One Veteran's Voice

08 November 2005

Veteran's Day

On November 11 our country will celebrate Veterans Day, a day originally set aside as Armistice Day to remember the sacrifices of WWI veterans. Eventually the day morphed into a nationwide remembrance of all veterans in all wars, and was made official by act of Congress on May 24, 1954.

It is a shame that in this day and age the Veterans Affairs Administration is currently investigating approximately one-third of the cases of veterans who are receiving disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The VA believes that they were too lenient in deciding which soldiers were eligible for PTSD benefits. Last year, the VA spent $4.3 billion on PTSD disability payments and the VA hopes to reduce these payments by revoking PTSD benefits for many veterans. This will be the final insult to soldiers who were asked to fight a war on false pretenses.

There may, of course, be isolated cases of fraud in the VA disability system, but it is very hard for me to believe that fully 1/3 of the cases of PTSD are worthy of re-investigation. These veterans, already suffering mentally from what they have seen or done, will be forced to relive the experience yet again in a hostile climate of investigation and shame.

This government wants to have its cake and eat it to, and this is yet another example of cost cutting initiatives in an area where cost cutting is unacceptable. If the VA can't believe that they are spending 4.3 billion on PTSD-- believe it. It is not easy to get a VA disability pension, especially a 100% disability pension. It requires substantial documentation by medical doctors. What is more likely, that well-trained doctors were duped by greedy veterans trying to exploit PTSD in order to get a few hundred dollars a month-- or that a government in serious trouble is trying to cut costs by claiming that veterans who are scarred mentally were fine all along? It is impossible for the VA to dispute the claims of amputees, burn victims, and all the thousands of veterans who are maimed, but the mental scars of PTSD are not as easily visible. That does not make them any less real.

On this Veteran's Day, remember those whose minds and bodies are no longer whole, and ask yourself if we as a nation can continue to demand that more young men and women be sacrificed for dubious reasons.

8 Other Voices:

Partamian said...

Thanks for dropping by. Did you happen to read the article?

11/08/2005 05:37:48 PM  
NOTR said...

I think you are right. One-third of the PTSD compensation claims being is error is wrong. It is more like half.

Spend some time in a VA Hospital in a "session" with these folks and you will walk out wondering how did that Class III guy in Bien Hoa get so traumatized. How is it that everyone of them had a buddy die in their arms? And after you really get cynical, you will wonder if they all jumped into the same foxhole filled with dead buddies. It is uncanny, partly because there is an informal PTSD school in the streets. But, it will cost you a bottle of Thunderbird to attend.

11/08/2005 09:44:28 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

I don't think the Vietnam Veterans that do happen to be homeless drunks would find your comment very funny. Maybe some vets are in their current position due to their own faults, but cutting VA funding and belittling mental illnesses that are directly caused by combat won't help them or anyone else.

11/09/2005 03:30:07 AM  
Anonymous said...

It's great to have the comments of another veteran. Found your blog via usndemvet.com/blog/. I myself did 4 years of cold war service in the 80's, relatively lazy years in the USAF. I'll be checkin' in regularly.

11/11/2005 04:53:32 AM  
Donna Woodka said...

My brother-in-law, a marine vet who served in the Phillipines during Vietnam, suffers PTSD, a bum leg from a terrorist attack, and leukemia. he was exposed to Agent Orange, but, since he wasn't in Vietnam proper, they won't give him the disabilty for it. He is 100 percent diabled, but gets only a partial disabilty.

It is insane how our veterans are treated.

11/11/2005 12:17:50 PM  
Gordon said...

Welcome to Blogistan, OVV. Came over from DemVet.

I think NOTR may have been trying to be cynical, but you're right, it ain't funny.

I went to a VA facility for that kind of stuff, and it worked.

11/11/2005 06:22:23 PM  
Farnsworth said...

Welcome home, brother. Yours is a welcome new voice. I've added you to my blogroll over at One Pissed Off Veteran.
Let's keep on giving 'em hell!

11/11/2005 08:19:07 PM  
OneVeteran'sVoice said...

thanks pissed off vet, appreciate the link

11/12/2005 01:50:55 AM  

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