The VA Has Been Legally Stealing From Me For Years

Opinion

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

USA – -(AmmoLand.com)- Tommy and Billy are K-12 school friends and after graduating high school they decide to enlist for four years in the Air Force together, to include going into the same career field.

In a freak accident, both Airmen lose the pinky finger on their non-dominant hand. After four years Billy decides to leave active duty but manages to get a civilian job with the Air Force working in the same career field he had on active duty.

Billy files for disability with the Veterans Administration / VA and receives a 30 percent disability claim. For the next sixteen years (and beyond) every month the VA sends him his disability check.

Airman Tommy stays on active duty and at twenty years retires as a Master Sergeant. While Billy was getting a VA check for sixteen years for his severed finger, active duty Airman Tommy only got his regular Air Force pay. Sometimes civilian Billy and active duty Sergeant Tommy even worked together on projects in the same career field they both enlisted in all those years back when they were young Airmen.

After retiring Master Sergeant Tommy applies to the VA for disability compensation for the loss of his pinky finger while on active duty. And of course, the VA recognizes the injury and grants Tommy a 30 percent disability for the loss of his pinky finger, just like Billy’s loss of his finger.

Now here is where the legal stealing starts. Under Federal law, a veteran cannot be paid a retirement and collect disability from the VA. So the Air Force sends $417.15 (current VA 30% disability for 2019) for Sergeant Tommy’s earned retirement to the VA. Then, the VA sends Tommy a check for $417.15 like they are doing Tommy a great big favor, when in fact they are only sending him the money he earned for his retirement after serving the nation for 20 years.

In the meantime, Billy is getting the same $417.15 every month and it is not coming out of his civilian paycheck. Also when Billy retires as a civilian employee of the Air Force the VA will not take any money out of his retirement. The VA does not go after anyone else’s retirement. Even if they left all the disabled veteran’s civilian paychecks and retirement checks alone, what about all the Federal civilian employees out there?

All the US Post Office employees, FBI agents, the VA employees, all the other Federal law enforcement employees or the Park Rangers at the national parks, the VA does not steal from their retirement–how come? So, I ask why do they steal from a retired member of the active-duty Department of Defense pension?

There is no other job in the US other than going on active duty in the military that when a person agrees to enlist they are betting their life. You are agreeing to die for your job and your nation. Nobody else has to make that ultimate commitment to their employer in order to get employment. And that is the ones who volunteer. What about all the ones who got drafted against their will to serve the nation?

So the question you may be asking is what does this have to do with the author of this column, a person who writes for a firearms-related web site?

I am retired Air Force and rated at 40% disability with the VA. Every month the Air Force takes $600.90 out of my earned military pension and sends it to the VA. They happily send it to me as if it is their money they took out of their budget to compensate me for my injuries. You see the VA established my disability but they get to wiggle out of paying me and there is no incentive on the VA’s part to get this changed. Why should they, it would then come out of their operating budget.

As for the firearms part, if I can get to the magic 50% disabled, then the VA would have to stop taking money out of my Air Force pension. I would get a pay raise of $600.90 each month (even though I already earned that money) and the VA would now have to pay me out of their budget $879.36. You add the two together and that is quite a monthly raise in money.

The problem is I cannot (after many tries) get my disability rating raised to 50%. I do have it to 46% but that does not count. The VA will round down six points, but they will not round up four points to get me to 50%.

All I need is 10% more to get me over the line. Now it has been suggested to me a couple of times (unofficially) that there is always the PTSD route. The VA gets beat up in the press all the time about not helping the emotionally distressed veteran and are very sympathetic to veterans with mental health issues. If I were to allegedly have some type of emotional problems because of all the death I had to deal with on active duty perhaps that might be brought to the attention of the VA, and who knows it may garner 10% or more for PTSD problems.

However, there is that firearms owner problem that might suffer if a veteran were to become officially recognized in the VA system has having PTSD / mental health issues on their “permanent record.”

There is no privacy in the world when your life history goes on-line.

And of course, everyone knows all about those whacked-out, gun-owning disabled veterans. Especially those guys from the Vietnam era. You have seen those Hollywood movies. If you believe them then perhaps no veteran should own a firearm. Do you really want to go there?

In order to get a few dollars more each month does it make sense for a veteran to open up their personal problems to the VA and then the world…. I think not.

If you have PTSD and are suffering from mental trauma due to your time in the military then I strongly suggest you get all the help you can. Always remember you are opening a can of worms that the lid will never go back on. Anti-2nd-Amenders love to punish the veteran who has mental health issues. Do you self-present your PTSD problems only to lose your right to own a firearm?

The better part of valor here is for the Federal government to change the law that allows the VA to steal from the retirement /pension of an honorably serving career veteran who retired in good faith from the Department of Defense, but was also injured on active duty and the VA has an obligation by law to provide compensation. The entire earned retirement and the VA disability must come out of two separate pots of money and not co-mingled to the disadvantage of the veteran community.

This is not about double-dipping and getting paid twice for something you earned only once. It is in fact just the opposite. It is about being penalized for serving your nation not just for one enlistment, but for a career in the military. A large chunk of your life committed so that you met and fulfilled all the requirements to qualify for an earned retirement. Of course, during all that time you were continually betting your life, you will get to come home alive.

I do not want anything I did not earn, but I am really tired of the VA putting its hand in my wallet and taking my retirement money from me. Then, with a smile giving it back to me as if they are truly compensating me for my injuries. I am however also not prepared to open the PTSD Pandora’s Box for either a fist full of dollars or a few dollars more.

We have not used the draft since 1973. This nation so far has not forced anyone into the military since that time. This has limited the pool of those who served the nation in times of peace and crisis. Compensation, fair compensation is one of the tools that helps attract the few who volunteer to bet their lives as they serve this nation.

Remember the rest did not even show up. They just tweet about the next crisis they see on TV. You cannot tweet a war. Someone has to serve and some who serve get hurt and deserve all the nation can do for them.


Major Van Harl USAF RetAbout Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:

Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force, was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School.  A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI.  His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training.  He believes “evil hates organization.”  [email protected]

23 Comments
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Leem
Leem
1 year ago

With the change in the law, veterans who have 20 years or more years of service at retirement can receive retirement pay and VA disability. It is not correct to say that federal law doesn’t allow for receiving retirement pay and VA disability

American Patriot
American Patriot
1 year ago

I’m trying to figure how a pinky qualifies as 30% disability?

Ol' Sapper
Ol' Sapper
1 year ago

You and Tommy need to look into “Combat Related Special Compensation” which will pay you back what they are taking from your retirement pay if the “Service Connected Disability” is because of combat or combat related training. If you are eligible, they will pay you back from the date the disability was approved.

GregSCSA
GregSCSA
1 year ago

Yes – it can seem like “stealing” money; I lost my entire severance pay after being removed from active duty due to health problems directly related to my service. HOWEVER, I will argue that anybody who RETIRES technically had to meet service requirements (medically) up until retirement. I am NOT talking about people who are injured in a war and received a severance pay (based on time in service and highest pay grade, NOT injury rating); these people are being stolen from as they could not retire. I am talking about the General or Colonel who retires after 20 years… Read more »

NightFire
NightFire
1 year ago

The myth that you will loose your gun rights if the VA diagnosis you with PTSD are excessive. The only people with any type of psychosis diagnosis that have lost their gun rights are the ones that have allowed the VA or Social Security to assign them a fiduciary. I have 100% service connected P&T and the VA also assigned a non-service connected PTSD diagnosis. I also get SSD, which includes the PTSD diagnosis. My gun rights have not been affected, and I have a current LTC/CCW in 3 states and a current background check to allow me to carry… Read more »

Rattlerjake
Rattlerjake
1 year ago
Reply to  NightFire

Hey FOOL! Your gun rights may not have been affected yet, but like everything else that is going on with unconstitutional gun laws, it is very likely to happen in the future. In recent months we’ve seen the push by leftist politicians for “red flag” laws, and we’ve seen and heard the hard-line gun control pushes in states like Washington and Virginia. Your false sense of security has been dually noted!

Core
Core
1 year ago

I’m in the same boat to an extent. Many things the VA gets away with is very unethical. Like the Widows Tax. And not paying out to Blue Water Navy and Air Force Agent Orange Sprayers with rare cancers for decades, oh yeah and get this: not allowing disabled vets to claim untaxable income as earned income and child tax breaks. Imagine being a single parent and not getting a child tax credit because the IRS are in bed with the VA: despite congress passing a tax law years ago saying disabled vets should get the same tax breaks? The… Read more »

late for supper
late for supper
1 year ago

When I retired, every Military retiree, including 50 percent VA disability and above had their money stolen. It took quite a few retirees complaining to the congressman to get that changed. Even then it was a compromise with the 50 percent part. It took me 15 years and two Board Of Veteran Appeals Hearings to get a combined 100 percent VA disability. Even that is not for what I retired from the US Army for. The VA Disability system is based on 19th century rules (1877?), the system needs to be redone from the ground up.

MajorMike
MajorMike
1 year ago

The DAV has the best-trained, most successful Service Officers out there. If you need and deserve an increase in disability %, they are the ones to accomplish it. One area people miss is called a “secondary service-related condition”. For example; if you have a right knee injury and it causes strain on your left knee finally to the point the left knee needs treatment, the left knee can be rated as a secondary service-related condition as it was brought on because of a primary service-related condition. Sounds convoluted but actually makes sense. Talk to a DAV Service Officer. If it’s… Read more »

MICHAEL J
MICHAEL J
1 year ago

Government slight of hand.

Doc
Doc
1 year ago

I was injured during Desert Storm. I declined any V.A. benefits as I lived in AZ. and most people know that at that time, AZ had the absolute worst health care in the nation for Vets. I knew this because I was a medic. I was Reserve when injured. The injury continued to get worse and at the end of 5 years I was face down on a surgery bed having 6 bolts put into my lower spine (L4-L5-S1) Within 4 more years I was 100% disabled and removed from my full time teaching job. Having signed away any military… Read more »

Doszap
Doszap
1 year ago

This is what we send our Sons and daughters for SCREW you, I would disown any kid of mine that joins any branch of the Military, the PTB could give a shot less about them in or pot, sick of mangled and fight them at every turn for their earned benefits while giving FREE EVERYTHING to all NON AMERICANS And ILLEGALS.Makes a hell of a lot of sense doesn’t it.?

Rattlerjake
Rattlerjake
1 year ago
Reply to  Doszap

Obviously English is NOT your primary language!

JDC
JDC
1 year ago

Van, Another timely, well written article. The Federal government plays a lot of these tricks. For example, recently they changed some of the rules concerning certain pays widows are allowed. They paid for it by greatly increasing the amount of co-pay Vets pay for their medicines in Tricare..often medicines for the very illnesses incurred on active duty. This co-pay is due to increase nearly every year. So, they didn’t change anything to pay the widows, just took money away from other Veterans to fix a problem they created with the initial legislation. Likewise, if you live somewhere close to a… Read more »

24and7
24and7
1 year ago

30% disability for losing a damn Pinky…are you f××kin kidding me!!..they shouldve given him a prosthetic finger..and this PTSD thing has gone too far too.. you have people claiming PTSD at the VA this never even seen a Battlefield.. and if that’s the case they deserve to lose their gun rights..AND I AM A VETERAN..

jack mac
jack mac
1 year ago
Reply to  24and7

24and7: No FREE citizen should be denied any codified right. Our public servants are using all means as pretenses to disarm as many private citizens as possible. Their goal to disarm all private citizens. Mental defect is now a major pretense to classify citizens as a prohibited person. We all should note by now that we have a legally designated de facto sub-citizen underclass of FREE citizens. This underclass of people are the prohibited persons. The previous legally designed underclass was abolished in 1865. That underclass were slaves. Free prohibited persons are not allowed access to firearms; many slaves were.… Read more »

late for supper
late for supper
1 year ago
Reply to  24and7

The disability system needs redone from the ground up, not based on the original 1800s crap.

Deplorable Bill
Deplorable Bill
1 year ago

If you are disabled you deserve the pay. This is in some manor of compensation for jobs you can no longer do. But, like he said, if you go PTSD, be prepared to loose your firearm RIGHTS forever. That is what it costs. If you have PTSD get all the help you can, that is what the VA, among others, is for. If you apply for disability and you are NOT INJURED, you have no business trying to scam any money from uncle Sam.

Arm up, carry on.

Badgerman
Badgerman
1 year ago

Here is a good article on the VA myth taking away your gun rights. I hope this helps a lot of people.

https://www.veteranslawblog.org/is-the-va-coming-for-your-guns-ptsd/

nrringlee
nrringlee
1 year ago
Reply to  Badgerman

Correct. However, this article does not address the proposed changes to the fiduciary process attempted under the Obama regime to expand the VA administrative determination beyond that of fiduciary incompetence. There is always a threat when the regulatory state can state law as it sees fit. And that was the case then. Vigilance is the operative word.

RoyD
RoyD
1 year ago

Maybe if you argued for disallowing all the false claims that get approved you would have a better chance at getting what you wish. I know a number of Vets that got “disability” pay when they were not disabled at all. From what I have seen it is, for the most part, a racket. Same goes for Social Security disability payments.

late for supper
late for supper
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

Somewhat true, and then there are others such as me, that take 15 years and two Board of Veteran Appeals Hearings to get what really is due, not a poser.

Matt in Oklahoma
Matt in Oklahoma
1 year ago
Reply to  RoyD

Yup
7 years of military dr documentation and claim denied but some faker saw something maybe somewhere and boom 70% for PTSD.
Biggest lie Americans ever sold the teenagers is the VA will take care of you afterwards.
Only thing worse than the VA liars is the leeches on their tit. Don’t think some of us ain’t waiting for our opportunity to fix it.