Contracted pneumonia during basic training almost 50 years ago


I was wondering if I could file a claim for VA disability. When I was back in basic training at Lackland Air Force base I contracted viral Pneumonia. I spent almost 2 months trying to recover from this. I have had scar tissue on my left lung Since my illness. When I was released from the hospital I was put on light duty and was not allowed to do any physical activities. In the almost 50 years since then I have worked in places that haven't had the cleanest air but I believe it all started with the Pneumonia. I was just wondering I had been on social security disability since 2010 until I reached retirement age. I also suffer from type 2 diabetes and Peripheral Neuropathy.  I have almost no feeling left in my feet except pain. I was wondering if it would be worth the trouble to try and get my disability from Social Security raised through the VA. Thank you

Jim's Reply:

I have doubts that you'll be able to establish service connection, a requirement for a successful claim. Many, many recruits suffer varying degrees of pneumonia or upper respiratory infections during basic training. I did...I was hospitalized twice at Martin Army Hospital at Ft. Benning. These are usually considered transient or temporary illnesses that don't leave us as being disabled. If you believe that you have "scar tissue" as a result and that such a thing is diagnosed by a physician, the impact of such disability is measurable, and was caused by your military service then you should file a claim. The conditions you claim are also usually associated with aging and you'll have to prove that yours aren't because you're getting older, they're because of your service over 50 years ago.