Why Veterans Are Lying About Having Disabilities
USA — July 9, 2018
In the past several years the number of American veterans lying about disabilities in order to obtain benefits from the government has increased dramatically and there are many reasons for this.
First of all, it is directly connected with the issue of former soldiers deployed to war zones having a difficult time being able to adapt back into American society once they come home. Oftentimes they have to deal with hostility and misunderstanding from pacifists and anti-war activists. “Disabilities” sometimes make it possible for people to react more favorably towards them.
Secondly, there's the very obvious reason of financial benefits. The PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) program offers a number of opportunities for veterans who have fought and bled in conflicts all over the world, and for those who genuinely suffer from PTSD, the program is extremely useful. However, it also seems like it’s really easy to deceive the system and receive benefits, even if you've never set foot on a battlefield.
“My daughter’s friend is an Iraq veteran.” – said one woman on condition of anonymity. “He wasn’t in combat, but he’s disabled by PTSD. He was a medic, and he says the enemy was always trying to capture medics. On missions, they wouldn’t let him out of the Humvee because he was in so much danger. He says his PTSD is from being scared of being captured.”
So, this particular medic, who served in Iraq, but had never been captured, tortured or even wounded by a stray bullet - still receives benefits from the state due to his supposed PTSD.
Another doctor, who also didn’t want his name published, says he has treated over 700 veterans for PTSD, and, according to his own opinion, 75% of his patients are either outright fabricating trauma, or twisting benign experiences into supposed trauma in order to qualify for disability benefits. “Of all patients referred to me in 2015 for PTSD evaluation, 25% (estimated generously) had a real trauma-related condition.” he says. - “And the majority of the remainder were obviously feigning PTSD symptoms.”
A good example of “faking PTSD” is Justin Gourley, who served in the Navy and claimed to have this disorder. During his tour of duty, Gourley was the victim of a nonfatal shipboard accident. Nevertheless, he posted a sign behind his house stating that “combat veteran lives here, please be courteous with fireworks”. Gourley is also a beneficiary of the PTSD program, along with many actual war veterans, who have seen real combat and now suffer from real mental disorder.
“Fake” war veterans aren’t even deterred by the prospect of going to prison for their actions, which, sometimes, is exactly what happens. For example, back in 2013 Anthony Patrick Stafford, resident of Fayetteville, NC, was sentenced to 24 months in prison, followed by 3 years of supervised release, upon conviction for Making Material False Statements to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001, and Making Material False Statements to the Social Security Administration (SSA), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1001.
Fraud cases involve both mental, as well as physical disabilities.
Stanford served in the U.S. Army from February 1, 1996 to June 30, 2005. Upon completing basic training, Stanford was tasked with being a laundry specialist, but he was also involved in marching, running and field activities, until 1999. In December of 2005, Stanford underwent a physical evaluation during which he made various claims, including that he was unable to stand, walk, lift, or hold objects. Stanford further claimed that he required help for most of his daily activities, including feeding, dressing, bathing, and using the toilet, from another person. In total, Stanford collected $521,003.07 from the VA, and another $7,575.30 from the SSA.
Back in 2015 USA Today told the story of veteran and former Army Specialist Justin Perez who was caught walking, after a charity built him a wheelchair-accessible house, for free. Supposedly the home was appraised for more than $380,000.
One of the commentators under a YouTube video, devoted to Perez’s case said: “My ex is a disabled vet and gets a lot of money. I was with him for 8 years. He has a $300,000 home a $58,000 car, crotch rockets and just all kinds of expensive games, furniture etc. And he isn’t disabled, he goes to martial arts and everything, it makes me so mad! But he laughs at others who don’t have much money or things but work their ass off and our taxes go to people like my ex and these liars!!!”. So this case is certainly not that unique.
Real disabled veteran of the U.S. Army, Doug Hopkins, says he was really ashamed after hearing about Perez’s case: “I am a disabled vet and what he's doing makes me feel ashamed for my country. I suffer from PTSD, TBI and blast and gunshot wounds to my lower back. I am not paralyzed but it's very difficult to do day to day activities. I'm only 40 now, let's see how it is when I'm 50. The fact that he is taking advantage of this makes me sick because there is another really paralyzed veteran and family who has to wait or was bumped off a list because of this guy. They need to boot him out or make him pay the mortgage. I have to pay my mortgage and I'm 100% disabled from the VA WTH!!!”
Real disable war veterans deserve our respect and deserve to be cared and provided for, but the people taking advantage of the system need to be weeded out and to be forced to reimburse the state and the VA for the shameful fraud that they've committed.