Some Chump Change for Vets

Eligible Veterans to receive one-time payment of $250.00 by June 30, 2009

VA Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of Public Affairs
Media Relations
Washington, DC 20420
(202) 461-7600
News Release

June 25, 2009

VA Begins Stimulus Payments to Veterans Recipients of Some VA Benefits Will Receive $250

WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has requested the Department of the Treasury to make $250 payments to eligible Veterans as part of President Obama’s recovery plan. The first payments were sent Monday, June 22. All payments will be distributed by June 30.

As part of the recovery plan, VA is making one-time payments of $250 to eligible Veterans and survivors to offset the effects of the current economy. VA estimates $500 million in payments will be made to approximately 1.9 million Veterans and eligible beneficiaries as part of this measure.

To be eligible for the payment, VA beneficiaries must have received VA’s compensation, pension, dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), or spina bifida benefits at any time between November 2008 and January 2009. Also, beneficiaries must reside within the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

No application is necessary. VA used its existing payment records to determine eligibility for the $250 payment. Beneficiaries will receive their payments the same way they receive their monthly VA benefits — either by direct deposit or in the mail.

This payment is not countable in determining eligibility for VA pension or Parents’ DIC. The law allows one $250 payment per person. The payment is tax-free. VA beneficiaries who also receive benefits from the Social Security Administration or Railroad Retirement Board will be paid through those agencies, and will therefore not receive the payment from VA.

VA will spend more than $1.4 billion as part of President Obama’s economic recovery plan to improve services to America’s Veterans. VA’s Internet site – – provides current information about VA’s work to deliver its portion of recovery act funds to benefit Veterans.

Music/Mini-Concert for Veterans Retreat Center

On Saturday, July 25th, 6-10 pm, Hotel Congress has been gracious in opening the stage at no charge for a performance with the group “Still Cruisin” The proceeds from voluntary donations at the door go to the Merritt Retreat Center Veteran Program (501-C-3), in Payson, Arizona. Veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan; with other vets welcome, have been attending free retreats in a series of 4 spread out over 6 months, for the past two years. These retreat/ workshops are very powerful and of immense practical use in transitioning to civilian life. This writer, is a Marine combat veteran of Vietnam, and serves as a Mentor and contact for southern Arizona. Please join us for some real rock and roll! Still Cruisin is a treat! Mike/ Veteran Service Officer/American Legion. 808-3907.

Women in the Military


(PHOENIX) – Today, nearly 14-percent of America’s servicemembers are women yet services for women veterans are not sufficient to stem a rising number of homeless women veterans on our cities streets.

That will be among the issues taken up by the first Arizona Military Women’s Conference being held Friday, June 26th to Saturday, June 27th at the Radisson Phoenix City Center Hotel in downtown Phoenix.
The event is co-hosted by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services.

The conference is designed to informing women servicemembers and veterans of the programs and services available to them and to help create a support system designed for the special needs of female veterans.

On Saturday evening, at 7 p.m., June 27th, there will be a special tribute to the women who have fallen in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Please contact Joan Sisco of Veterans First at (602) 841.7663 or Gabe Forsberg of the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services at (602) 234.8431 for more information about this unique and needed event.

EVENT: Arizona Military Women’s Conference
DATE AND TIME: Friday, June 26, 2009, 8 a.m. to Saturday, June 27, 2009, 9 p.m.
LOCATION: Radisson Phoenix City Center Hotel
3600 N. 2nd Avenue, Phoenix, Arizona 85013

PTSD Tapes From Pointman Ministries

PTSD seminar tapes available for free download
From 1989 – 1993, William Kimball (a Vietnam veteran) traveled around the United States giving seminars about how to identify and deal with PTSD from a biblical perspective. With his permission, we copied 5 audio tapes from his seminars to .mp3 files and have made them available as free downloads at the link below. You may freely copy these mp3 files and share them with others. However, you may not sell them under any circumstances. There is also a PTSD FAQ link off of the main link below. We welcome your comments about these audio tapes and this link in general. To download these .mp3 files, please visit:

Agent Orange

AVVA National President applauds Agent Orange report



June 2, 2009
No. 09-1

Press Release

Agent Orange, We Live It Every Day

(Washington, D.C.) – The Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc., (AVVA) applauds the National Organization of Disabilities and Ford Foundation for the release today of U.S. Vietnam Veterans and Agent Orange: Understanding the Impact 40 Years Later.

Said Elaine Simmons, National President of AVVA, “As the families, friends, and supporters of our nation’s Vietnam veterans, we know, only too well, the long-lasting, debilitating effects of Agent Orange/dioxin, because we face them in our daily lives, as we attend to our sick and disabled.”

“We find it ironic, however, that this brutally honest assessment–which concludes that, forty years after the war, “It is still not too late to correct lapses in the nation’s treatment of veterans who were exposed to dioxin during the Vietnam War”–is the byproduct of the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin, a group whose primary missions are to raise awareness and mobilize resources .for the Dioxin damage to Vietnam, the country, and its people.

“Unfortunately, it is ‘way too late’ for so many our veterans–we remember them at the In Memory Plaque, when we visit The Wall, in Washington D.C. As families, we stand together, way too often, at the funerals of our beloved veterans, who are dying at a rate, from Agent Orange related diseases, that breaks our hearts on a daily basis.

“Lovingly, we scrutinize our new grandbabies, praying that we won’t see evidence of birth defects, learning disabilities, and cancers, which seem to strike us at a rate that is so much higher than our non-veteran families-Agent Orange, we say.” And if Agent Orange rears its ugly head, we pray we can help our children learn to live with these disabilities and diseases.

“We will continue to hope. If it takes addressing the effects of Agent Orange/dioxin in Vietnam to focus on addressing the lapses in care in America, then we will demand that our nation, when providing aid to our former enemy will, finally, address the needs of our veterans and their families at home.

The Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America is a national, nonprofit membership and service organization dedicated to advancing the full range of issues affecting all veterans, their families, and their communities. Our more than 6,000 members are families, friends, and supporters of Vietnam veterans, as well as Vietnam veterans and veterans of other eras.

Veterans Affairs Budget

House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Contruction and VA passes draft FY10 funding bill

June 16, 2009 – 1:33 p.m.
Subcommittee Approves Spending Increases for Veterans’ Programs
By Matthew M. Johnson, CQ Staff

A House Appropriations subcommittee approved a draft bill Tuesday totaling $132.3 billion to fund the Veterans Affairs Department, military construction projects and other programs in fiscal 2010.

About $78 billion of that total would be discretionary spending, which is nearly 7 percent more than enacted in fiscal 2009 and $239 million more than the White House requested. About $54.4 billion would be mandatory spending. The Military Construction-VA Appropriations Subcommittee approved the bill by voice vote.

The discretionary total is about $1.4 billion more than the $76.5 billion allocation the subcommittee received last week from the full Appropriations Committee. The increase was to accommodate additional military construction activities in Afghanistan. The full committee is expected to formally approve the increase before sending the bill to the House floor.

The bill is scheduled for committee action June 24 and for floor action in early July.

About $109 billion of the overall total would go to the VA, which is 15 percent more than the amount appropriated for fiscal 2009 () and equal to President Obama’s budget request. Of that amount, $53 billion would be discretionary spending, about 11 percent more than fiscal 2009 levels.

The Veterans’ Benefits Administration, which pays out financial assistance, would receive a total of $56 billion, about 19 percent more than it received in fiscal 2009 and the same level as the president’s request.
Subcommittee Chairman Chet Edwards, D-Texas, stressed the need to hire more veterans’ claims processors.

“Knowing that veterans who have served our nation and answered Uncle Sam’s call when called, they should not have to wait six, eight, 10 and 12 months to get their earned benefits,” he said.

Accounts for the Veterans’ Health Administration, which runs the veterans’ hospital system and other programs, would receive $45.1 billion, roughly 11 percent more than fiscal 2009 levels and matching Obama’s request.

The legislation would also include money for veterans’ health programs in fiscal 2011, a move that would put the politically sensitive programs on a two-year budget cycle, making their funding more predictable.

In effect, appropriators would end up writing two budgets for the VA this year – one to provide fiscal 2010 funding for the whole department and the other to provide fiscal 2011 funding for just VA health programs.

The fiscal 2011 total for those accounts would be $48.2 billion, about 8 percent higher than what the bill would give them for fiscal 2010.

Edwards said the actuarial numbers that the VA provided for fiscal 2011 spending were nearly identical to figures the committee had estimated for the bill.

The advance funding figures attempt to compensate for an anticipated 4.4 percent rate of inflation for health care, as well as an expected increase in the number of veterans who seek treatment at VA facilities, Edwards said.

The portion of the bill dealing with the Defense Department – primarily for military construction projects, family housing, and base realignment and closure – would decrease by 7 percent in fiscal 2010, to a total of $23.3 billion. That would still be $317.7 million more than the administration requested.

Some defense-related accounts would grow, including military construction, which would increase to $12.9 billion, a 4 percent boost from fiscal 2009 totals. The White House requested $12.7 billion.

Family housing projects would take a hit, receiving the administration’s request of $2 billion – a 38 percent drop from fiscal 2009 levels.

Funding for projects related to the 2005 round of base realignments and closures would decline by 15 percent, for a total of $7.5 billion, the same amount requested by the administration.

Source: CQ Today Print Edition
Round-the-clock coverage of news from Capitol Hill.
© 2009 Congressional Quarterly Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Food Stamps and the Military

At what intersection does the phrase “Support the Troops” have some concrete reality? Pay raises for the enlisted is forever and ever a controversial subject. It may be less of a concern, the raises that is, if we knew how many of our men and women who put themselves in harms way are receiving food stamps. In 2008 there was a 25% increase in the use of food stamps at military commissaries. That is nearly twice as high as the nationwide increase of 13% over the same period. The USDA reports that nearly one in nine Americans were on food stamps in February.

The Dreaded Draft

Do any of you think the Draft would ever be re-instated? How would Americans react to such an action of our Government?

The first Military draft was  ordered by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the Civil War. In the Union it was legal for a draftee to buy his way out of the military service for the substantial sum of  $300. Draftess could also send substitutes in their places.

Since then the United States has used conscription in World War l, World War ll, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  WWll had the largest number of draftees with 11,535,ooo (61% of all troops who served during the war) Of nearly 18 million men examined for induction, about 36% were rejected as physically or mentally unfit for service.  Contrary to rumor, most, nearly 70%  enlisted in the Vietnam era. The Psyciatric casualty rate in combat for WWll veterans was 26%;  in Vietnam it was 3%. However it rose to about 30%  five years after the war.

In 1981, the United States Supreme Court ruled that women do not have to register for the military draft because they are specifically excluded from combat, the Congress has the power to establish a male-only draft. The Department of Defense maintains that to this day, women are not serving in combat.  I take  issue with this stance, as I have attended tons of workshops with  women who drove trucks in convoys that were steeped in combat.

How do you feel about the possibility of a Draft, as we are a little short on personel?

Transcendental Meditation for Veterans

Stayed tuned for some  extraordinary helpful treatises regarding the value of meditating. We have created a relationship with the local  TM representatives, who will be sharing their research data and their affiliations with the Veterans Administration.  One of their primary supporters and promoters is Paul McCartney who is performing on their behalf.

This writer has been a meditator since 1971. I have  derived observable and quantifiable benefits.  Ask my wife!!

Veteran Funding Update

Contact Kristal DeKleer at (202) 225-9756
Veterans’ Affairs Committee Passes Historic Bill to Secure Timely Funding for Veterans’ Health Care
Washington, D.C. – On Wednesday, June 10, 2009, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs led by Chairman Bob Filner (D-CA) announced the passage of H.R. 1016, landmark legislation to secure timely funding for veterans’ health care through the ‘advance appropriations’ process.
H.R. 1016 would authorize Congress to approve Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical care appropriations one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year.  An advance appropriation would provide VA with up to one year in which to plan how to deliver the most efficient and effective care to an increasing number of veterans with increasingly complex medical conditions.  Unlike proposals to convert VA health care to a mandatory funding program, an advance appropriation does not create PAYGO concerns since VA health care funding would remain discretionary.  Congress employs a PAYGO rule which demands that new proposals must either be budget neutral or offset with savings derived from existing funds.
Reform of the method in which the VA health care system is funded continues to be a top legislative priority for many veteran service organizations.  In a letter sent by eleven veteran service organizations, a vote for H.R. 1016 “will be among the most important for veterans and their families that the Committee will take this year.”  Representatives of these groups offered testimony in support of advance appropriations at a recent Committee hearing which focused on funding the VA of the future.  (Testimony available here: HVAC Hearing Information)
H.R. 1016 was amended before the Committee voted to approve the measure.  Key changes include requiring the President to submit a request for VA medical care accounts for the “fiscal year following the fiscal year for which the budget is submitted,” as part of the annual budget submission.  Additionally, VA will be required to detail estimates in the budget documents it submits annually to Congress.  Each July, the VA will be required to report to Congress if it has the resources it needs for the upcoming fiscal year in order for Congress to address any funding imbalances.  This will help to safeguard against the VA facing budget shortfalls such as it faced just a few years ago.
Chairman Filner offered the following statement: “Today, this Committee approved a historic new approach to providing adequate and timely funding for veterans’ health care.  For too many years, the Department of Veterans Affairs has had to make do with insufficient budgets resulting in restricted access for many veterans.  Members of the Committee have worked closely with veteran service organizations to respond to years of chronic underfunding and tardy appropriations with this landmark bill to guarantee that our veterans have access to comprehensive, quality health care.”
·       H.R. 1016, as amended – Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009 (Filner)
H.R. 1016 would authorize Congress to approve VA medical care appropriations one year in advance of the start of each fiscal year.  The bill provides Congress greater ability and incentive to develop appropriation bills that provide sufficient funding to meet the best estimate of anticipated demand for VA health care services in future years.
The bill will next be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives