Veterans Still Affected by Increasing Problems, Often Ignored
(VETERANS TODAY) Veterans-for-Change would like to bring to your attention the ever-increasing problems affecting veterans and their families every day.
President Obama has clearly stated, “Whether you left the service in 2009 or 1949, we will fulfill our responsibility to deliver the benefits and care that you earned. That’s why I’ve pledged to build nothing less than a 21st-century VA”.
Among the issues we would like to address are the following:
Herbicide, TCE/PCE, Benzene, JP-4, JP-8 and a host of other chemicals causing Contamination (CONUS, Including Alaska, HI, and Canada, Panama Canal):
- Every day, thousands of veterans who served in Korea, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and CONUS are denied benefits they are entitled to for exposure to dioxin from herbicides and other defoliants, TCE/PCE, JP-4, JP-8, Benzene and many other chemicals.
- In addition to service overseas, we have countless thousands of veterans who served on many military bases stateside who were exposed to TCE, PCE, Benzene and approximately 35-45 more harmful chemicals, never provided safety and use instruction or equipment, and are now just as equally ill. Failure to provide safety and use instructions led to health problems that will remain for the remainder of the Veterans life.
- In both S.E. Asia and CONUS Agent Orange was used as a defoliant. In S.E. Asia, the chemicals were used to protect our troops and prevent the enemy from hiding in the foliage to kill many more of our fighting men and women. (Est. time frame of 1962-1975)
- In the CONUS, these harmful, debilitating herbicides and other chemicals were used to keep surroundings of various military buildings free from unwanted vegetation growth and keep it clean and neat looking.
- On all military bases, on board ships, everywhere mechanical components were cleaned and re-used TCE was the chemical of choice as a degreaser. PCE is the chemical of choice for dry cleaners, again never used with any protective gear.
- Veterans who served in Korea and on the DMZ are denied benefits due to erroneous reports about where these chemicals were deployed and that there is no “residual life” of Agent Orange Dioxin which if it were true then why are we in Viet Nam helping the Vietnamese government to clean up the land that was contaminated some 40 years ago?
Veterans-For-Change believes exposure to Agent Orange is truly exposure to a deadly chemical, regardless of the location where it was deployed. There have been far too many reports of illness, including cancers, Diabetes, heart disease, and many, many more – all related to service or tour of duty in a combat zone, or in a contaminated zone!
One of the chemicals in the Agent Orange herbicide combination contained contaminating traces of TCDD (dioxin). Dioxin has been shown to cause a variety of illnesses in laboratory animals. Studies also suggest that the chemical may be related to a number of cancers and other health effects in humans. (Agent Orange: Research on Health Effects of Agent Orange Exposure) The research data speaks for itself – Agent Orange was and is a deadly, toxic chemical, destroying the health and lives of many Veterans, including those who served in Korea and on the DMZ.
Many of these Veterans are continuously denied as the missions they served on were, and still to this day remain, classified by the DoD even though former President Bush signed executive order 13292 on March 28, 2003 directing classified missions beyond 25 years be declassified. Veterans-For-Change, as an advocacy group, has as its mission to broadcast and inform all veterans about their rights concerning Agent Orange, regardless of when and where the military veteran was exposed. You, the legislators of our proud and courageous country owe a debt of gratitude and benefits and care to our veterans. Please take a stand and help us to provide the best care for our veterans. Take action today!
We ask that you not only support any proposed legislation, but also be pro-active and introduce legislation to correct these problems!
No assignability and exempt status of benefits:
In title 38, Part IV, Chapter 53 §5301 the law is very clear on how Veterans disability benefits are protected:
Payments of benefits due or to become due under any law administered by the Secretary shall not be assignable except to the extent specifically authorized by law, and such payments made to, or on account of, a beneficiary shall be exempt from taxation, shall be exempt from the claim of creditors, and shall not be liable to attachment, levy, or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process whatever, either before or after receipt by the beneficiary. The preceding sentence shall not apply to claims of the United States arising under such laws nor shall the exemption therein contained as to taxation extend to any property purchased in part or wholly out of such payments. The provisions of this section shall not be construed to prohibit the assignment of insurance otherwise authorized under chapter 19 of this title, or of service members’ indemnity.
Yet everyday judges across the country are tapping into, and forcing disabled veterans to use their VA disability benefit income to pay child support, spousal support and bad debts totally and completely ignoring the federal law.
In addition, when Veterans refuse, they are immediately thrown in jail for 20 days and as long as six months or more, thus unlawful imprisonment!
We do not know how much clearer the law can be, but Congress and the President need to step up to the plate and stop this abuse against Veterans.
With what little benefits Veterans receive as it is today, most are barely living at poverty level and many below poverty level.
We ask that you please be pro-active and introduce legislation to correct these problem and stop civil judges from taking a Veterans Benefits and using as “disposable” income.
President Obama has said: “We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America, a commitment that begins with enlistment and must never end”. This statement was published in April, 2009. Isn’t it time for Congress and our Government to make these strong, compelling words come true for our precious Veterans who are finding living with the difficulties, physical and emotional wounds of combat more than they can tolerate?
If our nation rescinds its promises and ignores its obligation to those who have fought to preserve freedom throughout the world, we compromise the right to ask our men and women to serve and defend our national principals. The choice is yours.
Take a stand to stop the endless spinning wheel of a hamster or guinea pig. Take a stand so our Veterans are treated as human beings, not pin cushions, or undeserving human beings. Veterans served our country with dedication to duty. Isn’t it time America and the VA treated our soldiers and veterans with the respect, and the benefits so promised.
Veterans-For-Change has been crying out to all 535 members of Congress now for four years as of April 2006, as President Wilson said, a leader’s ears must ring with the voices of the people! Do you hear us?
Veterans and their families are tired of campaign promises and yellow ribbons. We need politicians on Capitol Hill to take immediate action to truly support all Veterans.