PSP Questions



Question #1 
I was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer last year. Since then, I've had surgery and undergone radiation treatment. I now have meds I must take daily for the rest of my life and the possibility of the cancer to resurface. I also struggle with controlling my anger/patience. I'm with US Air Force special operations and have been perfectly healthy for the past 9 years. I had a physical in January of 2015, went to US Army Ranger School a couple months later, had another physical, and the cancer was discovered.  Needless to say, I came in the military healthy, and leaving not so healthy. I plan on getting out next year and was just curious if I would be eligible for any type of disability?

A1:  Document this and everything else. Get a copy of your complete medical file. Anything you were treated for in service is deemed service connected up to one year after discharge. I suggest you get with a VSO on base and start building a claim. (PD) 3/24/2016
A2:  Answer one is a good one.  You are correct that if you did not have the thyroid cancer when you entered the service and it occurred on active duty then you will be service connected for the residuals of the thyroid cancer if they have removed the thyroid and/or it has gone into remission.  I would also get an Independent Medical Opinion in my Service Medical Records of any and all residual diagnosis of the secondary conditions to thyroid cancer.  The next thing that I would get a diagnosis on is the anger/patience.  If you are a combat veteran it is a good chance that this might be a residual of trips to a combat zone.  Or if your live has been in danger.  The other thing to do is to get a diagnosis on active duty and file for a disability rating prior to separation.  The other thing is that if you have disabilities for thyroid cancer, PTSD/Anxiety/ Depression you may have enough to request a PEB for an Honorable Discharge due to disabilities incurred on or aggravated by active duty.  Your career NCO/Officer and/or Family Support Center should have someone to counsel you on your options. (CP) 3/25/2016
A3:  It sounds like your cancers were discovered while you were serving.  Your emotional symptoms sound like PTSD.  Both wound be conditions eligible  for VA disability status.  You should see a Service Officer certified by one of the primary veterans organizations (VFW American Legion, etc)  to get help filing a claim.  Don't do it yourself.  Trained help will get you through the claims process in the most efficient manner.  Good luck to you and thank you for your service. (KCS) 3/27/2016
A4:  I have fought with the VA for 15 years because of the cancer I have.  I even went to Waco in front of the board and showed them I was sprayed in Vietnam.  Their question was "What was I sprayed with?" If I can't tell them what I was sprayed with than it would be denied.  You can't win.  Get a lawyer.  (GLE)  4/4/2016
A5:  All answers sound accurate and I am adding a few comments for clarity.  I had my thyroid removed within 1 year of discharge but VA denied despite a well documented history because of the language used in my claim.  For best chances of obtaining a rating, have your records reviewed by a Veteran Service Organization before leaving service, especially for thyroid cancer and endocrinopathy (which is presumed service connected and requires no burden of proof).  Also, file a disability claim with VA now to obtain a rating prior to leaving the military.  Finally, instead of pursuing a discharge, consider pursuing a medical disability discharge.  Your challenge will be the resistance by DoD to acknowledge a pensionable rating or disability discharge.  If you are functional, then your service will find disabilities but with no impact on ability to perform duties.  Finally, copy every medical document, every physical, lab, X-ray report as well as mobilization orders, overseas TDY/TDA and evaluations.  (SH)  4/4/2016

A6:  Tks for your service. Ans 1,2 and 3 are all correct. You need to get your medical evidence together, contact your VSO or VFW your call and request assistance in filing your claim. Hopefully your seeing a medical advisor for your conditions cancer and PTSD symptoms. Get started sometimes aging records can be difficult to obtain and the longer you wait the greater the risk. Your conditions sound legit  and you should follow through on the claim also keep your family informed as to what you are doing, this could take some time. Good luck.  (HC) 4/5/2016

A7:   It dose not matter if your injuries are combat related or not. The key word is Service Connected (happened while in the service).  (HC)  4/5/2016
A8:  You may wish to read through 38 Code of Federal Regulations regarding Veteran disability.  This is the total and inclusive law which governs such issues.  There also likely are other laws which pertain to disability created/discovered while on active duty.  I too believe you can make a claim for disability for up to 2 years from separation, but this needs to be confirmed.  You may be eligible to file with the Veterans' Administration NOW for disability and compensation. Some rules govern this, not the least of which is do you still have the issue, is it disabling, is it permanent, and are you precluded from working due to this disability or a combination of disabilities.  The VA has a governing rule under 38 CFR, regarding IU (Individual Unemployability) for which you need to file with the VA.  This is governed by the rating and combination of ratings under the VA's evaluation (which can also include any private doctors).  IU is granted if you have a single issue of 60% and a combination of issues no less than 70%.  In that case, the VA will pay you for total disability and your care will not be subject to a financial means test, for anything.  Your spouse would become eligible for medical coverage entitled CHAMP VA.  Any children you have, and your spouse, would become  eligible for financial assistance to college up to age 27 under Chapter 35 regulations. This would be approximately $1,000 a month for each child up to 36 months (assuming 9 months a year).  This can be for undergraduate or graduate education.   On a state level, benefits are in addition to federal regs, such as California waives the cost of all fees for your children to attend a state college.  There are so many other things fir which you would receive notice. I wish you well.  You likely will be subject to an independent compensation and pension exam.  This is a BS evaluation, so if you have any private records, letters, reports, etc., take a copy to that exam, even though you will be instructed to leave them at home.  These doctors do not want to look bad and be in conflict with what specialists have evaluated.  Your military medical records referred to by others, would be handy to have, that a private physician with specialization in the field can issues a report. Lastly, the law requires that if there is a discrepancy in evaluation between the VA and the veteran, the benefit MUST find for the veteran.  I trust there exists a similar guideline for active duty personnel.  Wish you all success... and health.  (NB)  4/17/2016
A9:  I think answer 8 is a very good one. There are so many in's and out's to filing a good claim that I think a good understanding for the overall process is needed and reading Federal Code 38 is a great start. I would also find a experienced VSO to talk with now before you get ready to retire. VSO's are not all the same, some have far more experience than others and you should find one who are been doing it a while. Start working the support needed for you claim now....don't wait.  (LG)  5/21/2016
A10:  A DX of anything, documented in your SMR = VA SC. Just remember, Paper, paper, Paper Trail. The easier you make it for the VA Rating Dept to verify your conditions, the faster your FDC will go.  (GD)  6/6/2016
A11:   You may file for compensation only, and I say only, if you can tie your thyroid cancer to your time in service. If not then no you cannot file for compensation.  (TVH)  7/31/2016
A12:  I highly recommend you go find/see a qualified VA accredited rep sooner than later to get guidance on what to do and when the time comes they can help you file for what is needed.  (LG)  8/4/2016
A13:  It is called 'Service Connected Disability because you were in thee military. Not only can you claim Disability through the Military, you can also claim SSD with the Social Security for you and your wife and any children.  (JK)  8/12/2016   

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Question #2 


Does a qualified veteran living in a Veteran's State nursing home continue to receive Aid & Attendance?  He is completely incapacitated physically and mentally.


A1:  If he is in a nursing home why would he receive Aid and Attendance? For what?  (LG)  5/21/2016
A2:  Find a qualified VA accredited representative to help you with the answer to this question and more.....they are trained to help you.  (LG)  8/4/2016 


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