2006 Disability Commission 5-MINUTE presentation in Atlanta
My name is Glenda Kelley.
I choose to address today the VA legal system.
A legal system created due to the onslaught of toxic chemical claims from the returning Vietnam Veterans and touted “to enhance” the Veterans claims and to be “totally non-adversarial.”
Instead it is just another layer of government self-protection similar to what Senator Specter tried to do on the Asbestos Claims. The same senator who championed the present VA legal system.
Instead the VA has become the adversary of Veterans and their families and the VA legal system operates like no other legal system under our constitution.
In the most recent injustice for the Veterans of our Nation the Court of Veterans Appeals found that when the VA denies any part of a Veteran’s multi-claim filing by default the other portions of the claim are also denied. Therefore, parts that were “neither denied”, “nor accepted,” "nor remanded" to the lower court or BVA are as if they never existed.
No notification of this has to be sent to the Veteran but his appeal clock starts ticking.
The present VA Secretary, during his confirmation hearing, stated one of the reasons Veterans claims took so long was they were multi-part claims and “all parts had to be addressed.”
This seems to fly in the face of what the court recently ruled.
How can anyone justify not approving a portion of a claim that gets the Veteran the financial support and medical treatment he has earned; then continue working the rest of the claim that may be in contention.
How many of our elected officials turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the suffering of our Veterans and their families at the hand of this legal system created for budget control.
The measure of success for any business or agency is customer satisfaction. Yet, the performance to the customer, the Veteran, or his widow continues to worsen. More funding seems to buy futile promises and longer delays from this failed federal agency.
Let’s not forget the VA motive and certainly a conflict of interest behind this dismal VA performance.
If the Veteran dies before his claim is approved his claim dies with him. A monetary reward for VA “non-performance”.
Our Veterans lay dying in hospital beds diagnosed with presumptive service diseases. Two things are needed to approve this claim. A DD-214 showing service in the area of exposure and a diagnosis of the presumptive disease. Rather than somebody pushing a computer button that says the Veteran is approved with 100% compensation while he is being treated; the Veteran dies nine months later and his claim, still not approved, is just as dead. The funds the Veteran or his family needed in their fight against these terrible government caused diseases are lost to them forever.
Meanwhile the Veteran and his family lose everything they have worked for their entire life, suffer many indignities that these proud and noble citizens should not have to endure. Especially when their suffering was caused by diseases automatically associated to their service to our great nation.
Can any commissioner or elected official justify this performance?
How does one justify BVA remands sitting at the local VA for over five years while not one VA employee touches the files?
How does one justify the BVA approving one claim while denying the identical claim elsewhere?
Our Nations entire legal system is based on “legal precedence.”
How does one justify the BVA trying the same case 10,000 times instead of trying one case and approving in 10,000 times in a timely manner to support the Veterans in “Service Connected” benefits?
Do we finally admit that the entire VA system operates around the White House/Congressional yearly budget and not justice and service connected benefits for our Veterans?
It is too late for those Veterans who have had to deal with this legalized mockery but it should be a Supreme Court mandate that our "present and future Veterans" be made aware of their loss of citizenship rights. Rights guaranteed to even illegal alien or convicted criminal: or even; yes, to world terrorists.