Saturday, November 1, 2014

Oh No!! We've Been Caught!!

This article caught my eye last night...Veterans Caught Triple-Dipping on Benefits

I thought, what? Veterans Caught?! What's this?!

You know what this is? This is the sensational writings of someone with a little bit of information. Of course I read it and think well Hell we've been caught...That's right my Cat 2 rated, 100% permanently and totally disabled husband triple dips...Then my brain paused and realized he isn't doing one thing wrong.

Thanks to legislation passed years ago, Chaz is able to collect VA disability, CRSC (Combat Related Special Compensation) and Social Security. And I don't feel like he's doing anything to warrant the statement of "being caught."

You know what upsets me the absolute most about this article. This will drive civilians further away from our veterans. We, as a country, need to understand our veterans better and appreciate their service and sacrifice; instead this article promotes resentment from civilians towards our veterans. This article makes it look like they are a big drain on the government because of their disabilities. This article makes it look like we are all rolling in money, let me assure you we are not. 

Here's the truth for this household, we are financially better off today than we were prior to Chaz's injuries. Do you know why? Um because I now have a full-time job! We are now a two income family. It's not a secret that having two incomes makes a big difference in a household. Wait, I guess we've "been caught" on that too now. I guess I should stop confessing.

Most people will read that article and blame Senator Coburn, but I blame him and the author equally for their misreading of the GAO report which you will find here. If you click in the story it won't take you to the report it only takes you back to the article, funny huh?!

Take the time and read the facts in the report. Senator Coburn and this author sure as heck didn't.

One thing they did get correct SSDI is running out of money, but they seemed to have forgotten that the veterans we are speaking of who are drawing that income....wait for it....paid into SSDI by working. SSDI is based on the person's career earnings paid into the Social Security System. Not making this up and yes, I even found it in the GAO's report.

Then I found this lovely fallacy in their article, "But Social Security rules don’t treat military retirement or VA disability payments as regular income..." um...did they check with IRS publication 17? No form of retirement or disability payment is considered regular income. This has been the law for decades and is not exclusive to the military payment system.

The article mentioned a few numbers that they took the liberty of estimating, but they left out a few other facts but you can find in the GAO Report. Here's one example.

Out of 1.9 million DOD nondisability and disability retirees, we identified 59,251 individuals who received concurrent payments in fiscal year 2013 from DOD retirement, VA disability compensation, and SSDI. The payments totaled over $3.5 billion.

Characteristics of 59,251 individuals:

  • A total of 40,179 (or 68 percent) each received between $25,000 and $74,999 in total compensation. 
  •  A total of 2,304 (or 4 percent) each received concurrent payments of $100,000 or more, with the highest beneficiary receiving $208,757 in fiscal year 2013. 
  • The age of the individuals receiving concurrent payments ranged from 19 to 66, with almost half (28,626, or 48 percent) of the individuals age 60 or above as of January 2013. 
  •  The combined benefits for these individuals age 60 or above totaled $1.7 billion. 
  •  A total of 48,127 (or 81 percent) had a VA disability rating equal to or greater than 50 percent. 
  •  A total of 10,289 (or 17 percent) received compensation due to a combat related disability.
I read through that and immediately holy moley these guys went on a negative fishing trip. Did you know the GAO found the average VA pay out for FY2013 was $13,131 and the average SSDI pay out for 2013 was $11,953. So the average disabled veteran pulled in $25,084 from those two sources.And you know what? I am totally ok with my tax dollars going there. I hope that income helps those families.

Here's my bottom line, it appears that this author is jealous some of our disabled veterans have a higher income than he does. I am not sure what the Senator's excuse is, because we all know he makes way more. I think that the Senator wants some attention, well he's got mine that's for sure. I don't really care for people who get attention by telling a tenth of the story. The great state of Oklahoma elected him to serve them and in my option he needs to go find another fight to fight. Here's one....Senator go take care of your state's VA hospital system. From what I hear, it needs a lot of help.

Let me assure the author and the Senator that every caregiver I know including myself would happy hand over every benefit check to the government to have a happy healthy service member back. Absolutely NO amount of money can ever fully heal anyone. I do appreciate the income coming in, because we have a house to build to suit his needs and we sure can't do it on my salary alone.

I really would love for the author and the Senator to visit with my Oklahoma born and bred, disabled veteran hubby and his father, who is also a disable veteran, and tell them they didn't earn their benefits. We'll make the time for that conversation, I can assure you.

It is beyond ignorant to accuse our veterans of being caught doing anything beyond serving our country and sacrificing for our great nation. And if I was registered to vote in OK, I sure as heck wouldn't vote this guy back in. 

It is also beyond ignorant to paint a picture of disabled veterans rolling in the taxpayers' dough. If we are we so financially well off then please tell me why so many are veterans homeless? Why are so many veterans dependent on non-profits to build them homes to suit their disabilities? Why are so many veterans on the verge of bankruptcy? And why oh why are we paying out of pocket for things the VA is supposed to provide?

I read the report and you know what it actually makes me feel better knowing that our disabled veterans have income from various sources to help them and their families. I only wish the GAO had a report on the gap the non-profits have to fill because the government is not doing enough. Something tells me the Senator wouldn't read that one, oh wait he barely read this one.

One last thing for the Senator, if you don't want to pay for our veterans and their disabilities then perhaps you should stop voting to send them to war. Just a thought to toss out there.


  1. Some people are just never happy unless they're causing problems.
    I can never read these words enough. What tremendous comfort! Lifting up prayers right now!
    Job 19:25-27 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

  2. Continuing to pray!
    Psalms 40:1-4 I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD. Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

  3. Know that I'm continuing to pray so very hard!
    Psalms 40:5, 11, 13 Many, O LORD my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered. (11) Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me. (13) Be pleased, O LORD, to deliver me: O LORD, make haste to help me.

  4. True help comes from the Lord! Praying!
    Psalms 40:16-17 Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: let such as love thy salvation say continually, The LORD be magnified. But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer; make no tarrying, O my God.

  5. True hope is in the Lord! Praying!
    Lamentations 3:21-26 This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The LORD is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD.

  6. Call upon the Lord! He hears! He answers according to His Will. Praying as always!
    Lamentations 3:55-58 I called upon thy name, O LORD, out of the low dungeon. Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. Thou drewest near in the day that I called upon thee: thou saidst, Fear not. O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul; thou hast redeemed my life.

  7. Praying right now!
    Philippians 3:9-11 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

  8. Continuing to lift up prayers.
    Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

  9. Know that you're in my prayers!
    Philippians 4:8-9 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

  10. Praying as always!
    Psalms 73:23-26 Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.

  11. Lifting up prayer!
    Psalms 56:3-4, 13 What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee. In God I will praise his word, in God I have put my trust; I will not fear what flesh can do unto me...For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?

  12. Continuing to lift up prayer!
    Psalms 130:1-2, 5-7 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O LORD. Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications (5-7) I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning. Let Israel hope in the LORD: for with the LORD there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.

  13. The only source of true help comes from the Lord! Praying!
    Psalms 121:1-4 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.