I Have Something Important to Say, Especially for the Vietnam Veterans

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Image Source: The Frame: Looking back at the Vietnam War

If you are or know a Vietnam Veteran, please read this. It is important.

My parents got screwed by the VA, and I want to make sure it doesn’t happen to another Veteran.

As some of you know, my father became ill a little over a year ago. He is a Veteran, US Army, and he served in Vietnam, one tour. He was exposed to agent orange and was aware of it.

I did a lot of research when my father became ill and I have gotten very acquainted with agent orange over the last year (and I studied hard about the time my dad was there, so I know he was exposed to it… a lot of it). A lot of guys who were over there when my dad was developed the same issue; the VA has settled with around 800 of them. So I pushed my parents to approach the VA for help. They wouldn’t touch him with a 50 foot pole. According to them, this particular illness was not recognized as an effect of agent orange, and his illness was not considered to be combat related.

The VA refused to handle any of his care until I contacted Senator Burr of North Carolina. Suddenly, things they told us they weren’t set up for, etc., they could do for my dad, and insisted on doing it.

Because my father’s issues became severe enough that he needed 24 hour care, he was moved to a skilled nursing facility. The VA, again, would not take him in to one of their Veteran’s nursing facilities. My mother was again told by a social worker at the VA that his illness was not recognized and was not considered a combat illness. Senator Burr’s name was on absolutely everything dealing with my dad, so they gave him the treatment he needed and did maintenance, but would not cover the nursing facility or take him in to their own. They did not qualify for any benefits at all. Mom was told to have dad autopsied when he died, and if agent orange was found, she’d get some benefits. But they can’t help them at all right now, when he needs the help the most.

Well, here’s the part you need to read.

My mother got a call tonight about my dad because things are ever changing and a different social worker called to get paperwork and more details.

This is when my mom found out that the VA does cover what he has under certain circumstances – that my dad meets. According to this social worker, because my dad was boots on the ground during Vietnam and on the ground during a time they knew agent orange was being used – dad was on the ground and fighting for the Tet Offensive – he should have been completely covered. There was no reason for Senator Burr to have to get involved, because he should have automatically been covered for care, and he should have been placed in a VA skilled nursing facility. Senator Burr is the only reason he got any care at all, but that shouldn’t have happened.

Vietnam Veterans: if you were boots on the ground during the war and the VA says you aren’t covered for common illnesses of other Veterans, please start asking questions. This includes several different kinds of cancers. You should not have to wait until you are dead to prove agent orange is in your system so your loved ones get benefits after the fact. They should be helping you while you are alive.

The original social worker who told my mom there was nothing they could do and they were only entitled to benefits after my dad died and they had proof of agent orange exposure gave my mother bad information. Now, because it wasn’t filed at the get go, they can’t get any money back for the multiple thousands of dollars spent for my father’s care that should have been covered by the VA. Mom has the forms to fill out to get filed so it is taken care of from here out, but my dad got sick in November 2014… he isn’t covered for any of that because my mom was given bad information.

Please, guys. You were treated badly by everyone when you returned home. The least they can do is treat you well now. You deserve that. Don’t let them screw you like they screwed my parents. If you find proof other Veterans got the same illness as you, show it to them, especially if benefits were paid out. Keep telling them you were boots on the ground for the war, and tell them how many tours you did. The boots on the ground thing is very important… it gets you covered for a lot of things not normally covered. Don’t just talk to one person. If you have to, get your representatives involved. I can’t tell you how much Senator Burr did for my family, it was amazing, and more than I expected. I really only expected a virtual pat on the head, but Senator Burr dove in head first. A lot of expenses my parents could have ended up with got erased. But a lot more should have been, and weren’t.

This is worth it, guys. You deserve care for whatever you have that could be traced back to that crap they sprayed all over. Your family deserves it, too. Get the help you need, and don’t take the first no you hear… keep fighting. Don’t lose everything with the promise of a payout after your autopsy. No. Get the help you need now!

Vietnam Veteran, I love you, and I thank you for your service. I can’t help you with a lot now, but this… I owed you this. You need to know what I now know. Please don’t get hurt the way my parents were.

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