The Obama Administration controlled Department of Veteran Affairs has just told disabled veterans to “Embrace the Suck. ” This slang phrase, often used in times of desperation, is recognized by all US military personnel as meaning, “Face it soldier. I have been there. This ain’t easy. Now let’s deal with it.”
In contempt of a 2013 Circuit Court order (in Harris v. Secretary of Veterans Affairs et al Eric Shinseki), the Obama Veterans Administration recently filed a potentially illegal VA policy guideline change with the federal registry. If approved, the VA will begin stripping veteran’s legal rights, increase veterans disability claims denials and make it more difficult for veterans to challenge unfair VA disability ratings determinations.
In Harris v. Shinseki, a Circuit Court ruled the VA must follow established Veterans Administration policy and cannot unfairly deny or terminate a veteran’s right to due process in disability claims adjudication or appeal by claiming a veteran did not fill out the proper claims form.
Hidden, yet recently discovered in the federal registry is a new Department of Veterans Affairs policy directive dated October 31, 2013 (38 CFR Parts 3, 19 and 20 Standards Claims and Appeals Forms). Although the policies stated objective claims “to improve the quality and timeliness of processing of veteran’s claims”, nothing could be further from the truth.
The Obama Administration—finally fed up with being blamed for its failure to reduce record veteran disability claims backlogs and obscene rates of veteran homelessness and suicides—is arrogantly pursuing the violation of a 2013 court order protecting veterans and once again violating rights to due process.
The VA directive above will cause needless delays in existing disability claims processing, open the door for low balling of disability ratings, increase the volume of denied claims and see many veterans reluctant to endure the stress of a VA claim process abandon their claim altogether.
This new Veterans Administration policy will require all new VA disability claims to be filed on a newly designed form or filed electronically. To the average American, this seems to make sense, but to our disabled veterans—many who do not have access to computers and the internet, and some, without an address—this will mean further complications and delays in applying for and receiving the benefits, they deserve.
Moreover, this new VA policy change will effectively eliminate established grounds for disability claims appeal by eliminating “requests for reconsideration” which includes Congressional inquiries. This would all but purge any Congressional power to challenge an incorrect VA disability determination on behalf of a veteran constituent. Often times, this is the court of last resort for veterans denied VA benefits.
Once again, another Obama cabinet appointee, Eric Shinseki, Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, has ordered an extraordinary cabinet level policy change (a potentially illegal policy change) that undermines existing Circuit Court precedent. All to cover the Obama Administrations careless incompetence and loyalties to the American Federation of Government Employees, the union representing inept Veterans Administration staff. All in the dead of night, while Congress is on its current break.
This is how the White House plans to sweep the VA deficiencies and our veterans under the rug.
Where is the Justice Department? Where is Attorney General Eric Holder? If a private insurer had changed their process for claims filing midstream in order to avoid paying out, delaying or discouraging valid claims submissions the federal government would have them in front of a Grand Jury in a heartbeat.
In the dead of night, while Congress was on break, our transparent Obama Administration slid a new VA directive into the federal registry effectively stripping existing veteran’s rights without so much as a hearing; all to artificially reduce the number of outstanding or backlogged veteran’s disability claims under current Congressional scrutiny. This is how the Obama administration cooks their books.
This is how the government treats those who fight for their freedom.
[by John DeMayo, writing for FREEDOM OUTPOST]
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by
NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis