How To Protect Your Military Medical Records, Identity, And Your Future From Fraudulent Use
This is a cautionary New Year’s Resolution for all of you who are either active duty military or veterans. The resolution is to keep yourself informed and diligent regarding your military and veteran medical records and personal files Do you know what is actually in your service files? Do you know what might be missing? Do you know what might be fraudulent or inaccurate? Did you keep information on your buddies? Did you get lonely and marry in haste, or spend a weekend leave and be left unaware that your personal information was stolen from your wallet or other ID, like a copy of orders?
If you haven’t already read about Bobbi Ann Finley, dubbed the “Military Mistress”, take a few minutes to Google her. She drifted from base to base and married at least 15 men, cleaning them out, and then disappearing to the next victim. She abandoned at least 9 children in her wake, all with unknown fathers, all taken in as wards of the state or members of her family. Some of the young men she “married” could one day face paternity suits and child support orders from the various states’ welfare departments for children they never knew existed, born to a transient, bigamous con woman. For those men who ended up with records of this woman in their military file it could take years and great expense to get the fraudulent information removed from the record, affect future veteran’s benefits and relationships. If personal information like name rank and social security number is stolen, it takes little effort for someone to get fraudulent documents inserted into a file, but great effort to get it corrected and removed. Keep in mind that Ms. Finley aka House is not the only con woman haunting military bases and pulling scams on unsuspecting men. Perhaps not to the degree of the number of victims as this case, but nonetheless creating dire havoc in people’s lives.
So, your Resolution should be to keep close watch on your medical records and files. You should obtain a copy of your personal file when you separate from the military, making certain that you have any and all medical records. If you are a veteran having or seeking VA benefits, keep copies of your VA files, any and all civilian medical records and taking immediate action if you find ANY incorrect or fraudulent information. Keep in mind that civilian medical records are periodically purged, depending on the location every five to ten years, so make certain that you obtain copies soon after treatment. This may sound tedious, but it can become a nightmare if you need to reconstruct your medical history in the future when you may be battling to obtain your benefits. Any veteran who has endured this process will tell you of the difficulty. The Board of Veteran’s Affairs leaves you to produce the proof so if you have a service related medical issue, be diligent about keeping track of this vital information.
Fraudulent Medical Records Can Lead To Denied Military Veteran Benefits
If you find any fraudulent or unexplained documents in any of your files make certain that you report them immediately to your commanding officer or Regional VA Center supervisor and make all reasonable effort to correct the record. All it takes is one transient con woman to wreak havoc on your life and finances. One phony document inserted in your file by someone you never even heard of can lead you on an expensive chase to identify her and cleanse your file and your standing. Seek advice and assistance from people who have knowledge and understanding of military procedure and VA procedure. Understand that you are the one who has to provide the documentation to prove the fraud. If you are denied veterans benefits, look at the list of attorneys at NOVA (National Organization of Veterans’ Advocates) at www.vetadvocates.org to find a list of qualified veteran’s appeals attorneys. Understand that you may have to take some issues to the civilian courts before you can proceed at the VA Appellate level so seek qualified advice and do what is necessary. It is not always an easy or inexpensive process, but a necessary one.
Avoid Nightmare, Protect Your Military Medical Records
Keep a journal or simple list of your buddies with name, service numbers, home of record and where they intend to go after separation. A single buddy statement regarding your medical issue during service can be invaluable and your basic knowledge of your buddies can make finding them and obtaining help ease the process. By following the advice I have offered in this article, you will go a long way in making the process of protecting your files, your identity and your future much smoother. Unfortunately, I only see the nightmares lack of diligence and vigilance in this regard creates. So, get and retain copies of your files, meet the guy in the next bed at the hospital and seek expert advice. And never think it can’t happen to you!
Our guest contributor this week is Judianne Cochran a nationally recognized expert/consultant in the following disciplines: sex offender profiling; false allegations in custody cases; interstate and international parental abduction; military; military medical records, interstate custody and parental alienation. She has testified in numerous Courts throughout Ohio and the country. Judi has contributed to the Ohio Family Law Blog since 2008. She presently resides in Columbus, Ohio.
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