Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Veterans Affairs
Stop Abusive Dog Experiments
As U.S. military veterans, family members, and active duty members, we’re sickened that the Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.) is 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.) Most of the beagles, hounds and other dogs in these laboratories won’t even be given a name, just a number that’s tattooed inside of their ears. Like female beagles DM163618 and DM163625 who were born in June 2016 and will be spending their first birthday imprisoned inside a Milwaukee V.A. laboratory, if they haven’t already been killed for invasive brain experiments. Most Americans agree—75% of voters want to end dog experimentation and Democrats and Republicans in Congress are speaking out against the V.A.’s cruelty. The Los Angeles V.A. has announced it is ending its painful and deadly dog experiments, and the last three V.A. laboratories using dogs can and should follow suit. The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted unanimously to cut funding next year for the V.A.'s painful dog experiments, and the Senate will consider the measure later this year. Please join us in urging VA Secretary David Shulkin to end this abuse immediately as he works to reform the V.A. Dylan Miller, US Army Ret.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. During this month where we honor our veterans, 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.
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. 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. 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 2017 creates a specialized visa allowing military veterans and eligible civilian contractors to sponsor their children and grandchildren for U.S. citizenship. 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 struggle to connect to their American military fathers. Please sign this petition to tell Congress that these families cannot wait another day. Pass the Uniting Families Act of 2017 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)
DISABLED VETERANS DESPERATELY NEED YOUR HELP!
Hundreds of thousands of elderly disabled veterans are about to have their incomes cut by nearly two thirds. Newly proposed legislation discovered in the latest Trump budget will leave many of our most fragile veterans homeless and destitute. I promise you this is not a frivolous petition. Lives are at stake. I am a 68 year old disabled Vietnam Veteran and I am personally one of those who will be devastated by this unconscionable proposal. WITH YOUR SUPPORT IT CAN BE STOPPED. Please sign our petition and read the attached articles published by Disabled American Veterans (DAV), AMVET and Stars and Stripes for further information: https://www.votervoice.net/Shares/BAAAAAVfAC14MAIL2wQ7FAA http://www.amvets.org/amvets-deeply-concerned-presidents-proposed-cuts-veteran-benefits/ https://www.stripes.com/news/american-legion-calls-va-budget-proposal-stealth-privatization-1.470507?utm_source=Stars+and+Stripes+Emails&utm_campaign=Veterans+News&utm_medium=email#.WTCsnmgrJaQ
Don't let disabled US VETERAN Heather Laurie starve to death!
Please don't let disabled US VETERAN Heather Laurie starve to death! This is absolutely unacceptable: Disabled US Navy Veteran Heather Laurie's BASIC needs are being rejected by the VA in West Virginia. As a result of her mitochondrial disease, Heather requires life sustaining nutrition called TPN. TPN is a last resort for her, and her body can tolerate no other form of nutrition, as evidenced by failed G and J tube trials. Now she is being denied because her food and water is just too expensive?! They are sending her home to her husband and children to die. By starvation and dehydration. This is a travesty of justice. We desperately need for your to take action now, while there is still time for Laurie. Please stand in the gap for Laurie and for ALL of our veterans.Thank you for caring for those who served! WHAT YOU CAN DO: 1. PLEASE sign the petition and SHARE on Facebook and Twitter. 2. Add a ribbon to your Facebook and/or Twitter profile: http://twibbon.com/support/tpn-4-veteran-heather-laurie 3. Take this directly to President Obama by emailing him here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/write-or-call Contact President-Elect Donald Trump here: https://www.greatagain.gov/ 4. Contact your senators and representatives, anyone in news media, etc. This petition needs to go viral! For more information, see her VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTJVjdzpwmw&feature=share UPDATE as of Tuesday 11/15/16: https://www.facebook.com/gfcfmomofmany/videos/10208215784655111/?pnref=story The clock is ticking for Heather. Please use any influence that you have!
Massage Therapy Benefits covered by the VA.
My Fellow Americans... I reach out to you today as a massage therapist and Military family member. I've been practicing massage for 11 years now and my brother Lcpl. Jason A. Parker is a US Marine..both my Grandfathers are USAF..my Uncle Tim is Army..Uncle Joe RIP, was also a Marine. Our Armed Forces endure more physical and emotional stress than most of us could imagine. They would happily continue doing so quietly..because they were built for it. Their warrior spirits take on the burdens and trauma of the world..i ask you to help me secure medical coverage for massage therapy through the U.S. VA. They currently have ZERO coverage for this therapy. One of the most beneficial treatments for PTSD is massage therapy..not to mention, a lot of our Military come home in need of multiple surgeries..massage breaks down post surgical scar tissue..AND..the emotional scars that battle leaves on them. Thank you for your time..lets do right by our Military and demand the VA cover this benefit.
Expand the post-9/11 caregiver program to all U.S. veterans
Many of our military veterans have health issues stemming from their service to our country in foreign wars. These issues often require ongoing caregiver assistance. Veterans who served after 9/11 have received the most generous benefits, which has left our other veterans scrounging to cover needed care. Senator Patty Murray’s latest attempt to bridge this disparity, the Military and Veteran Caregiver Improvement Act, has been stuck in Senate committee since 2015. This act is important because so many of the caregiver programs are geared toward post- 9/11 military veterans. Meanwhile, the veterans of our wars in Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, and others have been forced to rely on their family and friends for needed care. Many spouses are faced with the tough choice to put their loved ones into a nursing home so they can get a job to help support their family. Others, like my own mother, stay at home to care for their veteran and are forced to scrape and scrounge every single penny to make ends meet. Veterans from all eras have sacrificed to serve and protect our nation. They have seen and experienced things that few of us could even imagine. And many of them have been exposed to weapon materials that are extremely toxic and dangerous -- leaving them with ailments that plague them for the rest of their lives. We have to do more to care for these heroes. If you believe that our veterans are valuable and deserve the resources necessary to ensure a decent quality of life. If you agree, please sign and share this petition to tell Congress to pass the Military and Veteran Caregiver Improvement Act, or a bill similar in wording.