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email from VA Media Press Room:
"Recent VA News Releases
Draft Gulf War Task Force Report Is Released
Report Redefines How Care and Services Are Provided
to Gulf War Veterans
WASHINGTON (Oct. 21, 2011)- Today, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki announced that the Department's Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Task Force has completed the draft of a comprehensive report that will outline how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) addresses the concerns of Veterans who deployed during the Gulf War in 1990 and 1991.
"This report provides a roadmap for our continued enhancements in our care and services we provide to Gulf War Veterans," said Shinseki. "We will be applying lessons learned from this report to Veterans of all eras."
Notification of the draft written report is published in the Federal Register, and the draft written report addresses seven areas where VA provides services for this group of Veterans.
Over the past year, the task force has examined, evaluated, designated and adjusted the initial roadmap outlined in last year's report. VA has designated steps to improve care and services to Gulf War I Veterans and these improvements are becoming a part of our culture and operations.
This year's report focuses on improvements in the delivery of health care for Gulf War Veterans. One of the most substantial additions is modifications to clinical care models used for Gulf War Veterans, which is the most critical point of service VA provides. There are better linkages between specialty knowledge and services at the basic point of care. Clinical research and development is significantly contributing new concepts and methods to clinical practice and clinical education throughout VA.
Two new positions were established in the Office of Research and Development for deployment and Desert Shield and Desert Storm health-related issues. Both positions have been filled and are enhancing research efforts for Gulf War Veterans and will continue to do so in the coming years.
VA is also strengthening partnerships and medical surveillance to address the potential health impacts on Veterans from the environmental exposures on today's battlefield. Additionally, VA continues to use social media to improve communication with Gulf War Veterans.
The Chairman of the Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses Task Force is John R. Gingrich, chief of staff at VA, a retired Army officer who also served in the Gulf War.
"To ensure we are tracking the needs of our Veterans, we want to get feedback from Gulf War Veterans on this draft report," said Gingrich. "Their feedback is critical to our efforts to understand and serve their specific needs. Therefore, we hope they take advantage of one of the different opportunities to provide feedback that we have created for them."
As a first step, VA is seeking public comments on the draft written report before final publication. The public notice and instructions for how to submit electronic and comments via postal mail will be posted at www.regulations.gov<http://www.regulations.gov>, and the draft written report will be open for comment for 30 days. In addition, VA recognizes that a great number of Gulf War Veterans use the Internet on a daily basis to share their ideas and concerns, so VA has also created a public discussion board on the seven recommendations at: http://vagulfwartaskforce.uservoice.com/. To view the report without making recommendations, please visit VA's website at http://www.va.gov/opa/publications/Draft_2011_GWVI-TF_Report.pdf."
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Anyone can comment at the Fed Register site after reading this draft report availabvle also as pdf at the VA main web site.
I haven't looked at it yet, but at first glance of the article it sounds like a great opportunity for GW vets to weigh in. If it is a request for input, please make every effort to get as many members in the forums to provide their feedback!
Some of us here have taken the opportunity to comment at the Federal Register Site regarding the many issues there that regard veterans and also most importantly proposed rules to put into 38 USC,38 CFR that directly affected compensation benefits.
One example is the new PTSD reg I posted here when it was up for public comment.I recognized 2 or 3 hadit vets names as commenters -maybe there were more.
That reg had 600 to 800 comments publised at the Federal Register Site. Every single comment there is considered. Although many comments came from disabled PTSD vets themselves, attorneys, advocates and service reps commented as well.
My biggest gripe with those regs in my public comment on the new PTSD regs is now before the US CAVC under the auspices of notable attorney Rich Cohen NOVA and joined by NVLSP and two other vet orgs.Others griped too. The new PTSD regs are unfair to many.
Last time I talked to him via email-that case was still before the court.
It just goes to show that these comments can influence any eventual regs or outcomes of anything that gets on the Federal Register site as it affects veterans.
It would be nice to see that MANY Gulf WAr veterans will read the draft and comment on it.
Battles are fought in yards not miles.
Even one comment at the Federal Register site can lead to more then we might think. I was the sole commenter on a proposed rule at the VA web site last year.
I got an email from VA that my comment was inappropriate.But they left it at the Fed reg site.Inappropriate-because they dont want to address the issue I brought up.
It opened up a bag of worms for VA - it is a matter that would only affect a certain few claimants and not a claims issue but nevertheless-
it is a time consuming battle I have just begun.
Every single comment anyone makes on this draft GW report will matter.
Thanks for this great information! You are a godsend! I am still new to this and all of this is so overwhelming. I have contacted the VA Environmental Health Coordinator trying to get an appointment to get my GW Registry Health Exam. It took a few months of phone tag, leaving numerous messages, physically going to the office (which the Coordinator was never in) and finally emailing. Still was given the generic response, "Someone will send you an appointment in the future". From some of the issues I have read at the site you provided in this thread, I see that I am not the only vet suffering from issues VA is trying to blow off and say is not associated with my deployments. I just received my C-File (another thank you for leading me to that), and I am in the process of combing through it (overwhelming).
I'm breaking it down into parts since it is so much to process, but I am finding so many discrepencies and I do not know where to begin to dispute them. I know this is not the topic to bring this up in and I apologize, but I need some assistance.
I am going to the RO tomorrow to get in to see a DAV rep, but from some of the experiences you guys have had with them, I'm not sure I want to go that route. I tried using my VSO, but they were a waste a time....I knew more about some things than they did, which was not a vote of confidence. Been blown off and misdirected for so long, I don't know how to handle the claims process. Can you help?
The formal 21-526 form has to be prepared.
List all of your documented disabilities-
List first, those disabilitys that you have or can obtain a nexus to your service (th strongest ones for potential SC )(nexus- meaning the link to your service)to include any disabilities you have that fall into the GWV presumptives as to "qualifying"disabilities as explained in detail here at hadit in our GWV forum.
Go over the info there or listen to the SVR show I did available here in our SVR archives on the Nine additional GW presumptives.
The C file can help but you need copies of all VA records and can tell VA where to get (unless you have them yourself to send copies to VA) of any private medical records you have.
The Med recs can be requested from the VAMC whch treats you.
You also need a complete copy of your SMRs and service personal file obtainable via the National Archives site NARA.
Their Homepage has ionfo how to do that on line.
Your disabilities could be either directly due to service or come under the presumptive regulations.
Claims have to be clearly stated.
I feel my current disability of XXXXX is directly due to my military service because my SMRs will reveal I was treated for this while in the Military.I enclose copies of my SMRs dated stating........... in order to support my claim.
Or I feel I have an undiagnosed illness (state what it is symtomatically) that was caused by my Gulf War service and request my claim be considered under the Gulf War Presumptive regulations.
Avoid using Gulf War Syndrome as this is not a VA disability. The regs fully describe what the GW disabilities are as presumptives.
"A statutory presumption exists for chronic disabilities resulting
from an undiagnosed illness which became manifest either during
active service in the Southwest Asia Theater of operations during
the Persian Gulf War or to a degree of 10 percent or more not
later than December 31, 2011, confirmed by objective indications.
See 38 U.S.C.A. § 1117; 38 C.F.R. § 3.317(a)(2)(ii) (emphasis
added). As noted in the Introduction, the Appellant served in
the Southwest Asia theater from August 8, 1990 to April 5, 1991.
The first criterion of the presumption is satisfied." from a BVA decision
Then begin to gather all medical evidence you can to prove your claim.
The statutory presumption is explained in the BVA quote.
Direct SC involves inservice evidence.
I spoke too soon- you already have 60% now so no need for the 21- 526.
Also raise in the claim any potential for a secondary disability to any of the 60% disabilities.
If you are unemployed file also for TDIU (form 21-8940)
Also make sure the claim states the branch of service you were in that was the nexus branch-as I see you had 2 separate branches you served in.
Make sure if you also apply for SSDI (which I suggest too if you are not working)
that SSDI has that info too.
My deceased husbands both had two service periods.
The most recent husband forgot to put USN on his SSA app and happened to mention it to the SSA woman because she said her son or someone had just joined the Navy. She said We show you were USMC, which he was , but also said the USN DD 214 and service info would bring his SSA check up a little and it did.
Also the VA can get that stuff mixed up too if a vet served in Army Vietnam for example and claimed AO disability but also was in different branch as well and served in a non AO country, the VA could easily think they had no AO exposure.
This needs to be clarified in your claim.
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