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.
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.