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AP: More POW claimants than actual POWs

Discussion in 'U.S. Politics' started by ASPCA4EVER, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. ASPCA4EVER

    ASPCA4EVER New Member

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    AP: More POW claimants than actual POWs
    Some of the recipients of POW benefits apparently don't deserve them
    Navy fighter pilot and Vietnam POW Paul Galanti stands in front of the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond, Va., on March 13. Galanti, who spent nearly seven years in North Vietnam's infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison, serves on a Department of Veterans Affairs advisory committee on POWs.

    Steve Helber / AP
    updated 2 hours, 18 minutes ago

    Prisoners of war suffer in ways most veterans don't, enduring humiliating forced marches, torture or other trauma that may haunt them long afterward. In partial recompense, the government extends them special benefits, from free parking and tax breaks to priority in medical treatment.

    Trouble is, some of the much-admired recipients of these benefits apparently don't deserve them.

    There are only 21 surviving POWs from the first Gulf War in 1991, the Department of Defense says. Yet the Department of Veterans Affairs is paying disability benefits to 286 service members it says were taken prisoner during that conflict, according to data released by VA to The Associated Press.

    A similar discrepancy arises with Vietnam POWs. Only 661 officially recognized prisoners returned from that war alive — and about 100 of those have since died, according to Defense figures. But 966 purported Vietnam POWs are getting disability payments, the VA told AP.

    Being classified as a POW doesn't directly increase a veteran's monthly disability check. There's no "POW payment."

    But a tale of torture and privation can influence whether a vet receives some money or nothing at all in disability payments — and the VA's numbers raise questions about how often such tales are exaggerated or invented altogether.

    For one Korean War veteran, a made-up story helped to ensure more than $400,000 in benefits before his lies were discovered. A Gulf War vet told a tale of beatings and mock executions, though he was never even a POW. Four women Vietnam vets blamed disabilities on their time as prisoners — even though there's no record of female POWs in that war.

    At the root of the problem is a disconnect between two branches of government: The Defense Department determines POW status and posts the lists online; the VA awards benefits, but evidently does not always check the DoD list to verify applicants' claims. Result: Numbers of benefit recipients that are higher than the number of recognized POWs.

    for the rest of this article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30168352
    ******************************************

    And yet if you assume that you won't get caught paying your fair share dues to the IRS they won't eventually come-a-knockin...and here we have these two huge organizations that cost all of us so dearly in collected taxes...can't find each other to verify who deserves POW benefits and who does NOT!

    Pinch me...this is the 21st century right??? We aren't still in the 20th century...where are the checks & balances...where are the internal audits???
    More governmental waste and lack of fairness and poor stewardship of our veterans that deserve the lost funds for the current men & women!!!
     
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