The Great War Hero Death Benefits Scam

As if all the scandals surrounding the governments use and treatment of our military these days isn’t enough, it now appears that the giant insurance companies that were charged with dispensing death benefits for our fallen war heroes are actually scamming the beneficiaries out of the money!

According to CBS News – A Fallen Hero: How an Insurance Company Profited:

In nearly a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, 5,620 Americans have died. Survivors of these fallen heroes are entitled to a life-insurance payment and the government uses a private company to handle it. What happened to the mother of 24-year-old Ryan Baumann of Great Mills, Maryland when she tried to collect serves as a lesson to every military family.

In her report for the CBS Evening News, Anchor Katie Couric recounts her interview with Sgt. Baumann’s mother, Cindy Lohman:

It was hard to accept life without her son, until a casualty assistance officer asked her to choose how she would like to receive his death benefits.

Lohman said, “I handed the paperwork back to the poor CAO and said ‘I don’t want it.’ And he was very patient and explained that it wasn’t an option and that really I had to accept it and had to decide what to do.”

She eventually filed, electing to receive a lump sum of $400,000. But the check never came. Instead, she received a check book and a packet from Prudential saying the money had been placed in its “alliance account” where it was “available immediately” and would “begin earning interest” right away.

Everything seemed fine, until she tried using the checks.

“I was told that the check could not be verified,” she said.

The report goes on to say how the insurance company was even keeping the lion’s share (over 80%) of the interest being accrued on the account. Not that it matters, I guess, since Ms. Lohman hadn’t actually received any money anyway.

How high does the heap of shame have to get before something is actually done to address the public policy nonsense that only serves to undercut and demean our nation’s standing on the world stage? I know that those who would see us fall don’t deserve the credit for pitting us against ourselves in the first place, but we’d be foolish to assume they don’t know how to take advantage of it!

Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms

A special shout out of thanks to my friend poch, of Plato on-line, for suggesting that I make use of this very moving song! 😀

I want ice water.

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41 thoughts on “The Great War Hero Death Benefits Scam

    • Apparently, this is another sad case of our government forging an “alliance” with private enterprise that includes “fine print” in the contract that they (intentionally?) didn’t bother to read! 😡

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  1. Sickening how these people prey on the misery of others. Robbing even those that were putting up their lives in the defense of everyone else, including the unscrupulous ones themselves.

    I really like Dire Straights’ Brothers in Arms. Played it a lot in the car on the freeway way back.

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  2. That’s 100% bull-shat—the CEO (and whoever else applies) over at that life insurance company should go to jail…today—bunked with rapists that despise insurance fraud…F’ing scum-bags…

    If you’re gonna’ be an evil prick and scam someone out of money—have some friggin taste, ya know? Taking advantage of a mother that just lost a son in a war???—pure evil…Those spineless nincompoops should man up and go gank a few grand from the Jonas Brothers or something…at least I’d crack a smile reading about something like that…

    Heathens!

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    • I have no doubt that someone in government, who helped set up this disgraceful sham, is getting a kickback from it. They should crammed into the same damned cell! 😡

      But what did we heathens ever do to you? 🙄

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      • Oh I wasn’t complaining my friend. I’ve been a “godless heathen” my whole life, and I’m cool with it – especially considering the alternatives. I was just joking, not very well apparently, about not wanting to be grouped in with these morally bankrupt ass-wipes. 😀

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  3. Hey Mak, thanks a mil for using my suggestion!
    Do you know that there’s even a syndicate that scams the insurance money of soldiers who died in duty?

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    • Hey, thank YOU for suggesting it!

      “a syndicate that scams the insurance money of soldiers who died in duty?” Say it ain’t so! Good grief, it’s like we’re up to our necks in snakes – like this guy:

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    • (Sorry about that. I think I’m talking about the same scam lol.)

      If I didn’t suggest Brother’s in Arms, I wouldn’t have discovered the great video. I loved the vid so much I shared and uploaded it!

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      • Darn it! I spent so much time trying to find a good “up to our necks in snakes” image that I didn’t realize you had corrected your comment. No matter, it’s true anyway! 😀

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    • 😳 What I was really trying to find is an image from the Raiders Of The Lost Ark scene where Indy ends up in the chamber filled with snakes. You’d think the net would be filled them ’em! 😀

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  4. Which makes one wonder how some could keep on saying insurance companies aren’t laughing all the way to the bank. That’s exactly what they (the insurance companies) were doing during the health care debate. Anyone who messes with a dead soldiers death benefits should be kicked out of this country.

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    • Let’s face it. The insurance game is legalized gambling on a massive scale. The only difference is that the policy is a bet, against the policy holder himself, where his hope is that he’ll get a payout (he dies, or is injured, or a tree falls on his house, etc.) before he’s put more into it than it’s payout value! It’s an open invitation to corruption, and the fact that the government is now in the business of requiring you to be insured only guarantees that the invitation will be accepted. I just wish I was smart enough to come up with an alternative. 😐

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      • I always thought things like insurance and derivatives should be handled by the gambling industry, with the insurance companies and the financial empires having to buy their respective evils from them. That way, if they can’t pay, Bubba shows up with a new pair of shoes.

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        • Damn dude, we should have had YOU writing that new finance reform legislation. I’m sure that would work a LOT better than the compromised, full-of-loopholes, waste of paper congress came up with! 😀

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  5. Have always loved that song, Izaakmak. Was my late wife’s favourite Dire Straits song. She was a great fan of the band. I’ve actually got a waistcoat hanging in the wardrobe that used to belong to Mark Knopfler (lead guitarist and singer/songwriter of the band) that cost me a fortune in a charity auction just cos she wanted it.

    As for the insurance scam – that sucks !!!

    Money is no compensation for the loss of a loved one, but the relatives of someone who has laid down his life in the service of his country deserve better treatment than this !!!

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    • I never heard the song before poch suggested it, but it’s been repeating in my mind ever since. I’ve got to get more of their stuff!

      That was such a nice thing you did for your wife. I’m sure she cherished it for as long as she had it.

      There’s a lot of bad people in the world these days, doing a lot of bad things, but this insurance scam is one of the worst I’ve heard. I’m embarrassed that I live in a country where such a thing could be legal!

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  6. Disgraceful. I do not believe in this war but I support the men and women who put their life on the line every friggin day because that’s what they do. And hello, it’s not like the US government isn’t going to be getting something out of this when the war is over. They have made their big mining and oil deals. Slap me with a big paint brush full of cynic!

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  7. I think I’ve become so jaded in what I’ve learned about what happens to our soldiers and what have you that reading a story like that doesn’t surprise me in the least bit.

    I read somewhere, forgot where, might have been CNN, where politicians were shocked…just flat-out SHOCKED that when soldiers come home from war they have a high rate of PTSD. And it’s like, are you for real? What do you think they do when they’re over there? Have tea and crumpets?

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    • Jaded? Nice word. Me too! And I guess I’m really not all that surprised. As for the politicians, can we really expect any more from folks who spend all of their time pretending to know things that they actually don’t? It’s a non-stop campaign, which is pretty much one long stage show, and there’s no time to stay in touch with reality! 😐

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    • So great to have you back again, no matter what the case! I’m so glad that I’ve been introduced to this song, but I agree that the story is an outrage.

      After re-reading what I wrote, it occurred to me that I didn’t do the best job of describing how this program has evolved into the monstrosity that it is today. For anyone curious enough to go through it, that information is contained in the original Bloomberg report at Fallen Soldiers’ Families Denied Cash as Insurers Profit.

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  8. This is messed up, but of course not surprising. I feel the government owes me money for something it’s done wrong that affected me, but I’m not sure what. Several boyfriends from the past have broken up with me – this is probably somehow the government’s fault.

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  9. Regarding your comment about the life insurance and veterans’ scandal and the story you saw on Katie Couric: It’s worse. Way worse.

    Worse as in–you’re getting conned. Conned into playing the Fox News role of propagating serious misinformation served up by an out of context set of facts, just as Fox did when handed a juicy tidbit about Shirley Sherrod. Fox didn’t check the context, and neither did you. And neither did CBS news and the Veterans Administration.

    Just for starters, that insurance product has virtually nothing to do with soldiers. That headline was thrown in to sucker unthinking liberals like you (and me) into knee-jerk mechanically criticizing the villain du jour (Wall street financial institutions).

    And that’s just a tiny teaser. Please please go read what I’ve written about it. I’m no fan of insurance companies, but the real story here is Big Media and their failure to fact check, and Big Politics and their rush to suborn votes and blogs from someone like you, and me.

    Don’t fall for it. There are definitely villains in the world, including a ton on Wall Street. But that’s not this story. This story is about flagrant misrepresentation which is then picked up by Big Media and politicians like Schumer and Cuomo looking for fast votes.

    Check the analysis, please, and come back and tell us what you think. Thank you.

    Read this:
    http://trustedadvisor.com/trustmatters/863/The-Insurance-Industry-Is-Getting-the-Shirley-Sherrod-Treatment

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    • You’ve made some good points, both here and on your post, and, to the extent to which I might be guilty of “jumping to conclusions,” I offer my apologies. Did you notice that the Bloomberg website posted the same report with two different titles? Fallen Soldiers’ Families Denied Cash as Insurers Profit AND Duping the Families of Fallen Soldiers.

      There is a reason, however, why I think this matter should still be considered a scam – by both the insurance companies and government agencies involved in setting it up, and that is the fact that neither the insured parties or their beneficiaries were told that this is what was meant by “If you die in the service of your country, we’ll pay your survivors.”

      Now I have no doubt that, had they been told, they would have been just fine with this arrangement as long as they did eventually get what was promised without being unduly tormented by bureaucratic nonsense. But the failure to openly disclose the actual workings of the program by burying the details in fine print is, I think, scandalous by any definition of the word.

      Also, I object to being referred to as an “unthinking liberal” and, frankly speaking, I’m not sure if I’m more offended by the “unthinking” part or the “liberal” part. For you to have assumed either to be true based on one post out of hundreds that this blog contains shows that you are just as guilty of “jumping to conclusions” as those you have accused of doing so.

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  10. Izaak,

    Thank you for reading the post; and while I included myself along with you in the “unthinking liberal” adjective, I don’t have a right to say that about you. Point taken, you’re right, and I apologize.

    I’ve noticed that Bloomberg constantly revises bits of that post, moving further and further away from the ‘ripping off dead soldiers’ theme bit by bit. But that’s what they put out first, and that’s what’ll stick.

    I’ll bet a dollar that a few months from now, there is no legislation at all. Maybe the companies will move from 4 point font to 8 point. Cuomo et al will have forgotten about it, or certainly will the day after elections. So will most of us. But what will remain will be yet another memory of a divisive and bitter issue separating people–“liberals” from “conservatives,” and so on. And that memory will stick, and do no one any good.

    That’s what bugs me. It’s unnecessary. There are crimes out there worth getting really exercised about. This isn’t one of them, yet the language has employed all the worst forms of propaganda, and the discussions have been unnecessarily heated.

    If Bloomberg, or Cuomo, or the commissioners, were all serious about improving things, they’d lighten up on their language and their pompous bombosity.

    OK thanks for the use of the bully pulpit. BTW I’ve always loved Brothers in Arms. It was once used with devastatingly good effect on an episode of Miami Vice, with the perfect plot line to complement it.

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    • I’m so glad to discover that we’re far more alike in opinion than not! One of the primary issues I try to deal with on this blog is the manner in which we allow irrational thinking and outright lies to blind us to, and distract us from, the truly important issues we, as humans, need to work on together. It seems to me that, whatever our differences, we’re on the same page there!

      You’re always welcome here my friend. 😀

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