American Veteran News 04.01.16

REPORT: VA UNFAIRLY DENIED SERVICES TO 125K POST-9/11 VETERANS — S&S — WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs is wrongfully denying services to roughly 125,000 post-9/11 veterans with other than honorable discharges, according to a joint study released Wednesday by two veterans advocacy groups and Harvard Law School.

Some veterans are missing out on benefits such as healthcare, housing help for the homeless and disability services, in part, because the VA’s own rules are in contravention of the original GI Bill of Rights passed by Congress in 1944, according to the study. That represents roughly 6.5 percent of post-9/11 veterans, including more than 33,000 who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Veterans who have served since 9/11 are being excluded from the VA at a higher rate than any other generation of veterans,” said Dana Montalto, the study’s author and a Liman Fellow with the Harvard Law School’s Veterans Legal Clinic. “They’re being denied very basic services.”


ACCORDING TO ACTOR GARY SINISE, ‘WE CAN NEVER DO ENOUGH FOR OUR VETERANS’ — TASK & PURPOSE — Actor and advocate Gary Sinise goes above and beyond to help veterans in need.

Marine Staff Sgt. Jason Ross has had 240 surgeries since a 2011 improvised explosive device left him injured in Afghanistan. The attack cost Ross both his legs, and he was given a 2% chance of survival, but he persevered.

In August, Gary Sinise, the actor best known for his role as “Lt. Dan” in the movie “Forrest Gump,” stepped in to give Ross a home that would fit his needs.

Through his foundation, The Gary Sinise Foundation, which serves veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need, Sinise helped build a house that would make everyday life easier for Ross and his family.


WOUNDED WARRIOR PROJECT PARALYZED BY ABSENT CEO AND POWER STRUGGLES — DAILY CALLER — America’s largest veterans’ charity, the Wounded Warrior Project, has been wracked by power struggles since its CEO was deposed over allegations of serious mismanagement and opulence.

After an initial investigation from CBS News found that the WWP only spent just over half of its donations on actual programs directed at veterans, then-CEO Steven Nardizzi and COO Al Giordano were fired in early March. CBS News found Wednesday the departure of top executives has given way to power struggles. Now with Nardizzi gone, the original founder of WWP, retired Marine John Melia, has returned to the scene.

Nardizzi reportedly purged Melia from the organization after a disagreement on lavish spending in 2010. Now Melia is back and he thinks more of the leadership needs to step down, specifically Anthony Odierno, the board’s chairman and now interim CEO. While Melia thinks Odierno is honest and generally trustworthy, the fact of the matter is that Odierno was “frankly asleep at the wheel” during Nardizzi’s unhinged spending spree.


WWII CODE TALKER, GILBERT HORN SR., DIES AT 92 — S&S — GREAT FALLS, Mont. — Gilbert Horn Sr., a Native American code talker who returned from World War II to spend decades serving the Fort Belknap Assiniboine Tribe as a judge and council member, has died of natural causes. He was 92.

Horn died Sunday at Northern Montana Care Center in Havre, Kirkwood Funeral Home said. His memorial service was scheduled Wednesday.

Horn was born on the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in 1923. He joined the U.S. National Guard at age 15 as a way to escape the poverty of the reservation. He enlisted in the Army at 17 after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Horn was initially trained as a sharpshooter and later received some training in communications and encryption and joined other Indians who used their native languages to send coded messages during World War II. The work of the code talkers remained classified until 1968.


90 PERCENT OF AMERICANS WANT MORE FUNDING FOR THE VA — OPPOSING VIEWS — A recent Gallup survey found that three of the most popular policy proposals to emerge out of the 2016 presidential election would require more government spending.

On Mar. 21, Gallup released the results of a questionnaire that polled respondents on whether or not they agreed, disagreed or were ambivalent about three key proposals.

The most popular proposal was allowing veterans to receive healthcare from providers outside of the Veterans Administration (VA). This idea has actually been touted by Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and also Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Enabling U.S. veterans the ability to access healthcare through any provider that accepts Medicare received a resounding 89 percent net agreement. It may be the most most popular idea of the entire election cycle.


OHIO VETERANS CAN GET HELP STARTING A NEW BUSINESS — THE BLADE — Resources are available for veterans looking to start a business, and people are available to help them succeed.

That was the message Wednesday at the Veterans’ Business Forum, hosted by the U.S. Small Business Administration at the University of Toledo. About 100 veterans, entrepreneurs, and members of the business community spent the day learning about opportunities for veterans interested in owning a business.

Marianne Markowitz, the Chicago-based regional administrator for the SBA offices in the Midwest, said the agency has dedicated efforts to increase services for veterans. Among them, she said, was SBA’s decision to eliminate fees for veterans borrowing up to $350,000. Fees for larger loans have been cut in half, she said.


5 INSURANCE COMPANIES THAT VETERANS SHOULD SERIOUSLY CHECK OUT TODAY — TASK & PURPOSE — These 5 insurance companies are offering great job opportunities for vets of all ranks.

The insurance industry is alive and well in our modern age, offering a growing number of employment opportunities for veterans in a stable and essential line of work. According to U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in insurance sales is projected to grow 9% by 2024 — faster than the average across all industries.


MORE VETERANS BEING DENIED HEALTHCARE, JOB TRAINING BENEFITS FROM VA, INVESTIGATION FINDS — HOSPITAL CFO — Former members of the military are being refused benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs at the highest rate since the department’s creation at the end of World War II, according to a recent report from three veterans’ groups: Swords to Plowshares, the National Veterans Legal Services Program and the Veterans Legal Clinic at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School.

More than 125,000 veteran marines from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars are precluded from receiving healthcare and job training benefits promised by the VA as a result of less-than-general discharges, also called “bad paper” discharges.

The report, which compared 70 years of data from the Departments of Defense and the VA, found veterans who served after 2001 were almost two times as likely as those who served during Vietnam to be excluded from benefits, and nearly four times as likely as the troops in World War II.


THE PUSH TO RESTORE HEALTH BENEFITS TO THOUSANDS OF VETERANS — KPCC — In what would be the biggest change in veterans benefits since the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill, a vets group is petitioning the Department of Veterans Affairs to offer health care to vets kicked out for minor misconduct.

The San Francisco-based non-profit group Swords to Plowshares, along with the the National Veterans Legal Services Program, and the Veterans Legal Clinic at Harvard Law School, is launching a public campaign behind the effort Wednesday. A private effort has been underway for months, after the group sent a petition to V.A. Secretary Bob McDonald in December 2015.

At issue are the hundreds of thousands of veterans who’ve left the services with less-than-honorable discharges over the past few decades and have little or no access to health and mental health services provided by the V.A.


VA’S AIRBORNE HAZARDS AND OPEN BURN PIT REGISTRY — GLOBE GAZETTE — The Veterans Affair’s Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry allows eligible Veterans and Service members to document their exposures and report health concerns through an online questionnaire.

Eligible Veterans and Service members include those who served in: Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation New Dawn; Djibouti, Africa on or after Sept. 11, 2001; Operations Desert Shield or Desert Storm; Southwest Asia theater of operations on or after Aug. 2, 1990 –

Veterans may check their eligibility at: https://veteran.mobilehealth.va.gov/AHBurnPitRegistry/#page/home

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