Children of Veterans Get Free School Supplies in San Antonio/by Sonny Dothard
Children of veterans who served the nation at some point and are fighting poverty and homelessness have a new reason to smile. The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs recently offered free school supplies to them in San Antonio and helped them start the new education year in the best possible manner. The veterans whose children got benefitted from this new initiative were very happy. They want every other veteran to benefit from it too.
How Many Children of Veterans got the Supplies?
As per the data shared by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, over 230 children of veterans received school supplies in San Antonio. This initiative was a part of the homeless veterans program of the department. The assistance was given to every kid no matter whether the kid was in pre-kindergarten or in high school.
Most of the veterans were delighted by the gift given to their children. A veteran, Nicholas Tolbert stated that this initiative was a huge help as it gave him a lot of peace of mind when he thought that his daughter, Natalie was prepared for the classroom. Natalie is going to be in the first grade this year. He also added that they just got off the street after being homeless for two months so the help they got is huge.
Ingrid Bethel-Constable stated that she went to the website for that school district and filled the backpacks with everything mentioned on the list.
Need for More Awareness
A single father who served the army for more than 12 years, Larry Hopkins said that he wants more veterans to be aware of the benefits and services made available for them. He stated that a lot of veterans have no idea that they can come to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs to get help and getting stabilized in life.
Tolbert stated that the program to offer children of veterans with free school supplies is a kind of a reminder that says the veterans are not being forgotten. He adds that sometimes veterans may feel that they have no value and they are being easily forgotten. But then something like this happens and they feel appreciated again. He says that he feels great when he realizes that the help offered by the community is not just for him as a veteran but for his entire family. He said that he cannot explain how great he feels at that time in words.
Department of VA withholds payments of the Household Veterans/by Sonny Dothard
A new report states that the Department of Veteran Affairs has withheld more than $100 million dollars of household veterans. It also highlights the reasons behind this problem. The department of VA said that it is working on some changes that will ensure that the deserving get the money stashed for them.
The Amount of Withheld Payments of Household Veterans
As per the new report released by the VA inspector general’s office, about $110 million in payments belonging to thousands of household veterans have been withheld. The report also states that as of March 2015, about 186,000 veterans were designated as housebound due to reasons like illness and injury. It also says that there were errors in payments in 33,400 of such people. Others did get the payments but the delay time ranged between five days to even 6 years.
The IG report also states that thousands of veterans who were not designated as the household veterans received 44.3 million in money that was assigned for only the household veterans. The report concluded that the staff failed to accurately address the household benefits. So, some veterans who were entitled to the household benefits did not get any funds and the taxpayer’s money was wasted on paying the veterans who failed to meet the eligibility criteria.
In the report, the reasons for the errors were also highlighted. It states that the Department of Veteran Affairs has a faulty electronic system, poor management and bad training methodology which allow the VA staff to randomly decide about these claims.
The VA’s office of the undersecretary for benefits has given a response to the IG report. It said that the department was working on several technology changes. It also said that the department would soon begin an annual review of benefits that are being sent to the housebound veterans. It is pertinent to add here that the first review is being scheduled for this October.
Expanding the Inspections
The new Inspector General of VA, Michael Missal had earlier stated that he is working to ensure that there are more inspections into the VA’s benefits programs.
It can only be hoped that the Department of VA would make sure that the household veterans get their due after this enlightening report and the money of the taxpayer is not wasted on people who don’t really need it.
A Job Fair for Veterans to be Organized Soon/by Jeff Boettcher
A human resource company is going to organize a job fair for veterans in Newington on September 22. The aim of the event would be to help veterans connect with Corporates and help them get a job that matches their skills. Veterans and their families need no registrations and they can drop by at their convenience. About 50 companies are expected to be present there too.
Details of the Job Fair for Veterans
The job fair will be organized by an HR company, Long Term Care Partners as a part of its efforts to support the veterans and their families. It will be a day-long job fair for veterans organized on September 22, 2016. There is no provision of a pre-registration, the vets, and their families can drop in anytime after 9 AM at the seating area of the cafeteria on the first floor of 100 Arboretum Drive. The event would first be addressed by a retired Army Brigadier Gen. Jack Hammond who is also the Executive Director of the Massachusetts General Home Base Program and the Red Sox Foundation.
The Statistics and Solution
Sonia Craft who serves as the HR Manager at the company stated that the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs statistics shows that there are about 1 million military veterans who are unemployed. The Department of Labor reported that for some veteran groups the unemployment is more than 20 percent higher than the national average. She also added that the population of New Hampshire has 112,790 veterans and 3.8 percent of them are unemployed.
Craft also said that the company wants to improve the employment stats of veterans by increasing awareness among the employers of the area on the fact that vets can be valuable employees due to their skills and life experiences. She further stated that the biggest challenge for employers is to translate a skill of a veteran on the military duty into a skill that is needed for the job.
It is estimated that about 50 employers or agencies will attend the job fair. Craft also said that representatives of the new federal prison Berlin, New Hampshire would attend the job fair too.
During the job fair for veterans, the veterans would be getting an opportunity to sit with a recruiter who will help review their resume or tune a LinkedIn profile so that the skills can be better translated for the business world.
Counting Homeless Veterans a Problem in Iowa/by Jeff Boettcher
The state of Iowa is facing a unique problem in the recent times. It cannot count the number of veterans who are homeless. The people responsible for counting the number of homeless veterans are facing a lot of challenges. Sometimes, a veteran doesn’t want to be found and sometimes homeless people don’t give a straight answer to whether they are a veteran or not. Knowing the exact number of homeless veterans is vital so that the programs and solutions developed to help them could help in changing their lives.
Why is Counting Homeless Veterans a Problem in Iowa?
No one has any idea on how many veterans are present in Iowa as just four out of ninety-nine counties are being surveyed to decipher the total statewide count. It has been a tradition to count the veterans in the state on the last Wednesday of January and on this day, the homeless veterans often hide or leave the state. Social workers claim that whenever the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development tries to count them, they become elusive as many of them don’t want to be found.
Another major problem is that most of the people responsible for counting the number of homeless veterans are not able to do so for long. They start off with a small group and often are left with one or two people.
There is a strong need to find the exact number of veterans who are homeless because it helps in ensuring that the money funded to help them by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and other such organizations can reach them. Anti-poverty organizations like HACAP can also help them when they know how many are actually homeless.
The Last Estimate
The last estimate of homeless veterans in Iowa was calculated in the January of 2016. It stood at 170 on January 27, 2016. This estimate was presented to HUD in the month of June and was based on studying only 4 counties, Polk, Linn, Johnson, and Woodbury. Interviews revealed that only these four counties were studied as these places are most preferred by homeless veterans for getting shelter and other kinds of support. These places also have a better number of volunteers who are actually willing to go out and conduct the street count.
Even in areas where the number of homeless veterans is high and volunteers are eager to count the numbers, they face a challenge. There are so many homeless people who remain in abandoned areas and buildings that when they are asked about whether they are veterans, they don’t give a straight answer.
Fighting Veteran Homelessness Becomes Easier Thanks to a Big Grant/by Jeff Boettcher
It’s been just a few days since we reported how the veteran homelessness has reduced considerably since 2010. Now, we have some more good news for veterans who are dealing with the problem of homelessness. The veterans of San Antonio have just gotten a big grant that would be used to find them a home of their own and fight veteran homelessness. Though the grant is very valuable, experts believe that homelessness of veterans is a constant challenge that cannot be resolved with a big grant.
The Grant to Fighting Veteran Homelessness
The problem of veteran homelessness would now be solved in a better manner thanks to the efforts made by the Texas Veterans Commission. A $550 thousand grant has been approved for veterans who are already homeless or those veterans who are on the verge of being homeless in the near future. The grant would be used to help such people living in San Antonio. The details of the grant and the announcement were made by Navarra Williams who serves as the SAM Ministries President. It is pertinent to mention here that this grant is the largest of its kind that is handed out by the Commission.
The grant was offered soon after the proclamation which stated that there has been an end to veteran homelessness in San Antonio. But the fight against veteran homelessness has been ongoing and changing each day in San Antonio according to Williams. He revealed the fact that every few days a new homeless veteran from another place makes San Antonio his home or some veteran who had a temporary home loses it and becomes homeless again.
Williams also shared his thoughts regarding homelessness being a bigger challenge for veterans as compared to other people. He stated that it usually takes a bit longer for a veteran to get used to not being homeless as compared to non-veterans. The reason behind the difference is that a veteran often has to deal with some issues that are not present in a normal person’s life. Post Traumatic stress is one such issue that is commonly found in veterans but not in non-veterans as they have not been traumatized on the job.
It is being hoped that the grant for reducing veteran homelessness would help a few veterans get over these challenges and make a home for themselves.
The Number of Homeless Veterans Declines/by Jeff Boettcher
The veterans who served the nation in times of need are getting better at avoiding homelessness. This was revealed in the official data. The progress is a result of partnerships between many federal, local and state bodies who are working continually to ensure that the veterans get a home to live in. Some key people that are associated with the project shared their happiness about the fact that they are able to fight this problem and expressed hope on doing even better in preventing the homelessness.
The Announcement regarding Veterans’ Homelessness
The announcement that enlightened people on the declining number of homelessness in veterans was made by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Veterans Affairs department and The Housing and Urban Development. In the announcement, it was pointed out that the homelessness in the U.S. is nearly half of what it was in 2010.
The data also showed that there was a 17 percent decrease in the veteran homelessness from January 2015 to January 2016. There was 47 percent decrease since 2010. The HUD’s annual Point-in-Time estimate of America’s homeless population has also discovered that less than 40, 000 veterans were homeless during a given night in January 2016. The estimate also highlighted that just over 13,000 veterans were living on the streets. It demonstrates a 56 percent decrease since the year 2010.
The Reasons behind the Success
The key reasons behind the success were the partnerships formed between USICH, VA, HUD and several other local, state and federal partners. The first strategic plan to curb homelessness, Opening Doors was launched in 2010 which was also effective. The HUD-VA Supportive Housing program also proved to be successful.
This plan combines HUD rental assistance with clinical services provided by the VA and case management. Since the year 2008, about 85,000 vouchers have been distributed that helped in serving over 1, 14,000 veterans who were homeless through the HUD-VASH program.
The Happiness and Hope
The amazing numbers achieved while reducing the veterans’ homelessness seems to be a ray of hope for many people. The executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Matthew Doherty has stated that these numbers are proving that it is possible to solve one of the complex challenges faced by the nation. He added that this progress should give confidence to the people working towards reducing the number further. He also believes that when people work together, hold themselves responsible and set bold goals, nothing will remain unsolvable.
Veterans Affairs Employees Protest Against Closing of VA Hospitals and Medical Centers/by Jeff Boettcher
Veterans from all over the country are uniting against the supposed methods of enhancing VA healthcare. The veterans do not agree with the Commission on Care that recommended that the VA hospitals and medical centers should be closed down and the veterans’ health care should be privatized. The people working towards providing VA health care to veterans are also against the ideas laid out by the commission.
Veterans Organizing Huge Rallies
The Veterans Affairs employees are planning to organize several rallies this week to protest against the recommendations of closing down VA healthcare centers. The rallies are organized by the American Federation of Government Employees and they have organized 38 rallies.
The rallies are not restricted to a particular state. They were organized in 19 US states. It is pertinent to add here that the Federation represents more than 230,000 professionals that include VA doctors, psychologists, nurses, benefits specialists and other employees working to offer better heath care to the veterans.
The Commission on Care was a group created by the Congress to recommend ways in which the VA health care can be improved. The Commission is about to recommend that the VA health care must be privatized and the VA medical centers and health care centers should be closed. This will leave the veterans no other choice than to get health care at profit hungry hospitals.
It must be mentioned here that the Commission on Care includes four private hospital executives who would profit a lot if the recommendations are implemented. The veteran groups have expressed their opinion on the matter and they have decided that they will be unanimously against any proposal that aims to privatize veterans’ health care.
David Cox Sr., who formally served as a VA registered nurse for a duration of over 20 years and who currently serves as the AFGE National President confirmed that a vast majority of veterans are against the idea of privatizing VA health care. She stated that it’s time to put people ahead of profits as this is the message offered by VA employees across the nation.
Cox also stated that the veterans must never be reduced to a line item on the budget sheet as they have served the country with distinction and honor. Their medical care should not be dependent on the whims of profiteers and claims adjusters.
Veterans to Get Training to become Federal Employees/by Jeff Boettcher
Elizabeth City State University is organizing a workshop for veterans that will let them know how they can grab federal jobs and become federal employees. The workshop will benefit all the people related to veterans. OPM is also involved in the workshop as it will teach employees the process of federal employment. The workshop will be conducted soon and the registration process is very easy. The workshop is also free of cost.
Veterans Can Learn the Process of Being Federal Employees
The workshop will be organized at the Elizabeth City State University this Wednesday and Thursday. The workshop is free for everyone and anyone can attend it. The people who are eligible for attending the crucial workshop are veterans, student veterans, transitioning military service members and their families. The Veteran Center of the university is working in conjunction with Office of Personnel Management and Coast Guard Base Elizabeth City to organize this vital workshop.
The aim of the workshop is to teach the participants how veterans can become federal employees. The details about the steps required to be a federal employee would be shared. The workshop would also include details such as how to create a resume for federal jobs. Experts representing Office of Personnel Management will teach the federal employment process to all the participants of the workshop.
The Helping Hands
Apart from the university members and the Office of Personnel Management, several agencies are also helping in organizing the workshop. The names include N.C. Dept. of Commerce Division of Workforce Solutions, Disabled American Veterans Transition Service and the N.C. Division of Veterans Affairs.
The workshop would begin at on June 22 at 9 a.m. and would last till 2 p.m. The same timing would be applicable on June 23. The venue of the workshop would be the Information Technology Center on the ECSU campus.
Veterans who are keenly interested in becoming federal employees must sign up for the workshop by completing a simple registration process. To register, one needs to visit this link- www.eventbrite.com/e/federal-employment-workshop-tickets-25386648148. For people who need any more information about the workshop, it’s timings or any other details the number 252-335-3253 is a direct way to get all the answers. One can also learn about the veteran center of the Elizabeth City State University by calling on the mentioned number.
Man Who Threatened Federal Employees Charged/by Jeff Boettcher
A man accused of threatening many federal employees at once has been charged and is now presented to the court after getting arrested and charged with his crimes. He can be sent to jail for one year and he can also be asked to pay up a hefty fee for his misconduct. He was arrested by special agents and officers of two different departments.
The Incident in Which Federal Employees Were Threatened
Stephen Williams who is 47 years old and lives in St. Croix was the man accused in the incident that took place this year. He threatened to shoot the federal employees of an Out-Patient Clinic based at Village Mall in Kingshill. The clinic belongs to the Veteran’s Affairs Community.
The lawsuit against the accused was filed a few months back but he was arrested just a few days before. Williams was presented before Ruth Miller, who serves as a U.S. Magistrate. Williams was arrested and charged with threatening a federal employee. This information was revealed by Ronald W. Shape, who is a U.S. Attorney.
The 47-year-old convict was arrested by a few special agents and officers. The agents and officers of two offices worked in conjunction with one another to catch the culprit. The officers from the V.I. Police Department coordinated with the special agents who serve the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General. As soon as Williams was arrested he was presented in the court where the Magistrate ordered him to be placed in a detention until his hearing the next day.
The punishment of the convict can be up to one year in prison as well as a fine of $100,000. It should be mentioned here the severity of the punishment of a person accused of threatening a federal employee depends on three vital factors. The first is the evidence of the person’s intent to carry out the threat. The second is the disruption caused to the government function and the final criteria is the possibility of inciting others to violence.
The details of the assault were submitted in the documents filed in the court on February 12, 2016. The case regarding the attack on federal employees is investigated by the Inspector General’s Office. The case is prosecuted by Christian Stringer who serves as an Assistant U.S. Attorney.
OPM Urged to Create a Separate Office for Veterans/by Jeff Boettcher
A US Senator has stated that veterans, especially the ones who have been disabled, must be given better job opportunities. She insisted that OPM takes some steps in ensuring that the veterans are given suitable job opportunities via a dedicated office that understands their special qualifications and skills.
The Request Made to OPM
Senator Heidi Heitkamp was the one to ask OPM to help veterans get job opportunities that are ideal for them. She expressed her opinion while participating in a discussion that was hosted by a Governmental Affairs Committee and Homeland Security. She believes that the agency must create a special office that is dedicated to the veterans only.
Ideal Jobs for Disabled Veterans
The Senator also highlighted the need for better navigation to help the disabled veterans. She said this while participating in a discussion about USAJobs.gov. She stated that the disabled veterans need someone who can help them out. Their applications and skills set must be analyzed by someone from OPM so that the veterans can get the jobs they are best suited for rather than the ones in which their qualifications are assumed.
She also stressed that the disabled veterans should be given a job in which they can be enriched as opposed to given a job just for the sake of it.
It must be noted that efforts are being made to help veterans. A few months back, the Veteran Affairs Department launched a website dedicated to aid the veterans. The website is named as Vets.gov and it aims to help its users attain a single sign-on access that allows them to avail thousands of online veteran services.
The website allows the veterans to get career and employment opportunities, education benefits and disability benefits too. The website is still a work in progress and aims to be fully functional later this year.
Senator’s Support on Other Issues
Apart from offering advice to OPM regarding the veterans, Senator Heidi Heitkamp has also been vocal on ensuring equal pay for equal work. She was recently quoted saying that in North Dakota, women earn just 71 cents when compared to a dollar earned by men. She called for pay equality so that women also get a dollar against a dollar earned by men.
Disabled vets and spouses to get VA Special pension benefit/by Matt Pierce
The Aid and Attendance pension benefit given by the VA is meant to offset the financial problems and burdens faced by the veterans who have a disability or their spouses who have outlived them.
DISABLED VETERANS AND SPOUSES GET PENSION BENEFIT:
The benefit is hardly known to the majority. The Department of Veteran Affairs has been offering it for quite some time now and it is aimed at helping out the disabled veterans who are unable to work or the spouses who require attention and care.
The Aid and Attendance benefit has been designated as a pension benefit with the hope that many veterans or their spouses can claim eligibility to these funds along with the post-service pensions that they normally manage to earn. Here, it’s worth noting that not every disabled veteran can claim this fund; if the disability requires the care and attention of a nurse or a caregiver or if you are housebound, only then the fund can be claimed.
After claiming, the benefit will add a monthly amount to the monthly pension and the disabled vet or the spouse can claim their VA pension+ benefit the next time they go to collect.
The eligibility for the fund can be found out by contacting the in-state pension management center. If you are unable to do so yourself, you can ask your caregiver or your spouse to do so. The organization will then take into account your disability and the whole situation generally and figure out whether you are eligible for the extra compensation or not. Most of the time the VA will want a physician to be involved in the process so that only the deserving get the additional funds. This is a great way to help out the veterans that served the nation for a long time and are unable to serve themselves.
Former VA nurse has been sentenced to 60 months in prison/by Matt Pierce
A former VA nurse has been sentenced to 60 months in prison. Enrique Martinez Mathews who worked at the VA medical center Miami was given the sentence on March 2, 2016 after she pleaded guilty to changing and fabricating some computer records. The charge was obstruction and computer related fraud. This was in violation of Title 18, United States Code, sections 1519 and 1030.
VA Nurse sentenced to 60 months in prison:
The announcement was made by Wifredo A. Ferrer who is the attorney for the Southern District of Florida. He was teamed up with Monty Stokes who was the special agent that led the investigation, the Office of Inspector General, Criminal Investigations Division and of course the department of veteran affairs.
According to the ruling, the nurse intervened in an investigation at the medical center. The investigation involved the death of a veteran who was in the care of Enrique. The findings concluded that Martinez did actually alter the records of the patient who was recovering in the Surgical Intensive care unit at the facility. These actions made the doctors make some wrong decisions regarding the treatment of the patient an eventually led to his death. She once again tried to alter even more records to try to hide her wrongdoing.
Ferrer said that it’s his duty to protect the veterans of the country. He said that it’s a national duty more than anything else and the VA administration also played a huge role in making the investigation a success. Monty Stokes also said that this needless alteration of the records led to the death of a national servant and future steps are needed to be taken to prevent these crimes.
Let’s all hope that this tragic event never takes place again and the steps needed to prevent this from happening are also taken immediately.
Veterans Affairs policy altered after Vets falsely declared dead/by Matt Pierce
The federal government has recently accepted that they make a mistake when they made the false declaration of around 100 dead veterans. Their benefits were also withheld and now this policy of declaring veterans dead is set to get altered.
Veterans Affairs policy changed:
A 69 year old Navy veteran, Mike Rieker was one of the people who were falsely considered and announced dead expressed his concerns about how his situation got a lot worse when he heard that his benefits are going to be taken away from him too. He said that he called many offices many times and argued with a lady for over 5 minutes about his death. He had a shy smile on his face when he further added that he had to sell stuff from his house in order to make some payments.
It was David Jolly who is a Republican representative who highlighted the issue and told the Department of Veterans Affairs about it through a letter. This was when the VA realized that they had wrongly stopped giving around 115 people their deserved benefits just because some people thought that they were dead.
This has led the VA to make some seriously sought after changes and are now going to have to update their process to retrieve a lot more information before just going ahead and declaring someone dead to stop the payments. The process is now simple and this: Whenever a veteran is sought to be dead, a letter will be sent to their address to confirm that they have actually died. This was indicated in a letter that was sent to Jolly from the VA on December 10th. This will completely remove the possibility of false termination of benefits as well.
This was certainly something that required attention and it appears as if it has got the kind it needed.
VA employees to get relocation funds/by Jeff Boettcher
The department of Veterans Affairs is one that is never completely out of the news. The officials of the organization might just have to part with thousands of dollars by giving them to two of the demoted executive officers who were allegedly linked to have received many thousands of dollars in shady relocation funds.
VA employees to get relocation funds:
During last week, some of the officials from the organization have given statements about this news. They said that two executive directors have been made to resign pertaining to one of the latest scandal that the department has to endure. These two directors are Diana Rubens who was the director of the Philly Regional office of the Veterans Benefits Administration and Kimberly Graves who was the director in Minnesota.
However the relocation funds that these two are going to get are handsome if not anything else. The total amount that Rubens is set to receive is around 275 thousand. She has been moved from DC to Philly. This will compensate her for the losses she had to endure while selling her house quickly as well. The amount for Graves was around 130 thousand. Investigators have found that both of the directors were trying to illegally find ways to get good pays while working lesser hours. Critics and lawmakers are requesting formal incarceration of both the alleged culprits.
Situations like these require the utmost sincerity and dedication of lawmakers and judges to assess appropriately. If adequate care is not taken while making sure that the culprits not only receive their just punishment but also serve as a source of enlightenment of the rest of the employees, then matters like these can get out of hand. Here’s hoping that things work out properly for all of the parties involved with the least amount of damage.
VA Employees finally Receiving Pay from 2010/by Tamila McDonald
The Amarillo VA Healthcare system has waited almost 6 years since a 2010 law was passed in order to provide back pay, pay rate changes and other pay incentives to be applied, due to software issues. This only happened after the Federal government advised them on how to make changes to the system to allow for the changes.
The Original Act
The Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010, signed into law by POTUS Obama heavily favored and supported veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan service. Its main focus was on the caregivers of these veterans, mental health services, women veterans, vets in rural areas, veterans that are homeless and for veteran research and education. It also implemented pay raises for a number of VA employees, but the VA was not advised on how to implement these with a switch over of computer software that was also taking place in the VA at the time.
The Local Amarillo VA
Spokesperson Barbara Moore for the Amarillo VA stated “we just got the guidance on how to fix that locally” and they further received instructions on how to make the manual calculations to offer the retroactive portion of the raises.
Employees of the VA and in Amarillo specifically have had a number of complaints that relate back to this 2010 legislation. Not only did they not receive pay raises from the legislation, but raises with promotions, incentive bonuses and differentials for night and weekend work was not being paid for existing employees. New employees were seeing these raises creating even more tension in the workplace.
A Software Issue
Essentially the issue at the heart of the matter was one of technical implementation of the new VA Time and Attendance System that is slowly being implemented across the VA system of healthcare nationwide. Unfortunately this software did not account for changes in policies from legislation. The software was not broken says Moore, but simply that “these formulas and calculations [were not] built in when we got it.”
The federal Office of Personnel Management released an update to the software and there were complaints immediately that some nurses in the system that were new-hires were getting paid more than their more senior counterparts. The OPM acknowledges that as soon as that was the case they started working to resolve the issue.
Recent Changes Equal Large Issue
The American Federation of Government Employees filed a grievance on 14 December 2015 that was recently settled. It was this action that prompted complaints, because there were a number of nurses that were supposed to get a promotional bump in pay and never received it as a result of this software issue.
Now that the issue is known, changes to the software have been instituted as well as manual directions on how to over-ride the system. Back pay retroactive to any agreements or legislation will be paid as administration catch up on these issues. Since the system is complex and multifaceted, Moore says, these issues could crop up in other VA locales across the country. If you are being affected by this issue, contact your supervisor immediately about your fair share.
Otto Macias suffering in Cuba pertaining to US Embargo/by Jeff Boettcher
A native to Cuba, Otto Macias is a former combat infantryman who fought in the Vietnam war of the 1960s for the Americans, before he made his move to the US, the homeland he chose to inhabit. In 1981 though, without giving any notice, the Department of VA cut off all of his benefits.
Otto Macias left languishing:
Otto Macias was initially a citizen of the United States but he went back to Cuba and according to the VA, this meant a violation of the embargo that the US currently has with Cuba.
A New Mexico lawyer Jason Williams, this past week appealed to a federal appeals court to make the restoration of Otto’s benefits and to compensate him properly for the services he made for the prosperity of the nation.
Jason said that by this unannounced termination of benefits, the VA has violated Otto’s most fundamental rights. He further urged that the VA is liable to provide the person proper news before going ahead and depriving him of the money that he is dependent upon. Jason visited Macias in 2015 by traveling to Havana and discussed the situation in detail there. According to him, Macias was born in 1940 in Camaguey and moved to the US in 1961 when he enlisted in the army.
News like these are always very hard to digest because expecting a 75 year old man to survive all by himself without any due compensation is really cruel and if the VA wanted to indeed deprive him of the money that they owe him, they should have at-least made sure that he knew before they did so. Here’s hoping that something becomes of the appeal made by Jason and that Otto gets to receive his due share of benefits from the VA once again as he rightfully deserves.
More Violations at VA Medical Facilities/by Matt Pierce
The VA medical facilities have always been subject to increased criticism from everyone for the increased policy violations that persist in the premises. When Anthony McCann received an envelope from the VA, he was expecting to read about his own medical records. Instead what he laid eyes on was a 250 page booklet that unravelled all sorts of personal information about another veteran to him. He said “I could have done anything with the information” in an interview after the incident pertaining to it.
More violations at VA medical facilities:
This wasn’t the first time he received the wrong letter. He had received these mistakenly put letters in the past too and at that time he did inform the department but threw away the documents. This time, because he was unable to transfer the documents to the actual person, he took them with him to a town hall meeting that was organized by the Tennessee Valley Health care system in the attempt to let the veterans speak.
In this meeting was when McCann got the chance to tell the world about the 256 pages he received. He said that there was confidential information explicitly mentioned in the documents and he refused to return the documents to an official because he doubted the capabilities of the VA to safeguard the information. He continued by saying that the department is no longer worthy of his trust and they don’t do what they say they would do.
This is all down to the incompetency of the employees working at the VA medical centers. Apart from this, they perform thousands of privacy violations over the years, researches reveal. This needs to be looked into and the guilty parties need to either be properly vetted or removed from their positions. All in all, this matter isn’t one to let slip.
A Lunch for Veterans intended to Arouse Awareness/by Matt Pierce
A veteran-for-veteran run counseling place offered all of its clients a warm thank you by giving away all of its clients a free lunch. This lunch was intended to make the veterans aware and bring all of them together in the urge of creating a sense of friendship that’s already found in abundance amongst all of the veterans of the country.
Veterans given free lunch:
The counseling center is a funded place that is run by the department of VA of the country. Here, a lot of services including counseling are offered free of cost to the veterans in need. Other services include the help that they might require while dealing with stress they might have taken back home from the fields, help to adjust to civilian life all over again etc. Some veterans also get help in the attainment of their benefits via some of the proactive staff members of the center.
There is a vehicle that’s operated by staffers of the center and it provides mobile counseling services to all the servers of the nation that might not be able to make it to the center.
The lunch was really appreciated by all the army, marine and air-force servers of the nations. A Vietnam War veteran, Ed Toenyes urged that the center did a remarkable job. Ed has been receiving help with his post-traumatic stress disorder from the center since 1980. He said that events like these help him to talk to people who have underwent what he had to endure in the service of his nation.
Lunches like these allow the veterans suffering from war stress among other issues to meet with each other and talk about stuff with other people who have had firsthand war experience. The counseling center should be lauded for its services in this regard.
VA employee Scott Benson pays White house a visit/by Matt Pierce
VA employee Scott Benson pays White house a visit
A representative of the Veterans service, Scott Benson who is with the Muskogee Veterans Regional Office of Benefits has recently visited the White House in order to attend the Veteran’s Day reception. This also included the chance for him to meet the president and Joe Bidden, the vice president of the country.
Scott Benson visits the White House:
Scott is one of the give veteran employees who have been tasked with the representation of the VBA. Scott was joined at the dinner table by some of the highly reputable military personnel and other US government officials. Also present at the table were two “Medal of honor” recipients who intended to pay their remarks to the veterans and the services that they offer to the country.
A resident of Tahlequah and a veteran of the Navy, Scott Benson gave his services to the country during the years from 1988 to 1994. He was an aviation ordanceman which also encompasses (but is not restricted to) the Gulf war and the Gulf of Sidra event.
The White House also requested some of the selected VA employees to come and make the VA representation at the meeting. They were also asked to highlight the achievements made by the organization in making the lives of the families of veterans a lot better. During 2015, the organization managed to complete over 1.4 million claims that is the highest figure in VA’s history.
Following the formal entourage meeting at the White House reception, Scott joined a lot of other employees of the VA including some military dignitaries and went to the Arlington National Cemetery where the president underwent the wreath-laying ceremony. A wreath was placed at the resting place of an unknown soldier like it is always done. Events and traditions like these further ignite the zeal with which the army of the nation fights to protect.
Veterans unhappy Because of Camp Lejeune Benefits/by Matt Pierce
There were about 150 veterans of the Marine Corps who attended a conference at a room at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay along with their families. The town hall meeting was intended to hear what the federal scientist and the officials of the VA had to say. They were expected to say something on the work that was done to study contamination at the North Carolina base that was going unnoticed.
Veterans frustrated over not getting Camp Lejeune Benefits:
There was some serious remarks heard by the officials by the veterans pertaining to the hardships that they had to face in getting their hands on benefits that were intended to help the ones that were contaminated by the water.
These Camp Lejeune Benefits were initially expected to be available instantly to all of the veterans and their families who were suffering from this contamination. Reports indicate that around a million veterans were infected by this horrible incident. Scientists believe that the nation has not underwent a darker water contamination episode till date. The water was polluted because some of the industrial solvents and other harmful materials like gasoline made its way into it.
Paul Maslow, who is a Camp Lejeune veteran urged with feelings that the VA was not helping the veterans in time of dire need but were in fact hurting them more. He rightly added that the larger the delay ends up being, the higher the number of dead veterans pertaining to the contamination is going to get. There were other veterans who added to Paul’s concerns and there was a sense of hatred found in the words of the veterans against the VA.
The VA most definitely needs to up the ante and talk this matter through and provide the affected people with the Camp Lejeune benefits so that prosperity and good health can be restored.