VA worries that folks are lying about PTS

| August 4, 2014

The LA Times reports that the doctors at the Veterans Affairs Department are beginning to wonder if they’re handing out disability checks for PTS a little too often;

As disability awards for PTSD have grown nearly fivefold over the last 13 years, so have concerns that many veterans might be exaggerating or lying to win benefits. Moering, a former Marine, estimates that roughly half of the veterans he evaluates for the disorder exaggerate or fabricate symptoms.

Depending on severity, veterans with PTSD can receive up to $3,000 a month tax-free, making the disorder the biggest contributor to the growth of a disability system in which payments have more than doubled to $49 billion since 2002.

“It’s an open secret that a large chunk of patients are flat-out malingering,” said Christopher Frueh, a University of Hawaii psychologist who spent 15 years treating PTSD in the VA system.

You know what doesn’t help? When Senators blame their plagiarism on PTS, when the media blames everything bad that a veteran does on PTS. When we veterans blame our own bad behavior on PTS. When we blame the fact that we can’t sleep, or that we don’t feel hungry, agoraphobia, a jumpy reaction to fireworks all on PTS. yeah, sometimes it is, but not always.

In one case The Times reviewed, a woman was awarded PTSD compensation based on breaking her leg in a fall walking to the mess hall.

As the number of cases has climbed, so has debate over their legitimacy.

A 2007 study of 74 Arkansas veterans with chronic PTSD, most of them from the Vietnam War, concluded that more than half were exaggerating symptoms. Other research has found little evidence of malingering.

Here at TAH, we’ve seen folks who claim that they have PTS because they were at 8th & I and saw the smoke from the Pentagon on 9/11. One fellow claims that he had PTS from listening to other combat veterans’ war stories. Yet another claimed that he has PTS because he DIDN’T deploy and he was worried about his unit while they deployed. Another claimed that he caught the PTSD from his drill sergeants. Beat your wife and kids? PTS made you do it. Rob a bank? PTSD caused it. Driving drunk? You were self-medicating for PTSD. Wear a Bronze Star Medal and a Green Beret you didn’t earn? PTS, dude. Did you watch a guy murder someone and didn’t report it to the police? Well….

PTS is hip and cool and the catch-all for all bad behavior. And all of the malingerers just keep the real cases that need to be treated away from the doctors and the stuff they need to cope with it, because who wants to be lumped in with the fakes and lazies who clog the system?

Fake PTS is probably far more common than Stolen Valor, because it’s easier to fake and less likely you’ll get caught, but just as shameful and much more hurtful to the veteran community, not to mention those folks who really do suffer from it and won’t seek treatment.

Category: Veteran Health Care

Comments (64)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Green Thumb says:

    I have been saying this for years.

    Vindication.

  2. OWB says:

    And how many vets were diagnosed with PTS who made no claim of it at all? It has been part of the VA culture for a couple of decades to ask a few questions unrelated to the treatment sought, then label the vet with a mental disease.

    It’s a systemic problem which the VA created.

    • rb325th says:

      I am one of those being treated and not claiming it. Mine is from a culmination of numerous incidents, not one single event.
      In honesty I had put in for it when I got out in 95, was even treated while on active duty… I was denied by the VA so I just let it go and let the VA treat me. I just was not going to fight for a 10% rating.
      I do have trouble sleeping, sometimes. I do get startled easily by loud and unexpected noises, but I love fireworks. I occasionally have panic attacks, but they are manageable(that is actually the most pronounced symptom and general anxiety). Etc… Etc…
      I have never been arrested, so cannot blame the PTSD for that. I did quit drinking after realizing I was being an idiot, but it was because I was being an idiot not because of PTSD. I did not cheat in College, or in life. If I made a mistake (and I made many) it was because I did not think things through enough. I have never lied about who I am or what little I accomplished in the Army or life in general. People who do all that? It is not because of an anxiety based disorder!! It is because they are cheaters, liars, alcoholics, drug addicts, murderers, thieves, etc…
      Those who lie about even having PTS? They are just scum sucking douchebags who make it harder on folks who really do have to deal with it.
      PTSD is different for everyone, but I can guarantee that a huge number of those who are being compensated for it have highly exaggerated if not outright lied about it to get that check.
      If I filed for it again, I would probably be approved. Why though? I get treated for it already, and of all the issues I have this is the one that affects me the least.

      • DefendUSA says:

        Nicely put. I agree with you and for others that PTS is the least of someone’s worries if they think it’s okay to lie, cheat and steal…

  3. Rerun0369 says:

    In all fairness as well, the VA and the military medical syste mitself was diagnosing PTS left and right for a while. After my first deployment, we all had to do a mandatory mental health evaluation or some such jazz. Talking to the evaluator, I was asked a series of questions, one of which was if I ever smelled anything or heard anything which reminded me of my deployment. I of course answered yes, just like how I hear certain songs and I am reminded of my youth.

    Well, it turns out that was “surefire sign” I had the PTS. Talking to my buddies they all said the same thing as I. Luckily the BAS decided to toss all those assesments out, but the point still stands. For a while PTSD was the buzzword, and the VA was very happy to diagnose any and everybody with PTSD.

  4. Brian says:

    Sleep Apnea is also up there on the fakery scale (IMO). Since it’s physiological Vs psych how many would have Apnea even if they had never served a second… but it’s an auto 50% at the va?

    • shawn says:

      Brian you state ment is BS my friend I did 2 sleep studies hooked to machines to monitor my breathing in 1 hour my body stopped breath 97 times . and I got NOTHING FROM THE VA .

    • rb325th says:

      Brian, in order to be approved for it you have to show that the symptoms existed while you were on active duty. Treatment of it itself or associated issues that can lead to it.
      I myself am not Service Connected for it, but I have to sleep with a machine that without it I would stop breathing 98 times an hour. Nevermind the constant naps I would be taking in the middle of working… just doze right off.
      I showed signs of it while on active duty, in addition to being treated for obstructions that can lead to full blown sleep apnea.
      P.S. you only get the 50% if you have Severe OSA that requires uses of a CPAP or other device. The actually health conditions related to it are immense if left untreated by the way. Which is why it is rated so high.
      Is it faked like PTSD? Oh I am sure it is, just like service connection for certain types of diabetes, and other issues that could easily be caused by aging that are being automatically connected to spending even one day in Vietnam.
      Same as knee injuries, back injuries, migraines, etc.. etc..
      I really do not think we can look at any one issue other than say someone getting a limbs amputated that someone is not putting in a bogus claim for it. Hell, I am pretty sure amputations have been blamed on military service where the blame lay elsewhere too.

    • OAE CPO USN Ret says:

      You can’t just walk in to the VA and say “Hey I’ve got sleep apnea, where’s my disablity rating?”. You have to go in for a sleep study.

      You’re brought in to the sleep clinic in the early evening time. They wire you up like a pinball machine with EEG leads and another whizbang that is some sort of breathing monitor.

      The EEG is monitored to see when you’re in the different stages of sleep. You can’t just stay awake all night and hold your breath every other minute.

      I went through a sleep study a few years after I retired. I’d fall asleep on the couch and my kids would be shaking me awake saying things like “you didn’t take a breath for a minute” or “your snoring is really loud”.

      2 or 3 hours into the study the nurse woke me up and hooked me up to a CPAP machine for the rest of the night.

      The VA has supplied me with a CPAP machine. Do I get disability for it? Nope, and I haven’t applied for a re-evaluation to get it included either. I’m just happy that the VA supplied the machine.

      Could I get my rating upgraded? I’ve heard that it’s possible. I snored like a downshifting dump truck when I was on active duty and also stopped breathing then. I could probably get letters from former shipmates and even my ex to attest to that fact.

      It’s just a cast iron pain in the ass to do and there are folks that need the VA’s assistance WAY more than I do.

      • Just an Old Dog says:

        Ive got the CPAP through the VA. I was diagnosed with it in 2011, although I know for a fact I have had it since at least 1985.
        Thats about the time my wife started noticing I stopped breathing several times a night and my snoring was god awful.
        Even in the field I was known as a horrible snorer.
        When I was waiting for my first Major VA package to come back I submitted a request to have my Sleep Apnea added to my disability claim.
        I included copies of my sleep study, as well as written statements from Marines from three different units and time periods ( 85, 90 and 96) saying I displayed symptoms of Sleep Apnea in the field.
        The VA denied my claim, saying that since I never noted that I had problems sleeping or had fatigue during my physical I didnt have it.
        I was like WTF who DOESNT have those problems,, it goes with the job.

  5. Climb to Glory says:

    I agree wholeheartedly Jonn. And nobody wants to be that asshole who questions someone that says they have PTS, therefor it is fairly easy to get away with. Claiming fake PTS is right up there with stolen valor in my opinion. Those shitbirds are stealing time and money from the system.

  6. Hondo says:

    “It’s an open secret that a large chunk of [PTSD] patients are flat-out malingering . . . . ”

    That’s like observing that water is wet, or that Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.

    The VA shouldn’t have needed a study to figure that out. It’s obvious to anyone with 3 or more working brain cells.

    If there’s money to be had, some people will get it any way they can – including by hook or crook.

  7. shawn says:

    I filed in 05 denied . I filed again in 07 denied, again in 2011. 4 shrinks,2 psych exams and 2.5 year wait. I was approved, it is really not easy for approval .

  8. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    I remember once on a weekend leave in 1978 while I was at FT Benning that we went to Atlanta, there were 4 of us. We started heading out to some well known disco music places, and we were separated so I found myself alone in a strange night club. I was unable to locate my compatriots even though I did consume a great deal of alcohol in an attempt to ascertain their geographical proximity to my own.

    After this consumption of alcohol I somehow was tricked into taking a hotel room where I enjoyed to company of a young, svelte, attractive woman…at some point during the night the attractive woman was replaced with a slightly older, average looking woman who smelled of garlic and cheap liquor….I had to quietly drop to the floor and put my clothes on while lying flat on my back and then low crawl out the door and race down to the desk where I paid the bill for the still sleeping drunkard I’d apparently spent some of the night with while believing a different event had been happening.

    That was when I caught the PTSD, the sight of her makeup smeared face and large sun and age freckled breasts were forever burned onto my retinas, and while not entirely unpleasant, a minor disagreeable image to be sure….to this day I still have nightmares about being unable to escape that room without waking her up and being forced to spend the weekend in a drunken stupor with an average looking cougar nymphomaniac….I still wake up screaming…

    • Stacy0311 says:

      Lessons learned:
      1. Never use your real name outside the gate.
      2. Disco is the music of the devil.

    • O-4E says:

      And you never live that shit down, in the barracks, until another Joe does something/someone more egregious.

      Been there. Done that.

    • Dave Hardin says:

      I still suffer daily from the 2 Girls 1 Cup video. The horror of it all. Please, I beg each of you to watch the 2 girls 1 cup reactions on youtube first. I have been looking for a support group to deal with the shame of it all.

    • Instinct says:

      I got PTSD from a hooker in PI once…. Or was that an STD? Wel, either way it was pretty damn traumatic!!!

    • OAE CPO USN Ret says:

      That falls into a whole other disability category.

      Coyote Ugly, or Double Coyote Ugly.

      Coyote Ugly is where you wake up with her sleeping on your arm. You decide it’s better to chew your arm off to get away instead of just waking her up.

      Double Coyote: Similar to Coyote Ugly in that you chew your arm off. Once you’ve escaped you decide to chew your other arm off because you’re worried that she’ll still find you because she’ll be looking for a one armed man.

  9. Stacy0311 says:

    Like a certain Senators claim of PTSD? I wonder if he got treated by the VA…..

  10. Ex-PH2 says:

    I have a list of things I could claim PTS for:

    – fighting off an army of ants that invaded my dwelling place because it was raining. They not only tried to set up a fortress of their own, they also got into my cookies.

    – Finding a spider sitting in the toilet bowl on a particularly hot summer day. (Hint: never just sit on the commode without looking first.)

    – Finding myself snowed in with 4 1/2 feet of snow drifted up against my storm door. (I have pictures.) I could have been stuck in my house until spring. 🙁

    I haven’t gotten a VA check yet for any of that.

    • Hondo says:

      Ex-PH2: did any of that occur while you were on active duty? If so, you should put in a claim!

      Yes, I’m obviously joking. But when you see stuff like our “good buddy” Sealy McChippendale, well, you kinda wonder.

  11. LostBoys says:

    The last lines in the LA Times article are the money shot, “In one case that Moering reviewed in 2009, he searched military records and concluded that a Navy veteran on the disability rolls for PTSD had lied to VA clinicians about having served in the elite SEALs and concocted his combat history.
    The VA responded by reducing his PTSD rating from 50% to 30%, records show.”
    Really? How about calling the cops and charging him with fraud?

  12. Ex-344MP says:

    I never claimed PTSD when I filed for my benefits. Magically it appeared in my file when I was going through comp and pen and I was awarded 10 percent for it.

    I firmly believe the reasoning for the PTSD diagnosis was so that my claim would go up to 30 percent instead of 20.

    Now, that being said, further diagnosis of my conditions has gone beyond the need for the PTSD diagnosis, so it is no longer part of my disabilities and I don’t need it for the extra 10 percent it was initially put in so I could get over that 30 percent hump.

  13. Towers says:

    I would love to meet one of these shit bags that say they get PTSD from breaking there leg while walking to the Chow hall. That shit pisses me off for the guys that really do have PTSD. Its like a guys getting a purple heart cuss they scratched there big toe on some barbed wire!

  14. drc says:

    I was medically retired for PTSD, TBI, Amputation, Burns, Tendinitis, ect. As time as went on since I was injured in 2007 at the age of 21 I feel as though my symptoms of PTSD have dissipated. The best cure for PTSD was set goals and achieve. I set my sight on college and graduated in 2011 and set my sight on getting my MBA and I will be starting my MBA this fall from a top 10 program. When people ask me about PTSD I just tell them I set goals and achieved them and it has allowed for me to move on from that time in my life.
    I do agree PTSD is faked a lot. I have had 3 individuals I know who faked PTSD. One was another Corpsman who did not deploy with us and was left in the rear because he was a POS who had failed a drug test. He eventually got out of the military on an OTH and fought his discharge to receive a general discharge a few years later. He never deployed and had a 3.5 year stint in the military that was less than stellar. Around 2011 I found out from another friend that he was getting a combined 80% DVA disability 70% for PTSD. I asked how that is. I guess he told someone he was raped by our HM1 which I know for a fact did not happen because the dates he claimed we were in Afghanistan. He ended up pointing a gun at his wife and going to a VA inpatient program for PTSD. The dude was a POS before hand and is lying and got caught doing drugs and could not admit that fact to himself.
    Another friend of mine was a Marine who stayed in the rear as well and got two DUIs on base and was not allowed to reenlist and eventually booted. He asked me to lie for him to write a statement that he was the one who performed CLS on me when I was blown up because he was trying to get disability. I hung up the phone and told him to never contact me again. This individual got out of the military the same month I retired in 2008 and is still in college and probably about 2 years away from graduating. I retired 6 years ago.
    The problem is the guys claiming PTSD do not merit a rating. They seem to always have pity party stories and do not want to work. I know guys who have severe PTSD but they at least make an effort. Some guys are just total POS and that seems to be the story of their whole life.

  15. Flagwaver says:

    You do realize that this will punish actual veterans with PTS. The docs will hear someone mention a roadside bomb, but not really want to talk about it and raise the B.S. flag. However, the guy in the next office, who never served a day in his life, will be talking about bombs, mortars, bayonet fighting, blood everywhere, he was alone, cut off from his unit, had to eat rats, etc… and award him because his sounds more plausible than “I was blown up and don’t really want to talk about it.”

    If they want to fix the PTS payment system, they should first ensure anyone with a rating has actually served. Second, make sure they served in combat. That should clear up about half of the jack-asses right there.

    • Grimmy says:

      Donno if it should be the first step, or concurrent with the first step, but no steps are gonna mean a damned thing unless the psych field is cleaned out and made functional.

      That “profession” is slimmed and slathered with numpties that believe, whole heartedly, that everyone without exception is mentally ill. The problem, as they see it, is not everyone has been properly diagnosed yet.

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      You’re leaving non-combat event rape victims out of that group, you know. I can’t speak for the way it blows your mind, because it has never happened to me, but I do know that it is an extremely stressful, traumatic event that takes time and will power to recover from. And it happens to both women and men, in the military or out of it.

      • Flagwaver says:

        My apologies. I was only thinking in terms of generalities, specifically the claims made by phonies as they compare to claims placed by combat veterans.

  16. A Proud Infidel®™ says:

    Kinda like a certain skydiving clown who claims to be 100% disabled? I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD and mild TBI, but I’ve driven on and haven’t seeked a dime from the VA, I feel like I still have too many productive years left. I have to agree with you Flagwaver, the bureaucrats will let as many scammers as they can go and the ones who really need help will be punished instead.

  17. Dave Hardin says:

    If the VA continued to offer treatment for PTSD and stopped mailing checks I will bet most will find they are miraculously cured. There are those that do suffer from this condition, I have dealt with them. Never underestimated the power of s swift kick in the ass from a fellow veteran and what it can accomplish.

    • Dave Hardin says:

      Here is a re-post of my earlier opinions:

      Behavioral abnormalities in adults are most often attributed to a diminished capacity. With the exclusion of certain preexisting physiological onsets the causality points to environmental events that modify behavior. Most all of us are subjected to traumatic stress during our lives. When a traumatic event is coupled with guilt or sudden onset the ego intuitively rejects acceptance. Hence the ‘denial’ phase of the grief cycle. Fixation during that phase of the cycle manifests itself in behavior that is observed as aberrant by most those not subjected to the associated stress. I have spent decades dealing with individuals concerning these issues. I can offer my own attestation to the existence of post traumatic stress, almost all of us can. What I reject is the trend to ‘normalize’ a fixation or stagnation in this stage of development. Rejecting a swift kick in the ass as a treatment modality is unconscionable. There is a current social reinforcement of the hypothesis: I have been subjected to traumatic stress therefore prolonged abnormal behavior is acceptable. Reenforce this with financial rewards, special recognition, and a social reluctance to confront the behavior and it is perpetuated.
      Insofar as Veteran Victimization is concerned the aforementioned hypothesis is perfectly suited with a minor modification: I am a veteran therefore prolonged abnormal behavior is expected. I should receive special attention, financial rewards, and the general public will not confront my behavior. Since I have just a modicum of experience in these matters let me offer the following advice to my fellow veterans that are stagnated in any particular stage of development: You are not special, you do not deserve special attention, you do not deserve to receive money, and there is at least one veteran in this world that will call you out on your bullshit. Have a nice day.

  18. Spaghets says:

    Im currently active duty and working my way through the IDES process. I’ve been to the Voc Rehab Counseling and the C&P exams. At both offices while I was waiting there were folks bragging about their 100% PTSD ratings and how they havent worked in 4-6 years. It went so far as they were recommending to other folks in the room to make PTSD claims. Its a good thing I regularly attend therapy and practice anger management or I might have killed both of these individuals. Both times I had to call the front desk from the parking lot because I could not sit in the waiting room with this BS. My other favorite thing are these dipshit who wear PTSD t-shirts. WTF is that all about? Need your pity card punched? I think all these people should be put out of their misery, because I hate being associated with them, and thats why the real sufferers of PTS don’t report it til its too late. Because they are already having problems coming to grips with their condition and don’t want to be associated with these faking ass pussy motherfuckers.

  19. 1AirCav69 says:

    I predicted this a long time ago. Some of you will remember it. I talked about the pendulum swing. When I worked in the Vet Center PTSD claims from real combat veterans I was treating was almost impossible to get. It was a good 2 year battle because the VA went to the Army, Navy, Marines, AF, etc. for morning reports and AAR’s to back up what a veteran was saying his stressors were. They were denying almost everybody that did not have a distinct combat MOS, Purple Heart, CIB, CAR, etc. Actually, they were denying a lot of those just out of meanness. Just ask a cook at Con Tien what it was like to be a spoon in Rocket City. Luckily the Marines gave out CAR’s. Eventually the VA started giving PTSD Comp. to convoy gunners, drivers, MP’s, etc. by going to AAR’s, morning reports etc. but it took a fight. Then things changed with Iraq and Afghanistan. I think the post deployment evals were a great idea to try and identify and treat the illness early. I was working for the Navy and Marine Corps and they helped me for sure. Also, don’t forget the P in PTS. It’s “Post” so sometimes it doesn’t show up right away. Anyway, some bright people decided that you no longer had to prove a traumatic, “near death experience beyond the realm of “normal” trauma. They even took that criteria out of the new DSM. I knew then that the fakers with any kind of sense what so ever, i.e. broken legs in the chow hall, would be sucking the system dry and making it a joke, and making people that really suffer from it, look like idiots. It’s happened. Don’t move the pendulum to the middle, move it all the way to the other side, and this is what you get. I do love how the VA talks of people exaggerating their PTSD. Well think of the adversarial system they operate under. Someone has PTSD, is being treated, and doing a little better. Mention that, and boom, the hammer hits dropping their rating from let’s say 70 to 30. A month or two later something happens in that veterans life to bump his PTSD back up but try to get that rating back up. Good luck, so, the word was, never say your getting better. The whole system sucks with phony’s who wouldn’t know real PTS if it bit them in the ass….but nobody can say I didn’t warn about this. Ratings from hearing stories, ratings because your unit got deployed but you didn’t. It’s enough to make me want to blow my fucking brains out. Almost 30 years of my work down the fucking drain.

    • Stacy0311 says:

      PDHRA 6 months after Iraq resulted in “mental health” referrals for 90% of my company. PTSD was a big issue. It might have something to do with a large % of people going through withdrawls from the prescribed meds in Iraq. “Can’t sleep? Here’s a pill. Can’t function the next day because of the drugs? Here’s a pill.” Combat stress clinics in Iraq were very big on prescriptions. I was very nervous getting in an MRAP with certain drivers. Anecdotal evidence shows that it was first time deployers who made up a large percentage of Combat Stress Clinic patrons.

  20. Armydoc says:

    I am a psychiatrist in the Army reserves. One of the most unfortunate things about my field is most of it is subjective and not based on measurable data. The other unfortunate thing is there is an emphasis on keeping people in the sick role rather than focusing on healing and recovering. The fact is most people are resilient and recover from the shock and horrors of trauma. They usually come away changed and might have residual symptoms that last a lifetime but most certainly are not non functional and disabled. In my humble opinion the expectation in PTS should be recovery. Sadly as long as this is politically driven the truth will be sidelined by popular belief.

  21. Uncle Marty says:

    I like the line about some Private getting PTSD from his Drill Sergeant. Sounds like a Drill Sergeant doing his job right.

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      We had a phony a few moths ago who claimed that he needed a service dog because he had PTS from basic training. I can’t remember which one it was…but it’s out there somewhere.

      • Flagwaver says:

        PTS from Boot? Really? Did his cadre not properly handle his Stress Card? Did his Drill yell at him? Did he get a little mud all over his bright, shiny polished boots? Did he have to go outside and sweat a little during P.T. when it was all hot? Maybe his recruiter lied to him about how horrible it was going to be? (USMC not included, their recruiters are open about the hell-hole that is Boot Camp to make sure only Marines join.)

      • Hondo says:

        Pretty sure this was the “guy”, Jonn. (I’m using the term “guy” very loosely, of course.)

        http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=38961

        To get PTSD from basic, his man card must be printed on pale lavender paper with dark pink polka dots.

    • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

      AMEN TO THAT,and I wonder how many “shammers” & BCT/AIT dropouts are trying to get a free ride from that? I once worked in a shipyard where one coworker tried to tell me I was stupid for not acting crazy when I first ETS’ed in the early nineties. I remember him (An Ex-Con as well) bragging to me about his Cousin saying “Yeah, he acted crazy when he got out, he gets a free ride, gets his ‘Crazy money’ fo’ nuthin every month fo’ deh rest of his life, ‘yo crazy fo’ not gettin’ dat!”. Fuck him, fuck that. I have plenty of productive years left, and I believe in working to earn things. Yes, I’m certain that there are a fair share of Fellow Vets who truly need all the help they can get, but how do we flush the “shammers and scammers” out without harming them?

      • Flagwaver says:

        Exactly.

        Step 1) Re-examine all current claims for PTS. If the person wasn’t in the service, arrest them. If the person didn’t get out of Training (BCT, AIT, or whatever the names for training in the other Services are), revoke their checks. If the person never deployed, have a qualified military shrink perform a full assessment, to include at least one follow-up after a month and compare the results.

        Step 2) Reassess all those who make the cut after Step 1. Put them in touch with support groups or shrinks who can assist them with their problems and help them overcome their disorder. Give them gas vouchers to get to and from the sessions and a modified E05 BAH to help them with their bills and expenses, based on the level of their PTS (30% disability means 30% of the BAH).

        Step 3) Seek to fix the problem, not just throw money at it. Have the VA organize a vet get-together every month or two where they can get out of their house and actually interact with people who know what they are going/have gone through. Wounded Warrior has shown that this works.

        But, what do I know. I’m just a vet with PTS.

  22. nbcguy54 says:

    This is one of these issues that I have a hard time with and I don’t know why. Early on, guys were coming home with TBI, PTSD and other problems but weren’t getting properly diagnosed or receiving the proper care until too late. Attention got pointed at those problems and the pendulum swung dramatically the other way in a way to catch everyone that even remotely could be suffering effects. The definition was expanded, diagnosis and care offered to almost everyone, and the military felt good about itself for the way it was taking care of troops. But as in every situation, a few either fall through the cracks or a few that don’t rate the diagnosis slip in. I agree with the military pushing troops to get screened and diagnosed, but I’m not in agreement with the fix being monthly checks for everyone. I’m not a doc so I don’t have a clue what would qualify one for any of these diagnoses, but based on what I read and hear, looks like I may have missed the boat myself a few years ago, and am no worse off because of it.
    At Ft. Carson alone, back in the mid-late eighties, I tore up my back as we totaled a UH-1 in a downrange crash, lost one of my troops in a training accident and witnessed another troop get crushed by a 5000 gallon tanker in a tank trail accident. None of it combat related but it was rather traumatic at the time. Thanks to a good wife, good friends and more than a few good beers, I didn’t go postal, didn’t blame it for my cat tearing up the front door screen in our quarters, and didn’t go home and beat my kid. I am still a little leary of helicopters and certain roller coaster rides, and push seatbelt use like it’s no one else’s business. Ironically, our co-pilot of the crashed Huey was also with me when we witnessed the 5000 gallon tanker incident.
    We didn’t know how else to deal with these things back then (sounds like a WWII story), but PTSD wasn’t a peace-time Army issue then. We dealt with it and moved on. In my civvie job as a Safety Professional, we recently had an employee lose his life – and we already have 3 other people who didn’t work with the man, didn’t know the man, claim worker’s comp for PTSD because of his death. C’mon.
    I haven’t got the slightest freaking idea what my point is to my rambling right now, but I do wish that there was a better way of dealing with this. Parking someone in the corner of the room and giving them drugs and checks each month might make the government feel good about themselves (look – we’re taking care of SGT Smith), but it does nothing to help the guys needing legitimate help get on with their lives.

    • Hondo says:

      Well said, Flag and nbcguy. Nail. Hammer. Head.

      The solution isn’t throwing money at the problem. That only encourages some to see a gravy train and hop on.

      The solution is giving people the support needed to get on with living a productive life. Your family/unit/friends did that for you – and you got on with your life. The VA could do the same for those affected with PTSD w/o giving a handout to practically all comers.

      Provide therapy and support WITHOUT providing a check, and you’ll weed out the vast majority of those who are there solely for a free ride.

    • nita pekel says:

      Do you see the number of vets commiting suicide? Have you seen the guys breakdown? I have seen my Son in tears suicidal etc. It is not weakness. It is no longer fitting in and belonging. It is memory problems, sleep problems,anxiety, flashbacks. It is real, my Son came back a different person. A lot of the problems not diagnosed.

  23. Mike says:

    They’re just now figuring this out?

    The VA is out there trolling for people to get them enrolled at DEMOB sites. Briefing on briefing telling you that you have problems and need to claim your benefits even if you feel fine you aren’t. I’ve always wondered if they were trying to help people or provide themselves with job security by pumping their numbers up.

  24. Tim the asshole says:

    I question the folks that go and share their kumbaya stories online with a bunch of people they don’t know. It’s as questionable to me as the the hero in the s-shop who talks about that one time in (insert war)….

    The real people I know with it keep their shit to themselves and maybe talk about it with others who were there in brief moments of passing, etc.

    Now I return to my regularly scheduled life..

  25. Old 1SG, US Army (retired) says:

    Thanks to the LA Times for once again doing absolutely nothing to support veterans… they prefer to incite their readers with comments like “veterans with PTSD can receive up to $3000 a month, tax free.” Really? Let’s think about this for a minute… 3k for PTSD alone?

    I know the VA and the services have some wacky ways to calculate this stuff, but a person receiving say 3k for a 30% rating would have to be making 10k a month, 50% would be 6k or 72000 annually in base pay. Not your average Joe’s salary…

    Must have been some general officers they spoke to about this…

    • Hondo says:

      Actually, that part is true. PTSD alone can be a 100% disabling condition if the VA determines it’s “bad enough” or prevents the individual from working (“individual unemployability”).

      VA disability compensation for a vet with spouse at the 100% rate is just over $3,000 a month. When the tax advantage and free medical/dental is figured in, that’s the equivalent of a taxable income of about $50k annually.

      Yeah, I’d say that’s enough motivation for some people to “stretch the truth” – or, if you prefer, lie through their teeth – about “catching the PTS”.

  26. MN GI says:

    Unfortunately this is too often the case now that the VA has “relaxed” the rules for stressors with claiming PTSD or some sort of mental health condition. The VA use to have to use combat badges and medals (IE- CIB, CMB, CAR, CAB, Purple Heart, Bronze Star w/ V device, etc.) before they (VA) would even consider the claim for benefit. Now with the relaxation or easing of not having the badges and medals and only having to “fear for one’s life because of terrorism” everyone now has PTSD or PTS or whatever the great catch phrase word is we are using. I agree that it does not help when media brandishes everyone veteran with mental health and plagiarism from some Senator is making the news in a ten second sound bite for some sort headline news.

    One gentleman commented earlier about how he has suffered traumatic injury and how he moved forward from his injuries and set goals. He achieved his goals and is moving forward using his life experience to better himself. Perhaps those who suffer can get treatment in resiliency whether from the VA or DOD and move forward to become active, contributing citizens.

    Working in the veteran business (advocating for veterans as a CVSO) too many times I see dudes (a majority male, from my experience) that barely qualified for service forty years ago or even today, they never went anyplace, their characterization on their discharge is less than stellar and they have been failing at life before, during and after service and somehow it is all because of active federal service.

    The bad side of this is perhaps the VA is ow looking at re-evaluating veteran’s not just the shit bags but every veteran and possibly we (the veteran community) may see every starting to get reduced with service related conditions. The war is over and we (VA-federal government) need to save some money. I believe historically speaking the VA has re-evaluated veterans at the end of the conflicts and reduced. Veterans get a bad taste and experience from the VA and vow never to go back. Yep I agree save some money, however not on the backs of our legitimate, injured veterans.

    Thanks for letting me post my two cents…

  27. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    I’m for eliminating fraud in government. I would like, however, to see a prioritization of fraud’s elimination. And, yes, the VA would be last on my list. I am open as to where to place all other agencies and departments on the list.