The Military Veteran


My Personal Experience

My Claim - Getting Out

In the hopes that this will help just one person, I am documenting my claim experience of over 9+ years so you too might advert and overcome obstacles that I, amongst many, have faced to receive benefits rightfully earned while serving my country.

Discharged from the Marine Corps due to an unknown lung condition, I was in the best shape of my life. So, when I came down with this illness at the age of 27, I was devastated. It changed all of my previous plans of joining the FBI or CIA. 

I went through all the exiting classes and received what I thought was good information.  The one thing that I thought I took from it was that on your exit exam, make sure you document every physical condition or problem you have faced while doing your time in service.  I hate to tell all of you this, but that exit exam is not worth the paper it is written on. My exit exam was conducted by a practicing physician; however, the VA would not accept that as enough evidence to grant me anything because it was not verifiable by a sick call visit within my previous military medical records.

Another good piece of information I received from my exiting classes was to photocopy my medical records.  Had I not done that, I would have never, ever, been able to make one single claim – irregardless of the fact that I WAS released due to a medical condition.  Does this sound familiar?  As soon as I got out of the military, my records disappeared.  The letter from the VA stated that they were unable to obtain my medical records from service, so my claim was denied until the records could be located.  Good thing I had photo copied most of my records. This happens often, so be ready for it! Documents in your case will just vanish along with many other interesting things to come. 

The one thing I did not do was get a copy of my service records - big, big mistake! Make sure you have or get your service records on top of your medical records.  Don’t wind up down the road regretting the fact that you could not find 30 minutes; take the time and be sure to photocopy your immunization record book.  Don’t think that won’t be the first thing to get up and walk out of your file.

When exiting the military, another piece of advice they beat into your mind is that you need to file for unemployment to start receiving money while you look for a suitable job.  During one of my exiting classes, I heard about a program that was offered to help you learn a new skill in order to be employable.  I remember hearing that they would send you to college, pay for all of your books and supplies, and anything else required for school to include a monthly stiffen.  The requirements were a little foggy, but if your disability was over a certain percentage and that disablitiy prevents you from resuming a job in the skill or trade you were trained for, you could qualify.  Hmm, this sounded like a deal I could handle.

I was not out of the military for more than 30 days when I started to see signs of trouble with my body, and it had nothing to do with my lungs.  It began with pain in my lower back.  This was being brought on by wearing a belt with my pants. No, I did not have the belt too tight. Originally, the doctor disregarded my complaints until they escalated.  I wish now I would have had him document it in his findings. Within a short time span, my pain once caused by wearing a belt was now happening when brushing my teeth and in other activities. The VA prognosis was that I was suffering from low back spasms.

When I filed for benefits from the VA, I listed 6 issues that were of a health concerns, all denied.  You know why.  All medical records for all of my time in service were lost! I had a portion of my records; however, I did not have a copy of ALL records to include deployment and schooling.  Luckily, I did manage to save a copy of my entrance exam which served as proof that I was in excellent health prior to entering service. Thank God.  The number one most important lesson is to document everything.  I don’t care how little or irrelevant it seems document it and copy your records.  


End of part one “Getting Out”


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