Justice For Vets launches PSA highlighting Veterans Treatment Courts

“West Wing” cast reunites to share message



The cast of television’s “The West Wing” has joined forces with the non-profit Justice For Vets to launch a powerful public service announcement supporting Veterans Treatment Courts. VA Secretary Bob McDonald joined Veterans advocates and the cast, including Allison Janney, Richard Schiff, Bradley Whitford, Dulé Hill and Mary McCormack, at the video’s premiere Tuesday night.

Justice For Vets PSA

VA Secretary Bob McDonald delivers remarks during an event launching the Justice For Vets West Wing PSA at Warner Bros. Studios on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in Burbank, CA. (Colin Young-Wolff/AP Images for Justice for Vets)

Former “The West Wing” cast member Melissa Fitzgerald, who now serves as senior director of Justice For Vets, launched the effort to raise awareness and expand the use of Veterans Treatment Courts. The specialized court programs are recognized for their innovative and successful approach for diverting Veterans suffering from substance abuse and/or a mental health conditions away from incarceration and into treatment.

Veterans Treatment Courts allow jurisdictions to serve a large segment of the justice-involved Veteran population as opposed to having Veterans appear before judges who may or may not have an understanding of their unique problems. Because a Veterans court judge handles numerous Veterans’ cases and is supported by a strong, interdisciplinary team, the judge is in a much better position to exercise discretion and effectively respond than someone who only occasionally hears a case involving a Veteran defendant.

“Partnering with judges and courts that want to identify Veteran defendants and get them connected to needed VA treatment is how we best serve them,” said McDonald. “‎These programs are a perfect example of communities coming together to serve Veterans in a holistic way with VA care as a vital component. If we are going to serve Veterans – all of them who have put so much on the line for all of us – then we’re going to work together to see that they have the best services and health care available. ”

These specialized courts currently serve more than 13,000 Veterans who would otherwise face incarceration. The new public service announcement urges the public to support the effort to establish more programs in order to meet the urgent and growing need.

“Veterans Treatment Courts are spreading across the country because they work, but there is an urgent and growing need for more,” said Fitzgerald. “Justice For Vets is grateful to the incredible cast of the ‘The West Wing’ for supporting this life-saving program and urging the public to get involved. Our hope is that this PSA inspires millions to join Justice For Vets in the mission to put a Veterans Treatment Court within reach of every Veteran in need.”

Justice For Vets PSA

Veterans Treatment Court Judge Marc Carter, Veterans Treatment Court graduates Tommy Rieman and Eric Gonzalez, and VA Secretaru Bob McDonald join Justice For Vets Senior Director Melissa Fitzgerald during an event premiering the Justice for Vets West Wing PSA at Warner Bros. Studios on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 in Burbank, CA. (Colin Young-Wolff/AP Images for Justice for Vets)

During the event, McDonald joined three Veterans on stage for a panel discussion about their experience with Veterans Treatment Courts.  Harris County, Texas, District Court Judge Marc Carter, an Army Veteran, described what led him to create the first Veterans court in Texas.

“I saw too many Veterans cycling through the system without ever getting the treatment they clearly needed,” he said. “By creating Veterans treatment court and partnering with our local VA Medical Center, we are able to serve a large population of Veterans and connect them to the appropriate treatment and benefits.”

Tommy Rieman is one such Veteran. Rieman graduated from the Fayetteville, North Carolina, Veterans Treatment Court in 2014 and is now the executive director of a non-profit serving injured and wounded Veterans.

“Veterans Treatment Court gave me the tools I needed to live a healthy, productive life. Thanks to Veterans Treatment Court, I am reunited with my family and am working to support my fellow Veterans. Veterans Treatment Court saved my life.”

VA regularly works with Veterans Treatments Courts across the country through its Veterans Justice Outreach initiative. In addition to regular court hours, judges attend VA stand downs to work through legal issues facing some Veterans.

While VA cannot provide legal services for Veterans, there are a number of resources available. If you need legal assistance, please see www.statesidelegal.org/findinghelp or contact your local Veterans Justice Outreach specialist who may know of community resources for legal assistance.

More information about Veterans Treatment Courts is available from Justice for Vets.

 

Author

Megan Moloney

-- Megan joined VA in May 2013. She is a proud military spouse, and daughter and granddaughter of Army and Navy Veterans who served in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Comments

  1. Christopher Shane Farrell    

    peacetime Veterans don’t count. better off shame us into believing we don’t matter: no ptsd. diagnosed as a service connected illness, the blame with decreasing service afforded. my service doesn’t count. not infantry. three years overseas…..not welcome in my homeland….my fault. I get it. not allowed treatment but watch commercials about helpful treatments to all “real” veterans tbi’s, PTSD, Spinal disabilities. ..did two tours then given the boot.. failing in so many ways…been kicked out of college over three times ,at ISU…at least probation on all the rest…….TOTALLY NEGLECTED!!

    1. Dave Reid    

      You do NOT have to be a combat veteran, or even have served in a combat zone or theater – Veterans Treatment Courts serve ALL veterans who are eligible and desire to be a participant. They are part of the system of diversion courts – following after the drug courts, domestic violence courts. If you’re arrested on a misdemeanor charge of DUI, or drug possession, domestic violence, etc., as opposed to going to jail, if you elect to participate in the VTC program, you then begin, generally, a one year program of drug or alcohol testing, domestic violence or anger management counseling, etc. It includes court appearances for reviews of your progress, and as a veteran (service connected or not), you are eligible for treatment through the VA. It is a benefit you have earned, whether you served in combat or not.

      I am the Mentor Coordinator for the 19th Judicial Circuit of Alabama, which encompasses three counties. We currently have 8 participants in the program, several of whom are not combat veterans. A mentor, often from the same military branch, will be assigned to you, and much like the AA or NA programs, the mentor is available to talk with or meet with, has a wealth of resources at their disposal, works with VA representatives and veterans service organizations with a single goal of helping the participant get back on solid ground and resume a healthy and productive life.

      1. Esther Chucaralao    

        HI,
        Can you give me the information to the program. I need to search for a Veteran. I am located in New Jersey. I will like to see if there is a chapter like yours in NJ. Thank you

    2. David    

      Hi: I m David a Peace time veterans willing to help you get the treatment and benefits you earned. it’s sad your government has reduced it’s self to doing next to nothing for our veterans, don’t be fooled both sides do not have your best interest in mind, they talk the talk when it’s election time, some even visit your church on a Sunday, but it’s all lies, if government had it’s way V.A. would have been shut down a long time ago, Berry law firm will get you started in the right direction, stay away from all the BS clubs like DAV and such, I have been members with everyone of them, they help you et the more easy claims approved but clearly shy away from the more serious claims such as PTSD, Depression and so on, Berry will get you the max, yes it’s a fee but then you can blame that one on our pass presidents and our pass congress and senate, Mr. Obama we will never know what he would have done for our veterans, republicans made damn sure Mr. Obama would not undo any of the perks they have worked to take away from veterans and tax payers as a whole, so no don’t lay any of this in Mr. Obama’s lap, all of this is from our pass presidents and so called leaders, being a veteran and I also worked 28 years for the V.A. hospital I was on duty when we got the order that the government would no longer supply legal counsel at government expense, yes republicans were in the white house at the time this took place, anyway you contact Berry Law Firm and just tell them Dacid Valley sent you. please refer any and all veterans to Berry Law Firm I found this to be the most honest and the onl Law Firm that will work for you and not congress and the senate.

  2. Howard Rock jr    

    Ok.I have on for you..got approved to go to school started and then the army withdrew my checks almost half the way through. Now it’s been a while I’m trying to pay off my student loan..payed when I was working. But hurt my back and had to stop working. Now it in default. Paying from my SSI. Never get any statements as to my payments can you look into this..Howard Rock jr..

    1. Natalie Campbell    

      Hi, Howard,
      I feel your pain. Believe me, I’ve been there. But all is not lost. In fact, I’m going to change your world. First of all, you need to go to https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven and check out the repayment plans. I, like you, am on disability receiving $733 per month. I live alone so there is no other income other than my school financial aid refunds. When I decided I didn’t want to be on disability and tried to go back to school, I couldn’t get financial aid because my old loans were in default. I did some research to try to find a way out. I will tell you, right from the get-go, do NOT try to wade through the mess yourself. Personally, I prefer doing things online because I don’t like being on hold waiting to get through to someone. I soon found that this was a mistake because I had to consolidate my loans, send in paperwork through snail mail and the whole nine yards. Do yourself a favor and call FedLoan Servicing at 800-699-2908. This is a government agency. DO NOT go to a .com or a .org website that tells you they can help. They just want your money and who knows if they are legit? Only deal with the government. After I called that number, within a month or so, I was on the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan. Once it is approved, and you will be approved, you pay 10% of your discretionary income (what’s left after taxes, housing, utilities, etc.) if you’re a new borrower on or after July 1, 2014, or 15% your discretionary income if you’re not a new borrower on or after July 1, 2014, but never more than the 10-year Standard Repayment Plan amount. IT GETS BETTER! I think the guideline is that if you make 30% over the poverty level or less, you’re not going to pay a dime until you start earning more. After 20-25 years, depending on your plan, anything that you still owe will be forgiven.
      DON’T DELAY! The sooner you do this, the better you will feel and the time the defaulted loans remain on your credit record will start to decrease. I wish you the best of luck and I hope you will reply to this post and let me know how things are working out for you!

  3. Kenn Dillon    

    Wow, Christopher, sounds like you have some issues. When did you serve? You may be eligible for some programs even if you never were in an active war (conflict) zone. Check with your local County Veterans Service Agency. They may be able to help you find help even if it isn’t through an official veterans organization. After all you did serve. You said you were “given the boot”. Was your discharge other than dishonorable? If so you may be eligible for something. Unless you know that your discharge was dishonorable, you should bring your DD214 to your local County Veterans Service Agency. If your discharge was dishonorable, you might consult an attorney to see if there is a means to get that discharge re-classified. Only you know the truth of your situation and how that discharge came about. All I know is that the VA and my County Veterans Service Agency has been helpful to me. There are also many state programs that may help you such as Medicaid, Food Stamps and Public Assistance. But it will require that you do some legwork and maintain a positive attitude. Remember 99% of the time the people who work in those fields (social services) want to help you, but they can only do what is allowed. If you disagree with a decision, file an appeal, don’t take it out on the person who is just doing their job.
    Best of luck to you!

  4. Ricky Reed    

    Hello, my name is Ricky I worked at the VA hospital. In December 2013 I fell and hurt my back my hand in my neck.

    I went to OWCP, and they sent me to a doctor for physical therapy. After few months I start having more problems with my legs, mainly my right one.

    After and MRI, I find out that I have Spinal damage and need to have surgery. After surgery on December the 8th, I woke up 3 days later.

    I was taken to a therapy or rehab area and as they were putting me in the bed, that’s when they discovered I had a stage 3 ulcer, wound because no one turned me over or change me the three days that I was out under the anesthesia from the surgery.

    I need someone to help me. This was not my fault I didn’t ask for this to happen to me. no one seems to care to help me.

    does anyone know attorney that handles Federal cases. also how to file with the Department of Labor to get a rating for my disability because of the Fall, Which caused me to have surgery.
    I need help.

  5. Stephen Sliss Jr    

    When federal law enforcement agents raid the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs across the United States on violating the federal racketeering laws called RICO on VA Claims. Then maybe I will believe that the U.S. government wants to clean up the VA.
    For me – 35 years with going to my 16th VA-Board of Veterans Appeals is way too long. !!
    THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE MEANS NOTHING TO ME AND OTHER VETERANS UNTIL THE VA IS CLEANED UP !

  6. Hilario Torres    

    I am a 72-year-old veteran who served during the Vietnam Era in the United States Air Force for 4 years with an Honorable Discharge. I have been diagnosed with PTSD, diabetes, restless leg syndrome. I filed my claim in August 2014, was denied, and had a hearing in January 15. During this entire time, I have been receiving treatment from my psychiatrist and other doctors for my ailments. My condition continues to deteriorate on a daily basis and I have no one to help me other than my wife. I need my claim to be resolved in my favor so I can start getting some of this financial pressure off me. I hope you can help.

    I served my country with pride and would do it all over again.

    1. Steve Richards    

      Mr. Torres,
      Thank you for paving the way forme and other vets who came in behind you as the Vietnam War ended. I served for 25 yrs starting in 1976 to 2001. I too served 3 combat tours and now after 15 yearsof what i thought was a smooth transition from the military, I started to feel the issues of PTSD, Major Clinical Depression, Anxiety and Pychosis. I just filed my VA Claim and I hope that it doesn’t take years to get the desired outcome. I am proud to have served this country and I too would do again if I was asked. God bless you and good luck.

  7. Lore D Miller    

    I was accepted as a mentor for the Veterans Drug Court in Sioux Falls SD. I only wished that this kind of help was avalable when I returned from Vietnam Back in the 60’s. But thankfully it is now avalable after spending many years as an alcoholic I did become sober and have been for 27 years now. I am happy to have the chance to share and possibly help any fellow service member. I feel this is a very good and worthwhile program!

  8. Timothy Gang    

    Im currently mentoring at my second veteran court having moved from Long Island New York to Indiana. Very gratifying work to give back and help. Semper Fi , Tim Gang

  9. David L Parthemore    

    VA is responsible for my health care which I am a PT 100 % Servie Connent veteran. From diagnostic my medical condition to the medical bill not pay from out side medical Source , Believe me I followed the Va plan on that have be approved and pertain to your service connected problem . We have heard about all the excuses in the world from the VA . When they was finally turned over to collections who turned it over to the credit report which held me up in purchasing my home So closing so much for agent orange and Camp Lejune toxic water maybe we are looking at The commonsense fix my problem . Also the VA appeal procedure is a joke And as moving to the chain of command right up to senators your congressman you are going to get the same answer Thank You for your Service .The question I ask myself is my service worst these problems From 1970 to 1976 which was a Honable Dicharge from USMC.
    Thank you for voice my opinion
    David L Parthemore

  10. John Brewer    

    I as a Vietnam Veteran and i have been trying to get the VA Hospital in Huntington West Virginia to do something about a Aneurysm in my belly for the past two years and to this day they have not done a thing to solve the problem. My name is John H. Brewer 1773

  11. Luci Hunt    

    I wish I was an important person like the actors that are doing this show. Maybe someone would help me in my quest to make sure another Vet does not commit suicide due to lack of proper attention. I have contacted several agencies and, of course, no one wants to take on the government even if it would serve notice that something must be done. The statistics for combat related suicides has gone up and even Vietnam Veterans are having this happen to their families.
    I keep looking for help and probably will until the 2 year time limit is up. It has been 8 months now of constant contact with supposedly qualified lawyers and services.
    Thanks,
    Luci Hunt

  12. Maurice Lamont Welch    

    i am a Veteran of the Marines and i have mental health problems and i am living in Washington DC and received a Honorable Discharge from the Marines but not under Medical Mental Health conditions and have the years that i sign up for as a Waiver and let me have Commissary priveledges for my mental health conditions

  13. Joseph Wojcicki    

    Up to 420,000 (30,000 inpoverty) veterans are robbed by SCANA (NYSE:SCG) orgnized white-collar crime in South Carolina. Since 2008, SCE&G / A SCANA (NYSE:SCG) Company overcharges 700,000 electric kWh ratepayers for their nuclear project in VC Summer in Jenkinsville SC. The false claimed SC Base Load Review Act is undocumented/unproved legal ground to collect multi billion funds instead to use Bush-Obama stimulus funds for Nuclear Renaissance, which is used by Georgia twin project in Vogtle.
    SC regulatory ORS and PSC had to check availability of cooling water from the Broad River. They even did not try because they knew from 2001 that claimed, “Base-load plant” could not have it for 365 days per year and of course 292 days to fulfill BLRA definition. In 2001 Parr + Monticello Reservoirs / dams complex could not keep downstream flows over FERC P-1894 license for so many days, Droughts in first decade of 21st Century also created cooling water deficit.
    SCANA white-collar crime is hidden behind SCE&G hard working employees who are in jeopardy as infamous Enron scandal ended in 2001. In SC victims are families with children, up to 420,000 veterans, up to 600,000 retirees. Issuing extra millions of shares SCANA scandal has international scope. The Engineering Analysis delivered the 300% of this false claim of base load in 2013 and in ORS in 2014 was challenged and “won by walkover” because neither SCANA nor ORS nor PSC could respond scientifically. The SC people and business may see obstruction of justice and criminal negligence of victims. After removing Confederate Flag is time to stop monopolistic financial slavery in SC.

  14. Joseph Wojcicki    

    Up to 420,000 (30,000 in poverty) veterans in South Carolina are robbed by SCANA (NYSE:SCG) organized white-collar crime. :

    Since 2008, SCE&G / A SCANA (NYSE:SCG) Company overcharges 700,000 electric kWh ratepayers for their nuclear project in VC Summer in Jenkinsville SC. The false claimed SC Base Load Review Act is undocumented/unproved legal ground to collect multi billion funds instead to use Bush-Obama stimulus funds for Nuclear Renaissance, which is used by Georgia twin project in Vogtle.
    SC regulatory ORS and PSC had to check availability of cooling water from the Broad River. They even did not try because they knew from 2001 that claimed, “Base-load plant” could not have it for 365 days per year and of course 292 days to fulfill BLRA definition. In 2001 Parr + Monticello Reservoirs / dams complex could not keep downstream flows over FERC P-1894 license for so many days, Droughts in first decade of 21st Century also created cooling water deficit.
    SCANA white-collar crime is hidden behind SCE&G hard working employees who are in jeopardy as infamous Enron scandal crended in 2001. In SC victims are families with children, up to 420,000 veterans, up to 600,000 retirees. Issuing extra millions of shares SCANA scandal has international scope. The Engineering Analysis delivered the 300% of this false claim of base load in 2013 and in ORS in 2014 was challenged and “won by walkover” because neither SCANA nor ORS nor PSC could respond scientifically. The SC people and business may see obstruction of justice and criminal negligence of victims. After removing Confederate Flag is time to stop monopolistic financial slavery in SC.

  15. Joseph Wojcicki    

    The SCANA scandal is a clear unJustice for Veterans and can be promptly solved with SC and US Attorney Generals’ interventions!

  16. First Sergeant (R) Tracy R. Miller    

    This is a program that seems to support all veterans during War and Peacetime. Thank goodness someone has finally realized that veterans should never be jailed without taking into consideration of military service and the effects it may have had on them and their families. Thank you to all who support a program like this…God Bless!

  17. John Fleming    

    I live in Nevada County, California. I’m Viet Nam Era, 70% service connected fro PTSD as a result of Military Sexual Trauma (MST). I wanted to work, but can’t because the VA has me on heavy narcotics because a medical procedure they did went wrong and left me crippled. I need to be 100% SC, or I won’t make it, financially. The doctor who did the procedure that left me crippled and turned me into a junkie admitted in a letter that the surgery had a bad outcome and I should be taken care of by being made whole. My claim was denied. The Pain Clinic doctor who determined that the pain is intolerable wrote a letter on my behalf saying that the claim was denied under false pretenses. I was about to try to get a job with the county and drive to work (if I was able to land the job) under the influence, because I really, really need the money. Then, I found out that this county only gives veterans a 5 point “bonus” is they’ve served less than 15 years ago. I guess there is a statute of limitations on gratitude to veterans in this county.

    The concept of denying the claims of the older vets without giving them real consideration is done with the hope that the older vets, such as myself, will just die in the time it takes for a claim to be processed. How is it possible that the country I put my life on the line for would treat me and my brothers and sisters like this. It is pathetic!

  18. James D Hawkins    

    What happened to my post which was here yesterday, did the VA moderators strip it out because they did not appreciate the straightforward methods I proposed?

  19. johnny w mcmaster    

    I am a 72 year old retired AF vet. I joined the AF at the age of 17 and served on active duty for 23 1/2 years. I may two trips to Vietnam during the 60s. I have been jacked around with the VA for about 8 years. I finally got a 40% rating. Here is the good part. Being retired I get to pay my own disability until I am rated at 50% or more. They take $657 out of my retirement and make it tax free. Why should someone that spent the best years of their life be treated any less than someone that spent 2 or 3 years active duty??? Does anyone believe that the VA does all they can do to keep retired vets below the 50%!!!! There are two bills in congress that would fix this unjust practice but no one will help push them through. Back in Dec. 2015 I wrote senators McConnell, Reid, Schumer, Cruz, Graham, McCaskill, Feinstein, and McCain. I also wrote congressman Ryan and lady Pelosi.I HAVE NOT HEARD ONE WORD FROM ANY OF THEM. I can remember traveling through the Air Ports (LAX) in Calif. and being spit on and called baby killers by dope heads. It is a shame that those dope heads now run this once great nation and truly care less about those of us who served during the Vietnam war. Yes, we have believed for years that the VA puts us off until we die.

  20. Johnny Sullivan    

    Hey my brothers and fellow Veterans I to have had my share of denials and set back from the Veterans Administration. And I’ll be the first to admit that the system is broken and is definitely in need of a major over hall . By an outside Independence unbiased review bored. In order to identify the major reasons and problems. Which are causing our nation’s Veterans to fall through the cracks and be denied and not get the proper care and evaluations that they so often in need of. Which usually wound up leading to even more frustration especially in cases such as Mental Health issues such asTBI, MST, PTSD issues. Which in my case I have been continually denied not because it didn’t happen. Or that I am not being treated for a host of these conditions. No “” most of my denials come from incompetent ass Representatives as well as incompetent C&P examiner’s and their lack of concern for their fellow Veterans and their family’s and loved one. The ones who have to set back and watch and suffer. While watching their loved ones who have servered their country proudly. Being denied the proper medical evaluations and treatment as well as compensation. As they and their family’s so much deserve. But when you have incompetent Representatives and service organizations. That provide ineffective counsel and assistance to those Veterans . And leave them with a unclear misconception. That they who are acting as their power of attorney. Are going to handle their claims for them. And that all they need to do is just set back and wait. When often these Representative often fail to double check or even follow up on the status of your claim. Once they enter it into the system to see if they may have not properly have filed your claim.. Something by the way which can be very crucial in most cases of filing a claim. For example if they leave out bits and pieces of information while writting up your claim before they submit it leaving you with the impression, that everything has been covered. When in fact it hasn’t been. It can leave you with the impression that your claim has been properly filed. Only for you to find out several years down the road. That they have in fact left out bits and pieces of crucial information that may impacted the outcome of the decision on your claim. Then there is another factor that most Veteran’s do not have the opportunity to take into consideration. As once your claim hits the Regional level for reviews by C&P examiner’s. And they in turn start to fill out or lose information that to might be very vital to winning a claim. And then they first deny there. Then you have to go through fileing a series of notice of disagreement where I think this burden should be put back on your power of attorney. Who is suppose to be representing you. As they should be following your claims to see that you are getting proper representation. But no” they are not held accountable in any way for their lack of concern or paying any attention as to whether your claim is being altered or manipulated .From what you had originally filed.And these are the kind of mistakes whitch can literally cost you your claim. And it doesn’t just stop there. As in my own case I have been before the Board at the Regional level for an informal hearing. Of which at the time I was told as I had a wittness with me. That my testimony was being and taking under oath. Of which implies that there should have been a copy of the recording admitted as a matter of record. As I would need this valuable information at a later time. As I later had to appeal my decision to the Board of Veterans Appeals in DC. As I had found out after going through years and years of repeated denials at the regional level from incompetent C&P examiners. Who had continually denied the existence of evidence in my military records. Whitch pertained to a Lower Back injury of which I had medical documentation in my military files. Of which the C&P examiner’s at the Regional level refused to go back and change an opinion that he had been rendered by a Regional level C&P examiner. Which had cost me that claim even though that was the reason I had originally requested and attended the travel board hlearing at the Regional level to present this documented information to the DRO officer only for it to be denied again and their repeated refusal to change their opinion. As I was challenging. The C&P examiner’s opinion since his opinion was not base on hard factual evidence. But only on and assumption of which there was not a shred of factual documented to support the examiner’s opinion. So I felt that it was my right to make a request to the Board. To see if they wouldn’t just grant me another hearing . So that I could ask them to take another look at the so call evidence.That the C&P examiner . Said did not exist from the original denial of the claim. However this claim did eventually make it to the Board of Veterans Appeals in DC. along with another claim which I had also filed on my Cervical Spine. Only for the process to be bogged down a long with all the other evidence from my other claim which had also been sent to the Board. As well as the lack of some of the other evidenc from the Cervical Spine claim To be mixed in with the Lower Back claim and scattered. Which only lead to more confusion. After first being sent a letter telling me that after carefully reviewing all of the statement medical records and letters from other outside Physicians. That I had meet all of the criteria to render a favorable decission under the Reasonable Doubt clause. And after their rendering this decission. And as I was reading this letter later in this very letter go’s on to state that after carefully reviewing the letter and seeing the C&P examiner’s opinion of which I was challenging in the first place .Because of his incompetent opinion and no supportive evidence to support his claim or opinion. That it was their decision to throw out all the other doctor statements and evidence in support of my claim. So that they could render a decission in support of this C&P examiners opinion. I finally had a sense of relief feeling after all this time .That I had been fighting this claim, that I had finally gotten their attention.And believe me I was floored when I read the later part of their letter. So immediately I contacted my service representative. Of which at the time was the Texas Veterans Commission to let them know.That I wanted to appeal the decision on the Lower Back Claim. As I feel that although the BVA had finally given my Lower Back claim a proper and fair review after considering all the evidence. That somewhere a long the line they had lost touch or missed the point of why I had to appeal the claim to their office to begin with. Which was to ask them if they would grant me a total different reviews of this claim. Because of the inconsistency in their review as well as the incompetents of the original C&P examiner’s. But yet I was told by my Representatives with the Texas Veterans Commission. That oh no we can’t do that at this time. And I said why not as I new that I only had a limited amount of time to file a notice of disagreement. And they said that it would delay the second half of my claim. Which was the incomplete Cervical Spine claim, that the Regional Office had fowarded to the Board. But had failed to send all of the medical records. In order for the Board to even render any kind of a fair decission even on that claim.Is exactly whey I think that the rules of government . That the Veterans Administration and how they render decissions on veterans claims. Should have an independent oversight committee . Appointed . To where if they have the authorities to make an independent review board. So when there are deliberate screw-ups. That adversely affect the outcome of a veterans claim. That leads to delays or unfair denials in claims and their decisions rendered. That there should be a more immediate remedy for a reversal of their decissions. To resolve such issues in favor of the Veteran’s and the family or loved one .Who in a lot of cases are desperately seeking a relief or resolve to such issues. Such as in cases of terminal illness. Since there are no laws in effect to hold these doctors and all other VA officials accountable for their gross and negligent actions. And the fact that most Veteran’s and their family’s and loved ones usually can’t even afford to take their case to federal court. That there should be more people and lawyers as well as other organization. To ban together and push for more Congressional hearings on these issues. And why in the hell should any VA officials especially high-ranking VA officials. Be receiving any kind of damned bonus especially a $80,000 yearly bonuses. While other dying veterans and their family’s and loved ones are left to suffer a never ending delaying process. That has been daleberatly structured and set up to delay and deny Veteran’s of their claims. And to interfere with the process in hope that they will run them out on their time limit. Or else the hope that the Veteran’s will die of other complications first. Before they ever win their case.Which I really think and feel that any such actions taken against our on u.s. citizens and Veteran’s and other allies who have fault a long sides with the U.S to defend our nation’s. Should only be considered a treasonous act against our nation. And should not be condoned by or tolerated from any branch of government. Oh well I’m sorry if I seem to have or show a bit of resentment towards the way our Department of Veterans Affairs. Is bring ran but it is true. And the most saddening part is all of those Veteran’s and their family’s who have fault for care and treatment as well as compensation for their families. Only to die before there was ever got a decision or benefits were granted to either them or their families . It’s terrible my heart really does go out to both the Veteran’s and their families as well. Oh well I guess for now I’ll shut up it was not my intentions to just cry about my in counters and dislikes about the Veterans Administration. But to shed some light on just how treacherous that our Veterans Administration and government can be.
    So to all who share this blog. I appreciate the opportunity to share my views. Thank You. U.S Army Veteran:: Johnny Sullivan. Dallas,Texas.

    1. L. Rick Tanguis    

      Don’t it make you wonder why anyone would enlist today given the history of grief a vet gets after discharge?

  21. Kenneth Martinez    

    I really need legal help I have been sentenced to 10 years monitored probation&restitution of$ 1550 every month for the r est of my life for something i didn’t do.I was totally disabled since 1998 and lost my wife & caretaker in2003 of brain cancer.A friend of hers and mine left us a trust with a developmentally disabled child due to his death in early 2006.I was and still am unemployable &100% disabled Viet Nam Combat! Vet.So with my illness i was unable to take on this task,so i hired on mybrother . I found out later he had alzheimer/D ementia.So the courtsprosecuted me & said I would pay the price for him.He couldnteven go to ccourt.He used to work with this manthat left this trust quite a bit..But the court made it seem like i hirred him to take advantage.My brother whoi rarely saw before this all took place.I feel like i was wrongly accussed .I was lost totally incoherent,GHrieving my WifeThe old man,Medicated with different meds For severe PTSD,Diabetes,Depression anxiety& memory loss.I have had a caretaker since 1998to current.Thank you very much!
    Kenneth D. Martinez
    Please Helpme !

  22. Kenneth Martinez    

    This has really created a hardship financially and exasperated my condition!my V.A. Drs Psychiatrist’s even wroter letters to the judges detering me to goto these courts. Its bull li laid my ass on the line in monsoon rains allnight while this J udge was sProbably Enjoying his COLLEGE DEFERMENT!

  23. l. richardson    

    when all else fail try jesus,things will appear smoother, and easier to stomach. this will give you the time needed to get the answer you need in the timely manner that you need. semper fi

  24. otis tucker    

    My name is otis tucker. I am a Vietnam Era veteran.I have been waiting to hear from the appeals court to reply to my claims for over 12 years. Why do it take so long when they have my medical records.

  25. Tawnya spencer    

    Hi, my my name is Tanya I watch my husband who served in the Vietnam War suffering with cancer in all in his body , in 2010 my husband passed from cancer he had prostate cancer and stomach cancer so there was opportunity for VA to deny me my DIC, I still have a claim in the courts then I’m still fighting six years later I watch my husband suffer with the VA Hospital and I took care of him for 3 years suffering then he went through and when you gone overseas expose to all the chemicals that they have over there and when you encounter a disease later in life VA does not want to take care of the spouse who encounter and watch veterans suffer. I receive very little help from the VA and then he wants to say old from 2013 of the $650 that they have given me always trying to take that money back not caring , that’s your only source of income VA government does not care about the spouse of a veteran.

  26. L. Rick Tanguis    

    I’d like to know how many vets reach this court due to the failed treatment of chronic pain? VA fears pain management causing relief being sought through non-medical sources. The BS I’ve been told is beyond belief; quote of one MD “the pain is in your head” yet MRIs & nuclear imaging reveal otherwise.

  27. Johnny Sullivan    

    I to. can relate to being charged with crimes that indirectly relate to issues that are related to a previously MST related to something that was committed against me by a ranking sargent. Although at the time I was so embarrass and afraid of the retaliation that I was told by the sergeant would come my way if I said anything. And after all after him telling me it was his word against mine and who would believe me. It did leave me with the fear and doult. That if they didn’t , that I would only be putting myself out there and setting myself up for embarrassment and furthermore humiliation and possible retaliation. So then I went througjh severe episodes of depression and even suicidal thoughts. To the point of gotten even or even infitting bodily harm to that sargent. But also wrestleled with the thoughts of never seeing the light of day again if I did so. So as a result I guess you could say that I started to drink more heavely. Sort of as a way of self medicating myself sort of a way of helping deal with the more groing depression. However when I first joined the Army I really wasn’t much of a drinker. And didn’t realize at the time I was only setting myself up failure as well as other more serious mistakes in life and against others. As I continued to drank to suppress my thoughts and dapression. Well needless to say this as typical with most people with alcoholics or any other type of addictions. I just flat refused to think or recognize that I had any kind of an addiction. Which only added to my problems in my marrital relationships which only lead to deviorce. And also even in other relationships which would only lead splitting up due to a serious lack of trust with others. Which from my first marriage while in the service. I was left with responsibility to raise and take care of my first two children a daughter and a son after my discharge from the service. But at the time I steal haddent recognized. That I was experiencing other problems as a result of my depression as well as an excessive drinking problem and drug problem. And by this time I was starting to have other legal problems with the law as a result of these actions. Well eventually I was ordered by the courts to go through an intense A.A program. Of which I did and quit drinking and doing drugs as of Mar 1988. Well any way I am proud to say that I have been in full stain remission since that date. And I am proud to say that the VA does have an excellent treatment program. Although I guess I should have recognized and sault help for my problems before my problems had gotten so bad. As there were acts that I had committed durring my days of drinking and oblivious thoughts against others.That would later come back to haunt me and land me in the penitentiary. [redacted] Although I did take full responsibility for those actions as I was guilty as charged. But even though I took responsibility for my own actions and never really tried to use my excessive drinking as a justifiable excuse for any of my deviant actions. As I had no ideal that I to was a victim from my earlier sexual assualt. While in the service. And only after 12 years of sexual counseling classes. That my own in counters with my own sexual assault could have very much so had an impact later on in my lift given the right circumstances and the lack of recognition that I hadn’t sault the right kind of treatment. [redacted]. Although I do often. feel that I to am a victim I sometimes also feel that the VA to should share a part of the burden for the results of my negative actions. And offer me some assistance in have these charges expunged from my records. As I am always faced with the consequences of either being denied from jobs as well as any type of occupational license to perform an occupational skill. As a result of my native actions. Of which I feel is a direct result of a personal. MST experience from while I was in the service. Its funny how they say that the VA has a program to help Vets out with certain types of legal action That you might get into while you might have been any type of PTSD or mental disorders. Its funny how they don’t want to get involved if your case leads to a felony conviction or a charge of a serious nature. Which is usually the case for most of the Veteran’s. Who have wound up in the prison system that just might only be looking for a greasy start. To start their lives over after going through the court system. Especially without a bunch of public stigmatism. After all they so easily seem to for get just how many Veteran’s came home to a bad economy and no jobs. And only to find out that they were pretty much on their own to fend for themselves with nobody or nowhere to turn for help.So I really thank that the Veterans Administration owes some of these veteran’s who have fail through the cracks for various reasons. After all how in the help can you expect to send a person through a tramatic experience and then ignore any adverse condistions that may have been attributed to any such experiences. They say that they send you through debriefing and evaluations upon your exit physical. But we all know that this is the farthest thing from the truth. They only send you through a rushed physical and check off all the boxes to cover their butts. Then you spend the next 15 to 20 years trying to prove your claims fighting with the Department of Veterans Affairs. Oh well enough about how the Board leads everyone to think that they are trying to help these homeless vet’s and the one who have manage to fall through the cracks of the legal system. So much for that. Malarkey !! I’ll believe it when I start to see them except a little more responsibility for what go on in a veteran’s life after they get through with them. Thanks for allowing me to express my oppions.

    Editor’s note: Portions of this comment were redacted by Vantage Point staff per VA’s social media policy.

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