Only at 810 VArmit Ave. NW 20420 could anyone with an IQ over 75 come up with this plan. 318,000 Vets on TDIU (Total Disability due to Individual Unemployment) … nationwide… in the whole VBA system. Did I mention it was as high as 318,000 disabled Veterans who were receiving this largesse? That sounds like millions upon billions of dollars are being handed out at the VBA candy store. That dog won’t hunt for any number of reasons but let’s take a gander at the numbers.
Numbers are neat. Numbers are orderly and easy to remember. When attached to geographical landmarks, psychiatrists say it ( i.e. a call sign or radio frequency) creates a strong sight/mind/location node that accepts more data such as numbers. They can substantiate this via data. 118.9 mhz was tower approach @ Long Tieng Airpatch. It was always the same valley with that “vertical speed brake” at the end if you came in hot and heavy and didn’t use all 3,120 feet of the active runway. It was also the busiest one way runway this side of Tokyo International in 1970. You didn’t land unless you took a number. And you did that by making sure you were on 118.9 and not 118.1 for Sam Thong -one valley over. It sure didn’t rise to the Presidential level of “Well that all depends on what the meaning of megahertz (mhz) is.” Now that we have numbers clear, Let’s Count the numbers as they say over at Sesame Street®.
First, we have to jettison any hopes of saving a large amount that can be diverted to repair the fallout from the Phoenix Phiasco and the Biggest Little ER in the West in Denver. Every one of the Vets who are moving toward “retirement” and TDIU are retiring prematurely because they are damaged goods. VA has never comprehended this simple metric. The number of Veterans who are willing to jump through endless hoops-sometimes for years like a denied SSD claim- is finite. The vast majority of us come from proud stalwart stock and “going on relief”, as we used to say, was akin to welfare fraud. Everyone in my family on both sides was probably in one of America’s wars since its inception. Everyone was in WWII. Well, everyone but any TDIU Vets, probably. I don’t recall who was disabled or drew a pension. My grandfather on my father’s side lived out his last years at the LA Old Soldiers Home. He probably was TDIU- perhaps Not Service Connected (NSC)Pension. The point being is that there are “certifiable” TDIU who are not worker bee material. I know that an Agent Orange Presumptive like Diabetes Mellitus II can wipe you out with all the peripherals (PN, ED, HBP, etc) without ever reaching a singular 100% schedular rating for one and only one of the individual secondary diseases/injuries. This is what TDIU was always there for-a cushion, a fallback position for He who shall have borne the battle. Congress gave us this safety valve.
The Pike’s Peak Hill climb to TDIU Nirvana is steep. You have to get there in fits and spurts. No one ever technically summits the top. The reason is simple. Your back is toast from jumping out of perfectly good aircraft to impress your girlfriend/wife thirty years ago. The rating for Parachute Back Syndrome ends mysteriously at 60%. Same for the knees. Sorry, Johnny Vet. 40% each but we’ll toss in 10% more for bilateral because we’re nonadversarial. Of course, when you can’t walk anymore, we’ll bump you up to SMC L-assuming you last that long.
To obtain TDIU, you have to pass a ratings test. If you have a 40% rating in one category and others that add up to a cumulative total of 70%, you are now ready to audition for TDIU. Likewise, if you only boogered up your back and got 60%, that, too, is a winning ticket to the next round of refusals.
See the expected booty beginning to evaporate? A 60% rating pulls in $1156.09/mo. for you and the missus. $1227.09 for one each fruit of your loins. No one can operate and feed a youth for $61 considering they have to have designer underwear and Iphones®. Same for 70% ($1530.71/ mo and it pays $91/mo. for the rugmonster) A TDIU rating is an equivalent payment of a 100% rating which pays out a whopping $3068.90 a month… for 12 months of the year. So if we tally up what a fellow would legitimately get at 60 or 70% and subtract that from the perceived savings of eliminating TDIU entirely, the amount is earthshatteringly well, nothing. Assuming the worst case scenario that all them slackers were at 70%, the savings pencil whips out to a rough $1,500 bucks a Vet or $477,000 per month nationwide. It would be slightly less for those real lollygaggers who are at 60%. This way, at five million a year in savings, they can finish the Denver Spa by 2197.
It’s a sad day when The GAO finds substantial savings are to be had on the backs of 100% Disabled Vets who are hanging on by a thread and living in dire poverty. Only in America, ladies and gentlemen. And apparently only to We who bore the Battle. Lands, I hope to smile the DAV and the American Legion blew an ass gasket over this. I’m sure all the other 49 VSOs will all weigh in very soon and evoke the same sentiments. And then The Donald will opine on it.