Saturday, September 19, 2009

VA Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation Meets in DC Sep. 21-22

September 2, 2009 - Department of Veterans Affairs, Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation; Notice of Meeting

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) gives notice under Public Law 92-463 (Federal Advisory Committee Act) that the Advisory Committee on Disability Compensation will meet on September 21-22, 2009, in the Carlton Ballroom at the St. Regis, 923 16th and K Streets, NW., Washington, DC, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The meeting is open to the public.

The purpose of this meeting is to review information about service-related disabilities, provide an ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the rating schedule and give advice on the most appropriate means of responding to the needs of veterans relating to disability compensation. The meeting will be held on September 21-22, 2009 in Washington, DC. Time will be reserved during the afternoon of September 22nd for public comments

The purpose of the Committee is to advise the Secretary of Veterans Affairs on the maintenance and periodic readjustment of the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities. The Committee is to assemble and review relevant information relating to the nature and character of disabilities arising from service in the Armed Forces, provide an ongoing assessment of the effectiveness of the rating schedule and give advice on the most appropriate means of responding to the needs of veterans relating to disability compensation.

On September 21 and the morning of September 22, the Committee will receive briefings about studies on compensation for Veterans with service-connected disabilities and other Veteran benefits programs. On the afternoon of September 22, the Committee will break into subcommittees to prepare recommendations. Time will also be allocated during the afternoon of September 22 for receiving public comments. Public comments will be limited to three minutes each. Individuals wishing to make oral statements before the Committee will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals who speak are invited to submit 1-2 page summaries of their comments at the time of the meeting for inclusion in the official meeting record.

The public may submit written statements for the Committee's review to Ms. Ersie Farber, Designated Federal Officer, Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Benefits Administration (211A), 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420. Any member of the public wishing to attend the meeting or seeking additional information should contact Ms. Farber at (202) 461-9728 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Dated: September 2, 2009

By Direction of the Secretary
Vivian Drake, Acting, Committee Management Officer

Federal Register: September 9, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 173)


Please speak up now or you and your fellow veterans may liveto regret the fact that we did not speak out on how we feel about this, usually these commissions are dealing with how to SAVE the government money not in helping veterans if we do not speak up now, we may all very well suffer in the future

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

vets commission


The Commission made 113 recommendations. All are important and should

receive attention from Congress, DoD, and VA. The Commission suggests that

the following recommendations receive immediate consideration. Congress

should establish an executive oversight group to ensure timely and effective

implementation of the Commission recommendations.

Priority Recommendations

Recommendation 4.23 Chapter 4, Section I.5

VA should immediately begin to update the current Rating

Schedule, beginning with those body systems addressing the

evaluation and rating of posttraumatic stress disorder and other

mental disorders and of traumatic brain injury. Then proceed

through the other body systems until the Rating Schedule has been

12 Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans’ Disability Benefits in the 21st Century

comprehensively revised. The revision process should be

completed within 5 years. VA should create a system for keeping

the Rating Schedule up to date, including a published schedule for

revising each body system.

Recommendation 5.28 Chapter 5, Section III.3

VA should develop and implement new criteria specific to

posttraumatic stress disorder in the VA Schedule for Rating

Disabilities. VA should base those criteria on the Diagnostic and

Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders and should consider a

multidimensional framework for characterizing disability due to

posttraumatic stress disorder.

Recommendation 5.30 Chapter 5, Section III.3

VA should establish a holistic approach that couples posttraumatic

stress disorder treatment, compensation, and vocational

assessment. Reevaluation should occur every 2–3 years to gauge

treatment effectiveness and encourage wellness.

Recommendation 6.14 Chapter 6, Section IV.2

Congress should eliminate the ban on concurrent receipt for all

military retirees and for all service members who separated from

the military due to service-connected disabilities. In the future,

priority should be given to veterans who separated or retired from

the military under chapter 61 with

• fewer than 20 years service and a service-connected disability rating

greater than 50 percent, or

• disability as a result of combat.

Recommendation 7.4 Chapter 7, Section II.3

Eligibility for Individual Unemployability (IU) should be consistently

based on the impact of an individual’s service-connected

disabilities, in combination with education, employment history, and

medical effects of an individual’s age or potential employability. VA

should implement a periodic and comprehensive evaluation of

veterans eligible for IU. Authorize a gradual reduction in

compensation for IU recipients who are able to return to

substantially gainful employment rather than abruptly terminating

disability payments at an arbitrary level of earning.

Recommendation 7.5 Chapter 7, Section II.3

Recognizing that Individual Unemployability (IU) is an attempt to

accommodate individuals with multiple lesser ratings but who

remain unable to work, the Commission recommends that as the

VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities is revised, every effort should

Executive Summary 13

be made to accommodate such individuals fairly within the basic

rating system without the need for an IU rating.

Recommendation 7.6 Chapter 7, Section III.2

Congress should increase the compensation rates up to 25 percent

as an interim and baseline future benefit for loss of quality of life,

pending development and implementation of a quality-of-life

measure in the Rating Schedule. In particular, the measure should

take into account the quality of life and other non-work-related

effects of severe disabilities on veterans and family members.

Recommendation 7.8 Chapter 7, Section III.2

Congress should consider increasing special monthly

compensation, where appropriate, to address the more profound

impact on quality of life of the disabilities subject to special monthly

compensation. Congress should also review ancillary benefits to

determine where additional benefits could improve disabled

veterans’ quality of life.

Recommendation 7.12 Chapter 7, Section VI

VA and DoD should realign the disability evaluation process so that

the services determine fitness for duty, and service members who

are found unfit are referred to VA for disability rating. All conditions

that are identified as part of a single, comprehensive medical

examination should be rated and compensated.

Recommendation 7.13 Chapter 7, Section V.3

Congress should enact legislation that brings ancillary and specialpurpose

benefits to the levels originally intended, considering the

cost of living, and provides for automatic annual adjustments to

keep pace with the cost of living.

Recommendation 8.2 Chapter 8, Section III.1.B

Congress should eliminate the Survivor Benefit Plan/Dependency

and Indemnity Compensation offset for survivors of retirees and inservice


Recommendation 9.1 Chapter 9, Section II.5.A.b

Improve claims cycle time by

• establishing a simplified and expedited process for well-documented

claims, using best business practices and maximum feasible use of

information technology; and

• implementing an expedited process by which the claimant can state

the claim information is complete and waive the time period (60 days)

allowed for further development.

14 Honoring the Call to Duty: Veterans’ Disability Benefits in the 21st Century

Congress should mandate and provide appropriate resources to

reduce the VA claims backlog by 50 percent within 2 years.

Recommendation 10.11 Chapter 10, Section VII

VA and DoD should expedite development and implementation of

compatible information systems including a detailed project

management plan that includes specific milestones and lead

agency assignment.

Recommendation 11.1 Chapter 11

Congress should establish an executive oversight group to ensure

timely and effective implementation of the Commission’s

recommendations. This group should be cochaired by VA and DoD

and consist of senior representatives from appropriate departments

and agencies. It is further recommended that the Veterans’ Affairs

Committees hold hearings and require annual reports to measure

and assess progress.

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Secretary Shinseki announces new efforts to explore Health Consequences of Service in Vietnam.

Vietnam Veteran VA Study Announced

Secretary Shinseki announces new efforts to explore Health Consequences of Service in Vietnam.


Study will run from 2011 through 2013.

Now does anyone still not agree that VA’s main job is stall to the death of the Veteran?


Well here is Congressman Filner’s response:

Filner Applauds VA Decision to Restart National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study

Washington, D.C. – House Veterans’ Affairs Committee Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) released the following statement upon the Department of Veterans Affairs recent decision to restart the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study:

“I commend VA Secretary Shinseki for agreeing to restart the National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study – a study that would contribute greatly to our knowledge of the Vietnam generation and their psychological and physical health. VA initiated the study in 1984 as a result of a Congressional mandate and the findings continue to provide valuable insight to the long-term health consequences of service in the Vietnam War. In 2000, Congress again acted to direct VA to reassess this generation of veterans in a follow-up study and provide a report by October 2004. This directive has been ignored by VA – until now!

“As Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I strongly believe that when we put our men and women in harm’s way, it is our duty as a Nation to care for them when they return.

In order to better understand the consequences of war, we must increase our knowledge of the Vietnam generation so we can better care for America’s veterans.

“It is time for VA to return to the forefront of research and public policy – which is why I asked Secretary Shinseki to restart the study. Findings from the study will inform policy regarding health services, rehabilitation, and compensation, not only for this generation, but for those serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as well.”


So a report on Vietnam Veteran physical and mental health status directed by Congress that should have been finished and published in 2004 will now be maybe published in 2013. I say maybe because they are always a year or two late.

Now once again does anyone still not agree that VA’s main job is stall to the death of the Veteran on behalf of the Executive Branch? And as some Ranch Hand scientists concluded in 2000 in testimony before Congress; I would feel better if this study had nothing to do with VA. VA and its scientists cannot be trusted!

The data and facts are there now we do not need another stinking VA study!

Have a great day.

The Vietnam War ended March 1975, here it is almost 2010, and they still do NOY have any definitive studies on what the exposures from the Toxic laced Agenys Orange, White and Blue. Men and their offspirng have many birth defects, veterans have a high rate of cardiovascular problems, if they can study the long term health effects for another decade most of the Nam era veterans will be deceased.

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Retired 4-stars repudiate Cheney on torture

Retired 4-stars repudiate Cheney on torture

Staff report
Posted : Tuesday Sep 15, 2009 7:15:01 EDT

Former Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Charles C. Krulak and former commander of Central Command Gen. Joseph P. Hoar have spoken out against former Vice President Dick Cheney and his support for “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Eight years after the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., the retired generals stepped forward in an editorial in “The Miami Herald” to denounce the interrogation techniques, which they called torture, as well as Cheney’s “scare tactics” on the matter.

“What leaders say matters,” Krulak and Hoar wrote in the editorial. “So when it comes to light, as it did recently, that U.S. interrogators staged mock executions and held a whirling electric drill close to the body of a naked, hooded detainee, and the former vice president winks and nods, it matters.”

Posted on Fri, Sep. 11, 2009

Fear was no excuse to condone torture


In the fear that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Americans were told that defeating Al Qaeda would require us to ``take off the gloves.'' As a former commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and a retired commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, we knew that was a recipe for disaster.

But we never imagined that we would feel duty-bound to publicly denounce a vice president of the United States, a man who has served our country for many years. In light of the irresponsible statements recently made by former Vice President Dick Cheney, however, we feel we must repudiate his dangerous ideas -- and his scare tactics.

We have seen how ill-conceived policies that ignored military law on the treatment of enemy prisoners hindered our ability to defeat al Qaeda. We have seen American troops die at the hands of foreign fighters recruited with stories about tortured Muslim detainees at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib. And yet Cheney and others who orchestrated America's disastrous trip to ``the dark side'' continue to assert -- against all evidence -- that torture ``worked'' and that our country is better off for having gone there.

In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Cheney applauded the ``enhanced interrogation techniques'' -- what we used to call ``war crimes'' because they violated the Geneva Conventions, which the United States instigated and has followed for 60 years. Cheney insisted the abusive techniques were ``absolutely essential in saving thousands of American lives and preventing further attacks against the United States.'' He claimed they were ``directly responsible for the fact that for eight years, we had no further mass casualty attacks against the United States. It was good policy . . . It worked very, very well.''

Repeating these assertions doesn't make them true. We now see that the best intelligence, which led to the capture of Saddam Hussein and the elimination of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was produced by professional interrogations using non-coercive techniques. When the abuse began, prisoners told interrogators whatever they thought would make it stop.

Torture is as likely to produce lies as the truth. And it did.

What leaders say matters. So when it comes to light, as it did recently, that U.S. interrogators staged mock executions and held a whirling electric drill close to the body of a naked, hooded detainee, and the former vice president winks and nods, it matters.

The Bush administration had already degraded the rules of war by authorizing techniques that violated the Geneva Conventions and shocked the conscience of the world. Now Cheney has publicly condoned the abuse that went beyond even those weakened standards, leading us down a slippery slope of lawlessness. Rules about the humane treatment of prisoners exist precisely to deter those in the field from taking matters into their own hands. They protect our nation's honor.

To argue that honorable conduct is only required against an honorable enemy degrades the Americans who must carry out the orders. As military professionals, we know that complex situational ethics cannot be applied during the stress of combat. The rules must be firm and absolute; if torture is broached as a possibility, it will become a reality. Moral equivocation about abuse at the top of the chain of command travels through the ranks at warp speed.

On Aug. 24, the United States took an important step toward moral clarity and the rule of law when a special task force recommended that in the future, the Army interrogation manual should be the single standard for all agencies of the U.S. government.

The unanimous decision represents an unusual consensus among the defense, intelligence, law enforcement and homeland security agencies. Members of the task force had access to every scrap of intelligence, yet they drew the opposite conclusion from Cheney's. They concluded that far from making us safer, cruelty betrays American values and harms U.S. national security.

On this solemn day we pause to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11. As our leaders work to prevent terrorists from again striking on our soil, they should remember the fundamental precept of counterinsurgency we've relearned in Afghanistan and Iraq: Undermine the enemy's legitimacy while building our own. These wars will not be won on the battlefield. They will be won in the hearts of young men who decide not to sign up to be fighters and young women who decline to be suicide bombers. If Americans torture and it comes to light -- as it inevitably will -- it embitters and alienates the very people we need most.

Our current commander-in-chief understands this. The task force recommendations take us a step closer to restoring the rule of law and the standards of human dignity that made us who we are as a nation. Repudiating torture and other cruelty helps keep us from being sent on fools' errands by bad intelligence. And in the end, that makes us all safer.

Charles C. Krulak was commandant of the Marine Corps from 1995 to 1999. Joseph P. Hoar was commander in chief of U.S. Central Command from 1991 to 1994.


As a disabled Staff Sergeant US Army 1973-1982 and Gulf War One Nov 1990 - May 1991

I agree with the retired 4 stars and totally disagree with ex VP Cheney's position on torture, his "walk on the darkside" caused more harm to this nation, than it ever helped it, we will be paying for his attitudes for generations to come, and he could care less. He claims he kept us safe for 8 years, he neglects to mention that the entire Bush Administration went on vacation for August 2001 despite being told that "Bin Ladin is determined to strike in the United States" the "principals refused to meet with Mr Clark, Condi Rice told him to go away, and well 9/11 happened, all they did after 9/12 was close the door on the barn, but the horses were gone.

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