SSG Ryan Miller (left) served as a cavalry scout from 21MAR2001 until he was honorably discharged in 3DEC2010.
The story of his journey as a soldier and his diagnosis with severe ptsd made national and international headlines a couple years ago: click on this link to see story:
Here's a quote from the story: "At his court-martial two years ago, Miller testified that he knew he was likely suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, but purposely avoided treatment "in fear that I would be labeled a 'nut' and no longer be respected by my peers or subordinates.""
But there's a WHOLE LOT MORE TO THE STORY... Still haunting and troubling his new family today...
If you know this man, you probably know what a GREAT guy he is, but he was also an AMAZING SOLDIER. He always has a smile on when others are around, you'd never know anything was ever troubling him. He's not one to compain, or one to seek help because thats a sign of weakness...and he doesn't show many people that side.
Before telling the whole story, it needs to be mentioned that on top of all of this, the Army somehow lost all of his medical records. While trying to clear the post, and medical to sign out his medical records, THEY WEREN'T THERE. Miller was told that sometime they were signed out by the unit and were never signed back in. Miller needs these records to be able to show proof of injuries that occured while in the military to his ears, knees, back, as well as Severe PTSD and the fact that he DOES NOT sleep at night. Without these records, Miller can not prove his injuries were Army related (all of which were WELL DOCUMENTED) and he can not get any disibility pay. He sees a chiropractor every other week, he should go weekly, but he can't afford the payments as it is, let alone be able to afford it if he went weekly like the chiropractor would like him to. He also cannot hear. His hearing is awful, he was constantly being sent to see specialists in Watertown, everything was well documented. His hearing got worse and worse with each deployment and training... but the paperwork is gone... He could really use this pay/money so he is not constantly in pain... and it would be nice to hear his children when they wake up at night crying...
OK SO HERE IS THE STORY... US Army veteran SSG Ryan J Miller was overseas serving in Afghanistan when he found out his wife was and had been "ENJOYING THE COMPANY OF OTHER SOLDIERS" ((and not with just one)), to put it nicely, and spent his paycheck while being unfaithful. On top of that, come to find out, ((quick flash forward to 2009)) a military star account with over $900 owed and a checking account had also been opened... One day at Drum he went to return a tool that he bought, that was the wrong size, they wouldnt return it. Why? He had no idea, well it was then that he found out that he owed them ver $900... HE NEVER KNEW ABOUT. He also never knew he had a checking account... Amazing. Over the years, Miller has also received letters from Bonton debt collecters and JCPenny debt collecters, about him owing thousands on his store charge charge accounts, all accounts HE NEVER OPENED...IF ANYONE KNOWS SSG MILLER... IM PRETTY SURE THEY KNOW THAT HE HAS NEVER SPEND THOUSANDS AT JCPENNY OR BONTON... HE PROBABLY HAS NEVER EVEN SET FOOT IN ONE!
Anyway...The two filed for divorce, Jane Doe, from home and Miller from Afghanistan... Saddened and angered, he has to let it go; his focus must go back to war and survival. He was hurt most of all find out that his friends and fellow soldiers had been deceiving him to be with his wife. He would also really miss Jane Doe's daughter, who he loved as his own and would likely never see again. There's not much else to say... JUST PUT YOURSELF IN HIS SHOES AND IMAGINE IF THAT HAPPENED TO YOU...
At the same time this was happening, MILLER'S FATHER AND GRANDMOTHER PASSED AWAY.
Ryan's BAH for his wife and her child was supposed to be cancelled when the divorce papers were submitted to the Army. Everything should have been fine. At the same time Miller was promoted to staff sergeant. As a SSG, BAH is automatically given...
Long story short, while in Afghanistan his divorce papers were never turned in to Fort Drum, his pay was never correctly decreased, but with his promotion he was now supposed to get the BAH that was to be taken away with the divorce, just not the amt that would be given for having a wife and a dependent child. Being in Afghanistan then Iraq, do you think he was really checking his pay stubs...
Fast forward 6 years, back state side, still at Fort Drum, with a new girlfriend, new paperwork has to be filled and Miller correctly identifies his marital status as divorced...
He submits his divorce papers that he has to get a copy of from the court in watertown, Miller finds out he owes $18,689.42 because he was overpaid for BAH since his divorce. APPARENTLY HIS DIVORCE PAPERWORK WAS NEVER HANDED IN TO THE ARMY...He never knew...someone didnt turn in the paperwork while he was overseas. So does the Army take as much as possible back before his ETS date... Nope, just discharges him honorably on his ETS date 03Dec2010 with $18689.42 in debt owed to the Army.
In May 2009, while still in the Army, Miller's mother passed away from breast cancer, her death was followed shortly after by his grandfather.
Fast forward to 2011, Miller contacts DFAS and sets up a monthly payment plan. On unemployment at that time, as he was waiting on the GI Bill to allow him to get his training for a CDL, he can not afford over $600 a month, and agrees to $150. He pays it monthly.
Since obtaining his CDL in October of 2011, Miller has worked continuously. There has NEVER been even a week that he has been unemployed since obtaining his CDL, even while switching jobs several times to try and find the best fit for him and his family - most important was a job with great benefits for the kids, himself and his girlfriend, and someday wife. In 2014 he changed jobs 4 times. He was a temp hire with NYS, hoping he would be hired full time. When he was not, he immediately took a job driving for LOPKE. He was then hired by UPS Freight and took that job offer, until finally in October 2014 the state called and offered him a full time position:) He is an extremely hard worker and only wants to work. He works as much as possible to provide for his family. New York State is one of the few who recognize common law marriage and will insure an unmarried couple who has been living together for years.
Back to 2011. His taxes in 2010, 2011 and 2012 were taken. The IRS/Army take his tax return because his debt is added on as income and he owes it back. DFAS said "all debt is considered income" so when he was discharged his debt was added on to his income for the year... hence he owed the IRS A LOT in taxes. His tax return was taken and he had to pay an extra $510 on top of that. (and that was just the income tax burden)
That year, on 02Feb2012 Miller and his girlfriend (at that time, of 4 years), welcomed a son in to the world!
It wouldn't have been so bad that the tax return was taken, but he was counting on it, as his son was hospitalized at Golisano Children's hospital in Syracuse, NY when he was 14 days old for having blood clots in his brain. Miller's girlfriend stayed in the hosptial with their son for a month, while Miller drove up and back daily to see them after he got out of work, an hour trip. He drove home after every visit so he could go to work. Their son ended up needing emergency surgery one night when it was almost midnight because his head was filling up with fluids way too fast, even after just having a spinal tap. "They had never seen a baby's head fill up so quickly," the nurses and the doctor said, and they were worried we might lost him. The surgery ended around 2:45am and THANK GOD, everything went well. HE survived. About a week later, they were discharged and allowed to finally try and start a normal life with their precious baby boy. In that time though, of traveling back and forth daily, Miller could have really used his tax return money to help pay for those trips, but it was taken.
Now, January 2015, the couple has two children, their son is almost 3 years old, and now a daughter, who is one year old, born 14Jan2014. Miller is now employed full time by NYS, has his CDL and works harder than anyone I know. His girlfriend stays home with their two children.
May 28, 2014, DFAS turned the debt over to the Dept of the Treasury and added over $5000 to it, because that is what they do when debt it turned over to the treasury, (28%FEE MANDATED BY CONGRESS BASED ON THE AMOUNT OWED) so the debt that he had paid down to 15,557.75 is now up to over $22,000 and due paid in full or on a payment plan which requires half, or over $11,000 down. The other option is to pay $613.17/mo for 36 months... neither option can be done.
Miller cannot do this as he has a family to take care of, two young children, and his girlfriend who is home with the children. His tax return is about to be taken again, the couple will receive no money again.
Please help this family trying to get their feet off the ground and raise a happy, healthy family.
The Dept of the Treasury is starting the process to garnish his paycheck, (15% of his bi-weekly take home pay) and will take all tax returns until the debt is paid off, all $22,000 of it.
TO THINK THIS ALL COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF A CERTAIN SOMEONE ACTUALLY HANDED IN THE DIVORCE PAPERS TO THE ARMY WHEN IT HAPPENED. As if he hasn't been through enough.
Miller served his country, and while doing so lost his wife, a relationship with HER daughter; whom he loved, as well as his grandmother, father, mother and grandfather who all all passed away before he was discharged. Talk about really giving your EVERYTHING to the Army.
Miller is not one to talk about his past, he has NEVER said a word about his deployments or all he has seen and done. However there have been times, after a night of fun, (to put it nicely) that he breaks down and its awful. Its something that no one should ever have to experience, and for the people who have seen it happen, it's heartbreaking. He never sleeps at night. Almost nightly he is up (asleep) walking around, looking out the window yelling things, waking himself up sweating, his breathing will go crazy and he will toss and turn and yell, and these are all on good nights. How unbelievable awful to never sleep and be afraid to dream.
Thank you all for reading his story, and thank you from the bottom of his heart for even donating a dollar, or trying to help in some way. JUST SHARING THIS story is incredibly helpful. He is not one to ever ask for help, or ever talk about his life, or share personal information, but right now, he feels defeated and is unsure of what to do.
If you know him... you would never think all this happened to him... he'd never let on, he never shows weakness.
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