Petition to U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate
Don't Deny Compensation to 9/11 First Responders
My name is John Feal and I’ve been to 181 funerals since September 11, 2001, for first-responders who joined me at Ground Zero after the attacks on the World Trade Center. They are now dying from cancer due to exposure to asbestos, burning jet fuel, burning computer parts, pulverized concrete and other toxic substances. By 2021, it’s expected that more people will have died from toxic exposure than were killed in the attacks. And Congress could break their promise to provide them with compensation. I went to Ground Zero hoping that my experience as a US Army veteran and demolition supervisor could save lives. Seventeen years later, many of my fellow responders have died or are dying from cancer, respiratory illness, and other health problems caused by their exposure to debris and toxic chemicals. In 2015, we successfully fought to reauthorize the James Zadroga Health and Compensation Act, which ensures victims could receive health screenings and medical benefits for 70 years, and compensation through 2020. In less than two years, that Victim Compensation Fund will close — and it’s already running out of money. After 9/11, the EPA assured the responders and residents that "the air is safe," and hundreds of thousands of residents and workers returned. Today over 10,000 people have been diagnosed with WTC-linked cancers and more than 2,000 of those people have died, including 184 NYC firefighters. I live with the memory of the lives lost that day, but also the sadness of knowing survivors are still dying. It’s tragic that our elected officials won’t come together to guarantee support for these victims, who inhaled cancer causing chemicals as they searched for survivors and recovered bodies. Now, thousands of families face steep medical bills and struggle every day just to survive. This is no way to treat human beings who sacrificed so much that day. Please sign my petition to make sure 9/11 responders and victims are supported by the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund after they sacrificed everything.
Petition to Donald J. Trump, Nancy Pelosi, Mitch McConnell, Jackie Speier, John A. Yarmuth, Doug Jones, Nita M. Lowey, Adam Smith
Stop denying earned survivor benefits to military surviving spouses
I am requesting support for over 65,000 military widows/ers whose spouses died on active duty, killed in action or in the line of duty or post retirement of a service caused disability or illness. We are the only widow/er in the entire federal government to be denied our full survivor benefits. Most of us are robbed of over $1,000 a month by the Dept of Defense as a result of an archaic law dating back to 1972. Congress over 20 years has failed to take care of those who sacrificed all. My husband was serving his 30th year in the Navy when the F-18 he was riding in malfunctioned and crashed. He was killed, and in a moment, my life changed forever. My three children, our families, and I were devastated and overcome with grief. Then I was horrified to discover that after they handed me the folded flag "on behalf of the President of the US and a grateful nation", that the Dept. of Defense was not very grateful in the least. I sacrificed my husband, my best friend, and the father of our 3 children, our sole provider, and now we were expected to also sacrifice financially! We impacted surviving spouses need to change the law in order to receive our survivor benefits in full. It would be illegal for an insurance company to deny paying an insurance policy just because the beneficiary had another policy. But our government does this and Congress has failed for 20 years to fix this. I need your help. 65,255 impacted military widows/ers need your help. Call your Congressman/woman and ask him/her to co-sponsor HR 553, the bill that will eliminate this unjust offset. My husband’s earned survivor benefit insurance, the Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP), a insurance annuity, a benefit of employment that he earned, was not paid to me in full. When he died, I was informed that I would only be getting a fraction of the benefit I should have received. When I asked why, it was explained to me that those spouses who also were eligible to receive Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC), an entitlement paid from the Veterans Administration to indemnify or hold the government harmless for causing my husband's death, over 65,000 of us, 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. This is a purchased insurance. It is not the norm for one insurance to not be paid just because the beneficiary has another policy. "This is the only insurance one purchases and then is legally prohibited from collecting." Senator Bill Nelson, former insurance commissioner for the state of Florida. When I lost my husband, I lost 78% of our household income. His pay stopped the day of his death. With 3 children, a mortgage, and no job, after moving 26 times, life was difficult. I don't want this to happen to anymore widows. Every widow of every new fallen hero is subject to this same denial of survivor benefits. The Dept. of Defense reduces the Survivor Benefit Plan, a form of insurance that pays a portion of retired pay to the surviving spouse and/or children by the amount I would receive in DIC, which holds the government harmless for causing my husband's death. DoD claims these are duplicative benefits, yet 100% disabled military retirees may receive all their military retired pay plus VA disability compensation. But when they die, their widow is "double dipping". Disability compensation ends with the death. DIC is currently $1319.04 per month. That is what DoD deducts from SBP, leaving most surviving spouses left with zero in SBP and only DIC. This is wrong. Today, most SBP-DIC offset surviving spouses receive DIC and zero in the earned and purchased SBP. 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. Congress will change the law. DoD will be prevented from making a windfall profit off of our spouse's deaths by not paying in full their survivor benefits. Please sign the petition to end SBP-DIC offset for military surviving spouses and ask Congress to pass House Resolution HR 553, (Rep Joe Wilson, SC) and Senate bill S.622 (Senators Doug Jones, AL introduced with 28 original co-sponsors, the two bills to change the law and end this unjust forfeiture of what our spouses paid for with blood and income. Use the Capital Switchboard number to be connected to your Representative and both Senators and ask them to co-sponsor these bills. toll free: 866-272-6622
Petition to MSA Security, Glen Kucera, Perella Weinberg Partners, Mike Wynn, Justin Kelley, Erin Eizenstat, MSA K9, Paul D’Antonio, Chip Baird, David Ferguson, John Mckee, Santiago Nunez, Selene Ortega
Please Return K9 Mattie to her military family
I have tried to sit down to write this message several times but have failed as my family and I have been overcome with tremendous sorrow. My husband, combat veteran SSG Séamus Fennessy has been a K9 handler with MSA Security (Owned by Perella Weinberg Partners “PWP”) for the past five years. During this time Seamus and his K9 partner Mattie have worked exclusively with each other — Mattie has never had another handler nor has Seamus had another dog. Last month my husband informed MSA that he was going to serve his country on active military duty but would be local and still able to keep up with Mattie’s training. Since MSA has previously allowed handlers to keep their dogs in similar circumstances we had no reason to believe this would be different. Except it was. At the 11th hour only 2 days before my husband went on orders we were abruptly informed that Mattie would need to be returned and someone “would pick her up in the morning”. Mattie is just 1 month shy of her 7th birthday and only one year from her retirement. MSA & PWP have callously torn our family member, our beloved “Mattie Cakes” from her family who loves and adores her. While our daughters and myself can hardly contain our tears, my husband remains strong despite a barrage of phone calls and texts from MSA which include threats of destroying his military career. My husband is a veteran and decorated war hero — and in the words of MSA themselves a “great employee”. Mattie is a goofy, lovable pooch who adores playing with the kids in our backyard and napping on the sofa. Neither deserve this treatment. MSA & PWP have taken Mattie from her loving home and ripped our family apart. This is devastating to everyone involved. Including our sweet Mattie, our lovable goofball who doesn’t understand any of this but will wonder what she did wrong to end up in a kennel torn from her family and everything she knows. It’s this image that haunts me. Mattie is innocent and in true MSA/PWP fashion they are using her as leverage as they routinely do with their dogs. Please sign our petition to urge MSA Security/ Parella Weinberg Partners to return Mattie to the family who loves her. Please let MSA & PWP know how you feel about this! PERELLA WEINBERG PATNERS (PWP) CONTACT INFO: 767 Fifth Ave NY NY 10153 PHONE NUMBER: 212.287.3341 MSA SECURITY CONTACT INFO: 9 MURRAY STREET, 3RD FLOOR NY NY 10007 PHONE NUMBER: 212.509.1336 https://www.facebook.com/SaveK9Mattie/
Petition to Donald J. Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Cornyn, Rand Paul, U.S. Senate, Bryan Steil, Department of Veterans Affairs
Require the VA to provide service dogs to veterans in need
Our military veterans are heroes. They face struggles that we couldn't imagine, and they do it selflessly to protect our great country. However, their transition home can often be just as difficult because of mental and physical ailments from their service. The waitlist for the VA is far too long to quickly handle the care of every returning veteran, but their medical needs are urgent. Some of these needs can only be treated through direct medical care, but other needs can be met through a service dog. Service dogs can be trained to care for people with PTSD, visual impairments, hearing impairments, mobility impairments, and many other conditions. Furthermore, these dogs can ensure that the veteran is never alone while dealing with these conditions. Currently, the VA offers service dogs to those with hearing/sight loss and mobility impairments. However, they do not offer dogs to veterans with psychological issues, such as PTSD. I am advocating that, as part of the VA Compensation and Pension (C&P) evaluation process, the VA offer dogs to all veterans diagnosed with psychological or physical conditions. This small step would make a massive difference in the lives of these men and women. They've given everything for us. Let's give back to them.
Petition to Department of Veterans Affairs, VA Secretary, U.S. House of Representatives
Permanently Stop Abusive VA Dog Experiments
UPDATE (September 2018): U.S. Congress and the President enacted a law extending restrictions on VA's dog experiments through 2019. Read more here. --- 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.
Petition to Department of Veterans Affairs
Positivity at the VFW Post 8913
Sexism. Racism. Ageism. Theft. Abuse of power/position. All are big concerns at the VFW Post 8913. There is corruption in the higher offices and it has fallen all the way down to the bartenders and customers. The VFW is supposed to be pro-community. There are owners and employees alike getting drunk on the clock, assaulting customers verbally and physically, ignoring their VFW duties, stealing from customers' tabs, allowing chaos in general. These are veterans doing this as well as civilians. There is an environment of hostility. I am a casualty of the war that is VFW. Even if I were to never step foot in there again, no one deserves to be treated the way those in the past, myself included, have been treated. Everyone's voice should be heard!
Petition to Humana Military Insurance
TriCare to cover Cranial Helmets for babies who need them
My Granddaughter Addison Kay, a twin was born August 18, 2018. She had spent most of her last month stuck in the birth canal as her Sister pushed down on her. About 2 weeks after her birth we noticed that something wasn't right with the shape of her head. Her Pediatrician diagnosed her with Torticolus and ordered weekly physical therapy to try and help her get full range of motion from her neck muscles. After months of grueling physical therapy Addison was revered to Boston Orthodics in Annapolis where she was then diagnosed with Plagiocephaly, a condition that causes the back of the skull to flatten in some spots and bulge in others. Her Parents were thrilled to learn that this condition could be fixed with a cranial helmet and that surgery would not be necessary. The Family then turned to their insurance TriCare Humana Military as My Son in Law is a Marine, only to find that the helmet would not be paid for unless my Granddaughter underwent surgery and still had a flat head. The helmet is a non invasive way to treat this condition and cost $2000 to manufacture while the surgery runs in the tens of thousands, is invasive and only has a 60 percent success rate. In the 90's the back to sleep movement did wonders in reducing the number of SIDS cases nation wide but it also left over 70% of children with some form of plagiocephaly. In most cases it was mild and Children out grew the symptoms but for others like my Granddaughter, a helmet is needed. We are hoping that enough people stand with us, we can get TriCare to change it's policy and make this a covered or even partially covered expense. Our Military families already live on minimum pay and having to pay $2000 out of pocket is a disgrace.
Petition to Scott DesJarlais
Name VA mental health building in honor of vet who was turned away- Sgt. John Toombs
Sgt. John Toombs served for 6 years in the Army National Guard and deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-12. He came home with PTSD and struggled with substance abuse. He entered the 90-day treatment program at the Murfreesboro, Tennessee V.A. On November 22, 2016, he was kicked out of the inpatient treatment program. He had been sober for 70 days when he was abruptly discharged for being late to get his medications. When he was also turned away at the V.A. E.R., he uploaded a video to Facebook saying he had been kicked out "like a stray dog in the rain." Then, in the future mental health building across from the E.R. that turned him away, he hung himself. On May 24, 2017, Tenn. Rep. Scott DesJarlais introduced bill H.R. 2634 that would name the building where John took his life the "Sgt. John Toombs Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Facility". While the bill passed the House unanimously on Sept. 25, 2018, it unfortunately died in the Senate and needs to be reintroduced in the new congress. By signing this petition, we respectfully ask Rep. Scott DesJarlais to reintroduce the bill, and we also ask each and every member of the House and Senate to vote in favor of renaming the Murfreesboro building in memory of Sgt. John Toombs, the veteran who was turned away when he needed help the most. May it stand as a promise to our veterans that we are listening and we will do better to prevent veteran suicide.