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tinwhistle

VA Claims Update

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You may racall that a few weeks ago I ran into an old aquaintance and as a result of our conversation I urged him to see the County Veterans Service Office about compensation regarding the postrate cancer surgery he just had. Well, I saw him yesterday and he has not, as of this writing, seen our CVSO.

On the same topic: at the suggestion of Sam McGowan I have sent a letter to Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, Washingto DC. The letter explains the problem that so many of us have in proving our Vietnam service, this whole "boots" thing. I went into a lot of detail and included a packet of various documents to support my effort. This is the kind of thing I enjoy doing and I'm good at it, but even if you aren't real comfortable with it I'd urge you to give it a try. I'm more than willing to send you a copy of the letter I sent and I'm sure Sam would do the same. We're not gettin' younger and some of our brothers need a bit of help........

Chris

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I reiterate something I wrote a while back, to show what a farce this " boots" bullshit is.... Let us suppose an aircrew, all cherries, leave, say the states, and land in . say, Da Nang. It is an engine running off load, the loadie ( of course) gets out onto the ramp, to direct the off-load. The GIF's stay on board in their air-conditioned comfort( just kiddin'), the loadie shuts up the back and they fly off to land back in say, Hawaii. Forty years later, the Nav, lets say, develops one of the pre-disposed diseases, goes through the asswipe process for a claim, and they say you need "boots on the ground", he whips out his travel voucher for that flight, and there it is. they say 'Okay." Now technically, he never sat foot on VN soil. See what I mean, and by no means am I saying that this would be invalid, but they need a better description of what the standard is. for example, i know a bunch of Navy guys, tin can and carrier troops, claimin exposure, even though they were 100 miles oir so off shore. could the stuff be carried that far in the air? I don't know. A second Navy version I hear all the time , they must have hauled that shit in leakin' barrels on every damn ship the Navy had...... Again, I am not sayin' anything pro or con, but to some degree, I think some of these claims fall right in the same pile of bull shit as the 50 year old guy who claims he was a SEAL in Nam, but can't talk about it..........The damn government lied a bout this stuff for so long, and now, and it hurts to so this, there are a lot of bogus claims that are helpin' bog the system up. Just my opinion, I could be wrong......

Giz

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Just filed an additional VA claim. On my last chest xray my VA doc mentioned that it appears to asbestosis in my lung. During my C&P examination the doc said that my primary care doc had noted this in my files. But that wasn't on my claim. So with my disability determination, they provided me with the paperwork to file a claim for that. Probably another year in the works, but I'll see where it goes.

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I fat fingered my original reply into oblovian, probably a good thing. Giz, your absolutely correct and the scenarios are endless. Your scenario comes from the perspective of flight crew: how about us maintenance weenies? We had one set of blanket orders where the "depart from" and "destination" were XXXXXXX in. There were no times of departure or arrival, nothing. A good many of us spent several weeks at a time "in country" and no one knew where we were. That's a fact, I have the Appraisal by the Commander" report that states just that. When I was there we did not have such a thing as "Herky Hill" either, for awhile we slept in, or under the plane. But there is no way of proving that. I'm simply saying that VA needs to come up with a way to fairly adjudicate these claims.

Chris

Edited by tinwhistle

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I fat fingered my original reply into oblovian, probably a good thing. Giz, your absolutely correct and the scenarios are endless. Your scenario comes from the perspective of flight crew: how about us maintenance weenies? We had one set of blanket orders where the "depart from" and "destination" were XXXXXXX in. There were no times of departure or arrival, nothing. A good many of us spent several weeks at a time "in country" and no one knew where we were. That's a fact, I have the Appraisal by the Commander" report that states just that. When I was there we did not have such a thing as "Herky Hill" either, for awhile we slept in, or under the plane. But there is no way of proving that. I'm simply saying that VA needs to come up with a way to fairly adjudicate these claims.

Chris

I agree 100%

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Chris, the scenario you describe is exactly what happened to me. On that mission from Langley ferrying 6 aircraft to SEA in April/May timeframe 1972 (Giz, I believe you were also on this mission) my blanket orders listed no destination and, during the entire time I was at Tan Son Nhut, Langley didn't have a clue as to where I was. For the 42 days I was at TSN, I was never paid. In fact, I hadn't been paid at all from the time I left Langley until I processed out of TSN and got my Hazard Duty Pay. During the last 8 days at TSN I lived on my last $2.00 by spending .25 cents on midnight chow once every 24 hours. In fact, when I finally left TSN it was because Langley sent a Twix demanding to have me return immediately and that they had assumed I was AWOL !. So after all these years, I'm having a hell of a time proving boots on the ground. I know there are wanta be's out there and I also know anything I say to the Government is probably looked at with skepticism. But damn it. I never shirked my duty. I was there. I'm mad as hell

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And you have a right to be , Sparks. On that particular gaggle, as we talked before, i was one of the loadmasters. We only went over Nam to Takli. You got hi-jacked to TSN. The one question I have never gotten answered is why didn't you maintenance guys file travel vouchers? Golly, that was supplemental income, and back them an extra $25 or $30 was siginificant. From conversations on this site, it seems that many didn't. That is how I proved my on-the-ground presence.....This whole evidence thing is a pain in the ass for many of us AF types that were constantly TDY and never had any places entered on our 214, except a total of overseas days. I just wonder if the same crap is gonna happen to the troops today down the road. You know as we find ways to get our benefits, the damn VA is gonna try to find new ways to screw vets out of them. I hope they are smart, and keep a copy of every damn piece of military paper that has their name on it, 'cause they are gonna need it. I suspect it is about time for another " big fire" in the record centers so they cansay no records exist.

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Some of the Navy people were on the little Gun Boats, in the Black Water Navy, or sumpin like that.

I had a friend that was and it took him 18 months to get his pay started.

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Yep, they were Brown Water Navy, riverine, I think the term is. There was a great number of Navy troops actually in country. it's the guys who were off-shore, maybe a 100 miles or more, that have the issues. Just because they were awarded the VSM does not automatically qualify them. This is one of the big misconceptions of this whole business. There is a fellow who lives near me, who just does not understand why he wasn't awarded PTSD. He was on a carrier, I think, and " saw" a busted up pilot taken out of his airplane by rescue people. Well, I told him if that is all it takes, I should have some form of civilian PTSD from all the cardiac arrests, suicide victims, miscarried babies, accident victims, and burned victims that I DIRECTLY had contact with in 34 total years in emergency services. He also claims the Navy has planes that sprayed AO around the ships. Musta worked cause I never saw a tree, shrub, bush, leaf, or blade of grass in ANY part of the Pacific or South China Sea I ever saw!!!!

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Giz, we all filed travel vouchers. I never kept copies... my dumb. I've tried several sf180 requests for vouchers and consistently told "we don't keep those records". Even quered the finance section at Randolph. Same story.Different people....different results. Oh well...

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I have some guys say they didn't, some did........ I just felt it was leavin' money on the table. Now what is totally unbelievable, I sent a SF180 for a specific time period and got them back in about two weeks....... I think I'll try for another time period just to see what happens. I think my stuff came out of St.Louis........Better yet, I am gonna try to get a copy of everything that has my name, rank, DOB, and SSN on it, just to see what happens.........Probably just another lazy ass excuse.

Giz

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Sparks I sent for my travel vochers also they said the same thing however low and behold I recieved another copy of my milatry records and was wondering what was going on than I noticed tucked right in the middel were 4 pages of travel vochers two trips to vietnam that solved my boots on the ground problem . I still doint know how they got there but was glad they were in there. So just goes to prove jusk keep sending the requests in they will get tierd of hearing from you.

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Giz I was told by by one of the service officers that, the fire only destoyed records from ww2 not any vietnam records were destoyed . He said he couldn't believe they were still using that .

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Ditto what jmitch just said. The fire destroyed only WWII records and not all of them. A couple years ago I sent a request for my fathers medals and awards and received them along with some of his records. Tell ya the truth I didn't know they were useing that excuse for Vietnam Vets. Sending multiple requests (at different times) can sometimes be effective in that you'll probably never get the same clerk. I did the "every piece of paper with my name on it" thing and got back pretty interesting stuff, which in and of itself tells me that somewhere they have a lot of individual records and it's simply a matter of whether you get a good clerk to do the search or not. Course there is the flip side to all of this. The more you request the more they have added to the backlog. Ya, I know, if they did it right the first time............

Have a good evening guys!!

tinwhistle

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It all comes down to, as I think Clint Eastwood said, in 'The Outlaw Josey Wales", or maybe John Wayne, " Don't piss on my foot and try to tell me it is rainin." BTW, sometime this week I am gonna deploy the Polish Warrior Princess on the MD Va and find out why it is takin' so long to correct their F_UP on my dependency status. Been long enough now. I'll keep ya posted

Giz

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It all comes down to, as I think Clint Eastwood said, in 'The Outlaw Josey Wales", or maybe John Wayne, " Don't piss on my foot and try to tell me it is rainin." BTW, sometime this week I am gonna deploy the Polish Warrior Princess on the MD Va and find out why it is takin' so long to correct their F_UP on my dependency status. Been long enough now. I'll keep ya posted

Giz

Got part of it right Giz. It was in "The Outlaw Josey Wales." But it was Eastwood's old commander who was helping the North rein in all the Southern rebels after the war war over. He said it to the General running the operation. And I think it was "down my neck" not "on my foot."

I've been paying the VA $75 bucks a month to cover my copays then I get a letter saying that they'll take my benefit to cover the last couple hundred dollars. So I call them, again, and get a nice lady on the phone. She explained what I would have to pay copays for and what I didn't have to because of my disability rating. She also started an audit of my VA account going back to the date I filed my original application. I just might get a refund from the VA for those copays I paid. She said 30 days or so to get an answer. But for me, it's working at the speed of government, so those 30 days will probably be 300 days. She just left off the last zero.

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Hey, at least I got the movie right!!!!!! Lucky I could remember THAT!!!!!! Yeah you better not buy your new yacht quite yet................But anything positive comin' from that bunch is an accomplishment...........

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I wish I could report better news but the claims process gets worse every day. Yes, "boots on the ground" is a difficult problem. I was fortunate that my career Air Force Dad told me to keep every scrap of paper they gave me. Came back with a file cabinet drawer full of stuff but didn't need it as I was in country long enough to get the VNSM. Did need it to substantiate a PTSD claim, tho'.

O.K., here are the things breaking about Agent Orange...first, some claims have been approved for AO in Oki, as well as Korea and even some areas in the states. I would strongly suggest you go to www.hadit.com for help and news on claims. VA Watchdog.org provides good insight on the inner workings (if you can call it that) of the VA and latest news. They have also awarded a couple of claims for maint. and aircrew that flew C-123s that flew the spraying missions well after Nam. Claim that all the volatiles were still present from AO. Story here:http://articles.dailypress.com/2013-08-08/news/dp-nws-wire-agent-orange-aircraft-20130808_1_agent-orange-related-disability-compensation-vietnam-veterans

"Buddy letters" do carry weight, not a lot but some. Many of you served with and remember each other in country. Put together the dates and any detail you can remember and write buddy letters for those struggling right now.

They have also approved claims for AO in Oki. Don't know about Korea yet and some places stateside.

I'll keep my ear to the ground and check back from time to time.

Sarg

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I was lucky when I left Clark in 71 the SQ gave me records with all the days I was in Vietnam and all the combat missions Iflown and I had many travel voucher.

I was a FE in the772 SQ. I am 100% disable after 4 heart heart by passes and rated 70% with PTSD. I still don,t know why I have ptsd

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ALL- I sent copies of old OER's stating SEA missions, service, destinations, etc. That along w/ my Form 5 flight info (yeah I kept all the official AF form 5), ICAO destinations in VN & Cambodia, my own flight logs with acft commander's names (sorry FE's) tail numbers & all destinations/times, cargo, etc. I sent it all to the office at Randolph (posted in some other thread on this Forum somewhere) that amends DD form 214s. They accepted it as proof of "Boots". First I got a confirm letter of "boots on the gnd" then 3 mo later a DDform 215, adding the VN svc medal & VN Gallantry medal. Then the VA accepted that it as proof of "VN era vet status". 2 years later (last week in fact) my disability claim (C&P) was settled. I'm so sorry all you other vets are unable to prove your VN service. It makes me a little embarrassed that so many with so much more VN time, got nothing. I wish you the good luck, I had. Keep trying.

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Remember awhile back I said something about Montana being one of the fastest states to complete VA claims? Well, today I got notice that I will start receiving a 10% disability payment for Tinnitus!! That's good, but I also filed for a documented hearing loss at Naha. They said although the Tinnitus was obviously the result of noise exposure while in the military, the hearing loss isn't bad enough to qualify for any disabilities . So, I am not disappointed, but it seems like a claim filed last December, could have been cleared up earlier! Of course I seem to forget how long some of you guys waited to get your claims settled. I guess the VA furnished hearing aids & batteries for life are my hearing loss award.

Ken

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Remember awhile back I said something about Montana being one of the fastest states to complete VA claims? Well, today I got notice that I will start receiving a 10% disability payment for Tinnitus!! That's good, but I also filed for a documented hearing loss at Naha. They said although the Tinnitus was obviously the result of noise exposure while in the military, the hearing loss isn't bad enough to qualify for any disabilities . So, I am not disappointed, but it seems like a claim filed last December, could have been cleared up earlier! Of course I seem to forget how long some of you guys waited to get your claims settled. I guess the VA furnished hearing aids & batteries for life are my hearing loss award.

Ken

Just an update--a couple days after receiving my disability notice, I received a check for retroactive pay from the date I filed!!

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Well, I am at nearly 29 months now, over five waitin' for them to correct a F$%K up they did in regards to my marital status, even though I sent all the stuff the bastards needed when I first started the process......You want a great sex life??? Deal with Maryland's incompetent VA. You'll get screwed for years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Evidently, even Congressional intervention won't get them off their lazy asses.

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Very true about the Navy guys. My cuz had 3 tours in VN on a tin can in the Gulf. Just turned up with type 2 diabetes and I advised him to get with the VA about a service connected claim...he did. VA said he was in the BLUE WATER NAVY and that did not expose him to agent orange so he was denied help. His 12 years on active duty gets him nothing now when he needs it...that really SUCKS!!! :( Bill

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Okay, I may not be too bright, but damn an I tenacious. First of the week I got an email from my Congressman's Va rep, tellin' me that they were still working on my correction, they were prioritizing, etc etc. Well, I sent an email back, telling her that this was bullshit, what was gonna happen, was I just gonna be just continuingly dropped to the bottom of the pile, after all, all they needed to do was enter the information I had sent them THREE F'IN' times and things would be fixed just fine. ell, I musta struck a chord finally, ( which is hard for a fiddle player to do) and I got a call from her a bit ago, and apparently she had thought it over, got her Polish warrior princess ire up, went to the Baltimore office, and basically told the manger there' I don't ask for a lot of special things, but you gotta get this done now."""" And now, I have my monthly payment increased, and back pay to June of 2011. Finally!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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