Rosasco Attends Veterans Disability Attorney Conference in DCWednesday, November 7, 2007
As an Air Force veteran myself, it was reassuring to know that so many talented veteran disability claim lawyers were in attendance at the National Organization of Veterans’ Attorneys (NOVA) conference last week in Washington, DC. My partner David Tobias and I attended, and as always, there was much to learn.
If there was one thing that stood out in my mind from this conference, it would be the realization of the staggering numbers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) service connected disability claims that we will all be seeing come out of the current Iraq war. Formerly called "Soldiers Heart" and "Shell Shock" in prior conflicts, untreated PTSD can wreck families and lead to violence, criminality, alcoholism, drug abuse and homelessness.
I handled my first Vietnam Veteran PTSD disability claim about 15 years ago. My client had already been through at least six 30-day alcohol rehabs at the VA Hospital in Northport, Long Island (New York). When he would get out, his way of staying sober was to camp in the desolate woods of northern Maine for months at a time.
Many would have considered him unlikable at best, an angry violent criminal at worst. Despite his untrusting nature, he allowed me to get to know him. Bottom Line- prior to his Army service in Vietnam, he was a good kid just out of high school. I never asked what he saw in Vietnam which caused him such obvious anguish and pain now, but his eyes told you "don’t go there".
At the time he came to me through a fellow Vet trying to help, he could not cope with regular society while sober. The Northport VA Hospital did not (or could not) provide any long term effective treatment for his underlying psychiatric condition which was the root cause of his alcoholism. He was using alcohol to "self-medicate".
Thankfully, despite some delays caused by his unpredictable absences, I was able to get him full disability benefits. His checks were sent to his mother’s house for his benefit. I never heard from this vet again after we won his case, which I did not think was unusual given his disability. However, his grateful elderly Mom did stay in touch, which was nice.
One of the best parts of the conference was our Friday luncheon speaker, the feisty "VA Watchdog" Larry Scott. He told us about the VA’s new "3 week cure " for PTSD! Of course, we all know that the VA has been on the cutting edge of medical break-throughs for some time now … but a 3 week cure?!
Sounds like the one night "stop smoking hypnosis seminar" I once took, or the 4 hour "rapid heroin detox", which I didn’t! Only the VA would come up with such an absurd treatment plan.
Thank you, Larry, for exposing the real motivations of the VA. After all, if the Iraq vet is now "cured", they don’t have to pay the service connected disability pension. Despite the veteran’s honorable service in a mistake strewn war, its all about the money.
We will just have to beat the VA, one disability claim at a time. Remember, thanks to the new law, after June 20, 2007 you can hire a lawyer to help you sooner than before. You don’t have go it alone.