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jharrelson

33 yrs with no disability pension

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I served 8 years in US Navy. 

One night my group was attacked and my skull was crushed .. I  spent almost a year in the US Naval Hospital on Long Island, NY recovering from a Craniotomy operation which opened my skull, then vacuumed the bone fragments from around my brain and a metal plate was attached to my skull with screws and wire to cover the hole with  312 stitches to hold the scalp together.

Was offered  Medical Discharge  but declined and reenlisted to be sure I would not have any further medical problems because of the craniotomy operation. (seizures, etc )

Honorable discharge from the US Navy in Dec. 1966  ….  Discharge was simple, salute the quarterdeck officer, hand over a set of dress blues and leave the ship.

 At no point was I told anything about being eligible for any kind of disability pension or other benefits of any type.

Several years later I heard on TV news about free college education under VA benefits , managed to get only 2 yrs of it before time limit expired. (had to be used within 6 years of discharge)

About same time I heard about the "no down payment housing benefit" …  once again had to find out about it from the TV news …   managed to use it one time only,

found out later that the benefit can be used many times over and over as long as the preceding loan was paid off.

Flash forward 33 yrs from 1966 - to - 1999

I met a few Vets in my restaurant who told me about the VA medical system.. They actually did all the leg work and got me into the VA system that I had not known I was eligible for

After one year +-  of extensive medical and mental tests the VA awarded me 10% disability pension for my Traumatic Brain Injury that resulted in a metal plate put in my head to cover the hole in my skull.

Today veterans are returning home with less serious injuries than I had and they are getting 30, 50, and some are even getting 100% disability pension..

Last month I heard about a program that allows veterans to re-apply for disability compensation..  I applied and now am waiting to see what... if anything .. the "Board" will do for me..

Was told it could be several months before my turn comes up with the board of review.

I'll try and remember to come back here with the results of the board's decision. Maybe it will help some other Vets with their claims..

 

John

 

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Highly recommend using one of the serv. orgs.  I have used both DAV and VFW.  I feel if it were not for one, or both of them I would have been kicked to the curb with a low rating.  DAV got me up to 70%, couple years later as my problems only worsened, VFW got me kicked up to 100%.  I don't recommend anyone go it alone when going to the VA for anything.  I swear the folks doing the *boards* act like whatever they give you comes out of their own pockets.  Anytime I hear someone mention they were in the military at one time, I introduce them to a VFW rep.  I do remember on my military out processing briefings, they told everyone it did not matter, problems in the past or not, get a copy of all medical records and file with the VA, if for nothing else it put you in their system for care down the road.

Good luck with yours, and as said, don't hesitate, GO to one of the orgs, they ARE there to help you!

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Hi John!

Good to see you again. The state organizations are also very good in addition to DAV and VFW. Here are yours if you want to check them out:

http://veterans.nv.gov/benefits-and-services/veterans-service-officers/

Be prepared for re-applying as often as possible because they seem to drag their feet until you show you are not going to go away with your tail tucked. You are only seeking what you earned by your service.  I hope you get what you have coming to you the first time.

Military transition assistance Carson City :

http://carson.org/residents/veterans

Hang in there John!

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Thanks Guys..

yes I did go with the DAV rep on July 1st.  He has an office in the Reno VA hospital.

He took all my info including several things that I had not thought of and filled out the application which I signed.

Then on July 5th I received a letter saying my request had been sent to the Claims intake office.

Then on July 23 I received a letter from the Claims intake office saying that my Application had been received and accepted. 

Then last Monday,  Aug 13,  I was called to the Claim's intake office where I talked with a woman for a few minutes. She said she had set up two appointments on August 21st with VA doctors for examination and consultation. Their results would then be sent back to her office and from there on to the Board" 

So looks like the next step is to make those appointments then ....  the "Waiting Game" 

 

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20 minutes ago, Five Wood said:

John, weren't you on this forum some time ago? 

Jim

Hi Jim,

Yes for several years I was very active on Escapees and several other RV forums. but one day "life" happened and I became so discouraged I quit everything and crawled in a hole and pulled it in after me..and it has taken all this time for me to come back to the real world..

Reading over the posts from back then and the new posts of today have played a very large part in my return to life.

Hopefully I will find some of my old friends still here and just as important I hope to make some new friends.

John

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Welcome back brother! Your benefits, whatever they may be, begin from the date of your first filing, even if it takes years for the "board" to make a decision on % of disability. Even then you may appeal the % decision if you provide new facts to substantiate them.

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John,

I don't remember you from earlier times but welcome back anyway! 

Your story really hits a nerve with me.  I am an active member of the VFW and always talking to veterans here in my home town in Central Oregon as well as when we are traveling.  It ceases to amaze me how many veterans are unaware of the benefits available to them.  In the last year I have encountered four Vietnam combat vets with agent orange ailments that had no knowledge of the fact they were entitled to any form of disability or treatment from the VA.  One had prostate cancer and the others all had coronary heart disease.   Needless to say, soon after I met them they were filing claims!  A little over two years ago I met a new neighbor who was very hearing impaired and found he was a flight deck fuel crew and his berthing compartment was right under the #1 catapult.  Two months after I introduced him to our county veterans service officer (VSO) he was rated at 100%!  Turns out he was totally deaf in one ear and over some % loss in the other.  He had been this way for years and had previously been denied VA health care due to his income level.  Regardless of VA healthcare qualification or not, his disability should have been claimed years ago but the VA had refused health care so he figured that was the end of the line for him and the VA.

A dear friend has been trying for years to get VA health care but he could not produce his DD214 and was told it was lost in the "fire" so he was out of luck.  He lives in Arkansas and I encouraged him to keep trying and he finally found someone who helped him obtain his DD214 (so much for that old line about the fire) and he is now receiving treatments!  I guess the moral here is "don't give up".

Should the VA be doing a better job of keeping veterans informed?  Or is it the responsibility of the veteran, service organizations or the doctors who treat us?  Or all of the above?  We see the ads on TV for mesothelioma and various other subjects where a lawyer wants to take part of your benefits for helping out.  Why not some ads by the VA or VFW or American Legion  touting our benefits?

Lets look into the future and think about what the "burn pits" of Iraq and Afghanistan are going to do to those veterans in a few more years.

I started a conversation (via my daughter) with a doctor who runs a company providing continuing education for doctors (I understand they MUST have some form of continuing education stuff every year) and suggested they add some form of veteran specific topics in their courses.  Things like agent orange ailments and potential burn pit issues with younger veterans.  He had never heard of the burn pit issues!  How can your doctor help you if he/she isn't even aware of the issues.  Even the doctor running the education program admitted he knew nothing about agent orange until he did some work at a local VA hospital recently!

Sorry to hijack your thread John but I couldn't help myself.  We have to figure out a way to better inform our veterans!

Lenp

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John,

 

I hear you.  Not in your situation BUT remember, TODAY is the 1st day of the rest of your life.  Leave the past there.  Hard to do but worth the effort, like you are.

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John

Was the crushed skull a result of combat?   What do you mean your group was attacked?  By whom?  Was this service connected or was it the result of a bar room brawl?

Dennis

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