Subject: Open Letter to Congress Assailing Them on PTSD Review
Brothers, it's time to take action to preserve the benefits that Veterans earned and are entitled to.
TO: All Concerned
FROM: Robert E. Wallace, Executive Director
DATE: November 7, 2005
SUBJ: PTSD Review
The attached letter
was broadcast faxed to every member of the House and Senate on Monday, November
I cannot stress enough the importance of this issue. Please contact your legislators and let them know that we will not tolerate this assault on America's disabled veterans.
We need to overwhelm their district offices with phone calls. When calling, identify yourself as a voter, constituent and concerned veteran. Tell them that this is a critical issue for all who have or will wear the uniform. The time to do the right thing by our nations veterans is now!
Thank you for your continuous support of our VFW Legislative Priority Goals.
November 7, 2005
TO: ALL MEMBERS OF CONGRESS
Dear Senator or
We have, at the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW), observed for the past several months, astonishing efforts to cast veterans who have been found to be severely disabled, by the Department of Veterans Affairs' (VA) own determinations, as undeserving of the veterans' benefits that a grateful nation has provided for them in the law.
This assault on the most vulnerable members of the veteran community, disabled in service to this country, and suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is broad in its scope and execution. At a time when the VA should be preparing to serve combat veterans returning from the war on terrorism being fought in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, they are expending their limited resources planning a systematic effort to reduce or remove benefits earned by the parents and older siblings of the troops fighting in the field today.
The VA, in an extraordinary reversal of their expressed priorities, has apparently decided to ignore the intolerable backlogs of more than 700,000 claims and appeals that they have created, in order to devote their resources to a massive review of 72,000 cases, with the intent of denying the future payments necessary for subsistence to severely mentally disabled combat veterans and their families. This review has nothing to do with VA's acknowledged error rate of about 15%. If that were the case, they would review all the cases, including the many cases of veterans whom the VA has erroneously denied or under paid.
Instead, the VA is looking only at cases in which the veterans are totally dependent on the VA to survive, and that the VA has already found eligible for compensation. Remarkably, the VA plans to reduce or cut off mentally disabled veterans if they cannot recall the specific details of stressful events that occurred three or more decades ago.
The absolute folly and moral bankruptcy of this plan is apparent to the United States Senate, who voted to bar funding for it from the appropriation bill now in conference. We have heard, however, that the House Leadership fully intends to strip this provision from the bill, and require the VA to execute this witch-hunt of a review.
The VFW urges
the Congress to put a stop to this wartime assault on past and present warriors
who have fought for, and continue to defend our country. Understand that this
situation is totally unacceptable to the VFW, and its 2.4 million members and
auxiliaries. We will do what is necessary to protect, in Lincoln's words, "He
who bore the battle, and his widow, and his orphan." These words are marked
on the front of the VA headquarters building. I urge you to take them to heart.
ROBERT E. WALLACE
VFW Washington Office
cc: VFW National Officers
VFW Posts and Departments
VFW Auxiliary Leadership