Thursday, March 08, 2007

Updates & Info

As of this posting, there is still no word on whether the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue to chase their appeal of the stay order issued in the Ribaudo case.

Ribaudo resulted in the writ of mandamus ordering the DVA to immediately begin processing claims under the Haas ruling of last fall. Subsequent to Haas, the Secretary of the DVA ordered his own stay of those claims affecting Blue Water Navy vets under the Haas ruling. The US Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims took exception to the Secretary in effect usurping the power of the court and ordered manadamus in Ribaudo.

The DVA has had a number of extensions to the original deadline of one week after the USCAVC issued a temporary stay granted to the DVA under their appeal of Ribaudo. Apparently the DVA is having trouble getting approval for the appeal from the Solicitor General of the US. [Doesn't surprise us! Somebody in the federal legal system has to have some smarts, don't they?] The latest deadline was yesterday.

Stay tuned. As always, expect bad news, rejoice when it's not.

Late update: The NVLSP has filed an opposing motion seeking to stop the granting of an extension of time to the Department of Veterans Affairs to file their appeal. There is some confusion as to when the motion was filed, likely either Tuesday the 6th, or Thursday the 8th.

In reference to the Special Extra Earnings for Military Service, here are some further details.

It is unlikely that this provision will have much effect at all on your Social Security benefits if you have earned more since serving in the military than you did while on active duty. When computing your benefits, the SSA goes back as far as it can and takes a large number of whole years' earnings. If you have periods of broken active duty service, or active duty for training, you can have SSA add $300 for every quarter in which you served on Active Duty (this includes regular enlistment periods of 6 months to four years, depending on your enlistment contract.) Now, if you go back to the Vietnam Era, for example, the SSA has tables that re-compute your earnings then into 2007 dollars. Still, most enlisted personnel will find that unless they have since had a lifetime of low income work, their annual earnings will far surpass the adjustment made to years in which you had Special Extra Earnings for Military Service.

Anyone who served in the Reserves may not have all the dates of their qualifying active duty service on the DD-214. So make sure you request your records from the National Archives and look for other pages besides the DD-214 which detail all your active military duty. SSA does not on its own look for it, but goes by your DD-214.

It is a good idea to request your records now, so that you will have them if you need them, even though you feel you may never file a claim. When you retire, it may come in handy. A link to obtaining records is in the link list on the sidebar.

So, if you are now receiving Social Secutrity benefits, Retirement, or Disability, or you contemplate applying for those benefits, or are in the process of applying for those benefits, please make sure you request this provision.

We are adding a few links to the sidebar. One link is to the Blue Water Navy Yahoo Discussion Group. Other links are to the Veterans Service Organizations that are appropriate to our cause here.

Finally, thanks to all our new subscribers! It helps to know so many of you are out there and are concerned with this issue. Please note, we intend no diminution of the current crises being reported in the media daily about the VA, the Walter Reed [and other hospitals] scandals. Our war was fought approximately, 35-50 years ago, some of us have been getting sick right from the start, others just recently -- that is the nature of dioxin exposure, it runs by no specific timetable. We are, quite frankly, ashamed of the Department of Defense over the treatment of the wounded coming home from Iraq, and being housed in absolute squalor in an institution as renowned as Walter Reed Army Medical Center. We are also incensed that those same veterans are forced to prove their claims of disability even while living at Walter Reed, and still on active duty with the Army! We are outraged at the VA's data losses from lost computers and hard drives, at the unreasonable processing time for a VA claims, and the insulting exclusion of Naval Veterans from Agent Orange presumptive eligibility, despite the original legislation, and despite the reversal recently by the US COurt of Appeals for Veterans Claims in the decision in Haas v. Nicholson. Quite frankly, we find it not only puzzling, but reprehensible that the past four Secretaries of the Department of Veterans Affairs, all Vietnam Veterans, especially Jim Nicholson, a Navay Vietnam Veteran, would so choose to leave their comrades behind. Such despicable acts are beneath contempt.

Staty tuned for further updates!

VN Vets

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations." -- President Abraham Lincoln

"Without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious." --President George Washington

Copyright © 2007: VNVets Blog; All Rights Reserved.

1 comment:

  1. We have gotten word that the NVLSP filed their motion to oppose any VA extensions on the 6th. No one in our line of info is aware of any other actions on either Haas or Ribaudo this week.

    Prayers, if you please!