PARALYZED VETERANS OF AMERICA

Rating: 2.85 stars   86 reviews

Issues: Health, Veterans

Location: 801 18th St, NW Washington DC 20006 USA

Mission: Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), a congressionally chartered veterans service organization founded in 1946, has developed a unique expertise on a wide variety of issues involving the special needs of our members? veterans of the armed forces who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction. PVA will use that expertise to be the leading advocate for: - Quality health care for our members, - Research and education addressing spinal cord injury and dysfunction, - Benefits available as a result of our members? military service, - Civil rights and opportunities which maximize the independence of our members and all people with disabilities. For more than 60 years, PVA has fought for our veterans who answered the call when our nation asked for their service . . . and in return, they have given up their freedoms to protect ours. For more information visit www.SupportVeterans.org or www.pva.org.
Programs: Founded in 1946 by veterans of World War II, PVA started out as a small organization - a group of individuals committed to helping each other, sharing their hard-learned strategies for living with spinal cord injury (SCI), and working to improve their communities. Sixty years ago PVA was there to help our paralyzed heroes, and now continues a long legacy of commitment to providing hope for all individuals with disabilities. Beyond our broad scope of SCI research & education, PVA continues to respond to the needs of our members ? veterans of the armed forces with spinal cord injury or dysfunction ? though pro bono legal representation, veterans benefits services, legislation & advocacy, access to quality healthcare, architecture and accessibility, and sports & recreational activities to 21,000 paralyzed members, their families and friends. PVA has awarded more than $40 million in SCI research and education grants, filed hundreds of thousands claims on behalf of our members with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and served millions of individuals with disabilities. And we want to do more in 2006 and beyond. Through the generosity of more than 18 million friends nationwide and a network of 34 Chapters across America, we hope to further educate all individuals to prevent more injuries from occurring, and ultimately to find a cure.
2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Before I got hurt in Iraq , I used to play alot of sports. I got really depressed when I came home. I had no one to talk or relate to and I felt like I had no purpose anymore. A PVA rep at the hospital told me about PVA and how it helps veterans. I got back into sports because of them and am loving life! Every year I compete at their National Veterans Wheelchair Games in hand cycling. They helped me in more ways than just sports and I they are doing a great job.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 1 stars  

60 people found this review helpful

I am a 100% service connected disabled veteran with a severe spinal disease combined with gun shot wound and reconstructive surgery issues. I was initially represented by the DAV in applying for service connection for my combat injuries and found their service and support to be a self-serv type group. They point you in the right direction but fall short at giving direct assistance. Frustrated, I sought patient advocate care through the PVA Mountain States Chapter. The representative that assisted me was much more helpful in filling out my appeal for the associated issues that accompanied my combat injuries, but the entire process took over 4 years to get 100% permanent rating. The PVA rep told me they provide life long support and care, but after my initial appointment, I ceased hearing from the PVA except for a monthly onslaught of unsolicited junk mail and a monthly magazine oddly just filled with corporate advertising. Their absentee approach didn't cause harm, after all, I am a grown man and shouldn't need an organization to hold my hand through the fog of military processes. It is nice getting any help when you are on 15-20 meds from drooling on the forms. The staff that ran the office I went to were nice people and I was impressed with their level of professionalism. Their rep that talked with me knew more then any other volunteer I had talked to and can say made a great difference on my decision to switch PVA over as my VHA patient representative.

3 years later I got a letter from a PVA 'NSO' who claimed she was my representative and the letter stated they were checking up on me and asked if I needed anything. Surprised, I called her back and told her of my compound needs and her response was - we are just checking in. Zero follow-up and no help was offered or given. Another year passed and I received the same letter. I wrote PVA back so I was clear in expressing my medical needs they said they would help with and again was ignored. Their response or lack of made me think the PVA only helps us initially to get signed up to report to congress and donors they are serving the most injured vets. They sure made me believe in their offers for assistance but I can affirm that I received no additional assistance other then a couple minutes of their time on the phone getting signed up with them and a couple more minutes of answering basic questions to get help filling out my appeal for my service connected injuries.

I recently discovered leaked sensitive what I thought to be private information I only shared with the Mountain States Chapter reps being shared with part time employees at the VA. I found it very inappropriate this info was shared, but apparently I signed away my privacy rights when I made them my VHA rep. That information being with people that had no intent of ever helping me and god knows who else made that the final straw. The PVA was fired in my case for negligence, ignoring my privacy demands, total failure to follow any issue up and for abandoning me, the veteran when I needed help the most. The PVA promised help getting me back to work, they promised help with adaptive sports for physical therapy, they promised help with my spinal disease with access to specialists, they promised help getting adaptive equipment,.. I received zero assistance with vocational therapy, zero adaptive sports involvement, zero help getting to the spinal injury specialists, zero help getting adaptive equipment, zero help in my home - I had to get my wheel chair, crutches, knee braces and adaptive devices directly from the VA on my own. The PVA is full of hot air and promises.

If there was a rating below the F they received by charitywatch and charity navigator I would say they earned well below that. They should be put out of business for fleecing donors, ignoring veterans and pretending to be govt associated using military titles and military nomenclature to fool donors, vets and Congress about their level of service. They put a couple wheelchair bound vets in pictures and a couple positions on their staff to make everyone think they are ran by vets for vets. Nothing could be further from the truth. In what world does a charitable staff need a 200k+ paycheck while offering nothing but a few minutes on the phone to veterans and a yearly party to waste more donor funds? My direct experience with the Paralyzed Veterans of America organization over 8 year period is that they are as close to frauds as you can get in what they appear to offer veterans. A person off the street that gets PVA advertising receives more financial help then veterans do, I hear they get a nickel in the mail each year. This is only my experience with one chapter, but I don't know how donors can put up with organizations that disguise charity expenses with annual trips to expensive resorts claiming to get together to benefit veterans. The PVA is a sham as my advocate. [sham] noun. 1. something that is not what it purports to be; a spurious imitation; fraud or hoax. The volunteer advocates that worked at the VA were more effective patient advocate then the PVA could ever be and they take two months to answer a response with usually a non-responsive answer that makes you scratch your head. Results can vary so greatly though from person to person, many people in the health business have no business being there. Kind of like how business has no place in charity. I couldn't find one thing that the PVA accomplished in Washington DC to justify going there, other then its a great excuse to have an executive salary with paid expenses, or be an attorney and we all know how much DC lobby attorney's are hurting for money.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

applying for VA services over an 8 year period as a 'life-time member'

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Fire the entire staff and start over offering real assistance programs to veterans instead of filling corporate pockets. Executive staff should volunteer their time or donate their salary back into the charity. No charity should spend so little on the people they claim to help while filling their own pockets and corporate advertising agencies. The best advertising comes from satisfied veterans, not corporate sponsors. Encourage every charity to fulfill their promises or stop making them.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A little

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

No

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Somewhat badly

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

How did you find this group?

I found this organization by mistake.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

This group has caused me to lose trust for any 'non-profit' organization and fostered a deep distrust for charity and has encouraged me through their deceptive practices and false promises to never believe in people like these again. My depression and stress levels over my declining health and lack of support I thought I had have destroyed my faith in asking others for help.

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 4 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

The PVA service representatives have been very helpful assisting me with my claim. If it were not for the PVA I don't know where I would be with my peculiar situation; the Minneapolis/St. Paul office and staff has really come through assisting with my claim. I am a PVA member and have been for over two decades, I donate to the National and South Dakota State organizations twice a year and will continue to do so. Our state North Central Chapter provides numerous outdoor activities for wheelchair-bound veterans like me. They do good work.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Quite well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

I think the PVA has done more for our veterans who have become paralyzed or have MS than any other org. Millions are spent annually on research to find a cure for paralysis, and the funding to assist vets get back in the everyday experiences we all enjoy in amazing. Please be accomodating when someone contacts you to assist them. Thanks.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

A lot

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

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Review from CharityNavigator
Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

The PVA help me with my claim. I would never have gotten though the red tape of the VA if it was for the help of the PVA. This is a very fine organiztion. I own the PVA a lot more than words can say.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

4 people found this review helpful

Our PVA Service Officer helped with claims and promtly seeing that I received the proper medical advice and care after diagnosis on 4 different occasions starting in 1999. Before his actions a 6 to 8 week waitng period before appointments and after his phone calls it was less than 1 week before I saw the doctor. The local Sioux Falls Chapter has provided me with oppurtunities to participate is several outdoor activities that I wouldn't have been able to participate in without their help and organization of the activities. Hats off to the staff at the office for their caring and hard work.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

Was this review helpful? 
Review from Guidestar