Prepare for a rant but for a good cause. I had a hip injury and could have medically retired from the USAF but flight medicine didn’t have their stuff together on Tinker AFB, OK. I was so distressed with flt med’s incompetence that I feared for my health to stay in the USAF any longer than necessary. The VA rep on base told me that I would get disability compensation 4-6 weeks after discharge. Instead of retiring medically, I opted to be honorably discharged on the last day of enlistment. I had been apart from my hubby for over a year and, even after seven years, Oklahoma never felt like home to me. I felt like staying in a day longer than necessary would degrade my soul because I was so sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I am a lucky woman because I am married to a husband who currently supports me- and don’t worry, because I am supporting him while he is working and going to school full time. I wish I had that while I was in school and he deserves the best care a woman can offer because he has a saint’s soul. Being a trophy wife has the wonderful perk of his insurance. Otherwise, I would be screwed because the VA hospital cannot see me without having to pay the most expensive co-pay. Why? Because they choose the co-pay based on your last year’s income taxes (when I was active duty) and I made too much money to get free healthcare. I will not get assigned a doctor until I get my disability rating. Only then can I receive free healthcare through the VA. There are many perks that I am missing out on by not having my rating. For instance, Texas housing tax breaks, free driver’s license and plates, free entrances into parks.
My intention is not to whine. I’m just saying that I gave nine years of my life to something far far bigger than myself. I did my best, gave 100%, bit my tongue daily and worked ridiculous hours. Why aren’t veterans being taken care of like they should be??? I had to dig to find out. I contacted the VA for months. I called over 50 times and never got to speak to a representative. I emailed the VA and was supposed to get a response within five business days. Three weeks later, I got a vague response that the VA was still ‘working on my claim’. So I called the Tinker AFB VA office and explained my situation. After two days of an expert digging, the Tinker AFB rep called me back with bad news. Evidently, all Agent Orange claims must be processed by Oct of this year because it was mandated by the President. My claim, along with every other non-agent orange claim, is on an indefinite hold could take longer than a year to process. One would think that the VA would pass this information along but I guess that’s asking for too much.
While I had some savings, it was not enough to get through nine months of living expenses. Supposedly I will get back-paid but that doesn’t help me now. I am lucky enough to be educated and have a roof over my head and a wonderful husband. But what about those people who aren’t as fortunate? Or what about those people who aren’t able to go to such great lengths to get answers? What about those enlisted troops who had both legs blown off and can’t afford to go a year without their entitled disability compensation?? Why are America’s wounded warriors being left in the dark for so long??
If you ever see a homeless veteran asking for money, please give. I personally don’t care what he or she spends it on. I know they had to put up with a lot of sh*t in and out of the military and deserve every single penny. This is a beautiful country for I am free and I don’t regret a single day that I served. It made me one hell of a tough cookie and I needed that. I just want justice for all who truly know the sacrifice and dedication it takes to keep our country free. Because to veterans, freedom has an ashen taste that the ones who haven’t served will never experience. The least these vets deserve is a seamless transition into healing the visible and buried wounds.
I am lucky to be in the light today. Let’s give light to our vets.
If you happen to be active duty and plan on getting out, I HIGHLY encourage you to click here to view the VA’s disability ratings. You served and deserve it. Know your entitlements. Feel free to comment or email if you have any questions. Thanks!
Cheers lovelies!!! Have a beautiful day. =)