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Old 09-25-2019, 12:34 PM   #1
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VA Rating - One Key to Camping in Military Campgrounds

My personal mission in this life is to inform Vets, especially older Vets like myself (I’m 71), about the VA benefits they’ve earned. Many Vets simply do not have a clue.

I was approached by a man in a gas station about six years ago, who wanted to talk about my ancient Cortez RV. He had just received an unbelievable sum from the VA. He gave me some idea of the process. I had no clue – I mean NO CLUE these benefits existed.

It took years, but I am now 100%. Among other benefits, that 100% ‘rating’ gives me an ID card and the right to camp at any military campground. That’s why I’m posting here - hoping to catch your attention.

I wrote the flyer below to try to reach Vets who do not think they are eligible for VA benefits – or worse – think they’re being deprived of the benefits they think they ought to have. Most Vets I speak with who have that mind-set have yet to file a claim, mind you, – but they feel deprived just the same.

Please for a moment, forget about locating the ship you were on, or how you were exposed to Agent Orange – those issues are important, but often get in the way of filing a successful claim.

Don’t be one of those Vets who would rather have something to bitch about than reap the rewards the VA is trying to give you – humor me if you would … just for now.


Attn VETS – Is it possible you qualify for VA benefits you didn't know existed?

“You may be eligible for VA disability benefits if VA finds you have a disease, injury, or condition that resulted from service or was made worse during your military service.

Common conditions include:
• Hearing loss/ringing in the ears
• Knee, ankle, or back pain/injury
• PTSD, anxiety, depression
• Traumatic brain injury
• Respiratory disease
• Ulcers • Loss of range of motion
• Cancer (due to hazardous exposures)"

Above quoted from the VA official web site. https://www.va.gov/welcome-kit/

Did you know these conditions are considered disabilities by the VA?

Ok – the fine print - You have to prove that your current condition is tied to your military service. Given it's the VA it's complicated, but in some ways easier than you might think.

The VA is supposed to give Veterans the benefit of the doubt. The phrase 'as likely as not’ is common in the filing documents. That is typically the level of ‘proof’ they require.

Using hearing loss as an example, you first have to prove you have hearing loss. Not to worry, the VA will test your hearing. That's proof enough for that part.

Then, you have to tie this current condition to your military service in some way. This is called a 'service connection.'

If you worked around aircraft, (I was a C-130 crew chief), gun fire or other loud noise, even if it was 50 years ago, the VA typically assumes your hearing is worse today than it would have been absent your exposure to the noise.

If you had a military job that was obviously subject to a noisy environment it will probably show up on your dd214. Finding additional records to verify this kind of thing can be daunting, but certainly helps. (Ask the DAV how to do this. www.dav.org)

It is admittedly a ROYAL PITA to do this stuff. Ask anyone who has been through the process.

It is helpful to also get a statement from your doctor(s) saying “it is as likely as not” your hearing loss started when you were in the military. This is called a ‘nexus’ letter. Generally, the more documentation, the better.

The VA often requests more information to help with your claim. They will give you plenty of time and assist in most cases. At this point you are well on your way to having a successful claim. You will find out for sure if you have provided sufficient “proof” if you are awarded a VA ‘Rating.’

Let me hasten to add how important it is to get good representation. The DAV is the only place I would go. Find your local office here - https://www.dav.org/veterans/find-your-local-office/

You sure as heck earned these benefits. You might as well take advantage of them don't you think?

Ok – Did I mention agent orange even once? No. That’s because all it does in most cases is take your eye off the ball.

Being distrustful or angry about it all is certainly justified, but please don’t let that get in the way of you getting the benefits you’ve earned.

File a claim. If you really want to get going file an ‘intent to file’. Just Google that term. It makes any award retroactive to the date you file the intent.

Please, other Vets, jump in here – especially those who have filed successful claims.

What are you waiting for? What do you have to lose?
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Old 09-25-2019, 02:57 PM   #2
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I don't particularly care to exacerbate the stigma that vets are helpless. There are a lot of ex-vets that more than maximize their fair share of services. Some make more working the system than they made while serving.

While the population of vets has been declining, the increase in claims has gone up. This cost us all more money in taxes.

I would like to keep Uncle Sam out of my pockets.

I advocate for the care of all service members that served honorably, but double and triple dipping or filing a frivolous claim needs to be stopped.
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Old 09-25-2019, 05:53 PM   #3
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Contact your Local VA Medical Hospital, VA Medical Center, VA Medical Clinic, VFW, American Legion etc and ask for a VSO (Veterans Service Office)


They will HELP you with the filing of your claim.......necessary forms, documnetation, what documentation needed, how to acquire that documnetation etc.


For FREE.

Documents.......
Start by sending a request to get copy of your Miltary Records
  • Mail or fax a Request Pertaining to Military Records (Standard Form SF 180) to the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC).
    Download Form SF 180 (PDF)
  • Write a letter to the NPRC. Send it to:
    1 Archives Drive
    St. Louis, Missouri 63138


DO it!
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:07 PM   #4
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McRod, it's pretty obvious from your posts here and other threads that your military experience wasn't so good. Welcome to our world.

I don't particularly care to exacerbate the stigma that vets are helpless.

Helpless and uninformed (clueless) are two entirely different things. My mission is to inform Vets of these programs. It's up to them (you) what you do with the knowledge.

There are a lot of ex-vets that more than maximize their fair share of services.


If I may, there is no such thing as an "ex-vet". You were either in the military at some point or you weren't. You will always be a Vet, McRod.

You seem to imply above (and below) that these programs should not exist regardless of how carefully the VA checks them for eligibility.

Everyone's entitled to an opinion.

Some make more working the system than they made while serving.

I would hope this is true. lol.. I made something like $150.00 per month!

While the population of vets has been declining, the increase in claims has gone up. This cost us all more money in taxes.

I would like to keep Uncle Sam out of my pockets.


Uncle Sam is trying his best to put money into your pockets. lol

Did I mention any award from the VA is tax free?

I advocate for the care of all service members that served honorably, but double and triple dipping or filing a frivolous claim needs to be stopped.

Again, if I may, the VA would deny any claim that did not meet their eligibility requirements. As my cousin says (retired Vietnam combat Vet former Sergent Major), if you qualify for it, you sure as #%$ earned it!

I realize from another thread you don't particularly like to be thanked for your service. I don't either.

So here's a heart-felt WELCOME HOME!
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Old 09-25-2019, 06:22 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McRod View Post
I don't particularly care to exacerbate the stigma that vets are helpless. There are a lot of ex-vets that more than maximize their fair share of services. Some make more working the system than they made while serving.

While the population of vets has been declining, the increase in claims has gone up. This cost us all more money in taxes.

I would like to keep Uncle Sam out of my pockets.

I advocate for the care of all service members that served honorably, but double and triple dipping or filing a frivolous claim needs to be stopped.
How can a claim be frivolous if the VA approves it? I have a coworker who has your attitude about vets receiving disability payments. We both have 24 years service. I told him he should have filed a claim for any injuries he received in those 24 years. I refuse to feel guilty about claiming my disabilities. He has his pride and I have my compensation.
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:09 PM   #6
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How can a claim be frivolous if the VA approves it? I have a coworker who has your attitude about vets receiving disability payments. We both have 24 years service. I told him he should have filed a claim for any injuries he received in those 24 years. I refuse to feel guilty about claiming my disabilities. He has his pride and I have my compensation.
If you served, you know there are many who signed up just for the medical benefits. Then some only focus on that at exit. It creates a culture of "entitlement". If you never experienced that while serving, it's because you didn't get the same experience I did.

I don't want to disparage people's willingness to help those that need it. But to me, there is a huge difference between "needed" and "entitled to".

Money can't buy pride.
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Old 09-25-2019, 08:57 PM   #7
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McRod, it's pretty obvious from your posts here and other threads that your military experience wasn't so good. Welcome to our world.
You have no idea what my experience was and this response is not about me.

Quote:
You seem to imply above (and below) that these programs should not exist regardless of how carefully the VA checks them for eligibility.
I'm not implying. There is a lot of fraud, waste, and abuse of governmental programs. The military provides ample explanation and assistance using these programs to help veterans transition to civilian life. All service members are required to go through ACAP, or their version of it, at discharge. The programs exist for those that need them.

Quote:
I would hope this is true. lol.. I made something like $150.00 per month!
I am not talking about COLA increases.
I am talking about people who get paid retirement+ retirement disability+ social security disabilty


Quote:
Did I mention any award from the VA is tax free?
Nothing is free. Tax payers pay for it. YOU pay for it. Freedom is not free. YOU are Uncle Sam.

Quote:
Again, if I may, the VA would deny any claim that did not meet their eligibility requirements.
In a perfect world they would. They would also approve benefits for those that need it, but it don't always work that way.
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Old 09-25-2019, 11:34 PM   #8
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You sure as heck earned these benefits. You might as well take advantage of them don't you think?


Not only no but [Moderator Edit] no!

First It was my honor. Second I will not dishonor those who were injured and need VA benefits by clogging the waiting rooms.

Just had this discussion around the camp fire with some other vets who go to the local VA. Same discussion years ago with a coworker with asbestos from lagging pipes. Same discussion with a neighbor with a purple heart and a BIL.

Third I am blessed. My service provided me a occupation to make a decent living and provide for my family. Sure my knees hurt, my ears ring, my blood pressure is too high, and I have cataracts. Service related or am i just getting old?

Fourth, one of gripes is the trivialization of trauma. We have school children stating facts of the numbers 'killed' by pollution from coal plants based on a Harvard Medical School study. My late wife and I visited the American cemetery at Normandy. She did not make past the visitors center. Her first husband name in on a wall in Washington DC. No study to determine how they died.

So tell me that being treated at the VA is more cost effective than medicare, I will sign up if I am not taking it from someone who needs it.
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Old 09-26-2019, 07:36 AM   #9
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When I went thru the transition/retirement process in 2006, one of the presentations we received was from the VA. The guy spouted off a litany of ailments that the VA would compensate for. I was quite taken aback at how the “system” works. Aside from combat injuries, they do basically compensate you for growing old.

I don’t hold it against anyone for taking advantage of what is legal and sanctioned by the government. However, the system is in need of reform...badly. Same for social security. All of these programs began with noble goals but have morphed over time into something that only vaguely resembles their original intent.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:28 AM   #10
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McRod, you are probably right about there being more claims for VA benefits, but less service members. I would like to put this in to a clearer picture.

We're are currently in our 18th year of Combat Operations in Afghanistan, out lasting our second longest combat operation, Iraq. Vietnam is third. My son is still to this day being deployed to the same places I have been, I retired in 2011.

If you feel that in your service you were never injured then I am glad you did not apply for VA benefits. Most former servicemembers don't apply. Maybe that is why we are having a steady rise in Veteran suicide. Too many deployments not enough focus on Soldier well being and getting them the help and service that they need.

Out of my band of brothers I have 7 combat deployments over 23 years. My brothers range between 5 to 8. My son already has two in 6 years, slowing down since Iraq is just a side show. As the military shrinks we still have combat operations all over the globe, meaning if my son retires he will end up with more deployments than me.

So yes, I can only imagine as time goes along there will be more VA applications. I will be happy to assist any of them that ask for my help. I know of several that I beg monthly to let me help them get started in the VA system but they refuse to be looked down on by people like you instead of getting the help they need.

McRod, your are what is broken in the VA system. Former members telling others they're weak for getting help. Complaining about veterans affairs,
filling that it is a drain on taxes. I am happy you do not go through what so many others do but if you did I would be there to help.

I am 100% P&T IU. I stand beside those that served, not apart.
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Old 09-26-2019, 09:53 AM   #11
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PS...

The VA medical facility is not based on, only available for X amount of patients. It can expand to service those that use it. If you have a good insurance out in town then use that instead because waiting times can be shorter. If you don't then do use it, I would rather have a veteran use VA medical than go into debt with medical bills, become homeless or worse....

Sitting around a campfire telling each other not to use VA benefits is counter productive. You should say, at least, be seen and get in the system so if you ever do need to it won't be delayed with bureaucratic paperwork. This type of talk reminds me of First Sergeants that won't let you have the day off for your kids birthday even though there is nothing going on and you deploy next week. Way to help the service member.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:22 AM   #12
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I look at it this way: We all didn't serve the same. I sat in the comfort of my cockpit, because I chose to sit in the comfort of my cockpit. It started as an F-4 cockpit, but turned into C-130 cockpit later in life. Either way, my service was different from the door kickers -- unarguably, so different as to be incomparable. Sure, some jack wagon would shoot an RPG at my Herc while on climb-out from some FOB in Afghanistan; if the RPG got lucky, I'll need some VA for a long time. But I got lucky each and every time, and nearly all of us did. Door kickers, not so much. Even if they didn't get wounded, their job took a hellish toll on their body and mind. Me? Except for take off and landing, I'm smoking a cigarette, reading a magazine and eating my box nasty.


Sure, we all served. But we all didn't serve the same.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:42 AM   #13
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I am not the one advocating "get what your entitled to". I advocate, "get what you need."

There are more programs, resources and funding to support our Military than ever before. Both government and non-government programs.

But I know how important getting a DAV license placard to get front row parking at Walmart is to some people. Or in this case, being able to finally get to camp in a Famcamp. Congrats!

I suppose it's ok to misdirect your focus on me, it's not popular to call out vets. But that's what make us stronger because we keep each other in check. I wouldn't say that's calling people weak, but rather reminding them of our warrior ethos, part of which, is integrity.

Maybe this article will help you understand my position.
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Old 09-26-2019, 10:51 AM   #14
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I look at it this way: We all didn't serve the same...

...Sure, we all served. But we all didn't serve the same.
That couldn't be further from the truth. You must suffer from tunnel vision. You should seek treatment for that. Disparaging anyone's service is never a good thing.
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