Personal Challenge to the Secretary of VETERANS AFFAIRS as well as the CONGRESSIONAL leaders on the senate and house veterans affairs committee

on

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

for widows and orphans COMPENSATIONS

 

15 AUGUST 2006

 

To: Senators, Congresspersons, Government decision makers, and Congressional Staff Members

 

C/O Mr. Jeff Phillips

Communications Director

House Veterans Affairs Committee

U.S. House of Representatives

335 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515

 

C/O Mr. Jeff Schade

Communications Director

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee

412 Russell
Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

 

C/O Mr. Len Sistek

U.S. House of Representatives

Committee on Veterans Affairs

Oversight and Investigations

Room 333

Cannon House Office Building

Washington, DC  20515

 

C/O 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

 

C/O Mr. William McLemore

Deputy Assistant Secretary

Intergovernmental and International Affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs

810 Vermont Avenue N.W. Suite 915

Washington, DC 20420

 

C/O Mr. Jim Nicholson

Secretary - Department of Veterans Affairs

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

 

C/O David Abbot

Staff Member

Compensation & Pension Service

VA Central Office

810 Vermont Avenue,

Washington, D.C. 20420

 

 

 

Subject: Gate rule on "service connected mortality" in order to be paid dependency and indemnity compensation to a surviving spouse or orphan, challenge of

 

At present under USC 38 Sec 1311 "Dependency and indemnity compensation to a surviving spouse" the rules are as follows:

 

Sec. 1311.  Dependency and indemnity compensation to a surviving spouse.

 

(a)

 

(1) Dependency and indemnity compensation shall be paid to a surviving spouse at the monthly rate of $850.

 

(2) The rate under paragraph (1) shall be increased by $185 in the case of the death of a veteran who at the time of death was in receipt of or was entitled to receive (or but for the receipt of retired pay or retirement pay was entitled to receive) compensation for a service-connected disability that was rated totally disabling for a continuous period of at least eight years immediately preceding death.  In determining the period of a veteran's disability for purposes of the preceding sentence, only periods in which the veteran was married to the surviving spouse shall be considered.

 

(3) In the case of dependency and indemnity compensation paid to a surviving spouse that is predicated on the death of a veteran before January 1, 1993, the monthly rate of such compensation shall be the amount based on the pay grade of such veteran, as set forth in the following table, if the amount is greater than the total amount determined with respect to that veteran under paragraphs (1) and (2):

 

Pay grade Monthly rate

E-1 $850

E-2 850

E-3 850

E-4 850

E-5 850

E-6 850

E-7 879

E-8 928

E-9 (FOOTNOTE 1) 968

W-1 898

W-2 934

W-3 962

W-4 1,017

O-1 898

O-2 928

O-3 992

O-4 1,049

O-5 1,155

O-6 1,302

O-7 1,406

O-8 1,541

O-9 1,651

O-10 (FOOTNOTE 2) 1,811

 

(FOOTNOTE 1) If the veteran served as sergeant major of the Army, senior enlisted advisor of the Navy, chief master sergeant of the Air Force, sergeant major of the Marine Corps, or master chief petty officer of the Coast Guard, at the applicable time designated by section 402 (FOOTNOTE 1) of this title, the surviving spouse's rate shall be $1,044.

 

(FOOTNOTE 1) See References in Text note below.

 

(FOOTNOTE 2) If the veteran served as Chairman or Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Chief of Staff of the Army, Chief of Naval Operations, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Commandant of the Marine Corps, or Commandant of the Coast Guard, at the applicable time designated by section 402 (FOOTNOTE 1) of this title, the surviving spouse's rate shall be $1,941.

 

(b) If there is a surviving spouse with one or more children below the age of eighteen of a deceased veteran, the dependency and indemnity compensation paid monthly to the surviving spouse shall be increased by $215 for each such child.

 

(c) The monthly rate of dependency and indemnity compensation payable to a surviving spouse shall be increased by $215 if the spouse is (1) a patient in a nursing home or (2) helpless or blind, or so nearly helpless or blind as to need or require the regular aid and attendance of another person.

 

(d) The monthly rate of dependency and indemnity compensation payable to a surviving spouse shall be increased by $104 if the surviving spouse is, by reason of disability, permanently housebound but does not qualify for the aid and attendance allowance under subsection (c) of this section.  For the purposes of this subsection, the requirement of ''permanently housebound'' will be considered to have been met when the surviving spouse is substantially confined to such surviving spouse's home (ward or clinical areas, if institutionalized) or immediate premises by reason of a disability or disabilities which it is reasonably certain will remain throughout such surviving spouse's lifetime.

 


 

This issue currently is and has been for the Vietnam Veterans of the Nation; the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and the Veterans Affairs Committee in the House and in the Senate have not addressed this White House biased issue in USC 38 Sec 1311 in that it punishes certain "era Veterans" and their families; in what must be considered White House budget control for White House/Department of Defense/State Department mistakes.

 


 

Sec 1311 (a) may have applied at one time to all Veterans conditions considering actuarial tables or however the Department of Veterans determined the eight -year rule before the occurrence of the "toxic chemical legacy" of our Vietnam Veterans. These are not obvious physical war wounds but systemic subclinical toxicant war wounds that may not be identified for decades even though the condition has existed, therefore cannot, and should not apply to:

 

 

 

 

Example depending on when the cancer is discovered and in what stage:

 

Hodgkin's Disease

25.9 percent will die within five years

 

Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL)

Depending on type of treatment survival period of 5-8 months or with the introduction of new treatments 18 to 53 months.

 

Chronic lymphatic leukemia (CLL)

37 percent will die within five years

 

Myeloma

Median survival is 7 years

 

Rationale:

 

These toxic chemical disorders or hazardous environment duty that cause cancers and autoimmune disorders cannot fit the same category of a physical war wound that has the Veteran at 100% disability.

 

Many of these cancers and autoimmune disorders have no symptoms for many years, unless "discovered by accident" in looking for something else, until they are at a critical mortality mass or grading/level.  These cancers are estimated mortality from two to five years or free of cancer; some, depending on what level the cancer was discovered, is only six months survivability for these government caused cancers.

 

Since the requirement for the government caused cancer now is at eight years continuous before mortality not many Veterans of Vietnam or Gulf War are going to make this totally senseless gate before their demise.

 

Therefore, the widow as well as the orphan(s) is now unjustly and harshly punished by the Department of Veterans Affairs for the "type of war wound" inflicted that was created by our own United States Federal Government.

 

My guy gets a Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis in October of 2003 and cannot get any financial help approved by his death in April of 2004.  By default, because of White House/DVA definitions the family now does not even get the amount of back pay to when the Veteran was diagnosed, much less the follow on support that should be mandated except for once again illogical and harsh White House/DVA definitions.  Diagnosed and in a VA hospital and still cannot get support as he and his family were fighting the government caused cancer is unacceptable performance and logic.

 

My purpose in this specific challenge is not to challenge whether the reasons why are because of DVA incompetence or White House directed philosophy, both are arguable.  Only to point out the definitions and the requirements for our widows and orphans is way out of line of medical logic for our Vietnam Veterans and Gulf War Veterans when it is already established by our own government that "cancers" are a result of this service to our nation.

 

One issue is not debatable is the lack of government/DoD/DVA outreach that does not keep and has not kept not only our Veterans but also their doctors as to what to expect from these toxicant environmental war campaigns and yearly screening.

 


How does the United States Government expect these men and women to meet this gate when the data shows that these cancers and other forms of disorders have a mortality that can be six months to five years or they are no longer disabled.

 

There is no medical or scientific logic in this mandated gate as it applies to the Vietnam Veterans or the Gulf War I Veterans for toxic chemical or environmental medical damages caused by the United States Federal Government.

 


 

"To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan" seems to have some disclaimers with it, like only if it does not cost too much.

 

For the most part, every congressperson and every senator touts they support the Veterans of our Nation, especially during elections and mid-terms.

 

Veterans would like an explanation as to the rationale for this "all too harsh requirement" mandated by our friendly Department of Veterans Affairs that our dying Veterans must meet.

 

Yes, our Nationís Veterans served honorably, with integrity, and some with valorous actions on the battlefield.

 

However, even these men and women cannot beat nor should they have to beat the world statistical odds of mortality cancers in order to meet this unrealistic and unscientific requirements mandated by the "White House appointed" Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

 

As our elected lawmakers please respond ASAP. 

 

Our nations toxic environment warriors are dying at an unprecedented pace and our widows and orphans have not been cared for as the sacrifices for this nation of the husband, father, or mother "demands;" because of the unfair and government/VA biased rules specified above.

 

Veterans are waiting for your response to see if you truly indeed support widows and orphans or just the two party political machines in our nation.

 

Veterans, their widows, and their orphans find it perplexing that the United States Congress can give out social programs to citizen and non-citizen alike (even with all the fraud involved) for doing nothing for our nation like so much social candy and then allow this miscarriage of justice to exist within our nations government damaged warriors and their families.

 

While these additional benefits do not sound like much.  On a fixed income, a few dollars more each month can mean a big difference to the widow and/or orphan of our Vietnam Veterans and Gulf War I victims of government caused cancers.  Plus, as I understand it the other benefits of meeting this gate for not only "health care for life" but also the "educational" benefits that would allow the "government created widow" a chance to make a new life without the Veteran husband/wife. 

 

Thank you in advance for your explanation of this subject and explanation as to why my era widows and orphans are being punished for the "type of war wound" inflicted by the United States Government.

 

Please respond to:

 

Charles Kelley

DMZ 67-68

2078 Eastwood Drive,

Snellville, GA 30078

SP5Kelley2nd94th@aol.com

Cell: 404-641-6477