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rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
I'm a dumb new arng babby,

I just finished the 25B AIT course and I'm trying to figure out how many college credit hours I can milk out of it, even if most colleges are going to call it all elective. My JST says the course hasn't been rated, is there anywhere I can get information on this poo poo? My hope is to go to Ohio State in the summer term as a transferee if they'll take any of the credits, otherwise I have no post-secondary and the deadline for spring applications closed while I was in training. They basically told me to gently caress off, that they don't take freshmen for summer term, they don't make exceptions to the application deadline, and if I don't have credit hours to transfer in come apply next fall, which isn't cool.

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rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

Hillary Clintons Thong posted:

I don't know the status of Tuition Assistance, but if it's available see about going to a community college for free/cheap in the meantime

I think with USAR they made you have to be in your unit for a year or something though, no idea about ARNG.

Ohio ARNG has a scholarship program covering 100% tuition for 96 credits. I'm pretty much wanting the biggest bang for my buck, going to go full time and peep yoga pant butts. I'll probably just say gently caress it and go as a freshman next fall and get a job in the meantime. I expect a deployment somewhere in the next 4 years anyway, so it's not like I'll graduate on time. I'm older at 22 too, so idgaf.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
I have some questions that you VA wizards can hopefully help with.

My dad was active duty army for 13 years and was medically retired in 1991. He never deployed, but has multiple service-connected injuries.

He was medically retired because of a malpractice. He had a surgery to treat carpal tunnel syndrome on his left wrist that the army doctor botched (severed a nerve cluster) and was left with severely limited strength, range of motion, and very little sensation. He also hit a vehicle during a bad-weather night jump and has had issues with his left knee since. The wrist issue nearly kept him from his career in law enforcement, as he had to obtain a waiver to be able to carry a firearm on duty with his left hand so weak.

At his time of separation he was going to be given a lump-sum to compensate him for the malpractice, and then discharged to claim with the VA. He obtained representation and got a percentage of his E6 pay for the rest of his life as a retirement instead. The VA rated him at 20% for the claimed knee and wrist issues in 1991.

He went back to the VA in ~2006 because both conditions had worsened, and was upgraded to 40%.

His retirement pay comes from his VA pay. He isn't receiving both. They take his VA disability pay and use it to pay his retirement. His understanding is that this is the case until a 50% rating where he will receive both separately, which would increase his income substantially.

Along with those two issues, he was on jump status the entire time he was active duty, and has had major spinal issues that have him fully disabled at 60 (on morphine daily, 5 c-spine levels fused). His diagnosis is degenerative disk disease, which is connectable to service in most cases (to all cases of jumpers in my research). He also has tinnitus he's never claimed, and chronic pain disorder (again, on morphine daily, and just about everything you can be on for nerve-pain treatment), neither of which have ever been rated.

So far I've told him to contact the American Legion for a service rep, and to get the appointment with his PMC to get his opinion and potentially documentation.

My question is at this point, if he goes to his PMC (a Tricare AF Colonel that's a good guy and will help), and receives documentation from the doctor stating they believe the issues are service-connected, what can he expect? Other than a lot of bullshit?

I just don't know how the system works. The spinal problems existed while he was in service and he never knew to claim them (same with tinnitus, sleep apnea etc), and they've worsened to about the worst extent they can. He tried in 2006 to talk to the VA doctor about his back but she told him that because it wasn't an active claim they couldn't discuss it, and he left it at that. Hasn't been back to anything VA since.

Thanks duders

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

Soulex posted:

Basically the rule is anything after 1 year needs 3 forms of documentation in order to be put as service connected. This can be letters from old buddies or coworkers who witnessed this. Chronic pain is difficult but possible since he is on medication.

Also look up Gulf War Disability. Itís a disability for stuff that docs really donít know what the gently caress but for people that deployed. Iím assuming he did?

Contact a veteran service organization and make an appointment. File claims for what he needs, and always get the exact verbiage they are looking for.

He never deployed. He was in the 82nd and 18th Airborne the entire time, mobilized for Grenada but never sent. Otherwise was just a cold war dude. His service length was technically 11 years, he was put in medical hold to clear after his wrist surgery for the remainder. They basically paid him and he never had to report. He went to school for the duration of that holding full time. The malpractice also cost him e7, he had been to board but became ineligible for promotion because of his permanent profile after the surgery.

I just want him to get what he's owed. He's one of those guys that feels because he didn't combat deploy that he doesn't have the same rights as those that did. He's really jacked up and retired years earlier than he wanted to because of these problems, especially his spine, and it's been rough for him.

Is there a preferred service organization? The American Legion guy was driving a truck when he was talking to him on the phone, only a part-time rep, and he wasn't exactly impressed.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

cult_hero posted:

Nope. This only applies to retirement based on longevity, not disability. He'll get the maximum of either his retired pay or VA compensation, but at least he gets to keep Tricare...


Yeah, easy enough, he just has to put in a claim for it. Have him write something like "I injured by back on a jump, also I walk funny due to my knee and that makes my back worse. I have ringing in my ears and hearing loss. Also I'm sad because my poo poo hurts."


Yeah, as long as they actually put some effort into it. Don't have them write "this is related to service" or some conclusory statement, they need to explain their reasoning and support it. So something more along the lines of "His DDD is at least as likely as not the result of numerous parachute jumps in service. As a former flight surgeon, compression injuries of the spine are common among parachutists and generally go unreported due to operational expectations of soldiers. I have treated this individual for 30 years and have consistently managed his symptoms during that time. In the alternative, the Veteran is shown to walk with a pronounced limp as a result of his service connected knee condition. Medical literature makes it clear that altered biomechanics as a result of lower extremity injuries place unnatural strain on paravertebral muscles and it is therefore my opinion that his back condition is at least as likely as not the result of his knee disorder." Or something to that effect.

Thanks for all this. He's gotta officially make the DAV his rep with a form he needs to mail in, and then he's gonna go from there.

I think his understanding is right on the 50% rating, some cursory research yields the Concurrent Receipt Disability Pay which began in 2004: https://themilitarywallet.com/concurrent-receipt-military-retirement-pay/
If you have any further information that contradicts that find, please do share.

Also holy poo poo does this all make me want to get out of the guard. I never want to be in a position where I have to deal with any of this and I'm so sorry for everyone that has no choice but to.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
I posted two years ago about getting my dad into the system to get another 10% to offset his retirement and get both his disability and retirement payments. Long story short, DAV ghosted him after getting power of attorney (only POC was a full voice mail machine) and every other VSO he tried did similarly, basically stopping contact after very little time.

So we got his records and did it ourselves. It's being processed now. The VA just sent a letter stating he was denied for degenerative disc disease in 2019, despite never having filed, knowing that anything had been filed, or having an opportunity to provide documentation. So they're looking for who actually did that, after talking on the phone they weren't able to find a digital record of that request or denial ever happening. I'm hoping it somehow works out to give him a further backdating for the current claims, which includes fun things like opioid dependence, every limb on his body, two rotator cuffs, etc with every hospital/doctor record dating he's ever had. We sent his records on a DVD, two pdf files to the tune of 2500 pages of records a piece.

gently caress the VA though.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

cubivore posted:

Hi goons, I'm a lot closer to getting out so I'd like to ask some advice:

I'm looking to go to school once I'm out, for computer science or software engineering probably. But I did pretty badly in high school, like, my GPA was a 2.6, 2.7. Something like that.

Should I try to go to a community college first or will that be fine getting me into a school? I'm not trying to go to the Ivies here, but I don't know much anything about higher education.

Anecdotal but I applied to Ohio State with a 1.6 high school GPA and a 4-year-old 29 ACT composite. They let me in undeclared, but I couldn't afford living expenses. So, I applied to three other state schools (and got accepted into all of them), went for 3 semesters at the one closest to family so I had a place to stay, and knocked out most of my geneds and held a 4.0 starting their CS program. As soon as I got aid eligibility I reapplied to OSU, got accepted and transferred, and got into my CIS major 2 semesters later (some stuff didn't transfer, be careful of that.. if you have a school in mind, a lot of them partner with the local community college to provide better transfer of credit).

Schools want GI Bill money. Write in your application about your experiences and how you've matured from high school and that you're excited to be challenged as a mature student. If you have a lot of geneds to do still keep in mind that basically every big-school CS/CSE/CSEE program I've seen is packed-full and realistically are 5 year programs if you're starting with college algebra or below.. They're like 4 years if you start with calculus your first semester and are doing 16-18 CH every semester. You can CLEP a lot of stuff like that, but if you're not decided on what school you want then absolutely do junior college for those geneds; they'll be easier because of smaller class sizes and lecturers that give a poo poo.

Also, SIGN UP FOR FAFSA. DO IT. Regardless of your age your veteran status will allow you to be considered financially independent (no parent income if that's a factor for you). When it comes back and says you have a high EFC (based on your taxes where you were making AD money), file an adjustment request with whatever school you end up with. You will claim loss of wages because you came off active duty, and suddenly you'll get a full Pell grant + other state etc aid. If you do this right you'll be making legitimately pretty good money to go to school combined with your GI bill, you won't need to work or worry about paying rent or a car payment. Also find your school's scholarship application and figure out the dates and get that done asap. Generally they're made available in the early Spring for Fall semester. I did mine thinking I'd get nothing and got a scholarship that pays as much as a full Pell grant every semester.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

lite_sleepr posted:

Trying to figure out what to do with my life is scary :shobon:

Computer science degree worth it? I imagine there is a ton of math which I am terrible at.

If you have any interest in programming, technical problem-solving using both math and brute-force thinking, and want to challenge yourself to get pretty good at the thing you're bad at (math) I say do it.

When I started I took a math placement test and didn't remember what factoring was. I had to do developmental algebra, college algebra, trigonometry, calculus 1 and 2, and am now a year from graduating with a Computer and Information Science degree. It has been extremely challenging and humbling, but I've done it despite painting myself from the start as a "bad at math" person. Just know that if you're in the same spot as I was that basically every reputable CS, CSE, CIS, or EE program is designed for students to come straight from high school into calculus 1.

If I could go back I would have self-studied and tried to CLEP as much as my math as possible, but my circumstances were weird and everything has worked out just fine. You can definitely do it.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
Anyone ever have the VA pay GI Bill benefits without verifying enrollment? I always get setup through my school to be able to use the 1606 (I'm a guard dude) if I need the money; I'm taking 9 credit hours this summer and about to finish up and just saw a $648.43 deposit pending to my checking. Looked at the WAVE website and see my last payment was $648.43 except I never verified my enrollment on WAVE. My last enrollment verification for payment was in the Spring for last semester. It also only shows one period available for verification - 7/01 to 7/31.

I already emailed my school and will call the GI Bill line Monday morning but I think they just burned two months of my benefits without my permission?

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

lite_sleepr posted:

Never mind I'm dumb.

Looks like I'll be getting about 2,083 a month from pension alone, plus the 1,777 from VA, for 3,860 a month in combined bennies.

If I can find a place to go to school, I could add potentially 2200 to that in post 9/11 bill money. I don't think I'd have to work tbh.

That's enough to rent an apartment and be able to live very well within walking distance of basically any campus you want to go to.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
Anyone have any good VSO contacts in Ohio? I helped my dad file, we did it ourselves because he didn't have any luck with any VSO and he's up to 80%. The DAV gave him a rep, got power of attorney, and then promptly ghosted him; no contact on his rep, and the Cleveland number he was given was for a phone that was never answered with the voicemail box full. He's contacted the county office and they were similarly useless, told they'd get back in contact with him, then never followed up and don't have any record of him or know his name when he calls etc. The VA didn't give him anything for most of his major issues (back problems, chronic pain syndrome, long-term opiate dependency).

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

McNally posted:

I got a response from the VA today.

In the mail. In Scotland. Postmarked 19 October.

Cool, denying me because I didn't provide something they didn't ask for. Doesn't sound like moving goal post to me at all. Nope nope, cool.

And they're still saying I can use VR&E to pursue a degree that doesn't exist in the US, too. Awesome.

I notice they didn't say anything about my argument saying the program I'm pursuing doesn't exist in the US, so there's that at least.

I'm really thinking about giving up and just using my GI Bill.

They want you to give up, it's less work for them. Don't give them the satisfaction of screwing you out of your benefits.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

life is killing me posted:

That is great to hear, though we did our budget to the expectation it was happening this month, including receiving the stipend. Which wasnít the best thing to do, but we were told by the school originally that everything was in order with the VA and that my account showed a later date for drop due to non-payment which indicated the VA would pay. Now I find this other thing out.

Get in touch with your school's veteran office coordinator and ask for help with this. They can put extensions on payment requirements and all sorts of things.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

life is killing me posted:

There was a form to fill out, but got a payment email saying I could be dropped if not paid by tonight. I got my academic program changed and contacted the certification office to get the new program certified, but unsure what is going to happen if I donít pay out of pocket tonight.

I could send out the form. The offices are closed on Fridays however, so I requested certification on Thursday and never heard backóno one to process the form or make a decision. Hopefully the program can get certified ASAP so they can possibly not drop me.

Email the bursar office and cc the veteran's office explaining the situation to give yourself a bit of cover. I always reminded myself that the schools are happy to work with you if you're actively trying to get payment to them. They send out high-pressure nastygrams because most students are kids who will fold over by getting a loan rather than advocating for themselves. It's pretty lovely.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

Androies posted:

Dude just book the appointment and get it over with. I'm pissed I waited so long to file my claim and I got out in 2020.

That being said, I finally got my rating - 50%, it's good but they denied me my lower back claim along with my knees and my ankles are at 10% despite the fact that they stop me from running anything longer than 2 miles lol. Anybody have any experience with appeals they'd be willing to share? Especially when it comes to hiring a lawyer or going your own way.

Would be interested in any anecdotes for appeals as well.

I've been helping my dad with his back and neck claims. They rated him at 80% after I helped him claim more in 2021 but denied service-connected for any of his 5 levels fused in his C spine, degenerative disc disease plus bulging discs, all despite the fact that he was a paratrooper + a documented back injury. Doctors reevaluated him the first time and didn't factor being a paratrooper as a service-connected thing. Had no luck with veteran organizations (two got power of attorney and then ghosted with full voicemails and no POC changes) until we went to a county rep who filed a board appeal for him directly with impact statements and all of his medical records including pain management which is great except it's basically the nuclear option with a ~700 day wait for appeal response. He should be 100% P&T considering he's fully opiate dependent for pain management from the back issues alone and has even sought experimental treatment like implanted TENS.

I'm on active duty right now getting my guard bullshit wear and tear documented after experiencing the nightmare of trying to get all of his stuff claimed. So many appointments.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

life is killing me posted:

Next question: waiting to hear back from my transfer schoolís VA registrar/counselor, but thought Iíd ask here. I am transferring to a university (from a small community college), and the GI Bill doesnít cover all of the tuition. Does the yellow ribbon program just kick in automatically to cover the rest, or is that something I need to sign up for separately? Like, once Iíve switched schools and all my VA stuff is switched around to the new one, do I need to like, opt in or anything?

Apply for FAFSA! If you made too much for a year that they're considering and had a loss of income (ie you became a student after active duty) you can file for an adjustment through your school on the year they look at for your taxes. Generally anything paid in grants or scholarships that don't go to your tuition go to your pocket, and big schools have big money. My state school covered my entire tuition on FAFSA if I hadn't been using a guard scholarship, so I got paid enough to comfortably live and to save some every semester.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

life is killing me posted:

I mean, I did just get laid off and was accepted to a school that doesnít offer online class options, so who knows. If I can replace my income completely, then I wonít need to keep looking for work. As it stands I donít even think I could work full-time and attend school full-time when the only option is physically attending class.

I worked part-time at around 28 hours a week to afford gas to commute to my first school. Once I became 0 efc FAFSA eligible I was getting about 8k a semester of just grants and scholarships to my pocket from FAFSA and my state school's other programs. I just attended full-time. Not super comfortable but it's doable depending on your living situation, and you can always work the summers if you don't want to do summer classes. Working full-time and physically attending in anything close to a difficult program is just not feasible. My CS program had me between 40 and 60 hours a week of classes, studying, and project work alone.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

maffew buildings posted:

Gents, I'm finally nearing putting in babby's first disability claim, and while I am working with a VSO, I wanted to ask you gents and the collective knowledge here - for an initial disability claim, can secondary conditions be claimed, or do I need to have a disability established before applying for secondary conditions? I've got sinusitis from inhaling burning trash on deployment and get headaches due to it, so my brain thoughts say "ok, the headaches are secondary to the sinusitis", but hell if I know if that's the way to handle it on an initial claim. Any guidance appreciated, thanks.

I too am starting babby's first disability claim (for myself anyway).

When I started my intent to file last week, I put in the things that I intend to claim, including secondary issues. When you put in an issue it lets you categorize it, if you select secondary to another service-connected issue it'll give you a dropdown to pick from your other claimed issues. I don't know how it works beyond that, I would guess that the primary injury/whatever would have to be evaluated and considered service-connected before they would evaluate the second.

Anyone have any advice for someone doing it while still on active duty, or generally in the guard (traditional drilling status)? I am doing it under the BDD program which I didn't know existed until last week and am intending to base my future career decisions on the results of the claim.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

not caring here posted:

As long as there is a history of documentation, even if they screw you down, the appeals process is your friend.

Which reminds me, back when trump was in office, and he had those joker friends of his basically calling the shots at the VA, I got summoned for the 5 year check. It was a bit early, which people told me was odd. So I go in there with my wife, and he basically takes a history, and said cool, thanks, good to go. Nothing about current state, improvements or poo poo getting worse. Literally just a history of what turned my brain into mush. A few weeks later, got the letter saying that my TBI rating got janked from 100%, to 10%. That dog won't hunt, monsignor, so I got the rep to look at it. He's like yeah, that's sketch, put in the appeal. This appeal goes on for literally years, because COVID. Then I get a call from the rep out of the blue. He says, yeah, that guy wasn't even a doctor, he was some dude trump's people put in the west palm beach VAMC to kick down people's TBI ratings because of something he said on TV. His paperwork was basically empty, it was completely indefensible. So I guess they decided to save themselves some work, spoke to some of my doctors, and at 7 years in gave me a permanent and total rating.

TLDR; SMDFTB trump you piece of poo poo, and always be appealing.

Did you get backpay for that?

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

not caring here posted:

Naah, when you appeal they keep your rating the same in the interim.

Seems like

the VA posted:

"Error in a previous decision:
If we find a clear and unmistakable error in a prior decision, the effective date of the new decision will be the date from which benefits wouldíve been paid if there hadnít been an error in the prior decision."

would apply?

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
I submitted my BDD claim! Can't wait to fight the battle when it all gets denied!

I hope it doesn't though, if most of it gets rated I'm going to lol gtfo the Guard and not look back.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
So my rep already called me and said he can't process my claim because I didn't submit my "full military medical record" and can't until I do so.

I pulled my record entire medical record and manually pulled every relevant-to-claim record from it. My entire record contains all of my records from childhood because I grew up in the Tricare system, it's massive. I told him he's not getting records from when I was a minor, he said "uhhhh but we need the whole record". I went to the records dept at my local MTF to see if they could just give me from entry date onwards and they couldn't assist (actually claimed they'd charge me $25 + $0.13 a page if I got any more records since they already provided me the mandated one-per-SM).

I'm probably going to end up pulling everything relevant out again and stitching it together into one file. They are not receiving my full record, the majority of it was from when I was a sick kid and it's none of their business. It really surprised me that "I did all the legwork for you already" isn't an acceptable answer to them.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

LtCol J. Krusinski posted:

They are your advocate, why are you getting squirrelly about them seeing your pediatric TRICare records? The government has access to those by default, if you are worried something might get flagged as pre-existing or non service related because of poo poo in your dependent records, donít be. Your VSO isnít going to draw those kinds of connections or point them out to the VA.

I mean.. itís your medical records. The ones the government already has, and maintains, you are just shutting out your own advocate, while giving the government an upper hand.

Seems silly?

I dunno, maybe you have your reasons.

Thanks for this. I also spoke with a couple peers and they thought similarly. I guess I'm just paranoid and expect the worst with the VA. I'm actually not worried about anything being "flagged" as pre-existing; I waivered all of the juicy stuff when I enlisted.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

Sarah posted:

Ohio Residents: the window to apply for the bonus for serving during the Afghanistan Conflict ends August 2024.

Here is the link to the eligibility tool/application:
https://dvs.ohio.gov/resources-for-veterans/veterans-bonus

Also a reminder since government shut down possibly coming: I was working at the VA during a government shut down. The funding for VA is separate and done in advance. The VA will not shut down and employees will still show up because they will still be paid. Please still go to any upcoming appointments you have if there is a government shutdown. :)

Good looking out!

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
Thanks to everyone for helping shape my view of self-care and disability benefits. I set a goal over the past year of getting all of the little things I'd been ignoring or dealing with looked at, documented, and treated. That set the groundwork for my initial self-filing of a BDD claim that got rated 60% off the bat and I think there is a lot of room to appeal on a few of the issues.

rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working

maffew buildings posted:

Sorry I wasn't more specific, this is the questionnaire that QTC gave me ahead of my in person exam for a number of the items on my claim

It is the former of your section. A loss of mobility, strength, sensation, dexterity, etc.

Just be aware that the physical examination will be primarily based on range of motion, pain (to my understanding) isn't a strong determining factor for disability of a limb. Hopefully you'll have a good personable examiner, mine was good and genuinely interested in my limitations and issues, and even though my physical examination has me still pretty good for range of motion and strength, that isn't always the case and they reflected that in their opinion for my evaluation.

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rifles
Oct 8, 2007
is this thing working
Anyone able to weigh in with appeals advice? I'm about to do my first, I have a pile of 0% service connected and got way lower ratings on my sadbrains and some joint issues than I should have, according to the rating criteria definitions.

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