Retroactive Medical Retirement For Severe Crohn's Disease Diagnosis? Was Separated With 0% From Both DOD & VA.

KennethCogdell

Registered Member
#1
Was afraid to post my own situation since I have been pretty much dealing with it by myself for a few years now, but a DAV representative I've recently connected to suggested I should to get more help.

Basically I was diagnosed with severe Crohn's Disease while active duty (Air Force) on July 28th, 2014 with a colonoscopy and explicit documentation of related symptoms...inflammation of the entire colon, passing significant blood into the toilet, a 17cm ulcer found in the intestines, excruciating stomach pain, 25 lbs weight loss, just to name a few....However, after going through the entire MEB/IDES process (appeals included), I was given a 0% rating from both the Air Force as well as the VA (from the evaluation at McClellan Hospital in California) and discharged with severance pay.

I tried to fight the case as hard and long as I could during active duty but failed at every encounter. I tried to give it one last shot with NEW and updated evidence explaining the severity of my condition on June 2nd, 2016, a month before my date of separation and formal closing of the IDES. I submitted this evidence with a "VA One Time Reconsideration Form" to which the VA Rep (at that time) said the IDES would be forced to acknowledge before closing it out since I was still technically active duty, and I'm allowed to submit one once during the IDES. The rep actually uploaded it into my IDES file herself through her access to my e-benefits with an annotation forcing the VRO to acknowledge it before closing on my date of separation.

However, after my separation from active duty on July 28th, 2016 I received the VA letter in the mail re-affirming the 0% given, saying that no evidence had been submitted to consider a higher rating. Oddly enough, the new evidence submitted in June was listed under supporting documents. Since then, I have been trying to get any type of help from the government agencies around me (I am currently in Okinawa Japan and am stuck here). The new VA rep appointed will not help me, the attorney's office on base said that can't help me since they are technically "pro government" and will always be on the DOD's side, and even my old PEBLO's office said it's too late to do anything, along with others saying the same. The American Legion here will not respond to me. As of December 2017, I have been rated 30% for Crohn's but don't see the money until my severance gets repaid, so it essentially does nothing.

Because of the rapid pace of which I was forced to separate, I jumped into the first job I could which is why I'm still stuck in Okinawa. I literally can't afford to leave. This job just barely pays the bills and many times I can't even afford my medication which is dangerous in itself, so buy no stretch of the imagination can I afford a lawyer. As much Mr. Jason Perry sounds wonderfully helpful, I can't afford him, so this post is my next best thing.

Do I have a strong enough case to submit this DD Form 149 to the Board of Military Corrections? Everyone person I talked to within reach said I don't have a shot and that it's too late and I read somewhere that you can only do this once? I apologize if I am ignorant on any related subjects as I have been trying to deal with this alone for little while now.
 

Chaps_Z

PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#3
The appeal you need will take quite some time. Many on here can testify it takes years, not months.

In my opinion, you need to find a way to receive VA care as soon as possible. This would eliminate your prescription costs.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
#4
@KennethCogdell ,

I am sorry to hear of your troubles. I will give my input based on what you have stated. Understand that I may not have all the information I would need to provide a full analysis of your situation. (And, of course, this in not legal advice).

I was given a 0% rating from both the Air Force as well as the VA (from the evaluation at McClellan Hospital in California) and discharged with severance pay.
From this, it seems you were both found unfit from the AF and services connected for your Chron's disease.

I tried to give it one last shot with NEW and updated evidence explaining the severity of my condition on June 2nd, 2016
Not sure what steps you took before your separation. You stated you fought your case as long and hard as you could, but, I am not clear if you had a FPEB, or appealed to SAFPC. Bygones, now, as you were ultimately separated with severance pay.
I submitted this evidence with a "VA One Time Reconsideration Form" to which the VA Rep (at that time) said the IDES would be forced to acknowledge before closing it out since I was still technically active duty, and I'm allowed to submit one once during the IDES. The rep actually uploaded it into my IDES file herself through her access to my e-benefits with an annotation forcing the VRO to acknowledge it before closing on my date of separation.
Similar to my comment above, I am not clear what you did here. If you submitted your VARR through the VA Rep and not through the PEB, then I tend to think you did not actually submit a VARR. Procedurally, it is unclear what you did, but, I tend to think you did not exercise all of your rights.

However, after my separation from active duty on July 28th, 2016 I received the VA letter in the mail re-affirming the 0% given, saying that no evidence had been submitted to consider a higher rating. Oddly enough, the new evidence submitted in June was listed under supporting documents.
Seems like your "new evidence" was considered at some point (or at least they referenced it). Still, I am unsure if they actually did a VARR in your case. The timing of your processing suggests that a VARR was not actually done. If you used "non-standard" processing, this might explain this issue.

The new VA rep appointed will not help me,
Maybe fire them and get a new one? If they are useless, not sure why you would continue with them.

the attorney's office on base said that can't help me since they are technically "pro government" and will always be on the DOD's side, and even my old PEBLO's office said it's too late to do anything, along with others saying the same.
That reference and statement about the on base legal office does not seem accurate. I am not sure if you went to the wrong office (you should be seeking the legal assistance office), but, even so, it may not matter. The assistance provided is often within the discretion and local policy of the Staff Judge Advocate, and priority is given to active duty members, then retirees, then others within the SJA's discretion. As far as what your old PEBLO's office said or "others," they are wrong.

The American Legion here will not respond to me. As of December 2017, I have been rated 30% for Crohn's but don't see the money until my severance gets repaid, so it essentially does nothing.
Would need to know more about all of yoru conditions and all of your ratings. I suspect there is more that can be done on the financial end. Do you have other rated conditions? Also, it seems strange, given your timeline, that you would have received an increase to 30% for Chron's even if you submitted a post-separation appeal/NOD. (Did you submit such an appeal/NOD?). What I suspect happened is that someone got around to reviewing your case based on your original submissions that you sent with your (so-called, but, I think it might not have been) VARR and increased your rating. If this happened, you have a very good case for an AFBCMR appeal for disability retirement.

This job just barely pays the bills and many times I can't even afford my medication which is dangerous in itself, so buy no stretch of the imagination can I afford a lawyer.
Have you enrolled in VA Health Care system? Your meds should be covered. If you have not done so, enroll. Do this as soon as possible.

Do I have a strong enough case to submit this DD Form 149 to the Board of Military Corrections? Everyone person I talked to within reach said I don't have a shot and that it's too late and I read somewhere that you can only do this once?
I suspect- as I wrote above- that your original case was reviewed and resulted in an increase in DEC 2017. Right there, you have a good basis for a successful AFBCMR application.

Don't listen to people who have no idea what they are talking about, no experience, and no business offering you input. Do nothing, you will get nothing.

I apologize if I am ignorant on any related subjects as I have been trying to deal with this alone for little while now.
No worries on this. That is why this forum exists, to help people navigate a complicated system.

The appeal you need will take quite some time. Many on here can testify it takes years, not months.
TRUTH!
In my opinion, you need to find a way to receive VA care as soon as possible. This would eliminate your prescription costs.
This is the most important immediate takeaway. If you are enrolled in the VA health care system, your meds should be covered. I see no reason why you should be paying anything. Follow up with this as soon as possible.

I hope this was helpful. Best of luck!

Jason
 
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