Topic: Important nonpartisan accurate resources
In 2014, I posted about CRS, a section of the Library of Congress (LINK). Some of its reports were posted online haphazardly. (The report I referenced has been updated.) During the pre-election craziness, I searched Wikileak’s website for the term “veterans.” I didn’t spend much time reading hits but I was surprised to find out that the over CRS 6,700 reports, all public domain documents, are not open access. They are, however, on a private internal Congressional website.
Wikileaks website gave over 6,000 reports to other archives, some now defunct. New archiving projects, launched by transparency activists, have filled the gaps.
CRS Reports (LINK) is one with 77 veteran reports.
Every CRS Report (LINK), contains 8,277 reports with over 100 on veterans. Here are a few miscellaneous titles:
- Veterans Affairs: Presumptive Service Connection and Disability Compensation 11/18/14 (LINK)
- How Agencies Monetize “Statistical Lives” Expected to Be Saved By Regulations 3/24/10 (LINK)
- Department of Veterans Affairs FY2017 Appropriations 10/26/16 (LINK)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Income/Resource Limits and Accounts Exempt from Benefit Determinations 1/23/14 (LINK)
According to LOC, citizens pay the salaries and benefits of over “400 policy analysts, attorneys and information professionals” to prepare reports for Congress upon request. These reports do not deal with classified matters so why the blackout?
Open government lawmakers such as Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont) have fought for years to make the reports public, with bills being introduced–and rejected–almost every year since 1998. The CRS, as a branch of Congress, is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Instead these bills die and the newest ones have only a 1% chance of passing (LINK & (LINK). EveryCRSReport, claims to be the most complete site (LINK).
Evidently, the VA is already making quick decisions about claims even before appeals are received. I submitted an Agent Orange claim for my diabetes mellitus type 2 diagnosis in 2013 (no one else in my family on either side has ever been diagnosed with diabetes). The claim was denied but at your urging I filed a disagreement. Have been working on the appeal which includes a very favorable AO registry exam report including the loss of feeling in finger tips and toes but had not yet formally filed the appeal. Last week we received a VA check for about $5k which I asked my wife not to spend as it was probably an error. Yesterday I received a letter from the VA informing me that they had made a decision on my disagreement (without waiting on the appeal) based on my original claim (which was incomplete) but including my AO registry examination results. I was given a 10% disability rating associated with herbicide exposure and $133 a month payment (so the $5k check was real, going back to 2013). The letter included language indicating that it was 10% because I am not currently taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic agent plus restricted diet which could warrant a 20% evaluation.
I am not using insulin or diabetic drugs because I am combatting the condition naturally with intense exercise six days a week, many supplements (OTC), and a highly restricted diet (which my Vanderbilt Medical Center endocrinologist tells me I am one of only three patients there who have exercised the discipline to control their diabetes naturally). I have no idea how long I can continue to receive satisfactory results in this natural approach. Question is: should I be satisfied with a 10% rating for something that affects significantly more than 10% of my life due to the complications it brings to current conditions of eyesight issues, single kidney (with recurring stones), hypertension, and issues of balance and memory from a stroke in 2010? I understand that the VA rating probably has little to do with percentage of life affected.
I am grateful that they VA acknowledged service related disability but had really expected that if I received a favorable evaluation that it would probably be for more than 10 or even 20 percent. I have a right of appeal as stated in the letter. Would an appeal place even my 10% rating in jeopardy?
Appreciate what you are doing.
Dave Weeks (1969-73, USAF, SEA duty at Nakhon Phanom RTAFB, Thailand)
Dave, I’m a guest blogger here. Maybe Alex can advise you about your chances for a higher rating. But whatever you are doing, don’t stop!
Read this to see if your rating sounds right–scroll to 7913
For those needing meds, this guide from Consumer Reports may be helpful:
Click to access DiabetesUpdate-FINAL-Feb09.pdf
Search Chemtrails NOT Comtrails and see what is said