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Thread: Disability rating & compensation for newly injured servicemembers; What is the delay?

  1. #1

    Disability rating & compensation for newly injured servicemembers; What is the delay?

    I was put on the TDRL and started receiving disability compensation within months of my injury. Why is it taking so long for this to happen for newly injured servicemembers? What do they do in lieu of it? And why do they have to use TRICARE? Just trying to understand, thanks for any responses.
    Last edited by quadvet; 12-29-2008 at 01:54 PM.

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by quadvet View Post
    I was put on the TDRL and started receiving disability compensation within months of my injury. Why is it taking so long for this to happen for newly injured servicemembers? What do they do in lieu of it? And why do they have to use TRICARE? Just trying to understand, thanks for any responses.
    There are so many factors that play into this that no single reason answers your question. For one, each branch of service differs in process and expediency. The Marines can take 6-12 months; the Coast Guard as little as 45 days. Then the nature of the disability, primarily whether it's permanent, has to be examined through the Med Board and PEB processes, which takes some time (most are not clear-cut cases of catastrophic injury). There can also be legal questions involved in how the individual was injured, slowing down the discharge process. And finally, there's the difficulty added by a two-front war on terror. This brought a wave of new injuries filtering through a peactime system. And heavy turnover due to personnel rotation makes it hard to enact a consistent, across-the-board discharge process that meets today's demands. In one case I handled, a Marine couldn't finish his discharge paperwork simply because his unit was still in Iraq. If I had to sum it all up in one word, it'd be "inefficiency."

    Those servicemembers pending discharge continue to receive their active duty pay until the discharge process is completed. Once they're out and VA settles their claim, many receive disability compensation in lieu of retirement pay (unless retirement is based on 20 years of service, in which case he/she could receive both).

    As for your Tricare question, active duty servicemembers are required to use Tricare because it's the DoD's health care system. In some cases, through Memorandum of Agreement with VA, critical injuries are primarily treated at VA Medical Centers (paralysis, traumatic brain injury, blindness, amputation) while the member is still active duty.

  3. #3
    I would also want to mention that the rules and amount for TSGLI payments are now very different, and most of our OEF/OIF veterans have that money well before they are even discharged from their initial VA SCI rehab hospitalization, but only if someone helps them to apply. Their OEF/OIF VA case manager helps, but often no one tells them about this at military hospitals and certainly not in civilian hospitals.

    (KLD)

  4. #4
    Thanks for those points, Veteran Adviser and KLD. Regarding SCI, I imagine it must be a real juggling act getting housing adaptations, adaptive transportation etc. with the current setup. I'm not referring to anyone in particular, just saying VA and DOD must be swamped by all this. Anyway, thanks for your responses, I may return to this.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by quadvet View Post
    Thanks for those points, Veteran Adviser and KLD. Regarding SCI, I imagine it must be a real juggling act getting housing adaptations, adaptive transportation etc. with the current setup.
    Actually, that's one area where they finally got it right. An active duty servicemember can now get the auto grant and housing adaptation grant from the VA prior to discharge if medical evidence shows the qualifying disability to be permanent. That, along with the Traumatic Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance payment, is far more than any earlier generation of SCI vets received as new injuries. Now if only the VA and DoD could fix their medical record, discharge, and claims processes, the whole system would work much better from start to finish.

  6. #6
    Good info, Veteran Adviser, thank you.

    What about continuing rehab, after initial rehab. Therapies today go far beyond that first few months. Does the VA keep up with that; FES et al, when a spinal cord injured veteran goes home from initial rehab? A couple examples of why I ask this, posted here:

    Quote Originally Posted by 6GunCobra View Post
    [I was at a point where I thought I had gone as far as I was going to go with rehab with the VA...] I feel like I'm floundering around out here. I'm told the first year to 18 months is the best chance for some kind of recovery, but being a complete injury I felt it was kinda like "here's your wheelchair, get good in it."

    Very frustrating and I feel like time is running out.
    Quote Originally Posted by Timo View Post
    That's exactly how I feel about my son's treatment at this moment. He is C6/7 incomplete and he got discharged from VA San Diego in Nov 2008. We live in Oregon and they just have the SCI clinic. VA San Diego ordered the exercise equipments for him but none of them has showed up yet. We called and left the message 4 weeks ago for the PT who ordered the equipments and we have not heard from them.
    We have bad weather for 2 weeks and we can not drive our son to therapy. It would be very nice if he has some these equipements with in reach.
    Having a newly injured veteran feel like "here's your wheelchair, get good in it" is so outdated and so wrong in so many ways.

    Calling, and waiting and wondering, leaves us open to despair and hopelessness. That's why e-mail communication was so effective, and why I was so disappointed when it was stopped. And My Health e-vet still hasn't moved towards making e-comm possible.

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