16 November 2017

Veteran-Directed Home & Community Based Services (VD-HCBS) - free home care for veterans

Veteran-Directed Home & Community Based Services (VD-HCBS) - home care for veterans (particularly you old folks from the early days in the 74th)

VD-HCBS

This program uses VA funds to help elderly or disabled Vets remain home with loved ones instead of needing nursing home care.


  WHAT? VA HELPs VETERANS AVOID NURSING HOMES AND LIVE INDEPENDENTLY!
• REQUIREMENTS: ONLY A NEED FOR THE PROGRAM & AN HONORABLE DISCHARGE - and the program offered in your VA region


INTRODUCTION

Here in Colorado, this terrific program is currently available to only to Veterans living in eight counties around Denver, but most states that have VD-HCBS offer it more broadly. Colorado's other 56 counties must do without because administrators in VA's Rocky Mountain Healthcare System opted not to provide this valuable Veterans benefit. Why? You'd have to ask them...I've had no success finding out why.

Veterans Health Administration (VHA) launched Veteran-Directed Home & Community Based Services (VD-HCBS) in 2008 to help Veterans with disabilities of all ages and their families pay for needed services in their own homes and communities. VD-HCBS is an exciting and comprehensive VA program, open to all Veterans where the program is offered, regardless of service-connection disabilities or income.

VD-HCBS delivers home and community-based long-term service and support, giving Veterans more choices and control over nearly all types of care they receive in their homes and communities. This program combines the hands-on experience and skills of local medical and service providers with the VA’s extensive resources to provide additional opportunities to avoid nursing home placement and stay independent in your own home.

Under the VD-HCBS Program, Veterans (or their caregivers) manage their own flexible VA-provided spending budgets, hire and supervise their own workers, including family or friends, and purchase what’s needed to live independently. The key point again: VA gives the Veteran a budget to pay for this!

Thousands of Veterans in 34 states have already signed up with VD-HCBS, including the elderly, and younger, severely injured Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn. The keys to this program are an Honorable Discharge, the need for it, and availability of VD-HCBS where you live.

A Veteran in the VD-HCBS Program is supported by: a VA program coordinator to oversee quality, satisfaction and service delivery; a person-centered counselor from an Area Agency on Aging (AAA), Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) or Center for Independent Living to assist in finding and/or training workers caring for the Veteran’s needs.

ENROLLED VETERANS:

• Receive a comprehensive assessment and care planning assistance
 Decide for themselves what mix of goods and services will best meet their needs• Manage a budget. VA fund are used by the Veteran to remain independent at home
• Hire and supervise their own workers, including family or friends
• Get financial management and support services
• Use traditional service providers, or a contractor or palliative care to coordinate


      TARGETED VETERANS IN VD-HCBS
All honorably discharged Veterans 
enrolled in a system offering it are eligible to participate in the VD-HCBS program when the Veteran is “in need of nursing home care” and interested in self-directed care. The determination of whether a Veteran is “in need of nursing home care” is made by the VAMC.
The VD-HCBS Program is targeted to Veterans whose home care needs exceed the average number of hours generally available through the Homemaker/Home Health Aide (H/HHA) Program. (If the need is more modest than VA-HCBS requirements and if the Veteran is service-connected, ask about 
this homemaker support.)
To be considered for the more comprehensive VA-HCBS, a Veteran usually would have/be:

     
Three or more activities of daily living (ADL) dependencies
      •     Significant cognitive impairments
      
Receiving hospice or palliative care
      •    Two ADL dependencies and two or more of the following:


  o   3 or more instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) dependencies
  o   Recently discharged from a nursing facility
  o   75 years old or greater
  o   3 hospitalizations or 12 outpatient clinics or emergency evaluations
  o   Clinically depressed
  o   Lives alone

IS VD-HCBS FOR YOU?
Do you want the control and flexibility to live more independently by choosing how and when you purchase your goods or services? Can you or a trusted person be responsible for recruiting, hiring, and dismissing your workers and services providers? If so, the VD-HCBS Program might be for you!
Interested? See your VA social worker or email 
veterandirected@acl.hhs.gov
CLICK for a national list of providers to see if you're in a covered arez.
   
      Massachusetts VD-HCBS Providers:
VA Boston Health Care System, Boston: www.boston.va.gov
South Shore Elder Services
ETHOS
Central Boston Elder Services, Inc.
Tri-Valley Elder Services, Inc.
Boston Senior Home Care
Old Colony Elder Services
Springwell, Inc.
Sommerville-Camrbidge Elder Services
HESSCO – Health and Social Services Consortium, Inc.
Elder Services Merrimack Valley, Inc.
Mystic Valley Elder Services, Inc.
Bristol Elder Services, Inc.
Chelsea Revere Winthrop Elder Services
Coastline Elderly Services
Elder Services of Cape Cod and the Islands
Franklin County Home Care Corporation
WestMass ElderCare Inc.

13 November 2017

Houston VA to Study Prostate Cancer & Agent Orange in African-American Vets, Using New Research Grant

NOTE: Like me, many C-123 vets are concerned about bladder cancer and prostate cancer, and we hope that VA will soon designate bladder cancer as an Agent Orange-related illnesses. Some vets have been successful with claims that prostate cancer increased their odds of bladder cancer, and argued with VA successfully to win disability claims.

Prostate cancer, however, is well-established as an Agent Orange-presumptive illness. VA has honored disability claims for many years, and even the most recent research has only firmed up the science behind the link between Agent Orange and cancer. My own oncologist at VA MedicaL Center Portland, Dr. Mark Garzatto, established that Agent Orange vets have twice the rate of cancers, and that ours are twice as likely to be highly aggressive cancers. Not good, and maybe this recent grant by the Prostate Cancer Foundation will help improve things.

Houston VA to Study Prostate Cancer with New Research Grant
Thanks to a new $1 million grant awarded by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, researchers will be able to study the link between prostate cancer and exposure to Agent Orange in African-American male veterans who served during the Vietnam War.

08 November 2017

C-123 VETERANS: OUR PRO BONO LAW FIRM IS READY FOR YOUR CALL! S0...CALL TO SEE IF YOU CAN RECOVER

YOU'RE INVITED TO ASK FOR FREE LEGAL HELP.
Situation:
     Most of us who submitted C-123 Agent Orange disability claims before June 2015 ended up denied some compensation because VA decided to pay our claims only from that month forward. Others of us were diagnosed with AO illnesses but submitted our VA claims well after then, and by waiting also lost months of compensation. 
     There may be pro bono legal help to recover denied compensation. The National Veterans Legal Services Project (NVLSP, "Lawyers Serving Warriors") has skillfully helped C-123 veterans for years, and also the Vietnam Veterans of America and most other veterans' organizations. Here's a great video describing them.
     If your disability claim predates June 2015 I urge you to contact NVLSP. They'll review your situation with you. 



07 November 2017

VA CORRECTS REGULATIONS TO ADD C-123 VETERANS

VA HAS BEEN CORRECTED!

The fundamental document guiding a veteran' eligibility for VA benefits is their regulation VHA DIRECTIVE 1601A.02.

Published in June 2017 it failed to include proper information about C-123 veterans. This was pointed out to them and a corrected version (see page 9) has now been released throughout the VA and supporting agencies:

The point is that C-123 vets ONLY need to prove C-123 duty and have a diagnosis for an Agent Orange associated illness.

Here is the additional C-123 language, page 9:
This term also includes an individual who has been determined by VA to have a service connected disability related to herbicide exposure under 38 CFR 3.307(a)(6)(v) who performed service in the Air Force or Air Force Reserve under circumstances in which the individual concerned regularly and repeatedly operated, maintained, or served onboard C-123 aircraft known to have been used to spray an herbicide agent during the Vietnam era.

06 November 2017

It happened again last week. Another C-123 veteran's Agent Orange claim mishandled by his choice of veterans service organization ("VSO",) in his case Arizona State Department of Veterans Affairs as well as the regional office of the VA itself. The vet, however, did everything right!

Whats the problem? ALL C-!23 CLAIMS GO TO VA ST PAUL. That office has people trained in our C-123 issues, and instead of denying our comrade's claim "for want of service in Vietnam" they'd have recognized the several buddy letters and other documentation of his C-123 experience.

Solution: Consider sending in the following page, right out of VA's own manual, when working with your choice of VSO, and insist a copy accompany your claim and write C-123 VETERAN on top of your papers, just to make sure.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+++++++++++++++++++++++++

03 November 2017

DISABILITY COMPENSATION: Three paths to C-123 vets' retroactive compensation

Many of us C-123 veterans were diagnosed with Agent Orange illnesses before the VA recognized our rights to disability compensation. At that time (June 2015) it seemed impossible to get VA to recognize those claims from the date filed, as VA usually does. 

Last month that changed! In our favor!

An October decision at the Board of Veterans Appeals, supported by similar decisions in years past, suggest three approaches to retroactive compensation for C-123 veterans. There is no certainty, because decisions at the BVA do not set precedent. Decisions do, however, offer guidance. VBA seeks consistency, and thus far BVA decisions are 100% behind retroactive disability benefits.

Here are three situations where I see VA awarding retroactive disability compensation to C-123 veterans. Obviously, for those vets with illnesses diagnosed after June 2015 and who file claims after June 2015, the date of filing should be the effective date for compensation if approved.

 1. Veterans who filed disability claims on or after June 2015 who were diagnosed before June 2015 and whose illnesses continued until the date of filing their claim; in those cases, it seems that up to 12 months of compensation may be recovered:
 “Retroactive effective dates are allowed, to a certain extent, in cases where an award or increase of compensation is granted pursuant to a liberalizing law.  38 U.S.C.A. § 5110 (g); 38 C.F.R. § 3.114 (a). Under these provisions, the claimant must have met all eligibility criteria for the liberalized benefit on the effective date of the liberalizing law or VA issue, and have been continuously eligible from that date to the date of claim or administrative determination of entitlement. These provisions apply to original and reopened claims, as well as claims for increase. Id.; see also McCay v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 183, 188 (1996), aff'd, 106 F.3d 1577, 1581 (Fed. Cir. 1997).
In such cases, the effective date of the award or increase shall be fixed in accordance with the facts found, but shall not be earlier than the effective date of the liberalizing law or VA issue. 38 C.F.R. § 3.114 (a). For claims received more than one year after the effective date of the liberalizing law or VA issue, benefits may be authorized for a period of one year prior to the date of receipt of the request for review. Id.”
2. Veterans who had a disabling line of duty injury during the period (1972-1982) that they were also being exposed to Agent Orange, thus establishing veteran status:
“Exposure constitutes an injury under 38 U.S.C. 101 (24) (B) and (C). If an individual described in this paragraph develops a disease listed in 38 CFR 3.309(e) as specified in paragraph (a)(6)(ii) of this section, it will be presumed that the individual concerned became disabled during that service for purposes of establishing that the individual served in the active military, naval, or air service.”
3.     Veterans with VA disability claims for Agent Orange-related illnesses predating June 2015 and who were denied retroactive compensation, receiving compensation only from June 2015 forward:
“GC Precedent Opinion VAOPGEPREC 4-2002 recognizes that a reservist's adverse reaction to exposure to a toxin during ADT qualifies as an injury under 38 USC 101(24) and therefore entitles him to compensation under 38 U.S.C. 110 or 1131. Thus, the regulation that grants presumptive C-123 rule was not a liberalizing law and his benefits should pre-date the effective date of 38 C.F.R. § 3.307 (a)(6) (v).”

29 October 2017

A Quarter Century of VA Disability Claims: 25 years of hard lessons

A brief narrative of interest to others dealing with environmental hazards and the VA

Looking back, if I’d known how long and how hard a VA disability claim was going to be, I can’t say whether I’d have the resolve to see it through. I served in the Army and Air Force for 26 years. Only this month...October 2017...have I received VA’s final adjudication of disability claims I began submitting in 1992. Finally, 26 years after hanging up my flight suit the last time, VA seems to have finished addressing my cancers, spinal cord injuries, 21 operations, heart attacks, Agent Orange exposures plus life’s` miscellaneous little ailments, boo-boos and maladies.
First lesson: thank goodness my family and I, unlike so very many veterans, didn’t find ourselves dependent on the VA for medical care and income because that help wouldn’t materialize for many years. My Air Force disability board and retirement as a major was completed in what now seems light speed only a year after leaving Bethesda Naval Hospital in 1992 following the Gulf War. We were also blessed with ample pre-war civilian retirement and investments...we were so lucky compared to young troops disabled before having a chance to establish themselves financially. My lesson has been awareness of how financially precarious sudden military injuries leave a family. It is a bleak picture.
The rest of the lessons:

27 October 2017

Timeline: C-123 Agent Orange Issue, 1972-2017



A PARTIAL VICTORY: Retroactive C-123 benefits for claims AFTER June 19, 2015!

ARE YOU A C-123 VETERAN WHO FILED AN AGENT ORANGE CLAIM AFTER JUNE 2015 BUT YOUR ILLNESS WAS DIAGNOSED BEFORE THEN?

Most likely, the VA started your disability compensation effective on the date you filed, not when you became ill. That may have cost you months or years of lost compensation.

I think I found a solution to recover those lost months and years of compensation, based on language a BVA veterans law judge used in a recent C-123 decision. There is a way to backdate to June 2015 some or all of the compensation due you.

Once it finishes processing an application, the VA provides disability compensation for claims based on the date filed. Many of our C-123 veterans were diagnosed with Agent Orange related illnesses before the VA rules took effect for us on June 18 2015.

Many of our vets submitted claims after that date but have Agent Orange illnesses diagnosed before then. In that situation, there is a way you can argue for compensation not based on whenever you filed after June 2015 but instead, all the way back to the June 2015, for a maximum of twelve months compensation. As an example, twelve months of prostate cancer at 100% is over $30,000, so you'll want to consider this carefully with any claim submitted after June 2015.

Read the following paragraph (taken from a C-123 retroactive compensation decision) very carefully.  1. Note that it specifies Agent Orange illnesses diagnosed prior to the date of the liberalizing law VA used to grant benefits, which for C-123 claims is June 19 2015.
2. Also, that illness must have been evident from the diagnosis to the date whenever you filed. If your prostate cancer was diagnosed in 2011 and cured in 2014, this won't apply to you. If, however, you remained on "watchful waiting" up to June 19 2016 and beyond, this rule could apply. Same thing for any of the other Agent Orange illnesses like diabetes, IHD, peripheral neuropathy, etc.
3. If your claim was submitted after June 19 2016, and your diagnosed illness continued from before June 18 2015 to the date your claim was filed, say June of 2017, could argue retroactivity only to June 19, 2015. That is because VA limits this situation to one year of back pay.
However, retroactive effective dates are allowed, to a certain extent, in cases where an award or increase of compensation is granted pursuant to a liberalizing law. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5110 (g); 38 C.F.R. § 3.114 (a). Under these provisions, the claimant must have met all eligibility criteria for the liberalized benefit on the effective date of the liberalizing law or VA issue, and have been continuously eligible from that date to the date of claim or administrative determination of entitlement. These provisions apply to original and reopened claims, as well as claims for increase. Id.; see also McCay v. Brown, 9 Vet. App. 183, 188 (1996), aff'd, 106 F.3d 1577, 1581 (Fed. Cir. 1997). In such cases, the effective date of the award or increase shall be fixed in accordance with the facts found, but shall not be earlier than the effective date of the liberalizing law or VA issue. 38 C.F.R. § 3.114 (a). For claims received more than one year after the effective date of the liberalizing law or VA issue, benefits may be authorized for a period of one year prior to the date of receipt of the request for review. Id.

I'll summarize:.

1. This is for claims for illnesses diagnosed before June 18 2015 and continuing to the date a claim was submitted to VA.

2.  VA limits this retroactive compensation to one year. If you filed after June 2016 or any later date, you may be eligible for one year of retroactive compensation.

If you think this may apply to you, please discuss with your veterans service organization...you will probably have to bring them a clipping of the paragraph I quoted from the C-123 award.

21 October 2017

Attn: C-123 vets with Agent Orange claims before June 18, 2015

Read the old VVA press release below! In early 2015 the President of the Vietnam Veterans of America, John Rowan, insisted VA treat C-123 aircrews and maintainers as VETERANS with full Agent Orange disability benefits. But the best VA would do is cover claims from June 18 2015 forward, not back to date filed. A partial but welcome victory.

Now we finally have two possible approaches to fix that and recover what is due. That's why I've been trying to get the name, telephone and SSAN of everyone who filed claims for Agent Orange illnesses prior to June 2015. VVA is helping by putting the word out on their web site. WE NEED YOUR HELP TO HELP YOU: CONTACT WES CARTER IF YOU'RE ONE OF THESE VETS, and get the word to our crewmates to do the same. A major law firm is providing pro bono help to us.

The lawyers are doing this for free, just as they did the C-123 claim settled on October 12 that awarded our comrade over four years of his 100% disability the VA owed...you can do the math!! (P.S.: $2,950 x 48 = $141,000.)

Spread the word, please. All I need is the name, year the first claim was filed, email and phone, and Social Security or VA claim number.

YOU CAN DO THIS – it wraps up six years of my hard work on your behalf and I want to do something else with my life!

18 October 2017

FREE legal help with our USAF C-123 Agent Orange claims (Westover, Pittsburgh, Rickenbacker, Howard, Clark)

The law firm that just won a C-123 veteran's disability appeal to backdate a claim four years wants to represent all others whose claims were submitted before June 2015 and denied, or were paid only from instead that June 2015 forward instead of per the date first submitted. 

Totally free, and you keep the entire amount recovered. They want to manage us as a group, not one at a time. Coordination is via the National Veterans Legal Services Project and the C-123 Veterans Association.

Reminder: If you are retired military, Agent Orange illnesses qualify for Combat Related Special Compensation

17 October 2017

C-123 vets sue for USAF line of duty determination


Yesterday afternoon C-123 veterans filed suit  in the US District Court of Washington D.C., seeking USAF line of duty determinations (LOD) to recognize our Agent Orange exposures. We are represented by the firm of Perkins Cole LLP of Washington, D.C.

The military LOD is vital in protecting veterans' disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

16 October 2017


Retroactive Disability Compensation: Today We WON!

–TODAY C-123 VETS WON A BIG ONE FROM THE VA! –

NOTE: I NEED TO HEAR FROM ALL C-123 VETS WITH CLAIMS SUBMITTED PRIOR TO JUNE 2015!

C-123 veterans have been barred from disability compensation for our Agent Orange claims
submitted prior to June 2015. That's when the VA finally started honoring our claims but not going back to the date submitted for those of us who filed before VA's June 2015 decision. TODAY WE BEGAN TO CHANGE THAT AND GET OUR BACKDATED BENEFITS!

The VA's Board of Veterans Appeals, acting on a vet's C-123 claim first submitted back in 2011, on Thursday approved his appeal that sought retroactive benefits to the date first filed, thus picking up four years of retroactive disability compensation due him.

How was this done? I'd read about the restrictions on retroactive benefits with liberalizing rules and was a party to the negotiations with Secretary McDonald that left us so dismayed by loss of benefits for which we'd waited years.

An idea formed: I'd also read that reservists with line-of-duty injuries can achieve legal veteran status. It was easy to find a couple citations on the BVA web site, so it seemed possible to anchor a C-123 Agent Orange claim or appeal with a C-123 hearing loss disability. The claim would be on a "fact-proven" basis because VA already recognizes our exposures and there would be no need for the liberalizing rule to convey veteran status via presumptive service connection. We owe sincere thanks to the C-123 pro bono team (Chicago and Denver) at Faegre Baker Daniels, plus the National Veterans Legal Services Project for their input.

Most of us have some hearing loss, and this particular vet had earlier submitted a straightforward hearing loss claim, earning the small disability VA typically grants for hearing loss and tinnitus, based on the vet's flying activities. Those activities included C-123 duty, so the hearing loss triggered legal veteran status during the 1972-1980 period he was also being exposed to Agent Orange.

With legal veteran status established by his hearing injury, the Agent Orange illnesses for this vet simply became additional illnesses that VA covered.

Although this particular vet was already 100% disabled for other issues besides Agent Orange, if he hadn't already been receiving a VA check this decision would give him compensation from 2011 to June 2015, or about $110,000...serious pocket change, indeed! His claim was meant to be our association's "poster-child" claim to try to pave the way for others.

What's this mean for you? If your claim was submitted to VA on or after June 19, 2019, nothing. If it was submitted before and you are neither retired military nor already on VA disability, it means your claim can be appealed, or re-appealed, citing this decision, so long as you have a claim you can also make for hearing loss or some other disability. BVA decisions don't set precedent, but VA administrative law judges do give them great weight on similar claims.

I emphasize the issue of hearing loss...most flyers (or infantry, artillery, EOD) have it to some degree. Many of us have tinnitus, for which there is no test and a veteran need only state that ringing in the ears has become a problem. That hearing loss (or any other LOD injury) having its origins back in our C-123 days, is a disability that satisfies the law's requirements for full legal veteran status...and opens the door for your Agent Orange claim being backdated!

This appeal is in my Facebook NOTES section and HERE IS THE ACTUAL DECISION

22 September 2017

BVA Screws Up Another C-123 Vet's Appeal?

It looks like BVA has trampled over the facts of another veteran's appeal.

In early August 2017, a denied claim was reconsidered by the VA Board of Appeals in West Virginia. The vet claimed service connection for Agent Orange exposure during his assignment to the 327th Tactical Airlift Group at Lockbourne. BVA determined that the vet wasn't exposed to C-123 Agent Orange contamination because the 317th "was nor recorded as having operated or maintained  the ORH (OPERATION RANCHHAND) C-123 aircraft."
EXCEPT: The 317rh did fly assigned C-123 transports!

A two-second Google search showed that the 317th was assigned C-123 transports between 1969-1971,
"Further, the Board's previous remand directed the RO to determine whether the Veteran serviced Operation Ranch Hand (ORH) C-123 aircraft during his military service, which are affected aircraft under the regulation. The RO determined that the Veteran was stationed at one air base, Lockbourne Air Force Base, where ORH C-123 aircraft were stationed while the Veteran was present. However, the Veteran's assigned squadron, the 317th Air Lift Group, was not recorded as having operated or maintained the ORH C-123 aircraft, and he thus was not found to have regularly and repeatedly operated or maintained affected aircraft under the regulation. Therefore, this case turns on whether the Veteran was exposed to herbicide agents as a result of his military service in Thailand."



Stations[edit]
Tachikawa Airfield, Japan, 18 August 1948 - c. 21 September 1948
Wiesbaden Air Base, Germany, c. 30 September 1948
Celle RAF Station, Germany (later: West Germany), 9 January – 14 September 1949
Rhein-Main Air Base, West Germany, 14 July 1952
Neubiberg Air Base, West Germany, 17 March 1953
Évreux-Fauville Air Base, France, 17 April 1957 – 25 September 1958; 15 April 1963 – 20 June 1964
Lockbourne Air Force Base, Ohio, 20 June 1964
Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina, 31 August 1971 – 20 August 1993
Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, 1 April 1997–present
Aircraft[edit]
C-47 Skytrain, 1942–1948
C-46 Commando, 1948
C-54 Skymaster, 1948–1949
C-119 Flying Boxcar, 1952–1957, 1957–1958
C-130 Hercules, 1957–1958, 1963–1964, 1964–1971, 1971–1993, 1997–2012
C-124 Globemaster II, 1963–1964
C-123 Provider, 1969–1971.
Lockheed Martin C-130J Super Hercules, 2010–present

Luckily, this vets' appeal was approved on other justification, but everyone involved let the vet almost get denied. BVA should have checked as should VFW, WHO REPRESENTED THE VETERAN!!

13 September 2017

VA DECEPTIONS USED TO DENY C-123 AGENT ORANGE CLAIMS, 2011-2015

   Every C-123 Agent Orange claim ever submitted was denied until June 2015, but still, VA insisted it had no blanket denial policy. How else are ten years of 100% denials described? With instructions like the examples below, there clearly was an official blanket denial policy. This denied Due Process, misled Congress when it tried to help us, ignored VAM21-1MR and provisions of US statutes and Federal Regulations. It was deceptive and an amazing abuse of discretion.

    Look at the following list of promises of case-by-case consideration. All of them, however earnestly offered, are shown to be false in the memo authored by VBA's Agent Orange expert, Mr. James Sampsel. He wrote, "If we were to adopt a case-by-case plan, an additional problem would be how to determine whether a particular post-Vietnam C-123 crew member was flying stateside on a former Ranch Hand aircraft." 

    See the point? He's discussing VA adopting a case-by-case plan, making it clear VA never had one! Why? Because VBA wanted to avoid the "slippery slope" his memo warned of.

VA has the means to punish veterans making false claims, but veterans have nothing except outrage to deal with VA's abuse of discretion and false promises.

      – FALSE VA PROMISES OF PROPER C-123 CLAIMS  –
"Scouts' Honor?"
• "All claims are considered on a case-by-case basis." – former Secretary Shinseki
• "All claims considered on case-by-case basis." – Under Secretary Hickey
• "All claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis." – VA Office of General Counsel
• "All claims are considered on a case-by-case basis." – VA Deputy Chief Consultant Post-Deployment Health
• "Claims accepted and reviewed on case-by-case basis." – Federal Register (VA per Dr. Terry Walters), May 11, 2011, December 26, 2012, May 23, 2014
• "Makes a case-by-case determination..." – VA Office of General Counsel
• "Evaluations...conducted on a case-by-case basis." – VA response to Senate Veterans Affairs Committee
• "VA decides these claims on a case-by-case basis." – VA C-123 Agent Orange web page
• "These claims will be decided on a “case-by-case basis" – VA Agent Orange consultant
• "All claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.” – VBA Director Compensation & Pension Service
    • "Claims are evaluated on a case-by-case basis." – VA Public Affairs

   – FALSE EXCUSES VA CITED TO DENY C-123 CLAIMS –
"I cannot tell a lie!...except about C-123s"

     VBA informed regional off
ices how to deny all claims, and when ROs asked CS for they were told how to deny C-123 claims (VBA and VHA leaders made similar statements.)
     Every one of these was eventually shown to be in error, yet VA has never made right the harm done affected veterans.



•  “VHA has already informed CS that no C-123 exposure claims will be approved because there was no exposure” (Mr. Tom Murphy to Wes Carter and Major Marlene Wentworth, NC USAF on 28 Feb 2013, in his office)
•   "No amount of proof from whatever source will permit a C-123 claim approval. Because we've already determined there was no exposure." (Dr. Mike Peterson VHA to Wes Carter and Mr. Brooks Tucker [Senator Burr's staff] at Senate Hart Building meeting, May 2012)











•  "There was no exposure. (Consultant representing VA at June 2014 IOM C-123 hearing)

•  "VA laws and policies related to Agent Orange exposure, whether presumptive or based on fact-found evidence, address exposure contact that occurs during the actual spraying or handling of the dioxin-containing liquid herbicide"*


"TCDD is believed to persist in the metallic (or painted) environment with the lack of direct sunlight; however, its exposure risk is low due to lack of bioavailability and possible routes of exposure."

• "Therefore, it can be concluded that crews who worked on C-123 aircraft after they were used in the Vietnam War were not at risk of developing TCDD/Agent Orange-related health effects"

* Liquid Agent Orange only? A novel concept, but an outrageous one in toxicology. Agent Orange and its contaminant TCDD are deadly as a liquid, gas, solid or anything in between. The IOM concluded that, despite VA's "liquid" slight-of-hand. C-123 veterans were exposed via dermal, inhalation and ingestion routes of exposure.
** Mr. Murphy references the letter to Secretary Hickey from the Committee of Concerned Scientists and Physicians, which sought to satisfy the legal and scientific requirements for veterans' Agent Orange benefits per 38 USC and the VA's three eligibility statements in the Federal Register, i.e. exposure alone.

    ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Here is VA's first position statement from April 2011 addressing C-123 exposure inquiries. 
• The first point is correct: at that time, only Vietnam veterans had "presumptive exposure." The law was that other claimants would have to prove exposure on a fact-proven basis as we proceeded to do.
• The next four VA points were either disproved by the IOM or, with the third point, clearly CUE.