Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs
Permanently Stop Abusive VA Dog Experiments
UPDATE (March 2018): Following your efforts, U.S. Congress enacted a law to de-fund the VA's dog experiments for 2018 and placed dramatic restrictions on the practice. Read more here. We're still working to end this waste and abuse for good! --- As U.S. military veterans, family members, and active duty members, we’re sickened that the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) has been using taxpayers’ money to purchase, breed, abuse and kill dogs in wasteful experiments. The VA’s painful and deadly experiments on dogs are a betrayal of these loyal animals who literally save soldiers’ lives on and off the battlefield. These projects also waste resources desperately needed to provide veterans with care and services. According to news reports and the non-profit White Coat Waste Project, some of the V.A.’s current projects involve: giving mixed-breed puppies heart attacks (Richmond V.A.) cutting into beagle puppies’ brains (Milwaukee V.A.) damaging dogs’ spinal cords (Cleveland V.A.) With the support of 75% of taxpayers and a coalition of influential Democratic and Republican lawmakers, in March 2018 Congress enacted legislation that cuts funding for and drastically restricts future dog testing at the VA. Now, please join us in urging the VA Secretary to PERMANENTLY end this waste and abuse. William Barko, US Army Ret.John Blaha, USAF Ret.Stan Benton, USN Ret. and USAF Ret.Bruce Bryant, US Army Ret.Chris Burand, US Army Ret.Gary Cantara, USAF separated, honorable dischargeWilliam Coll, US Army Ret.Michael Donahue, USNWayne Hair, US Army Ret.Ed Hernandez, USMCWill HubbardJennifer Johnson, USN Ret.Dr. Isis Johnson-Brown, US Army Ret.Ken Phillips, US Army Ret.Robert Reed, USAF Ret.Diane Solomon, USN SpouseTyler Spires, US ArmyVirginia Joy Stovall, USN Ret.Lyn StrangstadDanell Tomasella, US Army Ret.Nancy Warner-BrownJennifer Wilsbacher, US Army Ret.Merrie Wilson, USAF Ret.
Help Veteran with Cancer Caused by Serving our Country Receive VA Benefits
Our family friend, Dan Parks, is a U.S. Navy veteran that fought throat cancer. He was discharged from the military, partially, to end his exposure to ionizing radiation during his work in a weapons and ammunition facility. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is denying his claim for disability benefits – despite letters from the VA’s own doctors stating that Dan’s exposure likely caused his cancer. Dan needs your help to get the VA to change their decision before it’s too late. Dan was stationed at Naval Submarine Base New London, where he worked with ordinance. During his time at the base, he was also exposed to ionized radiation. Fast-forward a few decades later and has Dan suffered from throat cancer. He now has to plug a hole in his throat to talk; a side effect of the cancer. Dan’s discharge paperwork from the Navy includes a stamp saying he was being discharged, in part, due to the radiation exposure. Multiple doctors with the VA have written letters saying there is a better than even chance that the cancer was caused by Dan’s radiation exposure during his time in the Navy. But the VA has denied his disability claim. The reason? They say there’s no proof he was exposed to radiation in the Navy. As Dan says, “If the VA won’t accept their own doctors, where does a veteran turn?” Dan’s been fighting for benefits for three years. He filed an appeal, but the VA won’t review it for another 18 months. Time is running out. He needs access to life-saving treatment before it’s too late. Please sign this petition calling on the VA to accept their own doctors’ assessments and grant Dan Parks needed health benefits due to the radiation exposure he endured while serving our country.
A Royal Commission into the Veteran suicide Rate in Australia
In 2017 , 80 plus Australian Veterans have lost their lives to suicide. This is a National Tragedy and something needs to be done about it. Earlier this year, the Australian Government gave DVA a bucket of money to help in this area. Doesn't seem to be working. In Australia we have 300 plus Ex-Service Organisations working , but they really need a combined plan and to be working to the same goal. I call on the Australian Government to establish a Royal Commission with wide terms of reference to enquire into the Australian Veteran suicide rate and what can be done in practical terms to address this devastating situation.
Give recent amputee Veteran Marine Jordan Leitsch benefits he deserves: Full Disability!
I've started this petition on behalf of my cousin. We're fighting for his right to benefits from the Department of Veteran's Affairs. He has been denied full disability by the VA, despite losing his leg due to trauma sustained during his service. Here is his story: "My name is Jordan. In 2014 I got done with my 8 years in the Marine Corps. My time as an Infantryman as well as an Infantry Combat Instructor took its toll in more ways than one. In January of 2017 I had surgery for a condition called Popliteal Artery Entrapment: Basically, from repetitive trauma, my muscles formed a vice grip-like effect on the arteries in my leg so I had little to no blood flow. Recovery was supposed to be about 2 months, but things took a different turn. My leg gave me severe chronic pain, was 3 times the size of the other one and I faced a high risk of blood clots and DVT on a constant basis. Even while sleeping my leg lost all sensation and I had to physically work on even just moving my toes. Since there is little information on this condition, I have been fighting with the VA for the last 10 months on benefits for this, even to the point of having to get in contact with my congressman and use their aide. Because of the severity of my condition and after talking to many, many medical professionals, we just completed an above the knee amputation. Leading up to this surgery, I had daily battles of severe anxiety. This is both physically and mentally draining, not only for me but also for my family. I've spent a lot of time going back and forth to Milwaukee and Madison for appointments and a lot of time off of work because of this issue. I try my best to do everything I can for my family but sometimes life knocks you down. My wife, son, family and friends have really been there for me on many fronts. One of the things that really is pushing me through this though is a quote that may sound dumb but is true in many respects: "To Stupid Too Quit" by Derek Weida, an amputee Army veteran who served three tours in Iraq with the 82nd Airborne Division I take this quote to mean:We all have choices we make in life, and those choices have 2 outcomes. You succeed or you fail. But failure is not the end. When failure is presented you have to continue to push for that thing you want the most. Life will knock you down and beat and kick you while you're there laying in the dirt. But to get back up and keep fighting and keep pushing yourself, that mentality is the key! This is a long road that I am on and the end goal is to have that better quality of life, so I can play with my son and run alongside him. So I can sleep in peace. So when my wife asks me to help, I can get out of my chair without agonizing pain, and even take those strolls down the street with her. All the things I used to take for granted." Please sign to show your support for Jordan, who has served our country to the point of now sacrificing a limb, and to demand he receive full disability, the benefits he deserves, from the VA. If you would like to donate to assist Jordan's family during this difficult time, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/truckit. THANK YOU!!
Ask President Trump and VA Secretary Shulkin to Re-Possess the Mare Island Naval Cemetery
We respectfully request the Executive Branch, President Donald Trump and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. David J. Shulkin, to honor the military service of our Nation's Veterans by re-possessing / assuming ownership of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery by Fiscal Year 2020. The Mare Island Naval Cemetery (MINC) is a national shrine but its deplorable condition is a shocking disgrace to the honorable service, uncommon valor, and selfless sacrifice of our courageous Veterans buried there and, even worse, to the dignity our great Nation. After Mare Island Naval Shipyard's closure in 1996 (due to BRAC 1993), the federal government left MINC behind and did not provide any funding to first restore it to honorable conditions (i.e., no National Shrine contract to repair the gravesites) nor for its immense need for ongoing maintenance. The mission of the Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration (VA NCA) is to provide a dignified burial and lasting memorial for Veterans and their eligible family members and to maintain our Veterans' cemeteries as national shrines. The MINC is a national shrine as it has about 1,000 graves including Veterans who served since the War of 1812. Designated as a National Historic Landmark, it is the final resting place for three Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, James Cooney, William Halford, and Alexander Parker. Also buried there is Anna Arnold Key, the daughter of Francis Scott Key who wrote our National Anthem, The Star Spangled Banner. To preemptively fulfill part of the VA NCA's Urban Initiative, the City of Vallejo is also offering to hand-over additional land adjacent to the cemetery which will increase the burial options for our local Veterans and their eligible family members. We respectfully ask you to please sign this petition and send a message to the Executive Branch to please re-possess / assume ownership of the Mare Island Naval Cemetery by Fiscal Year 2020. Here are background information: http://www.timesheraldonline.com/business/20170421/retired-navy-captain-takes-on-quest-for-mare-island-cemetery-restoration http://www.timesheraldonline.com/general-news/20170703/relative-of-young-brit-killed-in-us-service-buried-on-mare-island-hopes-maintenance-efforts-succeed http://www.timesheraldonline.com/general-news/20170724/possible-movement-in-effort-to-save-mare-island-cemetery http://www.timesheraldonline.com/opinion/20170726/ralph-parrott-captain-supply-corps-us-navy-retired-cemetery-a-disgrace http://www.timesheraldonline.com/general-news/20170809/ralph-parrott-making-progress-in-highlighting-mare-island-cemetery-problems http://www.timesheraldonline.com/general-news/20170911/dozens-of-volunteers-clean-up-mare-island-cemetery-for-911-day-of-service http://www.timesheraldonline.com/general-news/20180109/possible-solution-to-mare-island-cemetery-situation-in-sight
Congress: Let all children of U.S. military service members unite with their families!
I’m Jenifer Bass, a U.S. Navy veteran, who served for 10 years, one-third in the Asia-Pacific region. It was due to my travel between ports in countries like Japan and Thailand that I first encountered amerasian children, and descendants, of U.S. service members and civilian contractors previously stationed overseas. Filipino Amerasians are abandoned and neglected biracial children of Filipino mothers and American fathers (mostly members of the US armed forces). In the Philippines alone, more than 52,000-plus children were born and left behind after the U.S. Navy withdrew the last of its military personnel in 1992. Right now, the U.S. government won’t legally recognize them as U.S. citizens, despite having been born to an American parent. The Philippine Embassy won't help them either. As a former US colony between 1898 and 1946, the Philippines was home to millions of US soldiers and their dependents, even after its independence. Until 1992, the country hosted two of the largest US military facilities outside the US – Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base, which played major roles during the Vietnam and first Gulf wars. In 1982 US Public Law 97-359, or the Amerasian Act of 1982, allowed children from Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchea, or Thailand to move to the US and eventually become American citizens, but those who were from the Philippines were excluded from the law, an exclusion which was upheld by the US Senate on the basis that many Filipino Amerasians were “conceived from illicit affairs and prostitution”, and were born during peacetime. Today, there are estimated to be more than 250,000-plus children. Many amerasians are caught in a no-man’s land of discrimination and poverty -- most left behind by U.S. service members who are unaware that they’ve fathered children overseas. My friend John Haines is one of these sailors. In 2011, John discovered he was the father of a half-Filipino daughter, Jannette. He attempted to unite with her through the American Homecoming Act -- but was frustrated to learn that the Act did not apply to Filipino children of U.S. service members. Today, all John wants is to be united with his daughter and grandchildren. He, like so many other veterans are living with a “hole in their hearts” as they search for ways to unite with their children. There is hope. The Uniting Families Act of 2018, HR 1520, creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. Currently, blood relationship must be proven by DNA test and the total number of visas granted will be capped at 5,000 each year. The issue takes on more urgency as so many of our veterans from our wars in Southeast Asia are getting older and dying each day -- without the chance to connect, or in some cases, reconnect with their own children. John’s daughter Jannette has already undertaken the DNA testing process, conclusively proving her relationship to her American father. All she’s waiting for is the opportunity to permanently unite with her father. There is a PBS documentary, "Left by the Ship" (2010), documenting a day in the life and the personal struggles as a Filipino amerasian on the never ending search for identity and their struggles to connect to their American military families. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017, HR 1520, now!
Extend VA Program for Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injuries.
Please help me to help my brother and other Vets with Traumatic Brain Injuries to continue with their care. They are discontinuing funding for this program starting October 6, 2017. Under the AL-TBI program, Veterans meeting the eligibility criteria are placed in private sector TBI residential care facilities specializing in neurobehavioral rehabilitation. The program offers team-based care and assistance in areas such as speech, memory and mobility. Approximately 202 Veterans participated in the AL-TBI Pilot Program in 47 facilities located in 22 states. By not continuing this program, most of these vets will end up in nursing homes. Some of them need specialized care that is unique only to their own brain injury. It will also place a lot of stress on families to try to find care for them. Nursing homes and assisted living facilities are not trained or equipped to properly handle individuals that have suffered brain injuries. My brother is just one of the individuals that the VA is now shuffling around. They have a 1 year waiting list for the Veteran Care Centers in Virginia. Even so, these facilities are not trained to deal with brain injuries. These are vets that sustained these injuries while working or fighting for our country. They do not deserve this. UPDATE: At this point my goal is to achieve funding to last long enough for my brother to stay where he is until there is an opening at our Veterans Care Center. ( There is a one year waiting list) His social worker says the only option for him is a nursing home until there is an opening. The nursing homes they are trying to place him in are below average standards and ratings. I have no idea what to do. Please help. UPDATE TO THIS: I received this email from a gentleman who was trying to assist me. I contacted House Veterans Affairs Committee (HVAC)staff on your behalf, and they informed me that HVAC Health Subcommittee was briefed on this program a few months ago. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) believes that this pilot program is NOT meeting the needs of the veterans it is intended to serve. The VA has initiated individual transition plans for the 63 veterans still enrolled in the pilot. I understand the need to discontinue something that is not really cost effective but what about the 63 veterans still in the program? They are obviously the ones that are in need of the program. At the very least continue the funding until these families are able to find suitable housing and care. The Veterans Centers in Virginia have a year long waiting list and they want to put my brother in a nursing home until one opens up. There is something drastically wrong with this system. Thank you so much for reading and spreading the word. Time is running out for my brother and many others. Betty
A spouse to be able to call for immediate help for PTSD from the VA for their partner.
The Department of Veterans affairs tells people that when someone needs help they have to call themselves. Sometimes the veteran that needs the help is not capable of making that phone call anymore because they are so out of control with the post traumatic stress disorder that they can not function. I am trying to get them to understand that a spouse or family member knows when something is not right and when an emergency counseling session is needed. When someone else calls they are told when the earliest appointment is and most of the time it is at least 3 weeks out. Sometimes that just to long and that adds to the 22 veterans a day that commit suicide. I think by fixing this we may be able to lower that number in the future. Thank you in advance for signing and helping make a difference.
Demand Change in the VA and Pass the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act
It is estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. This issue of veteran suicide is one that is often ignored by American society. But if there were 22 soldiers being killed daily in action overseas, there would be a public outcry. Much of the blame rests on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (the VA), which handles, or fails to adequately handle, a significant majority of U.S. veterans. Recently a number of scandals surrounding the VA have come to light. The VA has been accused of writing up secret lists of veterans who are currently being denied medical care for the sake of masking their high numbers of delays. A former clinic director has claimed that 40 veterans have died from being denied medical treatment at the VA hospital in Phoenix, Arizona. It can only be assumed that hundreds more have died nationwide as a result of the VA's disturbing practices. Although the VA requires patients receive care within 14-30 days of requesting an appointment, an incalculable number of veterans are being forced to wait months to have scheduled appointments with a doctor, regardless of the urgency of receiving care. These are not the only allegations that have been surrounding the VA in recent months. The department has been accused of rewarding administrators with high bonuses for mismanaging the important task of providing our veterans with efficient health care. The inordinate bonuses the administrators receive for overseeing an increase in backlog claims or improper medical procedures and detestable malpractices all point to corruption in a system that is supposed to care for the veterans who have served our country. These recent allegations only add to the long history of the VA's practices in failing our veterans' health needs. The mental health care branch of the administration should face particular scrutiny as well. Although symptoms of PTSD and other disorders may appear years after the veteran's deployment, he/she has only five years from his/her date of discharge to enroll in the VA's health care. The VA also does not have enough mental health care providers to address the growing needs of returning soldiers. This certainly does not help a soldier who needs medical health care for his mental disorders or has suicidal thoughts. On May 28, 2014, the Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General released a report on the VA hospital in Phoenix and provided evidence of long waiting times for veterans to receive medical care, a lack of an official wait list, and several other cases of mismanagement, bullying, sexual harassment, and improper staff hiring decisions. To read the report visit http://www.va.gov/oig/pubs/VAOIG-14-02603-178.pdf We demand that the U.S. government in reviewing the VA administration does not go easy on a system that is directly hurting our soldiers who deserve more than this. Thankfully, there is a solution in the works that will help lower the suicide rate among veterans and clean up the VA: The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans (SAV) Act (H.R. 5059), introduced by Representatives Timothy Waltz and Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee. This act, if passed, will have a variety of positive effects on the Department of Veterans Affairs that desperately needs dire improvement, such as: -Amending the requirements for reviewing the discharge characterizations of individuals diagnosed with PTSD or TBI -Requiring a centralized website of all the mental health care services available within each VISN which be updated at least every 90 days -Authorizing the VA to conduct a student loan repayment pilot program aimed at recruiting and retaining psychiatrists -Requiring the DoD and National Gurad to review staffing requirements for Directors of Pyschological Health in each state -Requiring a yearly evaluation, conducted by a third party, of all mental health care and suicide prevention practices and programs at the DoD and VA -Establishing a strategic relationship between the VA and the National Guard to facilitate a greater continuity of care between the National Guard and the VA -Authorizing a GAO report on the transition of care for PTSD and TBI between the DoD and the VA -Establishing a peer support and community outreach pilot program to assist transitioning service members with accessing VA mental health care services These changes, if implemented, will not fix all of the problems the VA is faced with solving. But Clay Hunt SAV is a big step in the right direction. Please sign this petition to do our part in protecting the soldiers who have honorably protected us. *Note: this petition originally called for the passage of the Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act (S. 2182)
Give Corey the benefits and care he has earned!
My son was assaulted by a soldier breaking his neck. He was hit from behind because he didn’t want to get into the car with them. The Army says this is my son’s fault because if he had gotten in the car when he was told to, he wouldn’t have been hit breaking his neck. After breaking his neck the soldiers picked Corey up and placed him in the back of a compact car between two other soldiers. They had a Sgt and a paramedic meet them in the parking lot of the barracks where the paramedic evaluated my son and did not call an ambulance for him to stabilize him. It took about 3 hours for them to get Corey to the military hospital where they did not have a neurosurgeon. The Army refuses to transfer him to a WTU they refuse to start a medboard and they refuse to say this is in the line of duty. SOLDIERS did this to my son. SOLDIERS moved my son around and hauled him around in a car for hours with a broken neck. A Paramedic trained by the army looked at my son, documented that he was barely breathing, paralyzed, had low blood pressure and heart rate, and was in and out of consciousness. This paramedic had a responsibility to call an ambulance to stabilize my son’s spinal cord and administer oxygen, fluids, and medication for his heart rate and blood pressure. A paramedic had the responsibility to transfer my son to a hospital with a neurosurgeon on duty to stabilize my son. Due to the care and treatment he received at the hands of soldiers and a paramedic on post, my son suffered bleeding into the spinal cord as well as having bone fragments impinging on his spinal cord. He went from paraplegic to quadriplegic all while in he hospital. Now my son is not eligible for any grants for adaptive technology, home and vehicle modifications, transport to and from therapy, durable medical equipment, or home health care. He is not eligible because the Army refuses to take responsibility for their part in my son’s injuries. I cannot sue because of something called the Fares Doctrine. My son has suffered enough! For the rest of his life he will have to have someone help him with everyday tasks. He cannot even control his own bowel and bladder function. He is 23 years old. Help me get the benefits my son deserves!! I have 5 kids and have worked hard to get where I am. I am a RN who works at the VA hospital in our area and I am going to lose my job. My FMLA is up this month and I will have to return to work. They won’t even let me work part time so I can care for Corey. Without the benefits being withheld we will lose everything! I can’t leave him by himself and he has to go to therapy. I was told last week to apply for Medicaid. I shouldn’t have to. He is coveeed on my insurance and the army has some responsibility for the extent of his injuries. PLEASE help in any way you can! To read more of our story or to help share or donate to help with modifications we so desperately need for our home please follow this link https://www.youcaring.com/coreyshackelford-1038083 or you can find my story on Facebook @accountabilityforcorey