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26 replies to this topic

#1 DragonFlyer

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Posted 24 August 2009 - 07:06 PM

Welcome to the new area of CB ...for our military community!

I'd like to thank the owners of CB for taking the time to open a very important area for service members from the past, present and future. I hope that those who come to this forum (whether you are a military member, government contractor, dependent, extended family members from near and far, caretakers, service providers, friends and colleagues) will enjoy the benefit of this site.

Military consumer issues affect many people. Our military members face unique financial challenges, and many aspects to effectively serve in the military could very well hang on the ability or inability to maintain good credit.

I hope that you will find this forum a reliable and comforting resource to resolve any questions you may have about military credit.

I have a unique perspective here as I have spent many years as the spouse of an active-duty soldier. I am proud to have served our country in my own capacity, offering support to my spouse as we served among various duty stations. I have been the wife of an NCO as well as an officer, in both active duty and reserves...and now I am standing by my husband during his medical retirement.

Consumer issues have affected us during every stage of our journey, and I am here to facilitate discussion and information in any way I can.

I ask that you take the time to introduce yourself and share your story. Chances are, you are not alone. We've been in your boots!

OOHRAH! and HOORAH! are expressions of high morale, motivation, spirit and confidence. We hope you find that here as well. :D

Edited by DragonFlyer, 24 August 2009 - 07:09 PM.




#2 DragonFlyer

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Posted 07 September 2009 - 05:29 PM

Bump!

#3 jackgehr

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 02:43 PM

DF,

My thanks to you for initiating this venture. I'm a combat wounded veteran, 100% disabled, USMC, 1968 Vietnam, South of DaNang. Over the last 41 years I've found that getting information regarding VA & Military benefits is like being on wild goose chase. I have difficulty finding someone to ask questions of and figuring out what questions to ask.

#4 DragonFlyer

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 05:06 PM

DF,

My thanks to you for initiating this venture. I'm a combat wounded veteran, 100% disabled, USMC, 1968 Vietnam, South of DaNang. Over the last 41 years I've found that getting information regarding VA & Military benefits is like being on wild goose chase. I have difficulty finding someone to ask questions of and figuring out what questions to ask.


Jack, you are very welcome. I can empathize with your plight and I appreciate your service and sacrifices. Getting information for benefits has improved significantly - but only in the recent years. Getting information on military consumer issues is even harder to find. It's not something people really think about, let alone TALK about....and that's a concern of mine (and others).

I'd love to have your opinion on ways this area can be improved, or what type of information you'd find helpful. I may not know EVERYTHING about military consumer issues, but I've dedicated a significant amount of my life in learning what I can and finding ways to get the answers we all would need. B)

#5 jackgehr

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 01:15 PM

I don't know if you would consider this a "military consumer issue" or not, but one area that frustrates me is trying to deal with VA hospital facilities. How to make an appointment, for example. There is a great need for something like a "users guide" for all veterans that crosses all departments and what they do and who to contact to ask questions. The way I found out that I could get free license plates was when I went in to the DMV 3 years ago and asked if they had veteran specific plates and she told me that if I was 100% disabled I could get them for free. Does this sound like the proper way to hear about this?

#6 DragonFlyer

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Posted 10 September 2009 - 02:50 PM

I don't know if you would consider this a "military consumer issue" or not, but one area that frustrates me is trying to deal with VA hospital facilities. How to make an appointment, for example. There is a great need for something like a "users guide" for all veterans that crosses all departments and what they do and who to contact to ask questions. The way I found out that I could get free license plates was when I went in to the DMV 3 years ago and asked if they had veteran specific plates and she told me that if I was 100% disabled I could get them for free. Does this sound like the proper way to hear about this?


You bring up a very valid point. Veteran care affects many aspects of your life, including finances. If you are paying for things you'd otherwise get for free or at a reduced price, and no one tells you...it impacts your already-strapped disability income.

Many people are fortunate to get an advocate through a VSO (Veteran Service Organization) that knows the ropes on how to get you information you may need. Then there are other programs (who shall remain nameless) that offer advocates who are poorly trained, given huge case loads, and clearly have no clue what the heck they are doing. I had one such "advocate" assigned to my husband and our family and he was...totally inept. After a phone call and email to the Colonel who directed the program, I was addressing the root of the problem. They needed better training, more case managers, and properly screened applicants doing the job.

It wasn't until after my husband was retired that they even came up with a "retirement handbook", and that was only because my husband (and others) testified before Congress about the bureaucratic red tape mess they had faced during their retirement process. It added a whole new meaning to the term "it takes an act of Congress to get things done." LOL

I am aware there needs to be a "one-stop-shop" for information. I have been asked by the founders of "HowStuffWorks.com" to participate in the launch of a program called "Challenge America". This site will contain that "one-stop-shop" of information once it is fully developed. They expect this to be running by spring of 2010. You can see the commercial and info on the program here:

http://challengeamer...rica/index.html

Do you by any chance have a Vet Center in your area? They just announced on August 14, 2009 that they have added 28 more centers to arrive in 2010, which will add to the 232 already serving in all 50 states. If I were you I'd take a look and see where the nearest one would be in your area.

Also, this announcement came out just today: http://www1.va.gov/o...ase.cfm?id=1763

I'd like to see them have more input from the veterans themselves!

Until we get that "one place of information" together, feel free to ask questions...even if it's not consumer related. I will definitely guide you on where to go for more info. :rofl:

#7 lupoman

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Posted 26 September 2009 - 08:38 PM

DF,

My thanks to you for initiating this venture. I'm a combat wounded veteran, 100% disabled, USMC, 1968 Vietnam, South of DaNang. Over the last 41 years I've found that getting information regarding VA & Military benefits is like being on wild goose chase. I have difficulty finding someone to ask questions of and figuring out what questions to ask.


Glad to see you as a military representative, i have 2 Purple hearts from this current war we are in, as well as 20% disabled (still good enough to stay in lol). Hanging out for the next deployment, but anyway, i would prolly be considered an old timer on this site, i have fixed my credit, ran it up again, and fixed it again. Just glad to see they put a special spot for us military peeps!!

#8 jackgehr

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Posted 28 September 2009 - 01:31 PM

DF,

My thanks to you for initiating this venture. I'm a combat wounded veteran, 100% disabled, USMC, 1968 Vietnam, South of DaNang. Over the last 41 years I've found that getting information regarding VA & Military benefits is like being on wild goose chase. I have difficulty finding someone to ask questions of and figuring out what questions to ask.


Glad to see you as a military representative, i have 2 Purple hearts from this current war we are in, as well as 20% disabled (still good enough to stay in lol). Hanging out for the next deployment, but anyway, i would prolly be considered an old timer on this site, i have fixed my credit, ran it up again, and fixed it again. Just glad to see they put a special spot for us military peeps!!

AMEN!

#9 sp33d

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 09:25 AM

as I posted in my reply to the other thread...thank you dragonflyer for your support. I am very interested in that student loan thread.
Went from making good money being a single E-6 to being injured and tossed out and unable to work and not pay the bills with the fixed income, which leads me into no option other than to file BK CH7...all done with that and now rebuilding slowly and taking it one day at a time with life and my credit. Thats all we can do...:mellow:

USMC
1996-2008
VA-100%
Medically retired out of Marine Corp with 40%

Edited by sp33d, 21 October 2009 - 09:29 AM.


#10 DragonFlyer

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 09:56 AM

sp33d,

First, thank YOU for your service! I love helping veterans...it's the least I could do. :)

Were your injuries combat related? Just wondering...because I have tons of info on disability benefits if you find it will help. CRSC is combat-related compensation and I don't know if you are aware it exists. Most veterans have no clue, I am finding!

Did you get Social Security yet?
Combat Related Special Compensation?
Did you opt to take the VA disability payments?

You can PM your info if you wish. :)

#11 sp33d

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 10:15 AM

Thanks again

No my injuries were not combat related so I don't qualify for CRSC, I am in the SSDI process now (oh how fun it is). Since I am rated 100% through the VA and that compensation is higher than my retired pay I get my payments from the VA...I was thinking about trying to go for TDIU but I am using the VOCREHAB to attend some classes to stay sane, so I am not sure if they would give me TDIU, kinda weird I am rated 100% but not TDIU, also not sure of the attending class thing is gonna help my SSDI case...we shall see

#12 jackgehr

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 11:37 AM

Thanks again

No my injuries were not combat related so I don't qualify for CRSC, I am in the SSDI process now (oh how fun it is). Since I am rated 100% through the VA and that compensation is higher than my retired pay I get my payments from the VA...I was thinking about trying to go for TDIU but I am using the VOCREHAB to attend some classes to stay sane, so I am not sure if they would give me TDIU, kinda weird I am rated 100% but not TDIU, also not sure of the attending class thing is gonna help my SSDI case...we shall see

I don't know if you are aware "unemployability" rating from the VA bit it helps your qualification with SSI.

#13 DragonFlyer

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 12:06 PM

Here's our experience with IU...

DH cannot attend any "quality of life" type courses (photography, car engine repair, etc.) through Voc Rehab until he is rated IU. However, the Regional Offices for my area say that 100% rating is the SAME as being IU.

I doubt that. LOL

The way the VA sees it, unless you are less than 100%, an IU rating won't increase your pay. They said it's mainly used for someone who may be rated at less than 100%, and the IU puts them at 100% pay.

The regional rep said, "You don't want IU on file. It means he will have restrictions on his income if he does find work."

Um...he can't work...did you miss that part?

For me, it's not about the pay. It's about an accurate description of the disability!

DH is not rated IU, and when I pushed the issue through the VA with FACTS about his inability to be employed (which infuriates DH to no end because he wants to work!) they say it won't matter if he's rated IU or not.

I edjumacated them on how IU status DOES matter for programs IN the VA and OUTSIDE the VA. I cited the student loan disability discharge program as an example. An IU rating is an automatic approval for the discharge. It also makes the SSI process go smoothly.

I just had DH at an independent evaluation by private doctors. They wanted to know why he wasn't rated IU yet. Even they know that IU is supposed to be placed on his rating even if he is 100% already.

So the jury is out on the IU rating decisions.

#14 Moorlock21

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 04:29 PM

Just my take on the two:

TDIU= CHAMPVA for dependents and several other benefits, but can't work again or risk losing TDIU(IMO TDIU is better if you have dependents and no possibility of ever working again)

100% Scheduler=Can still work and make as much money as you would like-not as protected as TDIU

The only reason that you would want 100% scheduler over TDIU is if you can make a lot of money(not many 100% disabled vets able to accomplish that!). A good example is if DF's husband went on a compensated speaking tour about his experiences or something and was paid lots and lots of money(technically working).


Unfortunately if you are rated at 100% then the VA won't give TDIU as it considers 100% the better of the two.

I won't get into the permanent and total or no future exams scheduled debate and whether or not you're safe from the VA at that point.

Joe

#15 DragonFlyer

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 04:43 PM

Just my take on the two:

TDIU= CHAMPVA for dependents and several other benefits, but can't work again or risk losing TDIU(IMO TDIU is better if you have dependents and no possibility of ever working again)

100% Scheduler=Can still work and make as much money as you would like-not as protected as TDIU

The only reason that you would want 100% scheduler over TDIU is if you can make a lot of money(not many 100% disabled vets able to accomplish that!). A good example is if DF's husband went on a compensated speaking tour about his experiences or something and was paid lots and lots of money(technically working).


Unfortunately if you are rated at 100% then the VA won't give TDIU as it considers 100% the better of the two.

I won't get into the permanent and total or no future exams scheduled debate and whether or not you're safe from the VA at that point.

Joe


Joe,

I will be doing public speaking (we recently spent a week with a known public speaker getting mentored and prepped) but it will be for a non-profit organization that I, myself, will establish. DH may assist me in those presentations...so we have that portion covered. <_<

Edited by DragonFlyer, 21 October 2009 - 04:51 PM.


#16 Moorlock21

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 04:55 PM

Here's the part of the reg that pertains to this:

Ҥ4.16 Total disability ratings for compensation based on unemployability of the individual.
(a) Total disability ratings for compensation may be assigned, where the schedular rating is less than total, when the disabled person is, in the judgment of the rating agency, unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service-connected disabilities: Provided, That, if there is only one such disability, this disability shall be ratable at 60 percent or more, and that, if there are two or more disabilities, there shall be at least one disability ratable at 40 percent or more, and sufficient additional disability to bring the combined rating to 70 percent or more. For the above purpose of one 60 percent disability, or one 40 percent disability in combination, the following will be considered as one disability:
(1) Disabilities of one or both upper extremities, or of one or both lower extremities, including the bilateral factor, if applicable,
(2) Disabilities resulting from common etiology or a single accident,
(3) Disabilities affecting a single body system, e.g. orthopedic, digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular-renal, neuropsychiatric,
(4) Multiple injuries incurred in action, or
(5) Multiple disabilities incurred as a prisoner of war.

The bolded part is why you can't get TDIU...

Joe

#17 Moorlock21

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 04:57 PM

Just my take on the two:

TDIU= CHAMPVA for dependents and several other benefits, but can't work again or risk losing TDIU(IMO TDIU is better if you have dependents and no possibility of ever working again)

100% Scheduler=Can still work and make as much money as you would like-not as protected as TDIU

The only reason that you would want 100% scheduler over TDIU is if you can make a lot of money(not many 100% disabled vets able to accomplish that!). A good example is if DF's husband went on a compensated speaking tour about his experiences or something and was paid lots and lots of money(technically working).


Unfortunately if you are rated at 100% then the VA won't give TDIU as it considers 100% the better of the two.

I won't get into the permanent and total or no future exams scheduled debate and whether or not you're safe from the VA at that point.

Joe


Joe,

I will be doing public speaking (we recently spent a week with a known public speaker getting mentored and prepped) but it will be for a non-profit organization that I, myself, will establish. DH may assist me in those presentations...so we have that portion covered. :rofl:


I should have known that you would have already thought about that.... <_<

Joe

#18 sp33d

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Posted 21 October 2009 - 06:54 PM

Thanks again

No my injuries were not combat related so I don't qualify for CRSC, I am in the SSDI process now (oh how fun it is). Since I am rated 100% through the VA and that compensation is higher than my retired pay I get my payments from the VA...I was thinking about trying to go for TDIU but I am using the VOCREHAB to attend some classes to stay sane, so I am not sure if they would give me TDIU, kinda weird I am rated 100% but not TDIU, also not sure of the attending class thing is gonna help my SSDI case...we shall see

I don't know if you are aware "unemployability" rating from the VA bit it helps your qualification with SSI.



yeah Im aware but as mentioned, above I dont qualify for TDIU(thanks Joe)....


Im also kinda weary if my SSDI claim is gonna be approved, probably not because I am attending classes, even though it is just to keep from going crazy, I for sure am not employable, havn't been since since September of 2007, sat around at home for a year on active duty until they retired me....

Edited by sp33d, 21 October 2009 - 06:58 PM.


#19 jackgehr

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 12:42 PM

Thanks again

No my injuries were not combat related so I don't qualify for CRSC, I am in the SSDI process now (oh how fun it is). Since I am rated 100% through the VA and that compensation is higher than my retired pay I get my payments from the VA...I was thinking about trying to go for TDIU but I am using the VOCREHAB to attend some classes to stay sane, so I am not sure if they would give me TDIU, kinda weird I am rated 100% but not TDIU, also not sure of the attending class thing is gonna help my SSDI case...we shall see

I don't know if you are aware "unemployability" rating from the VA bit it helps your qualification with SSI.



yeah Im aware but as mentioned, above I dont qualify for TDIU(thanks Joe)....


Im also kinda weary if my SSDI claim is gonna be approved, probably not because I am attending classes, even though it is just to keep from going crazy, I for sure am not employable, havn't been since since September of 2007, sat around at home for a year on active duty until they retired me....

sp33d,
My memory is a bit fuzzy regarding the SSI process but what I do recall is that I was sent to 2 different Doc's. One for physical, one for mental ( I could have told them, if they asked me, that I'm crazzzzy!) Any way I don't recall any discussions about specific things I was able to do. I encourage you to go forward with it.
Good Luck

#20 sp33d

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Posted 26 October 2009 - 08:10 PM

Thanks again

No my injuries were not combat related so I don't qualify for CRSC, I am in the SSDI process now (oh how fun it is). Since I am rated 100% through the VA and that compensation is higher than my retired pay I get my payments from the VA...I was thinking about trying to go for TDIU but I am using the VOCREHAB to attend some classes to stay sane, so I am not sure if they would give me TDIU, kinda weird I am rated 100% but not TDIU, also not sure of the attending class thing is gonna help my SSDI case...we shall see

I don't know if you are aware "unemployability" rating from the VA bit it helps your qualification with SSI.



yeah Im aware but as mentioned, above I dont qualify for TDIU(thanks Joe)....


Im also kinda weary if my SSDI claim is gonna be approved, probably not because I am attending classes, even though it is just to keep from going crazy, I for sure am not employable, havn't been since since September of 2007, sat around at home for a year on active duty until they retired me....

sp33d,
My memory is a bit fuzzy regarding the SSI process but what I do recall is that I was sent to 2 different Doc's. One for physical, one for mental ( I could have told them, if they asked me, that I'm crazzzzy!) Any way I don't recall any discussions about specific things I was able to do. I encourage you to go forward with it.
Good Luck



Thanks..I went ahead and filed. So we will see what happens...

#21 Moorlock21

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Posted 27 October 2009 - 08:33 AM

My experience with SSD was atypical. I filed on the internet, and then two days later I walked into the nearest office with my medical records and went through a very brief interview process(maybe 10 mins) after that I left and began receiving my checks in roughly two months. No doctors or physicals- I think that the thing that got me the SSD so easily was that I was medically retired from the Army and some of my paperwork said that I could no longer perform my duties...

An important thing to remember is that with Social Security it is all or nothing-If you don't fully meet the requirements you won't receive ANY compensation. I would certainly mention that the VA had found you unable to work and I'd say that the classes were part of your therapy suggested by the VA.....My psych Doc said I needed to do something or else I would just continue a long downward spiral. It feels better taking classes even though I don't do as well in them as I used to....It gets you out of the house and fills the time.

Good Luck with your claim,

Joe

#22 sp33d

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 10:46 AM

Thanks Joe, I gave them a copy of my VA decision and my PEB stating I am unfit to continue my duties along with my orders to the medically retired list.

As you said I did the same phone interview and went in a few days later to sign my paperwork and give the CR my VA and military paperwork. Just filled out the adult functionability report, so now just sitting and waiting....

#23 Moorlock21

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 06:32 PM

Thanks Joe, I gave them a copy of my VA decision and my PEB stating I am unfit to continue my duties along with my orders to the medically retired list.

As you said I did the same phone interview and went in a few days later to sign my paperwork and give the CR my VA and military paperwork. Just filled out the adult functionability report, so now just sitting and waiting....



Good luck!!

#24 sp33d

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Posted 28 October 2009 - 07:20 PM

Thanks Joe, I gave them a copy of my VA decision and my PEB stating I am unfit to continue my duties along with my orders to the medically retired list.

As you said I did the same phone interview and went in a few days later to sign my paperwork and give the CR my VA and military paperwork. Just filled out the adult functionability report, so now just sitting and waiting....



Good luck!!



Thanks, I am sure I will need it...

#25 Guest_TUBBS_*

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 05:52 PM

Thank you all for your service!




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