WWP–THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING COHORT

wwp

Mo’ money, honey. We need new Porsches.

Having sullied the name of the Wasted Wampum Project so many times, you would think there was nothing further in my repertoire to unveil. True and maybe not so true. Steve Nardizzi and Albion Giordano (hooo, doggies- there’s a name looking for a facelift) find themselves in the unenviable position of President and Vice-President of the Last Man Standing Club. The wars are over. The last of the troops are coming home to roost from the Wally Reed Home for Wayward Paraplegics. Simply put, there’s no new meat in the pipeline. As with all wars, eventually, atom bombs (WWII), public opinion (Vietnam) or indifference (GW I, Iraq, Afstan) create ennui and the crowds fade away. No amount of advertising, exhortations to stay the course or patriotism can enervate the populace to keep on being the best you can be at charitable donations. 

WWP bunnyUnlike a computer, you can’t reboot a war. There simply is no Control/Alt/Delete to bring up the Afghanistan Task Manager and begin anew. Some are worried we will re-enter Iraq.  Maybe, but it will be done with Predator drones. Our illustrious Commander-in-Chief made us a promise and he has made good on it-sort of. Afghanistan was no more forgiving to us that it was to Alexander the Great, the British or the Russians. Obama is discovering extricating himself from it is worse than getting hot tar off your shoe at Camp LeJeune in August. Just when you think you’re out of the parking lot-bam-five more miles of sealer on your tenny runners. Nevertheless, in fits and gasps, we are beginning our Farewell to Arms.

For the WWP, this poses an immense obstacle. Their whole charity predicate-the pitch, if you will- was to the Iraq/Afstan Vets after 2001. By myopically focusing on one select cohort of Vets to the exclusion of all others who came before (and thus alienating them beyond belief), they have artificially limited their pool of contributors. Further, by winnowing down the pool to focus narrowly on horrifically maimed Vets, they reduced their numbers further. They need to take a page from the Religious televangelists and point out that Cadillacs, Gulfstream jets and other infrastructure so critical to money gathering wear out with time. The IRS only gives you fives years to depreciate them and “re-jet” or “re-Porsche” if I may coin a term.

potato02Their latest spate of commercials is refreshing. No more Mr. Potatohead missing ears, nose, hair and appendages. Now we are blessed with the warrior home from the field of honor surrounded by family and dog. Warmth abounds at the hearth but still these Wounded Souls are alienated, disenfranchised and deprived of assimilation back into society. They yearn for more. This continuing metaphysical dichotomy can only be assuaged by money-your money. Twenty dineros a month to be exact -or nineteen if you are tapped out. Salving one’s conscience with charitable donations quenches the thirst eventually. Herein lies the problem. At some point, no amount of cajoling can pry your wallet open further. You’ve done your duty. Problem solved. Mr. Nardizzi & Co. will soon discover that natural disasters and other catastrophes will eventually push him off the stage. America is sooo fickle when it comes to charity. With Facebook, the cause d’ jour is usurped hourly by the next one.

Messieurs Nardizzi and Giordano thus find themselves in a quandary. How to enervate their base and produce more Wampum? Notwithstanding Dean Graham’s and my inroads on their funds gathering, they face an uphill battle. As with most of these gigs, eventually the returns will become paltry and the whole thing will come crashing down. Fortunately for the principles, they have wisely set aside a “rainy day” fund of over one hundred million dollars to cushion themselves against this impending shortfall. After that, I suspect the WWP will fold up the tent and await a new conflict where their inimitable skills can be brought into play again. Charity sherpas are a dime a dozen but they surface like unwanted perennials in the garden.

wwp filisWe look forward to the Wounded Wallet Program’s demise with parted lips and bated breath. At that point, other valuable charities will regain the ascendancy and funds will once again flow to Vets. Don’t get me wrong. I find the WWP vision ( To foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation’s history) and purpose (To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members; To help injured service members aid and assist each other; To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.) admirable. Furthermore, I like their cute stick figure of “Filis” which stands for:

  • Fun
  • Integrity
  • Loyalty
  • Innovation
  • Service

As most of you can see, Filis has one of those free WWP backpacks chock full of your cash, 3% of which will percolate down to Vets. Filis wants her new-found friends to concentrate on giving rather than receiving.  After all, it is far more blessed to do so unless, or until, you drag religion into the discussion. That’s what this is all about. $154 Million in- $3.5 million out. The difference in the two figures is that pesky overhead we hear about with all these 501(c)(3) charities. Were it not for that, the Vets would be awash in their funds.  The We Want the Pesos charity is unique. They duplicate everything the VA does at twice the price and deserving Vets everywhere get “serviced”.  Let’s define WWP “service”. They learn how to find jobs even though they are so disfigured and maimed as to be incapable of same. They learn how to deal with their bent brains at seminars and Kumbaya Camps put on by other Vet charities hired (by WWP) to do these things. They have fun at venues where they are paraded on stage for the fundraising part of the program and then politely relegated to the back of the stage to be seen but not heard. WWP offers loyalty inasmuch as they offer “Alumni” programs where you (the disabled Vet on a fixed compensation income) are able to donate monthly for the rest of your life. Thus they loyally accept your contribution. Innovation is the hallmark of their game. Why help Vets when you can simply sub it out to subcontractors and take a cut for doing so? Integrity is a fig newton of their imagination but it helps fill out Filis’ name.

We at asknod are intrigued by this philosophy. How is it that so many can be hoodwinked into donating so foolishly to a fly by night outfit that offers so much and delivers so little? After much investigation, we can discern a pattern. Much like Mr. Ponzi’s elaborate hoax, the masses are convinced their contributions are bequeathed directly to disabled Vets. The expectation is that they (the Vets) actually benefit from the largesse. In reality, this is taken from a page in the VA hierarchy. Promise them Arpege and give them WD 40 Eau d’ stress. It took us a while to check the bona fides of the Board of Directors. I had to join Linkedin™ to find all their glowing resumes. Sure enough, the same folks that formerly rubbed shoulders with the likes of Robert Petzel and Sharon Helman are now Mr. Nardizzi’s and Mr. Albiano’s loyal protégés and yes-men. They are the “I” in Filis’ “Innovation”. Chances are you may see Sharon employed there soon if VA Secretary McDonald is forced into firing her.

In closing, I expect a new downpour of insults about how unconscionable it is to to hurl deprecations at a fine upstanding outfit such as the WWP. After all, they want what all Vet charities like Fisher House and Navy Marine Corps Relief do- to help Vets. Right? I guess the problem is getting past the disparity of “there’s one for you- nineteen for me”. In my tortured brain, I had it figured out the other way around. They do it with such perfect aplomb, too. It’s fascinating right up until you meet a Vet with no legs and ask him precisely what WWP provided him, the family and, of course, the dog. It turns out “honoring and empowering” Vets does not include any George Washington coupons. Here’s the WWP dollar:

where-did-your-tax-dollar-go-560

 

WWP has honored me by giving me my fifteen minutes of fame promised me by Andy Warhol. I like the lead in at the top where they inveigh on all the scammers trying to get a cut of their scam. Their mendacity is mind boggling. Why, the very audacity of stealing someone else’s idea to legally steal. There’s simply no honor among thieves anymore. Shocked, I say. I am shocked. Did I mention I was shocked?

Happy Labor Day.  Coincidentally, it’s Day 70 of Sovaldi. Virus-free pour le moment. Onwards through the Fog. Vote for Oatbama (if he runs again).

 

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VA’S LIES, DAMNED LIES AND STATISTICS

Mark_Twain,_Brady-Handy_photo_portrait,_Feb_7,_1871,_cropped

Mr. Clemons

Mark Twain never had to deal with the VA. Had he been forced to, I’m sure there would have been a rich, unembroidered story to go with it. This tasty little lie from Maple syrup Frank in the last bastion of 2nd Amendment sanity-Vermont.

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SSGT. OSCAR D. GROUCH SUES VA

images (1)This just in on the AP wire. 

(AP) Newark, New Jersey by staff writer Steven Jemerik:

Former Staff Sargent Oscar D. Grouch’s attorneys came forward last night just before the Camden Court House closed and filed a lawsuit accusing the Veterans Administration of impugning his good name and other imprecations that sully his former Sesame Street persona. 

imagesSgt. Grouch served in Vietnam and was a survivor of the Khe Sanh siege in 1968, receiving the Purple Heart for numerous through and through gunshot wounds to the head. He suffered from PTSD for years until he was finally service connected in 1988. Unfortunately he was never able to overcome his early post-war habits and remained homeless and friendless.

Grouch finally landed a job at the Public Broadcasting Company with the help of President Jimmy Carter in late 1976. In spite of his mental aberrations and suffering from what would later be conclusively diagnosed with PTSD in 1982, he appeared to be headed to a great career in his signature role as his homeless self. He signed a permanent contract in 1980 cementing what appeared to be a solid income stream.

images (2)After a brief fling with Miss Piggy in 1989 -90, he again returned to homelessness and had been noticeably absent from Sesame Street productions.  This week, when the news surfaced that his character was being used by the Veterans Administration to disparage all Veterans, he approached his fiduciary and indicated he’d had enough.

Terrance “Big Bird” Raven filed the papers on Mr. Grouch’s behalf and was accompanied to the courthouse by old friends Bert and Ernie who refused to divulge their last names citing a desire for anonymity.

The author was able to reach Kermit T. Frog, an old acquaintance who had this to say. “Oscar has always been a private man and carried a lot of guilt over things that happened over 40 years ago during his time in the Marines. Vietnam took a terrible toll on him and VA’s unconscionable attack on his character is uncalled for. In fact, it shows their indifference to the Veterans’ plight everywhere. Oscar served his country loyally and even to this day still prefers Army O.D. green -colored clothing. In spite of his homelessness, he is a role model for today’s youth. He has very high morals and would give his last dime to someone less fortunate.”

Attorney Raven at this evening's press conference.

Attorney Raven answering questions at this evening’s press conference.

Mr. Raven held an impromptu press conference this evening  and stated he has yet to hear VA venture an apology for their breach of good taste. “My client served honorably and was discharged honorably. I see no honor here. If this attack on my client’s character is what Veterans can expect from the Agency formed to look out for their best interests, I fear for what America is becoming. All Veterans should. Slander has no place in Veterans Affairs.”

News and film at Eleven.

Posted in Humor, VAMC Scheduling Coverup | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ILP–THE CORN HORSEMEN OF THE AUGUSTALYPSE

downloadAs usual, on Labor Day weekend, something magical happens. In our case it was rain finally after four months without. The roads have so much oil on them it’s like an ice-skating rink. Come to think of it, this must be a piece of cake for all them girlie men who moved up here from Kalifornia. How often does it rain down there? It must be a real slip ‘n slide for them on those rare occasions. For us, it’s an anomaly to go this long without some moisture. Fortunately I bored my well down to 332′.  My neighbor Roger Ramjet didn’t plan for the 500 year drought and went to 160. He ran out last week for 22 hours. He also cheaped out and didn’t get a surveyor. The well’s on my property by an easy 19 feet but that’s a funny story for another day including the part about him having to move his outbuildings. Hey, it’s not like I made him move the well. 

I file this under the ILP folder because some day I’ll get to DC on my greenhouse appeal and we can point to this as proof I really garden for vocational purposes.

The other magical thing that happens is Harvest Time. All those long hours sitting, tending, weeding, watering and watching the plants grow is over. The Squirrel Nutkin gene takes over and you find yourself stuffing eight cherry tomatoes in your mouth… just to see if you can. Everything goes into jars, bags, freezers and the dehydrator in a mad scramble. Wouldn’t it be neat if we had those ginormous cheeks like chipmunks and hamsters?

2014-08-30 14.55.14Likewise, at Rancho Grahambo, everything is going to come due in short order if it hasn’t already. The corn is slower than the seven year itch. Looks like we’ll be needing the six foot ladder to get the ears up high. It went over 10 foot 9 this year. Twice we’ve made the foray into the forest and twice we’ve been skunked. It’s close, though. This is white Silver Queen donated by members Leigh and Paul from Maryland. It’s “VA” corn. It promises much and takes forever. Yep. Take a closer look.  Put your cursor on the picture and click it for zoomies. The stalks are throwing three ears and some have offshoots from down low in the dirt with another one. I figured 700 ears but it may be a real corn year.  Of course, if it’s VA corn, it might be a good year next year or the year after.

2014-08-30 14.37.03The Italian Plums are holding out for Halloween. Everyone else’s are done and a memory. Not ours. VA chemtrails, dude. It’s a conspiracy to prevent them from ripening.

2014-08-30 14.48.09

 

 

 

Zuke report: This one got away from me. I found it this morning and I doubt them little gals down at the food bank could lift it.

 

 

My long running dog and pony show has folded up. As most might know Molly had a heart attack March 6th and moved on to Tennis Ball Heaven. Dude departed for the Elysian Fields in June for no apparent reason, too. They were both eleven. Wally was inconsolable so we went out and got Kona to keep him company. Jez, if you thought parrots were expensive, try finding a cheap thoroughbred. Cupcake insisted it be a “real horse”. At 15 1/2 hands, he’s real and taller than the corn.

real horse

Kona- a real horse

I’m guessing Kona was owned by a Marine before Sandy sold him to us. He has a “41” on his left rear leg. You know Marines. They’ll tattoo anything that gets drunk and holds still long enough. You’d expect something like a naked lady with big hooters in front of an anchor.  Kona is also a Type 2 personality. You can shoot from the saddle and it doesn’t even faze him. More reason to  believe the Marine theory.

2014-08-30 15.04.10

As with any new 15 1/2-hander, you need a new barn he can get into. Our old one wasn’t even close on the headroom. I can see what’s on the horizon with Cupcake. “Honey, we ought to get another horse so we can go riding together…” So I built it with two stalls. A warm thank you to VA for the funding of the new “Equestrian Centre”.

2014-08-30 15.01.032014-08-30 15.17.20

Here’s the rest of the fruits. We don’t have nuts here. Strangely, Cupcake laughs when I say that.

Jack be Little mini pumpkins for the grandkids.

Jack be Little mini pumpkins for the grandkids.

2014-08-30 14.39.41

Blackberries. In Washington, they are a weed.

2014-08-30 14.44.55

Monster butternuts

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Now imagine a 30 by 20 room full of butternut plants reproducing like rabbits

 

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fall lettuce

2014-08-30 14.37.31

Liberty Apples almost there.

2014-08-30 14.51.09

The blueberry cherry tomatoes.

2014-08-30 14.51.31

Pearly Pink cherry tomatoes.

2014-08-30 14.39.07

Bartlett pears

2014-08-30 14.52.12

Liberty Bell Peppers

2014-08-30 14.41.41

Gewurztraminers

There’s also the big cannon ball pumpkins for carving funny faces into and a host of other things we grew but I think that touched on the majority. Carrots and cukes aren’t unique but they’re sure fun to eat.

A warm thank you to member Ralph from  Cape Hatteras, North Carolina for the Parris Island Romaine. I had the seeds checked out for Benzene residues but they’re okay. Seems the Marines are checking out their food and water more closely nowadays. Leigh’s Paul who sent the Silver Queen was a Marine too.

Posted in Food for thought, Independent Living Program, VR&E | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

VA–OSCAR THE GROUCH TRAINING FOR UPCOMING “TOWN HALL” MEETINGS

Oscar_the_Grouch_2

Former 75th Ranger

Get ready for indifference, ennui and boredom after the poor overworked VA employees listen to one too many of us vent in the weeks to follow. It would be interesting to see if they bring their good friends, the jack-booted VA police gestapo with them to the meeting to maintain “order” just in case someone becomes “agitated”.

 

 

 

We strongly suggest Vets dress up for this august occasion and try to evoke the proper amount of umbrage without becoming obstreperous and giving us all a bad name.  Here’s a good suggestion:

Town Hall "dress for success on your claim" attire.

Town Hall “dress for success on your claim” attire.

Remember. No four-letter words like “When?”  Be respectful. Take a number and sit down. Speak when spoken to.  Avoid eye contact. Show suitable deference to VA employees. Never confront them. Show them you are content to wait 10 years politely for your benefits. In a word, be professional. Nobody likes a loud, obnoxious, homeless Vet begging for attention or demanding long overdue benefits. Show them there’s dignity in living in a trashcan.

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FORT FACEPLACE–A COMPENDIUM OF SUMMER

AOMQRQVzSy6ljHuYzLad_CAREEven with the dog days of August, I marvel that you loyal fans still take time to make sure we are armed and dangerous with the latest humor to fend off the depression associated with Hepatitis C. Few know or intuit that the disease and medications are horribly corrosive and detrimental to sane folks. Interferon can chip away at the foundation and leaves a shell of our former selves. Many fall into a funk that even the best humor cannot dispel. This is why I add these vignettes in between what some might consider droll legal humor. 

And then there’s me-born on April Fool’s and infused with insane humor. My rainmaker, Law Bob Squarepants, is convinced I’m crazy as the shithouse rat. I take that as a subtle compliment. All the Interferon ever produced would not impair my ability to enjoy humor or to create it for others’ enjoyment. Fortunately, I also have you elves out scouring Middle Earth as well to fill the coffers. With all that verbiage out of the way, let us examine the month’s haul. My cousin Denise in Idaho is especially prolific. I’m not sure if that’s due to her locale or her persona but it is a rich vein nevertheless.

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558115_560224947355199_1485050686_n1535596_10152564716735700_8370644070247154130_n603653_631951350203292_1988604298_n10565194_10152663744923023_7062053781297625002_n10441413_10153186314814298_2109928660795378169_n10297928_10152379757224712_2823907314957977683_n

 

1972456_10152577306107034_7385159965506629069_n539637_10151344496556945_901263482_n

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Something tells this feller he ain’t in Kansas anymore. 

I heard last night from several of you that the Commander in Chief bombed out at the American Legion Convention in North Carolina Tuesday night. Apparently his best jokes couldn’t even get a good laugh or any protracted applause. He should realize that it’s difficult to find humor in waiting five years for an appointment at at a VA hospital. We recommend he hire Sharon Helman of recent VAMC Phoenix fame for a speech writer. She’s quite an accomplished policy wizard and just itching to rise from the ashes and soar again. Can it be that all us stupid, illiterate Veterans are finally seeing through this thin veil of obflustication? Well, hey. If those fellers with the funny hats down in Charlotte are pissed off, just imagine where that puts really intelligent folks like you and me on the “we’re mad as hell and we aren’t gonna take it anymore” meter…

1409077171972_wps_1_Audience_members_listen_a

Woefully underimpressed Vets with funny hats

 

Posted in FACE HUMOR, Food for thought | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

CAVC– HOWELL V. NICHOLSON– WHAT SMC-S REALLY SAYS

thumb_d10d7a64-04ab-4462-9561-19cb885ef6d9I find SMC or Special Monthly Compensation S, as accorded to us true War Vets, to be highly misunderstood by-gasp-Veterans Service Officers who should, by rights, be well-versed in this. I just ran into one on another HCV helpsite and he is obviously a Veterans Service Officer. He was convinced that our VA lawyers are only entitled to a maximum of $5,500. I’m sure he misunderstood that. VSOs would prefer lawyers get out of the business entirely.  Among possibly the most misunderstood is differentiating “S” (housebound) and the “AA” (Aid and Attendance 1 & 2)  referred to here in Mr. Howell’s decision as SMC-HB and SMC-AA. Watch the walnut shell with the “S” pea under it closely as it is going to move around a bit and be shoved to the bottom and the rear. 

This is a panel decision of three Judges (Kasold, Lance and Schoelen). They all signed it so it was unanimous and good law. The important thing to dial in on is that the VASEC is going to have to go back to 1945 for the definition of “S”. When he gets there, he’s not happy with what he finds but has to stoically suck it up. For those of you who haven’t yet experienced it, VA will drag in a long discussion of how you are not eligible for Aid and Attendance even though you specifically asked for a determination of “S”. Here’s why.

38 USC § 1114 that deals with this lists the different levels of megadisability above and beyond what you and I call 100 percent schedular. We’re headed into Mr. Potatohead country where bits and pieces are missing. The levels of disability are listed as alphabetical letters with no apparent reason for why they started halfway through. SMC-K or Special K is the first and the second- cheapest at $101.50 a month. SMC-Q pays $67 a month and is a throwback to some unknown era. The next higher, even though non-sequential alphabetically, is S. S currently pays $341.44 which isn’t chump change. That will finance a nice Corvette payment monthly.

Next, as with all VA Statutes, the VASEC has to get his mitts on it and rearrange what goes where and why we have difficulty with this. 38 CFR § 3.350(i) Special aid and attendance benefit) is hidden beneath  38 CFR § 3.350(h) which deals with the Aid and Attendance ratings. It’s also the very last one. VA must cross that AA bridge every time to get to the S. It’s a magic rite of passage.
“The Vet filed for AA or, in the alternative, for Housebound. We will first discuss his entitlement to A&A and the reasons for his denial.” 

Part of the mystery is the form used. Here’s VAF 21-2680 and voilà-mystery solved. Hundreds of you have emailed me with the plaint “But I never asked for A&A”. Equally more have said their VSO said if they were strong enough to make it to a VAMC or the VSO offices then they (the service officer) could not, in good conscience, file a AA/HB request for examination and determination of status. Bad form.

Which brings us to our friend and fellow Veteran Mr. Robert L. Howell (no relation to Messieurs Bell and Howell) of the Korean Misunderstanding.

Copy of Howell 04-0624 opinion final

Old Bob got the pretzel brain syndrome over in Korea in ’55 and was eventually service connected at 70% thirty years later in 1981. His schizophrenia, put politely, was probably PTSD but the VA was still hammering out the details on what that was in 81. Shell shock and the thousand yard stare had fallen out of fashion by then and they were still fleshing out the DSV I or II Manual definitions. Schizoid worked and Bob could care less what they called it. In April 1982, they gave him the Full Ride VA scholarship with P&T. Everything went swimmingly right up until the twenty first century when the Bobmeister wrote in and said “Yo. I think I need some extra help here. My wife is now doing everything but change the diapers.”

download

Bob Howell, Cooooome on Doooown!

Well , you know the drill. Bob Howell! Coooooooome on Down and let’s see what’s in Monty’s Cookie Jar! so they could fit him for his new necktie. Bob outsmarted them by ten and said negatory, folks. My mental disorders prevent me from attending the C&P party. VA being VA, immediately got out the Ouija Board and construed this to mean he wanted both A&A and S. Only at a VARO could they torture this interpretation out of a plea for help.

In August 2000, the RO construed Mr. Howell’s letter as a claim for SMC benefits based on his being permanently housebound in addition to his claim for SMC benefits based on the need for aid and attendance, and it denied the claims. Mr. Howell filed a Notice of Disagreement with the RO’s decision. 

And away this went. The BVA, like total ditzes, strapped on the stethoscopes and MD gear and waded in. Additionally, the shrinks and doctors all just wrote down what Mrs. Howell said about Bob’s condition(s) verbatim. Bob stepped in it too when he arrived in a wheel chair but said he didn’t use one around the house. The Veterans Law Judge must have been out on the golf course by eleven that morning laughing his ass off at how dumb Vets were and hitting in the high seventies.  Unfortunately, when you play the adjudications game, you have to kowtow to the rules. The VLJ went waaaay off the reservation on this one. I’m of a mind that he honestly didn’t even know what “housebound” really was and acquiesced to his minions and the status quo.

On appeal, the Board denied Mr. Howell’s claim for SMC on the basis that his schizophrenia, as his “sole service-connected disability, alone, does not render him housebound or in need of the regular aid and attendance of another person.” Regarding Mr. Howell’s housebound status, the Board specifically found that “the record reflects that the veteran is able to leave his house to  attend to regular treatment appointments . . . and to attend VA examinations when motivated.”  The Board concluded that “the record clearly reflects that he is able to leave his house when desired, and there is otherwise no evidence suggesting that it is his psychiatric disability, rather than his numerous physical disabilities, which interferes with his ability to leave home.” 

About here is where the shit got pretty deep. And I’d like to add that comment about  “when motivated” was a purposeful dig. The BVA are like a bunch of kids all dressed up in robes and playing judge. They are easily swayed by their boss who wants to husband the VA’s funds for his buddies. Thus if everyone plays ball, everyone gets a present in the December paycheck for being a “Team member and concerned stakeholder” in the proper outcome of Veterans Law. One little problem. Let’s go back to 1945.

stock-footage--s-victory-parade-for-world-war-two-in-new-york-cityWhen they got to Court, everyone started looking at when SMC S was born, to whom and what the parentage of it was. Sometimes these things have strange beginnings and even stranger definitions. Lo and behold, so did SMC S. Being “housebound” actually wasn’t entirely what was envisioned by Congress in ’45. As usual, something was lost in the translation. Ever tried the old party game where you lean over to Jim and say Steve got a promotion today? Jim leans over to Sheila and says Steve got a raise. Sheila turns to Dora and says Steve got laid off today. By the time it gets to around twenty reiterations in the loud, ETOH-driven room, old Steve got divorced and Sandi got the house, the Beamer and the kids.

What was lost here is very important:

Because the meaning of the term “substantially confined” is ambiguous and there is no regulatory interpretation, “the Court must determine the meaning” of the term “and the Board’s obligation” thereunder. Thompson v. Brown, 8 Vet.App. 169, 175 (1995); see also Jackson and Cropper, both supra. The Secretary submits that the clear implication of this term is that the requirement that one be “substantially confined” is met when the
claimant is restricted to his house except for medical treatment purposes. The Secretary, citing to Senate Report No. 1745 (June 27, 1960), notes that in passing section 1114(s) Congress intended to provide additional compensation for veterans who were unable to overcome their particular disabilities and leave the house in order to earn an income as opposed to an inability to leave the house at all.

 

You will notice this is a completely different interpretation first brought to light in Mr. Howell’s case. The Office of General Counsel idiotically defended this denial right into Court and then had to say “Yeah, Well. Mr. Howell’s right. We agree. We really don’t have a legal leg to stand on here on how we screwed him with the “housebound” definition.  So… how’s about you remand this back down to us at the BVA denial factory and we get a fresh horse and a new rope and rehang him all proper-like, hear?”

And that’s just exactly what Judges Kasold, Lance and Schoelen did. It was all they could do. It’s like repatriating an illegal Hispanic immigrant on the next bus back to Tijuana. Unpleasant- but all they could do legally. I do like the way they gutted the OGC on Espiritu and LeShore.

I’d have to research it but I do not believe I found any more of Mr. Howell’s travails at the Court. With Kenny “the Woodbutcher” Carpenter, Nicholson’s krew probably decided to fold up the tent and go home. Mr. Howell must have lived happily ever after and gotten R 1.

Our teaching moment is quite simple. Housebound, as defined by VA, is far more restrictive that Congress’. Add to it that it is also violated to this day on a regular basis using the same logic declared void and manifestly in error back in 2006-over eight years ago.

gandhi_3wisemonkeysHousebound, as defined by Congress, means your disabilities keep you from leaving the house to go to work.. In order to work, most of us have to leave the house-ergo having to stay home because you can’t work is what makes you “substantially housebound”. That’s a far cry from what VA tries to imply. Make sure you understand the difference. To me, being 100% schedular with a ripsnorting good case of the schizzies and being seventy-ish is a pretty good recipe for housebound all in itself. Why VA didn’t see that in Mr. Howell will remain a mystery for the ages.

Knowledge on why these things are important, Ladies and Gentleman Vets.

 

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