When Fraudulent Claims Crop Up: The Bad with the Good

Good evening, everyone.  I wanted to drop in real quick.

I’m taking a few moments for myself this night watching “Wedding Crashers” with my husband.  (For anyone who doesn’t know me personally, I’m probably the worst person to sit down and watch a tv show or at home movie with because I am constantly getting up to grab food, check my email, attend to my kids…anything.)

I came across an article this morning that I feel needs more recognition.  In the past, I’ve talked about my frustration with veteran entitlement and usually my sentiments focus on people who think because they served, they are owed preferential treatment every day moving forward, but this issue is a bit more elevated.  In this situation, what the veteran has done is deplorable.

The article I saw this morning, shared on Military Times, discussed how former Master Sergeant Mack Cole Jr. pretended he couldn’t walk to obtain more healthcare benefits.  Ugh.  Seriously?!  I don’t think the 27 month prison sentence is enough punishment for this sort of behavior.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to have wanted disability compensation for a back injury but to exacerbate it to the extent he pretended he couldn’t walk is an insult to all our veterans who have lost the ability to walk on their own two legs.  I don’t know what that pain looks like and for individuals who cope with paralysis or the loss of one or both lower limbs, I cannot imagine the anger some might feel looking at this guy.

His descent into healthcare fraud is a part of why it’s so challenging for veterans to go through the disability claims process.  When we go in to honestly talk to the claims examiners, we have people like this tainting the visibility and integrity of our community.  People like this guy might be the only veteran others encounter and their misconduct leaves such a terrible impression.

Remember he is part of the minority, not the majority of our population.





A Work In Progress

Good morning, everyone!!!  It’s almost 8:40 am this Sunday morning but I’ve been since 5:15 am.  A planned hike with my in-laws didn’t pan out so I used the time instead to get a jump on the day.  I already made one of our dinners for the week, a hot Italian chicken sausage and veggie pot pie, and will start work soon again today on my VA claim paperwork.  (So far, I’ve backtracked on the August and September 2004 casualties; I have five more months to go back over and I am waiting for older civilian medical records to be mailed to me so I can discuss, yet again, my anxiety-induced chest pains with the VA.)

This week delivered more stress than I typically encounter this time of year.  The resulting uptick in chest pains makes me more uncomfortable, adding its own layer of stress.  These stressful things are temporary, I know, but it still frustrates me.  We’ve had a really long summer: my husband’s service dog tore her ACL, our other dog had cherry eye surgery (and revision surgery), an A/C issue resulted in a small repair just under $300, and this week was a frustrating mix of a termite inspection (our neighbor has active termites), the brakes went out in one vehicle and fireworks were on the menu.  Ugh!!!

I make a conscious effort daily to find ways to de-stress, and I think anyone who has life dump so much at one time knows the same thing: we’re all a ‘work in progress.’  I am not the best at managing my anger and frustration when life falls apart, and my budget is hit hard month after month.  I owed my daughter an apology earlier this week when I let my anger at the world over our ongoing array of mishaps get the best of me because this week wore me down greatly and I fear she thought I was mad at her.  I wasn’t, but she’s little and doesn’t understand anger directed outward isn’t necessarily directed at her.

After composing myself, I talked to her about being mad regarding these large expenses.  Each expenditure has meant a dip in our budget, a need to be creative in other areas of spending, and facing the reality while I wanted us to take a trip to Vegas in January and start saving towards a Hawaii trip next year those prospective trips are off the table.  She doesn’t recognize in the eleven years her dad and I have been married, we’ve never treated ourselves to a big trip or why that luxury matters to us.  We didn’t have a fancy wedding nor did we go on a honeymoon; it was nice to dream that renewing our vows in Vegas (I’ve never been to Vegas as an adult!) and makeup honeymoon were within reach in a year’s time.

As I write these things to you, I know–and own the reality–these are first world problems.  I am still in a place of privilege.  I own my home, I have a job that allows me to support my family.  My family and friends stand by me for this journey.  My fridge, freezer, and pantry are always stocked.  I have free time to reflect on where I am personally and professionally, time to look back on all I’ve experienced, and plan for the future.  The situation is not as dire as it feels in the moment.

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