Support Veterans of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

I ask on behalf of all veterans,friends,relatives,to sign your name to this petition. We need too let our voices be heard. Signatures will be hand carried to Secretary Jim Nicholson and signatures needed by December 4, 2005. PLEASE SIGN AND FORWARD! Here are the specifics: Over the past year, the Department of Veterans\' Affairs (VA), led by Secretary Jim Nicholson, has turned a deaf ear to veterans and quietly made numerous decisions designed to strip veterans of benefits and compensation. But, with Secretary Nicholson at the VA helm, veterans have come to feel isolated from the agency\'s decision-making processes. Earlier this year, veterans were surprised by the VA\'s \"second signature required\" (SSR) policy. SSR applied to approved claims for many \"high-dollar\" disabilities and stipulated that the claim be re-approved by another VA staffer. However, if the claim was denied by the first staffer, there was no second review. Veterans\' groups claimed that a SSR policy should apply to all claims for any condition whether they were approved or denied. The fact that the VA chose to apply SSR to disabilities with \"high-dollar\" compensation was proof to many veterans that the agency was just trying to save money by denying benefits. The SSR policy was NOT announced by the VA. Only some very good investigative work by Cheryl Reed of the Chicago Sun-Times brought the story to light. This is just one of many instances where the VA has instituted policies detrimental to veterans without making the actions public. The latest \"unannounced\" move by the VA is a new review of PTSD diagnosis, treatment and compensation. The VA\'s plans came to light on November 16, just six days after they had canceled a review of 72,000 PTSD claims awarded at 100 percent disability. Pressure from veterans\' groups and Democrat members of Congress forced the cancellation. The VA\'s new PTSD review was not announced by the VA. There was no VA press release. There was no VA press conference. The information was not posted on the VA web site. Information about the new PTSD review was made public in a press release by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans\' Affairs. The release, in part, said, \"The Department of Veterans Affairs announced today that it has contracted with the Institute of Medicine (IOM) on a two-pronged approach to the examination of PTSD.\" (NOTE: The VA documents are available at the following URL - http://www.vawatchdog.org/newsflash/newsflash11-23-2005-3.htm ) I encourage all veterans to read the VA documents. They detail a plan to redefine PTSD by altering diagnostic and treatment techniques that will then lead to a complete restructuring of VA compensation. This will allow the VA to lower PTSD compensation based on \"frequency and intensity of symptoms\" and \"remission and return of symptoms.\" The VA will also be looking to deny PTSD benefits based on the concept of \"recovery and return to function.\" VA Secretary Nicholson has often used the word \"recover\" (terribly close to the word \"cure\") when speaking of veterans with PTSD. The IOM reviews will be completed in a year. Also, there were two big surprises found in the Question and Answer document. \"QUESTION: Why is this study being conducted now ANSWER: Over the next two years, the [VA] Secretary and the Veterans\' Disability Benefits Commission (VDBC) is (sic) closely examining compensation for all health conditions, including PTSD.\" Surprise number one is that the VA has not announced that Secretary Nicholson is examining compensation \"for ALL health conditions.\" Veterans can only look forward to fewer benefits and lower compensation with Nicholson directing this endeavor. The second surprise is Secretary Nicholson\'s mention of the VDBC. The VDBC, by law, is \"independent of the Department of Veterans\' Affairs.\" However, to discover that they are coordinating their efforts should not be a surprise. The VDBC is made up of 13 members who are currently studying all areas of VA compensation. Nine VDBC members were appointed by Republicans. Secretary Nicholson was appointed by President Bush. Then there is the matter of timing. The VDBC\'s charter stipulates that their reports must be done by October of 2006. But, the VDBC has also contracted with the IOM for studies that will not be complete for at least a year. They will be asking for an extension. This means that the VDBC reports from IOM and the VA reports from IOM will be released at the same time, well AFTER the 2006 elections. I don\'t believe in coincidence. Sometime in early 2007, after the elections, VA Secretary Jim Nicholson will be armed with reports from the VDBC and the VA\'s IOM studies. Expect a two-fisted attack on veterans\' benefits and compensation from an administration that is the first to shout \"Support Our Troops\"...until they become veterans. (written by Larry Scott)

Sponsor

Sponsored by retired veteran; Angelo Vitalone, Sr

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