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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, August 13, 2007

Feds Ridicule Vet Diagnosed with PTSD

by Michael A. Leon

At the US Dept for Federal Veterans Affairs, National Center for PTSD website, a veteran is given information on whom to contact for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) problems:

You can contact your local VA Hospital or Veterans Center located in your telephone book, or call the VA Health Benefits Service Center toll free at 1-877-222-VETS. In addition to its medical centers, VA also has many CBOCs (Community Based Outpatient Clinics) around each state so you can look for one in your community.

But as Vietnam-era Air Force veteran Keith Roberts found out, that doesn't mean you should actually file for PTSD-related benefits.In an appellate brief filed with the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit on July 29, the US Atty's office mocks Roberts for seeking help with his diagnosed mental health and other medical ailments.

Reads the brief filed by Steven Biskupic's office:

A layperson can gather information about PTSD's causes and symptoms from public libraries, the Internet, and the VA's National Center for PTSD ... After Roberts' personality disorder claim failed, he changed course. In February 1994, Roberts notified the VA for the first time that he suffered from PTSD, and that it was connected to his military service. His claim, however, did not say what his in-service stressor was, and he offered no PTSD diagnosis.

So, this veteran did not fill out the complex VA forms properly. But after jumping through hoop after hoop, Roberts was eventually diagnosed with PTSD by several medical professionals and began receiving PTSD-related benefits in 1999.

But he made the mistake of seeking an earlier retroactive date per the advice of his veterans service officer, and called the VA the fraudulent crooks that they are during a period (2004-2005) when the administration was actively seeking to review 72,000 PTSD cases for fraud, per the advice of the American Enterprise Institute, where the administration takes it cues on several public policy areas.

Roberts' was convicted of wire fraud and has been serving a 48-month sentence since March.

His case is under appeal in the Seventh Circuit and his administrative case is under appeal at the D.C.-based Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

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