Washington Times Lobs Grenades At Severely Disabled Veterans

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Severely Disabled Veterans

Benjamin KrauseYesterday, Washington Times lobbed grenades at severely disabled veterans following a newly released Government Accountability Office report. The title of the Washington Times article was deceptively titled “Veterans caught triple-dipping on benefits”, which was based on the report but it failed to deliver on the racy title.

The article’s author appears hell bent to justify a reduction in veterans benefits while deceptively claiming these veterans were “caught” making big bucks on the backs of the same taxpayers they previously protected while in the military. That would be ironic if true, but that is not the case here. You cannot get “caught” doing anything that is legal and justified, especially when it comes to using the benefits you earned.

The GAO made the investigation following prodding from Senator Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma senator who has made the elimination of certain disability benefits a centerpiece of his political career.

Last year around this time, Coburn did a one-sided slam piece with 60 Minutes that painted the Social Security Disability program as a program that is easily defrauded. Check out this article about Coburn’s performance, What Did 60 Minutes Get Wrong About Disability?

One look at Coburn’s more recent campaign finances could explain his bias against disabled people. In 2012, Coburn received funds linked to Prudential PAC monies. Prudential holds a 60-year monopoly on VA’s various insurance programs, wherein it brashly references people with mental disabilities like PTSD as just plain “insane”. Recently, Prudential paid $39.2 million to settle a lawsuit with veteran families when it was accused of wrongly withholding death benefits related to VA life insurance programs.

The Washington Times video covering the issue follows the Al Franken ad:

Any reduction would likely focus on preventing retired veterans from receiving Social Security Disability or Veterans Disability or both. Veterans successfully fought for years to receive concurrent benefits following retirement, like other federal employees at VA, DoD and elsewhere.

Senator Coburn is leading the charge against social welfare benefits that are the target of calculatedly shallow articles like this one from the Washington Times. Senator Coburn has carved out a niche for himself hammering disadvantaged individuals receiving disability benefits of any kind rather than focusing on larger spending issues like foreign country handouts and welfare for corporations.

“This report shows that, like other government programs, there is little coordination between these overlapping benefits, which increase cost[s] to taxpayers,” said Sen. Tom Coburn, the Oklahoma Republican who requested the GAO report. “We should fulfill our promises to the men and women who serve, but we need to streamline these duplicative programs.”

“With the Social Security Disability Insurance trust fund set to run out of money in two years, the report raises a number of questions about whether disability benefits are getting to those whose livelihoods depend on them,” the senator said.

On the surface, this may seem reasonable, but the argument falls apart when you evaluate the examples cited by Washington Times and GAO that erroneously serve to justify reducing benefits.

Coburn, the Washington Times and the GAO report highlight the amount of money some severely disabled veterans legally receive from the federal government. The complaint is that these very few disabled veterans receive over $100k or more in one year, without explaining why. In reality, these veterans receive special compensation because it costs a lot to care for these severely disabled veterans.

In some instances, the money comes from three sources: VA disability, Social Security Disability, and retirement. So, these veterans receive benefits they worked to earn and legally receive are what Coburn is fired up about. If Coburn had his way, this supposed loophole (three sources of payments) — which is tiny by comparison to many other government programs — would be closed for good.

Before you run with his logic too far, let me paint a picture of the veterans highlighted:

  • Veteran 1 retired after 20 years of military service. He has no use of his feet, has lung disease and vascular disease. Last year, he received $122,887 in benefits he earned.
  • Veteran 2 retired after 26 years. He lost both of his feet, is blind in one eye and has renal problems. Last year, he received $152,719.

The article highlights that part of what Veteran 2 receives is from the highest special disability award worth $85,958 per year. That award from VA is for only the most severely disabled veterans who are house bound and require full time aid and attendance in their home. This means the veteran or his family must use the money to pay for caregivers and related items needed that VA is unable to provide.

Now take a second. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to care for a partially blind man with no feet 24 hours a day? It costs a lot. Will I lose sleep over how much in benefits this person is given so that he is taken care of? No. And you shouldn’t, either.

I lose sleep over Wall Street ripping America off for trillions of dollars. I lose sleep when mega banks screw the little guy out of his retirement. I lose sleep over a decade long war in numerous countries while injured veterans fight for their benefits after protecting our freedoms.

Here is an example of what I think Coburn should focus on. While I may not vote for Al Franken this year, I appreciate his ad and stance against Wall Street backroom dealings that screwed Americans out of jobs and hard earned cash like in this video below. Why doesn’t Coburn focus on this?

Why is Tom Coburn not fired up about corporate handouts or foreign aid or funding for defense projects we will never use? No, Coburn decided to hammer on those who protected his freedom to be a prick. That same freedom allows people like him to earn big bucks while the other guy lost his feet during his military service.

Since this is Friday, I will call this spade a spade.

Tom Coburn took an asshole position on this issue, based on my estimation. Publicly, he highlights that he is a doctor to the media, which gives voters and readers the impression that he might know a thing or two about disabilities. In reality, Coburn is an obstetrics doctor who also made his money running his parents’ eyeglass company. Meanwhile, he hammers on disabled people who legally receive benefits from Workers Compensation, Social Security and the Department of Veterans Affairs. I hope Coburn does not plan on his fight against safety nets like disability as his final legacy as a US Senator.

I was not surprised to see his position on this pop up right before the elections next week, but be aware that some Republicans are going to glom onto his argument. They will claim that that America needs to screw our nations heroes who paid a severe price for our freedom to take away the benefits they earned on the battlefield.

Should benefits like these be revoked or should we focus on bigger issues that cost trillions more on a regular basis?

On that note, happy Halloween.

Read More: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/30/veterans-caught-triple-dipping-on-benefits/

 

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24 Comments

  1. Well holy Gee Gomer Pile(s) ( piles, like hemorhoids, only a bit worse) if you aren’t fighting a war abroad, we have plenty to fight here-my war is about to start-because a REAL BONAFIDE DOCTOR realizes the VA doesn’t know ii it’s ass side up or assbackards-sort of the same don’t ya know! Do not contact Hickey for a damn thing. Minding your own business in your own home and trying to convince me I was suicididal? NO! ONE PISSED OFF HOT HEAD GERMAN/IRISH& and that ITAILIAN ATTITUDE! KAPEESH? I get tired of stupid! What are you going to do, rest on my heating pad, broken damn record! Well SHE BLEW THIS UP, AS MY DOCTOR ( she literally States the next AGREED, “SUE THEM TIME!” Hope she reads this, because how much should it to pull a person who stated I am fine my dogs fine go away! Jesus F. Christ! So start pounding on doors windows, now you’ve gone over that fine line, what? You need to squeeze some Texas Fatassed Cops in my Cracker Jacks? Thanks [email protected] 585-393-9612 OR 9637 CALL AND HARRASS HER, WELL DESERVED AND HIGHLY DAMNED EARNED!-hell, here are more to HARRASS, since I am SO SURE THE I CARE ( NOT REALLY, JUST WISH TO PICK YOU VETERANS OFF ONE BY ONE!) Dr. “Here have some pill candy” and I should believe a word you say? DOUBT IT! Shivakumar 214-8573600, 817-730-0010 this is Caroline, Annie 214-857-2780, and gee, do you think they HAVE A CLUE THEY DID WRONG? Obviously they must to have to left over 10 messages on my phone don’t ya think? Stupid ass wipe Lydia, I sure hope you read this one! You don’t have 450 lbs on my back, oh and did we forget the guy on my legs too? You picked fight, I shall end this fight, and you better pray to whatever status that makes you “feel worthy” the dust off my shoes aren’t good enough your trash talk! KISS MY ASS VA! DONE FUCKING DEAL!

  2. Think Senator Coburn, you voted to send us to war, you voted for concurrent receipt, and you rightly voted for other legislation that plays a part in the pay and assistance to those you sent to fight.

    NO SIR, YOU MAY NOT RENEGE ON YOUR PROMISES!!! You and all your colleagues, along with the POTUS, and the executive departments like the DOD and DVA already lie, cheat, and steal from us. But worse, you lie to America about how you’re “helping us” or “we’re grateful for your service”. Those promises are NOT NEGOTIABLE AFTER THE FACT!

    Now here’s one for you. I served 20 years in the AF and retired, 16 years in DHHS, and was eligible for reduced early retirement. I’m 360% disabled, paid at 100% scheduler, with 100% being combat related. I’m also Social Security Disabled.

    Thus BY LAW, I am not triple dipping, I’m receiving VA Disability Compensation, CRSC, SSDI, and OPM retirement. Count! You passed it Mr. Cochran (as he is retiring, making his title and push for legislation moot) for services rendered! Remember something, Mr. Coburn, President Obama, and Justice Roberts. I am part of the 1% who serve, and while I don’t know the percentage, I am a tiny percentage of those who served his country his/her entire adult life. Your discussion, as those who never served, is despicably unethical, unpatriotic, and beneath a rock. Go serve, then discuss reducing our benefits, but reduce your luxurious pensions for a few years of political pandering, underhanded deals, and lies first. Until you do, you are not worthy of anything, let alone discussions like this! Live free or die!

    • Thank you for laying it out so clearly! All Disabled Veterans are targets for the likes of Senator Coburn. This country is going to hell in a hand basket and the two party system isn’t offering a solution to getting us back on the right track. All the while Disabled Veterans who earned their benefits verses the tens of thousands illegal aliens receiving welfare, aid for dependent children and medical services on the backs of the taxpayer who have broken our laws to come into this country.

    • Ron, Kurt and “Crusader”, you are all so right. Coburn is a quadra-sexual. He will do anything with anyone for a quarter. A total puke commie from Hell. The opposite of what happened to signers of the Declaration of Independence will someday soon quite possibly happen to traitors like Coburn and the commie female who told his little story for him on the video that Ben found and posted. I mean, civil war is here, and it is between real americans, veterans and even the military itself that is telling the administration to shove off on their constant crazy crap like importing ebola victims from africa. they will all be hung or ran out of town on a rail if they are lucky when all hell breaks lose, and that hell is already here if you haven’t noticed the daily headlines and such about endless murders and chaos across america and the entire world. we will return to the way america was 50 years ago when we knew how to end wars, protect america, and back our vets and military. this time next year will make now look like a hawaii vacation, so get ready for it, right here in america and world-wide.

  3. Vets have ZERO friends in Congress. Democrats are a bunch of whiny sissies who won’t stand up for Vets, and Republicans ALWAYS want to cut our benefits. Piss on PARTY politics. if you think EITHER party is your friend, you are badly DECEIVED, just as these evil bastard POLITICIANS want you to be.

    • To: Ron Nesler
      I am voting for my dog for US Senator. I am going to write him in, and I am not kidding. He won’t win but he would do a better job than any other candidate. He is my service dog, trained by me because the VA is too cheap and politicians are too anti-American and Anti-Military to care even though I am 100% service-connected for ptsd with head injury. Vote for my dog, his name is Falco. He will come to your state and be everyone’s senator including yours if he wins, kind of like how your senator goes to other states and does things he or she wants to for other-state’s constituents when it benefits them. Remember, vote “Falco The Service Dog” this November, his party is “Black Lab”. P.S. Yes, I have lost my mind. Let me know if you find it. But, vote for my dog anyway, please.

      • I belIeve my 5-year-old granddaughter Cecilia could also do a better job. So maybe we could pair them together. At least if you ask her something and she can’t answer you, she’ll shrug her shoulders and say “I dunno!”

  4. To: HM2 Sailor: i will call those numbers. you are right. they are thieves and liars. God is not mocked. He will come down on these assholes at the VA more and more till they get it or hang themselves like hitler did. McDonald is a gay POS if he doesn’t start pulling rabbits out of his hat right now. anyone who is actually gay or knows someone that is, please don’t take that wrong. i mean he is a worthless ass. at some point, soon, vets and the military itself will storm the VA and grab their entire organized crime agency, every square inch of it all around america. the military is ready to take over the current administration because of the insanity plan to bring ebola patients here from africa and at least 5 other major psychotic plans and operations they have underway right now along with the insane ebola plan. the military is refusing to follow Commander in Chief (CIC) orders on ebola, publicly refusing, for the first time in history that the US military has flat out openly refused to obey the CIC. martial law is a problem in itself but better than zombie invasions with us all eating each other which is exactly what is going to happen, or at least the plague version of that which will wipe out america. the marines are gearing up to take over in DC right at this very moment along with other military top brass units and even DHS and all the other alphabet agencies. watch and see, before the end of the year, america will be different than you could ever imagine. countries like brazil are ran by military police, i have been there a few times in the past couple of years, and we are on the same path. watch it happening here now, look, just open your eyes, it is here.

    • Don’t forget that this is STILL on Paul Ryan’s mind as well. He is another chicken hawk who NEVER spent one second of time in the military.

      • I forwarded my response to Speaker Boehner and indicated he should include Paul Ryan. While there is little chance it will help, these elite rulers cannot say we were silent.

  5. This Senator is a real prick and a$$hole at the same time!!!! He is resigning due to cancer. He is miserable and wants to make the entire country miserable!! He is mentally unstable for this position as everyone can see. His pension should be cut and see how he likes it. When he gets surgery he should try to schedule an appointment with the VA and see just how long it takes even with a “fee basis” it takes two weeks to get approved!! He is like the VA heads he retires at 65 with a pension!!!! What about all the campaign money that he gets to keep which are legal bribes!!! Why can’t he help people before he is dead from the cancer?? People now will remember him now in a terrible way along with the party he is on!!

  6. As the mother of a severely wounded warrior in Iraq in 2003, I do my best to remain positive and to build on what works. What Coburn’s “researchers” (lackeys) fail to understand is that there is a difference between “retired veterans and severely wounded veterans.”

    They use the terms interchangeably when, in reality, they are drastically different. “Retired veterans” are nowhere close to being eligible for the benefits of “severely wounded veterans” for which they qualify. Without “all 3 benefits” to which Coburn takes issue, our severely wounded would not be able to afford most nursing homes or assisted living facilities to receive care and decent quality-of-life-care. Praise God for families who make the dollars stretch as they hire help to get breaks from being 24-hour home-health-aids, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, transportation drivers, etc., etc., and to deal with the Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefits Administration, TriCare and Social Security Administration as they all work full-time to shift the financial responsibility to each other so that the dollars do not come out of their line item budgets? It is a full-time job for caregivers to navigate “Coburn-style” mentality for severely wounded veterans that have earned their medical benefits. Does anyone REALLY believe that fighting government agencies for medical benefits is how anyone wants to spend their time for a decent quality-of-life?!? I am sick and tired of walking up to a check-in desk at the VA to be greeted by a clerk that makes our son (and others) feel like they have to “earn” the appointment for which they are scheduled. If they possess a VA card, they have gone through the enrollment process and deserve your respect.

    Senator Coburn, I extend an invitation to you to accompany us at Alan’s next appointment at a VA facility so that you may experience his life…not YOUR VIP visit to a VA facility…a side-by-side visit with a severely wounded warrior who has to “earn” every benefit he receives.

    I may be tying my own noose; however, I am willing and prepared to explain to Senator Coburn personally that paying into Social Security monthly is the only way to be eligible for Medicare benefits. Is Sen Coburn aware that the VA will bill Medicare, Tricare and any family insurance plans before they bill/pay out of VA benefits for a 100% disabled veteran? Ignorance is not a defense before the IRS – it should not be a defense for Members of the House or Senate.
    Just now · Like

    • Medicare can not be billed.. its double dipping.. BUT however Tricare and other insurances can.. I work at the VA and I had a incident that required me to look this up. OH i’m am 80% Veteran was in the pre Iraq and Iran War in the 80’s.. Thank you Alan for your service Semper FI. (PO HM3 Calloway FMF,2nd Med BN, 2nd FSSG)

  7. I’m 70 and confused. I was homeless about 17 years ago. Hospitalized 5 times in 5 years for depression. Suffer from Tinnitus and nearly deaf in both ears. VA gave me a 55% disability rating. $735 a month I was supposed to receive. I had also applied for Social Security Disability. $781 a month was “awarded”. VA sent me a letter retracting my VA payments because SS was higher and said I couldn’t receive both government payments. Anyone know if that was accurate or not?

  8. Here is criticism of Coburn FROM PRO-VETERAN CONSERVATIVES!!!

    http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/3222036/posts

    Coburn is not a Republican. He is a RINO. Meaning he is a Democrat disguised with a ‘R’ after his name to confuse low-information voters.

    If you criticize conservatives, YOU ARE A LOW-INFORMATION VOTER!

    Conservatives ARE ALWAYS PRO-VETERANS!

    We are the ones showing up at veterans’ events and parades!

    But, you democrats have no problem voting for Obama, Reid, Pelosi, every election cycle…even when THEY USE VETERANS AS POLITICAL HOSTAGES to corrupt America with higher taxes, less civil liberties, and more killing fields overseas!

    Voting is about PRINCIPLE, not for group identity to divide the spoils of a bankrupt nation!

    If you voted Democrat or RINO, and you are a broke, disabled, and angry at America vet, then place the blame on where it is deserved…YOU!!!

    Keep bitchin’, you loser vets that vote for the stupid party that is the one-and-same ‘D + R” Party.

    You deserve everything you got coming!

  9. So a couple wounded warriors got some extra cash? I say they probably deserve it. Go after the Goldman Sachs crooks if you want to recover some of the taxpayers money. Oh, and Obama? Be sure to give it back to us and not stick it in your own dirty pockets.

    The big O gets over a billion a year in lifestyle costs as our Fearful Leader, he keeps ALL of it and passes it around to lackeys.

    Obama has destroyed our country. The economy sucks, we must now purchase health insurance we cannot afford and do not want or need (mine is $450/month… contrast this to my $25/month auto insurance from Insurance Panda… or my $15/month renters insurance from Eagle… both private-enterprise!), our borders are wide open, illegal aliens are being given the jobs Americans once held, the Internal Revenue Service and Department of Justice are being used to silence political opponents and now we have imported Ebola!

    Take a look at the actual staffing at the White House, just start from the first lady and work up, 23 staffers (some are family and friends) and look at the waste.

  10. It’s Time for the American Taxpayers to show us “how much they love us” with acts, not with words.
    Otherwise they will see the DRAFT again
    VaM (OIF/OEF 100% Disabled Veteran- Chapter 61)

  11. As a 100% service connected disabled veteran with little in my life to make me happy besides my monthly pittance of Injury Compensation which got protecting you, and Social Security, which I paid into, I’d like to say to both Stephen Dinan who wrote this pack of lies, and Senator Coburn, who never served a tour of duty:

    FÜĆK YOU BOTH RIGHT UP YOUR STÜPID, LYING, TRAITOR A$$H0LES!

    I hope you both die in a fire surrounded by disabled veterans who refuse to p!ss on you to put you out.

    You are a waste of our p!ss. That’s right, I said it.

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