Moved by a huge tide of troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress, Congress has pressured the Department of Veterans Affairs to settle their disability claims — quickly, humanely and mostly in the vets’ favor.
This 1969 photo shows Keith Roberts in Navy uniform. Starting in 1987, Roberts filed a string of disability claims with the Veterans Affairs, eventually blaming PTSD for everything from smoking addiction to arthritis. In 1999, Roberts was declared 100 percent disabled and got a lump sum payment, retroactive to August 1993. He was convicted of wire fraud, sentenced to 48 months in prison and ordered to pay $262,943.52 in restitution.
Marine Corps Times
The problem: The system is dysfunctional, an open invitation to fraud. And the VA has proposed changes that could make deception even easier.
PTSD’s real but invisible scars can mark clerks and cooks just as easily as they can infantrymen fighting a faceless enemy in these wars without front lines. The VA is seeking to ease the burden of proof to ensure that their claims are processed swiftly.