Subject: THE HONORABLE HERSHEL W. GOBER, ACTING SECRETARY, VA
Date: Thu, 19 Oct 2000 19:18:20 EDT
Last night I FAXED to Hershel W. Gober at the following address:
The Honorable Hershel W. Gober
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20420,
PH: (202) 273 4800
FAX: (202) 273 4877
Today mailed a hard copy of a letter, with copies to Senator Wellstone and Joe Violante of the VA, in a plea to add to the presumptive list, colon, brain & CNS, and lung cancers. He [H.W.Gober] can do this on an administrative basis with the stroke of a pen, without having to go through legislation.
Jesse Brown had done this for the Vietnam Vets by adding lung cancer to their presumptives, and by awarding benefits to the Vietnam Vets children if they were unfortunate enough to be born with spina bifida. He also added lung cancer on an administrative basis for the vets exposed to mustard gas.
Oscar Rosen and several others of NAAV and I, met with Jesse Brown on this issue, and brought the above to his attention. He denied it, but asked Susan Mather to get the regs to prove it. She was gone five minutes, came back, placed the regs on his lap; he read them, and mumbled something about his memory being faulty. Then he more or less dismissed us. Needless to say we did not accomplish what we had set out to do.
We only have a window of several months to accomplish this goal. I' m asking each of you to post this information on your websites, and request [all concerned individuals]...to immediately contact Mr. Gober's Chief of Staff, Guy McMichael, at (202) 273 6372 and/or Mr. Gober himself at (202) 273 4800. Or write to him at the above address. Don't make your letter too long (mine was one page), but stress the difficulty of obtaining benefits while the President is handing out large sums to the workers at the factories that manufactured the very bombs that eventually killed our guys.
I enclosed the information received from the VA regarding the numbers of claims awarded; Dr. Kizer's letter; letter from the DOJ regarding the numbers of awards made to miners, downwinders, and a few to the testsite workers (which includes vets), but the DOJ refused to break out this number for me. I also enclosed the Marshall Islands information which included their list of 34 presumptive diseases (including the three we would like to have added to our list.)
The letter from Robert M. White, Assistant Director for Procedures (VA) dated May 27, 1998 states (and here he is quoting from Under Secretary Thompson's testimony on April 21,1998, before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs):
"As of April 14, 1998, we have received radiation-related compensation claims from 19,885 veterans and survivors...Presumptive service connection has been established in 498 of these cases. They are broken down as follows:Exposure from atmospheric testing.........321In the remaining 1,908 cases, our data base does not specify that service connection was necessarily established under the criteria of 38 CFR Sec. 3.311, (P.L. 98-542), as opposed to other proivisions of statute or regulations."
Exposure from Hiroshima & Nagasaki
(including prisoners of war)....................177
HOWEVER, in a FAX from Kathy Collier, Staff Consultant, Office of the Director, Compensation & Pension
Service, dated 4-23-96, Ms. Collier stated:
(I had asked her for the awards made under P.L. 98-542)
This information would be obtainable only through a manual review of over 18,000 claims folders. Since historically the grant rate under this regulation has been quite small, we believe that it currently would be fewer than 50, but that number is only an unverified estimate.
Now it's up to you people. I think we've got a pretty good chance. Go for it !!!