American Veteran News 04.23.16

VIDEO: TOMAH VA ASSAULT OF MENTALLY ILL VETERAN CAUGHT ON TAPE — DISABLEDVETERANS.ORG — New video and police records confirm a Tomah VA employee assault of a mentally ill patient before that same employee attempts to cover it up with false allegations.

The altercation occurred on November 10, 2015. Initially, the mentally ill patient was counseled for disruptive behavior before police realized the aggressor was actually a VA nurse assistant who lied to police about the altercation.


VA SERVICE DOG STUDY MEMBERS SPEAK OUT FOR ITS EXPANSION — WASHINGTON FREE BEACON — Several of those involved in the Veterans Administration’s study of how service dogs can be used to help treat veterans appealed on Thursday to members of Congress to expand the program.

The House Military Veterans Caucus heard from members of Canine Companions for Independence as well as a veteran and his personal service dog on the benefits of specially trained service dogs. The group was invited to Capitol Hill by Rep. Mike Thompson (D., Calif.), who supports the pilot program. He said service dogs provide a tremendous benefit to many veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.


BILL TO PROTECT COMBAT-INJURED VETERANS SEVERANCE PAYMENTS PASSES SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE — AUGUSTA FREE PRESS — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner’s (D-VA) legislation to ensure that veterans who suffer service-ending combat-related injuries are not improperly taxed on the severance payment they receive from the Department of Defense (DoD) has passed the Senate Finance Committee.

Under federal law, veterans who suffer combat-related injuries and who are separated from the military are not supposed to be taxed on the one-time lump sum disability severance payment they receive from DoD. Unfortunately, taxes on combat-related disability severance payments have nonetheless been withheld from qualifying veterans for a number of years, in part due to the limitations of DoD’s automated payment system. Veterans are typically unaware that their benefits were improperly reduced as a result of DoD’s actions.


IOWA VETERANS FIGHT TO STOP GOVERNMENT FROM DEFUNDING AGENT ORANGE RESEARCH — WHOTV — DES MOINES, Iowa — The Vietnam War ended more than 40 years ago, but a chemical used by the military has had a lasting effect, not just on the country itself, but also on those who fought.

Research shows the number of health complications linked to the use of Agent Orange continues to grow. Veterans’ advocates say the funding to continue that research is at risk of drying up. They say the government has a responsibility to discover all there is to know about the impact on veterans and their families — even if it takes generations.

Agent Orange got its name from the orange stripe on a 55-gallon drum. But for Vietnam War veterans and their families, it represents the unknown, even decades after the war ended. Agent Orange

“Seems like it gets worse all the time to find out more diseases that are related to Agent Orange. Today, we have 14 presumptive illness or diseases that are related to Agent Orange,” said Vietnam veteran Dan Gannon.


BROCKTON VA OFFERS PIONEERING PROGRAM FOR WOMEN VETS BATTLING PTSD, ADDICTION — THE ENTERPRISE — BROCKTON – On the fourth floor of Building 2 at the Brockton VA hospital campus, a group of eight women live together in close quarters, in what may seem like a college dormitory on first glance.

The hospital floor is home to a program that is unique throughout the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, offering 10 weeks of residential treatment to former military women who suffer simultaneously from substance abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Many of the women in the program suffer from “military sexual trauma,” a term used by the VA to refer to PTSD resulting from sexual assault, or repeated, threatening sexual harassment, during military service.

“We really are the only program across the country in the VA that is truly a combined program for PTSD and substance abuse for women,” said Sharon Baker, a clinical psychologist who oversees the eight-bed program. “For most of them, their substance abuse either developed or got a lot worse after they experienced trauma. … What we provide is a place for them, when they finally are able to talk about having experienced this trauma, to come and be with other women who have experienced similar things, and to work together.


SILVER STAR AWARDED FOR WWII VET — TIMES UNION — In a Washington ceremony Thursday, U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik hosted the family of 1st Lt. Elmer Jebo, a Tupper Lake man who served during World War II and died in 2001.

Stefanik presented them with a Silver Star that he earned but never received.

Elmer Jebo fought in several Italian campaigns including the Anzio invasion. He was severely wounded in May 1944 and lost his right leg. Later he worked in Washington with the Department of Labor and served on presidential committees on veterans’ rights in the 1950s and 1960s.


5 OFFENDERS WHO RECEIVED CREATIVE PUNISHMENTS FOR STOLEN VALOR — T&P — For pretending to be someone they weren’t, these five men paid the price of humiliation by the justice system.

Nowadays, individuals accused of falsely claiming to have served in the military or received military decorations are easily and swiftly humiliated in videos popping up all over the internet. They are ridiculed and chastised for committing acts of so-called “stolen valor” — taking credit for serving in the military, or receiving a medal, that they never earned.

Typically, this humiliation occurs outside of the justice system, since the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 criminalizing stolen valor claims was declared unconstitutional in 2012. However, a new Stolen Valor Act signed into law in 2013 subjects an individual to a fine and/or imprisonment if they demonstrated an intent to receive tangible benefits, such as money or property, from their false claims.


A CUTTING-EDGE DEVICE COULD SOON TRANSFORM THE LIVES OF VETERAN AMPUTEES — T&P — A VA-funded clinical trial aims to bring more comfort and stability to those who lost legs in the line of duty.

On Dec. 7, 2015, Ed Salau, who lost his leg to an injury sustained in combat, underwent surgery to implant a titanium rod into the base of his femur. It was the first time the procedure had been performed in the United States. But it was worth the risk.

If everything went according to plan, Salau would be able to walk pain-free for the first time since 2004, when two rocket-propelled grenades badly mangled his left leg in Iraq.

On Feb. 8, 2016, during phase two of the procedure, surgeons attached a docking mechanism for a prosthetic leg to the titanium rod.

In April, Salau attached his new prosthetic leg and stood up.


REPORT SAYS ROANOKE VA BENEFITS PRIORITIZED EASY CLAIMS — WSET — ROANOKE, Va. –The Roanoke Regional Veterans Benefits office is under fire.. after a report came out showing the office prioritizes new claims, rather than dealing with older ones first.

The Attorney General started to look into this after receiving an anonymous tip.

As part of the investigation, the Attorney General’s office talked to 14 of the claims processors at the VA benefit center in Roanoke. All but one said they focus on newer claims that have fewer issues in order to increase their case closure rate.

According to the report,as of June 4, 2015, the Roanoke Veteran Affairs Regional had 12,890 appeals pending at various stages of the appeals process. Of those, 3,350 dated back from October 2008 through the end of fiscal year 2013.


IG QUESTIONS DESTRUCTION OF DOCUMENTS AT VA — FEDWEEK — The VA’s controls are “not effective to prevent” potential improper destruction of documents related to veterans’ benefits claims, an IG report has said.

The report is a followup to one issued last year in which the IG found that one regional office was not following policy on the management of paper records, although it could not confirm allegations that the office staff inappropriately shredded claims-related documents. The IG then conducted unannounced inspections at 10 other regional offices to determine whether document control was a systemic weakness; they answered in the affirmative.

Auditors identified 69 of 155 claims-related documents improperly scheduled for destruction, which staff had not properly associated with veterans’ claims folders. Two of those documents affected benefits and nine others had the potential to do so—while the rest did not affect benefits, they were required to be included in the claims folders of the VA’s electronic systems, it said.

Both management and staff found the policies confusing and not all received annual training as required, it added, and records management staff did not consistently review documents or maintain violations logs. “These actions put documents at risk for inappropriate destruction, which could result in loss of claims and medical evidence, incorrect decisions, and delays in claims processing,” it said.

The report said management was responsive to its recommendations.


18 CRITICAL FEDERAL RESUME MISTAKES — MILCOM — A newly separated or retired military person must have a good resume to begin their next career. More than half of the military would like to land a federal position where they can continue to utilize their DOD skills and abilities, or where they can continue in public service.

Even if a veteran has 5 or 10 points due to a disability, it is important that your resume get you Qualified, if you are to take advantage of veterans’ preference programs.

The biggest problem is that a federal resume – the one-and-only application for a federal job – is not the same as a private industry resume. And the federal resume must be targeted toward a specific position in the government. Here are 18 common problems that I see when I review resumes by military and former military who are seriously applying for federal jobs. How many of the mistakes below do you have on your federal resume? Are you getting Best Qualified and Referred? If not, review this checklist by a Federal Resume guru and determine which of these common mistakes should be fixed or changed.


LAWYER: VETERAN ARRESTED FOR “BAD THOUGHTS, NOT THREATS” — WHAS — LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) — It happened more than a year ago, but a local lawyer is now bringing one of his cases to the public’s attention in hopes that it won’t happen to anyone else.

Greg Simms is a partner at Murphy & Associates in downtown Louisville. He said his client, Maki Juillerat, was wrongfully arrested in April 2015.

Juillerat served as a sergeant in the United States Army for 16 years.

“He was deployed to Bosnia, Iraq twice and Afghanistan,” Simms said. “After his tours of duty, he was troubled by some pretty serious PTSD.”

Simms said Juillerat was troubled, but determined to not let the illness control him. He started getting treatment at the Robley Rex Veterans Affairs Medical Center. During a session with his therapist in March 2015, he disclosed that he was having suicidal and violent thoughts. He’d recently been pulled over for a traffic violation and described the officer as disrespectful and rude.


ALBUQUERQUE MAN SENTENCED TO PROBATION FOR SUBMITTING FRAUDULENT CLAIMS TO VETERANS AFFAIRS MEDICAL CENTER — — DOJ ALBUQUERQUE – Tomas Jaramillo, 55, of Albuquerque, N.M., was sentenced today in federal court for his conviction for submitting false and fraudulent claims to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) in Albuquerque. Jaramillo was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $11,439.90 in restitution to the VAMC.

Jaramillo was charged by information on Aug. 18, 2015, with submitting fraudulent vouchers to collect payments for roundtrip travel to attend medical appointment. He was subsequently charged by indictment on Sept. 22, 2015, with submitting 173 fraudulent claims to the VAMC for travel beneficiary payments from June 2009 through July 2010.

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