Disability Benefits - Active vs Vet


Well here goes. I have been in the Army for 8.5 years. i have had back and minor knee problems for about 5 years but have been grin and bearing it. I deployed to Iraq in 06 - 07. While deployed i recieved a purple heart for shraptnel to the arm "minor injury compared to most" god bless them. since the deployment I have developed several problems.


PTSD "finally army said PTSD instead of the personality and adjustment disorders they where saying"
possible MTBI "still testing"
possible Chronic fatigue or Fibromyalgia "may rule out MTBI and diagnos this"
Bi lateral Petello femoral pain "left knee since deployment right knee worse since dep"
Lower back pain "bulging and ruptured discs in lower back
upper back pain "bulging discs in upper back"
cervical pain "bulging disc in neck" "both upper back and neck may be aggrivated by Myofascial Pain needs tested"
Sleep apnea " have a CPAP"
excema on hands
soriosis of scalp
epiditmitus "moderatly aggrivated"
hypertensive heart disease " high blood presure controlled with meds"
hyperlipidema "high cholestoral controlled with meds"
coranary artery disease " have 3 stints"
and had a myocardial infarction in may "ejection fraction 47-53% depends on test you look at.

As you can see i have a few problems. I am pending the start of a MEB/PEB but the army is dragging their feet " I think they are waiting for the MTBI or Fibromyalgia testing to be complete". anyway i want to be proactive and informed going into this as I have a family and dont want to be stressed about the proccess or the outcome. so here are the few questions i have to start and i have been reading everything i can on the whole thing but it gets kinda confusing as there is so much info.

1. i understand i can start the VA proccess while still active duty as long as i have a discharge date but that is all the info i can find. so any instructions you could give would help.

2. I have gotten copies of my medical records and seperated them by injury/illness highlighting the dates and pertenant info to include a stressor letter, buddy letter, copy of purple heart cert, photos, copies of journal pages, and personal testimonial of issues for the PTSD section. ? who do i give this too? or do i even give it to ayone? do i give to the VA guy that helps with claims mail it in what? please help on this.

3. i am figuring that with this list of problems i will probably hit 80% at least. Would i qualify for IU?

4. If the Army puts me out at the 20% would i have to pay back the severance pay? the defense act of 2008 says you don"t if "IF" you have a ratable problem from combat "they are really playing with the words on this" well does the PTSD count and also i had several other things that developed or worsened due to the deployment any advice here?

5. CRSC? wow well im figuring that the PTSD will fit in here but i have also read that heart problems have been linked with soldiers having PTSD "i am only 32" so can i claim heart problems related to PTSD = combat related? also never had sleep apnea or MTBI/Fibro before the deployment = combat related?
please help how this works and your opnion.

6. once i file how long does this whole proccess take from app to disability payment day?

7. once i have a rating how does it work from there? do i have to go to the doctor all the time to keep the rating " alot of my problems are stable and only need visits if i cannot take the pain aymore" basicly once i get the ratings i want to keep them and not lose them due to lack of hospital visits "i hate hospitals" please explain post initial rating VA life LOL.

well i think that is it for now i will keep researching but if you could give me some god advice here i would very much appreciate it


You’ve done a better job than most do of describing the issues you face. Good work.

For all practical purposes, anything you get from the Army will have to be paid back when you get a VA award. Don't bother with all the complex language of what gets paid back and what doesn't, most of it will be deducted from any VA award.

I've tried my best to avoid any active duty interactions. It gets too complex with the MEB and so on. But, I've been forced to learn and I have come to one single conclusion about it all. A young lady soldier summed it all up for me about 2 weeks ago...

She said, "Get your ass out and deal with VA."

I agree with her. The VA system is radically different than the military system. Screwing around in the active sector is just a waste of time. Once you're a veteran none of that matters and nobody will look at anything other than your service medical record (SMR) and the examinations that VA will perform on you.

The most important thing for you to do right now is to get your hands on as many records as you can. They will be lost, misplaced and so on and you need to have your own. It sounds as if you’re already on top of that. Hang on to your originals and only give copies to anyone, including the VA.

Make good notes about buddies who will be able to verify events that you may not have great records of. Do you suffer a possible TBI from an IED and the record of that is fuzzy or not even existent? You need to be able to get someone who was there to verify that for you.

You may not have to do that for another 2 years and I promise you, your memory will fade if you don't make notes today.

My experience has been that trying to get your claim started early doesn't matter a lot. Once you are in civilian clothes, you have a year from your ETS to file. In that year, any award will back date to your ETS.

I also recommend that you DIY the claims. This stuff really isn't rocket science. People make a big deal of a few forms and it really isn't any more than that. If you do it yourself, you know it's been done right.

My A to Z Guide at http://www.jimstrickland912.com is full of instructions of how to handle your claim.

From claim to money is maybe 6 to 18 months. A lot of that depends on how well you do that initial claim. There is a form to fill out but the narrative is even more important. You must be brief, courteous, stick to facts and spell out every detail.

You'll do fine. Get out. I'll be here to help and the experts at my forum will be glad to walk you through each and every step. That's at http://www.straighttalkforveterans.com

There are some really good people there and they will welcome you aboard.