Garden Grove, CAJune 7, 2011 –Veterans-For-Change, an advocacy group for Veterans rights, benefits, and treatment, would like to address the ever-increasing problems affecting veterans and their families every day.

President Obama has clearly stated, “Whether you left the service in 2009 or 1949, we will fulfill our responsibility to deliver the benefits and care that you earned. That's why I've pledged to build nothing less than a 21st-century VA.”

The issues Veterans-For-Change addresses include:

DoD response time dealing with verification of service on Classified Missions:

The Memorandum Of Understanding that was drafted with DoD to form Care Coalition Special Operations Command shall be modified as follows:  The Department of Defense and all other federal agencies that have classified records on any veteran requesting disability from the Department of Veterans Affairs shall be informed that they are mandated to provide any and all documentation in their files that will establish Service Connection for any illness or injury that the veteran sustained while serving their country during times of war and times of peace.

Furthermore if Care Coalition SOCOM does not receive the necessary documentation within 1 calendar month then the claim for Service Connection is automatically granted at a rate no lower than 50% and the Combat Related Special Compensation Board shall be notified that they are to give the veteran the same CRSC rating as the DVA has until such time as DoD or any other government agency holding records gets those records to Care Coalition Special Operations Command.

Chapter 61 Retiree's and Widows Concurrent Receipt:

Veterans-For-Change would like everyone to take a stand, urging co-sponsor and support of H.R. 186 and H.R. 178, introduced by Representative Joe Wilson. In the event you are not aware, establishment of H.R. 186 states: H.R.186 - To amend title 10, United States Code, to expand the eligibility for concurrent receipt of military retired pay and veterans' disability compensation to include all members of the uniformed services who are retired under chapter 61 of such title for disability, regardless of the members' disability rating percentage. H.R. 178 states: H.R.178 - Military Surviving Spouses Equity Act To amend title 10, United States Code, to repeal the requirement for reduction of survivor annuities under the Survivor Benefit Plan for military surviving spouses to offset the receipt of veteran’s dependency and indemnity compensation.

These important pieces of legislation seeks to correct one of the remaining inequities pertaining to restoration of concurrent receipt by allowing medically retired military retirees to receive their full military retired pay and VA disability compensation without offset or rated disability and end the "Widow's Tax" on military survivors by eliminating the DIC (Dependency Indemnification Compensation offset of SBP (Survivor's Benefit Payments) which is based on the same rationale that prohibited the concurrent receipt of military pay and VA disability compensation.

Chapter 61 Retirees were involuntarily retired with less than 20 years of service because they incurred service-connected illnesses and injuries. They should not be penalized for conditions they cannot control due to serving their country, with an end result directly related to their military duties. It is important that all disabled military retirees are treated equally.

H.R. 186 addresses the “widow’s tax” which would be a giant step in that direction to fix this problem. President Obama had promised to do what is needed, and failed to meet that promise.

SBP (Survivor Benefit Plan) is a life insurance plan the Active Duty personnel obtains while in the service and elects to carry after service. So it is in essence a private paid plan having nothing to do with the VA or the DIC benefit through the VA, thus concurrent receipt is not a reasonable excuse to tamper with SBP. Current law imposes a penalty upon the widow:

Where the SBP plan begins to pay benefits and the widow applies for DIC (Disability Indemnity Compensation) for the death of the Veteran due to a service-connected illness, SBP is reduced by the amount of payment on DIC dollar for dollar.

This is an outright penalty or perhaps it should be considered an additional tax! Both programs are entirely different and separate from each other and there should be no offset.

We ask that Congress please draft legislation immediate to reverse this widow tax, and pay both benefits concurrently in full.

President Obama has said: “We have a sacred trust with those who wear the uniform of the United States of America, a commitment that begins with enlistment and must never end.” This statement was published in April, 2009. Isn’t it time for Congress and our Government to make these strong, compelling words come true for our precious Veterans who are finding living with the difficulties, physical and emotional wounds of combat more than they can tolerate?

If our nation rescinds its promises and ignores its obligation to those who have fought to preserve freedom throughout the world, we compromise the right to ask our men and women to serve and defend our national principals. The choice is yours.

Take a stand to stop the endless spinning wheel of a hamster or guinea pig. Take a stand to show and respect our Veterans, to start treating them as human beings, not pin cushions, or undeserving human beings. Veterans served our country with dedication to duty. Never have they asked, “Why me?” Isn’t it time America and the VA treated our soldiers and veterans with the respect, and the benefits so promised.

Veterans-For-Change has been crying out to all 535 members of Congress now for four years effective April 2006, as President Woodrow Wilson said, a leader’s ears must ring with the voices of the people! Do you hear us, America?

Veterans and their families are tired of campaign promises, yellow ribbons, and endless speeches that mean absolutely nothing. We need politicians on Capitol Hill to take immediate action to truly support all Veterans. It has been said that “Actions speak more than words…perhaps now is the time to truly take action and show our Veterans, we are America. We are proud, and we support and service our Veterans who served so proudly to defend our Nation!