The following is a personal story submitted to Civilian Exposure and published as part of our new series: “Contamination Chronicles: Personal Stories of Exposure”. If you would like to submit your story, you may fill out our form here or send directly via email to share-@-civilianexposure.org.
“SERVICE CONNECTED DISABILITY”
The Veterans Administration uses this term meaning active duty service men and women. Mention the word military dependent or civil servant in the VA and the only response you hear is “NEXT”.
I was born and raised in a military family. My father was in the Air Force for 26 years. Two weeks after my 19th birthday, I was in the Marine Corps for the next 4 years, followed by 21 years civil service with the Federal Government. That equals to the first 44 years of my life I was living and working for the Federal Government. But, according to the VA, only my 4 years as a Marine equals service-connected and not the 19 years as a military dependent, nor the 21 years working as a civil servant.
I retired 3 months after my 44th birthday with 25 years of civil service on the old program and not the “FERS” program. From 1969 thru 1979, I both lived and worked on military bases now listed on the EPA’s Superfund list – Griffiss AFB, NY, Anderson AFB, Guam, Camp Pendleton, CA, and Camp Lejeune, NC.
January of 2018, I turned 62 years old and applied for social security, but because I was only employed in the military and civil service, I am only entitled to $132.00 per month with NO possibility of disability.
I’m sure you’ve heard of falling through the cracks. Well, I fell off the cliff!
I received a letter from the VA telling me that I am rated 10% disabled service connected and 100% disabled non-service connected. So after living under a military roof for 19 years, plus 4 years’ active duty and another 21 years in civil service (amounting to a total of 44 years) with the Federal Government, that’s it.
VA Disability and Social Security Disability are both funded by the Federal Government. Yet, the government only wants to pay me 10% disability for my 4 years active duty in the military. The 100% non-service disability the government rates me just happens to be medical conditions I have that are listed in the “EPA Superfund” list and didn’t show until after my retirement, leaving me at the bottom of the cliff and uncovered.
The government pays $2,900.00 for 100% disability.
The government pays me $137.00.
Note from the Editor: The author currently resides in Arizona. The account/editorial is verbatim from the author without edit, with only the omission of their name to preserve anonymity.