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On the Forum: Can He Qualify for Military Disability?

By June 22, 2007

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P2Chap writes on the forum:
in the u.s. navy in the mid 50's i was exposed to unprotected 45 caliber pistol fire and later, as an airborne air controller aboard the uss midway, exposed to unprotected 5 inch cannon fire. additonally, i had well over 100 launches and landings in an open cockpit single engine propeller driven aircraft. i have suffered from bilateral tinnitus and hearing loss for many years now and recently applied for disability. my application was denied because my "injury was not combat related."

as i plan to appeal that ruling, i'd like very much to communicate with anyone who has had a similar experience to learn what might help me in being successful this second time around.

June 27, 2007 at 6:15 am
(1) ron jantz says:

Your disability does not have to be “combat related”, but you had to be serving at a time of war. There are many disabled veterans that collect disability pensions for conditions they suffered behind the front lines. I suggest you make yourself an appointment with the Disabled American Veteran’s (DAV)in your area before appealing this decision. The DAV will help you. But again, I want to stress that you had to have been serving in the military during a war time to collect a disability pension

June 27, 2007 at 7:49 am
(2) Les says:

I’m currently in the retirement process from the Navy and working on my disability package. The current rules say nothing about serving in a war zone or actively in war. The current rule is that your disability either occurred in service or was exacerbated by service (and is chronic). I too have bilateral tinnitus and moderate-to-severe sensioneural hearing loss and will get a disability determination for it. I concur that you should check with the DAV but would recommend you contact your state Veteran’s Adminsitration for assistance.
All the best.

June 27, 2007 at 9:34 am
(3) jack says:

I have a similar problem. I was a tank commander in the National Guard back in the late 50′s-early 60′s. On a firing range with no ear protection. A 90MM round from the tank next to me went off. Ringing in the ear and nausea followed immediately. Nausea went away but the ringing has never stopped. (50+ years.) Profound hearing loss now. Never really followed up on it. Should have. Good Luck. Jack

June 30, 2007 at 11:24 am
(4) mark w. says:

I got a ten per cent disability on Tinnitus which I have in both ears. I was a Military MP, and the VA granted me the loss,as to being a war veteran from the Viet Nam era. I had told my primary doctor about hearing problems and ringing in my ears. One doctor said I have nerve damage in the ears which I want to also make another disability. As to my duties the VA granted me the disability

July 1, 2007 at 11:59 pm
(5) AG says:

I served in the infantry as enlisted man during peace-time. Twenty years later in 1982, I went suddenly deaf in my right ear. Diagnosis by the doctor was “Sudden Loss of Hearing.”I am convinced that it was from firing weapons without ear protection. Have significant roar and ringing in my right ear and suffer from vertigo. I applied 2 years ago and the VA denied me stating that it was not service related. I did not appeal because I had no new evidence. I hate to accept their decision but do not know what to do now. Any thoughts?

July 7, 2007 at 1:45 am
(6) Paul says:

As an active duty tank mechanic serving in the late 80′s I too have lost hearing (I’m sure most track mechanics have- tanks are loud enough as it is, let alone when you do noise intensive maintenance like yanking off the back deck to work on the critters). When I transfered from Active Duty to National Guard, an audiogram taken right when I transfered to the Guard indicated a substantial loss of hearing in both ears when compared to the first audiogram given during the enlistment physical. The National Guard Doctor pointed this out to me; however I declined to pursue the matter at the time (being young, healthy and foolish). Now I am paying for that foolishness as my hearing continues to deteriorate. I’m wondering if it would be worth my time to request my records, and take them to the VA to see if I can qualify for partial disablity. The good news being that I had 2 audigrams- one at the beginning of active duty, and one taken by the National Guard right after active duty that will document the loss; proof that the loss was suffered while in the service. I’m just wondering if it is possible to gain limited disability benefits after 20 years- even with proof. Ideas?

April 24, 2011 at 12:51 am
(7) Bill says:

Going thru the same situation , but I was in the early 90′s and a M1A1 mechanic doing the Va. Eval now. Wonder how it worked out.

January 17, 2010 at 10:30 am
(8) Beverly says:

My brother served as a Sargeant in Panama, cutting a trail through the jungle (between 1953 and 1956)that would later become the Pan American Highway.

During that time he received commendation from the the Ministry of Foreign Relations, Republic of Panama to the U.S. Embassy relating to “the cooperation extended by the U.S. Army Caribbean to the Darien Subcommittee of the Permanent Directive Committee of the Pan American Highway Congress”, dated 10 December 1956.

In addition, he received the “Award of Good Coduct Medal” at Fort Kobbe, Canal Zone for the period of 21 September 1953 – 20 September 1956.

Clearing the trail required the use of herbicides, possibly Agent Orange, which was in use since 1940 to 1971, along with other Dioxin laden toxic chemicals used by the Army at the time.

Jim has both Parkinson’s Disease and Neuopathy and is affected increasingly by dementia.

Is there anyone who can help establish which herbides were used in Panama at the time? Are there any veterans of that campaign who are receiving military disability benefits?

He has been denied disability benefits and we are reapplying. Your help is appreciated.

June 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm
(9) Jane Babcock, Cty Veterans Service Officer says:

1. The most important rule is if you have health issuesyou feel are related to your time in service and your state has County Veterans Service Officers (CVSO) go see them. Our job is to assist you and your families (free) in gaining access to the VA benefits; healthcare, Veterans injury/illness compensation, compensation for the Survivng Spouse of the severely service disabled or who’s Veteran died form service related causes, low-income (wartime veterans/survivng spouse) pension, education, headstone/markers, and state benefits. If you do not have CVSO’s then contact any of your local Veteran Service Organizations such as the DAV, American Legion, VFW, V V A,… they will hook you up with a VSO Service Officer that will guide you through the process.

2. Injuries/illnesses do not have to be wartime. The VA rule is that any injury or illnesses caused by or aggravated by service that has become a chronic detractor from the quality of life or requires repetitive medical care is ratable.

3. Hearing Loss & Tinnitus are tricky in that the VA leans toward the need for evidence of an event (Jack) that is in the medical records or can be attested to by a witness or hearing tests in service or shortly after that show hearing loss. They are slightly more excepting of the tinnitus only because the audiology world agrees that noise exposure is a major cause for tinnitus, there are 2 differing opinions on the relationship of noise exposure in the distant past and hearing loss now. The VA is most likely to say sudden loss of hear or loss of hearing following years of noise exposure by a civilian job or hunting is organic or is not caused by the service noise. The maximum rating for tinnitus is 10% since it is not a measurable condition, you either have it or your don’t.

Sorry AG, you can file an appeal but without a Doctors written professional opinion that the cause was “as likely as not” your service noise exposure your case would be difficult at best to prove.

Paul do NOT request your service medical Records the VA will and they can get them faster. If you do it and they are off the shelf for copying to send you a copy and the agent who goes to look for them for the VA can’t find them then the VA gets a report of lost records.

4. Bev – Pls tell your brother my prayers today are for him. If he is no longer living but has left a wife and/or children under 23 behind then they need to contact a CVSO or VSO ASAP.

Parkinson’s, Ischemic Heart Disease (a category that encompasses several heart problems), and B-cell Luekemia are being reviewed for addition to the VA list.

Veterans who served in Vietnam have more than 30 disease, many of which are cancers and soft tissue sarcomas, which the VA recognizes as caused by Agent Orange. This is do to the fact that they ar 2 – 5 times more likely to have then than folks they graduated HS with but did not go to Vietnam. By the VA’s definition if they are diagnosed with type II Diabetes but are controlling it with diet and exercises they are rated 0% do not receive $$, but ARE rated. As the disease progresses they can be re-evaluated and all the secondary problems can be added to the rating. If their death is caused by or significantly contributed to by the rated illnesses then the Surviving Spouse is entitiled to compensation (at a lower rate) and ChampVA Healthcare. Their are numerous “presumptive” illnesses related to Agent Orange. Please see the Vietnam Veterans of America website.

5. Surviving Spouses of Veterans whose death you feel was contributed to by their servicde, exposure to Agent Orange, or Ionizing Radiation, should talk with a CVSO or VSO soon, you may be entitled to monetary compensation and other benefits.

6. Veterans (age 65+ orunable to work due to non-service disabilites) or Surviving Spouses of war-time Veterans whose household income is low due to household medical expenses (Medicare / Health Insur. premiums, co-pays, deductibles, pharmacy, medical prtion of Assisted Living or Nursing Home costs,…) and whose financial assets (not including the primary home if Veteran or Spouse are living in it) are below $80,000 should investigate the NSC Pension program. Based on age, situation, and financial status the VA may be able to subsidise your income.

Contact info:
Your CVSO (usally under the County Gov listings)
Your local VSO’s (DAV, VFW, American Legion,….)

Hope this helps. God bless our Veterans and Thank You for your service!

July 9, 2010 at 12:26 am
(10) ABNSPRTN13B says:

I recently returned from a year long deployment in one of the hottest zones of southern Afghanistan. As a cannon crew member, having fired over 6000 105mm artillery rounds, and with a great number of them being “s***’s going down, get hot!” in the middle of the night, ear pro wasnt always the most readily available or combat effective concern, but was used as often and efficiently as possible. When I joined the army, i had near perfect hearing. Two and a half years later, i have almost no hearing in the 3000hz + range. As an echo H3 profile, its looking like I will no longer be an asset to the service, and face a medical board in my future. This has began to effect my home life as well as remaining future, all be it short, in the military. Any advice from veterans of OIF or OEF? Thank you

October 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm
(11) James says:

I was in the marines,loading grenades all day,went conpletely deaf,hospitaled for two wks,some hearing returned,was medically discharged because of.It has affected my whole life at which now am retired age,tired to get total disability because I can no longer farm because I can no longer hear machinery when its running,VA denied my claim for disability because I have land valued at over 150,ooo.oo. This just does not sound right that even though your disability came from VA that you must count all your assets,and someone with none can get it?

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