Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Do service members take advantage of the VA?

It is believed that in some cases service men and women exaggerate or fabricate symptoms of PTSD to receive the benefits. In an article produced by LA Times, it was stated that about half of veterans claiming to have PTSD are exaggerating or lying about their symptoms (Zarembo 2014). Payments to veterans with PTSD are approximately $49 billion (Zarembo 2014). What is concerning is how much of those payments are going to people who are not genuinely suffering from PTSD.

As previously mentioned, the severity in PTSD varies tremendously. Additionally, Zarembo brings up a great point that something that might traumatize one person may not even bother another. These kinds of predicaments make it challenging for physicians to properly and accurately diagnose veterans. A diagnosis for a disorder like PTSD that relies heavily on what the patient reports is a tough call to make. How is someone able to or even allowed to accuse someone of fabricating symptoms for something as serious and as tragic as PTSD? 

Additionally, there are online forums instructing service members what to do when they go in for their evaluation prior to separating from the military. For instance, "Dress poorly and don't shower, refuse to sit with your back to the door, and constantly scan the room (Zarembo 2014)."

This kind of behavior is frustrating for not only physicians, but victims of PTSD. Physicians are challenged with properly diagnosing veterans, however, it can only be assumed that veterans who suffer from PTSD are outraged to hear of people exaggerating symptoms or lying completely to receive benefits. 

A system needs to be developed that aids physicians in being able to better diagnose veterans. Furthermore, we need people to stop taking advantage of the system so that those who truly need it and deserve it can receive their maximum benefits and be taken care of. 

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