Veteran's advocacy group: Disabled vets do little to earn benefits, calling monthly payments a great return on investment

Let there be no misunderstanding. I, as a disabled veteran, am grateful for groups and organizations that advocate and provide assistance to our veteran community. But few things anger me more than groups who claim to advocate for that same community only to take advantage of or belittle them. 

This is a conversation about one such group.  We want to introduce you to the Seven Principles Group

Before we really dig into the type of group that this is, it makes sense to tell you how we found them. 

Scrolling through Instagram earlier this week, I came across an advertisement for this group. Allow me to set the stage for what I saw. 
Two men are talking in an interview-style setting. Man #1 starts speaking behind a script at the bottom of the screen that reads Discover the VA Disability Secret The Ultimate ROI Generator.

"I don't know of any other investment vehicle in our country that pays the type of ROI a VA disability pays. There are not too many resources where you're gonna get a guaranteed couple or a few or several thousand dollars per month until you die. Until you die, you are getting that benefit, and also some of the perks that come with it as well. I mean, it's the best ROI generator I have ever witnessed on planet Earth."

Let's pause right there to break down what has been said so far.  

A return on investment is defined as a financial metric that measures the probability of gaining a return from an investment. It is a ratio that compares the gain (or loss) from an investment, relative to its cost.

The key concept that must focused on, is relative to its cost. 

What are the costs that Seven Principles believes result in an amazing ROI? It is different for every disabled veteran. I can only speak for myself. 

I am a 90% disabled veteran. I am service-connected for PTSD, degenerative issues in both knees, a thyroid disorder, and tinnitus. My monthly disability benefit is roughly $2,700 per month.

I would gladly give up that monthly payment to not wake up in a cold sweat after having PTSD-induced nightmares. I would forfeit every penny to be able to ride bikes or jump on the trampoline with my son. I would trade it all to give my wife the peace of mind of never having to wonder if those demons are going to creep up and cause me to inflict harm on myself or others. 

Trust me when I say that I have it easy compared to many of my brothers and sisters in arms. I know too many people who came home less than whole, both mentally and physically. Some are missing limbs. Others lost their sight or ability to hear.

Far too many live with the mental scars that they never recover from. And in the creative minds of Seven Principles, a couple, a few, or several thousand dollars per month is a great return on those investments, or as most people call them, sacrifices. 

The reality is that none of us joined the military and put ourselves in harm's way because we thought we might get a few thousand dollars a month until we die. Truth be told, the return on our investments is the knowledge that we continue to live in the greatest country in the history of civilization. 

But, according to the Instagram post, disabled veterans gave a little to get a lot. 

To be fair, the costs/investments they are talking about are the "small amount" of money the veteran pays for their services. But you have to watch the entire Q&A session on their YouTube channel. The way the Instagram reel is edited makes it really easy to misconstrue the context of what they are talking about. 

The quotes below can be seen in the video below starting at 40:40 mark.

"There's no ROI out there that beats it, honestly, unless you're selling drugs," the first guy says, prompting the other guy to throw his head back in laughter.

"Unless you're selling drugs...or you're doing something illegal, or you're scamming folks, or something like that."

It is fitting that the advertisement ends with the concept of scamming people. 

Let's look at the price they charge for their self-proclaimed 98% success rate in getting veterans the benefits they deserve. Their website has a cost calculator. 

Let's assume that I am currently 0% disabled and am receiving no money from the VA and I go to 100%, and that I am married with two children under 18. That means that I will begin receiving $4,072.12 every month. 

If I use Seven Principles to get to that 100% rating, they say that the fee would be capped at $7500 plus a $500 retainer. They claim that they will never charge more than $12,000. However, their calculator states that those services, resulting in the rating above, would cost the veteran $18,324. But if their claims of costs are true. The veteran would not see a penny of their benefits for the first two months after the rating change. 

Using their services to get me from 90% to 100% would net me $1,518 per month. However, it would cost me $6,831, or 4.5 times the monthly increase. Luckily, because the total would be over $5,000, it would be billed to me at a rate of $683.10 for 10 months. They are also kind enough to make those payments interest-free. 

The reason I point that out is because VA-certified groups such as the DAV and VFW often charge the veteran nothing for their services to help them file their claims and appeals, no matter how much they are awarded. Other VA-certified attorneys are limited to collecting only 20% of the first month's increase for their services. 

For the scenarios above, they would receive $814 for the 0%-100% case and only $303 in the second case. That is a far cry from what Seven Principles is charging, given that their rates are 22.5 times what certified attorneys charge. 

There are other groups that provide similar services and charge almost identical rates to those from SPG. Several of those groups are being investigated for unethical practices, price gouging, and coaching veterans to make fraudulent statements to gain favorable decisions.  

Let's not forget that the commercial also alluded to the fact that being a disabled veteran is the easiest way to make money legally. They believe that the only way to get paid more for little to nothing is to engage in illegal activities like selling drugs or being a con artist.

I have reached out to SPG to ask about their advertisement. We are waiting for their response. Should they provide a comment, we will update this piece. 

To our nation's veterans, if you are disabled, you should absolutely file claims with the VA, but be very cautious of any group that promises results or wants to charge you  an exorbitant amount, or as they call it in the video below (36:20 mark), "those few measly little dollars..."
 
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The opinions reflected in this article are not necessarily the opinions of LET
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