I am so very glad that I never joined the Marine Corps solely for the benefits. Don’t get me wrong, benefits did help to sweeten the pot somewhat. But the benefits I have gotten from the Department of Veterans Affairs have been average at best. In some ways, the benefits have been good, in others bad, and in still others downright ugly.
Many people have no doubt heard, seen, and read in the news about the various scandals, but there have been times when the V.A. was there for me when I really needed them.
I have a major behavioral problem of which was diagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder back when I was in the Marines. This had been in the 1990s. A clinical psychologist sat down with me and asked me a bunch of questions concerning various parts of my life and behavioral symptoms and then later prescribed me medication to treat it. The medication back then was nothing as good as what we have now.
As a result of this supposed case of ADD, I have held probably no less than 20 jobs since getting out of the military service. Sometimes, I was fired for performance-related issues; other times for impulsiveness. This is where the good things about the VA saved me and my livelihood.
The Veterans Affairs Hospitals offer what they call or have called compensated work therapy. When veterans are out of work, they can be put on a waiting list for temporary employment at the VA hospital where they sign up. I did this. Unfortunately, I did witness favoritism toward other veterans who have been in the system longer. But it was still a great opportunity, and it allowed me a way to help support my family.
While I was working on CWT, the VA scandal hit epic proportions which reached all over the nation. One of the hospitals involved was the hospital where I worked. I found out about some corrupt practices by certain doctors in the hospital.
It was explained to me that sometimes, when a veteran dies, compensation is left to the serviceperson’s descendants. In some cases, no descendants were specified; thus, the money would be left in a literal limbo. Well some of the doctors in this hospital decided to utilize that money for bonuses.
I actually had a doctor that refused to set up a prescription for my blood pressure medication refill for the simple reason that I did not come to see him very regularly and occasionally missed appointments. The idiot did not even care that I worked for a living and was always out of pocket while the VA was open. I had to miss work in order to keep appointments. So, it was clear to me that this doctor cared more about his ego than he did his patients. So I demanded a new doctor and got a much better one.
Finally, if you talk to just about any veteran in Central Alabama, he will tell you that the hospitals around here will haggle you to death about receiving the disability to which they are entitled. I’ve encountered this first-hand. I’ve tried to get compensated for my ADD and degenerative disc disease, both which I first became aware of while serving in the Marines.
The first step is to make an appointment with Compensations and Pensions. Upon doing so, I sat down with physicians to discuss my complaints of disability. One of them, a psychologist, flat out told me that I don’t have Attention Deficit Disorder, because I’ve written a book. That’s about like saying that Beethoven could not compose music because he was deaf. We artists and authors can still perform despite the conditions that befall us.
More recently, I have been trying to get a prescription for a medication called Vyvanse that has helped me have better control over my concentration and also even helps me to maintain a healthy weight level. In doing so, I was referred to another psychologist for testing so that I could get a formal diagnosis on my ADD. In the back of my mind, I knew that this was probably a setup to drive the final nail in my coffin so that I would ultimately never be able to get my disability if they were to somehow determine that I did not have ADD.
The kid that administered the test was probably young enough to be my son and fresh out of college. I drove all the way from Greenville to Tuskegee two or three different times to perform these tests. And the kid comes back and tells me that I do not have Attention Deficit Disorder.
“Then what do I have?”
“All I could detect were mild problems with concentration,” says the boy wonder.
“Mild? I’ve lost numerous jobs because of it.”
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have an OBVIOUS case of ADD. Every article that I have ever had displays the very same symptoms that I possess. Needless to say, I told the kid that I don’t trust the VA any further than I can throw it.
The Bottom Line
We pay taxes and tributes to a government that continues to lie and steal from us. Our children are coaxed into putting on a uniform so that they can earn college benefits they cannot get anywhere else. And they are promised that faithful, honorable service will earn them veteran’s benefits up until the day they take their last breaths.
Citizens are always forced to pay into social security even though most of us are not sure it is going to be there for us when we retire. So my issues with the VA doesn’t really surprise me. They are just an extension of the corrupt government for which they do its bidding.