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Friday, February 3, 2023

Why is Secretary of State John Kerry More Important that Our Disabled Veterans?

John KerryBy Andrew Robbins

CSMS Magazine

On Monday, the State Department said, “John was riding his bicycle, fell off and broke a bone. Now his orthopedic surgeon will accompany him on a flight from Geneva to the United States for treatment of Kerry’s broken leg.”

According to the Associated Press, “Secretary Kerry will be transported to Boston aboard a U.S. military C-17 transport aircraft. The aircraft, based in Ramstein, Germany, will be staffed by additional military medical personnel in keeping with standard practice.”

Some of our veterans wait forever to obtain an appointment with a medical doctor.

If they are eligible for in-service compensation, it could be years before anyone responds to their request for assistance. Why is John more important than our veterans?

An Indy investigative reporter asked me, “Where did I obtain my VA claim numbers?”

I told her the numbers reported in my articles come directly from the VA. Every Monday they report; Google:  Detailed Claims Data – Veterans Benefits Administration.

As we compared notes, she said, “The station investigated and broadcast veteran complaints of the Indianapolis VA. But, nothing ever changed. It seems like Washington elected officials do not care about our veterans.” She may have been referring to Indianapolis being in the top three; the three worst managed compensation and pensions offices in the VA’s system. The same people are still in charge.

Indianapolis has nearly 8,000 claims pending appeal. That number continues to increase by about 100 new claims each month.

A claim denied is a claimed closed and a ‘that a boy’ on their weekly report.

Here is a true story of how the VA compensation and pension process worked for one very upset veteran. While in service she had several surgeries. When she filed her initial claim she failed to attach a copy of her medical treatment records.

The VA sent a request for a copy of her medical records to the St. Louis Archives and gave them thirty days to respond. This author can’t get anything out of the Archives in less than 90 to 120 days. When the medical records fail to materialize, the VA sent a second request; now they commanded the records must be received in 15 days. The medical records were not timely obtained and the VA denied her claim.

Several decades later, she contacted a county veteran service representative (VSR). Many VSRs now have the ability to electronically view the veteran’s claim. When her records were opened, she was told, “Your claim was approved!”

The VA denied her claim and mailed a confirmation letter of denial. Thereafter, the St. Louis Archives fulfilled the VA’s request for medical data; but because she did not file a Notice of Disagreement within the one-year time frame, the denial of her claim stands.

Today, she is much older and in poor health. Had she received the compensation would it have contributed to an improved standard of living, assuming she spent those dollars on prevention, or will we collectively pay higher premiums for her rapidly deteriorating health?

This is standard treatment for our veterans. Until Washington changes its priorities, my suggestion for the young person reading this article: Do not enlist in the National Guard, the Reserves or one of the active components. America does not have your back.

Note: Andrew Robbins was a member of the 3rd/187th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, (1 December1967 through 3 October 1969; Vietnam). He is a staff writer for CSMS Magazine. He lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. He may be reached at brobbins@indy.net .

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