgia no pain clinic. Claims being denied all paperwork there. Done will take out all my aniexty on social network. Calling out all the injustice done to veyerans in Detroit.

  6. va is good for pain pills. Percocet 8 aday and gabapentin 1 for 7 days 2 for t day for 7 \days then 3 times a day as needed\of course you might get sick taking the gabapentin

  7. What responsibility does the VA assume for treating veterans who have no service connected disabilities? Moreover, why should the VA pay a non VA physician or other provider, to treat a veteran who has no service connected disabilities? The VA was set up to care for those who bore the battle. It is now turning into a welfare system. I get it. If a person puts in 2 or 3 years of honorable service there should be benefits. And there are. Training, education and a GI Bill when out of the military. But, if you are in good health when leaving the military, why should a healthcare system instituted to care for combat wounded and wartime disabled men and women take responsibility for anything occurring after military service? Use you military training, GI Bill to get a job with a healthcare insurance policy. If you insist on using the VA then your insurance should pay the VA. If you have no insurance that is a different story. But, in any event, why should the VA pay a private doctor to treat your non service related medical conditions?

    The VA has a priority care system in place. Those totally disabled by service connected conditions and those rated 50% to 90% service connected are treated for virtually everything service connected or not at no expense to the veteran. Those rated 0% to 40% service connected are treated for their service connected conditions on a priority basis. So those rated 0% to 100% get their service connected conditions treated without charge. What logical or moral argument can be made that a veteran who breaks his leg 2 years after discharge with no service connected conditions can ask the VA to pay for his medical care at a civilian provider location? Or who contracts an illness 5 years after military separation?

    If the VA wants to cut waiting time at hospitals, cut out treating non service connected veterans UNLESS they receive pension benefits (meaning they are totally disabled not from military service and with income under the poverty line). Stop whining about the Choice program if you are not service connected, have other insurance and are gainfully employed. The VA healthcare system was not built for you. Unless the VA stands firm for limited priority eligible veterans it will implode from trying to help those who should be looking to help themselves.


    1. Here is the link to the VA’s Webpage that describes the priority groups. You have conveniently forgot about the co-pays that are established and other parts of this benefit that was stated to every vet that if they served, they may be eligible for healthcare. I don’t see how us vets are whining about something that was promised to us. I don’t see how a vet can belittle his fellow vets and tell them they are whining.

      Priority Groups

      The number of Veterans who can be enrolled in the health care program is determined by the amount of money Congress gives VA each year. Since funds are limited, VA set up Priority Groups to make sure that certain groups of Veterans are able to be enrolled before others.

      Once you apply for enrollment, your eligibility will be verified. Based on your specific eligibility status, you will be assigned a Priority Group. The Priority Groups range from 1-8 with 1 being the highest priority for enrollment. Based on eligibility and income, some Veterans may have to agree to pay copay to be placed in certain Priority Groups and some Veterans may not be eligible for enrollment.

      You may be eligible for more than one Enrollment Priority Group. In that case, VA will always place you in the highest Priority Group that you are eligible for. Under the Medical Benefits Package, the same services are generally available to all enrolled Veterans.VA determines your eligibility for VA’s comprehensive medical benefits package through our patient enrollment system, which is based on Priority Groups from 1 through 8.

      Priority Group 1
      •Veterans with VA-rated service-connected disabilities 50% or more disabling
      •Veterans determined by VA to be unemployable due to service-connected conditions

      Priority Group 2
      •Veterans with VA-rated service-connected disabilities 30% or 40% disabling

      Priority Group 3
      •Veterans who are Former Prisoners of War (POWs)
      •Veterans awarded a Purple Heart medal
      •Veterans whose discharge was for a disability that was incurred or aggravated in the line of duty
      •Veterans with VA-rated service-connected disabilities 10% or 20% disabling
      •Veterans awarded special eligibility classification under Title 38, U.S.C., § 1151, “benefits for individuals disabled by treatment or vocational rehabilitation”
      •Veterans awarded the Medal Of Honor (MOH)

      Priority Group 4
      •Veterans who are receiving aid and attendance or housebound benefits from VA
      •Veterans who have been determined by VA to be catastrophically disabled

      Priority Group 5
      •Nonservice-connected Veterans and noncompensable service-connected Veterans rated 0% disabled by VA with annual income below the VA’s and geographically (based on your resident zip code) adjusted income limits.
      •Veterans receiving VA pension benefits
      •Veterans eligible for Medicaid programs

      Priority Group 6
      •Compensable 0% service-connected Veterans
      •Veterans exposed to Ionizing Radiation during atmospheric testing or during the occupation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
      •Project 112/SHAD participants
      •Veterans who served in the Republic of Vietnam between January 9,1962 and May 7,1975
      •Veterans of the Persian Gulf War who served between August 2, 1990 and November 11, 1998
      •*Veterans who served on active duty at Camp Lejeune for not fewer than 30 days beginning August 1, 1953 and ending December 31, 1987
      •Veterans who served in a theater of combat operations after November 11, 1998 as follows: •Currently enrolled Veterans and new enrollees who were discharged from active duty on or after January 28, 2003, are eligible for the enhanced benefits for 5 years post discharge.
      •Combat Veterans who were discharged between January 2009 and January 2011, and did not enroll in the VA health care during their 5 year period of eligibility have an additional one year to enroll and receive care. The additional one-year eligibility period began February 12, 2015 with the signing of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for America Veterans Act.

      Note: At the end of this enhanced enrollment priority group placement time period Veterans will be assigned to the highest Priority Group their unique eligibility status at that time qualifies for.

      *Note: While eligible for Priority Group (PG) 6; until system changes are implemented you would be assigned to PG 7 or 8 depending on your income.

      Priority Group 7
      •Veterans with gross household income below the geographically-adjusted income limits (GMT) for their resident location and who agree to pay copays

      Priority Group 8
      •Veterans with gross household income above the VA and the geographically-adjusted income limits for their resident location and who agrees to pay copays

      Veterans eligible for enrollment:

      Noncompensable 0% service-connected:

      •Subpriority a: Enrolled as of January 16, 2003, and who have remained enrolled since that date and/or placed in this sub priority due to changed eligibility status
      •Subpriority b: Enrolled on or after June 15, 2009 whose income exceeds the current VA or geographic income limits by 10% or less

      Nonservice-connected and:

      •Subpriority c: Enrolled as of January 16, 2003, and who have remained enrolled since that date and/or placed in this sub priority due to changed eligibility status
      •Subpriority d: Enrolled on or after June 15, 2009 whose income exceeds the current VA or geographic income limits by 10% or less

      Veterans not eligible for enrollment:

      Veterans not meeting the criteria above:

      •Subpriority e: Noncompensable 0% service-connected (eligible for care of their SC condition only)
      •Subpriority g: Nonservice-connected

    2. @Stanman…….You sound almost like the VA itself wanting to deny medical care for non-service connected disabilities or health care in general. I’m a Vietnam ERA veteran. I volunteered in 1973 while the war was still going. The government plastered all over the television that if you joined RIGHT NOW you’d receive “FREE MEDICAL FOR LIFE”. So I joined. I could’ve gone to Nam, but didn’t. So by putting my life on the line when I joined the draft you think that my intention of doing what I considered a patriotic deed the government should be able to nullify their PROMISE to me? As for now, they are denying me medication for well documented chronic pain going back 15 years, the amount of time I’ve been totally disabled. I suppose instead they should use the money they’re saving on treating me on the wonderful bonuses they hand out to each other instead. You also failed to mention lifetime medical for those that serve 20 years plus. They still have to pay something but working with your premise they shouldn’t get squat.

      “But, in any event, why should the VA pay a private doctor to treat your non service related medical conditions?” I’ll tell ya why Stan………..Because that’s the deal they made. It’s called a BENEFIT. Would I have joined if there was no benefit? I guess you would but it was the deal maker for me. Luckily, unlike some friends and family, I got out alive.

      1. This also for Stanman! I was wounded in 1967 and from those wounds I received a military retirement. I choose to use the VA Medical…fast forward to today and reviewing my medical records, I’ve wasted my time, jeopardized my life and lost ALL trust in that entire VA Medical System. They just talk, talk and waste taxpayer’s $$$ on all that KY they use! The VA in Northern California suck’s and anyone defending the VA is a ether working for that FUBAR Medical System or a owner of a funeral home hoping for more business! Stanman, the VA was created for ALL veterans for medical and it is sad that they turn away veterans that anyone could see, that that they are in need of medical attention! Lazy ass last in their class doctors, PA and other personnel should all use that KY on themselves, FTVA!

      2. You are right. If the damn piece of fecal matter government says they are going to take care of us vets, then they should. Hell we said we’d do our duty and we did. I don’t know who the sorry individual is that thinks the VA shouldn’t take care of us is, but what the hell else do you think they should spend it on? They certainly don’t mind spending it on those pieces of crap in congress. Or on defense contractors to lie their asses off about threats to get more money. The hell with you all. The one percent have you so brainwashed it’s ridiculous. Learn to think for yourself you piece of crap.

    3. Hmmm kinda agree with some of that …

      But I can’t get treatment for anything …

      I’m 70 %
      All combat related
      And of course 70% means I’m around 140% actualy …

      I can’t get the va to do anything …
      Except get me my Prozac
      There quick with that…

      Oh ya and starting the process on having me decleard incompetent …
      I’m 30% PTSD
      So the regional office is having me decleard incompetent …

      They started that process FAST …
      Froze my back pay
      Now it should only be a yeR or to for them to finish up since I waived my right to fight it …

      No the problem is not non service connected injuries

      It’s the va

      The va just wants to be an insurance company diabolical …

      With the power to take away my constitutional rights if I bulk at there benign neglect …

  8. “Jon Stewart for President” That was my exact same thought when I saw his show and read the article. Lots of people like him, and lots don’t. God bless him for his segment on this farce.

    Like him or hate him, at least he publicly uncovered this to the masses who only know the CYA we see on TV each night from the mainstream media on how Congress and new Director are taking steps to fix the VA’s problems and finally help vets.

    Why haven’t more people who are in positions to educate and influence the vast numbers of citizens of this nation about the shameful way the VA fulfills it’s promise to our vets?

    At least Jon Stewart made a start. I hope others do soon. This is the only way we can shame Congress and the VA into finally doing, or trying to do, what is right.

  9. Just as in workers compensation, our top employees/WORKERS, our soldiers, get the shaft, because the DOD invented cost cutting in both VA & WC benefits (public & private). The DOD has a lot to answer for but who will HOLD the DOD responsible and accountable for the many millions,( the DOD caused to make ill, hurt, maimed or killed) it makes profit from?. THE obscene profit has been going on for decades since the Viet Nam war with no end in sight. Having a claim # is an atm machine account for the DOD profiteers. How many accounts does the DOD have? How many DOD accounts ended up in SWISS banks?.
    PEOPLE are not PROFIT!

    1. The DOD budget is completely separate from the VA budget and will fight for every penny form congress AND more and they get it, resulting in the VA getting whats left.

  10. They fixed the wrong problem PEOPLE!!! Have you all forgotten they use any kind of clinic. So there’s a VA Dental clinic 25 miles away, BUT YOU HAVE A HEART CONDITION@*#! Wake up!!!!

  11. Still seeking ways to privatize, quicker, the people served responsibility, nothing about being socialized but Sacrifice Ignored, for corporate bottom line profits and bring in all the problems in the private sector that aren’t taken care of while flush with capital!!!!

    What brings on the political media hyped conservative ‘scandals’, “If military action is worth our troops’ blood, it should be worth our treasure, too — not just in the abstract, but in the form of a specific ante by every American.” -Andrew Rosenthal 10 Feb. 2013, when nothing is done by congress, but promised, poser patriotism, in previous hearings for the represented, as to their responsibilities, and their jobs!!

    DeJa-Vu & for Decades now: Rising Costs {mostly borrowed} of Caring for Veterans

    “Why in 2009 were we still using paper?” VA Assistant Secretary Tommy Sowers “When we came in, there was no plan to change that; we’ve been operating on a six month wait for over a decade.” 27 March 2013

    **VA Chief Warns of Rising Cost of Caring for Younger Veterans**

    The people served actually think that when legislation is passed, poser patriotic enhancing political points for their reps and themselves, it’s actually paid for! As to our wars and the long term results after, policy blowback, for the Veterans of, well not since WWII have the people served actually Sacrificed, mostly willingly and across the Nation including veterans depending on political ideologies, thus not building and maintaining, and thus saving in many ways because of, the Responsibility they hold to those very few that served them! Why in these modern times they don’t even pay for their flag waving, poser, patriotic wars and think nothing of it, while speaking full support, and who’s more patriotic to country, of the few that served, blame the next elected Executive branch leader especially if of opposite political party or if same just ignore!

    ** … two instigated wars whose costs were so inhibitive they were kept off the books, … The Obama Administration brought this into the open …**

    **”as well as two ongoing foreign wars, which his predecessor never even tried to pay for. Of course the president is running large deficits; trying to eliminate them now would make an economic catastrophe even worse.”**

    Neither OEF/OIF and the continuing blowback from the policies implemented and supported are yet to be paid for!!

    Facts: Matthew Hoh {former Marine and foreign service officer in Afghanistan}: “We spend a trillion dollars a year on national security in this country.”
    “And when you add up to the Department of Defense, Department of State, CIA, Veterans Affairs, interest on debt, the number that strikes me the most about how much we’re committed financially to these wars and to our current policies is we have spent $250 billion already just on interest payments on the debt we’ve incurred for the Iraq and Afghan wars.” 26 September 2014

    Bob Herbert “Losing Our Way” : “And then the staggering costs of these wars, which are borne by the taxpayers. I mean, one of the things that was insane was that, as we’re at war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration cut taxes. This has never been done in American history. The idea of cutting taxes while you’re going to war is just crazy. I mean, it’s madness.” Bill ‘Moyers and Company’: Restoring an America That Has Lost its Way 10 Oct. 2014

    $14 Million An Hour: War Costs Top $1.6 Trillion Since 9/11, Say Congressional Researchers

    “With no shared sacrifices being asked of civilians after Sept. 11″

    And what else do those served get away with, through the representatives they hire, to avoid their Responsibility? Why they choose the easy ways out, just like they do in arguing their, poser, patriotism,, they either just totally ignore the Veterans during and after on an ever growing list of issues or they follow the written and spoken so called experts, usually politically motivated while getting comfortable return in wealth from the ‘denial these issues even exist’ [google Sally satel] and those links are just one conservative ‘expert’ and just about PTS. The homefront battles continue for Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, OEF/OIF Burn Pits and oh so many more reaching back to surviving WWII Veterans right up to today. Many were Finally being addressed when Gen Shinseki came onboard, with the still extremely limited budget funding, and with extended help by the Executive administration and it’s Cabinet where their charges could be integrated on long standing Veterans issues, that continues under Sec. McDonald but so does the Congressional obstructions and attacks, even from those served, as it continues causing costly problems that create other costly problems. Those problems are extremely helpful for political enhancing points of the people served representatives and given eager media backing as new{?} ‘scandals’ that have been seen before over and over and not corrected after, attack, hearings on!

    Chris Hayes: “If you can run a deficit to go to war, you can run a deficit to take care of the people who fought it” In response to Republican, long ago lost as the party of Lincoln and not just as to us Veterans, opposition to expanding Veterans’ benefits on fiscal grounds

    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

    1. You’re Independent? Then why is everyone you cite a progressive (spelled Communist)?

      1. OH dear. You raising that old tired flag Kurt. The quotes were NOT communist, just facts. don’t you get it, WE are ALL getting screwed. so stop slinging your fears that the reds are coming to a REAL time issue that affects ALL Veterans.
        Its time to forge a united front.

  12. Jon, Jon, Jon, I see you’re getting a Lot of credit from the piece you did awhile ago on the VA and the policy update they just implemented about the ‘choice’ program. Let me, a vet, explain something. The VA is the people served, including us who did and are in the community now, Responsibility!! That means through your Gov. Reps you’re supposed to be Fully Funding, which hasn’t been for decades and wars from, especially! The hypocrisy from someone at the extreme high income levels, how are them Huge bush tax cuts doin for ya, is not astounding but for the fact you’re using the conservatives long time charge that it’s the agencies fault and not, through them, the people served, poser patriots, causes, over and over! Those folks haven’t paid for the recent wars nor the growth and spread of the blowback from that continues!! But Especially for their Responsibility, long term, as to the Veterans from!! As the Country served Ignores or out right denies, google Sally Satel as a long time conservative personal profiteering off of her claim PTS is imagined, the many issues especially from our wars!! Try PTS for decades, how about Agent Orange, Test Vets or Gulf War Syndrome and now Burn Pit contamination and oh so so much more, finally being addressed under Shinseki and this entire Executive Adminstration, but that can only go so far as the Country doesn’t pay up nor Demand to through their hired reps!!!!!!

    USN All Shore ’67-’71 GMG3 Vietnam In Country ’70-’71 – Independent**

  13. I agree 100%! The “choice card” IS “NO CHOICE” for Veterans! We have been given a ‘bone’ and have been told to accept it or else! Mr. McDonald is no better than any of his predessers. Of course, what would anyone expect from a person who ran P & G. Look at what that corporation has been up to for decades! Just last year, March 2014, Greenpeace ‘called them out’ over the use of ‘dirty Palm Oil’! I grew up in Southwestern Ohio. P & G has never had a good reputation!
    Last, but not least, IMO Mr. McDonald needs to come out publicly and 1.) Give an apology to Congressman Coffman (R-Col). He may not accept it! 2.) Give an apology to every vet, voter, taxpayer, etc. etc. For allowing the VA to be in contempt of the many rules and regulations it has been in violation of for decades!
    That’s all I have to say for now. Because, I, and thousands (if not millions) of people know what the VA has been up to- Greed, Waste, Fraud and more!!!

  14. After serving honorably over 25 years, I changed my SGLI over to VGLI…but because the VA says I am disabled…they denied my VGLI and forced me to take the lesser VDLI (Veterans’ Disability Insurance). What a load of crap the VA puts out there!

  15. The Buffalo DVA denied my claim for compensation as late as December 2013; I was released from active-duty July 3, 1969. The Buffalo DVA claimed that of government resources, including their own INtraNET , the Buffalo DVA could not find record of my service in Vietnam exposed to herbicides, etc.. Yet, ,The Buffalo DVA had record of My DD-214. The DD-214 lists that I have the Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars; the Vietnam Campaign Medal (at least 6 months at least contiguous South Vietnam) ; and, the Combat Action Ribbon. And, I also found, on the INterNET : The DVA January 2010 Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) Information on Vietnam Naval Operations provides presumption of exposure to herbicides (etc. ) to the crew of ships that operated in “rivers” and “deltas” even though not of the Bulletin’s immediate ships list: for example, the history of the USS Newport News includes operations in the Vinh Binh Province in the Mekong “DELTA” December 1968; The DVA June Compensation & Pension Bulletin Policy (211) ADDITIONAL Information on Vietnam Naval Operations…ships list…Received by the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs…lists the USS Newport News for operations: Cua Viet “RIVER” April 1969. The June 2010 C&P Bulletin includes itself as part of the January 2010 Bulletin , states: There is no reason for the DVA to hold the claims of anyone who served on the above listed vessels during the indicated time frames. I addressed this information to DVA- Compensation & Pension Service (211A) Attn: Nehmer Working Group- 810 Vermont Ave NW- Washington D.C. 20420. While my claim has made significant progress, wrote several letters to the Nehmer Working Group to address loose ends, disagreement to certain things, and award for RETRO compensation. Yes, of The Buffalo DVA June 05, 2014 Decision, The Buffalo DVA’s Examiner and Review of my medical records is stated: The examiner indicated a diagnosis of atherosclerotic heart disease / ISCHEMIC HEART DISEASE as early as 2000. The Nehmer Court Order states: The claimant need not file a new claim or claim for earlier effective date when a new presumptive condition is added. VA must search its records to find eligible claimants and award benefits, without action on the claimants part. Medical records noting the existence of a condition later made presumptively service-connected can in some instances, result in an award without a formal claim ever being filed. A claim meeting the eligibility requirements of Nehmer can be: A claim inferred by Veteran or ” VA during review”. The Nehmer Court order is quite clear that the VA must award within 21 days of eligibility requirements met. Today is 3-25-2015. Over the past year, I have written to the Nehmer Woking Group Lawyers at least 3 times certified mail. The Nehmer Working Group lawyers has not made a direct reply. However, my claim/ appeal has been sent to the Board of Veterans Appeal (board); to which I was told back-logged to 2012. The Nehmer Court order provides priority to Nehmer claims. Yet, of the 1-800 number to the Board of Veterans Appeal (board), I was informed that my claims / appeal is not docketed a Nehmer claim. And, despite my claim / appeal (on Board of Veterans Appeal Form 9) is to get processed to The Nehmer Training Guide (211A) February 2011 (yes, 2011) REVISED, to have my claim docketed as a Nehmer claim, I was told that I have to write a letter. Now, let’s take a review of the already laid down and laid out Nehmer Court Order. Nehmer states: VA compensates class counsel for all of it’s work on Nehmer claims. I find that The Buffalo DVA and The Nehmer Working Group are in contempt of the Nehmer Court Order. Congressional Research Services / Statutory Presumptions (by law clerk Nichols October 2010: yes 2010) defines my status is “VETERAN”. CRS / Statutory Presumptions also infers compensation for incubation periods. Congressional Research Services / Statutory Presumptions is a must read for all Veterans. The Buffalo DVA and the Nehmer Working Group Lawyers are in contempt of all the above documents. The Nehmer Court Order infers sanctions against those in contempt of Congress’ intentions. Yes, ” I think” that the (Buffalo) DVA and the Nehmer Working Group Lawyers are all a bunch of merciless mercenaries profiting from yearly incentives, yearly bonuses, and (perhaps)promotions to abandon U.S. suffering Veterans. FYI : Of the Veterans Choice Card that I showed copy to my immediate primary doctor and my immediate heart doctor, I noticed my paper work to get lab tests done, the form lists …Primary Insurance Name: National Government Service – PO Box 4827 – Syracuse, N.Y 132214827. The Nehmer Court Order indicates : VA compensates class counsel for its work on Nehmer claims. Of contempt of Congress, of contempt of Congressional Research Services/ Statutory Presumptions, of contempt of their own laid down and laid out Court Order, the Nehmer Working group must also be held “accountable” and sanctioned. That’s what I think !

      1. my dad served in vietnam and he fought the va since 2006 to get his disablity it finiallly took him to write a newspaper article to get it and i want to thank everyone that was in the service

    1. So what does this have to do with veteran’s Choice benefit?
      Please people stay on topic.

  16. This may have been the best help we have gotten so far. John Stewart has such a good way to show how things are so messed up and no one cares. He brings things to the forefront and shoes how wrong some things are in this world and how they should be done. I am going t miss him when he leaves the show. I am starting to think that the public is starting to take notice that we are getting screwed and have been for so many years.

  17. Jon Stewart for President! I had a thought last night and today I ordered a gross of T- Shirt’s with various saying’s “that matter!” Actually one of the sayings is, !SKCUS AV EHT

    1. @Mike-
      Love that “SKCUS AV EHT”…it almost looks Latin. Isn’t Jon Stewart also retiring very soon from his show? I certainly would vote for him for President of USA…no questions asked.

      1. Mr. Naminbor, I totally agree that Jon Stewart would be a great choice for being a President! I as you probably have followed his and Steven Colbear (spelling) shows for a long while. Jon makes since and is not afraid to challenge those that are so in the wrong or mislead the public on purpose…My printing is not Latin (kind of seems like it though) ‘SKCUS AV EHT’ back words for “THE VA SUCKS!” could not manipulate the letters to see in a mirror the correct layout of the words. Look great on a T-Shirt though. Have a great day!

  18. THAT WAS AWESOME!!! We could use his wide reaching voice to place flame throwers under the VA….great coverage and only in a way Stewart could do it. Thanks for this uplifting post. I think I may even sleep a bit better tonight.

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