Disabled veterans being denied benefits....

  1. http://www.thenation.com/doc/20070409/kors
    Town is not alone. A six-month investigation has uncovered multiple cases in which soldiers wounded in Iraq are suspiciously diagnosed as having a personality disorder, then prevented from collecting benefits. The conditions of their discharge have infuriated many in the military community, including the injured soldiers and their families, veterans' rights groups, even military officials required to process these dismissals.
    They say the military is purposely misdiagnosing soldiers like Town and that it's doing so for one reason: to cheat them out of a lifetime of disability and medical benefits, thereby saving billions in expenses.
    In the Army's separations manual it's called Regulation 635-200, Chapter 5-13: "Separation Because of Personality Disorder." It's an alluring choice for a cash-strapped military because enacting it is quick and cheap. The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't have to provide medical care to soldiers dismissed with personality disorder. That's because under Chapter 5-13, personality disorder is a pre-existing condition. The VA is only required to treat wounds sustained during service.
    Soldiers discharged under 5-13 can't collect disability pay either. To receive those benefits, a soldier must be evaluated by a medical board, which must confirm that he is wounded and that his wounds stem from combat. The process takes several months, in contrast with a 5-13 discharge, which can be wrapped up in a few days.
    Disturbing breach of our societal contract to provide care and treatment to disabled veterans.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   LilPeanut
    Nothing new.

    My husband was injured in the military (stateside, but still serving) and he now has major back problems and chronic pain and walks with a cane. He is on opiods, TENs unit, accupuncture and also get nerve ablations to try and keep it under control.

    The first VA reviews (which took over 2 years since he was medically discharged from the military) had some sort of screw up in records or something - they said there was no evidence he was in any pain, and that the parking tag he got from the DMV was only for a temp disability. ***? Yes, his pain is well documented, as well as the psych problems it and his meds have caused, and he has permanent disability tags on his car. I have a temp one on my car because I am not disabled and I remove the tag when I am driving it. So, they gave him 40%. Which is nothing and doesn't even cover the extra copays we deal with for all his meds and appts.

    That was two years ago, and we immediately appealed since apparently they were not using the information that we had copies of the doctors giving them. We're still waiting on appeal. And there is no recourse. They dangle us on the line indefinitely and they don't answer to anyone.
  4. by   noggin_wise
    How can this happen with government run healthcare. this must be another Karl Rove, Enron, Haliburton trick!!!!
  5. by   LilPeanut
    It's not the healthcare - it's the fact we can't get benefits period. VA isn't being funded, so they aren't willing to pay for soldiers they injured.
  6. by   jthewood
    Look into soldiers advocacy groups. Do a google search or PM me for more info. I'm a disabled vet.
  7. by   LilPeanut
    Been there, done that, got the tshirt. Have a senator's office now trying to work with it, but because he wasn't actually injured in Iraq, apparently he doesn't count. Soldier's advocacy groups have done anything for us. It's really disappointing. In the space of waiting to get benefits, I've started working, then went back to school, then went back to grad school and got my nursing license, working on a nurse practitioner now and starting work as a nurse. Having help for my reschooling would have been a huge help. I was a stay at home mom before my husband was injured.
  8. by   noggin_wise
    If it is a service connected disability it shouldn't matter whether he was injured in Iraq unless care is being prioritized out right now. The VA system is setup for service connected disabilities like your husbands not for just any veteran needing healthcare that were not injured while on active duty.



    Quote from LilPeanut
    Been there, done that, got the tshirt. Have a senator's office now trying to work with it, but because he wasn't actually injured in Iraq, apparently he doesn't count. Soldier's advocacy groups have done anything for us. It's really disappointing. In the space of waiting to get benefits, I've started working, then went back to school, then went back to grad school and got my nursing license, working on a nurse practitioner now and starting work as a nurse. Having help for my reschooling would have been a huge help. I was a stay at home mom before my husband was injured.
  9. by   LilPeanut
    It's not about getting care - we have no VA hospital here, so we see regular docs. But it's about getting his disability payments and educational benefits for me.

    It shouldn't matter, but it does. And like I said, there's zero recourse. We can appeal things. We can register complaints, but nothing ever happens.
  10. by   htrn
    OMG, I am so sorry you and your family are going through this. My husband and I are both disabled vets (him 30%, me 50%) and it has been a real blessing for us in many different ways.

    It breaks my heart and angers me beyond belief that my husband and I can get benefits, but veterans that have been recently disabled are not getting the benefits they deserve:angryfire :angryfire :angryfire . It doesn't matter how or where your husband was hurt - if he was on active duty and with very few exceptions, he is entitled to benefits.

    Please, do not give up. Keep pestering your senator and congressman. Call the press, beat down the door of your county Veterans Services Officer.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family - as well as all of our military. I will continue to do my best to fight for veterans rights. Hugs.

    BTW, I just e-mailed my senator about this issue. Everyone else, please do the same.
    Last edit by htrn on Mar 30, '07 : Reason: additional comment
  11. by   anonymurse
    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/loc...battle_with_va

    Unfortunately, the article moved to paid status. But here's the stub:

    According to Army doctors, Garrett Anderson has "shrapnel wounds, all over body." But the Champaign man found out last week from the Department of Veterans Affairs that the wounds "aren't related to your military service."
  12. by   LilPeanut
    Sounds like the VA.

    Seriously, people need to realize how screwed up this is. The fact that my husband's injuries are service-related is provable, thank God, with medical records and incident reports. And social security recognizes the fact he is totally disabled, and they are supposed to be the difficult ones.

    The VA doesn't have the money so it has to screw over the vets.

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