PTSD Payments Vary State to State
I’m indebted to the blog at Healing Combat Trauma for alerting me to this information in which they refererence an article published in Military.com with the above title. You should read the information at Healing Combat Trauma as it is told better there than I can do it. Below is a summary of information.
It seems that the McClatchy Newspapers chain did extensive research through the freedom of information act and discovered that there is wide variation in the way disability ratings are given depending on where the veteran lives. A veteran returning from Iraq that lives in Ohio or Montana for example, is typically given a much lower disability rating on average than one that returns to New Mexico.
The study involved some 3 million disability claims records. Consider these quotes from the Military.com article:
“The VA workers who decide PTSD cases determine whether a veteran’s ability to function at work is limited a little, a lot or somewhere in between. They examine the frequency of panic attacks and the level of memory loss. The process is subjective, and veterans are placed on a scale that gives them scores – or “ratings” – of zero, 10, 30, 50, 70 or 100.
“McClatchy’s analysis found that some regional offices are far more likely to give veterans scores of 50 or 70 while others are far more likely to stick with scores of 10 or 30.
“Consider the New Mexico and Montana offices, where there are big differences up and down the scale.
“In Montana, more than three-quarters of veterans have ratings of zero, 10 or 30. In New Mexico, a majority of the veterans have ratings of 50 or 70.
“On top of that, 6 percent of New Mexico veterans had the highest rating possible – 100, worth $2,527 a month – compared with just 1 percent of Montana veterans.”
The initial ratings pretty much stick with a veteran for the rest of their life, and the disparity in how the disability is rated may make a difference of hundreds of thousands over the remaining lifetime of the veteran. Apparently some offices make a point of being generous in their ratings and some apparently are downright stingy, not giving a proper rating.
“Of recent vets processed in Roanoke, Va., 27 percent have high ratings for post-traumatic stress disorder. In Albuquerque, N.M., the number is 56 percent.”
You need to read the Healing Combat Trauma article for some excellent commentary and also the military.com article for some extra details. The research suggests that something is wrong with the VA’s rating system when one city rates twice as many of their veterans higher than in another city. The VA does not treat our heroes fairly if they happen to live in the wrong part of our great country.