VSOs–A MAJOR CONFLICT OF INTEREST


I know you’ve heard me rail about VSOs and how I feel they are a fifth wheel in the claim. I do know some who have helped but that is postscripted by the Veteran holding the halter.

Here is a post from the vault of Rick Townsend’s Firebase radio program on Stardust Radio. I respect what he does because he doesn’t drink the vA koolaid so many others do on purported Veterans Benefits Sites. This was written by Steve Mungie and I might add well written.  Mr. Mungie has field-stripped this subject and looked at the component parts.  They stink.  Little. if anything, is salvageable in my mind, too.Regardless, he makes a very good presentation for what’s wrong with this system. I’m zero for three with VSOs. I can only imagine his track record. Nevertheless, he approaches this from a different angle than I have all these years. Perspective is everything in this business. His is illuminating.

THE IRON TRIANGLE:
All Three Sides of the Greatest Shame in America’s History

All “triangles” have three sides.. in this case, all three are co-conspiritors to one of the worse frauds, and most unconscionable assaults ever, on America’s defenders, the Veterans of our many wars, and peacetime.

Those three are the Congress (or more specifially, the members of the combined House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees), the Veteran’s Administration and the third and most insidious of all, the National Veterans Service Organizations (brev. “NVSO”).

America as a whole consider our NVSO’s to be as American as apple pie, supporting the needs and the rights of our soldiers and veterans returning from war. Wrong! The NVSO’s are in fact, an “invention” of a very corrupt and greedy Congress, who found a unique way to use the veterans against themselves. Sadly the veterans after all these years, nay generations, has as yet, still not seen the light.

Before I continue, explaining exactly what I mean, let me throw at you, something that never occurred to the average Veteran. Ask yourself one of the simplest of all questions: have you ever wondered why there are 45 (now 48, I am told) different NVSO’s, providing a “need” for every conceivable
group of veteran?

Let me explain … we have the MCL for marines, the FRA for sailors, one group just for Air Force Sergeants, yet another for military officers only, one just for NCO’s, some that really specialize, like an NVSO just for
Jewish veterans, one for Black veterans, others for those who are blind, for the paralized, those disabled, an NVSO for holders of a Purple Heart, or other higher rated awards, one for veterans who have fought on foreign soil, and yet others which allow others who may not qualify for any special groups. We even have NVSO’s which caters to specific participation in certain wars or campaigns.
We even have one who would not allow Vietnam vets in because Vietnam “was not a real war”.

In essence, with a choice of 45 different groups, one has to ask … why? Would not just one or two good groups provide what is needed to secure the rights and need that Veteran seek?

Could not just the say, the DAV, or the MOPH, or the American Legion, offer to them, the facilities, the legal help, the support or the dirction that the need to push through the system, their claims for VA compensation and
help?

Further, one must wonder, why all of these groups offer the same so-called services, yet none seem to get the job done. And even more annoying, why is it all offer their own brand or form of “insurance” to help the Veterans or retirees cover expenses when they are sick …. rather than fighting to help the retirees to secure the promised free medical care for life, they were promised when they originally enlisted, or retired?

What? Kill the “cash cow” that pads their coffers? Not on your life! They provide the this supplimental insurance for one purpose only … money. Hence, to fight for the promise of lifetime medical care for retirees, would undermine their need for wealth at your expense. Are they really your friend? Not when it comes to separating you from your hard earned pensions.

But the Iron Triangle is still worse.

In order to explain exactly what the Iron Triangle is, we must first refer back to some aberrations of the law passed by Congress under United States Code 38, which is outrageously called “The Veterans Benefits Improvement
Act of 1940”, which is based on a reiteration of the very dictatorial principles of the highly UN-constitutional ECONOMIC EMERGENCY ACT of 1933, declared by
the US Supreme Court, as being UNCONSTITUTIONAL in its entirity. The only difference between the two laws, is that the “new” Veteran’s law applies to only one class of persons (that in itself alone is unconstitutional), America’s veterans. The culprit, if such could be so labeled, is USC Title 38, Section 511 a) formerly known as 211(a)), which, for more than six decades has prevented Veterans from seeking relief from the VA’s preditory and adversarial claims procedures, in a real court of law. It has had a binding affect on all veterans, often for life, to the VA’s own “kangaroo court system”, including its very own warped US Court of Veteran Appeals for Veterans Claims (or “CAVC”).

Quite often, the veteran after serving his country in the military, is forced to walk the corridors of time sometimes 10, 20, and upward to as long as 50 years, never knowing why he has been abandoned by his government and why his perfectly meritorious claim is continually denied.

In November of 1988, the VA, in concert with their NVSO cohorts, and the members of the Congressional House and Senate Veterans Affairs commitees, fearing a judicial review of the perverted VA claims decisions, gave us an
“Article I” administrative court, which has proven to be an absolute farce; a quasi-court, with quasi-judges.

Since that time, of some 17,000 (seventeen THOUSAND) veterans to apply to this farcical “court”, at best only 120 cases have been resolved, with positive “wins” for the Veteran. Of these cases, almost all go unpublished, making it impossible for veterans or their advocates to utilize any for case histories, or to assist in future claims assistance to other veterans.

A special note of interest: as small as this number is, the amount of veterans who have won their cases, what is even more outrageous is that the infinitesimal number who have collected any back money owed them by the VA. Also note
that no form of interest is offered or paid to any USC Title 38 retroactive claims.

This law must be changed: such a change could put an end to the VA’s transgressions in the way which they criminally adjudicated benefits claims.

A SOLUTION to the problem: when the VA denies a claim, initially (and within 90 days) the veterans must be allowed to take his claim to a ligitimate Article III Federal Court, nearest to his home. Specifically, a federal district court, in front of a real judge … or better still, a jury, just like all other Americans enjoy. It can no longer be the fraudulent VA “kangaroo court” system currently in use, much to the veteran’s harm.

The second part of this conspiracy against America’s Veterans, comes from USC Title 38, Section 5904, which prohibits a veteran from retaining his or her own attorney, to represent them in their benefits claims against the
VA. The veteran can only seek outside help of an attorney AFTER he has received his final decision from the VA’s infamous Board of Veteran Appeals (BVA). This process rarely ever takes less than SEVEN YEARS, and could conceivably exceed 30 or more years!

It literally becomes a game of constant remands, delays, “accidental mailings”, illegal and deliberate purging and destruction of records, “forgotton signatures”, an assortment of bureaucratic chicanery and other excused that can be dreamed up, during his life-long fight, including deliberate misrepresntation, all of which is aided and abetted by the NVSO’s “service officers”. More on this later.

Why this UN-constitutional statute? Because the VA does not want the veteran to be properly represented by an attorney, making the VA “forced” to follow the letter of the law. They would rather have the VA friendly NVSO’s “opposing” them, in their stacked courts.

The deck is stacked against the veteran from day one, by the misrepresentation of the NVSO’s service reps, who are rarely trained to properly represent the veteran, by “practicing law” (without proper license), in a very
controlled environment., designed to protect the VA’s very special “hidden turf”. The Copyright 2005. The following document may be used or reproduced as desired, for publication, for enlightenment, without any form of financial renumeration required. However it is not to be changed, modified, or altered in any manner. It must appear as originally written. MAY BE REUSED IN ANY NEWS ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRITY.

Written by Steve Mungie, Wndbear@aol.com, Houston County Alabama USA, Exercizing my God-given First Amendment Rights to Speak Out for those Who cannot, or will not. In association with Veterans For Constitutional Law, of New York, an independent Veteran’s Rights advocacy group, seeking fairness and legal parity for ALL of America’s honorable, yet dishonored veterans.

Congress has gone out of its way to protect the VA and NVSO’s special vested interests, at the expense of the Veteran, since the 1930’s.

Another Note if interest: the VA has on its payroll, more than 1200 of their own attorneys, using every conceivable tactic and devious means posssible, to circumvent the law, to deny veteran claims. The harm and devastation
that this has caused veterans and their families, because of USC Title 38, Section 5904, is irreparable.

During three separate oversight hearings by HVAC, debating legal aspects of real legal represntation for veterans, no veterans, family members nor survivors were invited to testify … only representatives of NVSO’s were permitted to do so. And, their testamony, as usual, was totally reprehensible , vehemently stating that veterans do not need lawyers when they have the “protection” of the NVSO’s

When the the NVSO “Vietnam Veterans of America” rose to speak, they testified honestly, stating our Constitutional Rights were being ignored by the VA. the committee chairman immediately closed the hearings down to protect their friends , the NVSO’s, and their “hidden legal turf”.

The second hearing was blown out by a snowstorm. At the third and final hearing, the HVAC did not even address the issue (although scheduled) because they had no intentions of doing so, thus usurping the power of the their cohorts, the NVSO’s

Another archaic statute, fueling the unbridled power of this IRON TRIANGLE , is USC Title 38, Section 5902(a), joking labeled the “GRAVY TRAIN STATUTE” but for good reason!

This statute, a true VA “farcical law” reads: “The Secretary of the VA, at his discretion (remember these three words!) may give rent free office space in VA buildings to the National Veteran Service Offices (NVSO’s).” Please note: it says NO more, and NO less.

BUT … a very very liberal interpretation of this law (remembering those three words), it also gives them FREE heating and electricity, FREE furniture, FREE computer equipment, FREE postage, FREE telephone service, FREE
stationary, and sometimes, FREE staff, to run thie offices, and … oh yeh, a totally tax free status, although the assets of most of these congressionally chartered NVSO’s could put some of our nation’s larger corporations to shame!

MILLIONS of dollars of “freebies” are literally given to these NVSO’s annually as “payback” (or should I say”loot”?) to help “keep the veterans in line”, by the “grateful” VA, for the NVSO’s representation, given to the veterans seeking their benefits claims under the perverted USC Title 38.

QUOTAS? Naw … you’re kidding, right? The VA’s hidden quota of FOUR PERCENT (4%) on service connected claims is never to be exceeded! This is fact, proven and documented over the past fifty years.

The VA has released all kinds of false figures stating 11 to 12 percent of all service connected claims are approved and paid. A higher up VA executive once revealed (either inadvertantly or for whatever reason) that the
VA “padded” thir figures: if a veteran is asking for 3, 4, or moe different things within his claim, and the VA grants one, they count it as FULL ADJUDICATION of the claim. This, he labeled as the VA’s “creative mathematics”. But …
this could not have been done alone. THis is where the third side of the Triangle comes in … the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

It is not by chance, but by design, that for more than six decades, decent Veterans legislation passing through the HVAC gets “BOONDOGGLED IN COMMITTEE” and never reaches the floor for discussion or vote. It is no accident that this committee has been kept under strict control by the VA; first through illuminaries like Roberts (VA), Sonny Montgomery (MS), Stump, (AZ), and now today …. the Republican’s BUYER, who follows the Bush partyline to the
mark!! (Entire list of HVAC & SVAC memebers appear below). Justice for Veterans has been held hostage for sixy, nay SEVENTY years, by these influential friends of the VA, completing the third side of this infamous IRON TRIANGLE.

This side of the TRIANGLE in spite of bantering by politicians, is NOT bipartisan, nor is it partisan politicking. It is NOT the congress-critters who occupy places in these committees, but instead, the lawyers and
others, who are there year in and year out, maintaining a stranglehold on Veteran
rights.

It is not question of Conservative or Liberal, Republican or Democrat. It is plain and simple, GREED. It is the extent of connection with the VA and the NVSO’s … the NVSO’s hold most of these congress-critters in fear … the fear of being “bad mouthed” by the NVSO’s, and losing an election, if they do not shown deference to them, doing what they want! Any politician’s worse nightmare, is losing an election, and thus his grab for power!

THIS IS THE REASON THAT THE VETERANS MUST QUIT ALL MEMBERSHIPS IN ALL NVSO’S … or all efforts to change the status quo, is in vain.

Should a veteran write letters to any government agency or to anyone in power, or in Congress, to inform them of this on-going thievery, they will be answered and “snowed” with form letters using the words like allleged and “allegations” multiple times, and more likely, not even answered at all. Many vets and the families can positively testify too his fact.

At the creation of the VA’s “Kangaroo court system”, the then- chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (SVAC) stated in a four-page statement in the Senatorial Congressional Record, that if the VA’s court does not
effect real judicial review, within a year or two, the Senate will revisit the question to allow real article three federal courts to adjudicate veterans benefits claims. Being that almost from the beginning, it was proven that the VA’s “funny court” wasn’t working, (I) wrote to the senator on four separate occasions. The first three times, he did not answer me. The fourth leter received a reply of “Thank you for your comments on the Economy”.

Yet another veteran from Pennsylvania, received an answer similar: “Knowing of your interest in humane and ethical treatment of animals, I wanted to take this opportunity ….. ” Heard enough yet? As you can see, the
Congressional leadership are ignoring and evading the real questions.

The US Department of Justice (or more appropriately “Just Us”, which no longer protects the rights of the people, but serves now, the corruption of the administration and their corporate sponsors) was sent some information on the criminal trasnsgressions of the VA and the manner of their assault on America’s defenders, including multiple newspaper articles about two of the VA’s attorneys who were sent to prison for 15 months each, to pay for their crimes of altering and destroying disabled veteran’s claim files, in order to deny claims, so that they could collect larger bonuses. Of course, this a common practice within the VA, because of a multitude of employee incentive programs
based on the denial of veteran’s claims. The letter we received in response from the Just US Department as predicted, used the words “alleged” and “allegations” several times, and yet … these people, their employees, are serving time.

The IRON TRIANGLE is a bonding, a “melding” of the VA, the two Congressional VAC’s and the NVSO’s, which must be broken up, melted, and terminated …. permanently!

It is said that just prior to the Iraqi and Afghani Wars, there was an estimated 25 to 26 MILLION disabled Veterans, suspended somewhere out there in the “Twilight ZOne” of waiting, and waiting and waiting, only to discover that they VA was simply waiting them out, hoping to bury each, before they were forced to pay…

Now, facing this hurting and grieving nation, we have lost more than 4000 American trooper in Afghanistan and in Iraq, and neither war is over yet. And from those two on-going wars, more than ONE MILLION new disabled, both physically and mentally, veterans are (or may be) coming home. Will
we continue to allow the greed of Congress, the administation, and these other cohorts in crime, make life miserable for men and women who have already given far too
much already?

Our only hope, is to topple this IRON TRIANGLE, once and for all, by attacking its weakest link … the NVSO’s. To do so requires only one commitment on our part. Desert them, put an end to their stranglehold, by bankrupting them. ALL OF THEM.

QUIT YOUR MEMEBERSHIPS IN ALL 45 OF THE “CHARTERED BY CONGRESS” NATIONAL VETERAN SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS, TODAY.

Refuse their Membership fees and drives
Refuse to support them
Refuse to participate
Refuse to pay “Dues”
Refuse to acknowledge them
Do not attnd their meetings, their bars, their clubs

Your choice, Veterans ………….

Steve Mungie
Wndbear@aol.com

Et Cetera

Ad nauseum

About asknod

VA claims blogger
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10 Responses to VSOs–A MAJOR CONFLICT OF INTEREST

  1. Pingback: The Gay Veteran – Received Through Email: [VeteranIssues] different perspective of the VA, and Veteran Service Orgs

  2. Pingback: [VeteranIssues] different perspective of the VA, and Veteran Service Orgs - AMVETS Department of Massachusetts

  3. Pingback: AMVETS Department of Maine » [VeteranIssues] different perspective of the VA, and Veteran Service Orgs

  4. Kiedove says:

    Reform, internal and systemic, are clearly needed. It’s too cozy. There is some local accountability with some groups and that’s good. The socialization is good.

    One type of reform I can envision is to allow the VSOs to employ lawyers to handle complicated cases and even charge a veteran a fee based on a sliding scale attached to the Federal Poverty Guidelines to help recover some costs. That might reduce some of the frivolous cases that have been discussed here as well as advance true claims. There are SO many cases, no persons without a legal degree should be threatened that they’ll be out of jobs. And there should be federal standards that all VSOs should meet.

    I’m okay with VSO’s being inside VA centers because it’s a convenience for the vets. But I think they should pay a modest rent. If they can’t pay any rent, how can they pay salaries?
    If the VSO would be “homeless” without free heated office space, and unable to pay salaries, I would be good with the DOD/VA providing the VSO with TENTS on the people’s common grounds. But no other gov. perks! Vets could pay/donate for services with soda cans etc.. whatever resources they had.
    Think about The Salvation Army. They get donations because they are the real deal.

    In fact, this idea, the homeless VSO, is a pretty good one if someone wants to run with it or riff on it.
    ________
    I came across BBB’s charity reviews and compared the VVA and DAV. DAV came out better.
    http://www.bbb.org/charity-reviews/national/
    I think these reviews can help get internal reforms and uncover shaky/sham groups. For example, National Veterans Service Fund (Formerly Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Victims, Inc.) did not disclose any information to BBB.
    BBB will take suggestions from the public to review charities.

  5. asknod says:

    Ah. The sound of unbridled dissention. Music to my uncensored ears. Only in America, ladies and gentlemen.

  6. SquidlyOne says:

    I call that a “fringe” article….one being on the fringe of absurdity. He wants to pull Vets from one fire and thrust them into another: The abyss of the Federal Court System. How can a Vet walk into a Federal Court with a file cabinet full of medical records and expect Justice? It costs on average 100-250k to litigate an average federal court case. So then we have the issue of which Vet deserves an attorney and which Vet deserves a court hearing. The numbers today look like one out of every four claims pending, wind up in appeal. So now we are talking about a million vets jamming the court system? Sounds “oh so pretty” for those Vets who can afford an attorney and the wait for years on end to settle. The Federal Gov’t always has and always will limit the power of the Courts to settle with a Federal Agency.

    What Mr. Mungie fails to realize is that the reason there are so many NSOs is because of the brotherhood we seek when we become members. We share and enjoy the company of those we served with. We help the local community be a better place to live for our family and relatives. Yes we have many choices. I enjoy those choices and as a Democracy; I need those choices. NSOs lobby in Washington for more liver transplants for HCV patients. They lobby for better and more available health care. If NSOs were so evil they would have died on the vine many years ago by the hands of just, moral and patriotic American Veterans!

    • K9USAFRet says:

      So if it is the “comaraderie” as you say, tell them to stop suggesting laws that hurt vets and sacrifice constitutional law to their own misguided continuance. “The Federal Court System” seems to have upheld more of these rights than the VSOs, the DVA, the BVA and the CAVC put together. That sir is neither “fringe” nor “farcical”.

  7. KC says:

    Is this guy serious?
    Granted, why on earth would any Vet pay dues or sell cookies for a Veterans org. if they aren’t interested in being involved with the org. itself?
    Most just simply need assistance filing a claim and perhaps a good, thorough, examination of his c-file.
    Lets not toss the proverbial baby out with the bath water here.
    When I worked at Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, we had a very large (by national standards) Veteran population of workers. An even greater percentage of disabled Veterans than the national average.
    From personal experience, as well as getting to personally know alot of them and their vA claim details, I can say with certainty that the ones that used VSOs from the likes of VFW, PVA, and MOPH et al, had much better overall satisfaction and results than the state DVA or going it alone.
    Yours truly fell under the latter, and had I even had a modicum of a clue as to how the process works and even what to claim, I would have already been service connected, and awarded what I reasonably expect.
    But I was a dumbass, and didn’t seek the assistance of said orgs.
    Yup… I left it all up to the good ole’ Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs.
    HUGE mistake. I was led down the path of ignorance of all things vA claims related, plain and simple.
    I will also concede that Vet orgs have their fair share of dipsticks that have no business attempting the task as a certified Veterans Claims Assistant, but that vetting process is very similar as one would use in selecting an attorney.
    The ideal situation is to not have to get to the BVA stage of a claim, and I realize that there are a lot of situations where this is inevitable, but a fair portion are in fact properly submitted, and granted due to assistance from said orgs.
    I should have been so lucky.

  8. Randy says:

    Since most, if not all, of us here have done the largest amount of work on our own claims to a certain point what could a VSO do that has not already been done? As we all know the ball is in their court and they are pretty good at playing keep away. I have resigned myself to the wait in line for my day in the sun. I would be amazed if there were a determination prior to 2013 and even then the chances of it being positive are slim to none. And therein the reason to get the legal beagle on the case. Since the VA has an allotted amount of money to pay the lawyer then it is in the lawyers best interest to get the ducks in a row prior to the denials. The VA does not have to like it nor would I care since it is their myopic views which continue to deny SC for disabilities which are shown to have occured. The local (county) VASO had me listed as using AMVETS as my power of attorney. I called AMVETS and they informed me that the guy must be smoking some of the medicinal plant here in CO. I really do look forward to my day in court and the sheer fact that the VA did not win another one.

  9. Robert G says:

    After reading this I don’t know wether to shit or go blind! Do not support any VSO’s or pay dues? I am a member of the Americal Legion. I do not use them to represent me in my appeals pending. Let’s say every veteran tells their VSO to take a hike. They will still exist at the Va pleasure. Getting paid to do nothing is nothing new. What you suggest to do takes a shitload of money and heavy backers. This would be a rallying cry for a third political party, say, the so called tea party. I see no chance with our 2 party system today. Yet I agree in principal with you sir. I look forward to reading more on this matter….

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