Dec 02

VA Sends Latest Gulf War Illness Report to IOM for Review

WASHINGTON (Dec. 1, 2008) — The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has sent the October 2008 report from the VA Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses to the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine (IOM) for review and recommendations.

The October report from the advisory committee identified potential causes for — and asserted that research supports the existence of — a multi-symptom condition resulting from service in the 1990 – 1991 Gulf War, which the committee identified as Gulf War Illness (GWI).

Because VA has traditionally and by law relied upon IOM for independent and credible reviews of the science behind these particular veterans' health issues, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake has asked IOM to review the advisory committee's report before VA officially responds to the report's conclusions.

"I appreciate the committee's work on this report, and I am eager to see the results of further independent study into their findings," Peake said. "Of course, VA will continue to provide the care and benefits our Gulf War veterans have earned through their service, as we have for more than a decade."

VA has long recognized conditions, granted benefits and provided health care to Gulf War veterans suffering from a broad range of symptoms, even though these conditions have not been scientifically recognized as a specific disease or injury or GWI.

These include chronic fatigue, persistent rashes, hair loss, headaches, muscle pain, joint pain, neurologic symptoms, neuropsychological symptoms (such as memory loss), respiratory system symptoms, sleep disturbances, gastrointestinal symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms,
abnormal weight loss and menstrual disorders.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/va-sends-latest-gulf-war-illness-report-to-iom-for-review/

Dec 01

Grassroots 2008 December Survey


November's question: “Do you think there is enough news coverage about the Global War on Terrorism?”

The majority of respondents—almost 82 percent—believe the media is not doing an adequate job in fully covering the Global War on Terrorism. Many believe coverage that exists focuses on the negative aspects of war, such as death tolls, insurgent attacks and improper actions taken by our troops. They suggest coverage should provide a broader scope, showcasing also the good our troops do.

Others believe the War on Terrorism has received too much coverage. Some even say more coverage leads to a more complacent, less interested nation.

  • “The news media is more concerned about the negative aspects of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Anything that casts the current Administration in a bad light makes the headlines, while more positive stories are buried, if covered at all.”
  • “The media only talks about the bad things that happen; they don't talk about the good that happens. They don't compare numbers, such as more people were killed in Chicago having to do with crime than soldiers in OIF.”
  • “We need not only news coverage, but news that hasn't been manipulated and sugar-coated.”
  • “What coverage [that does exist] reports on what the enemy is doing or how our troops are victims or murderers.”?

See more results

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/grassroots-2008-december-survey/

Nov 30

BUDDY POPPIES: PANHANDLING? SAY IT AIN'T SO!

(via Dept of Wisconsin)


Attorneys from the
Rutherford Institute are defending a disabled vet who distributes "Buddy Poppies."

Institute President John Whitehead is representing disabled Vietnam veteran John Miska who was
repeatedly threatened with arrest for distributing the artificial flowers.

….. in Washington, D.C. on the National Mall, by the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam memorial and other places in D.C., [but] he's been continually threatened by the Park Police …..

Story Alert from D. Yatalese, Greenwood Memorial Post 987, Baraboo

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/buddy-poppies-panhandling-say-it-aint-so/

Nov 26

Gulf War Illness: Scientific Evidence Leaves No Question That It Is A Real Condition

The following excerpts are from the Executive Summary of a 465 page report titled "Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Scientific Findings and Recommendations" released recently by the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses.

The Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses was appointed by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in 2002 and directed to evaluate the effectiveness of government research in addressing central questions on the nature, causes, and treatments of Gulf War-related illnesses. According to its charter, the guiding principle for the Committee’s work is the premise that the fundamental goal of all Gulf War-related government research is to improve the health of Gulf War veterans, and the choice and success of federal Gulf War research should be judged accordingly.

The central focus of this report is Gulf War illness, the multisymptom condition that affects veterans of the 1990-1991 Gulf War at significantly elevated rates. Despite considerable government, scientific, and media attention, little was clearly understood about Gulf War illness for many years. Now, 17 years after the war, the extensive body of scientific research and government investigations that is currently available provides the basis for an evidence-based assessment of the nature and causes of Gulf War illness. As described throughout the report, scientific evidence leaves no question that Gulf War illness is a real condition with real causes and serious consequences for affected veterans. Research has also shown that this pattern of illness does not occur after every war and cannot be attributed to psychological stressors during the Gulf War.

You can download the full report in .pdf here:
http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/GWIandHealthofGWVeterans_RAC-GWVIReport_2008.pdf

You can go to the VFW Membership Forum and discuss here:
http://www.vfwwebcom.org/forum/index.php/topic,442.0.html

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/gulf-war-illness-scientific-evidence-leaves-no-question-that-it-is-a-real-condition/

Nov 25

VA Announces Travel Reimbursement Increases for Eligible Veterans

(via VA Press Release)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has announced that eligible veterans will see an increase in the mileage reimbursement they receive for travel to VA facilities for medical care.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake announced that he will use his authority to raise the mileage reimbursement from the 28.5 cents per mile to 41.5 cents per mile for all eligible veterans.

"We owe it to our veterans to give them the best care possible," said Peake. "The increase will once again provide assistance to our veterans, especially in these difficult economic times, to help offset gasoline costs and to assist veterans with access to the VA's world-class health system."

Congress, which mandates such increases, recently provided funding to VA to increase the reimbursement rate, which goes into effect on November 17, 2008. Service connected veterans, veterans receiving VA pensions, and veterans with low incomes are eligible for the reimbursement.

"As I have travelled the country and spoken with many of our veterans, they have expressed the need for such an increase," added Peake. "We are pleased to be able to provide them with the increase needed and we will continue to work with our veterans to ensure they receive the quality care they need."      

While increasing the payment, the current deductible amounts applied to certain mileage reimbursements will remain frozen at $7.77 for a one way trip, $15.54 for a round trip, and capped at a maximum of $46.62 per calendar month.  On January 9, 2009, these deductibles will decrease to $3 for a one way trip, $6 for a round trip, with a maximum of $18 per calendar month.  Deductibles can be waived if they cause a financial hardship to the veteran.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/va-announces-travel-reimbursement-increases-for-eligible-veterans/

Nov 24

VFW Launches Campaign to Attract Women Veterans

The Veterans of Foreign Wars today launched it's new website geared towards attracting women veterans to the organization.

From the new www.joinsheserves.org website:

She Serves is an exciting outreach of the VFW — the Veterans of Foreign Wars — exclusively for women. It honors the service and sacrifice of female veterans, like you, who have served faithfully in our conflicts overseas.

The Connecting Point for Women of the VFW

You're part of a shared sisterhood thanks to your service to our country. By joining She Serves, you'll feel the support of other female veterans, especially those who understand the distinct pride of being a woman in the military.

Join the countless women – just like you – who've already found strength and support from belonging to She Serves. To meet them, to hear their stories and to share yours, become a member of the VFW today. While you're here, meet some of the VFW She Serves members waiting to welcome you!

According to Department of Veterans Affairs statistics, there are over 23.4 million veterans in the United States and about 1.8 million of those are women.

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-launches-campaign-to-attract-women-veterans/

Nov 24

VFW Chief Calls on Vietnam Veterans Help in MIA/POW Mission

VFW National Commander Glen Gardner visits a MIA recovery site to dig for possible remains.
Photo via VFW.org

VFW Commander-in-Chief Glen Gardner is once again calling upon veterans of the Vietnam War to search their memory and files for any information that might be of value in determining the fate of Vietnam’s 300,000 MIAs and might be of assistance in the recovery of their remains.

Providing information of this nature to the Vietnamese government helps to generate good will among its people and further assists U.S. efforts in its investigative and recovery operations for America’s MIAs. Information is also needed for the Laotian and Cambodian governments to help account for their missing.

VFW Commander-in-Chief Glen Gardner requests Department, District, Post, and VFW member assistance in gathering information that would help identify Vietnamese, Laotian, and Cambodian gravesites.

Such information or material may include veterans’ statements; photos and locations of battles or burial sites; battlefield souvenirs, especially if they contain names or other identifying information; personal effects, such as photos, letters or identification documents taken from casualties; sketch maps, etc.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-chief-calls-on-vietnam-veterans-help-in-miapow-mission/

Nov 24

VFW Washington Weekly – November 21, 2008

In This Issue:
1. House Holds Second GI Bill Implementation Hearing
2. VFW Participates in VA Roundtable Discussion
3. IB Critical Issues for 2010
4. VFW Chief Calls on Vietnam Veterans for Help

1. House Holds Second GI Bill Implementation Hearing: The House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held its second hearing on GI Bill implementation and status of the new benefit program. Representatives from VA were the only witnesses and their primary discussion addressed the short and long-term strategies in developing IT components for implementation of the bill. As was reported earlier, the Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) was chosen to work with VA to develop the type of software needed to deliver the education benefits. Keith Wilson, director of Education Services for VA, said they intend to meet the program’s Aug. 1, 2009, effective date, and have assigned project oversight duties and plan to increase the number of individuals at their regional offices to ensure progress. VA received $120 million in supplemental funding to implement the new benefit. For testimony and more information on the hearing, go to: http://veterans.house.gov/hearings/hearing.aspx?newsid=316

Read more VFW Washington Weekly

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-november-21-2008/

Nov 21

VA Expands Protections for Veterans with Missing Paperwork

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) [Monday] announced special procedures for processing claims from veterans, family members, and survivors whose applications for financial benefits from VA may have been mishandled by VA personnel.  

These special procedures come after an audit by VA's Inspector General found documents waiting to be shredded at some of VA's regional offices that, if disposed of, could have affected the financial benefits awarded to veterans and survivors.  

"I am deeply concerned that improper actions by a few VA employees could have caused any veterans to receive less than their full entitlement to benefits earned by their service to our nation," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake.  

"In rectifying this unacceptable lapse, VA will be guided by two principles — full accountability for VA staff and ensuring veterans receive the benefit of the doubt if receipt of a document by VA is in question," he added. 

VA worked with the six largest veterans service organizations in developing these special new procedures.  The procedures will assist veterans and survivors in establishing that an application or another document was previously submitted to VA, but was not properly acted upon by VA and was not retained in the veteran's records.   

The special procedures cover missing documents submitted by a veteran or other applicant for VA benefits during the 18-month period between April 14, 2007 and October 14, 2008.  

VA will process any missing applications or evidence resubmitted under these special procedures as if the document had been originally submitted on the date identified by the claimant.

Read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/va-expands-protections-for-veterans-with-missing-paperwork/

Nov 15

VFW Washington Weekly – November 14, 2008

NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE SERVICE
1. Navy to Design New GI Bill Software

NATIONAL SECURITY & FOREIGN AFFAIRS
1. JPAC Goes to India
2. Military Healthcare Online Town Hall Meeting
3. Reserve Component Mobilization

NATIONAL LEGISLATIVE SERVICE

1. Navy to Design New GI Bill Software: A navy command center in Charleston, SC, has been chosen to design the new GI Bill software which VA will use to implement its education benefits.  The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) has experience with sophisticated software that can perform some of the complex calculations that are required under the new law.  The benefit rollout is scheduled for Aug. 1, 2009.  The new education benefit will pay full tuition up to the cost of the most expensive four-year public college or university in the state where a service member or veteran attends school.  It also pays a living stipend based on zip code and other fees for the student veteran.  SPAWAR is still awaiting funding from VA in order to begin the initial stage.

Click here to read more

Permanent link to this article: http://myvfw.org/fl/post8696/general/vfw-washington-weekly-november-14-2008/

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