VeteranHOPE is a project to help veterans and their families. We all have to deal with the change of income and lifestyle after military service. For those with disability, this can be difficult. The rate of divorce among veterans is about twice the national average. This is often because of the emotional stress caused by financial stress because of disability. We go from steady work and regular paychecks with comprehensive health care for the whole family and other resources in the military community, to nothing, overnight. Transition is not real until it happens. No matter how well prepared we are, it is still a shock to the family unit. Some never recover.
Most of us come home and go straight to work, trying to cever the bases of housing, food, health care and all of the things our families are accustomed to. That is ideal in a perfect world, but not reality for veterans with disability. There is no easy way to say it. Life has changed and it will be harder. Disability is not a free ride and it is not fun. It does not matter how much or how little it may seem on any given day. Disability makes the things we all take for granted a lot harder. Nobody wants to be disabled or stuck on a fixed income. Even the most catastrophically disabled veterans I know would rather be totally independent and self-supporting. But, ... reality bites.
It is easy to get caught up in the struggle and forget to do our VA claims for medical issues left over from the military. Waiting until things get really bad only hurts us and our families. Financial problems from disability is one of the leading causes of divorce among veteran families.
One thing we all learn is that if you put something off too long, it will come back and bite you in the butt. VA claims are like that.
Let's say a veteran messed up a knee in the service and then went to work in a hardware store. Along comes the day when something at work falls down and tears the knee apart again. Workers compensation insurance will usually cover the emergency room and followup care IF the work accident is reported, but they tend to deny long-term disability claims from something that happened in the military. If the veteran has not already file a VA claim for the knee, then it will be denied by both VA and workers compensation. That can go on for years while the family suffers.
It is up to us to help each other. We all need a veterans organization that is authorized to prosecute veteran claims with the VA. VeteranHOPE does not do VA claims, so you will need to find an organization that does.
On the other hand, some of us with VeteranHOPE have been down the path of VA claims, divorce, homelessness, VA appeals, workers compensation, disability insurance, receiving benefits, being garnished illegally, VA claims again, appeals again, homelessness again. There is not enought room on the t-shirt for everything we have been through. The really sick part is that we see other veterans going down the same road of stress, neglect, legal and financial discrimination, loss of family and home and everything. Up until now, there was nothing we could do about it.
VeteranHOPE is about turning that road around and bringing back hope by standing up for veterans and for their families. No matter what garbage is dumped on us, we have already seen the worst and survived. Together, we can stop the discrimination and solve the problems of fraud that are damaging our families and our country. We can make things better because we know how to stand up for those who need help. We know how to hold a line against all odds. We know how to protect others and that is what "support and defend family and country" is all about.
Our kickoff article is a report called "Child Support and The Absurd Mythology of Rose" which is a fact based study of the Rose v. Rose case and the immediate Congressional response that has been ignored for 30 years. This is how legal discrimination and fraud have contributed to veteran homelessness and suicide. It is more significant than we imagined. Almost every veteran who ends up in court over alimony or child support will have expérienced discrimination based on Rose.
What you do not know about veteran benefits and family support can hurt you.
Part of the problem is that almost everyone has been conditioned to the belief that Rose makes veteran benefits come under state law in alimony and child support cases. It did for a while, but that changed in 1988 when Congress changed the law to keep veteran benefits totally under federal law and VA jurisdiction from beginning to end, even after the veteran receives payment of compensation, educational or other VA benefits. Every veteran who brings this fact up to the family court gets hammered by Rose. The more the veteran protests, the worse the punnishment gets. So far, the only way to approach the discrimination is to change the venu to where the discrimination can be seen for what it is, separate from the Rose case. It will take some time to bring this problem to the full light of day and help veterans support and defend their families and country without having to commit suicide.