I approach this topic today with great hesitance. The entire goal of www.MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com is to teach vets how to fight better and more effectively for the Military Disability Benefits that they deserve. There is nothing more rewarding in this career than knowing that by helping a vet get their proper compensation, we’ve ensured a better future for them and their family.
But what happens when there is simply no chance? Is it wise or healthy to continue to fight a losing battle? The last thing I want to do is to deprive people of hope, but there are instances where fighting will only bring frustration, malcontent, and a very expensive lawyer who probably won’t succeed either.
Instead of putting yourself through that, it might be a healthier, wiser choice to accept the situation as it is.
Regardless, the choice is ultimately up to you. I do believe that change can be achieved by standing up for what you believe. But it may not be possible without a long, drawn out lawsuit. Is it worth the hassle? Maybe yes, maybe no. Only you can decide that.
All we can do is advise you on whether or not your fight will be successful against the laws as they currently stand. The following are various situations when it might be best to not pursue the fight.
1. No military medical records documenting the condition. Documentation is by far the most essential aspect of getting both DoD Disability and VA Disability. If you did not go to the doctor and have your condition recorded while you were IN THE MILITARY, there is no way to prove that your condition was caused by military service (i.e. “service-connected”), and thus it is not eligible for Military Disability. (This is an over-simplification of service-connection. See our website for other ways a condition can be considered service-connected. This is, however, the main rule that is fully applicable in the vast majority of cases.)
This is why we stress that it is essential to get all of your conditions documented before you leave the military. We have seen far too many cases where people didn’t think it was serious enough, or didn’t want to complain, or didn’t want to be viewed as weak or a wimp, etc. Then, down the road, after they leave the military, the mild knee pain that they had worsens until they have to have a knee replacement. They know that the original knee pain began after twisting the knee in an exercise while in the military, so they think that they will qualify for disability. Wrong. They have NO PROOF that the knee pain started while in the military since it wasn’t documented by a physician. No proof = no compensation.
If you do not have proof, it is a complete waste of time to try to get disability compensation. It sucks for those of you who are honestly caught in this snag, since this rule is designed to keep the liars and cheaters from abusing the system, but it’s the just the way it is. Sorry. No amount of begging or story telling will change their minds. They legally MUST have solid proof.
2. You believe you deserve more even though you are getting the right amount the law dictates.
All right now, guys. Let’s chat about this. The VASRD is the law that determines the exact rating each condition should receive. The VASRD is far from perfect. There are many things that don’t really make sense or seem unfair.
For example, hearing loss is rated on how bad your hearing is without a hearing aid. Vision loss, however, is rated on how bad your vision is WITH glasses. How is that fair? If someone with glasses sees perfectly fine, they will get a 0% rating, even if they would have received a 30% rating without glasses. At the same time, someone with a hearing aid might hear perfectly fine, but still gets 30%. In my opinion, both should either get a rating based on the severity with a corrective device or both should be rated based on the severity without a corrective device.
Regardless of my personal opinions, however, that’s the law, and so that is what must be followed. “But the law’s unfair!” you might exclaim. Yes, absolutely. You’ll get no argument from me.
But there is nothing you can do about it unless you want to wage a legal war against the system to get the laws changed. If you do, go for it! I’m all for making the laws more fair. If you want to fight that battle, kudos!
Most vets, however, don’t have the resources available for this epic undertaking. Submitting appeal after appeal won’t get them anywhere. The law is the law. There are still options, however, for these individuals.
Currently, the VASRD is being entirely rewritten with the new updates being released section by section throughout 2015 and 2016. When each section is ready for review, they accept comments about the suggested changes before finalizing them. SUBMIT COMMENTS! Now is the time for us to let our voices be heard and make changes happen without having to wage war. As each section is published, we’ll post a full article about it here with info on how to submit comments.
If you don’t bother to do this, then it’s a huge waste of time to submit appeals. The laws won’t change that way.
3. You are not properly educated. If you are not properly educated about the disability system, just quit right now. There is no point. The majority of denied claims and appeals are the result of the veteran being ignorant about the system and thus asking for the wrong things.
When I worked on the PDBR, time and again I would see vets making foolish claims simply because they were clueless. If you insist on remaining this guy, just quit now. Your efforts are completely worthless.
“But it’s complicated, and people keep telling me different things.” Yep, I totally get that. It was in response to these clueless veterans’ claims that I assembled my team to create MilitaryDisabilityMadeEasy.com. The majority of clueless vets are completely innocent. They are just not able to find the information they need in a thorough and understandable format.
With our website at your fingertips, though, you no longer have this excuse. We’ve provided information on practically every aspect of Military Disability, from the Medical Evaluation Board (MEB) to the exact ratings for asthma, and continue to further improve and expand the information to help you guys know exactly how things work, what you rightly deserve, and how to get it.
There is a lot of information, and it will take time, but with the info readily available to you, if you insist on remaining uneducated, then just quit now.