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Puerto Vallarta News NetworkVallarta Living | Veteran Affairs | December 2008 

Happy New Year from Veterans in Vallarta
email this pageprint this pageemail usDavid Lord - PVNN

Happy New Year from the U.S and Canadian Veterans of Puerto Vallarta, Banderas Bay and Riviera Nayarit.
This time of year is especially important for the family and friends of veterans to understand the thanks we give for your support and love. We always have the focus placed on our situation and those that support us are not recognized enough.

The veterans thank you for all you do out of kindness from your heart for our jobs that were often controversial amongst our citizens. So a universal Happy New Year from the U.S and Canadian Veterans of Puerto Vallarta, Banderas Bay and Riviera Nayarit.

One of the many reasons we appreciate your support is that, in spite of the Department of Veterans Affairs continuous claim of being the greatest care system, it operates the Benefits Section for claims adjudication in a very adversarial manner.

It is often frustrating for the veteran, let alone family and friends to watch a process that nit-picks every attempt at deserved benefits. We are often foiled by the V.A. bureaucrats using the V.A. attorneys with legal speak directives within specialized applications forms with pages of hard to follow instructions. We advocates give direction to veterans by applying the convoluted rules as we prepare a claim, that factually describes the situation we pursue in a claim.

I cannot fault the thousands of attorneys who are supposedly just doing what the V.A. tells them, I can fault the administration that gives them the directions designed to limit access. I think you will get a hint that there is more in play here than meets the eye when reading the directives that are given to me by the V.A.

The pending court case of Haas v. Nicholson concerns the issue of defining Vietnam service and whether the presumption of herbicide exposure will be extended to certain Vietnam-era veterans who did not serve within the country of Vietnam itself or on its inland waterways.

These veterans include those with naval service on the offshore waters of Vietnam, often referred to as "blue water" veterans, and those who supported the war effort from outside Vietnam and received a Vietnam Service Medal for their support. Many of the veterans who received the Vietnam Service Medal for support efforts served in Thailand.

"The Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims granted VA a stay in the Haas case that placed a hold on adjudicating claims that involve a presumption of herbicide exposure from blue water veterans and veterans with the Vietnam Service Medal who served in Thailand."

When these inquiries result in sufficient direct factual evidence of Thailand herbicide exposure, then the exposure should be acknowledged and the claim adjudicated. When these inquiries do not result in sufficient evidence to confirm exposure, then the claim can be adjudicated if the veteran did not receive the Vietnam Service Medal.

However, when the veteran has received the Vietnam Service Medal and the claim would otherwise result in a denial of the benefit sought, then the claim falls under the Haas stay. These claims, as with other claims that fall under the Haas stay, should not be adjudicated until a final judicial decision and mandate has been issued in the Haas case.)

The V.A. was ordered to include Blue Water veterans in 1994 to be awarded compensation for Agent Orange exposures and the resulting diseases on the presumptive list. In this new directive they act as if the court of Veterans Appeals ruled in their favor, the Court did not support the V.A., that original court decision is still not in effect after 14 years and not acted on for blue water veterans.

The old adage of "delay, deny and hope you die" should not be adopted as their motto, but for anyone that has the numerous cancers and other ailments that are killing them this is a huge disservice. The fact that the water purification systems used aboard the ships in harbor and at sea concentrated the agent orange particles a hundred fold without any compensation for sailors, marines or their surviving family.

I often tell you of the hard time veterans have in receiving the entitlements and benefits that Congress has so generously made in the law. That being said never confuse my continuous efforts as anything other than my most patriotic duty. I will always stand by the fact that the United States of America has the best benefits for the former service men and women in the world, that is why it is so absurd that the V.A. works so hard at limiting the access to them with attorneys working against our interest, making themselves the recipients of the funds meant for veterans survival.
David Lord has been a National Veterans Service Officer doing veteran's benefits in Mexico for over a decade. David is a combat veteran, wounded by gunshot in Viet Nam 1968 and is a retired Marine. The Veterans Administration has played a critical role in his life, by his having both medical and compensation benefits. He uses his personal experience in the claims process along with having legal and credentialed Accreditation by the Department of Veterans Affairs. His use of Congressional approved Veterans Organizations, to steer veterans and dependants through the maze of regulations and entitlements due them from military service is outstanding. For more information, email him at david.lord(at)yahoo.com.

Click HERE for more Veteran Affairs with David Lord »»»



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