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15yrs and NAVY says you must retire???
Old 01-16-2008, 07:16 PM   #1
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15yrs and NAVY says you must retire???

Good afternoon folks

here is the scoop. after 15yrs of faithful service in the Navy i was just diagnosed with Crohnes. Im being told that i will more than likely be medically retired. Im about to accept the csb/redux payment but if im retired im afraid ill have to pay it back. anyone out there been in a similar situation? I dont want out, in fact ive been trying to go back to sea again. i really want to finish my last five yrs and retire normally. any thoughts?

thanks
mike
USNavy warfare information systems technician 1st class
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Old 01-16-2008, 08:48 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by mberg501 View Post
Good afternoon folks
here is the scoop. after 15yrs of faithful service in the Navy i was just diagnosed with Crohnes. Im being told that i will more than likely be medically retired. Im about to accept the csb/redux payment but if im retired im afraid ill have to pay it back. anyone out there been in a similar situation? I dont want out, in fact ive been trying to go back to sea again. i really want to finish my last five yrs and retire normally. any thoughts?
thanks
mike
USNavy warfare information systems technician 1st class
Welcome to the board, Mike.

If you're up in PACNORWEST you might want to look up Steve McFarling, who had a similar retirement about six-seven years ago. His issue was slightly less serious than yours but he was medically retired. He claims it's the best thing that ever happened to him. As one of his shipmates working with his former chain of command, I have to agree with that.

If you're in San Diego I have another shipmate you may want to talk to, especially if you're interested in medical LIMDU shore duty at a training command. PM me if you want the info.

The govt may feel entitled to recoup CSB if you don't go the 20. However there are many out there who feel that CSB is already a bad deal, not the least of which is the fact that your retirement COLA would be reduced by 1% for the rest of your life (with a one-time catch-up at age 62). For example, take a look at page 4 of this PDF: https://statmc.usaa.com/mcontent/sta..._08_2007_09-11

Considering the possibility that you'd have to repay what's already a bad deal, I'd turn down the CSB.

Since you're going to become quite the expert at distinguishing among various people's opinions (of various credibility) regarding your benefits, I'd strongly recommend reading a copy of Chris Michel's "Your Military Advantage" (Amazon.com: The Military Advantage: A Comprehensive Guide to Your Military & Veterans Benefits: Books: Christopher P. Michel,Norman Schwarzkopf). You may also want to browse the boards at Military.com for medical retirements or Crohn's, as well as United States Navy - Together We Served. Someone on those boards has no doubt forgotten more than either of us will ever learn about our medical benefits.

One final idea would be the guys who've been medically retired at Grunt's Military Site - Your Online Resource for Military Info . That discussion board has all the nurturing warmth you remember receiving from your recruit-training company commander, but despite their utter lack of tact or finesse they have the experience to tell you the facts. Tell Ltldoc I said "Hey."

Speaking as a former staff weenie who had to arrange MEDEVACs, even if you're the CNO's Sailor of the Year there's no way any medical officer wants you on a ship-- even an aircraft carrier or a flagship. The sea duty stress (to say nothing of the galley cuisine) would not improve your symptoms.

However one of my commands was a training site with several dozen instructors on medical LIMDU. The Navy made every accomodation to handle their life-threatening conditions, and as you can imagine these guys were a bunch who had to be internally motivated to perform. You've spent 15 years getting the experience-- why not pass it on to all those clueless trainees who otherwise would send our service to hell in a handbasket? If you can pass an instructor screening, it's a great place to take care of your health (and, if applicable, your loved ones) while you finish out your 20.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:58 PM   #3
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Good on ya, Nords.
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Old 01-17-2008, 09:51 AM   #4
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Hey Mike,

Welcome to the board and best of luck! I have a buddy in the AF with 15 yrs in that was diagnosed with MS. He went to a medical review board and they talked about retiring him. He really wants to stay til 20. In addition to the normal package he wrote a letter to the board with his OPRs and his last 3 PT scores. Basically said Yes I have this, we are treating it, performance still meets standards, so let me stay a little longer as I can still contribute and you have invested a lot of money into me. If it gets worse we will go this route again and revisit.

AF said makes sense to us, but you are now non worldwide qualified for deployment. He has a staff job and doing fine.

Tomcat98
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Old 01-17-2008, 10:25 AM   #5
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Welcome, Mike

Not sure how it works in the Navy, but from what I recall in the Air Force dealing with some individuals with medical issues, there are two boards. One is a medical review board and the other is a physical review board. The medical board in composed of doctors who are supposed to do an unbiased review of the medical findings and make a recommendation as to whether you are medically fit for normal duty, including overseas assignments, etc. If they decide you are not fit, your case then goes to a physical review board that determines, based on your duties and the service's needs, whether you can remain on active duty. I assume the case that Tomcat98 mentioned involved a positive ruling from the physical review board.

Since you say you were just diagnosed, it sounds like you've only been referred to the medical review board (assuming the Navy has the same thing). Whatever happens, make sure you get the maximum disability that you are entitled to, it will make a difference in your VA tax free income and VA benefits.

Edit: Just found this Navy link to their physical review board, it's called the Physical Evaluation Board. It's directed by Title 10, so they have to give you a fair hearing on the physical part of your situation versus your duties.
PEB

The PEB investigates the nature, cause, degree of severity, and probable permanency of the disability concerning the service member referred to the board. The board evaluates the physical condition of the service member against the physical requirements of his/her particular office, grade, rank or rating. The PEB provides a full and fair hearing as required by 1214, Title 10 United States Code (10 U.S.C 1214), and makes findings and recommendations required by law to establish the eligibility of a service member to be retained on active duty due to fitness, or separated or retired from the service because of a physical disability.
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Old 01-17-2008, 02:16 PM   #6
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Mberg;
This website has some info on particulars of PEB/MEB from those who've dealt with it:
Veterans Benefits Network - Message Board - Yuku

I was at risk due to some injuries that would not allow me to 'officially' stay in my specialty (2 GSW and broken neck) - the docs and command worked with me and we kept it below the threshold where they'd HAVE to PEB/MEB. With that said, everything was well documented so when it came time for my VA claim after retirement I had no issues with evidence.

From a $$/benefits perspective do your homework - those 'medically retired' aren't getting the same deal as full retirement for service...yet. I knew another soldier with crohns who finished his 20...as someone alluded to previously, he finished out his time as an instructor, which in turn gave him more time to prep for post-mil life.

best of luck,
1-0
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Old 01-26-2008, 01:24 PM   #7
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Mike,

I am in the Air Force and work at a medical clinic and see these cases a lot. Usually in the Air Force anyway when going through an MEB board with 15 years of service 70% of the time they are returned to duty just not worldwide qualified and limited assignment availability. So basically put on an assignment availabilty code limiting certain places that you can go so that you can stay near a medical facility to give you the care needed and finish out your career. Good luck!
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Old 01-29-2008, 01:07 PM   #8
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wow i cant believe the information you all have provided so quickly thanks.
well i have been officially informed that i am being sent to the MEB/PEB next month as my overseas/sea duty screening didnt go too well as you all might have guessed, i had to try right? anyway. my next question to you all is is there a possibility that the navy could just seperate me and not medically retire me?
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Old 01-30-2008, 11:36 PM   #9
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wow i cant believe the information you all have provided so quickly thanks.
well i have been officially informed that i am being sent to the MEB/PEB next month as my overseas/sea duty screening didnt go too well as you all might have guessed, i had to try right? anyway. my next question to you all is is there a possibility that the navy could just seperate me and not medically retire me?
1994-97 I was stationed at a command near a major medical facility where a significant minority of the servicemembers included those with life-threatening conditions. Some of these situations came about of their own misconduct and others were just unfortunate circumstances.

The Navy did their best to keep these people on active duty. If they couldn't continue to show up for work then they were medically retired, frequently via the TDRL with periodic reassessments. In over three years there, during one of the military's largest drawdowns, the only people who were discharged at EAOS were those who earned it via urinalysis or police reports.

During one administrative hearing a military lawyer asked me if I thought it was possible that a servicemember's prescription medications could interfere with the urinalysis results and give a false positive for, oh, say, uhm, for example, "crack cocaine". I said that I'd be willing to listen to expert testimony from the Navy Drug Lab, but he saw my facial expression and he challenged me for prejudice (it was his option). Five minutes later he'd challenged the entire admin board and we adjourned to the CO's office for the next round.

When the new admin board convened the lawyer was out of challenges so the board consisted of three mustangs with about four centuries of collective military experience. The police report was read in as evidence along with the drug lab results. Five minutes later it was all over, and so was the member's career.

It's worth trying to meet the chain of command halfway by doing whatever you can to qualify for whatever type of shore duty you can find, especially if it's instructor or security duty. If you have a clear record of "I'm just happy to be here and willing to do whatever it takes to get to 20" they they'll try to find you a place to do it. Training commands are some of the best places for doing it.

A more cynical perspective is that DoD will bend over backwards to avoid throwing servicemembers out without benefits. Aside from the fact that you've earned your benefits, especially in this current media spotlight they'll work very hard to support a medical retirement. As far as they're concerned it's certainly cheaper than the cost of the adverse publicity...
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