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.
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I really get it reading your story. I am just starting this journey. I find it difficult that some towns outside of the toxic bases I lived at got settlements for contaminated underground well water and such. This goes back to settlements in 2002 and some earlier paid.From what I see our whole country is contaminated. Each base we lived at here and overseas, including the civilians in towns around them.I have 6 brothers and sisters and Five of us have had cancers, liver growths and huge growths on thyroids, to name just a few. Cancers as early as 17 years old.We need them to acknowledge all of us patriots that were there with our military fathers and mothers. Most areWar hero’s too. We trusted our government to protect us.We were told not to drink the water off base at CAFB PI. But on base was toxic there too I found out.We had families living off base coming on base for their water.This is a travesty.These forever chemicals can also affect our kids.We need to know that our parents and our service as dependents for our country is acknowledged and compensated in many ways.Healthcare would be one. Let’s get more info out to the public.I found out about this when Camp Legume started ads on tv.I thought maybe it was the same case as my family.So I started checking. MI found that Camp Legume wasn’t near as Toxic as GAFB and the bases I lived on. Docs have often said that our family had to of been exposed to something.We need to get the public more aware and they will have to listen.I believe that the toxic bases and towns near them are what has caused this huge amount of cancers we have in our country now.Kids, young, and old people When I got stage four melanoma at 26 years old in 1984 it was pretty rare to have cancer at my age and melanoma only affected 1% in the world it was that rare.Now it’s rampant.They have literally poisoned our whole nation and many parts of the world.Forget climate change and abortion people. Let’s save our Vets and their families. I think this will touch every American family to hear this. Everyone has someone in family or friends that have had cancer.it’s the water. The soil and much more.Ammo dumps. They should also start requiring or giving home water filters. Finding Ways to start mitigating it while trying to cure people already affected.Bottled water companies need to be regulated.They are not. A lot come from tap and some from underground water. The plastic bottles alone are dangerous.They say there’s minimal chemicals in the plastic bottles.Really? Who measures the little bit for toxic levels? This is a major crisis.They have known about this since the 60’s and testing in 70’s confirmed How many more have suffer or die before the government deems this important? Who wants to sign their life over to their country and be poisoned along with their families by the very people and country they are pledging allegiance to.
They need to make this right and be monitored while they are doing clean ups on these bases for future towns and people. I read that it would take 40,000 years to really clean up the toxins, radiation etc at GAFB. Yet they have businesses operating on it right now. We played in a dump behind our house a ways that had barrels leaking stuff into ground, old airplane parts and concrete we used as forts. We swam in the pool.We bathed in the water.We played sports in the dirt.We drank the water.We have a crippled nation right now and it’s only going to get worse as all of us are in our 60’s on up. Many have died agonizing deaths alone with no hope that didn’t deserve to die that way. None of us do.