Fort Hood...not terrorism...no benefits to dead and wounded...

WC_lun

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Something to keep in mind also is that the more time spent in a combat zone, the greater chance of PTSD. So a soldier going on his 3rd tour is more succeptable than one going on his first tour. There is a reason that tour of duties were limited in the past.

I'm not going to be so bold as to say any soldier is creating a "self fullfilling prophesy." If the physicians in charge of a soldier's care says he has PTSD, that is good enough for me. That soldier should recieve the best care available and not have anyone second guessing his diagnosis. We owe anyone serving that much.
 

Bill Mattocks

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I'm not going to be so bold as to say any soldier is creating a "self fullfilling prophesy." If the physicians in charge of a soldier's care says he has PTSD, that is good enough for me. That soldier should recieve the best care available and not have anyone second guessing his diagnosis. We owe anyone serving that much.

I disagree. Let me repeat some basic statements I made earlier and add to them a bit.

Military men and women are being given mandatory classes in 'how to apply for disability' prior to leaving active duty. This creates an atmosphere of expecting that one is entitled to some form of disability for having served in a designated combat zone.

The percentage of new veterans applying for benefits is nearly 50%. That's a lot. Furthermore, it's unsustainable.

Are a lot of the claims fake? Yes, I believe they are. I have no idea what the percentage is, but I do believe that.

I have personal knowledge of this. I am not going to drag the people who are involved into this issue, but yes, I am quite involved in their lives, and while I love them, I am also very clearly understanding that they never intend to work again, they expect a free ride for the rest of their lives, and there frankly is nothing wrong with them. This is my opinion.
 

Steve

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I disagree. Let me repeat some basic statements I made earlier and add to them a bit.

Military men and women are being given mandatory classes in 'how to apply for disability' prior to leaving active duty. This creates an atmosphere of expecting that one is entitled to some form of disability for having served in a designated combat zone.
Or, it's an acknowledgement that the rigors of serving in the military CAN lead to life long, service related disabilities. And that in the past, the benefits (because they are benefits, not welfare), were not made available to all soldiers timely. This ultimately costs the government more money developing applications years down the road. Determining whether a disability is service related is MUCH easier at the time a soldier is separating from active duty than 5, 10 or 20 years later when that disability begins to denegerate.

Understand a few things. First, not everyone who applies is approved. Second, not everyone who is approved is even awarded 10% disability. Third, a different percentage is applied to every malady, so one soldier might have damaged his back, mental issues such as PTSD and screwed up knees. Each of these would be evaluated and rated. Even a 0% rating for an injury gets it on the record as service related, so if the injury deteriorates later in life, the soldier can apply for a re-evaluation. There is no more issue with whether the injury was service related, and if severe enough, that veteran could get valuable health care as a result.

So, where you see the military "teaching" soldiers how to apply for disability, I see the military documenting and inventorying damage they've done to separating vets.
The percentage of new veterans applying for benefits is nearly 50%. That's a lot. Furthermore, it's unsustainable.

Are a lot of the claims fake? Yes, I believe they are. I have no idea what the percentage is, but I do believe that.
I disagree. But, more to the point, what evidence do you have that they are fake? Is this based on documentation? Is it just your "gut"?
I have personal knowledge of this. I am not going to drag the people who are involved into this issue, but yes, I am quite involved in their lives, and while I love them, I am also very clearly understanding that they never intend to work again, they expect a free ride for the rest of their lives, and there frankly is nothing wrong with them. This is my opinion.
Your opinion, and you're entitled to it. Having worked in the system, in addition to my own personal experiences, I believe that you are wrong. Whether approved or denied, I think it's excellent policy to encourage men and women who are separating from service to apply for veterans benefits, including disability if appropriate. Once again, not everyone who applies is approved, and not everyone who is approved is considered to have significant disabilities. But it establishes a record and it provides some level of income to disabled veterans who are often unable to resume the jobs they held prior to deployment due to these very same impairments.

Veterans benefits are exactly that. Suggesting that we discourage, rather than encourage, separating vets from applying for disability where potentially eligible is akin to saying that we should discourage them from using their GI Bill.

I just can't believe that veterans on these boards are saying some of these things. It's... surprising, to say the least.
 

Bill Mattocks

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But, more to the point, what evidence do you have that they are fake? Is this based on documentation? Is it just your "gut"?

As I said, my knowledge is personal. First-hand, observed at the closest possible range. I am not going to say more than that, as previous discussions about 'drugs' where I mentioned my familiar connections ended up with me being body-slammed for revealing information people prefer not to know. Suffice to say that my knowledge is personal, first-hand, and based on actual experiences.

I just can't believe that veterans on these boards are saying some of these things. It's... surprising, to say the least.

Consider this; veterans may have a closer and more in-depth understanding of how veterans think and behave. We of all people know that fellow veterans are just like every other segment of the population. That is, comprised of mostly good people and some criminal element.

Just as citizens who never served a day in the military will seek Social Security disability pensions and Workman's Compensation for injuries they do not have, so too will SOME veterans seek disability pensions for problems they do not suffer from. Veterans use terms that many do not understand, but one of them is 'the ten percent'. What is 'the ten percent'? Those are the military members who are goldbricks, backsliders, ne'er-do-wells, Sickbay Commandos, and s$*#birds. Every branch has them, every serviceman knows it. It's discussed openly in the ranks; all veterans accept this as truth; we see or saw it every single day of our military lives.

You know that I am beyond proud of our military and the job they do, and that I am proud to be a US Marine. You also know that I go above and beyond to support our troops; I routinely annoy others by exhorting them to attend Veterans Day and Memorial Day ceremonies; hell, I'm one of the official photographers for the Detroit Veterans Day parade. Who loves veterans more than me? Who supports them more than I do?

So if I say that I believe that a percentage (I do not claim to know what the percentage is) of our current claims for military disability are fraudulent, I mean what I say. It is no slam on veterans, their service to our nation, or my support of them to say that in my opinion, we've got some criminal activity going on here, and we're giving it a nod and a wink.
 

Steve

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Consider this; veterans may have a closer and more in-depth understanding of how veterans think and behave. We of all people know that fellow veterans are just like every other segment of the population. That is, comprised of mostly good people and some criminal element.

Okay. So, out of everything I posted, you pick and choose a couple of sentences to reply to. Fine. I get it. As I said before, I'm surprised and frankly, a little disappointed. I think we're squandering a generation of young men and women who have served our country, and we're turning our backs on them. We're seeing a rise in homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and needless, violent crime, in addition to very high unemployment among our vets.

And once again, I'm a veteran, from a family of veterans. Between me, my brothers, my mom and my dad, we have served over 60 years in the US military in just about every significant combat arena over the last 60 years including Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Panama, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Don't presume to speak on behalf of all veterans. It seems like I have to remind you of that every six months or so. I spent two years loading bombs at the rail head in Morbach Germany and 6 months in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. While I've never claimed to be a war hero or anything like that, maybe a little respect for what I have done is in order. I'm not asking much, but I don't know, at least remembering that I'm a veteran after having shared it several times would be the least I could expect. And what really pisses me off is you've said this same **** to me in the past. "I'm a veteran and you're not so just leave the discussions about vets to the vets." **** you, Bill. Maybe I'm just crabby today, but I can't off the top of my head think of a way you could be more insulting and dismissive.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Okay. So, out of everything I posted, you pick and choose a couple of sentences to reply to. Fine. I get it. As I said before, I'm surprised and frankly, a little disappointed. I think we're squandering a generation of young men and women who have served our country, and we're turning our backs on them. We're seeing a rise in homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction and needless, violent crime, in addition to very high unemployment among our vets.

I picked and chose because I had no essential disagreement with your other statements. I also have no essential disagreement with your statements above. I don't think that acknowledging that we are failing our veterans in many ways changes the fact that some few are gaming the system we've created to try to address some of those problems. They're not mutual exclusive.

And once again, I'm a veteran, from a family of veterans. Between me, my brothers, my mom and my dad, we have served over 60 years in the US military in just about every significant combat arena over the last 60 years including Korea, Vietnam, Libya, Panama, Desert Storm and Iraqi Freedom. Don't presume to speak on behalf of all veterans. It seems like I have to remind you of that every six months or so. I spent two years loading bombs at the rail head in Morbach Germany and 6 months in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Storm. While I've never claimed to be a war hero or anything like that, maybe a little respect for what I have done is in order. I'm not asking much, but I don't know, at least remembering that I'm a veteran after having shared it several times would be the least I could expect. And what really pisses me off is you've said this same **** to me in the past. "I'm a veteran and you're not so just leave the discussions about vets to the vets." **** you, Bill. Maybe I'm just crabby today, but I can't off the top of my head think of a way you could be more insulting and dismissive.

I don't presume to speak for anyone but myself. I'm sorry you feel so angry about my statements, I certainly meant nothing personal. I certainly do apologize for any offense I have given, however inadvertent.

The last thing I would do is suggest that only vets can talk about vets; that was not my intent. I meant to point out that veterans have more insight into their fellow veterans than non-veterans. How could it be otherwise?
 
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Steve

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I picked and chose because I had no essential disagreement with your other statements. I also have no essential disagreement with your statements above. I don't think that acknowledging that we are failing our veterans in many ways changes the fact that some few are gaming the system we've created to try to address some of those problems. They're not mutual exclusive.
Any soldiers attempting to game the system should be weeded out through the application process. And those that successfully game the system are the ones at fault, not the VA and the military for encouraging people to apply for benefits that they might be eligible for. In other words, I would advocate that we focus on reducing the amount of fraud within the system, than on discouraging (or failing to encourage) people to apply. I 100% believe that the current policy is the ethically correct one for our military.
I don't presume to speak for anyone but myself. I'm sorry you feel so angry about my statements, I certainly meant nothing personal. I certainly do apologize for any offense I have given, however inadvertent.

The last thing I would do is suggest that only vets can talk about vets; that was not my intent. I meant to point out that veterans have more insight into their fellow veterans non-veterans. How could it be otherwise?
You presume to speak on behalf of all veterans, because, after all, you're a vet. And you use this same, arrogant rationale in every discussion in which I disagree with you on veterans benefits and veterans affairs. In a thread a while back, you suggested to me that I don't understand how important the uniform is to veterans because I'm not a vet. You've presumed that I'm not a veteran in several threads on similar topics, and each time I remind you that I am, in fact, honorably discharged from the US military. I manage to remember that you are a marine, and while I don't go out of my way to advertise that I am a veteran, it's come up several times over the yeasr. So, yeah. I won't lie. It comes off to me as personal and intentional.

You seem to agree with most of what I'm saying, but then casually dismiss the conclusions drawn from actual evidence in favor of your own gut feelings and impressions based on not much more than what amounts to some negative personal experiences and emotion.
 

WC_lun

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Bill, as you said, vets are people like anyone else. So yes, there are going to be people gaming the system. Most people on assistance of any sort outside the military are not gaming the system, though some try to convince people otherwise. I think the same is true of our military men and women. There will be people that try to cheat. That is something I think we can all agree on. I just do not think that a large portion are cheating and until proof is given, rather than the anecdotal you know someone cheating, I will continue to believe that the system is mostly working as intended.
 

Tgace

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Whenever you attach money to something there is going to be a percentage of people who will try to take advantage. Look at workmans comp cases, where some studies estimate a 36% fraud rate.

I don't think Bill or I are claiming that even the majority of PTSD cases are malingering cases. However I do think that a system that is legally bound to resolve doubtful cases in the applicants favor is open for abuse:

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2011753744_apusthewarwithinfakeclaimsabridged.html

Already, VA officials are legally bound to resolve “any reasonable doubt” in the veteran’s favor. And Rogers, the retired claims specialist, and others say the system is vulnerable to fraud because of the way it was designed: Doctors make diagnoses without fact-checking the veteran’s story, and once that diagnosis is made, claims raters’ hands are essentially tied.

What is the solution? Deny real PTSD victims benefits by siding on the other side? I don't know...I don't presume to have the answers.
 

Makalakumu

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How many groups can claim entitlements from the government before the government has to pick and choose? The political fights over this in the future are going to be nasty...

Everyone is going to claim that the entitlements are benefits and that the government owes them these things. In the end, I am pretty sure no one is going to be able to collect. The first special interest group to get put on the block is going to scream like hell and probably elect enough people to avert a real cut...

...until the whole system breaks down...like Greece.
 

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Whenever you attach money to something there is going to be a percentage of people who will try to take advantage. Look at workmans comp cases, where some studies estimate a 36% fraud rate.
Apples and oranges. Workman's Compensation has a completely different administrative process, as well as a completely different definition of disability. Social Security has a third definition, based on one's ability to engage in "substantial gainful activity." Comparisons between these agencies can be very misleading.
I don't think Bill or I are claiming that even the majority of PTSD cases are malingering cases.
Then what's the problem?
However I do think that a system that is legally bound to resolve doubtful cases in the applicants favor is open for abuse:

http://seattletimes.com/html/nationworld/2011753744_apusthewarwithinfakeclaimsabridged.html

What is the solution? Deny real PTSD victims benefits by siding on the other side? I don't know...I don't presume to have the answers.
It seems to me that you are taking the onus of responsibility off of the true malingerers and penalizing potentially eligible servicemen and women because you feel like there are too many people gaming the system. But to this point, I haven't seen anything but wild assed guesses and conjecture. These are not things upon which sound policy decisions are made. "I think we should make it much more difficult to apply for benefits because I know a guy." Come on... seriously?

Once again, not everyone applies. And of those who apply, not everyone is approved. And not everyone who is approved is 100% disabled. And not everyone who is 100% disabled has PTSD.

The burning question here that hasn't yet been addressed is this: do we have a problem with fraud? I have seen nothing to suggest that we do. We might, but neither you nor Bill has offered any evidence of it.

The VA hasn't been all that well managed over the past decade or so. They've been struggling to modernize their infrastructure and hire competent claims authorizers and developers to keep up with the dramatic increases in their workloads, and in spite of all of this hiring, they have amassed a sizable backlog of claims. The VA is also actively working on modernizing and streamlining the applications process not only to make it easier to apply, but also to improve accuracy. Last I saw, initial decisions (both awards and denials) were around 86% accurate. The goal is to improve that to 98% accurate over the next few years, and under their current leadership, I expect they'll get a lot closer.

Encouraging people to apply for disability is smart. It protects the veteran and ALSO protects the VA because it establishes a paper trail and a baseline determination for that individual.

And once again, it's not welfare. It's a benefit, just like any other Veteran's benefit, such as the GI Bill. Suggesting that we discourage (or fail to encourage) individuals from filing for disability where appropriate is exactly the same as discouraging individuals from using their GI Bill or VA Loan.

One other thing is that disability benefits are a catalyst for eligibility for a number of other VA benefits, such as voc rehab. We have a lot of vets, particularly guardsmen and reservists who are coming home unable to return to the jobs they left. That's part of the reason that unemployment among vets is up around 12%.

We all agree that fraud should be dealt with. Philosophically speaking, that's just common sense. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the answer to the burning question is yes.
 
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