Trims To VA Benefits (Budget Proposal)

Good day hard-charges,

So there is a proposal budget from the White House in the amount of $186.5 billion for Department of Veterans Affairs operations next year.

Which includes over $13 billion for medical care outside the VA and $3.6 billion in savings from benefits trims/cuts.

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The proposal, was released Tuesday and is facing much criticism. The proposal does, however, represent a boost for the department, which over the last decade has seen annual increases. While other government agencies have seen funding reductions.

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President Trump’s plan calls for a $4.4 billion increase in discretionary funding for the department. That is a 6 percent increase from fiscal 2017 levels, the $82 billion total discretionary request is nearly twice as large as the department’s entire budget in fiscal 2001.4D6622CA-1A52-4CA5-9FB3-0CDC0EDE35B3_w1023_r1_s.jpg

There are some who feel the VA spending request reflects that veterans’ access to timely, high quality health care is one of the administration’s highest priorities.

It was also promised to focus on providing veterans with the most efficient and effective care and benefits, and proposes several trade offs to pay for program expansions.

The most dramatic to all of these would be an end to Individual Unemployability benefits payments. These payments go to retired veterans, this move is expected to save $3.2 billion next year alone and $41 billion over the next decade.

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The Individual Unemployability program allows the VA to award payouts at the 100-percent disabled rate to veterans who cannot work due to service-connected injuries.

This is even if the veterans aren’t deemed 100-percent disabled. The number of recipients have tripled since 2000, and numbers are upwards of 339,000 in the fiscal year of 2016.

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President Donald Trump has proposed to stop payouts once veterans are eligible for Social Security retirement benefits. He argues that the practice amounts to the duplication of benefits. This proposal would impact more than 225,000 veterans receiving the payouts today.14205.jpg

Here is something else to be alarmed about, all veterans receiving benefits checks from the department would also be affected. Reason being is there is a plan to cut down cost-of-living increases to the nearest dollar, which was VA policy from the late 1990s until 2013.

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Officials say the move would save $20 million in fiscal year 2018 and cost individual veterans $12 per year. This idea has lead to controversy in the past, and will most-likely face opposition from outside advocates.

Administration officials of the VA also hope to save another $42 million by capping GI Bill tuition payments to flight schools.gibillbanner.jpg

This is a provision which some veterans groups have supported in recent years. Tuition at these schools sometimes costs $100,000 a year. The new plan would limit payments to  $21,000 annually, the same as other private universities.

A large portion of these savings will go towards reauthorizing the controversial Choice Card program, which was established in 2014 and allows veterans to seek medical care outside VA if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

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VA Secretary David Shulkin has promised an overhaul of the program later this year, but it needs congressional approval to go into effect. Administration officials have asked for $2.9 billion for the program in fiscal 2018 and $3.5 billion for the effort in subsequent years, lawmakers have questioned the usability of the program.RTS148X8-1024x651.jpg

The budget calls for $8.4 billion for mental health care and $1.7 billion for homeless assistance programs.

Lawmakers will get their first input on the budget later today, as Shulkin testifies before the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee on the funding request hearing.image.jpg

I urge you all to pay attention and keep up with current events as many of you can and most likely will be affected weather it be good or bad.

Much success to you all my dear hard-chargers.

Isaac J. Hall II

#SemperKill

Bombing Brings High Death Numbers

Good morning, I’m sure you’ve heard the news as far as the suicide bombing in Manchester. The numbers have now climbed to 22 as far as deaths go and of course the Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

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ISIS stated that one of its members ignited the explosion as Ariana Grande’s concert was ending which was about 10:33 p.m. local time therefore it was Monday.

British authorities identified the bomber as Salman Abedi, who is 23 years old. U.S. officials are not authorized to speak publicly as of yet.

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Greater Manchester Police said children were among the victims, and that the attacker died at the scene.

Fifty-nine others were injured in the explosion, police said. They believed one man carried out the attack, however, authorities were trying to confirm whether he was working alone or as part of a network.

A 23-year-old man was arrested in South Manchester in connection with the attack, but no other details were immediately released.

Prime Minister Theresa May said authorities believe they know the attacker’s identity, but did not name him. She will travel to Manchester to meet with police, the mayor and emergency services in the next few days.

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“It is now beyond a doubt that the people of Manchester, and of this country, have fallen victim to a callous terrorist attack. An attack that targeted some of the youngest people in our society with cold calculation,” May said outside her London office.

Chief Ian Hopkins, of Greater Manchester Police stated “This has been the most horrific incident we have had to face in Greater Manchester, one that we all hoped we would never see.” “We believe the attacker was carrying an improvised explosive device which he detonated causing this atrocity.”

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President Donald Trump added “I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are. They’re losers, and we’ll have more of them, but they’re losers, remember that.”

This very incident was the worst terrorist attack in Britain since the suicide bombings on London’s transport in July 2005 which killed 52 people and injured hundreds. The attackers were inspired by Islamist extremism.

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Monday’s bombing follows a terror attack near the Houses of Parliament in central London, on March 22 that killed five people. The attacker, Khalid Masood, 52, rammed his car into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge before fatally stabbing a police officer.

Although this is not the first time Manchester, has suffered in this way, it is the worst attack the city has experienced, and the worst ever to hit the north of England.

Our thoughts be to those who were affected by such a heinous act.

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Isaac J. Hall II

#SemperKill

The “Self Appointed Fiduciary”

Good day hard-charges, so a few days ago we had a Police Sergeant from Massachusetts plead guilty on an array of accounts. Such as stealing funds from the accounts of disable veterans, as he acted as the appointed fiduciary.

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The name of the culprit was Glenn Pearson, who is 61 years old and worked for the Whitman Police Department. About 16 years ago he was dismissed for breaches of police codes of conduct. As well as improper arrest, sexual harassment, untruthfulness and even falsifying payrolls.AR-160808854.jpgFrom 2007 to 2012 Pearson became a Department of Veterans Affairs fiduciary for multiple disabled veterans and managed their funds. During this time Pearson took advantage of his position and embezzled over $250,000 of benefits money award to the veterans by Veterans Affairs.

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He even went one step further and operated a “tax preparation” business called FTS Tax Services, this is where he falsely prepared tax returns for clients in return for a fee. After a while though his clients were audited by the IRS, from there Pearson gave falsified statements to the IRS.

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As of now he faces a max sentence of 20 years for wire fraud. An additional three years for trying to interfere with the administration of internal revenue laws. Another three years for making and also providing false tax returns. Lastly 5 years for misappropriation of funds.

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Pearson admitted to causing over $1 million in tax loss, and has supposedly agreed to a plea deal. Which will be to make restitution to the veterans whom he stole from as well as Veterans Affairs Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

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As of now he’s set to be released Sept. 19th.

Hard-charges it would behoove of you to not only be a better judgment of character but also you may want to do a bit of research because you can do your taxes yourself or hire a reputable accountant.

Keep your eyes open for those who want to take advantage of you.

Isaac J. Hall II

#SemperKill

Veterans Affairs Reevaluation

How we doing hard-chargers, today I thought we’d spend a bit of time speaking about the VA reevaluation process. The Department of Veterans Affairs has the ability to reduce or terminate ones disability benefits under specific circumstances. Most of the time the VA will not do this unless you are first asked to show up at a specific date for a reevaluation.

Understanding VA Reevaluation

A reevaluation can be a medical examination or, if the VA feels necessary to evaluate the severity of ones disability. The VA is legally entitled to require an exam or hospitalization, therefore it would behoove of you to comply with a reevaluation request in order to preserve your benefits.

Scheduled Reevaluations

Once you are awarded disability compensation benefits, the VA will evaluate whether ones disability is such that you should be scheduled for a future reevaluation to determine if ones benefits need to be adjusted. So types of disabilities subject to reevaluation are those that can be expected to make an improvement. If the VA determines that ones disability requires a future reevaluation, the first reevaluation will be scheduled five years from the date of the decision to grant you benefits.

Change in Condition

The VA may also order a reevaluation at any time if there is medical evidence showing that ones disability has improved. If the VA decreases your benefits, you can request an increase if your condition worsens again. 

To request an increase in your rating after disabilities, worsen all you need to do is write a letter to the VA regional office stating you believe an increase is needed, from there provide medical evidence to support an increase.

I wanna advise you though, there are times when you request an increase, you will actually end up getting a decrease in benefits. If that happens, you can appeal this decrease the same way that you can  appeal a denial of VA benefits.

Notice of Reevaluation

The VA is required to send you advance notice of a reevaluation. If you receive a letter from the VA asking you to attend a VA examination for the purpose of evaluating your disability rating.

This could mean the VA may have decided there is medical evidence on file does not support a continuation of your benefits at your current rate. From there you have 60 days from the date you receive this letter to submit evidence showing a reduction is not warranted.

If the VA fails to send you a notice and decides to reduce or terminate your benefits because you didn’t show up for the exam, you have every right to have your full benefit rate reinstated.

Show Up For Reevaluation

It is imperative that you show up for this examination. If you do not show up, don’t call to reschedule or explain your absence, you are at risk of having your benefits automatically reduced or terminated.

Don’t freak out though as there are times where a reevaluation could actually lead to an increase in your ratings/benefits, BUT this is a rarity, however, this does occasionally happen when a veterans disability has gotten much worse.

When Not to Expect a Reevalutaion

The VA will not ask you to come for a reevaluation, If you are part of one of the groups below. However, should you receive a letter asking you to show up for a reevaluation, call the phone number on the letter you receive to explain why you think you should not have to appear.

VA does not schedule reevaluations for the following veterans:

Over 55 years of age

Static disabilities, such as loss of a limb

A disability resulting from disease that is of a permanent nature

Have been assigned the minimum rating for their disability

Have a combined disability rating, and the individual ratings that were combined are so high that even if one or two of these ratings were reduced, the combined disability rating would remain the same.

If you are not subject to reevalutaion, your disability rating cannot be reduced.

If you do have to attend an examination, the VA can only reduce your benefits in some situations.

Keep your records and be sure to show up to the necessary examinations. I would also ask that you all become a bit more knowledgeable in this area as it could help you greatly.

Isaac J. Hall II

#SemperKill

You Took The Words Right Outta My…

How we doing hard-chargers!

So we got a few words from a former Army Soldier, who was blessed to see both sides of the playing field. I give you a few good words from retired Sergeant Micheal Thorin.fdb654c.jpeg                          (I thank you for your sacrifice to this great country my good sir.)

I believe that “balanced” rivalry is good.

If I had to say one branch actually believed themselves superior, it would be the Marines. Sadly, having come from the Army, I would have to bow down and give credit where credit is due.21518300700_caee97e3ac_z.jpgI’ve seen more fit Marines than soldiers, which is pretty amazing considering the Army has and enlistment size of 541,291 compared to the Marines who have only 195,338.

army-soldiers-veterans-formation-10.jpg   Marines_in_formation.jpgHence the few the proud…

From the outside looking in, it appears the Marines go more “by the book” when it comes to physical fitness standards, also Marines have an individual drive to maintain fitness and uniform standards.150531-M-JE159-306.JPG

Here is one exception that I may add, infantry units and combat arms units in the Army, have soldiers are mostly fit and ready.

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I attribute this to self preservation. When I was a medic assigned to a medical company, we did PT, but it was not the “get your but up and drive on!!!!” kind of PT.

We were never really driven to excel…

Now let me add that Infantry units and combat arms all “live and die by the sword”. Meaning that their ability to constantly push themselves in order to ensure that they are not only fit enough to ensure their survival, but also fit enough for their brothers, and now sisters in arms, and their equipment as well.soldiers-training-600x400.jpg

Meaning if a soldier goes down during an engagement, you may have to pull that soldier out. If your 70 pounds overweight and your last meal was a Coke and a bag of barbecue pork rinds, you are going to have a less than stellar performance.

Now, all of this is dependent on whether or not you have a strong chain of command with a great desire for integrity; i.e. Instead of pencil whipping PT scores and “pencil/pen” weapons qualifications to keep the numbers up, a chain of command that doesn’t want to guarantee troop strengths by the power of the pen.

Rather instead keeps troop strengths up by assuring PT, weapons qualifications, height/weight, and uniform are enforced daily so that when all of these are done for record, thereby maintaining troop strength by ensuring compliance daily. This is so soldiers do not have a chance to not simply go with the motion, but to be the force that drives the motion.hires_140116-A-BS310-021a.jpg
Another thing I had noticed was the difference in services. In basic training we were told everyone’s primary MOS was 11B. I did not see many of our support companies live by this belief.

However, you look at the Marines, and they say that every Marine’s primary MOS is 0311 Rifleman, and the majority of all MOS’s in the Marines life is this belief.wpid-marinetraining_041415getty.jpg
Again, I am not intending to offend anyone, but 11B and combat arms (19D, etc), more closely matches to the Marines.

I know there are officers who not only require that the standards be met, but also led by example, and lived out the standards.

Just my take, and I may be completely off. I pray that my fellow Army Soldiers, Airforce Airmen, Coast Guardsmen and Navy Sailors do not get offended, because when it all comes down to it and rivalry becomes an issue, everyone better remember that the military is like human physiology, where if one system of the body shuts down or doesn’t function properly, THE OTHER SYSTEMS WILL SUFFER.

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It is the same way for the sum total of our military; when one suffers, we all suffer.

Always remember this and realize that rivalry can be fun and bring forth a sense of esprit de corps, however, if taken to an extreme, the body can suffer.

God bless, and may we continue to keep each and every branch of our military strong with a desire to make each branch strong and compliment each-other, as this was the original concept.

Your words are greatly appreciated here sir. I think even with the rivalry among branches, everyone has to remember that we’re all brothers and sisters fighting for our gorgeous illustrious country.

Thank you to all who have made the sacrifice to serve America.

Isaac J. Hall II

#SemperKill

U.S. Secretary Of Defense – James Mattis

Good day everyone, got some neat information about one of the most accomplished military figures of our time. Hard-Chargers, I give you the 26th and current United States Secretary of Defense James Norman Mattis.                                                                             James_Mattis_Official_SECDEF_Photo.jpg

Mattis, is a retired United States Marine Corps general who served as the 11th Commander of United States Central Command and was responsible for American military operations in the Middle East, Northeast Africa, and Central Asia, from 2010 to 2013.                                                mattis_centcom_2010_original.jpg 

January 20, 2017, Mattis was confirmed as Secretary of Defense by the United States Senate. He had only been three years out of active duty despite US federal law requiring a seven year-year cool down period for retired personnel in order to be appointed Secretary of Defense.mike-pencejames-mattis-9fe58a09bfa14893.jpgHe was the first member of President Donald Trump’s cabinet to be confirmed.Barack Obama appointed Mattis, to replace General David Petraeus in 2010, prior to that Mattis commanded United States Joint Forces Command from 2007-2010.

He served with as NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation and also 1st Marine Expeditionary Force US Marine Forces Central Command and 1st Marine Division during the Iraq War.heres-what-legendary-marine-general-james-mad-dog-mattis-is-really-like-from-people-who-served-with-him.pngJames Norman Mattis was born September 8, 1950 in Pullman, Washington. He is the son of Mrs. Lucille Mattis and also Mr. John West Mattis who was a merchant mariner. His mother immigrated from Canada to the U.S. as an infant and worked in Army Intelligence in South Africa during World War II.

Mattis earned his Bachelors of Arts in history from Central Washington University in 1971.c001d28ae54edd4ec70f3a49516928be.jpgHe also earned his Masters of Arts in international security affairs from the National War College in 1994.Roosevelt Hall.jpgJames Mattis, initially enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1969. He was a second lieutenant through the Reserve Officers Training Corps in 1972. During his years in service, Mattis was seen and considered to be an intellectual among upper ranks.

He’s even been described as one of the most urbane and polished men in the military. It is said that he carried a personal copy of the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius throughout his deployments.MeditationsMarcusAurelius1811.jpgMattis was a lieutenant/platoon commander in a rifle/weapons company in 3rd Marine Division. As a captain he was assigned to the Naval Academy Preparatory school, which was composed of enlisted midshipman candidates with company officers and enlisted staff. He was also a major at a Recruiting Station Portland Oregon.

He’s known for his intellectualism and interest in the study of military history and also world history. He has a personal library that is said to include over 7,000 volumes and a penchant for required reading list for Marines under his command.

In Marines he instills risk management asking of his Marines to be well cultured pertaining to the regions where they deploy and also has his Marines undergo cultural sensitivity training.hn_070506-M-0000A-002_1200x480.jpgAs Colonel, Mattis commanded 7th Marine Regiment. He led the 1st expeditionary brigade as its commanding officer upon promotion to brigadier general.

Mattis gets an extreme amount of respect from Marines, not because of the ranking. This is due to what we Marines consider real leadership, Officer Nathaniel Fick, gave an example of this after he spotted Mattis in a fighting hole conversing with a sergeant and a lance corporal. He was in the freezing night-cold in Afghanistan, out on the lines with his Marines when he could have been in a warm hooch.

President Donald Trump, met with Mattis for a little over an hour November 2016. He later stated General ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis was going to be considered for Secretary of Defense as he was very impressed. He considered him a General’s General!Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 6.32.43 PM.png       Mattis is a very decorated Marine…

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1st Row: Defensive Distinguished Service Medal w/ one Oak Leaf Cluster ** Navy Distinguished Service Medal ** Defense Superior Service Medal

2nd RowLegion of Merit ** Bronze Star Medal w/ Combat “V” ** Meritorious Service Medal w/ two Gold Stars ** Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal

3rd RowCombat Action Ribbon ** Navy & Marine Corps Presidential Unit Citation ** Joint Meritorious Unit Award ** Joint Meritorious Unit Award ** Navy Unit Commendation

4th RowNavy & Marine Corps Meritorious Unit Commendation ** Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal ** National Defense Service Medal two Bronze Stars ** Southwest Asia Service Medal two Bronze Stars

5th RowAfghanistan Campaign Medal w/ one Bronze Star ** Iraq Campaign Medal w/ one Bronze Star ** Global Was on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal w/ one Bronze Star ** Global Was on Terrorism Service Medal

6th RowHumanitarian Service Medal ** Sea Service Ribbon w/ one Silver Star two Bronze Stars ** Marine Corps Recruiting Service Ribbon w/ one Bronze Star ** Polish Army Medal (Gold)

7th RowNATO Meritorious Service Medal ** NATO Medal ISAF ** Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) ** Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Rifle Expert Badge (4th Award)  *****  Pistol Expert Badge (2nd Award)

Mattis is also a lifelong bachelor who has never been married nor does he have any children. His nickname is “The Warrior Monk” because of his bachelor life and his lifelong devotion to the studying the art of war.Screen Shot 2017-04-19 at 7.40.31 PM.pngI think I speak for most when I say thank you for your service in the Marine Corps. As well as your continued devoted service to our country.1460149037807.cached.jpg

Isaac J. Hall II

#SemperKill

Imagine A Nuclear Holocaust

Good day everyone, hope your easter was well.

Today we’re going to talk about a nuclear holocaust. I mean just what if this was to happen…or-38178.jpgFirst off the word “holocaust”, originates from the Greek term “holokaustos” meaning “extremely/completely burnt”, with a great deal of destruction and loss of life, especially by fire.end-world-survival-guide-staying-alive-during-nuclear-holocaust.1280x600.jpgA nuclear holocaust or apocalypse is a scenario in which there would be a widespread of destruction and radioactive fallout, thus causing the collapse of civilization through the use of nuclear weapons.

Obviously there would be great destruction and carnage. Think about the firestorms, as well as a possible nuclear winter, radiation sickness and most importantly the loss of modern technology due to electromagnetic pulses.

An electromagnetic pulse is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. Such an interference is known to have a very disruptive or damaging effect to electronic equipment. If a single nuclear weapon designed to emit EMP was detonated even 500 miles over the U.S.emp-blast.jpgIt would disable the electronics in the entire country…

Many scientist have speculated that a thermonuclear war could result in the end of modern civilization on earth due to the long lasting nuclear winter. Temperatures following a full on thermonuclear war would fall for several years by at least 6 to 7 degrees Celsius and this is on average.

There have been studies that show billions of humans would survive the immediate effects of a nuclear blast and radiation after a global thermonuclear warfare. Many argue that the nuclear war could indirectly cause human extinction as far as secondary effects go.af31572f6fe6ef45b050133803ec64d35f1356ddb33b14688f755b43d77bcf29.jpgThis includes environmental consequences, such as societal breakdowns and economic collapse. Perhaps even a small-scaled nuclear transfer involving not more than 80 Hiroshima like weapons could cause a nuclear winter and kill upwards of a billion people.

As of now there are about 15,000 nuclear weapons that we know of… thousands of which are on what is referred to as ‘hair trigger alert’ meaning a military policy that enables the rapid launch of nuclear weapons.Titan-II-Missle-Site-and-Museum.jpgEvery nuclear country is currently undergoing modernization of its nuclear arsenal. Could modernization subsequently increase the risk of nuclear proliferation, nuclear terrorism and even accidental nuclear war?????.

It’s been estimated that the probability of complete human extinction by nuclear weapons is not even 1% within the century. Also the probability of 1 billion dead are lower than 10%.

Scientist have had much discourse over the years pertaining to the fact that even small-scale nuclear war between as little as two countries could have devastating global consequences. Scientist also believe that local conflicts are more likely than full-scale nuclear war.

There have been great scholars who have put forth as a basis of argument that global nuclear war could possibly lead to human extinction. This became more-so plausible after nuclear winter was conceptualized in 1983.

There have since then been models brought to our attention that show extinction is very unlikely and many feel parts of the world would actually remain very habitable.9f87d61e19b7ef81a6e5737c3789e523.jpgThen again the risk of societal collapse following a nuclear war could make humanity more vulnerable. It’s likely that the primary effect would be global famine, wherein a mass starvation would occur due to disrupted agricultural production and distribution.end-world-survival-guide-staying-alive-during-nuclear-holocaust.w1456.jpgThere would be agricultural outputs that would be significantly reduced for years by climatic changes driven by nuclear wars. The reduction of food supply will be further exacerbated by rising food prices, thus affecting hundreds of millions of vulnerable people, especially in the poorest nations of the world.tumblr_m2atvm3H7l1r3468d.jpg

Hey don’t start freaking out my dear hard-chargers, I’m merely just thinking outside the proverbial box here.

Isaac J. Hall II

#SemperKill