The DAV 100% Worthless To America’s Service Connected Disabled Veterans!

Is The DAV 100% Worthless To America’s Service Connected Disabled Veterans!

 

This article today is derived from my personal experiences with the DAV. The DAV for those of you who don’t already know stands for Disabled American Veterans. This is an organization that its members (like me) have paid $230.00 to for a lifetime membership. Their job is to help service connected disabled veterans concerning issues with the VA (Veterans Administration). My personal experiences with them have gotten me nothing except having $230.00 less in my bank account. Each month members get a small magazine telling its members about things they are doing like having conventions and of course, asking for donations and offering things for sale like t-shirts. Where I live here in eastern Kentucky I have three neighbors whom the DAV ‘represents’. When I have spoken with them and or their wives they say the same thing, that yes the DAV is their representative but no, they haven’t seen anything from them yet. They like I have waited and waited for years now to have our issues with the VA addressed, but still nothing.

 

I have a case before the VA to have my service connected disability rating increased from its current 40% as I am totally disabled because of being hit by lightning while I was in the Army. I filed for the increase in February of 2013 and was turned down in March of 2014. I at that time filed an appeal but as of yet I still don’t have a date to get to see the Judges (next step in the appeals process). I was told in March of 2013 that the process was taking about 22-23 months before I could expect to have my case in front of this 3 Judge panel. Folks, that was 30 months ago and I still have no date set for this meeting with these Judges. So far what has the DAV done for me concerning this issue? As far as I can tell the answer to that question is, absolutely nothing!

 

I have two medical bills that are on my credit report that are labeled as ‘in collections’. These two bills are from September of 2011. I was in a suburb of Atlanta Georgia at that time and I blacked out and busted my forehead open about 3 to 4 inches on a large steel exterior door hinge . The reason I blacked out I was told later by the Doctors was because the VA had me on 4 times too much blood pressure medicine. I was taken while unconscious in an ambulance to the nearest hospital which happened to be a civilian hospital that was about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away. I was unconscious for three days once I got there. I was later told by the ER Doctors that when I arrived that both of my kidneys had 100% shut down and that my blood pressure was 50/20. They also told me that if I had not gotten there within another 5 to 10 minutes, I would have died. The VA via their guidelines are supposed to pay the medical bills if the bills derived from an emergency, they still have not paid the bills and now they are on my credit report. The VA has said that the reason is that in their opinion I could have made it to the Atlanta VA which would have been at least 30 minutes away, in good traffic. Also anyone who knows anything at all about Atlanta traffic at about 4-PM knows that the chance I could have made it to the VA before I died, knows that I would not be writing this letter to you now, I would be dead. I have written and called the local DAV rep here in my home town and all they do say is for me to contact the National office in Louisville Ky. Concerning writing letters to them, they just send you a letter back telling me/you to either visit or call the Louisville office. Well, I have done this and the people who you are able to get a hold of don’t know anything about what the VA policies are and all they try to do is push you off the phone telling me that I need to handle the issue and that it would be an up hill battle trying to get them to pay those bills because “I should have gone to a VA Hospital’.  The DAV, even at the National Head Quarters, zero help, total laziness, total ignorance of the rules/policies.

 

I have an electric wheel-chair that I got from the VA back in 2007 that weighs 300 lbs, plus the weight of the lift that is hooked to the back of our 2006 Chevy Equinox. This vehicle is getting old and it has 150,000 miles on it so my wife and I are a bit concerned about how much longer it can last. Even this large SUV strains a bit with all of this weight hooked onto its rear end. I went to the VA in Lexington to see if I could get a smaller chair with a smaller lift so that hopefully we could trade the SUV in on a smaller vehicle. The Doctors did their evaluations and then told us that I am going to be getting a new chair but that this new one weighs 425 lbs. They also informed us that we needed to purchase a large van for the new chair as they didn’t want it hanging on the back of a vehicle exposed to the weather. The VA has a program where if you can jump through all their hoops that a service connected disabled veteran can get up to a once in a life time sum of money of up to $20,000 (paid directly to the seller of the vehicle) to help pay for things like this needed van. My local DAV lady did as she/he always does, they tell you to contact the National Office in Louisville. In other words the local office has been 100% useless to me since I started paying that $230.00 fee. So, when I called the Louisville National Office, all I got from the man on the other end of the phone was attitude, he knew nothing and he very obviously didn’t want to be bothered with talking to me about anything.

So, I ask you this question once again, is the DAV 100% worthless to America’s service connected disabled veterans?

(Yesterday march 31st I got a letter from the VA stating that in their opinion I did not qualify for the disabled van program and a letter saying that all of my disability claims for a higher rating have been denied. I never received a single letter or call from anyone with the DAV nor did I get to see any ‘Judges’. Now after waiting for 5 years and 2 months I get to try to start the appeals process all over again. What a HUGE FRAUD the VA and the DAV are!)

Military Veterans Having To Hide In The Country They Served

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TASK AND PURPOSE)

Unwanted: An Army Veteran Hiding In The Country He Served
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A disabled Army veteran and illegal immigrant living in hiding in the United States shares his story.

David is sore most days. It’s his back and his hands, mostly, but to be honest, it’s all the joints. He’s deaf in one ear, blind in one eye, and walks with a cane. He’s 67 and has arthritis most everywhere you can have it. But there’s some pain that age doesn’t inflict. Terrible thoughts, the stuff of bad dreams. For him they’re memories, and all too real.

David, who served stateside in the Army during the Vietnam War, is clean these days. He kicked his heroin habit and stopped boozing years ago. He stays away from painkillers too, for a different reason: They don’t play nice with his dialysis treatment. He goes to a Department of Veteran Affairs hospital every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday — three hours each time — and he can’t sleep when the needle is in him. It’s thick as a nail and sends shooting pain through his arm when he changes position. There’s a television in the room, but the volume is usually turned way down, so David just sits there in a recliner and tries not to move too much. It leaves him exhausted, sore, and hungry, and he doesn’t like to drive after he gets treatment. He rarely drives anyway.

David dialysis

“I’m scared to,” he says.

He could get pulled over, and then the cop might run a background check. David lives in Los Angeles, his home for half a century. He didn’t used to be afraid to go out on the road. Though he entered the country legally with his family in 1967, David — who asked not be identified by his real name — is now considered an illegal immigrant.

These days, he spends most of his time inside, watching television, keeping up with the news and cooking. Occasionally he cleans, but he has trouble getting around, so he doesn’t do it often. It’s not fear of prison keeping David cooped up indoors. He’s been behind bars, several times actually. But the possibility of getting deported back to Mexico terrifies him.

If it happened again, it’d be the fourth and final time, he says. A lot of things would have to go wrong for that to occur, but the stakes are high, and very real.

If he’s caught, he’ll serve time — 10 years, the cops told him. In fact, illegal re-entry into the United States by someone previously deported for a crime is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. After that, he’d be deported, again.

“I’ll die if I go back.”

How would he survive in Mexico? His whole family is here in the states. He doesn’t work anymore, he can’t, but he gets a check from the VA — every first of the month — and that’s where he goes for his kidney failure treatment. He’s covered, 100%, but there are no VA hospitals in Mexico and David is uninsured and afraid that his health will worsen if he’s deported.

“I know I’m breaking the law,” he says, “but what else can I do? I’ve been here for 50 years already.”

David is one of hundreds of military veterans who have been deported from the country they served. In 2015, as many as 65,000 residents with green cards — which allow them to live and work in the states legally — were serving in the armed forces. And while the military can be a fast-track to citizenship, it’s not guaranteed. Service members still need to apply for it, and not all of them do. David never got around to it.

“I know I’m breaking the law,” he says, “but what else can I do? I’ve been here for 50 years already.”

Immigrants legally living in the United States who are convicted of what are called aggravated felonies — which can include anything from a bar fight or drug possession to forgery or any theft resulting in a sentence of more than two years — may lose their status as legal residents. After their incarceration, they are deported back to their country of origin. For many, it’s a place they haven’t seen since they were children. Once that happens, it’s highly unlikely they’ll ever become a U.S. citizen.

For repeat offenders like David, it’s virtually impossible.

No one knows how many immigrant veterans have been deported in total — not even the Department of Homeland Security, the agency charged with handling and tracking these deportations. Deported Veterans Support House, an advocacy group based in Mexico, says it has helped 300 veterans who have been deported to 36 different countries. Other advocacy groups estimate that the number of veterans deported may be in the thousands.

David’s family left their home in Mexicali, Mexico, for the United States when he was 12. The states offered opportunity. It’s the whole reason people come here. “More work, more money, more everything,” he explains. “Everybody that came from another country, we came for the same thing. To better ourselves.”

David’s family lived in Calexico, California, for a time, then moved to San Diego, and finally to Los Angeles where they settled and put down roots.

“My mom and dad, they’re buried right here in L.A,” he says.

It was a family of 12 kids, five boys, seven girls. They’re all either legal residents or U.S. citizens like his four kids — two boys, two girls — and his three grandkids. David is the only one who isn’t a legal resident or citizen.

“I started using drugs, and that’s what fucked me up,” he explains. “Nobody used drugs in my family but me. I’m embarrassed. I’m the only one with a criminal record. The only one without papers.”

He’s also the only one who volunteered to serve during the Vietnam War.

He enlisted in 1974 when he was 19. Early on in his military service, David was sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier.

David doesn’t like to talk about it. It brings him pain. He enlisted because he wanted to go to Vietnam, and instead this happened. “What kind of shit is that?” he asks. The guy who did it was older than him, and was kicked out of the Air Force before finding his way into the Army. That’s where he found David.

The trauma lingers.

“I was like a new fish in the tank. I was a kid … I was sexually abused. Ever since that shit happened to me I haven’t been the same. I know that.”

David doesn’t know if the man ever hurt anyone else.

“I don’t know what happened to him. I don’t know, and I don’t want to know.”

The incident stayed with David for more than 40 years. Post-traumatic stress disorder, that’s what the VA diagnosed him with, along with other ailments relating to his sore joints and kidney failure.

David served during the tail-end of the war as a welder stationed at Fort Lewis in Washington state, and started using heroin shortly after being assaulted. He sought solace in getting high, because it felt good, and because it was available.

“The drugs were everywhere.”

By the time he left the military in 1976, David was hooked. For a while the money he made as a welder supported the habit. There was a lot of work — different jobs in a lot of different places — but after a while it didn’t pay well enough to keep pace with his drug use. Eventually, that led to run-ins with the police.

One night in 1983, David was with a girl he knew, robbing houses. She’d break in and grab the stuff; David would drive. This time, although they got away as usual, someone got a look at his plates. That was enough.

“Heroin, it takes away your freedom, your family, your money, your job, everything.”

He was arrested for breaking and entering, which earned him two years in a prison in Tehachapi, California. His conviction meant he lost his status as a legal resident, so after he served his time, David was picked up by Immigration and Custom Enforcement agents and deported.

After he was dropped off in Tijuana, Mexico, David turned around and came back the same day — he went right through the entry point into the United States.

“I crossed the border like nothing. Like an American citizen. They let me go right in.”

But by 1986, he was back in the same spot. This time it was for breaking into a car. David insists that he was just an unwitting participant. “I was hanging with the wrong people,” he says. “Every time that something happens to me, it’s someone else. It’s just the way it is with me.”

The second time bought him another two years at Tehachapi, but he was out in one. ICE agents dropped him off in Nogales. And just like before, he turned around and came right back across the border.

In between his visits to prison, David was in and out of the county jail — sometimes just for a few days, other times for weeks, occasionally months. One time, he went in for 90 days, got out and started drinking, and wound up with another 90-day hitch.

At some point after his second deportation, David did a six-month stint in the L.A. county jail. Finally, he decided he’d had enough.

“It was just too much, man,” he says. “I couldn’t even enjoy drugs anymore. So I stopped.”

By this time his first marriage was over and his daughter was a teenager. David went to a church in his neighborhood and told them he wanted to get clean, so the priest sent him to a Christian home for 15 months.

David arrest

“I got out and I was clean. I was working, I had my car, and everything. I didn’t have papers, though.”

From the late 1980s until the early 2000s, things were better. David didn’t use, didn’t drink. He found stable work in his trade, welding, and eventually became the foreman at a company in southern California. He worked there for 16 years. He remarried and had three more kids with his second wife.

Then one night in 2003, ICE agents showed up at his home. He doesn’t know how they found out he was undocumented, or that he had a record. He doesn’t remember much of what happened — just that it was late, and that they knocked first.

“I said I didn’t do nothing. They said, ‘You’re illegal,’ and I said ‘Okay.’”

David served another two years, this time for illegal re-entry, and was sent to a federal penitentiary in Arizona before being deported to Nogales. And once again, he came back, though the border crossing was more difficult and more costly than it had been in the 1980s.

David says he met a group of guys in Mexico who charged him $2,000 before taking him to an opening in the border fence. From there, he made it back to Los Angeles, but things were different this time. His work disappeared. He and his second wife divorced. And later that year, the health problems began.

These days, David lives alone.

He has a lot of time to think about the mistakes he’s made and there’s a lot of regret, especially about his drug use.

“That was my life” he says. “I messed up. What I was doing is heavy. Heroin, it takes away your freedom, your family, your money, your job, everything … It’s nasty man. I learned to stay away.”

“This is my country,” David says. “I know it’s illegal being here. I feel bad, but I don’t have a choice.”

An illegal immigrant in a country he once served, he considers himself an American, even if he’s not a citizen, or even a legal resident.

“This is my country,” David says. “I know it’s illegal being here. I feel bad, but I don’t have a choice.”

David doesn’t like to talk to his kids and grandkids about what might happen to him if he’s discovered, he says. It’s hard to explain to them that though he’s spent 50 years of his life in the states, he’s not supposed to be here.

“They don’t understand it. They know. They talk about Trump — that he’s gonna send me to Mexico, and they go, ‘Why? What’s he gonna send you there for?’ They know, but they don’t understand.”

So he stays at home, and he waits, anxiously wondering if he’ll hear another knock at the door, like last time. He even changed his information on his driver’s license recently. He used his eldest daughter’s home address — she’s a U.S. citizen. At least that way, ICE might show up at her place first, and he might have a head’s up that they’re coming for him.

“I’m mostly just waiting for ICE to knock on my door.”

His family lives about 15 to 20 minutes away in a nearby city. He visits with them when he can. But usually, if he leaves the house, it’s to go to the VA — Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. It’s a short trip by car, and he’s very, very careful to stay within the speed limit.

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Photo depicts Veteran Lying On The Floor While Waiting For Help At Durham North Carolina VA

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION)

Photo depicts veteran lying on ground while waiting at VA

 Blaine Tolison

PHOTO: The McMenamins

A couple posted photos on Facebook and said veterans waited for hours in pain inside the Durham VA Medical Center.

Stephen McMenamin, a former U.S. Marine, was there for treatment, and his wife took the pictures.

“My wife found it upsetting, so she took a couple pictures,” he said.

He said a veteran on the ground was using his bag of medication for a pillow after being denied an available reclining chair.

“The nurse started yelling at him, telling him he can’t do that. He’s like, ‘I can’t get up and I won’t get up. I will be here until you can see me. Can I please have a blanket?’” McMenamin said.

That Facebook post was shared more than 80,000 times.

McMenamin said they started hearing from other veterans and their families.

“All these people, and it was, you know, it’s been kind of heartbreaking,” he said.

TRENDING STORIES:

The hospital’s chief executive nurse responded and told McMenamin that the matter is being investigated.

Rep. Robert Pittenger said this just reaffirms his push to hold VA employees more accountable.

“It’s absolutely tragic,” he said. “It’s frankly reflective of what we’ve seen from the VA, and that’s why I sponsored last year and this year, the VA Accountability Act.”

Commander of the North Carolina VFW said things in the state have improved drastically, but he said if an investigation confirms what is depicted in these photos, then the staff responsible should be fired.

“There’s no question about it, I mean, there’s no acceptable reason why this should have happened,” Commander Doug Blevins said.

Statement from the Medical Center Director DeAnne Seekins:

“We take seriously any allegation of poor service. I was made aware of a regrettable incident that occurred in our Emergency Department over the weekend and am thankful someone cared enough to share the incident with us. Our mission is to provide the highest level of health care to Veterans, so upon learning of the incident, I took swift action. The employee was immediately removed from patient care pending the results of an internal review.

It is an honor to serve America’s heroes and actions that do not align with our core values will not be tolerated. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality care to the Veterans we serve and being responsive to our patient’s needs. Veterans deserve nothing less.”

The DAV 100% Worthless To America’s Service Connected Disabled Veterans?

Is The DAV 100% Worthless To America’s Service Connected Disabled Veterans?

 

This article today is derived from my personal experiences with the DAV. The DAV for those of you who don’t already know stands for Disabled American Veterans. This is an organization that its members (like me) have paid $230.00 to for a lifetime membership. Their job is to help service connected disabled veterans concerning issues with the VA (Veterans Administration). My personal experiences with them have gotten me nothing except having $230.00 less in my bank account. Each month members get a small magazine telling its members about things they are doing like having conventions and of course, asking for donations and offering things for sale like t-shirts. Where I live here in eastern Kentucky I have three neighbors whom the DAV ‘represents’. When I have spoken with them and or their wives they say the same thing, that yes the DAV is their representative but no, they haven’t seen anything from them yet. They like I have waited and waited for years now to have our issues with the VA addressed, but still nothing.

 

I have a case before the VA to have my service connected disability rating increased from its current 40% as I am totally disabled because of being hit by lightning while I was in the Army. I filed for the increase in February of 2013 and was turned down in March of 2014. I at that time filed an appeal but as of yet I still don’t have a date to get to see the Judges (next step in the appeals process). I was told in March of 2013 that the process was taking about 22-23 months before I could expect to have my case in front of this 3 Judge panel. Folks, that was 30 months ago and I still have no date set for this meeting with these Judges. So far what has the DAV done for me concerning this issue? As far as I can tell the answer to that question is, absolutely nothing!

 

I have two medical bills that are on my credit report that are labeled as ‘in collections’. These two bills are from September of 2011. I was in a suburb of Atlanta Georgia at that time and I blacked out and busted my forehead open about 3 to 4 inches on a large steel exterior door hinge . The reason I blacked out I was told later by the Doctors was because the VA had me on 4 times too much blood pressure medicine. I was taken while unconscious in an ambulance to the nearest hospital which happened to be a civilian hospital that was about 1/4 to 1/2 mile away. I was unconscious for three days once I got there. I was later told by the ER Doctors that when I arrived that both of my kidneys had 100% shut down and that my blood pressure was 50/20. They also told me that if I had not gotten there within another 5 to 10 minutes, I would have died. The VA via their guidelines are supposed to pay the medical bills if the bills derived from an emergency, they still have not paid the bills and now they are on my credit report. The VA has said that the reason is that in their opinion I could have made it to the Atlanta VA which would have been at least 30 minutes away, in good traffic. Also anyone who knows anything at all about Atlanta traffic at about 4-PM knows that the chance I could have made it to the VA before I died, knows that I would not be writing this letter to you now, I would be dead. I have written and called the local DAV rep here in my home town and all they do say is for me to contact the National office in Louisville Ky. Concerning writing letters to them, they just send you a letter back telling me/you to either visit or call the Louisville office. Well, I have done this and the people who you are able to get a hold of don’t know anything about what the VA policies are and all they try to do is push you off the phone telling me that I need to handle the issue and that it would be an up hill battle trying to get them to pay those bills because “I should have gone to a VA Hospital’.  The DAV, even at the National Head Quarters, zero help, total laziness, total ignorance of the rules/policies.

 

I have an electric wheel-chair that I got from the VA back in 2007 that weighs 300 lbs, plus the weight of the lift that is hooked to the back of our 2006 Chevy Equinox. This vehicle is getting old and it has 150,000 miles on it so my wife and I are a bit concerned about how much longer it can last. Even this large SUV strains a bit with all of this weight hooked onto its rear end. I went to the VA in Lexington to see if I could get a smaller chair with a smaller lift so that hopefully we could trade the SUV in on a smaller vehicle. The Doctors did their evaluations and then told us that I am going to be getting a new chair but that this new one weighs 425 lbs. They also informed us that we needed to purchase a large van for the new chair as they didn’t want it hanging on the back of a vehicle exposed to the weather. The VA has a program where if you can jump through all their hoops that a service connected disabled veteran can get up to a once in a life time sum of money of up to $20,000 (paid directly to the seller of the vehicle) to help pay for things like this needed van. My local DAV lady did as she/he always does, they tell you to contact the National Office in Louisville. In other words the local office has been 100% useless to me since I started paying that $230.00 fee. So, when I called the Louisville National Office, all I got from the man on the other end of the phone was attitude, he knew nothing and he very obviously didn’t want to be bothered with talking to me about anything.

So, I ask you this question once again, is the DAV 100% worthless to America’s service connected disabled veterans?

(Yesterday march 31st I got a letter from the VA stating that in their opinion I did not qualify for the disabled van program and a letter saying that all of my disability claims for a higher rating have been denied. I never received a single letter or call from anyone with the DAV nor did I get to see any ‘Judges’. Now after waiting for 5 years and 2 months I get to try to start the appeals process all over again. What a HUGE FRAUD the VA and the DAV are!)

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