Just wanted to say I read your article in the Cordele Dispatch today regarding Veteran’s Day being over. I could not agree with you more.
I retired two years ago at the age of 59 and moved from Plant City, Florida to Cordele, Georgia. I thought I would have VA health care benefits when I retired. I applied and got a big shock. I had missed the deadline of 2003 for Viet Nam Veterans! I never even knew there was a deadline! Now I got asked all the questions you mentioned and then turned down because I made too much money.
Two years later, I still have had no luck through the VA. Now I am having to pay for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia. That started at $267 a month the first year. Then it went to $426 a month the second year. This February it goes to $527 a month!
I was also diagnosed with one of those illnesses directly attributed to Agent Orange so now I have a claim pending with the VA since December 06. My medical bills have mounted but still no relief. My VA claim is still pending. Why? Because even though I served a year in Viet Nam and secured a certified letter from my platoon SSGT stating the facts and dates served, the VA still will not approve my claim. They can find no proof I was in Viet Nam through the National Personnel Records Center. I am convinced they hope I die before they have to approve my claim!
And yet, as you mentioned, all an illegal immigrant has to do is go to the local emergency room and get treated at no cost! They can also go to the local health department and receive all kinds of free services. What do I get? NOTHING! I have to pay for everything I receive.
All I can say is keep up the good work and hopefully, some day, things will change!
Phu Bai/Hue, Viet Nam 1966-1967