Better late than… well, better late…

About having received my VA compensation claim settlement/award letter and was given 70% disability rating. I filed my claim last August, 15 years late (was supposed to do it as part of retirement separation). People urged me to file and not to wait because I’m losing out on disability payment. Well, I didn’t think much of it because I had never been significantly injured while on active duty… okay sore/strained arches from running more than I’m used to at times. Is that it? Is that worth filing a claim?

I never thought in terms of injuries while “off duty” (technically a soldier is on duty 24×7) like when I wrenched my right shoulder in 1986 in the gym. I never thought in terms of filing a claim based on illnesses because the magic word had always been injuries… so I didn’t think about the high blood pressure I have now, which I can trace back to reporting to BNCOC and being checked every day for the first week to monitor my blood pressure (happened again when I went to ANCOC). That’s not to mention the hard fact that I was medically diagnosed with high blood pressure during my pre-retirement physical.

I’m sure I lost out on whatever disability percentage rating I would have gotten upon retirement. However, a significant part of the 70% overall rating is for having diabetes and being on insulin for it. Diabetes didn’t show its ugly head until well after my retirement date, with insulin coming along only a few years ago. I would have had to keep going back to the VA and re-filing updated claims to get my disability rating increased with each new or worse illness.

Shit, I should claim that my smoking is service related and say that I didn’t smoke until I started seeing C-rations with the one cigarette packed in them, which started my tobacco addiction, which back then was encouraged by the Army (smoke ’em if you got ’em breaks).

Whatever. Pending seeing the actual payment deposits starting April, I’m happy with my 70% rating now. Wondering how much I lost having waited this long is water under the bridge already.

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