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Posted: 8/30/2002 6:44:41 AM EDT
I just received word that the Army will let me go next year. I had spinal fusion last march. L4-L5-S1 fused, 2 disks removed and replaced with carbon spacers, part of the left hip removed for the fusion, 2 titanium rods and 6 screw. I do stand a small chance of being allowed to stay in. If I reclass I will get a desk job at Division HQ. I am infantry and I am not to excited about sitting behind a desk for my last 6 years. (I am pushing 14 years in now) So the question is, what is my disability look like? The Orto guy said a larg sum and the PA said only 10 or 20 percent. ( the problem is considered fixed by the army) I am making contact with VA and DAV today and setting up appointments with them. As well as checking out the web. I already found some info but if anybody can send any thing my direction it would be helpful. Thanks in advanced!!!! Steve
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 6:58:10 AM EDT
It's hard to say, but the VA doesn't just look at what the Army says. They also take into account future problems. I got 40% for my knees, and the Navy docs said that there was no real problem, even though I've been seen at the minimum 3 times a year (for 10 years) for problems with the knees. The VA won't tell you much until you are discharged, and have submitted your claim, which you would need to do the day you get out. Make sure that you get a COMPLETE copy of your medical records (especially if you had the surgery done at a different base than the one you are at) to submit to the VA.
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 10:17:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 1:50:18 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 2:14:48 PM EDT
Dont let the VA or the Army determine your disability...when the VA does examines for itself ,there is ,imo an obvious conflict of interest...seen it over and over again... I urge you to contact the DAV reps near you and tell them your situation...see what they say and ask them to adjudicate your claim if you decide to get out... Ive seen many cases with the VA adjudicating a claim without the Vet having some representation- award an amount 1/2 that the DAV has been able to get for the Vet. Let the DAV or some service group represent you in the hearing phases.. Its much easier to do it right the first time then to try to go back on appeals... Document and keep copies of all your records.... Good luck...
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 2:17:48 PM EDT
I suggest you take the desk job for the last 6 years. Once you have a pension for length of service you have a for sure amount for the rest of your life. You can get a VA pension also but they will reduce your regular pension by whatever the VA gives you. The VA money is tax free, your Army pension will be taxed. The VA can change your disability rating at a future date and thus the amount of your pension. Also there is a move in congress to allow you to collect both pensions. I wouldn't count on this one though. They passed it this year but didn't fund it and the current administration is against it. Also as a retiree you can get medical care from the Army or other service and TRICARE, which is pretty good. I hear bad things about waiting times at VA clinics etc. Good Luck. John Mason MSG USA (retired)
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 2:24:08 PM EDT
Ditto on all the above. Documentation and representation. My service-connected injury was really a no-brainer (T4 Para, complete injury) but it still took from '92 till '96 before I started receiving compensation. I was represented by the PVA, Paralyzed Veterans of America. Good luck
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 5:58:33 PM EDT
Take the desk job for 6 years. 6 years is nothing. Get the retirement. The job market is a bitch right now. When you get out the DAV will help you get what you deserve. With what you've been thru, you will get much more than "10-20%".
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 6:23:12 PM EDT
Penrod has a good point...PVA is also an excellent service org...and very familiar with service connected spinal/back injuries so that may be the best way for you to go as well ...give both orgs a call... again..best of luck to you.
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 6:26:08 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/30/2002 6:29:02 PM EDT by Happyshooter]
Get out now, your back money off-sets, one dollar to one dollar, any military retirement pay. VA will usually go twice as much as the service rated you at. If you can pull 50% VA that is $500 tax free per month right now, not $900 taxed many years from now. Do not go it alone, use a service organization. Have a complete copy of your medical records and have them certifed by some 2LT flunky. Keep a copy of anything you give the service organization. Do not deal directly with the VA for comp. Thry are still using one man boards, and many of them have been caught tossing records in tough cases to make them easy cases.
Link Posted: 8/30/2002 7:08:19 PM EDT
I had a L5-S1 Diskectomy partial romoval of disk and also had some knee damage and stuff and the VA awarded me 30% with out representation and I recieved the confirmation 2 weeks after discharge mainly due to the intense documentation in my records. I would say get out and take the tax free money now and if you get 20% or more then get on Chap 31 Voc Rehab and they will send you to college for 4 years and pay all of your books, supplies, tuition, fees, tutors, glasses, computer if needed, and so on you will have zero cost for 4 years of school and they also give you an allowance check depending on your dependants, i get almost $800 for that and then my $450 or so for regular dis check. It is the best program yet I have seen for vets by far! And by the way when they award your disability they only award in 10% amounts 0, 10, 20, 30.... and so on.
Link Posted: 8/31/2002 8:31:19 PM EDT
I wrote a whole "How to" but then it got deleted as I was typing (I hate these hidden commands in AOL/Windowes) SO all I ahve to say is Call orgo to your local American Legion OFFICE and tell them your problems. They will help you get more $$ for your injures than the VA will give you at first. BISHOP
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