VA Assists Surviving Spouses .. Plus
Please if you know of any Widows this applies to then inform them. VA will not in spite of what they say publicly in their media releases.
From: VA Media Relations [mailto:va.media.relations@VA.GOV]
Sent: Thursday, December 18, 2008 3:15 PM
Subject: VA Assists Surviving Spouses
Recent VA News Releases
To view and download VA news release, please visit the following Internet address:
VA to Provide Payments to Eligible Surviving Spouses Quick Action Taken to Resolve Problem Identified by Senate Chairman
WASHINGTON (Dec. 18, 2008) - The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced immediate actions to quickly identify and pay surviving spouses who are eligible to receive a one-time compensation or pension payment for the month of the veteran's death.
"This benefit payment is long overdue to many of our beneficiaries," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "In these difficult economic times, it is imperative that we take aggressive action to fix this situation for the families of our veterans."
Problems in VA's implementation of a change in law that was effective in 1997 resulted in some surviving spouses not receiving the veteran's compensation or pension payment for the month of death. This problem was recently brought to VA's attention by Sen. Daniel K. Akaka, chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee.
Peake immediately directed the formation of a special task force to identify and pay the beneficiaries who never received the benefit or were inadvertently required to repay the money issued for the month of a veteran's death.
Surviving spouses most likely to be affected by this processing problem are those who never applied to VA for survivors' benefits following the death of a veteran.
The task force is in the process of reviewing VA's payment records for veterans who died after December 31, 1996, and who are survived by a spouse. The review will identify those to whom VA owes retroactive benefits for the month of the veteran's death. Current address information is being obtained for as many of these beneficiaries as possible.
VA will begin issuing retroactive payments to eligible surviving spouses at the end of this month. Payments will continue to be issued as additional unpaid beneficiaries are identified and VA is able to obtain current address information.
Because there are deceased veterans for whom VA does not have marital status information, a special Survivors' Call Center has been established for spouses who believe they may be entitled to this retroactive month-of-death benefit.
Surviving spouses are encouraged to contact the Survivors' Call Center at the toll-free telephone number, 1-800-749-8387. Call center agents will assist surviving spouses in providing VA with the information needed to determine their eligibility.
The Call Center is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 7:00 PM central standard time. Inquiries may also be submitted through the Internet at http://www.vba.va.gov/survivorsbenefit.htm.
VA is aggressively changing its processing procedures to ensure this benefit is correctly paid to all surviving spouses in the future. VA's disability payment system will also be enhanced to automate the month-of-death payment for all eligible surviving spouses.
In my final paper after the first of the year I discuss this issue of what Congress passes or intends so they say and just what this discussion is about; VA implementation. In every case, just like this the Veteran or the Widow takes it on the chin because of what VA does and what they consider the correct implementation on their behalf not what was intended. DoD is very similar.
No one is going to tell me that from the Secretaries of VA we have had and the Directors of Benefits of VA we have had all the way down to the people doing the denying that no one at VA knew or recognized this wrong and yet they did it anyway. NO ONE has the guts to say that.
While Senator Akaka finally said something Congress in its entirety has known what they perceived was not being done and in fact was being done detrimental to the Widow and family and did nothing. NOTHING AT ALL. Not even a damn meeting, much less any oversight. Once again no one is discussing the ramifications of what this VA policy did to our families in many areas of mental and financial abuse.
I also like the phraseology of the statements “aggressively changing”. This means nothing and you should not take it literally. This could mean over the next two to five years you might see some retroactive money. Veterans and widows alike have no right to expect some reasonable interpretation of what VA says in these descriptions. No different from the "must be expedited by stated law" when in claim remand. Stated by law yet Veterans and Widows have no case to expect some form of reasonable application of those laws and the words “must be expedited” when it comes to VA. It could be and probably will be a minimum of two years and then on out.
Then you have... The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced immediate actions to quickly identify and pay surviving spouses who are eligible to receive a one-time compensation or pension payment for the month of the veteran's death. Immediate to VA means when they get around to it or the cries of 'wrong doing' go down which ever comes first. They will put one person on it to show they are doing something. Then blame some computer fiasco as to why nothing is done.
I would expect more VA hoops with this for our Widows to get anything. Probably put them back in the VA Hamster wheel for at least a 12 to 18 months gathering more and more paper work so Regional Centers can shred it and change the dates.
So I would be surprised if this also is nothing but VA propaganda. Not to the point they have been challenged and admitted wrong. But the point that anything is going to be done in any aggressive timely manner or expedited. This would be a first for VA.
Then we have the following:
“Surviving spouses most likely to be affected by this processing problem are those who never applied to VA for survivors' benefits following the death of a veteran.”
Nothing but spin that Joseph Goebbels would be proud of.
This puts the blame back on widows as it is their fault. Yes there are plenty of widows out there that did file and they were taken to the cleaners by VA and the way they implemented the policy.
But one would have to ask why would a widow not apply?
I will tell you why. VA outreach on purpose is almost non-existent. Congressman Filner brought that up several times.
Now why would that be?
Because VA does not want the Widows to know that for example what their spouse died from after decades of denial has made the hit parade finally of one of those death and disability disorder created by our own government. Some come to our reunions and find out that their husband was wounded on the battlefield and died from those wounds. VA or our government will not mount campaigns to inform our Widows or our walking wounded that what they died from or are disabled from is Service Connected. This is not just oversight...but intentional.
Going back to 2000 Congressional transcripts, Members asked what was VA doing for outreach and the answer was pitiful. They inform the VSO’s was the answer. That was the extent under oath of what VA does. Let them do it!@%%%%%%%%%! This is not a VSO task but a federal government money expenditure task. Veterans pay dues to the VSO’s and then for them to have to do informative publications for the government who created the problem to begin with. Salt in the open wound. How many Veterans actually belong and are active in VSO’s? Probably not a large majority.
Secretary Peake only pointed out more of what VA is not doing; on purpose I would add. How can any Widow in this day of mass media not know she is entitled to file for benefits? Even as the benefits for presumptive disorders slowly expands as more and more die not service connected from lack of admittance and collusion. Except if you did not want them to know that is.
If history was correct and you looked in Webster’s dictionary under the words: Despicable, disgraceful collusion, vengeful, omnipotent, dishonest, adversarial, it would say: See articles on the United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the Executive Branch for implementation of these words and their meanings.
I would not expect some "immediate" wholesale change in VA policy regardless of this VA propaganda of like they are actually going to do something positive in a timely manner. History says no it will not be done that way.
If you watched yesterday on Dr. Phil you heard a direct question and answer that yes the Department of Veterans Affairs lies to Congress. Just like they do to Veterans. Does anyone really think that the department heads of VA would lie to Congress and not lie to the lowly Veteran or their family.
Congressman Filner also said they deny deny lie and then lie then lies some more to minize the damages created and then hope that folks will just forget about; it just like they do to the Veterans. Exactly like the lead story of VA assists Spouses.
Too bad the other media outlets will not tell the story. Those folks making millions on their shows are so ingnorant of what is going on it is pitiful.
No one on the show mentioned the 40 year battle we have had and only concentrated on the returning Veterans. However, some of the excuses that were used do not apply to Vietnam Veterans. They were not caught off guard and unprepared by an ongoing war. Instead a policy of collusion and conspiracy was directed and that is were the efforts went. White House after White House philosophy not to support the Veterans for mistakes made by the pinheads Johnson and McNamera. Why? Because they can when your citizen rights are stripped from you by Congress and Veterans Affairs.
I hope you contact that show and thank that show for exposing this agency for what they really are. Despicable Cowards! And request a show where the Vietnam Veterans and widows can tell their story. A story repeated in the millions.
I am presently working on an article regarding these 'overwhelmed with their IQ doctors' that make ignorant uninformed statements and how that applies to the perception of just what VA and the government wants to portray. Then published by 'uniformed ignorant' media types.
Someone has got to say something and it might as well be me citing names and their lack of facts in their statements. IN other words they are no longer qualified to make any statement regarding what has or is on-going unless they have done their own studies.
One site keeps you con