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FAQ

Are veterans who use the benefits they've earned "dependent on government"?
No they're not. First, let me remind you that they were injured while serving the nation. When they get out and try to get health insurance...they have a "Pre existing condition."Second: let me assure you that veterans do not get "Elite" care at VA clinics. Far from it. In fact VA Claims Representatives are paid a Bonus each month for the Claims that they can "Deny"... which sends needy veterans home suffering.Third: If a military person is retired ( as I am ) and received a Pension, The Pension is "CUT" by an equal percent to the VA disability rating awarded. Example: A retired person is awarded a 20% Disability rating. Their Retirement Pension is reduced by 20% and they then receives 20% from the VA- total 100%( 80% pension + 20% from VA= 100% ...No gain ) It is not until the retired person reaches 50% disabled, that he can receive BOTH checks concurrently. But they even have 3 a way to cut the chances of that. One would think that if there are 5 injuries rated at 10% each, that would qualify. HA! That's not how it's done at the VA. 100% - 10%= 90% remaining90% - 10% = 81% remaining81% - 10% = 73% remaining73% - 10% = 66% remaining66% - 10% = 59% remainingWith 59% remaining, you are 41% Disabled. PS: it takes a lot to justify 10%. I have $4,000 hearing aids in both ears and a rating of 10% for my hearing. Three well documented tours in Vietnam, but my hearing is rated "Service Connected, but NOT Combat related". ( I get Free batteries for my hearing aids and $120 a month From VA ..and SUBTRACTED from my Navy Pension. I put up with the hearing loss for 25 years after I retired, until it became dangerous for me, and it affected my employment. I was 65.You decide if I'm "Milking" the government system. ...one other thing to remember however, is that we all paid into the same systems that you did.
Are there any unique challenges military personnel face when adjusting (or are forced to adjust to) civilian life? If so, what are some examples?
Definitely, it can be extremely difficult at times to transition to civilian life from the military.You aren't able to just tell people what to do and expect results. This usually applies more to guys who were in positions of power but this is one of my biggest issues. Retail workers, doctors, and pretty much any service related job is where this shows the most. I have always been of the idea that if I am paying for a service you should render it. Not being able to timely results is annoying as can be.Cursing; we all do it and I can't say “f**k” anymore whenever I want. People tend to look down on this and I catch myself sometimes ordering food, talking to people or even kids and I just curse. The way civilians say, “Uhh” is how we use “shit” and “f*ck”. They're just filler words now.The jokes; Yeah, our senses of humor don't match up with what is expected of real people. It's a George Carlin type humor, rife with swearing and nothing is off-limits. Nothing.The independence; at first it’s awesome and we all love it but then you realize the military won't be there to pick you up anymore.People don't move for you anymore. If a sergeant or above, even a salty LCpl, walks through a crowded hallway the sea parts for you. Everyone says “Good (Morning, Afternoon, Evening), ______.” It kind of sucks when you're not godlike anymore. Now you're just a person again and no one cares.Depending on your MOS finding a job can be more or less difficult. There's a reason people say it's a good thing that in the infantry they train you for homelessness. It's a bit of an exaggeration but unless you're a cop or contractor you really have to make your resume sound like you weren't an infantryman. Of course many of the skills apply but “I shot people in the face” doesn't have many private sector opportunities.There's less stability than the military. The military may work in chaos but it's a fairly orderly beast. Paychecks are (Usually) on time, things are nice and scheduled, and unless deployed you always know roughly what's coming up soon with some detail. There's always a place to stay as well.You've got to pay for everything. There's no clothing or housing allowance, it's all up to you to get it done.There's a lot more but there's a big one: The goddamned VA. I really get the feeling sometimes that the VA has been a bigger threat to my life than the Taliban ever hoped to be. It's the most unecessarily evil necessary evil organization I've ever worked and I've worked with a lot.VA:“Well we looked at your medical record and there's no evidence of flat feet when you signed up but there is later on in your record and physicals”Me:“So it's service connected then, right? Makes sense.”VA: “Yeah, no not service connected.”Me: “Do you people even read your own policies and guidelines or do you assign things at random? It doesn't take the world’s greatest detective to connect those dots.”This happened, seriously. They've improved a little bit under Obama and they've tightened up a little more since then but the VA is the bane of my existence. It combines all the things I don't like about civilians or civilian life into one place.Individually I'd say they run the range from angelic miracle workers to people so lazy, incompetent, and stupid that you wouldn't trust them to babysit an imaginary friend. The miracle workers aren't seen very often though.As a whole the claims and medical side needs to be straightened up and cleaned out.Tossing pills at the depressed and suicidal is not a solution.Lying about the number of appointment slots.Ignoring pleas of help from those in need, which included myself even.Many staff members that like the inflated paychecks they receive but not doing the work.Always saying, “well that's just the policy” and not seeing that you are, in fact, a fellow human and policy shouldn't matter.Being under criminal investigation for shortchanging claims.These people should be under investigation for manslaughter or murder in some cases though. Not even malpractice, I mean straight up start charging people and administrators with manslaughter. The quality of care in the VA will make other nations jealous of the US at that point.http://wncn.com/2017/03/06/veter...Man commits suicide at Phoenix VAThe suicide in Durham went unnoticed for several days. They claim they swept the parking lot everyday multiple times, a lie obviously. The man clearly needed help and cooperation from the VA, his blood is on their hands. All he wanted was for his claim to be handled and they killed him for it. He died because of them, there's no way to spin it.This isn't 1945 where there's sixteen million returning vets at the same time and it's all done by paper. There is NO reason for anything they do to take as long as it does now. Electricity and data move at nearly the speed of light, their timelines are skewed and artificially changed by themselves.Delay, deny, and hope you die. That is the real policy of the VA. This isn't to say there aren't good ones or that people are joining the VA because they're sadists, most probably do start out as idealistic and it goes away.But… if your idealism goes away in that line of work then find a different job.
Over the last 10 years, the VA budget has risen about 250%, but the number of veterans has only risen about 8%. What accounts for this discrepancy?
The WWII generation is now quite old, the Korean War vets also. Their numbers are decreasing, but their medical needs are increasing.The Vietnam Veterans are also at the age where health problems tend to worsen, and age-related problems or complications appear. It is a very large cohort.Since 1990, the US has been involved in various conflicts, often facing more than one at a time. These have been, for the most, “small” wars, in that they involve fewer people and resources than the “big” wars, but many of them are continuing, rather than being resolved. As a result, the number of veterans is stable, despite the passing of the WWII/Korea generation. Despite technological advances, the wear and tear on the body of a young warrior is very hard, and likely to have long-term consequences.I live near Camp Lejeune. Many of my neighbors and friends are active-duty or retired Marines. Almost all of them have joint, back, and hearing problems as a result of their service.Finally, our means of treating our wounded, aged, or ill veterans are increasing, but these means have increased costs. The newest and most efficient prostheses cost thousands of dollars, and must be replaced or overhauled frequently. We have much better hearing aids than before, that can be specifically tuned to allow maximum benefit to the user, but they are more expensive than the simpler, less adjustable ones. Drug costs are skyrocketing—in part because of legal restrictions that prevent the federal government from getting the best price.
For what reasons do government entities such as the VA, and SSI, automatically decline applications regardless of the severity of the disability?
The VA and Social Security does not automatically decline applications for disability payments.I received a 100% service-connected disability rating from the VA on my first try.I received Social Security disability my first try.I received therapy from therapists,doctors, and attended group therapy for two years until I was urged to apply for benefits.I was told by the VA to apply for Social Security disability, I was approved .The Social Security folks said they had over 700 pages of medical records to read.I went to the VA because I hurt. I wanted the pain to go away.The VA told me I have PTSD. I didn’t tell them I have PTSD.Disability decision makers make their decision on what they read in your medical records not on what you or your attorney says.Have a large paper trail. You will be approved.
Why were you kicked out of the military, and did you feel is was fair?
I wasn't “kicked out” I was Honorably Discharged from Limited Duty without a MedBoard.This has caused unending frustration with the VA, because the VA continues to use this to deny claims, even though my Service Medical Record, VA Medical Record, and C&P Exams all demonstrate Service Connection.I've only been in Remand Hell for the past 10 years because “The VA failed to comply with the previous remand order.”So no, it was not fair, and yes, I am bitter.I never recieved my Honorable Discharge Certificate either.
Have any American citizens ever been personally denied healthcare in the USA?
If you are looking for accounts of outright denial, such as a doctor saying to a prospective patient “"you can’t pay me I refuse to treat you, now get out of my office” you will find very few examples. That’s because you’ll most likely never get past the front desk if you don’t have private insurance or are able to provide payment up front.Yes, it is true that you can't be turned away from an emergency room. But emergency rooms are not meant for healthcare. They are for medical emergencies and are by far the most expensive form of medical care. Try to get into a private practice without insurance or a wad of cash. Most offices I’ve been to (and I have to go to the doctor A LOT) have their payment policy in plain view in the lobby. Uninsured patients (if they take them at all) must pay up front before ever getting past the front desk. If your insurance requires a co-pay that must also be paid before leaving, sometimes before you can see the doctor. If you have to see a specialist (oncologist, cardiologist, orthopedist, surgeon) an office visit can cost hundreds. That’s just the visit. Testing, treatment etc. ratchets up the cost even more.Even if you have “great” insurance you can be denied treatment. I am a breast cancer survivor. I have lymphedema in my right arm and hand. Compression of my hand makes my arm worse. Compression of my arm makes my hand worse. Compression of both aggravates the nerve damage caused by severe radiation burns. It sends shooting pain from my armpit down my arm and side. I also have thyroid disease. That combined with blood clots from many abdominal surgeries has caused me to have pericardial effusion (fluid in the sac holding the heart). I’ve had to have my lungs drained and a drain surgically placed in my pericardium. It is my cardiologists opinion that the lymphedema significantly contributes to the problem. It also puts me at risk for a cancer called angiosarcoma.There are now at least two surgeries that could dramatically reduce or even eliminate the lymphedema. These new techniques are now being incorporated into some mastectomies and breast reconstructions to try to prevent lymphedema from occurring in the first place. I believe these surgeries could help me. An M.D. Anderson trained plastic surgeon practicing in an NCIS designated cancer center believes it could help me. Why don't I get the surgery? Because, no matter the opinion of my cardiologist and surgeon, my “great” private health insurance won't pay for the surgery unless I can prove that I “fail” conservative (read cheap) treatment. And no, old records won’t do. I would have to go thru years of massage, wrapping and compression, mostly not covered, and for me painful, before they would pay. To them, it’s “experimental” even though there are surgeons in every state and around the world performing this surgery daily. This is not an uncommon tactic used by insurance companies to keep from paying for expensive treatments for a multitude of conditions. For example, many people must prove that they “fail” on older, cheaper, less effective drugs and treatments before insurance will pay for newer, more expensive but more effective drugs and treatments. The insurance company, not the doctor, gets to define “fail”!This is how people with great, employer subsidized health coverage get denied treatment REGULARLY. People without health insurance would likely never even be seen. It may not be overt, in your face denial but it is denial all the same.If you still think the stories of people being denied healthcare is just left wing propaganda I would suggest you do a few things. Talk to some ER doctors and nurses and ask them how many of the people they see in the ER would not be in an emergency situation if they had access to good ongoing care. Survey some common specialty offices (cardiology, oncology, orthopedist) and ask 1) Do they take uninsured patients? 2) why or why not? 3) how much does an office visit cost? a CT? an MRI? blood/urine analysis? a pacemaker? a PET scan? 4) What are their payment policies? Then, imagine you have a common medical condition. It doesn't even have to be cancer or heart disease. Imagine you have something like Ulcerative Colitis. Research to find out how easy it would be to receive ongoing care without insurance from a specialist and what the cost of that care would be including diagnostic tests, treatments and medicines. Then calculate what percentage that cost would be of an average middle class salary. Then you will find out how “"denial of healthcare” in the US really works.
How do you submit an appeal to the VA without it getting denied yet again?
First thing, in order to appeal a VA decision regarding compensation benefits you will have a year to do so since the date on the notification letter. It’s very important to read not just the letter but also the decision narrative. There you will find the reasons for the VA decision. In order to e successful in an appeal you will need to Address the issues that VA consider in order con concede or deny a claim. Within the year form the notification letter the veteran also has the option for a reconsideration. A successful reconsideration will need new and material evidence to prove the claim.Now let me explain real quick something that should be in the very beginning, in order to be successful in a compensation claim the veteran need to meet the following general criteria: An event in service, a medical condition as today and a nexus between the event in service and the medical condition. VA will look for the service treatment records, and service to verify if the veteran meets the criteria and then the process will continue.As a final recommendation, look for a veteran service representative!!! They are experts in veterans claims and they will not charge you nothing for that. There are plenty of them. Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of foreign wars, American Legion, and many others.
I was a Marine at Camp Lejeune between 1983-1985? Why dont the VA docs ever want to talk about that when I mention it when I see them? I think the contanimated water may have caused some cognitive and dental issues.?
For one, by 1983, the worst of the problem was over.For two, the problem is wicked worse for the babies who were conceived and gestated when their mothers drank water from the Tarawa Terrace wells; less so for people who were fully formed adults who had access to other water.For three, the conditions that have been found to be affected by the water at CLNC are as follows:The bill applies to 15 specific ailments believed to be linked to the contamination, including cancer of the esophagus, lung, breast, bladder or kidney; leukemia; multiple myeloma; myleodysplasic syndromes; renal toxicity; hepatic steatosis; female infertility; miscarriage; scleroderma; or neurobehavioral effects or non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The Department of Veterans Affairs is assigned by the bill to provide the medical care.(See the very bottom of the page: Camp Lejeune water contamination - Wikipedia )The CDC studied everyone they could find who was affected by the water and determined that these conditions appeared to be linked to exposure to the contaminated water. Note that “dental problems” and “cognitive issues” are not on the list.Four, 1983–5 was a freaking long time ago. You would have to demonstrate that the following 30 years of your life supported clean living, with no smoking, drinking, head injuries, or living in contaminated areas. You would have to prove you flossed twice a day for 30 years and ate lots of veggies.The front-line doctors at the VA do not have time for this degree of epidemiology, however much they may be intellectually curious about it.You are getting older, your teeth are failing, and you are starting to lose stuff. It’s going to be hard to demonstrate that it was the water you drank in your mid-twenties that caused these effects, and not simply age, and not the consequences of the rest of your life.I drank that water from 1974–1977, by the way, and I was younger then than you were in 1983.
Will the VA pay for your emergency care if you don't use a VA facility?
VA Disability Claims - HadIt.comFor Veterans Who've Had It With The VAAm I eligible for emergency care at a non-VA facility?An eligible Veteran may receive emergency care at a non-VA health care facility at VA expense when a VA facility or other Federal health care facility with which VA has an agreement is unable to furnish economical care due to the Veteran’s geographical inaccessibility to a VA medical facility, or when VA is unable to furnish the needed emergency services.Are there any payment limitations for non-VA emergency care?Emergency care must be pre-authorized by VA. When the emergency care is not authorized in advance by VA, it may be considered as preauthorized care when the nearest VA medical facility is notified within 72 hours of admission, the Veteran is eligible and the care rendered is emergent in nature. Claims for non-VA emergency care not authorized by VA in advance of services being furnished must be timely filed. Because timely filing requirements differ by type of claim, you should contact the nearest VA medical facility as soon as possible to avoid payment denial for an untimely filed claim.Payment may not be approved for any period beyond the date on which the medical emergency ended, except when VA cannot accommodate transfer of the Veteran to a VA or other Federal facility. An emergency is deemed to have ended at that point when a VA physician has determined that, based on sound medical judgment, a Veteran who received emergency hospital care could have been transferred from the non-VA facility to a VA medical center for continuation of treatment.What type of emergency care can VA authorize in advance?Subject to eligibility and payment limitations described in “Emergency Care” in 5_Medical Benefits Package, VA may preauthorize and issue payment for non-VA emergency care when treatment is needed for:Inpatient Care - YesOutpatient Care - YesThe Veteran’s VA-rated service-connected disability, or for a nonservice condition that is associated with and aggravating the Veteran’s service-connected conditionInpatient Care - YesOutpatient Care - YesA disability for which the Veteran was released from active dutyInpatient Care - YesOutpatient Care - YesAny condition of a Veteran who is rated by VA as permanently and totally disabled due to a service-connected disabilityInpatient Care - YesOutpatient Care - YesAny condition of a Veteran who is an active participant in the VA Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program, who needs treatment medically determined to make possible the Veteran’s entrance into a course of training or prevent interruption of a course of training that was interrupted due to such illness, injury or dental conditionInpatient Care - YesOutpatient Care - YesAny condition for a Veteran who has a VA service-connected disability rating of 50% or greaterOutpatient Care - YesA condition for which the Veteran has been furnished VA hospital care, nursing home, domiciliary care or medical services and who requires medical services to complete treatment incident to such care or servicesOutpatient Care - YesAny condition of a Veteran who is in receipt of increased VA pension, additional VA compensation or allowances based on the need for regular aid and attendance or by reason of being permanently houseboundOutpatient Care - YesA condition requiring emergency care that developed while the Veteran was receiving medical services in a VA facility or contract nursing home or during VA authorized travelInpatient Care - YesOutpatient Care - YesAny condition that will prevent the need for hospital admission for a Veteran in the state of Alaska or Hawaii and U.S. Territories, excluding Puerto RicoOutpatient Care - YesAny condition for women VeteransInpatient Care - YesAny dental services, treatment and related dental appliances for Veterans who are former prisoners of warOutpatient Care - YesCan VA pay for non-VA emergency care that is not preauthorized?VA has limited payment authority when emergency care at a non-VA facility is provided without authorization by VA in advance of services being furnished or when notification to VA is not made within 72 hours of admission. VA may pay for unauthorized emergency care as indicated below. Since payment may be limited to the point your condition is stable for transfer to a VA facility, the nearest VA medical facility should be contacted as soon as possible for all care not authorized by VA in advance of the services being furnished.For service-connectedVA may only pay for emergency care provided in a non-VA facility for certain Veterans who are rated by VA with a service-connected disability. VA may pay for emergency inpatient or outpatient care when treatment is needed for:The Veteran’s VA rated service-connected disability or for a nonservice-condition that is associated with and aggravating the Veteran’s service-connected conditionA VA facility was not considered feasibly available when the urgency of the Veteran’s medical condition, the relative distance of the travel involved or the nature of the treatment required makes it necessary or economically advisable to use public or private facilitiesVA may only pay for emergency care provided in a non-VA facility for certain Veterans who are rated by VA with a service-connected disability. VA may pay for emergency inpatient or outpatient care when treatment is needed forAny condition of a Veteran who is rated by VA as permanently and totally disabled due to a service connected disabilityAny condition of a Veteran who is an active participant in the VA Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program, who needs treatment medically determined to make possible the Veteran’s entrance into a course of training or to prevent interruption of a course of training that was interrupted due to such illness, injury or dental conditionA prudent layperson would have reasonably expected that delay in seeking immediate medical attention would have been hazardous to life or healthOnce authorization for care is granted by VA the, authorization will be continued after admission only for the period of time required to stabilize or improve the patient’s condition to the extent that further care is no longer required to satisfy the purpose it was initiatedFor nonservice-connected conditionsVA may only pay for emergency care provided in a non-VA facility for treatment of a Nonservice- connected condition only if all of the following conditions are met:The episode of care cannot be paid as an unauthorized claim for service-connected VeteransThe Veteran is enrolled in the VHA health care system and received VA medical care within a 24-month period preceding the furnishing of the emergency treatmentVA may only pay for emergency care provided in a non-VA facility for treatment of a Nonservice-connected condition only if all of the following conditions are metThe Veteran is personally liable to the health care provider for the emergency treatment that meets the prudent layperson definition of an emergencyThe Veteran has no other contractual or legal recourse against a third party that would, in whole, extinguish the Veteran’s liability. The claim must be filed within 90 days from the date of discharge or the date the Veteran exhausted without success any actions to obtain payment from a third partyA prudent layperson would have reasonably expected that delay in seeking immediate medical attention would have been hazardous to life or healthOnce authorization for care is granted by VA, the authorization will be continued after admission or only for the period of time required to stabilize or improve the patient’s condition to the extent that further care is no longer required to satisfy the purpose it was initiatedThe Veteran is not entitled to care or services under a health plan contractTreatment was provided in a hospital emergency room
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