Personal Challenge to the CONGRESSIONAL leaders on the senate and house veterans affairs committee


the 100% disability gate rule by the department of VETERANS AFFAIRS

for widows and orphans COMPENSATIONS


15 October 2006


To: Senators, Congresspersons (Veterans Affairs Committee), Government decision makers, and Congressional Staff Members


Mr. Jeff Phillips

Communications Director

House Veterans Affairs Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

335 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515


Mr. Jeff Schade

Communications Director

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

412 Russell
Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510


Mr. Len Sistek

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Veterans Affairs

Oversight and Investigations

Room 333

Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515


Mr. Chris McNamee

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Veterans Affairs

Professional Staff Member

Subcommittee on Disability Assistance

337 Cannon HOB

Washington, DC 20515


Mr. William McLemore

Deputy Assistant Secretary

Intergovernmental and International Affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue N.W. Suite 915

Washington, DC 20420




Please respond to: 

Charles Kelley

2078 Eastwood Drive,

Snellville, GA 30078

Cell: 404-641-6477



Subject: Response by the Director of Compensation and Pension Service Department of Veterans Affairs to my “original challenge” of the rule on "service connected mortality" in order to be paid dependency and indemnity compensation to a surviving spouse or orphan; personal response by Ms. Szybala Director Compensation & Pension


Copy of that response is attached.


Once again, I find myself faced with a question on this subject:  Who's in charge and of what?


Who makes recommendations and who looks at how the “intent of congress” is being applied?  If the VA finds a discrepancy in inappropriately applied laws after a change has been made it does not have the power to rectify or even recommend to congress that change has impacted anyone.  Why is this?  It’s because the VA does not normally get involved in policy making.


I was under the impression that the VA had a committee just for the purpose of “congressional relevancy or importance.”  From watching CSPAN I know that every time congress wants to do something for the Veterans it seems they ask the Secretary of the VA if it is OK First rather than the other way around.  It appears there is a conflict between “congressional portrayed wants” and what the VA/White House “will actually do.”


For the Veterans, their widows, and their possibly damaged offspring this procedure seems to be some kind of protracted chess match between the legislative branch and the executive branch.  Each one assumes it knows what the Veteran and his/her family needs so they become pawns in an attempt to exploit them for personal gain in the form of votes on Election Day. 


Perhaps the government’s view of the military men as well as their surviving family is exactly what Mr. Kissinger (executive branch) exclaimed in 1979;  “Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”


As a Vietnam Veteran it is my conclusion that when congress uses data it had available and the VA recommends specific cancers be recognized as associated to the Veterans war time service in Southeast Asia, then someone either by error or “instructed not to look at" the total ramifications of such associated “government caused” specific cancers that should have forced a rule change on an eight year physical war wound for Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC).


I pointed out in my original challenge the many reasons why a Veteran diagnosed with "Agent Orange caused cancers" (caused by the U.S. Government allowing this toxic mixture to be sprayed) cannot meet the physical war wound 100% disability requirement of the eight-year window.  Furthermore, he or she should not be asked to, since congress is then “demanding the impossible” of our Vietnam Veterans.


I would like to point out that many Vietnam Veterans died prior to 1989 when this government finally announced the associations between Agent Orange and multiple health-related problems.  Who now speaks for them?  In addition, the baseless denials of our government and the Veterans Administration in recognizing Nuclear, LSD, Project 112 testing, SHAD testing, Veterans Toxic Chemical Legacy, and now the more recent Gulf War Illness certainly points to a lack of good faith effort on the part of the entire government to provide DIC payments for those who have died needlessly in the name of government caused diseases and mortality disorders.  To have this rule "not changed or modified" to exclude government caused toxic chemical cancers from wartime service of Vietnam Veterans is just one more insult to the survivors of brave men and women who's deceased spouses won't meet the 8 - year rule.  An insult that defiles the Veteran giving his/her all to this country regardless if it was enemy fire or friendly fire by our own “government’s decisions.” 


It should make no difference whether a private company or a company sponsored by or contracted to the government to develop and test a product that can do harm to the Nation's Veterans, be excluded and not held accountable for the results that occur.


For example on the 6th of October, I was in the elevator with a VA volunteer.  I could not help but overhear her conversation with a wheelchair patient she was assisting.  She recounted about her Vietnam Veteran husband who had just been given less than three months to live from his recently diagnosed Agent Orange Presumptive Cancer.  It should be remembered that government-contracted companies developed these herbicides.  It must also be pointed out that the Nation's scientific community in two petitions pleaded with this government not to do what they were doing with these toxic herbicides at unprecedented toxic strengths and application rates.


This honorable Veteran who has been poisoned by a substance developed, used and contracted for use by our federal government cannot possibly meet the mandated requirements for DIC qualification.  Is the United States government going to deny a DIC payment for his widow?  According to the 8 - year rule established by the congress and supported by the Veterans Administration, that is precisely what will happen.  This is clearly wrong and anyone signing on to this rule should be ashamed.


Can this Congress/Nation ask more of any citizen? 


Veterans and the surviving widows and children of deceased Veterans demand an answer to this illogical policy.  We request a written response or e-mail from Senator Craig and Congressman Buyer on this injustice to humanity.  Furthermore, if either of these elected officials believes this policy is appropriate as it stands we demand a reason for their conclusions.






Charles Kelley

DMZ 67-68



Copy to:


Mr. Jim Nicholson

Secretary - Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue, NW, Room 1000
Washington, D.C. 20420


Mr. David Abbot

Staff Member

Compensation & Pension Service

VA Central Office

810 Vermont Avenue,

Washington, D.C. 20420


Ms. Renee L. Szybala


Compensation & Pension Service

VA Central Office

810 Vermont Avenue,

Washington, D.C. 20420