Title 38 USC 5301 – Sec. 5301, Non-Assignability and Exempt Status of Benefits reads VA benefit payments “shall be exempt from the claim of creditors, and shall not be liable to attachment, levy, or seizure by or under any legal or equitable process.”
Hello, my name is Calvin Murphy. I am a 63-year-old, Viet Nam, 100% disabled veteran. I served in 65-67 and in-country 66-67. Had rough time on DMZ but made it home and lived in a bottle and used drugs for next 30 years. In 1995 I was told I suffered from severe PTSD.
I have been in treatment ever since and still there today. This treatment has helped save my life. And the compensation has helped me live a stable life to the best of my ability. In 2005 my wife left me very unexpected and it pushed me over the edge and I was in hospital for over 3 months. Came home and was served papers for divorce. So I had long drug out hearings about my life and PTSD was basically put on trial.
She said I was violent and she was scared of me. It was proved that I never abused her outside of some yelling. It was proved that I over came alcoholism and drug abuse at that time for many years and still clean today.
The attorney that my ex had was the most anti veteran person I have ever meant. I was ask to relive some of what happen in Viet Nam and I did the best I could, but she would not cross examine me and said all I was doing was “”ROMANTIZING”” my service because I wear Dog-Tags. And she had a thing about vets who wear ball caps and other things saying that they where veterans. My wife was asking for $2,000.00 a month for life, and the end decision was that I was to pay $800.00 for life.
My income is my VA Compensation and SSD because VA deemed me Non-Employable. And I get a check for $400.00 from my job. I offered that check to them from my job, but they laughed. You could see that this was mission to get all they could out of the veteran. My defense was that I stood behind the Federal Law Title 38 Sec. 5301 that says that veteran’s disability compensation is exempt from attachment and the same with SSD.
But the state courts say that they can attach them. So this is where the fight starts. I refused to pay when the judge set the amount of $800.00 a month as temporary spousal support and was give 90 days in jail for refusing to pay out of what I earned serving this great country of ours.
I stayed in 10 days and had to come up with several thousand to get out of jail. Then $800.00 was made permanent. This is short outline of what happened to me, but this is going on all over the country, many of our veterans our being stripped of there disability benefits in violation of the FEDERAL LAW and nobody except a Veterans Advocacy Group by the name of (OFFE) that is Operation Firing For Effect.
This organization is the only group in the country making a stand for the disable veterans. I know of veterans who have lost homes, I know of Amputee’s who have left there home states and are in hiding in other states just so they can get there compensation checks so that they can survive. You do hear sometimes of the homeless veterans, well I can say that this has caused veterans to become homeless.
This in-justice has to stop!! But before it will it has to be recognized by all, not just a few. I ask now where is the MEDIA at on this issue, T.V., newspapers, radio’s. I must say that one man with a radio station in riverside, Iowa has stepped up and made the plight of the American Veteran his life mission. His name is Jeff Showalter and his station is the STARDUST NETWORK.
This is the only other voice we have to get this issue out there with, he is a true American Patriot to the veterans just because he cares. Otherwise to these people I say you want this sacred thing called FREEDOM but you don’t give a Damn about those who served and fought for you to have that right, to be free to do what you do.
When are veterans hang up there uniforms they are discarded like an old pair of shoes. We are remembered on Memorial Day when you are dead, and on Veterans Day to say Thank You and both are very heart warming but we are forgotten the other 363 days.
Then there are the Elected Officials who we send to Washington. They are going to save the world from everything when they are looking for votes then when they get there it is business as usual, and “”NO”” one to really stand up for those that have gave there all to make this country what it is.
AMERICA I am asking “”WHY”” what more can we do for this country? Same with the National Veteran’s Organizations why aren’t they out there helping veterans with this issue? On National level all they say is they do not get involved in Civil matters. Well this is a Veterans matter and what are they there for. I was told that once and then told to try and get new members recruited and sell lot of Poppy’s. But No help for these men and women to keep there benefits.
And then there is our nation’s Attorneys, WOW what can I say, this issue is a real “”CASH COW”” for many lawyer’s on this issue. They say they will fight for the vet and they stay with them until they drain them dry of money and then drop them like a bad habit. Here in Michigan I had one lawyer who did absolutely nothing for me and he was the one I had when I went to jail. I searched all over Michigan for someone to take me Pro-Bono , I found ONE I repeat ONE in the whole state who stuck with me till fight was over.
All she would say was UN-Believable. So I am saying that the Community of people that have trained to up hold the law are not stepping to the plated and in most cases when they do it is for money and NOT The American Veteran. Again the Freedom that we enjoy as Americans are being forgotten how and why we have them. I am saving this for last, but when I went to jail, I was wearing a jacket from the unit I served with in Viet Nam and had Medals that I earned on that jacket when I was handcuffed, I was so hurt by this. I was taken to the county jail in a Van and then taken out and the last thing that I seen before going into lock-up was the American Flag flying, I looked up and asked why what did I do wrong. All I am Guilty of is serving the country I love so much. I was put in solitary confinement the whole time I was there.
I ask myself did I embarrass America by making this stand, or is America embarrassed by what happen to me if they knew. AMERICA I am still looking for and answer. In March I will be in Washington D.C with Operation Firing for Effect to see if we can get Congressional backing on this issue and while I am there I am going to give America back the Medals that I earned serving her.
To me they are tarnished by the same people that I thought that I was helping to protect. My heart is broken, when that happened it was like getting a Dishonorable Discharge. I can never wear those medals again with any kind of pride after having them on in jail for standing up to keep what I earned.
So I am going to ask some congressional person to give them to the President with copy of my Mug shot from jail with note saying I can never wear them again that they have been Dishonored by the judicial system and that it was a slap in the face to all who have served.
America we are forcing America’s best to the streets, and we are putting them in jail for wanting to keep what they earned. Please help by contacting your senator’s, Congressman and women. STOP THIS INJUSTICE.
And I challenge the Media who has the nerve to step up and do a story on what is really happening to our veterans around the country, yes say Thank You For Your Service, but also ask the veteran what can I do to help.
Remember they where ready to sacrifice there lives for you so you can enjoy a life of Freedom, Don’t turn your back on these brave men and women, we owe them.
In closing I would like to Thank Jim Davis of Veterans for Change for the opportunity to write this article and helping us to get this word out there. I will put contact info at the bottom if you would like to talk to anyone on this issue.