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18 years and counting
Old 06-05-2011, 07:41 PM   #1
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18 years and counting

Hello,
I have been in Navy for about 18 years and I am at a difficult time in my life right now, medical retirement. In 2005 I was diagnosed with Dilated Cardiomyopathy. They put me on meds and I was doing fine. In July 2009 my number got called to deploy to Afghanistan, I deployed feeling fine trying to make it through the 6 months. Around December I started to have chest pains, they flew me out to Germany where I was seen at Landstul and they had to implant a defibulator (AICD) in my chest. I have two years left to my 20 and I am scared that they are going to medical retire me out of the Navy. I have never been in trouble, have outstanding evals, board eligible, the list goes on. I have deployed with the Marines 9 times out my 18 year career and I never backed out of any of them. I can still run and do my physical test, the problem is that I cannot deploy anymore. I just feel like there is no loyality, and that I am just a number that can be replaced.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:04 PM   #2
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ScaredSailor, I've asked the mods to move this to a separate thread in the "Hi, I am..." forum so it won't get lost in this thread.

Please take a look at this information in our FAQ section: (FAQ archive) Military member who's confronting an early medical retirement?

Hope it helps.
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Old 06-05-2011, 08:59 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by ScaredSailor View Post
Hello,
I have been in Navy for about 18 years and I am at a difficult time in my life right now, medical retirement.
I have two years left to my 20 and I am scared that they are going to medical retire me out of the Navy.
Welcome to the board, Sailor.

That "about 18 years" straddles a critical number. If you've indeed reached 18 years, and not "just" 17 years/355 days, then by federal legislation you're entitled to be continued on active duty until you reach 20. You may not be eligible for your current rating or certain specialty pays/allowances, and certainly not for some types of duty, but you will earn a pension.

An interim option is limited duty with a medical evaluation board. One of the board's outcomes (especially if you cross the 18-year line during the process) is "temporary disability retirement list". It sounds sucky, and it's medically complex, but financially it's a good deal. Another option is full-blown medical retirement, but I've only seen that applied in cases where the retiree is very close to death. It may be more in vogue today, but the trend has been to avoid it for the wounded.

You need to get yourself educated on the references in that thread REWahoo posted, and then you need to get yourself to the base legal office for a review of your options.

I've never been in your medical shoes, but I'm very familiar with the 18-year issue. You can't send PMs until you have 10 posts, but e-mail me at NordsNords at Gmail if you have more questions or details than you care to discuss on the board.
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Old 06-05-2011, 09:05 PM   #4
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Thanks for your service ScaredSailor. ReWahoo and Nords are good guys and can offer you much better advice than I can.

I can only add my best wishes,

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Old 06-13-2011, 12:45 AM   #5
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I realize that ScaredSailor may not be hanging around here any longer, but a lurker contacted me with additional information. I've learned something new so here it is for the rest of the board:

In his words:
Quote:
Sorry to jump in cold like this. I'm not registered with the ER site but view it regularly and felt the need to respond to ScaredSailor somehow.

I am a retired soldier who faced circumstances similar to ScaredSailor. I was winding down my career as an AGR (Title 32) National Guard soldier (full-time). I was also dealing with a serious kidney disease that ultimately led to the need for kidney dialysis and a transplant.

I too thought that once I hit my 18 year mark, I was safe to get to my 20 years. That is not the case with medical boards. The stance of Walter Reed (and AR 635-40) was a soldier could be medically retired with 19 years, 11 months and 20 days and not have any protection to get to 20 years. The liaison officer said that since I would receive a pension, I had no legal protection to get to finish my 20.

As you know, completing 20 years is huge because of Concurrent Receipt. If ScaredSailor achieves 20 years and is rated as 50% disabled by the VA, he or she is entitled to both their pension and VA compensation. If he falls short of 20 years, he is subject to the offset. He would be a Chapter 61 retiree and they are not entitled to any Concurrent Receipt. There are provisions for Continuation on Active Duty (COAD) in AR 635-40 but in my experience, the Army does not approve those cases often. I would be surprised if the Navy would be very generous either.

This link explains the Chapter 61 situation:
MOAA - Today's Officer: All Disability Retirees Earned Concurrent Receipt

Fortunately for me, everything worked out well: made my 20 years, received my rating from the VA and most importantly, my health is very good. I would hope that everything works out for the other gentleman as well. My advice is to learn the regs inside out and exploit every delay and appeal to gain more knowledge (and waiver/continuation opportunities) while proving that you're worthy of reaching 20. Another thought would be to bring up any other issues now and see them through maximum recovery -- anything that would require additional diagnosis and treatment before reaching 20.

I spent a lot of time on the Veteran's Benefit Network (Veterans Benefits Network Forums). There is a wealth of information regarding the physical evaluation board process on that site in addition to VA and other military benefit issues. On of the moderators in the MEB/PEB area is a medically retired officer by the name of Mike Parker who is a huge advocate for military members caught up in this MEB/PEB process. I'm sure he would be happy to help ScaredSoldier as well. Mike came on the scene not long after my saga ended and, if I recall, he was very upset with how he was treated while in the system himself.
Moderators, I'd appreciate it if you could copy this post to the FAQ Archives thread on "Military member who's confronting an early medical retirement?"

I'll also send ScaredSailor a PM.
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Old 06-13-2011, 02:51 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
I realize that ScaredSailor may not be hanging around here any longer, but a lurker contacted me with additional information. I've learned something new so here it is for the rest of the board:

In his words:


Moderators, I'd appreciate it if you could copy this post to the FAQ Archives thread on "Military member who's confronting an early medical retirement?"

I'll also send ScaredSailor a PM.
Thanks Nords. I've copied it over as you requested.
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Old 06-13-2011, 10:34 AM   #7
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Thanks Nords. I've copied it over as you requested.
Thanks!

It always fascinates me to see what inspires a lurker to decloak. This time it was a very good thing.
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