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Letter to the editor: Fuzzy Math of VA benefits

By Louis J. Sansevero

Fuzzy Math II – How the VA cheats veterans is one of my big concerns.
“My combined total with simple math is 250 percent and with the fuzzy math is 98 percent which is rounded to 100 percent So it takes 250 to get to 100.
This is why so many cannot ever get to fully disabled status.”
This is a quote from an anonymous Vietnam veteran Agent Orange victim (no it is not me, really, it is actually someone who contacted me with his story) and is a demonstration of the way the United States government and the Veterans Administration cheats veterans out of fair and just compensation for the damage (wounds) the government inflicted on Vietnam veterans.
It also underscores why we need a Veterans Fair Compensation Act.
We served honorably and faithfully in peace and war and deserve better treatment than we are receiving, we deserve better than being cheated by our government.
In case you don’t understand the problem; veterans are entitled to receive compensation for service connected disabling conditions. Each condition, based on the extent of its disabling effect, is assigned a percentage which equates to a dollar amount of monthly disability payment similar to the way that a civilian might receive Social Security disability payments.
In general this system is fair and just it is when a veteran has multiple conditions, which most Vietnam veteran AO victims do, that the manipulation and cheating occurs.
The present methodology for rating service connected disabilities uses a chart to assign service connected disabilities compensation, a methodology which is expressly and purposely designed and intended to cheat veterans out of just and fair compensation, it is called the “combined” rating system and it is the “fuzzy” math behind this chart that creates a system which reduces the contribution of each subsequent condition after the initial service connected disability(ies) to the total percentage of disability as the actual total percentage of disability approaches or exceeds 100 percent.
The question arises “How does the “fuzzy” mathematical manipulation behind this chart work to cheat veterans?”
Since I don’t know the particulars of this veteran’s condition and as demonstration of this corrupt manipulation let’s take a veteran who is already rated at 60 percent disabled and receives compensation at a 60 percent level. The VA, and this is where the cheating begins, now considers that he/she is 40 percent from being fully disabled.
Now, in this example, if the veteran applies for and receives an additional 20 percent rating for another service connected condition logic, and simple math, would dictate that the veteran is now 80 percent disabled (60 percent + 20 percent = 80 percent); not so, the VA calculates, using its corrupt chart, the subsequent disability rating based not on 100 percent, a whole person, but on a 40 percent basis so that the resulting “combined” disability rating is 70 percent (60 percent + [20 percent of 40 percent = 8 percent] = 68 percent and 68 percent is rounded UP to 70 percent), the closest unit of 10. This veteran is now considered to have a maximum potential 30 percent disability remaining.
Continuing this example, let’s say this veteran applies for and receives another disability rating for a service connected condition of 10 percent. The VA again applies its “fuzzy” math and calculates this veteran’s disability not as 80 percent (70 percent + 10 percent) but as 70 percent (70 percent + [10 percent of 30 percent] = 73 percent and 73 percent is rounded down to 70 percent), the closest unit of 10. So in fact the veteran is cheated out of the 10 percent the VA says his condition is worth and he receives no additional compensation.
Any subsequent calculations of additional conditions would then be based on the remaining difference between the then current rating and 100 percent, the result being rounded up or down to the next higher or lower unit of 10.
From this simplistic example it is easy to see how the anonymous veteran that contacted me had to suffer service connected disabling conditions totaling 250 percent in order to receive a 100 percent combined disability rating.
The President, the VA, every politician, and the federal legislature pay a lot of lip service to people who serve or have served in the military; they consistently spew empty platitudes of “debts owed to veterans that cannot be repaid,” how much they “respect” those who have served, or how veterans are their “heroes” but when it comes to actually doing something they choose to ignore situations such as I’ve described.
I have personally written to the President, the Secretary of the Veterans Administration, the Chairmen of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs, Senator Hatch, Senator Lee, Senator McCain and Congressman Curtis asking that they take action and pushing for a Veterans Fair Compensation Act which would address this situation by calculating disabilities based on simple math, limiting total compensation to not more than 100 percent and to address the other inadequacies of present VA policies to no avail.
If you are a veteran, a family member of a veteran, or a friend of a veteran I ask you to write these same people and demand they correct this and the other insults to those who have served.
Louis J. Sansevero
Ferron, Utah

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