veterans info


veterans parade

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This information may be helpful but I need express that these items are from a layman with zero legal experience (with the exception of being a ‘back-yard barrister’) and STRONGLY advises the reader research for themselves,if anything,to build a stronger understanding of the process of filing a disability claim.

All of this information can be found in general at the VA web-site but I am following it with my own experience.

http://vabenefits.vba.va.gov/vonapp.

The stigma of sexual trauma attached to our military service makes this a harder process then it really should be. In my opinion the very moment any Veterans Administration official or medical caretaker l;earns that a sexual assault has occurred in the veterans life then a fine line of assistance should be opened for this veteran. A sensitive fine line! And at the end of this line is a person who understands and respects the injury of PTSD when related directly to Military Sexual Trauma! (MST)

The way the process is arranged in typical claims…folks,believe me, MST  is not in the category of a typical claim,yet the process is the same that the veteran must be sponsored by the VFW or AMvets or the DVA. In this the MST veteran is again subjected to his or her story being shared in a venue that in my knowledge has no business being offered such sensitive information about a victim of a crime.

I know this is so as recent as yesterday when I was speaking to a veteran seeking information like I am offering here…he was mostly worried about the Veterans Service Officer requesting the veteran sign a ‘power of attorney’ to the VFW to actually have control over the veterans claim process,and speaking for the veteran….gawd bless folks,that is giving up your right to speak for yourself!! I just don’t get it how we as a nation as advanced as we are is still stuck in some antique mindset (those who still think sexual trauma can’t be that bad) to be so lax with an individuals privacy!

As I explained to the veteran yesterday who was given the impression that his claim would be filed and responded to immediatly….get ready to wait!

The claim process is grueling and slow.

If you are brave enough to want to go this route my advice is that once you begin the process NEVER QUIT!

Brothers and Sisters,we were hurt in an incredibly miserable lasting way. I had no help offered to me when my rapes happened 40 years ago,the lasting residual of post traumatic stress disorder has been evidence of that…I’m still not a normal person from the events,I doubt that normal will ever be used in describing me! We were not offered any justice post-attack and living with the PTSD has not been easy for any of my family to understand,so the injury is not isolated to just destroy one.

It is a way of fighting back at those we could not defend ourselves against. That is the attitude I ended up taking…a disability had never crossed my mind in my whole life since the attacks,but when it was offered to me my mind took a different position and when the ‘battle’ to prove myself became harder the more I locked onto the fact I was NOT going to quit! It was shrugged off in 1970 and damned sure was not going to be shrugged off this time!

You can file a claim online and in private. You might as well expect an automatic denial….it will will be around two months,then the VA will send the ‘denied’ letter.

At that point the rules state you can seek legal assistance from an attorney for appeal.

DO APPEAL! Do NOT quit!

Think of it this way,if you succeeded then others can too!

Believe me,the success is not in the monetary part….success is in proving your case and being acknowledged that you were injured and remain so!

Once denied find yourself an attorney that is qualified to handle VA disability claims. I have learned that the hard way,my first attorney was not,and was disqualified after my first phase of the claim was heard by a judge.

I suggest the attorney I was blessed to find! The lead attorney is a believer and has a heart for veterans like us…MST survivors. That is a double bonus to be under the wing of a believer.

www.hillandponton.com    Mr.Matt Hill. Trust is hard to come by for MST/ PTSD survivors. I just want to express I have a great respect for Mr.Hill,he fully hears our pain!

The country is wide and the yellow pages are filled with the names of attorneys. If you are like me the mere beginning of looking already presents a cinder-block wall…who do you choose? who can you trust? to me the choices are empty because to tell the history of my life to a stranger has yet to come easy…so,here is a name of an attorney you can believe will have a true sympathy for the trauma experienced by a MST veteran.

I hope some of this help!

Peace

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2 Responses to “veterans info”

  1. Joan Says:

    Hi, Jay!

    Thank you so much for all of the information. You are absolutely right. One thing you did forget to add is to find yourself a Brother or a Sister who has done this before. It is so good to have someone who has been in your shoes and can help you stand. You were such a blessing to me during my claim that I know that I was successful because of you and because of Brigid. Now we are in the middle of Brigid’s claim and we are waiting and waiting to hear something!

    The really horrible thing about this is coming up with the proof that the VA wants you to have. Most of us do not have any proof of our assault for two reasons. 1) any paperwork filed will disappear in the hands of the U. S. Military. 2) any witness will suddenly “forget” what they saw in an effort to protect themselves.

    You would think that the VBA would figure out just how hard it is to get the kind of “proof” they require – but they just seem to make it really hard! There are many good people in the DAV, VFW and American Legion that are Service Officers that really do try very hard. Then you also have your share of real jerks! I started with a really nice guy – who was just as uncomfortable as I was. It wasn’t his fault really, he was sensitive and he believed me, it was just not something people chat about openly.

    Many states have County Veteran’s Affairs boards and many of those people are authorized to file VA claims. I got very lucky and we have an amazing woman who filed mine for me. She also had me prepared for the letters that ask for the information that I have already sent them. She made the whole thing much less difficult. Instead of going to a VA Hospital to file…make sure you check with County Vet Affairs. It might be the easier path and some of those people have an amazing level of committment.

    Blessings and Peace,

    Joan

    • jayherron Says:

      I guess I have more to say than I thought and realized I had griped enough about my experience with the VA to where now I can re-direct my thoughts to try to help others. You make me swell with smiles telling me I helped you too…wow.

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