Tuesday, December 30, 2014

#DearVA My Own Illness...

#DearVA,

My own illness has made me take some time off from our posts, but tonight I am going to wrap up this long series on Gulf War Syndrome by focusing on our OEF and OIF Veterans.

Please #VA, explain why OEF and OIF Veterans are returning home with symptoms of Gulf War Syndrome?  The Federal Institute of Medicine says, "Preliminary data suggests that (chronic multisymptom illness) is occurring in Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well."

So, the question comes down, how can we help our Veterans? Not just Gulf War Veterans, but OEF and OIF Veterans as well? Do we treat each symptom?

#NewVA, this falls in your lap, and first you must stop the denial of these Veterans. What they are experiencing is so very real. Second, you need to start treating them, the whole person, not just symptoms, but mental and physical health.

All, that is right, all of our Veterans deserve to have this issue looked at. Please don't push it off any longer.

PM
Caregiver
Spouse to a Gulf War Veteran


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#Dear VA,

Yesterday, we got a letter in the mail from you. It was short but sparked some issues in my Veteran. 

The letter simply said, "We have received your application for benefits. It is our sincere desire to decide your case promptly. However, as we have a great number of claims, action on yours may be delayed."

Sounds simple enough but we have a few issues with this. First of all, this "application for benefits" and "claim" was not begun by us. We did not want to have to worry about the benefits that my husband earned.

Rather, YOU decided to reduce my husband's benefits. YOU started this new claim for reduction, on our behalf. Guess you probably have a great number of claims to reduce, hence ours being delayed. This is YOUR problem; YOUR instigation. While we didn't have a great rating, it certainly isn't as much each month as my husband would've brought in if he could work (and seriously, if he could work and I could work, we would be in a far better financial situation, so believe me when I say that this life is NOT our first choice), we were accepting of the rating that we did have, so for you to choose to reduce his rating, claiming that his condition has improved (when you didn't re-evaluate him to come to this conclusion) and then to send us this letter... salt on the wound.

So I'm wondering if this is going to be a normal thing for the #NewVA - deciding to reduce Veteran benefits, then send letters claiming a "sincere desire to decide your case." 

That statement brings us to the second issue with this letter. The wording. Having a "sincere desire to decide your case" on a reduction of benefits case that was started BY THE VA, certainly makes it seem as if the decision has already been made. 

So here we are, a Veteran and his family, where the Veteran is unable to work, the wife is a full time Caregiver and unable to work outside of the home, sitting on edge, wondering when the fight will end. Wondering when the VA will actually show "sincere desire" to care about Veterans.

K.W.

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