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Veterans and Post-traumatic stress disorder

aps

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There was an article this last week in the Washington Post about the cost of compensating veterans who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I would love for any of you to read the article and tell me what you think. This is an area that I am very familiar with, and I'm curious to know how outsiders feel about the issues presented in the article.

Thanks!

A Political Debate On Stress Disorder
As Claims Rise, VA Takes Stock

By Shankar Vedantam
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/26/AR2005122600792.html
 

Billo_Really

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I've said this before and I will say it again now, I think every veteran coming home should be given a home in the state of his/her choosing and all the medical coverage and care for life.
 

aps

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Billo_Really said:
I've said this before and I will say it again now, I think every veteran coming home should be given a home in the state of his/her choosing and all the medical coverage and care for life.
Do you have thoughts about fraud or veterans who do not truly have PTSD and are receiving serious $$ every month for a disability that they may not have? Sure, those who are coming back from war NOW deserve to be treated for PTSD. That's when PTSD is most prevalent--soon after the trauma.

The way compensation at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs is paid is based upon the severity of the disability involved. The more severe a disability is, the more money you get. If you're a veteran and you have PTSD and you are receiving a 30% evaluation, you get approximately $300/month tax free. However, if you are 100% disabled from PTSD, you get $2300/month tax free. There is little incentive for a veteran to want to cure or lessen his or her symptoms when they can get more money for having worse symptoms.
 

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Originally posted by aps:
Do you have thoughts about fraud or veterans who do not truly have PTSD and are receiving serious $$ every month for a disability that they may not have? Sure, those who are coming back from war NOW deserve to be treated for PTSD. That's when PTSD is most prevalent--soon after the trauma.

The way compensation at the Dept. of Veterans Affairs is paid is based upon the severity of the disability involved. The more severe a disability is, the more money you get. If you're a veteran and you have PTSD and you are receiving a 30% evaluation, you get approximately $300/month tax free. However, if you are 100% disabled from PTSD, you get $2300/month tax free. There is little incentive for a veteran to want to cure or lessen his or her symptoms when they can get more money for having worse symptoms.
I think the lack of support on the government side far out-weighs the occurences of fraud on the GI's side.
 

aps

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Billo_Really said:
I think the lack of support on the government side far out-weighs the occurences of fraud on the GI's side.
Gotcha. Thanks for giving me your point of view.
 

ptsdkid

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As a Vietnam veteran having 100% total and permanent PTSD disability, I thought I would give you my perspective. I opened my claim in 1991 and didn't get the 100% until 1996.
Its always been my contention that any veteran seeing combat that claims he has psychological problems should be given the benefit of the doubt. Depending on how long the veteran seeks therapy, and with whom--chances are if he was admitted into a PTSD cohort via the VA hospital system, and with having follow-up 3-week out patient tune-ups--that he cannot possibly fake the systems to a set of professional psyches and clinicians.
Without going into the particulars, I take home about $4,500 a month tax free money. Despite the fact that I just had an appointment with a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor (for a chance to go to school to secure a BA degree)--there is no way that the VA is going to reduce or take away monies given to me retroactively and steadily since 1991. I know the idea behind voc rehab is to get the vet working again; but that isn't my long term goal. They've already determined that I couldn't possibly work before; what possible chance is there for me a 56 y.o. to be reintroduced to the stressful workforce?
As far as the Iraqi veterans goes--PTSD from combat almost always takes hold well after the fact. Hell, I left Vietnam in 1971 and didn't reach my low point in life until I was drilled by psyches in a VA hospital in 1992; twenty one years after the fact.
Someone made a great point that for each of those seeking compensation/therapy--there are at least one in turn that does not seek treatment.
I have no doubt that there are those that fake their condition to a point, but that's not saying they still don't have PTSD to some degree--perhaps not to the 100% level of their intention.
If the VA does scrutinize this PTSD claim compensation with a fine comb--you can bet they won't touch the Vietnam veterans. They already tried that game, but were voted down in congress.

KidTim
 

aps

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ptsdkid said:
As a Vietnam veteran having 100% total and permanent PTSD disability, I thought I would give you my perspective. I opened my claim in 1991 and didn't get the 100% until 1996.
Its always been my contention that any veteran seeing combat that claims he has psychological problems should be given the benefit of the doubt. Depending on how long the veteran seeks therapy, and with whom--chances are if he was admitted into a PTSD cohort via the VA hospital system, and with having follow-up 3-week out patient tune-ups--that he cannot possibly fake the systems to a set of professional psyches and clinicians.
Without going into the particulars, I take home about $4,500 a month tax free money. Despite the fact that I just had an appointment with a Vocational Rehabilitation counselor (for a chance to go to school to secure a BA degree)--there is no way that the VA is going to reduce or take away monies given to me retroactively and steadily since 1991. I know the idea behind voc rehab is to get the vet working again; but that isn't my long term goal. They've already determined that I couldn't possibly work before; what possible chance is there for me a 56 y.o. to be reintroduced to the stressful workforce?
As far as the Iraqi veterans goes--PTSD from combat almost always takes hold well after the fact. Hell, I left Vietnam in 1971 and didn't reach my low point in life until I was drilled by psyches in a VA hospital in 1992; twenty one years after the fact.
Someone made a great point that for each of those seeking compensation/therapy--there are at least one in turn that does not seek treatment.
I have no doubt that there are those that fake their condition to a point, but that's not saying they still don't have PTSD to some degree--perhaps not to the 100% level of their intention.
If the VA does scrutinize this PTSD claim compensation with a fine comb--you can bet they won't touch the Vietnam veterans. They already tried that game, but were voted down in congress.

KidTim
Thank you for your openness. I really appreciate it. VA won't take anything away from you unless it found that it had made a clear and unmistakable error in granting you the benefits it did, which is an extremely high standard to meet.

And good for you for looking into furthering your education. There is a difference (at least to me) in furthering your education and working in the workforce in the sense that just because you are furthering your education does not mean you can obtain and sustain gainful employment.

Thank you for serving our country. :usflag2:
 

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Billo_Really said:
I think the lack of support on the government side far out-weighs the occurences of fraud on the GI's side.
I totally agree. Both my parents were in Indochina for a total of 15 years (operatives for Air America and were in Cambodia during Pol Pol after they finished their stint in Vietnam) and my father was a POW for three of those years. The horror that combat veterans see are just indescribable, and not just in Vietnam. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Give anyone that fights for our country the benefit of the doubt. Heck, I don't see why everyone serving in combat doesn't have PTSD, and if they don't, they may be in denial. Unfortunately, my father does not get disability since he technically did not exist for the longest time. (Air America is the CIA airforce)
 
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Well, I may get hammered for this, but I know more than a few Vets, and some are fakers.

My tour in Vietnam was mostly in safe areas, only saw a few dead/wounded American servicemen. It was enough. Since then I have lived around or worked with many Vietnam era vets who have good reason to apply for funds. One neighbor had a lot of his body shot away, and is 100% disabled, and his mental problems are more related to his physical situation than his actual service. There is so much he can no longer do with half his appendages gone, and his remaining hand more like a claw. The inactivity of his life is hard to take. Another became a dentist after his service, then a decade later his hands started going numb, from exposure to Agent Orange. Hard to do dental work with hands that don't work so well. He isn't getting much for that, but every little bit helps. His wife has to be the breadwinner for the family.

However, I have also worked with some who just milk the system. One guy, an Air Force type, never served in Vietnam at all, but claims to be ridden with guilt because his "comrades in arms" suffered while he did not. That may have also been his excuse for spending his income on toys for himself and letting his children go without needed dental work. Another who I worked with is a slacker in every sense of the word, and continually applied for higher percentages from the VA as he approached retirement from the job that he seldom did or did so poorly that his employer worked hard to get an early retirement for him. He brags about his ability to play the system. Seems 2 Purple Hearts are worth a lot these days. He never says where or how he was injured, and we cannot tell by looking.
One more just keeps using his veterans status to claim that the country, and the company he works for, "owes" him. He tried to get me involved with VFW, but his branch is more of a drinking club than anything else. I think his handicap is an addiction to self pity.

And I know a few more who will not talk about their service, at least not with someone who never served. Those are the ones who are probably worthy of some compensation, but do not apply for it.

Like welfare, the funds available should be used for those who need the help. Those who do not need it are stealing it from those who do.
 

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UtahBill said:
Well, I may get hammered for this, but I know more than a few Vets, and some are fakers.

My tour in Vietnam was mostly in safe areas, only saw a few dead/wounded American servicemen. It was enough. Since then I have lived around or worked with many Vietnam era vets who have good reason to apply for funds. One neighbor had a lot of his body shot away, and is 100% disabled, and his mental problems are more related to his physical situation than his actual service. There is so much he can no longer do with half his appendages gone, and his remaining hand more like a claw. The inactivity of his life is hard to take. Another became a dentist after his service, then a decade later his hands started going numb, from exposure to Agent Orange. Hard to do dental work with hands that don't work so well. He isn't getting much for that, but every little bit helps. His wife has to be the breadwinner for the family.

However, I have also worked with some who just milk the system. One guy, an Air Force type, never served in Vietnam at all, but claims to be ridden with guilt because his "comrades in arms" suffered while he did not. That may have also been his excuse for spending his income on toys for himself and letting his children go without needed dental work. Another who I worked with is a slacker in every sense of the word, and continually applied for higher percentages from the VA as he approached retirement from the job that he seldom did or did so poorly that his employer worked hard to get an early retirement for him. He brags about his ability to play the system. Seems 2 Purple Hearts are worth a lot these days. He never says where or how he was injured, and we cannot tell by looking.
One more just keeps using his veterans status to claim that the country, and the company he works for, "owes" him. He tried to get me involved with VFW, but his branch is more of a drinking club than anything else. I think his handicap is an addiction to self pity.

And I know a few more who will not talk about their service, at least not with someone who never served. Those are the ones who are probably worthy of some compensation, but do not apply for it.

Like welfare, the funds available should be used for those who need the help. Those who do not need it are stealing it from those who do.
I appreciate your honesty, and if anyone wants to hammer you, let them. UtahBill, I see exactly what you describe, and it is very disheartening to watch people have no conscience in playing the system. I would be embarrassed to do that no matter how much I was stuggling financially. I would work 3 jobs if I needed to before playing with any sort of financial system. So I hear your complaints and understand them completely. I am very pro-veteran, but am very anti-liars.
 

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Somalia (Operation: Restore Hope and Operation: Continue Hope) 1993
Iraq (OIF I) 2003
Iraq (OIF II) 2004

It is certainly difficult to adjust your mind set from the responsibility that comes with deployments to the responsibilities that come with leading a CONUS life. To those that have experienced combat or witnessed evil happenings, there is certainly a chance of bad dreams. For myself, I have always had the trouble with recognizing and adjusting back to garrison life after each "combat" deployment. For me, nothing seems important until the adjustment has been made and I experienced minor reflections and very brief nightmares after the Somalia tour. Despite my activities during the second Iraq tour, I only experienced dreams and reflections on one particular incident. Despite my correct reaction, it was an incident that didn't have to happen and it stuck with me for some months. All people's experiences are different, but most post-traumatic stress disorder is Bull ****. It is a crutch for people when they fail in normal life and we see it far to often.

To so many people that have been brain washed by Hollywood's sense of real life.... combat veterans are supposed to be tormented souls. Those who fight our wars are supposed to return home irreparably damaged...right? Veterans are supposed to writhe on their beds all night, covered in sweat, unable to escape their nightmares. War does scar some men. Most vets, though, just get on with their lives - scratch a veteran looking for pity and more often than not you'll find a supply clerk who never got near a battlefield. Most who serve - the soldiers and Marines who win our wars - run to the sound of the guns, anxious to close with the enemy and kill him. We may not love war itself, but we find combat magnetic and exhilarating. We like to fight. Marines and soldiers don't serve full careers because they hate their jobs. In peace or war, the military experience is incredibly rich and rewarding - and sometimes dangerous. Goes with the territory. We kill because we are trained to kill and find satisfaction every time we put the enemy or a murderous criminal terrorist down. It is a rush that can never be duplicated (One of the reasons motorcycle deaths are high for Marines after "combat" deployments).

This is the reality.
 
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GySgt said:
Somalia (Operation: Restore Hope and Operation: Continue Hope) 1993
Iraq (OIF I) 2003
Iraq (OIF II) 2004

It is certainly difficult to adjust your mind set from the responsibility that comes with deployments to the responsibilities that come with leading a CONUS life. To those that have experienced combat or witnessed evil happenings, there is certainly a chance of bad dreams. For myself, I have always had the trouble with recognizing and adjusting back to garrison life after each "combat" deployment. For me, nothing seems important until the adjustment has been made and I experienced minor reflections and very brief nightmares after the Somalia tour. Despite my activities during the second Iraq tour, I only experienced dreams and reflections on one particular incident. Despite my correct reaction, it was an incident that didn't have to happen and it stuck with me for some months. All people's experiences are different, but most post-traumatic stress disorder is Bull ****. It is a crutch for people when they fail in normal life and we see it far to often.

To so many people that have been brain washed by Hollywood's sense of real life.... combat veterans are supposed to be tormented souls. Those who fight our wars are supposed to return home irreparably damaged...right? Veterans are supposed to writhe on their beds all night, covered in sweat, unable to escape their nightmares. War does scar some men. Most vets, though, just get on with their lives - scratch a veteran looking for pity and more often than not you'll find a supply clerk who never got near a battlefield. Most who serve - the soldiers and Marines who win our wars - run to the sound of the guns, anxious to close with the enemy and kill him. We may not love war itself, but we find combat magnetic and exhilarating. We like to fight. Marines and soldiers don't serve full careers because they hate their jobs. In peace or war, the military experience is incredibly rich and rewarding - and sometimes dangerous. Goes with the territory. We kill because we are trained to kill and find satisfaction every time we put the enemy or a murderous criminal terrorist down. It is a rush that can never be duplicated (One of the reasons motorcycle deaths are high for Marines after "combat" deployments).

This is the reality.
Adjustment issues and PTSD are two different things medically. My father was a POW and tortured, but has no evidence of PTSD and works as a commodity broker. (He is deaf in one ear and blind in one eye and luckily had a masters degree from college because there was no way he could continue his career as a civilian pilot.) Yes, he will be haunted with memories, yes he becomes melencholic, yes he is irreperably changed, but he does not have PTSD. Why some people get it and others don't is a subject of medical research. Don't belittle the true PTSD. Belittle the lying lazy assholes that try to milk the system, but not those with the real disease.
 
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ptsdkid

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UtahBill said:
Well, I may get hammered for this, but I know more than a few Vets, and some are fakers.

My tour in Vietnam was mostly in safe areas, only saw a few dead/wounded American servicemen. It was enough. Since then I have lived around or worked with many Vietnam era vets who have good reason to apply for funds. One neighbor had a lot of his body shot away, and is 100% disabled, and his mental problems are more related to his physical situation than his actual service. There is so much he can no longer do with half his appendages gone, and his remaining hand more like a claw. The inactivity of his life is hard to take. Another became a dentist after his service, then a decade later his hands started going numb, from exposure to Agent Orange. Hard to do dental work with hands that don't work so well. He isn't getting much for that, but every little bit helps. His wife has to be the breadwinner for the family.

However, I have also worked with some who just milk the system. One guy, an Air Force type, never served in Vietnam at all, but claims to be ridden with guilt because his "comrades in arms" suffered while he did not. That may have also been his excuse for spending his income on toys for himself and letting his children go without needed dental work. Another who I worked with is a slacker in every sense of the word, and continually applied for higher percentages from the VA as he approached retirement from the job that he seldom did or did so poorly that his employer worked hard to get an early retirement for him. He brags about his ability to play the system. Seems 2 Purple Hearts are worth a lot these days. He never says where or how he was injured, and we cannot tell by looking.
One more just keeps using his veterans status to claim that the country, and the company he works for, "owes" him. He tried to get me involved with VFW, but his branch is more of a drinking club than anything else. I think his handicap is an addiction to self pity.

And I know a few more who will not talk about their service, at least not with someone who never served. Those are the ones who are probably worthy of some compensation, but do not apply for it.

Like welfare, the funds available should be used for those who need the help. Those who do not need it are stealing it from those who do.

*******I couldn't disagree with you more. You say funds should be available to those that need it, not from those stealing it. Those that are 'stealing' it as you have stated, have gotten their rating from a handful of professionals from the VA. I've stated before that perhaps there are some that exaggerate their symptoms to a point, but that they still PTSD to some degree, otherwise their medical reports would clearly deny their claim.
Some of those wannabes you mentioned could be taken right out of Burkett's book titled "Stolen Valor". If they are truly not combat veterans--the testing will prove as much.
As far as stealing money/benefits and taking it from those that need it; that's a bunch of crock. Anyone that needs it is going to apply for it, and if found to be suffering from PTSD--will in turn be compensated fully. Each one's claim is certainly independent of those few shysters in the real world that just happen to play the game in their own way.
I've said before that I'm 100% for PTSD with that obligartory 'unemployable' title in my records. Regardless of what and how the VA determines my standing for society--I will never give into that old adage that I'm screwed for life emotionally, and that I'll never be able to function normally in public. In other words, I refuse to sign my own death warrant before exploring the last visages of life itself.
I know that I can work for short stress-free periods on a job to my liking. I worked under the table for a friend of mine doing construction on a part time basis at my leisure. No punch clocks, no supervision, and no stress to deal with. There isn't some type of work anyone suffering from PTSD can't do if the conditions are set correctly. The problem with those having PTSD is that to give up bennies to try and fit in with what may look like a great job, would almost always fail them in the long run. Once you have your fiscal house in order--pretty hard to jeopardize that in favor of a crap shoot.

KidTim
 

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bandaidwoman said:
Adjustment issues and PTSD are two different things medically. My father was a POW and tortured, but has no evidence of PTSD and works as a commodity broker. (He is deaf in one ear and blind in one eye and luckily had a masters degree from college because there was no way he could continue his career as a civilian pilot.) Yes, he will be haunted with memories, yes he becomes melencholic, yes he is irreperably changed, but he does not have PTSD. Why some people get it and others don't is a subject of medical research. Don't belittle the true PTSD. Belittle the lying lazy assholes that try to milk the system, but not those with the real disease.
"Belittling the lying lazy assholes that try to milk the system" and the ones who seek pity is what my post was about. Most veterans that "have" it...don't.
 

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GySgt said:
"Belittling the lying lazy assholes that try to milk the system" and the ones who seek pity is what my post was about. Most veterans that "have" it...don't.
I am sorry if I misconstued your post. :doh (english is not my first language and I may still have comprehension issues when I quickly read the material so forgive me.)

Unfortunately, there are those who will abuse the system, yes, that I agree with you ,nd it is unfortunate for the ones who do have it.
 
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