POSTED: February 28, 2013
February 28 , 2013
Every day there are hundreds of disabled veterans facing insurmountable odds in divorce court, trying to hang on to their disability benefits. OFFE has been trying for years to get the attention of Congress to do at least one thing for America’s finest, enforce federal laws under U.S.C. 38 §5301 and U.S.C. §5307. As an organization we have met with various congressional lawmakers, only to dialogue with congressional aides who have no clue about the plight of many disabled veterans.
Since the late 1990’s and earlier lawmakers have gathered to consider making changing to the existing laws, but never consider that maybe it was an enforcement issues. Civil courts across the country make their own rules of redistribution of disability benefits. Some states do not consider certain benefits, like veterans disability in determining spouse maintenance. While others find it convenience because they do not have to work hard to collect money for such support, veterans face a difficult challenge as they face the Judges in civil court. Most veterans can tell you that the courts do not care of your disability or the ability to work. In a court in Atlanta GA, a retired Sgt., Major was told by a judge that in his court he has no constitutional rights. This is the kind of judicial mentality faced by most disabled veterans.
Probably the most discouraging part of this situation is that VAROs are
helping the states in withholding disability benefits by some bogus explanation
that most disabled veteran unknowing about federal laws would not bother
to challenge the decisions. In a remarkable devious scheme the states
are using a withholding form designed to withhold money from civil servant
and have gone as far as annotating in Form OMB 0970-0154 that disabled
veterans are employees of the Veterans Administration. The form is then
sent to the VAROs where the Finance Officer signs off allowing for apportionment
of benefits. This is not only morally wrong but illegal by federal statutes.
During the last several years we have collected and publish books and other materials based on research and analysis of federal statutes on the actual explanation of disability benefits when it comes to apportionment. One thing is for sure the VAROs are not on the same sheet of music when it comes to apportionment.
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has denied us the opportunity to meet with him and share our research and collection of names of disabled veterans who have been left homeless as a result of such decisions by the court and some who are bordering on suicide.
If the DVA, according to some staff members of the General Counsel agree with Rose v. Rose decision that benefits belong to the veteran and his family, maybe they can explain, why upon a divorce the benefits belonging to the family is reduced by 2/3 of those benefits paid as additional benefits to dependents ? It seem clear to us without consulting with the Secretary that it is in the best interest of the VA to encourage divorces, since it minimizes expenditure on disability payments.
For years we have asked to meet with the Committee, the Secretary and a key member of the Senate veterans committee, but all we get is we will get back to you. In our best assessment of this serious problem we think the time has come and work toward helping these veterans by considering options that they can live with.
Like always we stand committed to helping veterans who are unable to speak for their selves or not willing to speak up. OFFE stands as a vanguard and the last line of defense for many veterans who have reached their end of the line.
We ask that we allowed a personal meeting with the Committee and other members of Congress and the Senate to discuss and explore ways we can make a difference in the lives of these disabled veterans.
We can commit ourselves to the wisdom of the Dalai Lama, “Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them”.
Gene D. Simes.
Operation Firing For Effect Inc.