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By Pat Lisi

          I have PTSD.  You probably have PTSD.  But, not all veterans who apply for PTSD compensation have PTSD. 

          I have no verifiable evidence to back up my claim that some veterans know how to play the system so well that they actually end up with incredible settlements and entitlements.  But, I know for sure that not every veteran out there is honest in their personal assessments. 

          So, what’s the problem?  After all, it seems as though lots of people end up getting ‘bailouts’ these days … what’s wrong with a poor veteran cashing in, especially after serving his or her country so valiantly?

          Nothing.  As long as it was real.  In other words, was that veterans’ trauma perceived and not real?  Did the veteran figure out what it is the VA needs to hear in order to fool them?  I read a story on-line about a Nam vet who worked in a mail room in Saigon who is now drawing compensation for PTSD, simply because he swears he was scared constantly that a rocket might hit his building and kill him.  Is that real PTSD?  I’m not a judge, but I have a little trouble with that one.

          The biggest problem with veterans heading into the VA to unethically make a PTSD claim is that if they succeed it drains money away from those who really deserve it.  Eventually, the VA’s bank account could become crippled enough so that no one gets compensated.  Alright, this probably isn’t going to happen, realistically, but you get the point.  There are tons of veterans who really need the monetary assistance, so I don’t believe there is anything wrong in protecting the treasury of the VA.

          VA sponsored appointments where the veteran is interviewed by a psych are tough to go through.  I know, as I had 4 of these appointments in a 15-m0nth period of time.  They are exhausting, emotional, terrible, mind-blowing, they bring back bad memories, make you cry, make you angry, and it takes a long time to recover just from the appointment and THEN you still have PTSD to deal with.  In the end, I think this is good for the veteran and the VA.  It gives the veteran a chance to prove that he or she truly has PTSD, and it gives the VA the opportunity to try and weed out a fraud.

          By the way, I’m not here to defend the VA.  That entire administration is laden with problems!  My first PTSD appointment was at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City, and I was completely offended by the fact that the “doctor” interviewing me looked like Doogy Houser, barely out of college, and when I asked him if he was a veteran he sheepishly told me no.  Bottom line  in my mind at the time was, “What the hell does this juvenile non-veteran know about the military and its troubled soldiers?”

          Still, defrauding the VA for money is not right, not to mention it’s illegal.  You wouldn’t want someone bragging about a medal they didn’t deserve, or about a medal they really didn’t get, would you?  Same thing applies here.  If you don’t have PTSD don’t tell me that you do, okay?  Thank you.

 

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