AP: VA System Is ‘Too Easy’ for Veterans to File Claims!!

Keith Roberts - Innocent Navy Veteran Jailed by the Federal Government

As PTSD claims soar, the systemic problem at the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs is the ease with which veterans file for disability benefit claims, in the view of Allen Breed, a national writer for the Associated Press. This is a hit job on veterans and the progress being contemplated by some at the DVA to help veterans.

Do you have that? Things are too easy for veterans dealing with the VA now, asserts the AP’s Breed.

Moved by a huge tide of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress, Congress has pressured the Department of Veterans Affairs to settle their disability claims — quickly, humanely, and mostly in the vets’ favor.

Continues Breed in his piece, PTSD cases rise and rules for claims ease, VA warned that more frauds will slip through: “The problem: The system is dysfunctional, an open invitation to fraud. And the VA has proposed changes that could make deception even easier.”

That’s the issue and it’s political, says Breed.

No deny-delay-and-hope-you-die culture at the DVA, just too many veterans taking advantage of “profitably working the levers of sympathy for the wounded and obligation to the troops, and exploiting the sheer difficulty of nailing a surefire diagnosis of a condition that is notoriously hard to define.”

No years waiting on a claim, it’s the ease with which veterans navigate the system now that is the real issue. This is just crazy.

Stated Atty Robert Walsh at oral arguments in a federal criminal case cooked up by the VA and DOJ in October 2007:

… (I)t’s a total distortion in this record, and any suggestion that any veteran can just walk into the V.A., file a claim and say, you know, a peace time Veteran, that I was here in the states and I was sexually assaulted, and it’s stressful, give me money. And the (VA’s) answer is, did you tell the chaplain, did you go to the hospital, did you confide in a family member, do you have a contemporaneous letter, do you have documentation? ‘No, I was embarrassed’. Then the claim fails. Your own statement, no matter how compelling the argument, how tragic the circumstances, is not going to be the basis of an award of PTSD.

Breed disagrees.

No “system stack[ed] deck against injured soldiers by forcing them to prove they have post-traumatic stress disorder [PTST]…,’ (Marine Corp Times (Kelly Kennedy, April 5, 2007)).


The only reason that PTSD is “hard to define” is the DVA’s contrived definition and the VA’s systemic barriers to proving its existence in our veterans.

This is axiomatic to any veteran’s advocate, but evidentally eludes Breed. He did not talk to Paul Sullivan at Veterans for Common Sense certainly or any other veteran in these pages who could have set him straight.

Let’s get back to Wisconsin Navy veteran Keith Roberts targeted by the U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2003-05, who became the central figure in an Alice-in-Wonderland tale, after U.S. Attorney Stephen Biskupic of Wisconsin and top VA officials schemed to convict Roberts of fraudulently receiving VA benefits (by wire transfer as the VA requires).

Breed quotes the prosecution approvingly, taking the VA’s and CAVC’s positions at face value as though these institutions have a shred of credibility.

The basis of the prosecution: Holland and Roberts were not friends (an assertion knocked down) it was divined 35 years ago by VA cops after the death of Roberts’ friend and fellow airman.

The VA cop Raymond Vasil of a VA regional Inspector General’s office found that Navy veterans could not recall the presence of a given person 35 years later as another man lay being slowly crushed to death. No kidding.

Navy veteran Keith Roberts filed a claim, several claims as he learned how, and then listened to the advice of his veteran service officer and asked for retroactive awarding of his benefits to his discharge.

Roberts often screamed at the Milwaukee VA regional office that they were illegaly altering his C-File. He was right. But they turned around and charged him with fraud.

The case had drew the attention of Harper’s magazinecontributor and human rights attorney, Scott Horton, after the U.S. Attorneys’ scandal broke during the Bush adminstration:

(T)ake a look at another prosecution brought in Wisconsin against a wounded vet, whose claims for benefits was turned into a criminal prosecution for wire fraud. As Wisconsin Public Radio reports,Keith Roberts, a Navy veteran got into the U.S. attorney’s crosshairs by filing a claim for benefits related to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) diagnosed as occurring because he witnessed and tried to prevent his friend from being crushed to death by a C-54 airplane while stationed at a Naval air base in Naples, Italy 1969, and unrelated assault by the Navy Shore Patrol—granted and then denied, has not yet been decided by the CAVC. But the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) after being accused of fraud in 2003 by Roberts ignored the CAVC process and investigated and asked that Roberts be prosecuted for fraud by the US Attorney’s office.

The prosecution smacks of retaliation and a plan to suppress veterans claims—Roberts was prosecuted for tenaciously pursuing a claim for benefits, which VA resisted and which is still in the benefits review process. It may be that the veteran is making claims which shouldn’t’t be granted, but the decision to resist them by a criminal complaint is very heavy handed. What happens if the Veterans’ Appeals process rules for Roberts? As I read these papers, that seems possible. …

Who knows? Roberts’s case now is being appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and we can expect a decision in a few years.

In reading Breed’s piece, a rare national piece on the processes at the VA, I cannot for the life of me believe he reports that VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki is making things too easy by proposing new rules.

Breed cites the Board of Veterans Appeals and CAVC on decisions made against veterans without comment and context.

This is like asking Karl Rove for his objective opinion of President Obama’s performance. Did Breed talk to any member of the CAVC bar board off-the-record on the opinion?

And of course, Breed essentially takes the position of the chickenhawks at the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Dr. Sally Satel that ridicules veterans diagnosed with PTSD, a view that has permeated the Dept of Veterans Affairs, though the proposed changes are bemoaned by Breed’s sources.

See the Post: “Psychiatrist Sally Satel, who is affiliated with the conservative American Enterprise Institute, said an underground network advises veterans where to go for the best chance of being declared disabled. The institute organized a recent meeting to discuss PTSD among veterans.”

Don’t you think it’s odd that VA investigators ordered by top VA officials pulled this prosecution?

Why not mention the political environment?

Roberts was targeted by the US Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA) in 2003-05, and became the central figure in this Alice-in-Wonderland tale, after U.S. Attorney Stephen Biskupic of Wisconsin and top VA officials schemed to convict Roberts’ of fraudulently receiving VA benefits (by wire transfer as the VA requires).

Veterans’ advocates know well Roberts is a victim of a vigorous attempt to marginalize, investigate, and prosecute veterans receiving disability benefits in an aborted attempt to fabricate a fraud crisis among veterans who were injured and traumatized during their service to their country.

As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars produce 100,000s more wounded veterans—a phenomenon that is was the subject of an unprecedented class action law suit by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan against the VA [dismissed but its allegations found as fact}—advocates allege that Roberts’ extraordinary prosecution was part of the Bush administration’s priorities to discourage VA disability benefits claims, especially among Vietnam-era veterans, serving to carry out the American Enterprise Institute (AEI)/Bush policy that demeans veterans for seeking help with PTSD in what the AEI derisively brands a “culture of trauma.”

The Pentagon has gone so far as to blame veterans “personality disorders” and lack of faith in God for veterans suffering after service. [A VA May 1, 2008 e-mail obtained via FOIA request reveals, that because of “compensation seeking veterans,” VA staff should “refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out” and they should “R/O [rule out] PTSD” and consider a diagnosis of “Adjustment Disorder” instead.

One administration initiative to investigate 72,000 cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)was halted in 2005 after a storm of outrage from veterans’ groups and Democrats, inlcuding the Senator Obama.

Here’s how Breed concludes his piece without casting a single doubt on the Roberts prosecution, ignoring why he was a political target, or even quoting a knockdown from one source on his thesis that the VA is taking it too easy on veterans now-a-days:

But investigators later determined that Roberts didn’t even participate in the rescue effort and was not as close to Holland as he’d claimed. The Board of Veterans Appeals said the VA’s regional office “simply conceded” Roberts’ claims “without obtaining credible supporting evidence.”

After losing his benefits, Roberts was convicted of wire fraud, sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $262,943.52 in restitution. Last month, the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims concluded in a 45-page ruling that Roberts “committed fraud in securing VA benefits for his PTSD” and affirmed the BVA’s decision to sever them.

In a recent telephone interview, the 62-year-old veteran denied that he lied, but argued that under VA rules, he could have PTSD from merely being “vicariously aware of the situation.”

When asked whether the new rule would throw open the doors to more fraud, Shinseki stressed the need for more research into PTSD and traumatic brain injury, the war on terror’s other “signature” wound.

“I know if we take your temperature and you’re registering at 102 degrees, you’ve got a fever, and there are ways to cope with that,” the VA secretary told the AP. “PTSD and TBI are in need of the same kind of metrics.”

AP Writer Kimberly Hefling in Washington, D.C., also contributed to this report. Allen G. Breed, a national writer for The Associated Press based in Raleigh, N.C., can be reached at [email protected]

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Posted by on May 2, 2010, With Reads Filed under Veterans. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

38 Responses to "AP: VA System Is ‘Too Easy’ for Veterans to File Claims!!"

  1. Rose Birmingham  June 14, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    Your average person has no idea the BS that a veteran has to go throught to get any help. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell a vet is getting PTSD benifits and lied about it. My husband has PTSD from Operation Desert Storm. We have not been able to get him benefits and have been trying for 14 years. We just had a hearing with the Travel review board in Oct of 2009 and have no idea when he will hear the decision. When he first applied we were getting letters asking him to prove he was in combat?? The military has record of what unit he was where he was stationed etc. Talk about a slap in the face! risk your life for your country then the people that send you tell you to prove it. I am not so sure the VA isn’t trying to help Disabled vets commit suicide with the BS I have seen go on at some of the hospitals and with the treatment of people from the VA. It is a disgrace what veteran’s are put through if they come out with as psychological disabilty.

  2. Jim  May 28, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    Donald claims to know the details of what did or did not take place regarding the death of Gary Holland and the relationship with Keith Roberts. If he got the information from VA files, it had to have been from files that had already been purged. Keith and Gary went to A school together, transferred to NAF Naples together, lived in the same barracks, worked together and studied for and took the E4 promotion tests together. Further, on February 4, 1969, Keith Roberts was the line duty officer(an enlisted man’s regularly assigned duty)at NAF Naples. As such, he was responsible to oversee the security for all aircraft once on the ground, on the line, or even in the maintenance area, the C-54 that Gary was working on included. As such, the records and log book would show that he was definitely there. He was involved in an attempt to extricate Gary from the wheel-well of the C-54. All of this information was originally in the records but was disallowed by the VA at Roberts’ hearings. I met with Keith, in Naples, during the year after the incident. Although he had other personal problems, Gary’s death was constantly a heavy burden on his mind. Several doctors, even within the VA, originally determined that this incident was indeed a sufficient stressor to have caused Keith Roberts’ PTSD. Because he labeled Keith as “manipulative”, I am assuming that Donald’s only knowledge and experience with Keith had to begin after his mistreatment within the VA and judicial system had been underway.

  3. Vetadvocate  May 18, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Mr. Smitts
    It sounds like you want to convert the “professional Veteran” into a “homeless Veteran”, or even worse, into one of the 18 Vets who take their own life every day.
    It sounds like you either work in a VA Regional Office, or are seeking a job there, and would like to have your comment put on your Resume to the VA. You should have no trouble getting employment at the Va, where many like you create new homeless and suicide Veterans each day by delaying and denying benefits.
    I wonder how many Vets had to die so that you may enjoy your freedom of speech bashing disabled Vets.
    Maybe you should be sent to Iraq, like my son, and then you would be more appreciative of the Veteran’s sacrifices if you had to live like they do.
    Until then, you had best button your mouth because one of those hard core combat Vets that people with an attitude like you made homeless wont take your comments so lightly. These “professional homeless Vets” have pretty much lost everything so they wont have much problem with the consequences of getting even with you….except some of them dont want to get even..they want revenge from people like you who did this to them.

  4. Mere Johnson  May 9, 2010 at 10:34 am

    What if every single night you awaken screaming. Don’t you think that might be the thing that affects the rest of the veterans life.

  5. Sally  May 6, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    Donald, frankly I don’t believe you. You don’t know enough about the file, you sound like some frustrated individual that want’s to spew lies to make yourself sound important. According to the BVA decision, the statements made by Mr. Roberts could not “as a matter of Law” be used to grant service connection for PTSD, therefore the if that is what truly happened, the RO screwed this up. Furthermore, Mr. Roberts’ statement regarding the death of Gary D. Holland is extremely accurate and did not need to review a statement from a JAG Manual report to recall exactly what transpired the day of February 4, 1969 at NAF Naples, Italy. However, none of the former Navy Personnel that were called to testify against Roberts at his trial all stated under oath that they could not recall or remember if Roberts was at the scene of the accident, which is not required to be verified according to Pentecost and others, all that is required is that the veteran was stationed at the time and place of the incident/stressor. Furthermore, high ranking VA official testified at the criminal trial that a non-combat Veteran’s statements can not be used to grant service connection for PTSD. Can you see the writing on the wall, Mr. Roberts’ was railroaded and your on the same train. Get off and get a grip and get your facts straight.

  6. Donald  May 6, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Hello Sally, I did indeed read Mr. Roberts C-file(s) and I did so legally. The issue in the Roberts case was fraud–submission of false statements to gain benefits– not the anxiety disorder in the SMR per se.I am not a frustrated VA employee. And I submit no lies. Indeed the VA “admitted” the anxiety, but it was not related to the claimed stressor incident. The system was fouled by all parties certainly, not the least by those who jump to conclusions based on disparate pieces of evidence, the claimant in this case included.

  7. Sally  May 6, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    Dear Donald, apparently if you have read Mr. Roberts’ c-file you did so without his consent. His C-file is confidential. The only way you could have gained access to his C-File would be as a VA adjudicator or other VA employee, and not one of them were helpful in the least. However, if you would have read his complete 4,000 plus page c-file, you would note that he was treated in service for an anxiety disorder unspecified, which is now diagnosed as PTSD. VA has admitted to this in several documents in his C-File. CAVC broke their own laws in their ruling on Mr. Roberts’ case and have caused many VA precedent rulings of law to be overturned, such as Roberson, Cohen and Moreau. Which changes a lot and makes those Veteran’s that received benefits based upon those laws, will now lose them. Are you a frustrated VA employee? Maybe you should seek counseling for submitting lies to this site.

  8. Bill Smitts  May 6, 2010 at 7:41 am

    The problem with awarding PTSD to a young veteran is making a “professional veteran” out of him, or her destroying incentive to move on with their life.

    Then once his or her whole self image is (monetarily awarded) PTSD, his life is based on his military service, and PTSD.

    For the rest of his life he wanders the VA hospital halls with a baseball cap stating his military service. This in my opinion is not good for the veteran.

    I am not meaning to insult those veterans wandering the VA halls in baseball caps, but to me once this happens it sends a signal life is over.

  9. Donald  May 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    For those of you who have never read Mr. Keith Roberts’ VA claims file, you can not speak about whether his case represents fraud or villainy by the VA. As one who has read his file, met Mr. Roberts, attempted to assist the very manipulative man, I can assure you that he indeed committed fraud, and hugely. Please don’t make Roberts a poster child for alleged VA wrongs. Roberts committed massive fraud and bit every hand that tried to help him. Does the VA make mistakes? Of course. Are all veteran claimants righteous people? Don’t fool yourselves. However, the great majority of veterans deserve the benefits they seek. The Roberts of the system spoil the lot for us all. The VA can not recover from “everyone is guilty until proven innocent” stance they have held for many decades because of characters of Mr. Roberts ilk.

  10. Tom Dillman  May 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Email w/number sent. Semper Fi Tom Texas Vet

  11. Joe Cantrell  May 4, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    This entire flap seems so wrong-headed, and is terribly reported by the AP writer. The narrow definition of PTSD as relating only to specific incidents which may have happened decades ago is stupid in its self-serving (for the VA) reductionism. In my observation as a Vietnam vet, ongoing PTSD reflects American society’s continuing denial of shared responsibility for our many questionable and outright-wrong wars, AND the VA bureaucracy’s negativity and abuse of its own clients. These things have made my PTSD and that of my vet friends worse over the years, not better.
    I think the genesis for a lot of the “fraud” is that vets feel like the military, now the VA, have played dirty with them, so that’s the game. It is dead wrong, but we seem unable to have honest relationships in this country any more.
    VA psychologists have unbelievably overwhelming caseloads, hundreds of patients per practitioner, and drugs used to make up for inability to give personal care.
    It would have made an incredible difference if our service had been taken seriously, instead of a discomforting pox on our personal histories—and that is exactly what’s happening now, again.
    If I, or my child, had been sent on multiple deployments to Bush’s wars, spouse deserting, friends wounded, psychic damage ongoing, and come home to this mindless squandering of time, energy and national strength…I know I’d be sick.
    PTSD grows from this whole society, not just combat trauma. The sooner people realize that, the earlier a remedy can be found. But I’m betting it won’t.

  12. B.A. Gilmore  May 3, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    How about giving Mr. Breed two or three tours in Iraq so he can get a first row view of war. I’ve been fighting for more than 20 years and I still haven’t been approved for over 20 percent even after a laminectomy on my injury sustained in the service. In fact I was told I was a “malingerer” and the pain was all in my head. I guess if I show them the rods in my back, now I’ll do better.
    And I’m not even going to talk about PTSD. I got that from a job I took because I couldn’t do any other job. The VA also told me I wasn’t eligible for job training because the job I had a great job considering my disability.

  13. jeremiah  May 3, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I’m still confused as to what the real message of this entry is. The VA has been trying for many years to help Veterans a much as possible. There were many, many years, probably since the beginning of the VA’s inception, that the Veterans have been turned away when they honestly needed help.

    Are there a few that milk the system? Of course there are. But to come on here and deface the entire Veteran Population and say that we ALL or MOST are trying to do this is rediculious.

    But now that the VA has actually seen what is happening to those of us that return is a serious threat to not only the returning Vet, their family, but also the communities, it is SHAMEFUL that anyone would even think about writing such crap!

    The suicide rate is rising, mainly because of veterans being denied coverage, let alone treatment.

    Has the author of this piece even had the chance to go through the cases and see which ones are false and which ones are true?

    Has the author had the chance to try and go through the paperwork in order to see what is invilved in this procedure?

    I think NOT!

    I think this piece stinks to high heaven, and the author should be removed of his ability to publish such trash. He should only be able to collect the trash in the cans at night, when the rest of the garbage men are working!

  14. Michael Leon  May 3, 2010 at 9:54 am

    Tom, you around? I need to call you!

  15. Blackcoat  May 3, 2010 at 2:11 am

    In about 10-15 years, from now, this country is in for a huge event that will once again demonstrate that those that send us to war do not have a clue. There is going to be many Veterans that are going to file for benefits because of the inability to cope with the day to day feelings, both physical and mental.
    The leaders of this country that send us to war are experts. They are experts in the production of Veterans and Disabled Veterans. They do not have one iota of knowledge of the consequences of sending us to war. We in the military are not of the super human species and are not in the only occupation that because of our job we are diagnosed with PTSD. Fire Fighters, Law enforcement Officers, doctors, nurses are not exempt from being stressed out with feelings of guilt etc, that turn to self medication to cope with the demons as many of us do just to get through the day.
    It is our job to do what we do and that is what we train for…Combat and killing the enemy. Due to what we witness and what we participate in will cause many changes in our thinking, behavior. So for those that feel that we have an easy road to filing for benefits and proving that we are afflicted with PTSD and TBI, come and join me on one of my trips to see the demons on a fairly regular schedule. Semper Fidelis. Blackcoat.

  16. vinnie  May 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    The government sends you and me to a unjust war. spend over TWO TRILLION DOLLARS ON two wars. then says military who file for disability most of the time commit fraud. their is no justice in the system. now the government will spend another 33 million dollars on (2) stupid wars with no end in sight.they have the money for wars but not for disabled veterans. meantime the stupid federal government lets wall street and the bankers get away with billions of dollars in FRAUD. no wonder the United States is going to HELL.

  17. Michael Leon  May 2, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Puke is the perfect word for these people who are actually going after veteans.

  18. Michael Leon  May 2, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    I thought I understood the level of ignorance of the corporate press on what veterans go through. I’m wrong.

    Thank you for your support and service, as always.

  19. The sheer weight of numbers from our now NINE year involvement in Iraq & AFGN
    will force not only public opinion, politicians and the bean counters in the OMB,
    DoD and the DVA to finally address the entire disability rating system, long term
    therapies and compensation process.
    Some of us VN vets have tried several times for PTSD disability the past few decades, the paper chased delaying tactics have caused more than a fair share of us to become burdens on our families, homeless, substance abusers with spotty employment records.
    So long as the DD 214 and military records prove combat zone time with a genuine ID, the EASE with which vets get their hard earned benefits depends on the facility they’re working with and the amount of “bean counter proof” documentation the vet can present to the DVA adjudication system.

  20. Night Flyer  May 2, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Michael, I found the links quite informative in that the information presented is an example of what happens when a veteran speaks up (too much). He definitely pissed someone off.

    Clearly presented is the amount of false claims being awarded for the new veterans when compared to the Vietnam combat veterans who have been denied.

    Seems the new veterans have a better understanding on how to proceed. Perhaps the huge claims backlog is a result of many thousands of new veterans putting in claims. The fact that thousands of Korea and Vietnam veterans are still in a pending status while new veterans get rated as disabled needs to be addressed as well.

  21. David A. White  May 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    The disability process has to change, I don’t have an answer, but the process in place at the present time is very unfair. What do we call combat, a guy that is there for a week and killed while sleeping in the barracks or a guy that stays for a full year or more and is in the thick of things constantly, but comes home without an appearance of injury. What happened to the commitee that was set up to deal with the compensation system that was headed by General Terry Scott. I first heard of PTSD in the 90’s and TBI only a couple of years ago.

  22. JoAnna Michaels  May 2, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Mr. Breed obviously has never served his country , experienced the military or the VA. Pts has existed since war. WWI it was shell shock, WWII the same and now PTS. the dianosis name changes but the results are the same. VA ignores the problem, The defense dept denies it so they can get more PTS canidates and then they Plant stories though people like allen breed.

  23. Kyle Workman  May 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

    You know this would really be funny if it were not for the fact that so many VietNam Veterans not including Korean Veterans have self medicated with alcohol and drugs for so many years. Ruined families and turned their health to shit. The VA is a master at finding reasons to disqualify Veteran’s for their due disability payments. Of course a couple here and there are going to slip through the system. Do you publish everyone for that? Has anyone looked around at their local VAMC? The one here in Huntington, WV is very modern and has areas only accessible to those who have pin numbers for door locks. They have a Starbucks in front of the lab in the waiting room. It is clear that the administrators of the VAMC’s throughout the country are Administrators and not qualified to read a Veterans profile by looking at him, and talking to him. Makes me want to puke.

  24. Tom Dillman  May 2, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Thank you Mike. This was an outstanding post by you. THIS post is the reason why I read VT.

    Just the facts, man!

    Tom Texas Vet

  25. Tom Dillman  May 2, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you Jim. VERY well said!

    Tom — Texas Vet

  26. George  May 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Sure its easy to file a VA claim, but will it be approved. The factor here is that the information the veteran provided. Was is/it enough to convince the VA, that he has a problem. The information the VA, will be looking for would be in the veteran’s military 201 file and his medical file. If the VA can’t read the information because the individual who wrote it down, hand writing isn’t readable it will be thrown out. The claim is denied.

    Say Gordon, Do you remember what; R.M.K.B.R.J., stode for in Vietnam. My understanding was a Civilian contractor. I’ll give you the poop on what they did after the US Air Force, stopped spraying A O in 1970.

  27. Jim Starowicz  May 2, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    Hummm, BS accusations then adding BS in explaining! Apparently you were one of the many asleep during the previous decade!

  28. Jim Starowicz  May 2, 2010 at 12:21 pm

    This isn’t after ‘Nam, it’s 35years after the end of, and in those 35yrs., even while the country kept pushing back and ignoring PTSD and TBI, the advances in the medical fields, especially as to mental issues, makes it virtually impossible for someone to fake a diagnoses of PTSD. It is now, finally, understood that those in civilian populations, not only those occupied in wars, can develop from the extreme trauma’s some experience in their lives.

  29. Dan Cedusky  May 2, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    TO: ALLEN G. BREED AP National Writer, 11:01 PM CDT, May 1, 2010
    A lot of BS in your article. The streets are full of homeless veterans, that have mental problems, that have had claims denied by the VA, but don’t have the where-with-all to respond or fight the claim thru the long deny, appeal, process. The homes lost, families broken apart, by the long VA claims process is horrendous.

    Go talk to a mental health professional about what causes depression, PTSD, or panic attacks, etc. The answers are not easy to get, yet the VA can narrow it down to a few specifics. The rest they ignore. There are millions of people suffering from Depression due to a variety of stresses, that never served in the military. Yet the VA mostly only counts those that can prove they were in combat..and I emphasize the word “prove”.
    Serving in the military is stressful, most get thru it, but some don’t.

    For you to mention Keith Roberts, as one of the frauds, is a great injustice, and shows the extent the VA will twist the system to get revenge on outspoken VA critics. The Roberts case is complex, and filled with many ignored VA mistakes in applying the law. Did you read the dissenting judge’s comments/briefs?

    Are their some frauds? Of course there are..but many more legitimate claims, denied, placed on back burner, records lost or thrown away. Just look at the large percentage of claims that are remanded to local VA regional offices by the Board of veteran appeals, or the Court of Veteran appeals for errors.

  30. Jim Starowicz  May 2, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    The Country that Cheers on, and now slapped magnetic ribbons and purple heart bandages, Wars of Choice don’t want to pony up the long term costs of the results while not questioning the ever increasing Defense Budgets, that’s been since Korea and continues, Government Agencies can only do with what they get and that comes from the Country and their Reps! Think, and no need to do a hard thought, on what Wasn’t done in the previous decade, and obstructed by those trying to do!

  31. Sanford Cook  May 2, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    It is remarkable that because there is a possibility of fraud in rare cases, all veterans seeking benefits must be presumed to be attempting fraud when they file for their legal and earned benefits.

    In a nation that (supposedly) believes that it is better for 100 guilty to go free rather than to execute one innocent, we reverse the judgment and say that it is better for all veterans to be denied benefits rather than let one fraudulent one through.

    Utter hypocrisy – and bullshit as well.

  32. Jim Starowicz  May 2, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    And on the Reality Base: The War Within: By Tove Tupper

    Part 1 http://kdrv.com/page/172027

    Part 2 http://kdrv.com/news/local/172040

    This is a great little two part local report down on the 29th of last month.

  33. Paul Sutton  May 2, 2010 at 11:55 am

    From about 1968 until 1980, when PTSD was added to the DSM-IV, Vietnam veterans had no recourse with the VA for this combat-induced disability. And, even after the DSM-IV clearly stated that PTSD was a real and growing threat to the health and stability of returning veterans, the VA steadfastly denied PTSD claims. It wasn’t until the late 1980’s, early 1990s, that we began to see PTSD claims make it through the system and service-connected disabilities awarded to Vietnam veterans. I know one Army Vietnam veteran who earned the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1967 that did not get his PTSD claim through the impenetrable VA system until late 1984. And, now the system wants to make it even harder for returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan, aided by the unwashed in the lame-stream media? What are these people smoking? Or, are you listening too much to those mid-level VA managers who “toe the OMB” line – deny, deny, deny until they all die?
    Paul Sutton, former active duty USMC
    Vietnam veteran (1964-1965; 1967-1968)

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