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Posted: 8/14/2004 4:00:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/14/2004 5:10:26 PM EDT by 82ndAbn]
I'll be retiring in a couple of years, and I know I'll get disabilty for my knees, and maybe for my elbow, back, and hand.

What was the rating process like? The appeals process? Was Line of Duty ever brought up? Anything you can share will help the rest of us to get the maximum we are entitled to, and maybe have them get it right the first time.

Also, the VFW always touts their ability to appeal your case with the VA and get your rating increased. Are they really that effective?

Thanks in advance!
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 12:52:52 PM EDT
From my experience. Get a copy of the pertinent medical records before you leave the service. File as soon after discharge as possible. Use a service organization is a must because they have been through the process before and know how to help you get what you are entititled to. Get copies of all medical documents that support your medical condition/conditions. Hope that helps and Good Luck!
Link Posted: 8/16/2004 8:48:59 PM EDT
You know that ringing in your ears you got from standing too close to that mortar the next time you go to the field? Go on sick call a week or so after you get out of the field for it. Make sure they put it in your records. After they tell you it will go away, and it doesn't, go back on sick call and report it again. Make sure they put the second sick call visit into your records. This establishes a history of tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

I'm sure most every shooter has experienced it at sometime, especially soldiers after a long FTX, when you fire a lot of blanks with no hearing protection or artillerymen. It is impossible to make go away, it just keeps coming back. Trust me, it is quite annoying. Since there is no way to disprove the presence of tinitus, the VA rates it at 10% (currently $109 / month disability). You just have to make sure you actually report it to the medics and ensure it goes into your records. As with all VA claims, you have to be able to show a recurring history of the problem. One visit to sick call and nothing else ever said about the ailment and the VA assumes the problem was treated effectively.

Make sure everything is in your records. Don't be afraid of being called a limp-dick or being accused of seeking a medical profile. I knew an E-7 who retired after 20 years, with never so much as a single profile, even though he was physically tore up. He was always afraid that a profile would hurt his chances for advancement. Well, six months after he retired, his knees blew out completely. Tricare ain't worth a tinkers damn and the VA said "Sorry, we don't see where it ever bothered you in the Army. You must have done it all recently. Have a great retirement." All those years of ruckmarches and running in boots finally did him in. Not to mention his stupid-ass pride. If he had gone to sick call a couple of times, the VA would most likely have paid for knee replacement surgery. Instead, he's got to foot the bill himself, with very little help from TriCare.

Link Posted: 8/16/2004 9:51:48 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/16/2004 9:54:57 PM EDT by mrcr0603]
I'm in my transition period for retirement, so I just went through the process that you'll be going through in a couple of years.

In the meantime, you've got to make sure that you're going to the TMC for these problems.

Once you receive your retirement orders, you'll have the option to take your retirement physical either through the military hospital, or through the VA. The guys that were going to make claims, had VA handle their physicals.

The VA office at Fort Bragg, from what my other buddies who were also retiring told me, was very helpful with the process of making disability claims. Also, your installation should be about the same as what I had, so you'll be going through a retirement briefing where you'll get all the information you'll need.

It wouldn't hurt though to go to your local VA office NOW to get first-hand information on the entire process.

Link Posted: 8/18/2004 11:37:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/18/2004 11:40:22 AM EDT by TennVol]
Ah..... VA disability. Something that is going to be very near and dear to my soon to be retiring heart!

Here is a link to the VA Disability Ratings Chart. It opens a little slow, but is worth the wait.

The most helpful thing for me has been to use the correct medical terminology when I see our flight Dr. Instead of saying, for example, I have dizzy spells, I can say I have "periods of vertigo two to three times per week".

Believe me, it will make a difference in your rating if it is entered into your medical records correctly the first time!

VA Disability Ratings

Link Posted: 8/23/2004 1:16:42 PM EDT
The ringing in the ears thing....wish I would have known about that. Anyway, there are two different parts of the VA. It seems that the duty of one part is to cut your disability rating as far as they possibly can. The other part of the VA consists of the medical personnel, the doctors, nurses, techs, etc. I've found, since 1968, that every one of them is a truly dedicated person who appreciates who we are, what we've done, and could be making a whole lot more $ somewhere other than the VA.
Link Posted: 8/23/2004 6:41:56 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/23/2004 6:43:53 PM EDT by CAAAwarfighter]
I had no problem getting my 10% with the VA in Mayport/Jacksonville FL but my Senior Chief tried to do everything he could to keep me from going to my appointments. He even tried to write me a really bad last eval forgoing, I never came in from terminal leave to sign it and it never got entered in my record. When we moved back to IN I ran into a really difficult and rude woman on the phone from the Indianapolis VA center. When I asked for her supervisor she hung up on me. Other than her Indy has been really helpfull.

Make copies of your medical and dental records now. If you still have dental work that needs to be completed make sure it is noted in your DD214, they have 90 day to fix it but you have to do all the leg work. Once you get your Disability letter( SF form something) make lots of copies. if you are seeking federal employment you have to send one and your DD214 for every job you attempt to ride on. For example here at Crane some applications go to Rock Island some to Maryland and some to Philly. Hope I could help.
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