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Thread: Almost half of new vets seek disability

  1. #1
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Default Almost half of new vets seek disability

    What's more, these new veterans are claiming eight to nine ailments on average, and the most recent ones over the last year are claiming 11 to 14. By comparison, Vietnam veterans are currently receiving compensation for fewer than four, on average, and those from World War II and Korea, just two.
    http://apnews.myway.com//article/201...D9V16E900.html

    This is interesting and difficult to discuss but there is a huge hungry elephant in the room. Could this be a mindset within the military or VA culture because a single large scale battle in lets say, WWII, resulted in more wounded (including disease), than Iraq and Afghanistan combined. And that doesn't include people that had nightmares and pissed in the bed for years after the war. Even combined IEDs pale in comparison to enemy artillery during WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. What the heck is going on? War is Hell but lets get realistic here. I can't believe the current conflicts even compare to Vietnam and yet vets today are claiming twice the ailments? Come on. Some of these dudes need to cowboy up, grow a backbone, show some pride, and stop taking advantage of the system because getting rocket attacks as a cook in a bunker just isn't the same as the few that are or were actually doing the fighting with the enemy. Responsibility begins with self responsibility. Joining the military is better than participating in state lotteries. I empathize with people that were grievously wounded and deserve more than just disability payments but these current statistics go beyond what is logical and fiscally prudent. People are taking advantage of the situation. In essence, they are taking advantage of their fellow taxpayers. This isn't a problem that can only be addressed by those that have walked in those boots. Taxpayers have a huge voice in this problem of abuse as well. I think Sherman was spot on...

    Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.
    -- William Tecumseh Sherman
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


  2. #2
    Council Member Fuchs's Avatar
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    An army is a bureaucracy and screws its servants all the time. It's no surprise that they take on the opportunity to screw the bureaucracy for a change.

  3. #3
    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    It is such a prevalent scam that when I had a break in service in 2000 and went through my discharge physical, the physician at Patrick AFB was shocked that I wasn't trying claim every little ache as pain as service-related. When I told her anything medical that I had going on was the result of just getting old, she probed and probed increduously, trying to be certain.

    We are an entitlement-minded society, and so long as Uncle Sugar stands there with a fistful of anything, people will take advantage of it. Separating troops get better counsel from their immediate chain of command on making sure they "document everything" than they do on how to best use their educational benefits, or write a resume. It's fairly sad, but yes, it's a huge elephant, gorilla, whatever in the room and our culture is corrupted from within.

    Make no mistake that our wounded are identified and processed, but the system is backlogged from the cheats and the likes of folks who think they rate didability from a damaged hand that resulted from a mountain biking accident during the hours of weekly physical training. That's just one case I dealt with, and there are so many more.

  4. #4
    Council Member ganulv's Avatar
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    Default I have to think some of the increase is non-spurious, though.

    One–in–six service members on a psychiatric medication seems substantive, especially if my understanding that the use of mental health-related meds effectively bars someone from joining up is correct. Some of the prescribing of psychiatric meds may of course itself be spurious or at best an adjunct which was not available in the past. But it’s hard for me to believe that the increased use of body armor hasn’t lead to an increase in orthopedic conditions, though of course there’s the challenge of parsing that out from cases like that of the mountain biker.

    And is some of the increase relative to previous conflicts perhaps related to the rise in the use of civilian contractors? I ask assuming 1) that combat arms MOSes end up with as well as claiming a higher rate of service-related problems and 2) that the work done by the non-combat arms MOSes is that which has been most contracted out for.
    If you donít read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed. Ė Mark Twain (attributed)

  5. #5
    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Culpepper
    I can't believe the current conflicts even compare to Vietnam and yet vets today are claiming twice the ailments? Come on. Some of these dudes need to cowboy up, grow a backbone, show some pride, and stop taking advantage of the system because getting rocket attacks as a cook in a bunker just isn't the same as the few that are or were actually doing the fighting with the enemy.
    First, I don't think it's appropriate to disparage anyone's military service, including cooks. My unit included a number of cooks that were killed in action because they were called to support a mission and did their duty like every other soldier. Second, all veterans are entitled to medical treatment to service-connected ailments and ailments made worse by military service, regardless if they deployed or faced direct combat with the enemy. Upon separating, VA representatives encourage veterans to document every medical problem, no matter how slight. This is because minor problems may become significantly larger problems as the veteran ages, and the sooner disabilities are claimed, the easier it is for the veteran and the VA to resolve the claim. The VA determines whether or not the medical problem is sufficient for compensation. Not the veteran. The VA does not want a repeat of its past where veterans were basically ignored or discarded after their service. It is better for more claims to be submitted and dismissed than to have fewer claims and have large groups of veterans left without assistance.

    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis
    Separating troops get better counsel from their immediate chain of command on making sure they "document everything" than they do on how to best use their educational benefits, or write a resume.
    This is true. But it's also a known problem. Veteran unemployment is something like 11 or 12%. Now, separating soldiers (I don't know about sailors, airmen, and marines) are required to attend seminars hosted by the VA and DoL about benefits (and how to claim them), resume-writing, interviewing techniques, etc. The Army Career and Alumni Program also now provides professional coaches to facilitate job-searches, etc, that match a soldier's skills. These programs only became mandatory in the last year.

    Quote Originally Posted by ganulv
    But itís hard for me to believe that the increased use of body armor hasnít lead to an increase in orthopedic conditions, though of course thereís the challenge of parsing that out from cases like that of the mountain biker.
    It's not just the increased use of body armor. It's the training program and expectations in general. In my experience, anywhere between %25 - %50 of my section was unable to conduct the whole physical training program at any given time because of injuries. Most were orthopedic, though there were some related to severe allergies (causing chest pain, coughing blood, etc) due to our location. These soldiers were still required to report for morning PT, but because the gym was closed during PT hours, and because we were required to conduct PT as a unit at all times, recovery for them was a slow and painful process. The focus was not on preventing injuries or recuperation after injuries were suffered. It frustrated me to no end to have my injured soldiers mistreated or shamed because of an injury they received while conducting training. There's no point to the training if as a result your unit is not ready to fight at the end of it. That is the real scandal.

    After I separated, I moved to a location near an air force base. I travel to the base frequently at all hours of the day. One day, I asked an airman: "when does the garrison do PT here?" She looked at me like I was speaking Martian. So I explained to her that in my experience, 10,000 or more people show up at their units at the same time and do PT for 60 - 90 minutes across the whole garrison, closing roads and chanting incredibly annoying cadences in unison. And she laughed, and said, units have discretion to conduct PT when they please and it's often individually or in small units. So, while I understand the Air Force and Army missions are different, I would be interested to see a comparison between their physical fitness performance and their pattern of injuries.
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

  6. #6
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Default Very interesting

    ...Upon separating, VA representatives encourage veterans to document every medical problem, no matter how slight. This is because minor problems may become significantly larger problems as the veteran ages, and the sooner disabilities are claimed, the easier it is for the veteran and the VA to resolve the claim. The VA determines whether or not the medical problem is sufficient for compensation. Not the veteran. The VA does not want a repeat of its past where veterans were basically ignored or discarded after their service. It is better for more claims to be submitted and dismissed than to have fewer claims and have large groups of veterans left without assistance.
    That is interesting. When I separated all I got was a physical. Years later, out of curiosity, I requested my medical records. I requested all of them. All I got was a letter stating I missed a dental appointment and I jumped out of airplanes in the service with all the minor injuries that go with it and all those injuries were in my medical file upon discharge. What good does it do for the veteran to document everything himself after separation? It should already be in his medical file because if it is not then it never happened. Your post does nothing to support the overwhelming need for soldiers to apply for frivolous disability claims. But I will add to your post that today's military does not have so-called replacements for soldiers that are physically or mentally injured. The same service men are called upon to do the same job with less men when they lose men. Basically, there are no replacements per se, which only compounds the problem of coping. But again, we are discussing men on the front lines of battle. Not support personnel requesting ridiculous PTSD claims. Personally, I think the VA and the military should differentiate between stress and distress. The former being less severe and requiring treatment and not compensation. Thus, reducing the number of frivolous claims for disability. Your solution for more bureaucracy is ludicrous. It makes no sense for more claims to be submitted and dismissed. It makes as much sense as enlisted soldiers getting their citations for bravery downgraded simply because they are enlisted. It is the same dogma.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


  7. #7
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    Default There are no Jobs

    And how many of their problems are because there are no Jobs out there?

    It used to be, you got out and got a job down at the Plant.

    Well, the plant closed.

    These days, $8 an hour at Fast food or stocking shelves at the big box stores is about all there is. So their lives have no structure, fast food especially wants all their workers to have "Flexibility" (ie, come to work when we call you, but don't expect forty hours). No wonder they get into trouble.

    Disability claims are as much a failure of our society as any failure of character on the part of this generation.

  8. #8
    Council Member Culpeper's Avatar
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    Put my mother in a nursing home last couple of weeks. I was going through her stuff and came across an affidavit that my grandfather had given in the 1920s along with eye witness affidavits claiming he was gassed in WWI. He was applying for what amounted to the beginning of disability claims as we know it. The language went something like this...


    Question: How have you been getting along these last several years.

    Grandfather: I just rock on.
    The problem was he contracted the 1918 influenza as well as was gassed. As you can imagine it took several years before he saw a penny in disability. Nevertheless, he was right there for the grand opening of the American Legion Hall in Cleveland, Texas. Was posted every general election, 100 feet from the poll, carrying a shotgun. Escorted the ballots, armed with the same shotgun to the courthouse to be counted. He did this every year as long as he could breath. He was the real thing. A true Citizen Soldier Yellow Dog Democrat. Wonder what he would say if he was alive today.
    Last edited by Culpeper; 11-21-2012 at 02:07 AM.
    "But suppose everybody on our side felt that way?"
    "Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way. Wouldn't I?"


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