So, I was having a conversation with a Vietnam Vet at the cancer center today and he hasn’t applied for Agent Orange disability evaluation though he has a “presumptive” diagnosis of an A.O. related disease. He feels guilty about applying for it when he had some many buddies with traumatic injuries. This is a common theme among this age group. They don’t want to take anything away that may benefit their shipmates or fellow soldiers/airmen/marines.
Now, after about a 15 minute discussion. I learned that he had done 3 tours in S.E. Asia. (S.E.A.)So, I said, what were the majority of your peers doing in the U.S. while you were deployed to S.E.A. We discussed protests/draft/volunteering in the services while others ran to Canada. I was finally able to drive it in that this is a benefit earned by his service and sacrifice, and not a hand out. He finally understood what he had earned.
As our veterans age and our on a fixed income, the VA, may be their health care umbrella. If they aren’t in it, when the need it, they will end in a very long line to see the appropriate specialist.
If you have a veteran friend/family member/co-worker, please encourage him/her to at least get into the VA system.
When I went to med school in 1998 and retired from he navy in 2015, I had to go the the Transitional Assistance Program (TAPS). Mandatory week training if you wanted to get out of the service. They went over all of the benefits, etc. A VA representative came and lectured for 3 hours. These older vets were handed their walking papers and told to not let the door hit them in the butt on the way out.