The Official Voice of Vietnam Veterans of America, Inc. ®
An organization chartered by the U.S. Congress

September/October 2002
PTSD/SUBSTANCE ABUSE COMMITTEE REPORT
   
 

Money Saved, Lives Ruined

BY STEVE MASON, CHAIR 

"Shame is the nation which has no heroes. Shameful is the nation which does not honor its heroes.'' - anon. 

If I were asked to use only one sentence to define the mission of our organization, I would simply say, "VVA seeks justice for veterans."   

Justice in and of itself is fair.  No right-minded observer of the inequitable treatment of veterans from VISN to VISN could say the delivery of services to veterans within the VHA is fair. No amount of bureaucratic paperwork or expert projections of financial impacts alters the truth that a veteran presenting with the same symptoms in one VISN will not receive the same services he or she has earned in another.  The overall system would be greatly improved in all areas if various government agencies were in compliance with current legislation. 

A separate but vital issue is the criteria established for 100 percent disability for PTSD. Originally defined as a normal reaction to an abnormal situation in the DSMIII, the criteria for total disability now in-place effectively requires a man or woman to be the emotional equivalent of a cauliflower.  Why?  

Simple.  If a veteran is rated as high as 70 percent and receives an additional 30 percent for unemployability, the government need not provide his surviving family the DIC payments to which he or she would otherwise be entitled.  A lot of money saved.  A lot of lives ruined.  I say, let's change the rating system in time for the DSMV.  And it wouldn't hurt if our elected officials knew that the veteran community votes. 

Use the web site for the National Center for PTSD for pertinent information relative to PTSD care, treatment, and ongoing research at www.ncptsd.org

You may be confident that each member of your committee is doing his or her best to achieve the attainable goals of our membership and the veterans we are sworn to serve. 

   

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