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Man's legacy brings help to veterans suffering from PTSD

Fallen veteran has left behind a legacy to those who have been touched by his life and service.

erick2.jpgErick Foster

Erick Foster's name and heart continues to thrive after he was killed by an insurgent fire in August 2007 through a recently established non-profit organization that reaches out to local veterans.

Foster was just 29 years old when he died in Iraq, but a close friend made it his mission to shine his compassion for others through Team Foster.

"Erick was a big part of who I was and who I became. I fell in love with the military and the army," Nick Liermann, CEO and Founder of Team Foster, said.

Liermann served active duty as a captain in the U.S. Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom and currently serves as a JAG officer in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Foster and Liermann buddied up back in college and that's where the dedication for the United States military was sparked.
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VA electronic claims system melts backlog, but costs alarm Congress

Over the past five years, since Republicans won back control of the House, the Department of Veteran Affairs has been flogged publicly many times, often for allowing a mountain of backlogged disability compensation claims.

As the backlog fell, lawmakers now are learning, they should have paid more attention to how much VA was spending on its primary tool for the task — a paperless claim system. They’re paying attention now.

The cost of VA’s electronic claims network, called the Veterans Benefits Management System (VBMS), is $1 billion so far and soon will reach $1.3 billion, VA conceded this month to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.
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Veterans’ caregivers lose VA stipends, struggle to understand why

For some, caregiver stipends validated work at home with loved ones.  Overall program growing at a fast pace, adding 400 caregivers every month.

Advocates notice more complaints, but unsure what’s behind changes.

For three years, a monthly stipend of $1,275 from the federal Department of Veterans Affairs gave Sarah Jenkins the freedom to care for her husband without having to worry about resuming her career.

That let her keep a calm home and respond instantly if her veteran husband experienced one of the mood swings that have characterized his behavior since a group of mortars landed close to him on an Iraqi air field.

The checks abruptly stopped in August when the VA declared her family no longer needed them. Jenkins is still trying to figure out why.
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