Thieves and Liars: PTSD Fraud and the VA

24Feb16

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A few months ago, a woman sitting next to me on an airplane started a friendly conversation. When she found out I was an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, she asked about something that was obviously bothering her.

“My daughter’s friend is an Iraq veteran,” she said. “He wasn’t in combat, but he’s disabled by PTSD. He was a medic, and he says the enemy was always trying to capture medics. On missions they wouldn’t let him out of the Humvee because he was in so much danger. He says his PTSD is from being scared of being captured.”

The woman was almost embarrassed to tell the story. Her expression betrayed obvious doubts about this veteran’s “trauma”. But like most of the public, she didn’t feel justified questioning any PTSD claim, from any veteran, for any reason. When I told her I never heard of medics being targeted more than anyone else (especially since they don’t dress or look different than other troops), that riding in a Humvee in Iraq isn’t so scary as to disable someone for life, and that he was probably milking the system for free money, she seemed relieved. She suspected the same thing, but didn’t feel right saying so.

It’s fair to say most of us combat veterans have suspicions about PTSD claims. We’ve been frustrated by stories of horrible, disabling PTSD from people we know were never in combat. We’ve heard of troops coming home from deployments to peaceful countries, never hearing a shot fired, but immediately claiming PTSD. We know that in the War on Terror only a small percentage of troops actually faced an enemy, and many of those relished the experience. We have the nagging feeling most PTSD claims are more about free money than healing and recovery. Some of us have become so skeptical, we automatically throw a mental BS flag when we hear someone talk about having PTSD.

But most of us doubters aren’t psychologists. We’re not trained. We don’t know what transpires between a veteran claiming PTSD and his VA counselor. We know PTSD doesn’t require combat experience, and understand not everyone has the same resistance to trauma, but still wonder if veterans really get disability payments for being yelled at in basic training. We hear assurances that PTSD disability isn’t handed out like candy, that claimed trauma is investigated rather than blindly accepted, and that the “tiny number” of scammers are quickly identified and booted from the system. Maybe our suspicion that the VA PTSD system is corrupt and overrun with liars, scammers and thieves is off base.

If our suspicions were confirmed, that would be pretty depressing. Know what would be even more depressing? Being told by two VA psychologists that the system is even more corrupt and full of liars, scammers and thieves than we thought.

Not long ago I wrote an article about two “combat” vets and their attempts to paint veterans as pitiful victims of PTSD. A VA psychologist read the article and contacted me. He can’t speak publicly because he still works at a large VA center, but I verified his identity and work. I’ll call him John.

John has treated over 700 veterans for PTSD. He estimates 75% of his patients are either outright fabricating trauma, or twisting benign experiences into supposed trauma in order to qualify for disability benefits. “Of all patients referred to me in 2015 for PTSD evaluation, 25% (estimated generously) had a real trauma-related condition,” John wrote. “And the majority of the remainder were obviously feigning PTSD symptoms.”

Few of John’s patients were actual combat veterans. “Only 10% had documentation (CIB/CAB/CAR/Purple Heart/Bronze Star, etc.) indicating substantial combat exposure,” John said. “Yet just over half were receiving VA disability payments for PTSD. All who weren’t yet on disability for PTSD were applying for it, and most on disability were appealing to increase their disability rating.”

Read the rest at BreachBangClear.com.

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Chris Hernandez is a 20 year police officer, former Marine and currently serving National Guard soldier with over 25 years of military service. He is a combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan and also served 18 months as a United Nations police officer in Kosovo. He writes for BreachBangClear.com and Iron Mike magazine and has published three military fiction novels, Proof of Our ResolveLine in the Valley and Safe From the War through Tactical16 Publishing. He can be reached at chris_hernandez_author@yahoo.com or on his Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ProofofOurResolve).

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51 Responses to “Thieves and Liars: PTSD Fraud and the VA”

  1. 1 Don

    Preach on Brother Chris!! I experienced PTSD symptoms after coming back from Iraq in 2005. I had been mortared a couple of times, saw guys get shot and dealt with a lot of detainees. I didn’t seek payment when we got back to Demob at Fort Lewis, I explained that I was have night sweats, nightmares, trouble sleeping, I was told that I could stay at Fort Lewis and speak to metal health but the garrison support unit didn’t have the resources to support anyone staying back after our unit left and thanksgiving weekend was coming up so we would be stuck on North Fort in Shitty WWII barracks with no transportation for five days. I opted to handle it through the VA and when home. It took six months to get an initial appointment with the VA and when I did get an appointment, it was an initial screening for other issues, not mental health. I continued to have trouble sleeping, which I treated myself through self medication with alcohol. Eventually, I did start talking to someone and the symptoms went away over time and with treatment. I have deployed since and know my body and mind so I knew what to look for, I did have so symptoms return after my Afghan deployment and address them with my doctor; I am a firm believer that PTSD is treatable. PTSD should not be used to join the check of the month club or to raise your rate of disability. Attendance in counseling should be mandatory for benefit payment and it should be reassessed every couple of years. Guys claiming PTSD from Desert Storm or earlier should highly scrutinized, especially if claims are made well after separation; except in the case of sexual assault but in those cases, there should be medical records to support those incidents.

    • Don,

      I experienced depression when I came back from Afghanistan (I don’t even know what to call all the pent-up anger and frustration I had after Iraq), and I worked it out. I don’t think it was wrong, I don’t think it was a “disorder”; it was a natural response to the adrenaline-charged environment I lived in for almost a year, and the transition from constant life-and-death danger to being a regular family guy worried about taxes and lawn care. All it took to get better was time and counseling. Money wasn’t a cure, and every VA psychologist knows that. But money still gets handed out like candy.

    • 3 Danny

      I don’t get what you mean about your statement about Desert Storm or earlier Veterans need to be highly scrutinized ???? What exactly do you mean sir??? I’m a Desert Storm Vet and people did die and the danger was there.. Are you saying no one in this conflict should have PTSD??? A lot of claims are being filed long after separation because PTSD gets worse after time.. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and I totally disagree with what your saying. We should not judge anyone unless you have walked a mile in their shoes….

      • 4 TerI

        Me thinks thou does protest too much! PTSD is overexaggerated in the military! Yes, there are many things which can cause it but let’s get real! PTSD is a real thing and people need to get help to overcome it. Yes, it can be overcome or at least made better, but who wants to lose that money the VA is handing out for claiming it??? So many vets I have met who have PTSD do not want to lose their VA benefits if and when they get better. With that in mind, the recovery rate is much slower than it should be. So many of us did get PTSD from things other than being over there fighting. Many of us were abused by those we trusted, physically, emotionally, etc. I truly believe PTSD can be treated but to find vets who want to be made 100% better and lose their benefits is low. Our society has become one which we feel we really deserve it because we volunteered ourselves to be put in harm’s way therefore the rest of the country owes us. I agree, people who truly have PTSD need to get help, and quickly to help them get better. It is not ok to encourage them to drag it out though. Some really do not get 100% better it’s true, but that number is so low in reality. We need a way to help these people without burdening them to maintain their PTSD.

  2. 5 Redblues

    One of my siblings returned from multiple combat zone deployments with PTSD, supposedly 90% disabled. For almost 2 years, this individual, along with spouse and 3 children, lived with me and my spouse. It did not take long to see that my sibling’s biggest problems was bottle fatigue, not battle fatigue, along with fundamental laziness. The same individual too traumatized to work could play violent, combat-themed, online games all day long but couldn’t clean the bathroom. This could not afford to contribute to the household expenses (which doubled) but could mysteriously afford half a gallon of gin and a case of beer a week, as well as the latest computer toys. Eventually they all moved out of state for a special, all-expenses-paid, graduate degree on the Federal dime. Oddly, they did not become homeless when the scholarship ended. Any physical disability also must have gone away as well, because the 90% disabled PTSD victim is suddenly capable of full time work while collecting lifetime disability payments and free educations for the children.
    “Disabled” my foot!
    I want my tax money back.

    • Not. Shocking. At. All.

      Bummer. 😦

    • 7 Pamela

      I’m dealing with a similar situation… concerning my ex husband. His manipulation and dilberate defrauding of the government was quite a simple task, even for him… as he was coached (from a former military buddy) on what exactly to say and what to do, in order to recieve full 100% disability. My ex served a short stint in Iraq for less than 6 months, as a part of the Navy SeeBees. He was never subjected to any extenuating war circumstances — meaning he built a few bridges and roads… of course after infantry units disarmed and cleared these specific sites. He never carried a gun or shot one. According to him, he never encountered any Iraqi civilians or soldiers. But, regardless of this war-time stint, lets fly ahead 4 years later, when I had filed for divorce. He made it clear, that A.) he would not pay child support and B.) he would drag this out for years, to financially cripple me. Within days after recieving court papers (summuning him for my request to divorce), he volunteeringly placed himself into an inpatient PTSD program — that lasted short of 4 months. He continued to milk and report every negative symptom or injury he could muster up. Knee pain, back pain, headaches…anxiety, depression, nightmares…anything and everything. None of these issues or symptoms were ever brought to my attention during our 7 years of marriage. We played on co-ed softball leagues during the summer months. We remodeled and decorated a home. He mowed our grass, shoveled our sidewalks and went hunting constantly. Yet, when questioned by the VA, he insisted that his imaginary symptoms had progressivly gotten worse throughout the past years. Today? 100% disability. Close to $5000/mo between his service related disability and social security. He claims he cannot work, due to all these symptoms and ailments related to both physical problems and PTSD symptoms. BUT, he can deer hunt. That’s right! A soldier who suffers from war related PTSD can carry a gun and participate in extra cirrecular activities such as hunting animals. He can walk for miles and miles into the woods and climb 50 feet into a deer stand . He can snowmobile and go white-water rafting! How you ask?!? Who knows….! Rafting requires a fit body, its a difficult activity. But, I’m no done yet, he still is able to work on vehicles too! He has replaced brakes and brake pads for mutual friends, he has rebuilt a transmission, he has fixed a drive shaft and radiator. He is also “currently” refinishing a basement. Construction work! He is framing in bedrooms, hanging drywall, mudding and taping. All of it. He is a disgrace to our armed service men and women. Makes me sick knowing that so many true heros lost their lives and fought for a country and a purpose they believed in. In my opinion, he doesn’t get to consider himself a veteran or militray member. He’s whats wrong in this country, EVERYTHING he did, he did for only himself.

      • 8 WendyHatesALLthisFRAUD

        Wow Pamela! Your ex sounds a lot like a person I know in-depth personally! He received injuries doing extracurricular activities and some kind of way lead the VA to believe they were a result of war injuries. He even went as far as allowing several operations to happen on these “extracurricular injuries” in order to solidify his “war injuries” claims. He was coached and kept going back to the VA until he was awarded with 100%. This is absolutely fraud and he constantly brags about it. I wonder if he will be investigated one day.

        • 9 Keeping it real

          https://www.politiplatform.com/trump/government

          VA OIG You need to do all the checks and balances with this person, i don’t care if she has a “professional
          ” degree and works for the VA in Ft Collins, CO, she is tricky. How many inmates are in federal prison that have degrees? They just know how to finesse their criminal activity. Allowed bankruptcy fraud-you just don’t care when one of your federal employees do wrong! Please stop VA disability fraud. There are truly disabled veterans and this person is NOT one of them. Protect those who really have issues.

          The rating officer in SLC who approved this bogus disability claim , his wife communicated with Ms Corinne Hogg who is a VA social worker in he northern Colorado area/WY. I think the people need to know that the federal/state government eliminates any negative, and truthful comments about this person. She has them convinced the government she is in some danger-this is so far from the truth, if anyone is dangerous it is her, an alcoholic with many domestic visits from the police, sports black eyes and has assault and DUI arrests- I think it is plain as day who the violent person is.
          The truth is that when she has cheated, lied and manipulated the VA disability system for years. Milking the VA for $1,900 tax free dollars for misc. medical issues NOT occurring from the military, but rather, from her high risk bar hopping lifestyle. She has not been investigated for her VA claims, never having follow ups, never have the VA looked into her alleged incident in Jacksonville, NC where the police found her claims as NOT credible. She filed a bankruptcy chapter 7 while having a married man live with her, paying her expenses and buying luxury items during bankruptcy-she never claimed the monies from this married man who neglected his wife completely, leaving her to commit suicide. Corinne Hogg has no remorse for that either.
          When a person reports fraud and is blown off, it only puts emphasis on the corrupt government . Damn if you do, damn if you don’t.
          This person is a VA social worker, compliments of the VA education , because she claims disabilities from the military…cough, cough. This [person was a pencil pusher in the military, never in war.
          Does it bother you that she like so many veterans are claiming bogus disabilities as Ms. Hogg? Don’t these fake claims need to be punished and not treated as she has been by the government turning a blind eye? Not only turning a blind eye, totally protecting this persons otherwise bad reputation. Why are none of the above being investigated. How do I know the VA claim is bogus? She told me!

      • 10 Reporting

        I reported many,many times VA fraud by a VA mental health counselor, yes, a mental health counselor who doesn’t receive any mental health counseling for herself. Instead Corinne Hogg chooses to manipulate the VA system, receiving 90% disability for a bunch of bogus, nonsense claims she is never reevaluated for-the VA just dowels out $1,900 a month of tax free dollars. You may ask what a person like this does with her money? Well, she buys expensive clothing, drinks heavily (DUI record), parties and plays a phony role. I pity anyone within the VA seeking mental health from this person in Ft Collins, CO. She has been able to manipulate to her advantage, the VA. She earned her degree-compliments of the VA and earns a hefty yearly income, gets even better without having to do follow-ups on her alleged disabilities. No people she is not a combat veteran. The VA has been protecting her reputation while I continue to ask them to investigate, they clean up after this person.
        She filed for bankruptcy while having a married man living with her, he paid all her expenses, bought her a Harley during bankruptcy and the courts never investigated him as an attributor to her perjury to the courts. Sad part, this married mans wife takes her own life by taking pills and going for a swim…very strange. Anyway, Ms. Hogg takes no responsibility for this loss of life.
        She is now a lesbian.
        Now, why are able bodied individuals, veteran or not allowed to be protected by the VA and government entities? Why are veterans NOT required to be reevaluated on a yearly basis-they are just milking the system while truly disabled veterans have to wait.
        I hope Trump makes a note of all the fraud and takes appropriate action.

      • 11 John Smithman

        Pamela,

        You sound like you are letting your personal feelings into this. Yeah, you’re getting a divorce. It sucks. How do you know that he’s faking PTSD? Are you a doctor? No. Do you have evidence? No. Sorry, but it’s time to move on.

    • David Ballengee
      https://twitter.com/dave4unity
      Enjoying PTSD VA Disability
      Acting in movies and enjoying vacations on your tax dollar
      Military Record Never left the U.S.

  3. I never saw combat; but my dad—Chief Master Sergeant Henry T. Harber, did. But his deployment to Viet Nam had nothing to do with my developing PTSD.

    In retrospect, I can tell you the very moment that it began. November 12, 1969. I was home alone and my Mom was at the base commissary. A blue, official Air Force car pulled up in front of our house and two men in uniform got out. They rang our doorbell and I answered. They introduced themselves as the base chaplain and a Colonel something or other. They asked if my mother was home. I explained where she was and they said they’d wait for her in their car. I went to my room and shut the door. My mind was at zero kelvin—no movement. I knew why they were there.

    Mom came home and invited them in. I heard their voices. Then I heard my mother make a sound that I hope never to hear again as long as I live.

    And that was the moment. The moment I knew my father was never coming home. We had 30 days to get off the base. Find some place to go. They flew his body to California. He was buried with full honors and a 21 gun salute. I still have the flag that covered his coffin. I shut down emotionally. I became rock like. My nickname in high school was Gibraltar.

    Years later, married and with a little boy, out of nowhere, I experienced a moment in which the sight of a man in a blue Air Force uniform on TV reduced me to a quivering, unthinking mass. Up until that episode, I’d had only hints of what drove parts of my personality. But it explained a lot of things about my young adulthood. But here’s the thing: I had a great job, a wonderful relationship with the love of my life and a child that was a sheer joy. I was a budding science fiction writer and had a warm, supportive faith community. And I had those things in spite of bouts of senseless depression, anxiety attacks, and a personality that tilted back and forth between kicking butt and taking names and quivering uncertainty. Thanks to both my parents, I had a strong enough sense of self and self-awareness to be able to understand what was happening and control it. Not everyone has those resources and they need external help.

    Here’s my point: PTSD is real. And different people react to it and experience it in different ways. It is not something that affects only people who have been in combat. It can be sustained as the result of any traumatic loss—not just of loved ones, but of self, of reality, of identity.

    And Chris is right: when people cynically use PTSD to make a buck, grab their 15 minutes of fame, or prop up their sense of self, it makes it harder for those who are really suffering confusion and loss to get help if and when they need it. But when they do need it, getting help should be easy and non-traumatic, because God knows, sometimes realizing you need help is hard.

    • I’ve been told many times that I have to have many, many bad memories bottled up, and eventually they will come out whether I want them to or not. Maybe that’ll happen, maybe not. If they do, you’re right, I need an easy path to get help. But I won’t need money, and I have no idea why we decided as a nation that a monthly check equals “help”.

      • 17 Griswold

        Send every VA fraud, no matter their age or fat body status, back to a FRONT line and leave them, until they truly can have the daily fears, hopelessness and constant voice talking them through every encounter of the simple task of “Fight or Flight”. As for true United States soldiers we do not seek to play victim and will selflessly give way to the next soldier in line, in order for them to receive aid/help first, no matter our own pain. It is our ethos that make us the strongest fighters in the world and we can not let a few, or many, blue falcons/buddy fuckers/__(insert here)__, shift our focus from maintaining the worlds most efficient force. Support the men and women who’ve sacrificed and who continue to sacrifice. Do not let the $tat$ dishearten you. Know that the dishonorable ones must answer again to God or Country!

  4. 18 Nick42

    I’m trying to reconcile this with reports that active duty soldiers are being kicked out for misconduct that’s related to mental health issues that the Army is not effectively treating.

    http://www.npr.org/2015/10/28/451146230/missed-treatment-soldiers-with-mental-health-issues-dismissed-for-misconduct

    Do you think these are also malingerers or are we really kicking out soldiers trying to get help while enabling fakers after they leave the service?

    • Nick,

      It’s probably some of both, with many more malingerers than real mental health cases. Anyone in the Army who does something stupid and gets caught can then claim “it’s because of untreated PTSD”, which has in effect become a valuable get-out-of-jail-free card.

  5. 20 askdrfootball

    Nice article So tell me CHRIS, why do these guys “get over”but I don’t get a Dime?? I Know why….

    Sent from my ATT iPhone

    >

  6. 22 RandyGC

    Good article Chris. Very good write up and a sound logical path to solving the issue. Which means of course that it will never be implemented by the system designed (as are all bureaucracies) to first of all sustain itself.

    I’m fortunate to not have any issues despite some Very Bad Days while I was on active duty. And in my experience with those who served with me and vets I know today, the hairier the stuff they were in, the quieter, more subdued they are about their experiences. The trick is to make sure they are taken care of when they need it without expending limited resources on the posers and wanna-bes.

    Keep up the good fight

    • I had some bad days too. I wouldn’t give them up, as I’m sure you wouldn’t give up even the worst days.

      I had issues when I came home from both Iraq and Afghanistan. Those issues were normal responses to the environment I had just lived in for close to a year, and with time and counseling I got them under control.

      I fear the VA PTSD system doesn’t even pretend to help most vets anymore. I think the few who get better are the outliers, while the vast majority are just showing up to enrich themselves. That sucks, and I think we can change it. At least, I hope we can.

      • 24 Brad

        I’d give up the days I was on duty and found suicides in my barracks. That’s just me being weak right?

        • I think you misunderstood. I said I wouldn’t give those days up, as in I wouldn’t choose to forget them.

          Look through every article I’ve ever written about PTSD, and try to find one time I accused someone of being weak.

  7. 26 SeldomSeenSmith

    Gee, I’m a lot like the guy in the picture: I was never a SEAL, wasn’t in combat, and probably don’t have PTSD (though I suppose I should keep that option open). I wasn’t even in the military. Can I have a quarter of a million dollars, please?

    • You know what? If you went to the VA and talked about *anything* that bothered you, you probably could get a quarter million dollars.

      I just learned of one female veteran who received PTSD disability because she had an affair with a married service member, got pregnant, had an abortion, and then felt traumatized.

      FML.

      • Pfft… That’s BS. I know a female Navy vet 80% for anger issues…

        Never stepped foot on foreign soil. (I get half that, mind you ) The system never did make sense.

  8. Today I received this email from someone who’d like to remain anonymous.

    “I’m an attorney. I’m certified to practice before the VA and the Court of Appeals for Veteran’s Claims. I do neither forms of work anymore.

    It’s not just GWOT veterans. I’ve seen Cold War vets who have claimed to have PTSD from things that never happened or, if they did, it was proven that they weren’t there. I’ve seen Vietnam vets try to file claims for residual injuries from events they were not even in the same hemisphere for.

    I know that I’m supposed to just represent these guys, argue their cases and if they win, take my cut. But I can’t. I’m a vet, as well, and it just gripes me no end that these goldbricks are trying to game the system and collect benefits that they are not eligible for.

    If it were just one or two, I wouldn’t mind. But it’s not.

    Nothing I can do about it, but refuse to play.

    And, before you wonder if it’s just me, it’s not. I know other VA claims attorneys who have gotten out of the field for the same reasons.

    Keep fighting the good fight, Chris.”

    When lawyers are turning down easy money because they’re so disgusted with the frauds and liars, you know there’s a problem.

  9. 30 Ed

    Chris,

    Thanks for the article and thanks for your service. That is an article that only a veteran himself could have written. It must indeed must be frustrating for those who have been in combat to see conduct like this.

    Having never been in combat, or seen military service apart from a stint in the National Guard, I have nevertheless inferred a fairly safe principle for application to ex-military people I run into in civilian life: the promptness with which an ex-military person acquaints new friends with his background, the insistence on using “macho” military lingo in all conversations, and the extent of “swagger” generally, are all in inverse proportion to the likelihood that the ex-military person ever saw combat.

    Those with real combat experience are loathe to brag–but I imagine you knew that already.

    Thanks again,

    • I think you’re spot-on with your assessment. If someone interjects stories of heroism/bravery/medals into a conversation for no reason, I get suspicious as hell. As we speak I’m getting reports from a good friend, his wife is having work-related interaction with a guy who claims a Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, sniper, etc. And as far as I can tell, all this came up in a conversation about something completely unrelated.

      • 32 Jim

        I find that annoying as well. The ones who tick me off are those who otherwise served honorably but feel the need to embellish what they did. If you were a company clerk with the 345th Mess Kit Repair Company in Long Binh, that’s fine. You go where they send you. Don’t tell folks you were SF. I did my tour in ’69-’70. Combat arms. Nope. I was in transportation. Shot at? Yeah, rockets and small arms, and it scared the hell out of me. PTSD? Nope. I’m fine. I do run into pretenders now and then. They’re usually easy to pick out. If you were that company clerk, be satisfied with that, and knowing you did your job well.

        • Jim,

          I was in the military 15 years before I heard a shot fired in anger. While I was in the Marine Corps I watched Desert Storm on TV. Before I went to war I bitched a lot about never doing anything in the military, but I never once claimed to have done anything other than my peacetime job in the US.

          Thanks for your service. In Iraq I saw graffiti in a restroom stall: “Truck drivers – the Army’s new infantry”.

  10. Another anonymous comment, from the child of a Vietnam veteran, about VA treatment. The part about the “war-ravaged romance novel heartthrob” is absolutely true, and is used so often in modern romance novels it’s become a cliche.

    “My dad has PTSD from being in Vietnam. I think it got worse because he didn’t want to admit that anything was wrong.

    At one point when I was a young child, he went hunting with a couple of my cousins who were teenagers at the time. After they were in the woods, something about the situation reminded him of Vietnam, and he had a really strong urge to shoot them. He unloaded his gun, made them unload theirs, then made them leave the woods and go home. He went to a local family doctor who gave him what my parents referred to as “nerve pills”. I don’t know what they were, but I guess they worked since he never shot anyone.

    He finally went to the VA in his late 40’s. Apparently mid-life hormonal changes (who knew men had them?) were making his symptoms worse. He’s gotten better, but I don’t know if he’s cured.

    He didn’t used to talk about what he did in Vietnam, but he started talking about it after he started therapy. He spent months in the jungle without even being able to bathe, constantly either fighting or knowing they could be attacked any minute. He participated in missions where they would go into a hostile village and kill anything that moved, men, women, children, animals, it didn’t matter.

    There was one incident where they were seen by a young woman who tried to run and somehow ended up with a broken arm. They radioed back for instructions on what to do with her, and were told to shoot her. One of the other guys did it, but it clearly still bothered Dad. He also says that they had to shoot children at times because even some of the children would try to kill American soldiers.

    I can see how those experiences would traumatize someone. In fact, I don’t like even to hear about it. But when he went to the VA, the therapist told him he’d basically never be cured. They could help him, but he’d be disabled for the rest of his life.

    My dad took me with him one time to meet his therapist. She was flirting with my dad like crazy! I couldn’t believe her behavior. Kinda makes you wonder if she didn’t really want vets’ PTSD taken care of properly because the idea of big, tough ex-soldiers struggling with PTSD turned her on. (This isn’t far-fetched; it’s a fantasy that shows up in romance novels and erotica marketed to women. The guy’s symptoms magically improve after he gets to put his d*** in her very special p****. In a “clean” romance, it’s the strength of her love that cures him.)

    Dad didn’t go to the VA to try to get disability. He went to get help for his PTSD. This therapist woman was the one who told him he should apply for veteran’s disability. IIRC, she did the paperwork for him, coached him through how he should present things to get the maximum benefits, and basically managed his end of the process.

    He didn’t think anything of that because she presented it as though everyone else there was against veterans and trying to cheat them out of what they were supposed to get, while she was the only one standing up for them. She was fired a little after that, but the other employees at the VA location Dad goes to didn’t suddenly start trying to screw him over without her there to stop them. She was just full of it.

    This isn’t politically correct, but maybe they should only have men working with male combat veterans. Preferably those men should have been in combat themselves. That might take care of some of the problems.”

  11. Hey Chris;

    I am a Desert Storm vet, I get just 10% for my hearing and I am fine with that. I was told that I could get the PTSD award and I flat out refused. I have PTSD but I also know that PTSD award gets you put in a gov’t list that they can use “mental issues” to go after your 2nd amendment rights. Perhaps that is far fetched, but it is believed by many vets including myself and we refuse to talk to the VA. I have a jandiced eye when I see all these people claiming “PTSD”. To them it is “free” money and I see an integrity issue with it. I am proud of what I did, even going through the bad stuff…I would do it all over again. I read a statistic that 1 of 10 people during the WWII era did the VA, now it is almost everybody.

    • Garibaldi,

      Just to clarify, I don’t blame anyone for getting help or disability if they have a real problem and really deserve it. I’ve gone to VA counseling, and I’m glad I did. Real vets getting help for real issues isn’t the problem. It’s all those rat bastards making crap up for money who are the problem.

      And yeah, I’ve also read that the average WW2 vet filed maybe one claim, today’s vets are filing an average of 8 or 9.

      I also get your concern about winding up on a list. I agree, that’s a valid concern.

  12. 37 Greg Lyons

    Hi Chris,

    Bing West has an essay up at the Hoover Institution that I think you’ll appreciate. He talks of how we’ve prosecuted the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, compared to wars in the past, and the repercussions we’re experiencing today . Tangentially, towards the end of the piece, he touches on the VA. I found it to be a sober, disquieting and thoughtful analysis. I think you’ll find it well worth your time.

    http://www.hoover.org/research/america-weak

    On another unrelated note there’s a little bit of talk going about the internet of drafting General James Mattis for POTUS. If that were to happen he’d be my first choice and would likely turn out to be one of our greatest, most accomplished and most beloved presidents.

  13. Good article, brother. I appreciated reading it.

  14. 39 Realworld

    Hello, female of US Army been out since 2012. Diagnose of Panic disorder my. First round as i was told at out processing briefs to go to file claims for everything you saw a doctor for. I filled for depression and back pain and flat foot conditon. Everything i thought was what they needed for service connection or related Not for free money!!! Because the check i got isnt no where near a get rich scam. Fastforward 2016. I have been seen at the Va hospital for my anxiety panic and depression. Mental health not knowing i was diagnosed with PTSD. I had jobs and go to school plus ex husband that is retired military. My family is taken care of. So i get to school. And all are soldiers telling me go get upgrades for my PTSD. I didnt even know i was diagnosed. I no i have anxiety and anger issues that i try to control. But no amount of scam money is going to replace what happen to me while serving my country. But this article was an eye opener and i feel im being investigated for people thinking im making up stuff. I never even thought about having PTSD. Or thought i could get paid for what im going thru now. I hide my flaws but now seems like the whole world knows my pain and some even making fun of me. So how does one combat this war of fakers.

  15. 40 Doug73

    Unfortunately, it’s very politically incorrect these days to DARE suggest that many of our “brave, poor under-appreciated vets” are indeed milking VA disability for everything it’s worth.

    I ETS’d years ago from Ft. Lewis (1996). And even back then, during out processing the civilian counsellors encouraged everyone to file a disability claim…regardless of whether or not you had anything wrong with you. Fast forward to today, and many soldiers see a disability check as something you’re simply entitled to after a few years of service. I read that about 50% of exiting soldiers are now being classified as “disabled”, most with a PTSD rating too. Except the vast majority of them never saw combat, nor had any other unusually traumatizing event happen. But oh, the lure of “free money for life”. It’s funny how the IDF (Israel) has GREAT, but uncompensated, treatment for soldiers with PTSD. And they have about a 2% claim rate. The US on the other hand has mediocre, but compensated, treatment. Our claim rate? 50%. THAT is how powerful an incentive money is to commit fraud.

    Like many, I know a few “disabled” vets. And every single one, to a man, is either greatly exaggerating or flat-out faking their “disability”. One of these guys even admitted this to me, but then went on to explain how he didn’t feel bad about it at all because he thought he was entitled to it since “everyone else is doing the same thing.”

    What can be done to fix this huge, under-reported problem? I have some ideas:

    1. REQUIRE weekly or monthly counseling for anyone with a PTSD claim. For as long as they’re being compensated. Anyone who TRULY has PTSD shouldn’t mind this one bit. In fact, they should welcome the help. The winers will be the people who know they don’t have PTSD, who will then have to go to the VA every week or month to keep the gravy train rolling.

    2. The VA should routinely audit almost all disability claims every other year, with an emphasis on those who are receiving disability for PTSD, back pain, sleep apnea, tinnitus and the other usual suspects when it comes to disability fraud.

    3. Congress should launch an independent investigation (free from political pressure) to determine the real extent of the fraud. I fear this will never happen however, because it’s pretty much an open secret that VA disability fraud is much larger than any politician cares to admit.

    4. Fund the VA to hire a small army of investigators for disability fraud. Make some high profile arrests, and get the word out that the VA is actively and aggressively looking for fraudsters. Make sure disability recipients know that if they are malingering, it’s just a matter of time before they’re caught. And after they are caught, make them pay back every dime they’ve stolen.

    5. Make all new claimants submit to a lie detector test. Then watch as the amount of new claimants mysteriously drops like a rock. Because malingerers who know they’re likely to be caught will never file a claim in the first place.

  16. 41 Jonathan

    A childhood friend of mine was a light wheel mechanic and then a recruiter in the US Army. He never saw action but is being paid out for PTSD. He told me “I gave them 14 years, they can afford to pay me for the rest of my life”. I won’t say the name that I called him at that point.

  17. 42 Keith Fosmire

    This is just another example of everyone wanting to be special. I have completed 6 deployments for my country since 2001, and spent a year in Korea. Seriously, who cares! I served as an Infantryman for OEF and OIF, and yes I saw and did some pretty crazy stuff. Do I think about it? Of course. Does it affect my daily life? Sure it does. But then again, so does every other event in ones life.
    With that being said, I want to point out some “warriors”, and I use that term loosely!!! I know a girl, PROUD MARINE, who caught the PTSD while serving in Afghanistan on a FOB where she scheduled maintenance for aircraft. Pretty hardcore, I must confess. Well, when she hears a firecracker she dives under tables and begins to cry. Hmmm, uhhh…I think her reaction to small arms fire is very unMarine like. Oh yeah, don’t wear a mask around her, she can’t handle that either.
    If she was in my Squad I would have kicked her teeth down her throat and place her on feces burning details with the rest of the cowards, because yes, that is a cowards act. And being a coward is punishable under UCMJ action, yet rewarded by the VA!
    A great warrior SFC Espinosa said it best, “You make your Mama proud and your Father sick to his stomach!”
    Yeah, I might not be the best house guest, or the best shoulder to cry on, but I will tell you exactly what I think. “SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!”
    Infantrymen don’t get PTSD, we give it to the enemy!

  18. PTSD vist David Bellengee at David Ballengee @ Dave4unity . injoying VA disability money . WHAT A FAKE. TALK TO HIM ONCE. Never left the United States

  19. 44 bonbon

    i know what ptsd is i do have it and i dont get any help with it , I have flash backs and i lived with it with no problems for yrs. but i have also bad legs and ankles and back issue but i deal with it as well , if i dont go an try to do something i just be wheel chair bound an i know it is coming soon i have over done a few things and regret it very much but i got the job done an task then i sit back and recover a few days or weeks and duck tape my self back together, I had a issue in ks where a stalker broke into my home and put a gun to my head and my training kicked in the gun hammer came down on my left hand cutting it leaving a scare and i also was arrested for some one breaking the front door down and attempting to kill me for running a illegal contractor out of my place with bad bad wiring and drilling out the outlets and the sparks like a team of welders in attic so ya i ran him off while i was getting robbed from someone else and unknown persons at the time but back to stalker his best friend works for smith county ks sheriff department and the guy has 16 page rape sheet of B & E and known to pull guns on people, I got to be tossed in jail for 5 days covered in blood , no food for 2 days, no blanket for 3 days, an in drunk tank for 5 days with a 100 ft. drop cord, and 1/2 of my allergy pills and meds i needed from dust in air, no medical attention towards my beat up hand and cut on neck from gun oh front door busted up glasses lossed, and no shower for 5 days ,
    this guy pulls gun on me again at the gas station and no show of cops, went to down to police office to file report but seen police car at cafe and dam it was not the 3 officer that was 300 lbs over weight and they admitting to me that there best friends and go to a mens club cult group with mr. bill watson of lebanon ks, on the way to court he try to run me down with his car on main street in smith center ks, then i go to court way pass 321 days an force to sign plea agreement by gun point, remind you i am having my identity stolen as well, I found out who it was some time later , after i kicked him out of my place found ebay receipts and paypal receipts and i not got justice at all from ks so i have house destroyed by thief and destroyed by robber. an they refuse to do anything about it . an on top of it death threats and some kind of sickness i am to get as well as burning my place down in other location, No running water where i live but i deal with it an i have given by force on jobs 189,000.00 for a hospital project but now i am completely clean out. an i pick up a little work here an there to pay insurance and taxes. but recovery from this is something i dont think i will recover from. an yes i have proof of all facts.
    i where wrist strap and elbow straps and knee braces and gut belt to help keep them in but i hurt bad and health is not good at times even got smoke damage due to illigal burning copper wire catching creek on fire took while to recover from that.

  20. This makes me both furious and sad. My husband, an Army vet; has TWO Purple Hearts and a Bronze star. He has been fighting the VA for a long time. He has PTSD, TBI’s, among other things. I, myself am a vet with a diagnosis of PTSD/MST. I did not see combat, but was continually assaulted by more than one, for a long time. I also know a jackass that was in the Air Force reserves, and is faking ALL his shit. He tried to commit suicide on his way to his weekend duty. He lied to everyone. He gets 100% PLUS social security disability. My husband has been fighting for YEARS just to get what he EARNED. We have vets faking it, and providers in the VA that don’t really care about any of us(from my experience). From what I understand, therapy is mandatory to file a claim. By-the-way; sexual assault in the military goes unreported, more often than not. I reported; went through hell, nothing happened to perpetrator.

  21. 46 Danny

    And veterans continue to kill themselves everyday because they don’t get the help they need… Why don’t we talk about the refugees who come here and automatically get benefits… I think that should be a priority over this,, PTSD has to be diagnosed , with a stressor which caused the PTSD to begin with… I do not think there are a large number of vets faking this or they would not get the disabilty to begin with. Tell me I don’t have PTSD and I will knock you ass out!!!! I wish I didn’t have it, but I know if I didn’t get help when I did, I would be dead…

    • 47 Triple C

      I’m with you Danny, stupid ass Brother in law running his mouth about me faking my PTSD. I served 3 tours in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa as a flight nurse. No one can tell me the stuff I dealt with was easy. Balad AB. was attacked many times a day, the off loading and loading off patients was 50 yards from the wall separating us from the civilian street on the other side. Get off a helo or c-130 and count bullet holes after unloading patients will get you pumped. All the while after my first deployment we weren’t aloud to carry loaded weapons, reassuring not the least. I could go on but for f***s sake it wouldn’t matter people form opinions and you can’t control them. Walk in my shoes ass****s then we can talk. Oh by the way lost my nursing license and drivers license due to head injury so I’m unable to work as a nurse anymore after 28 years. F**k everyone, I’m not working at any old job when I spent the money and time on education (8 years total) to be a nurse and advance practice only to lose it because of injury and forced medical discharge. I didn’t ask for any of this s**t. I remain active at home and with a few “new friends” doing things that I enjoy but what am I supposed to do. Not bath, be a dic* to the world be a drunk, take to Crack so people might believe me in my quote unquote diagnosis of PTSD. F**k you all who have an opinion. Be better off keeping it to yourself.

  22. 48 James Walker

    Line of duty. That is the standard. Combat isn’t the standard. A woman could’ve suffered spousal abuse on active duty and end up with PTSD. That is legitimate line of duty right there. Army recruiting a few years ago had extremely high suicide rates with many soldiers wishing for combat as a relief they said (I knew many). If they received psych evals and were diagnosed with anxiety or other such conditions then those were line of duty as well. I knew a sailor who’s truck slid into a tree in the ice and broke his back. Line of duty. Yes there are scam artists. However- VA compensation is t just for combat related conditions. It is for all line of duty. If you are living your life and not at fault and a thing happens while you are on active duty orders then it is almost certain line of duty.

  23. 49 T. Ramos

    Yea my friends Brother fakes the PTSD and TBI. As usual he has an overweight just huge controlling wife who married him after he was in the military (his former wife and real kids get nothing) everyone in town knows she uses him for his benefits and sits on her a** all day not working looking for every way to collect state money from different sources including the caregiver money. She told one person I really hit the jackpot this time. They bring in close to 20,000 a month scamming the system. I really don’t know how he sleeps at night raising this other woman’s kids while he doesn’t even raise his own or try to fight to see them. I guess when it’s easy money you can trick yourself into going along with the scam thinking Im some hero so I shouldn’t have to work ever again but everyone else should pay for me and work. He’s completely capable of working but why work when you can live off all the tax payers and scam the system. Everyone cringes knowing they pay for their new cars, motorcycles, and free trips etc. I think he actually believes his own lies at this point and really does have something wrong if he can’t see he’s playing house with another mans kids and wife while leaving his own spawn in the dust. There the laughingstock of the town they live in from what I hear. He even tries dressing up playing the war hero as much as possible yet not one medal. They spend all their time trying to keep up with everyone around them because they don’t have jobs and nothing better to do. Huge pansy always bragging and telling war stories that’s the first sign right there that everyone can see hes insecure and really has no life. Especially when we have several family friends and family that were in Vietnam etc and go to work every day and don’t sit around telling war stories and collecting multiple checks. The only respect I have is for a man or woman who gets up and goes to work every day makes there own money and doesn’t live off the taxpayers. Now the people that really do have issues we have people like this taking 20,000+ a month from them and the people that need it can’t get it that’s sad.

  24. 51 Seeking legal action

    This is your federal employee at the VA in Colorado/Wyoming. Great social work!!!! Gets away with VA disability $1,900 tax free dollars-tax payers dollars monthly. The VA never makes her attend mental health, instead gives her a job in the MH field while continuing disability payments????. The frauds I reported NEVER are investigated, bankruptcy fraud….the list goes on. She is a fraudster who has destroyed many lives. example: http://www.tributes.com/obituary/show/Karen-K.-Vogt-88418882
    I just want her held accountable for her illegal actions.


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