Advocating for Veterans often takes a group effort. We’ve all heard the phrase “It takes a village…” Recently, one of our Lifeline for Vets calls came from a decorated Marine combat vet who allowed us to post his case on The Huffington Post. You can read the full blog, “The VA vs. Sergeant Major Jesse Acosta,” here.
Jesse Acosta called us because he had been notified that he was losing caregiver benefits. He no longer qualified because of his blindness. Acosta, severely injured and blinded in Iraq, had been rated 100 percent disabled because of PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury). In spite of this, he is fully employed and is an active veteran advocate.
Through the blog, his story reached a veteran advocate in another part of the nation who took on his case, writing an appeal to the VA. In what seems record time, the VA reinstated his benefits. Jesse was delighted. Then he noticed that while the benefits had been restored to him, his rating had been dropped a level, which meant that the amount of the benefit would be reduced from what it had been. He called his advocate again, and she wrote a second appeal, this time copying the Secretary of the VA, Robert McDonald. Acosta received an almost immediate reply that his case was being reevaluated.
Advocacy works. Persistence works, too.
We’ve gone paperless! For more than 30 years, the National Veterans Foundation has mailed out a printed newsletter for Memorial Day. To save some trees and funds (that we can now use to help more veterans), our newsletter will now be electronic only. But if you miss the look of our traditional newsletter, fear not. Just click here.
2016 Memorial Day Newsletter