I applied for benefits in February 2013….no word at all until September 2013 when the VA set up my initial appointment for physical. All summer long the stress was high, had been high since February 2013 when I retired, losing 40% of your pay is hard. I applied for jobs, good jobs, very well qualified, I would get interviews, get notifications I was on the candidate list, but I would get bumped by other vets, I didn’t have a disability rating. I got word in early October that I was 100% service connected disabled. Oct 31 l was back at the hospital I guess the stress of retiring, not finding a job, no medical insurance, and 26 years of military service might have caught up to me. Two coronary stents. Luckily Tricare kicked in and covered a decent amount of the procedure, my first 2 checks went to pay off the balance…There was a time that I had no medical insurance, my wife and kids were covered but I wasn’t covered because I was on terminal leave so Tricare would not cover me at HOR, I would have to return to my home station for health care. I could only be seen for emergencies. I had to put off the symptoms I was feeling, $300 every time I went to the ER. We racked up about $20K on the credit cards just eek out a living.
I know a family that lives down the street, the husband was fired for a lapse in judgment (stole something), the wife quit school when she was 16 and stays home all day practicing karaoke and smoking pot, she doesn’t want to work cause she wants to take care of her kids (13 and 16). He won’t get a job because she won’t get a job. He fought and fought for unemployment and since she doesn’t work they court granted them unemployment in addition to SNAP and they have medical coverage through CHANGE Inc. I guess you could say I felt a bit betrayed.
I wrote this in January of 2014. Our situation is much better, we are lucky, the VA acted quickly on our case, 10 months. Other vets with more pressing needs are not getting the attention they deserve and have earned…..