January 19, 2011

word on the street is ur Retirement Findings r back ...

Posted by meli on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 in | No comments

Yes they are!
I know you have all been dying to hear the news.
And the only thing I gave you is that they frustrated me, a lot.
Left you wondering.
I'm so mean! lol
So, without further adieu ...
Our retirement findings = 80% TDRL

Now, compensation/money wise, we couldn't have done better. Retirement pay peaks at 75% of your base pay. A higher military disability rating wouldn't get us any more money. I find that to be a crock for those earning a rating of 90 and 100 %, but whatev.

Where it gets sticky for us, and the parts that have me frustrated (there are a few)  it seems as though they are once again proving that they can do whatever the fuck they want, regardless of any sort of rules, regulations, guidelines, laws.

Both his TBI and his PTSD ratings were smaller then we anticipated based on what our lawyer calculated they would be when we had the thing reviewed before sending it up. Quite frankly, legally speaking, they are both lower then they should be.

His PTSD was rated at 50%, which is the % used for mild PTSD. 70% is what it is for moderate, and his records show him labeled as moderate. TBI they rated him at a tier 2 (40%), when his records indicate him to be a tier 3 (70%). It's frustrating as hell that they act above the law. Gaw! (really quick for you math whiz's out there, you may have just caught on to me saying he was rated a 50% for PTSD and a 40% for TBI, add those together and you already have 90% ... so where is this 80% coming from? It's a complicated little system they use to determine your overall disability rating. They start with the highest, and calculate the next highest % to that, take that number, and calculate the next, and so on and so on).

And the other frustration is that TDRL head scratcher I left you with up there!
His rating came back as temporary as opposed to permanent. Basically they are saying that his PTSD w/Depressive Disorder hasn't yet stabilized to a point where they can permanently rate him for it. So, in a year (Feb of 2012 to be exact), he'll be reevaluated to see if there is evidence that his condition has stabilized. If deemed stable, they'll either keep the rating the same, or lower it based on where his stabilization falls, and make it permanent. If they don't yet feel his condition is stable, they can extend the temporary status again, and again ... up to a total of 5 years! (generically speaking, if they feel enough progress has been made when they reevaluate, they can even pull you off of the temporary retirement status, and stick you back on active duty. But, that wont happen to Nick because of all of the other conditions he has that renders him unfit for duty. So, atleast we don't have to worry about THAT! Love the silver lining, lol.)

So why then does this bother me so much? You mean, aside from the fact that it means we are not yet DONE with the fucking military?! I'll tell you why. Because the reason they gave for his condition not yet being stable is complete and total BULLSHIT!

Going to go breathe for a moment, be right back...

Ok, better. My fingers where starting to move so fast, my mind whirling, the cuss words flying ... I am once again centered, lol.

He has been dealing with PTSD (with added depressive disorder coming a little bit later) for 7 1/2 almost 8 years now. Even based on their regulation, they can extend temporary status for up to 5 years before it HAS to be rated as stable and permanent. He's already exceeded that time line! But because of his thyroid cancer they are making the claim that they cannot accurately determine the severity of his PTSD/Depression because his thyroid levels are not yet under control. Never mind the fact that all the way up until the time at which he had the second half of his thyroid removed; his thyroid levels were spot on. The cancer itself didn't affect his thyroid function at all. Having the first surgery (only 1/2 of the thyroid removed) didn't affect his hormone levels AT ALL. After the second surgery, having the remaining bit of thyroid removed, his hormone levels took an immediate dive, and they have not yet been able to get them under control. Yet his PTSD/Depressive Disorder symptoms have remained the same as they have for years. I mean he has highs and lows, but no more / no less then he's had through-out. It's as stable as it's going to get.

It's just frustrating. The thought of dealing with the military for another year (or 5) is really messing with my psyche. Nick wont have any dealings with the military whatsoever in that year. No work. No checking in. No nothing until that reevaluation happens. But still, his medical health will still be all wrapped up in and controlled by the military. If he fucks up, or misses dr appts (which totally limits our travel ability, btw!), or they "feel" he is not adequately living a life conducive to getting better ... they can strip it all away! It's a hanging over the head, weight on the chest, always looking over your soldier kind of pressure that I am SO fucking OVER!

Nick has an appt with his lawyer on Friday (who is both out of state AND new. The lawyer he had been working with this whole time was suddenly relocated to Hawaii ... TODAY! Word came down mid week of last, and he left today. That is SO our luck! We felt comfortable and taken care of with him. This new one, who knows. Guess we'll see on monday) to go over all of this. With lab results of his thyroid function prior to, during, and after both surgeries, as well a statement from his therapist explaining that his ptsd/depression wasn't notably affected by hypothyroidism. We also have copies of the military regulation articles that clearly state the rating charts, and what Nick *should have been rated at. It's possible that the lawyer may be able to work directly with the people at the board for an informal appeal to just have the stuff changed (his old lawyer had direct contact with that Colonel. Not sure what connections the new lawyer will have). If not, we'll most likely be filing a formal appeal and sending our lawyer down to represent our case. We could go and present it all ourselves, but I think I'd rather send representation. Someone who knows the law and can fight it. Plus military bureaucracy at it's finest ... it's much easier to intimidate a soldier who really can't speak too candidly to a Colonel, then it is to intimidate a lawyer whose job it is to know the law ... and who can't be punished through the military for disrespecting the judgement of an officer.

So, this whole process will stretch out for a bit longer, again. Most likely an added 3-4 weeks total. Again, the % changes (if they give them to us) wont up our disability retirement pay, but the numbers will play into our va disability claim when we file it, so it's very important that they accurately reflect our case. Our va disability compensation is just as, if not more important then our retirement compensation. The ratings should be easily changed, so we have to fight it. And if there is a chance we can get this temporary rating bullshit taken care of ... well that's all I need to hear to have hope!


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