I try not to get too personal on this blog. I also try to make it stand out by injecting some humor and my experiences dealing with the VA as a person who works for a law firm. Honestly though, I write this blog because I sincerely enjoy interacting with Veterans and active duty service members. While my Facebook page and Twitter feed may be filled with posts about Miley Cyrus or JJ Watt, I actually get more excited when I meet someone who has served. For the most part, I think they are pretty great. It’s not just because of the work that I do, or that I am trying to get more people to read this blog, it’s genuine.
For instance, this past weekend I went bowling with a group of coworkers, including Bill, who some of you know from this blog. Another coworker introduced me to a gentlemen she has been dating who is currently serving in the National Guard. I talked that poor guy’s ear off. I find it fascinating that so many are willing to give up so much and get so little in return. It’s also no secret that most of my friends have served at some point in their lives. So once again, this is a genuine interest of mine.
So, you might be wondering why I am telling you all of this. I’ll explain later.
Full disclosure: It’s not easy coming up with new topics for this blog. Today is Monday. I have not talked to any Veterans yet this week. Most of my inspiration comes from real interactions with those who have served. When I am struggling to find a subject to write about, I will see what the mainstream media is talking about. Today I ran across an LA Times article that I did not like. While it did not blatantly come out against Veterans who receive disability, it definitely was not complimentary. The author happens to cover a lot of Veterans topics for this publication. He has not served, but yet, like me, covers Veterans Disability. (I am not a journalist, I am a blogger. There is a difference. Just ask a journalist.) The article as a whole seemed to really look at Veterans who work and receive VA disability benefits concurrently in a negative light. He mentioned a Veteran who makes $70,000 per year who is also receiving VA disability. He’s implying that someone who makes that much money shouldn’t receive VA Disability pay. Or maybe that is just what I am interrupting. Regardless if his intent is to shame Veterans who receive disability and work full time, or just to paint a better picture for his readers, there is nothing illegal about what that Veteran is doing. You can be a billionaire and still receive VA disability compensation. There is no income limit on VA Disability. There is a limit on VA pension, but that is a different program. Also, you can’t get IU and work full time.
This is why so many Veterans aren’t pursuing the disability benefits they deserve through the VA. It’s because of reporters who have not served making judgments based off of ignorance. Granted, you could say that I am just drinking the Kool-Aid, and that I am selling out because it is my job. That is simply not true. I am lucky enough to work with Veterans every day. I was fascinated with those who serve before my employment with this firm, and when I depart, I won’t stop being involved with Veterans. Simply put, I find no enjoyment in shaming Veterans. I don’t care if a Veteran makes a lot more than I do, and still gets VA disability. That is not for me to judge.
Honestly, I work with Veterans from all across the United States, not just California. Most of the men and women I encounter are not making a ton of money to start with. A lot are either unemployed or even underemployed and what they receive from the VA is keeping them from a life of poverty or worse. (The article does mention the number of Veterans who are currently struggling financially.) Let’s not pretend like a bunch of rich Veterans are out there scamming the VA to make even more money. Let’s also not pretend that these Veterans don’t deserve to be compensated for their service to our country. I can’t imagine what it’s like to serve. I don’t know what it’s like to be in combat, and to be willing to die for my country. I am not that brave. This is one of the many things that separate civilians from soldiers.
This was going to be it for my blog post today. However, I looked at the other articles this writer has posted. Most of them shed VA Disability in a negative light. However, that is not all he covers. He recently ran two stories on the Sandra Bullock stalker situation. I am a huge Sandra bullock fan, so I thought I’d check it out. I noticed that both stories he ran showed a picture of Ms. Bullock with a young active duty service member, an Airman in his Class A uniform. The photo was from a recent awards show Bullock attended. The young soldier is not the stalker, but I am curious as to why this photo was chosen to be used with the stalker story twice. I don’t really have too much time to do research on stories involving celebrities, but I checked to see if the stalker was a Vet. I could not find any evidence stating that he had ever served in the military. Granted, I don’t know if this writer gets to choose the photos for his stories or not. It could just be a coincidence. Also, it could just be that it was the most recent photo they had of her. All I can say is that if I was writing a story about someone stalking a celebrity, I wouldn’t use a photo which includes an individual who is not involved. Once again, I am not a journalist, I am a blogger.