Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, President Donald J. Trump, Senator Mitch McConnell, Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Bill Nelson, Congressman Joe Wilson
Stop denying earned survivor benefits to military surviving spouses
My husband was serving his 30th year in the Navy when the F-18 he was riding in crashed. He was killed, and in a moment, my family's life changed forever. While my children and I were devastated, and then we were saddened to discover that the Dept. of Defense and Congress was far less supportive. My husband’s earned survivor benefit insurance, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), a insurance annuity, was not paid to me in full. When he died, I was informed that I would only be getting a fraction of the benefit promised. When I asked why, it was explained to me that those spouses who also were eligible to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) from the Veterans Administration will have their SBP survivor annuity insurance benefits offset dollar for dollar by DIC. Full SBP payment is unfairly denied to those surviving spouses. This is known as the SBP-DIC offset, and we must fight to end it. When I lost my husband, I lost 75% of our household income. Today, most SBP-DIC offset surviving spouses receive compensation of only $15,095 a year. These surviving spouses deserve better from their country. I’m calling on Congress to provide surviving spouses with 100% of the Survivor Benefit Plan promised. Our government is reneging on a voluntarily purchased insurance plan whose entire purpose is to ensure that surviving spouses are taken care of financially should the sponsor pre-decease her/him. When a servicemember makes the ultimate sacrifice, their family shouldn’t have to worry about how they will survive. As a Navy spouse, I was there for countless others who experienced loss. When I lost my husband, I realized how negligent the government bureaucracy is towards families who have paid the ultimate price. I want to be there for those families again. Hopefully, if we can gather enough petition support, the government will not ignore us. Please sign the petition to end SBP-DIC offset for military surviving spouses and ask Congress to pass HR 846, (Rep Joe Wilson, SC) and S 339, (Senators Nelson, FL and Collins, ME), the two bills to change the law and end this unjust offset.
Petition to Gus Bilirakis, Neal Dunn, John Rutherford
Allow military veterans who've served in combat to receive full coverage under GI-Bill.
Reservist and guard veterans are not treated as full-fledged "veterans" in the writing of the current GI-Bill. They are seen as "less than deserving". The current GI-Bill (Post 9/11) is a great tool for military members and veterans alike. It allows opportunities for aspiring students who otherwise would be unable to afford tuition at certain institutions...but it has a major flaw: Reservists & National Guard members are considered "sub-veteran" in the eyes of the VA. The VA allows for 100% coverage through their Post 9/11 GI-Bill program only to those who have completed 36 months of "active duty time" ('active duty time' is considered simply as time-in-service in the 'active military' or times at which reservists are 'activated') or who were discharged due to service-connected disability. This leaves countless veterans who have fought and bled for this country to receive less than their fair share. For example, a reservist Combat Engineer who is part of a Route Clearance Package and deploys to a theater of operations to search for roadside bombs will have to be deployed four times (under the current Army deployment model of nine months) to be eligible for 100% coverage. That means the three deployments that he or she went through, the detonations under their feet, the tears & the fear, the smoke & the blood are not satisfactory enough to be considered a full "veteran". I will never, in any way, try and discredit anyone else's military service, but there are countless members of the active-duty military community who have never deployed to a theater of operations. Who have never held a weapon outside of Basic Training. Who have never felt the fear that their lives were about to end. But if those members served 36 months while on active duty, they are seen as more of a veteran than a combat-arms service member who has, but has yet to reach 36 months of active duty time. Reservists and National Guard members take up a substantial role in today's ever-changing, asymmetrical battlefield. They've left careers, families, friends, belongings, and made the same sacrifices as active members. To solve this blatant imbalance, I propose: "Keep the current Post 9/11 perimeters in place. The only change being if a military member serves overseas, and qualifies for Imminent Danger Pay/Hostile Fire Pay for a combined total of 180 days, regardless of the specific theater or their current active/reserve status, that member will be entitled to the full 100% benefit coverage." The current writing of the GI-Bill not only leaves out Reservists & Guardsman who've fought in foreign wars, but also active duty personnel who've done the same, but served less than 36 month contracts. This will allow members who have fought for this country, with sweat beading down their Kevlars and the taste of sulfur in their mouths after an IED detonation, to come home to their deserved hero's welcome and not be treated as any less of a veteran. Current GI-Bill Benefits
Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, President of the United States
Afghan and Iraqi Translators Saved American Lives. Make them "Honorary Veterans."
While serving in the US Army in 2008, my Afghan interpreter Janis Shinwari saved my life. During an intense firefight, Janis killed two Taliban fighters that had snuck up behind me. Without Janis, they would have killed me. In Iraq and Afghanistan, translators serve alongside the US military and are essential to keeping us safe and helping us do our mission. And they do so at the risk of being targeted by the Taliban, including their families. Janis is not the exception. There are many translators who have saved American lives on the battlefield. Like Fred, who saved 25 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard.Supporters had to crowdfund the money to fly him and his family to the US before the Taliban killed him. After serving, Steeler's Offensive Tackle and Army Ranger Alejandro Villaneuva worked hard to get his Afghan translator here. After serving alongside our military, many translators received SIV’s or Special Immigrant Visas, so they could relocated to the United States. Unfortunately, they are not considered veterans. We are asking Congress to honor its promise to our wartime allies. We want them to be treated as the heroes they are when they finally come here after years of screening by the State Department, Defense Department, and Department of Homeland Security. All we are asking is for Congress to name them "Honorary Veterans" so that they can check the veteran's preference box on job applications and 56,000 veteran focused charities to include them in their missions. Many are standing by. We are not asking for VA benefits. This is an innovative idea that comes at no cost to the taxpayer and requires no new regulations. Best of all, we have bipartisan support! Yes, people in D.C. can agree on the same thing. This is a simple wording issue. These charities can't help Special Immigrant Visa recipients because technically they are "non-veterans." Ask me if I think my translator is a veteran. Ask the guys from the Pennsylvania National Guard who spent their own money to fly their translator here if he is a veteran. Ask Alejandro. Since at least World War 2, the United States has a very checkered history of honoring our promises to our wartime allies. Yes, big alliances like NATO matter, but it is the friendships and trust at the individual level that is our greatest diplomatic tool. The world knows that we didn't fully take care of the Filipino soldiers that helped us in World War 2, the Koreans during the Korean War, the Vietnamese during the Vietnam War, and now the brave men and women from Afghanistan and Iraq who risked everything to stand shoulder to shoulder with us. With your help, we can change this. We need your voice to get this to the Senate floor. It's time the American people demand our representatives to stand shoulder to shoulder with those that saved American lives. I have a family today because of my translator.
Petition to David Shulkin, Dr. Scott Gottlieb
Urge the VA to Support Research of Medical Marijuana in Treating Veterans with PTSD
PTSD is a severe and potentially debilitating affliction for many veterans. Our country should be doing everything it can to support viable and safe treatment options for PTSD. Yet, incredibly, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (VA) is not actively supporting clinical research studying the potential use of medical cannabis as a treatment option for PTSD, even though preliminary studies have shown promising results. According to their own website, the VA claims they cannot recommend or assist Veterans in using medical marijuana as long as it is classified as a Schedule One Drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA’s own position “supports researchers who conduct adequate and well-controlled clinical trials which may lead to the development of safe and effective marijuana products to treat medical conditions” (https://www.fda.gov/newsevents/publichealthfocus/ucm421163.htm). So, why is the VA not willing to assist and actively support clinical medical marijuana trials? We can find no legitimate answer to this question. There is no group more deserving of access to all helpful medicinal options than Veterans who have bravely served our nation. Because of the lack of treatment options, many Veterans’ rely on opioids to treat their PTSD despite the fact that many negative health impacts are associated with long term use, and in many cases abuse, of opioids. We should be doing everything we can to find viable alternatives to opioids. As an Arizona-based patient-focused organization, AMMA PAC actively works on policies which remove barriers and support full access to medical marijuana for those in need. This includes Veterans with PTSD, who might be one of the biggest beneficiaries of medical marijuana treatment options. But without further study, we may never know. In our home state of Arizona, we have a federally approved study taking place right now, but the VA has not been supportive in referring Veterans to the study. That is a travesty and it needs to be rectified. We are calling on the leaders of the VA and the FDA to work together in resolving this situation and begin proactively supporting legitimate medical marijuana research programs. We hope you will join us in supporting this potentially life-saving cause and sign our petition.
Petition to Department of Veterans Affairs
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.
Petition to Imperial Potentate Jerry G. Gantt
Shriners: Don't dishonor Confederate Veterans by banning their flag!!
On 10th day of August, 2015 Jerry G. Gantt, Imperial Potentate of Shriners International issued Special Order #4 prohibiting any Shriner (in an official capacity) to display a Confederate flag in public or in private, AND prohibits any Shriner (in official capacity) to participate in ANY event where a Confederate flag is displayed. This Special Order is a slap in the face to the 70,000,000 descendants of Confederate Veterans (also now considered by Federal law to be US Veterans) whose forbearers loved, served and were protected by the Southern Cross. Tell the Imperial Potentate to rescind his order! Although the good works of the Shirners are appreciated, Potentate Gantt's action is disrespecting your family and that you are offended.
Petition to Commissioner Al Higgenbotham (Commissioner Al Higgenbotham, Hillsborough Co., FL), Commissioner Sandy Murman, Commissioner Victor Crist, Commissioner Ken Hagan, Commissioner Stacy White, Commissioner Pat Kemp
Protect the Confederate War Memorial in Tampa
In 1911, Hillsborough Co., FL acknowledged the memory of her fallen sons by dedicating the "Memoria in Aeterna" at the 1891 Courthouse. The monument cost $3,000, most raised from citizens of the County by the Tampa Chapter 113, United Daughters of the Confederacy, including a $500 contribution from the City of Tampa. The dedication speech acknowledged "the heroism and courage of those who wore the gray". In 1952, a new courthouse was erected, and the County re-located the memorial to its current position there. There have been efforts to 'erase' the Memorial from Tampa's civil landscape before, but they were strongly rejected by the citizenry. In 1996, the Memorial was restored, and in 1999 when vandals damaged the statue, Hillsborough County repaired it. Hillsborough County Commissioner Les Miller is a recognized #heritagehater. He used the tragic Charleston Church murders and faux tears to break the 'agreement' that Commissioner Jan Platt bartered regarding the County Seal, that erected a historical 3rd National CSA flag from an innocuous display in the County's center. He had the flags taken down and now he is demanding the 1911 War Memorial MUST GO! In opinion polls across Florida, the overwhelming number of voters oppose removal of these historical veterans memorials - but Les Miller doesn't care...he says the War Memorial is "divisive" and must go. In an "ISIS" - like purge, New Orleans has ripped down its most prominent War Memorials, and they are falling like dominoes...Orlando, Gainesville and how here. "The opponents say they are 'symbols of 'White Supremacy'". We say they are no more or no less "white supremacist symbols" than is the United States herself. Memorials to Confederate Veterans are just low hanging fruit in the current War on America. Let's stand strong and tell the Commission: "Keep Your Their Hands off the Confederate War Memorial". Veterans Monuments, even relating to unpopular wars, should be RESPECTED and PROTECTED. If the Commission can't decide - LET THE PEOPLE ACT - put it to a referendum! -------------- SAVE SOUTHERN HERITAGE Inc. is a 501 c(4) public welfare corporation that educates & advocates on behalf of Southern Heritage & History. It was started in 2015 in response to the knee-jerk Anti-Southern institutionalized bullying and “Erase-ism” levied against the people of South Carolina by Governor Nikki Haley, after she broke all previous agreements about how South Carolina’s historical veterans and their symbols should be treated and respected. The Florida branch was activated in mid-January 2016, in response to three initiatives in the Florida Legislature that are part of a hate campaign led by Anti-American extremists, who refuse to respect the various cultures that make up the fabric of Florida’s society. Since that time, it has grown in membership and has been active in Heritage battles throughout Florida including the “We’ll Remember in November Campaign” that resulted in #heritagehater candidates to loose elections in Florida. More info: www.sshfl.org
Petition to VA Secretary David Shulkin
Stop Trump's crazy new ethics rule
Please stop Donald Trump from allowing bribery of VA employees by for-profit colleges. Please write a letter or fill out the comment box at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=VA-2017-VACO-0001-0227 by October 16. Donald Trump is trying to waive a federal ethics law at the Department of Veterans Affairs. He wants to "allow all VA employees" to receive "wages, salaries, gifts, dividends, profits, and ownership" from for-profit colleges. This is bad because for-profit colleges target veterans with aggressive and deceptive college salesmen because the GI Bill is lucrative and because the schools, through an accounting gimmick called "the 90/10 loophole," use the GI Bill to get around a cap the schools otherwise face on federal funds. Congress uncovered massive fraud by for-profit colleges targeting the GI Bill and enacted a "zero tolerance" ban on all gifts and financial entanglements between for-profit colleges and VA. Now Trump wants to "waive" the law. You can read more about it at: New York Times: "Veterans Agency Seeks to Scrap Ethics Law on For-Profit Colleges" (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/business/veterans-affairs-ethics.html and Reveal News: Trump Administration Seeks to Legalize Payoffs to VA Officials by For-Profit Colleges (https://www.revealnews.org/blog/trump-administration-seeks-to-legalize-payoffs-to-va-officials-by-for-profit-schools/ And if you think this sounds unconstitutional (for Trump to waive a federal Act of Congress), you're not alone! Recommended Action: Please add your voice to the public comments at https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=VA-2017-VACO-0001-0227 by October 16. Here's a suggested comment you could use: "Please do not waive the federal ethics law at VA. VA employees should not be permitted to receive gifts, money, and ownership interests in colleges that seek the GI Bill. VA should always put veterans first! VA should not expose VA employees to potential bribery and conflicts of interest."