Veteran Says His Benefits Are Being Taken Away - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/03/04 - Lufkin

Veteran Says His Benefits Are Being Taken Away

"The demeanor of my life is gone away. They took my lively hood, they took my social life, they took everything I had, and I was the person that when I was 18 years old I said I'll sign up, I'll join the military, I'll have a good time, I'll do my job, I'll do my duties. I never got in trouble until I got the mental condition," said Robert Poskey, who is seeking benefits.

Poskey has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he says it causes him to get on edge too quick, and because he can't take direction from a superior or stay on task, he says that has caused him to be unable to work. He's been living off of veteran's benefits and seeking medical attention through the Office of Veteran's Affairs in Houston, but since 1999, for reasons that can't be explained, they have dwindled his benefits down to almost nothing. After that, his marriage collapsed, he had to move in with his family, and he now lives off of a social security check that is almost cut in half after he pays child support.

"The only one getting hurt here is a veteran that has fought for his country, served for his country, didn't evade his country's service, and now he is being put out because somebody doesn't like the idea of him receiving money for whatever reason," said Gene Harviel, a veteran's rights activist.

Harviel says that the Board of Veteran's Appeals in Washington ordered the V.A.'s office in Houston to pay Poskey his benefits. But Harviel says that the Houston office hasn't paid anything. He says instead, they're trying to re-evaluate Poskey to see if he still has a mental disability. Harviel says if that happens, that could reduce Poskey's benefits from 100 percent down to almost thirty percent. That would mean Poskey would loose not only almost $2,000 each month, but also his ability to seek medical attention for his mental disorder.

"That person who has never seen this gentleman before, is going to sit down in a two hour period, and evaluate a 15-year problem. And make a decision as to how they feel he evaluates in this 10 to 100 percent criteria," said Harviel.

Harviel says there's a long road ahead before this situation is resolved, but he's confident that he will be able to restore Poskey's benefits back to 100 percent, and a veteran that has served his country can get on with his life.

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