The life being a military officer is a selfless way of showing love and patriotism to one’s nation and its citizens. Putting your life in danger and knowing that any day during the service could be your last may be the hardest. A veteran is a person who dedicated a part of their lives in the active military, naval, or air service and who was discharged under certain conditions other than dishonorable. Disability compensation is a monetary benefit paid to Veterans designed to compensate them for considerable loss of their ability to efficiently work due to exacerbations or illnesses. The money will never be equated to their sacrifices, but could somehow be a way to honor their efforts done in the span of their service. It is provided to them together with their military retired pay when they qualify for Concurrent Retirement and Disability Pay (CRDP) which includes the following:
- Must have a 50% or greater Veterans Affairs (VA) service-connected rating
- Be retired from military service based on longevity, including Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) retirees; or
- Be retired because of a disability with 20 or more eligible years of service*; or
- Be retired from National Guard or Reserve service with 20 or more eligible years.
Furthermore, Veterans with over 30 percent of disability ratings are entitled to receive additional allowances for dependents. Their children aged between 18 and 23 who are attending school, disabled children who are permanently incapable of self-support before age 18, and dependent parents are also considered as dependents. For Veterans who retired due to disability with 20 or more qualifying years, CRDP is subject to an offset for the difference between retired pay based on disability and retired pay based on longevity. Veterans that have been exposed to radiation or have been diagnosed with chronic and tropical diseases aren’t exempted from the eligibility to receive the monetary benefit. Besides, Veterans who have been diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, at any time after release, can also accept disability compensation. For Veteran prisoners of war who were imprisoned for any length of time, VA assumes the following certain disabilities to be service-connected if they become at least 10 percent disabling to a Veteran any time after military service.
The conditions that may be considered are mental health-related diseases or disorders such as psychosis, anxiety, dysthymia, and organic residuals of frostbite. Post-traumatic osteoarthritis, atherosclerotic heart disease or hypertensive vascular disease, stroke, and their complications, are the conditions that could qualify a Veteran to receive disability compensation. Also, a Veteran who would be needing regular aid and attendance of another person or permanently housebound may be qualified for additional disability compensation or pension payments.
The possibilities of a Veterans’ condition being altered during or after discharge are endless. Thankfully, there are already several trusted organizations that are aiming to help Veterans cope up with difficult situations. Two of the renowned groups are Fisher House Foundation and Hope for the Warriors. They are organizations that were established to provide support to the Veterans through free housing, medical care, and comprehensive support groups for Veterans and their families. Give an Hour is also an organization composed of volunteered professionals that helps Veterans to recover by focusing on their mental health needs.
Peeking through a glimpse of the lives of service-connected disabled Veterans may hopefully become a lesson of gratitude and compassion to us. After all of the sacrifices, military officers will have to do during their service, a huge possibility awaits them—their lives after being released may never be the same again.