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A New Visitor to Davao and VA Benefit Information

A New Visitor to Davao and VA Benefit Information

This week another reader from this site came to visit Davao to meet a lady he had met online and has gotten to know over the internet. Since he is a regular visitor, he had contacted me with questions and in interest to meet Elena and me. He also asked if I was free, if we could get together some of the days here since his girlfriend has a job and was not able to get time off during his visit.

Friday late afternoon Elena and I drove to the airport to meet him and his girlfriend and to drive him to his hotel. He also offered to take us to dinner, which we graciously accepted. While we were talking, he mentioned that his girlfriend had to work on Sunday. I mentioned our regular routine on Sundays is going to the Agdao Public Market early, then home to relax a little, then to Gaisano Mall for lunch and to finish our marketing for the week. He was interested in joining us for the day and we offered his girlfriend to meet us at our house for dinner.

During dinner, he mentioned he worked for the U.S. Veterans Administration. He asked me if I was ever in the military.  I told him I enlisted in the Army at the age of 17 but was Honorably Discharged after 97 days for medical reasons. He then asked me if I have applied for, or ever used the VA medical assistance. I told him I was under the impression at I was not able to utilize any of those benefits because of my short time of active duty. He then informed me as long as anyone who has spent a minimum of two days in the military on active duty is available. He also told me, when I return to the U.S. and have had no income for the past two years, not only can I get the medical benefits, it is all free. When I start working, if my income increases above their limits, I will still be able to avail of the benefits but will have to contribute small co-payments.

He also informed me I was able to apply for a VA house loan if ever I can meet the income level needed.

I was amazed and told him, in all the years since I was in the service, I never knew nor was I ever told I could apply for such benefits. He smiled and said, “you have to ask, they do not tell.”

He told me to go to the Veterans Administrations Site and there is a form that I just need to fill out online and by the time I arrive in Las Vegas I will be enrolled and just need to meet with an adviser to set up my needs.

Therefore, if you were ever in the U.S. Armed Services, was on active duty for at least two day and left the service with an Honorable or General Discharge, you can receive many VA benefits.

29 Responses to “A New Visitor to Davao and VA Benefit Information”

  1. roy says:

    Wow Bruce! That’s something! i hope all the best for you!

    • Bruce says:

      Yes, as you get older, especially with the cost, the more you need medical coverage. I left the service in 1972 and for all these years I never knew I could get benefits from the VA. And when I return, without employment or until I earn a higher level, my medical and prescriptions will be free.

  2. SteveinDavao says:

    Bruce, did you recieve a disability rating/payment from the VA? If your disability or reason for discharge was military related, you should be eligible.

    • Bruce says:

      I was discharged with an Honorable Discharge with medical as the reason. Nothing was noted if it was service related. My friend told me to see a VA doctor since the affliction never showed up on my induction physical, but did once I was in the service. He said it I might be able to prove it was caused or exasperated by my time in service and might get a small percentage of disability. I also suffer from recurring tinnitus and that can be caused from the noises at the firing range. That pays a 10% disability.

  3. SteveinDavao says:

    dig,dig,dig, the goverment tells you nothing, it’s up to the person to dig up the info.

    • Bruce says:

      My friend said in the past, they never told you about VA benefits. Now when your discharged there is an advisor that meets with everyone to discuss benefits.

  4. Tom says:

    Certainly worth looking into. Especially the health benefits. They won’t cover your wife but hopefully by the time she needs coverage you can afford to cover her.

    • Bruce says:

      According to my friend, I can defiantly get the medical benefits but only for me. Once ELena gets to America and has a job, she will hopefully get medical as part of her package.

  5. Caesar Erel says:

    Hi Bruce,

    I have a similar story to tell you about being in the US Armed Forces.

    My cousin in the states joined the US Army and along his training, he got into a training accident which no longer permitted him to be “physically fit” to be in the active service. He was discharged then.

    At that time, he has not gone to college. He inquired about any benefits that he was entitled to and fortunately, he was entitled to several benefits like some sort of an allowance (pension?) and he was also given an opportunity to pursue his education free of charge.

    I’m sure Bruce, if inquire more about it to the right channels, you can get Uncle Sam take care of you and your needs as a former enlisted personnel of the US Armed Forces.

    • Bruce says:

      My friend advised me of what I can apply for and asked me if there was any service related medical problems I have. We talked about some items that might be service related and he told me to discuss them with the VA doctor. I am not looking for anything I am not entitled but will try for everything I am.

  6. Ben says:

    I’m sure the wonderful news is a blessing for you at this point in your life. Also, thanks for posting this. I spent nearly 6-months active duty before being discharged because of weak ankles. I, too, thought I wasn’t entitled to benefits. I always thought I had to have 6-months active duty. I will be checking into this. Thanks.

  7. sandy says:

    Bruce, It sounds like you are well on your way. Hope all this information helps you out. S

  8. m60man says:

    Hope it all works out for you. My experience with the VA has been very positive. I was discharged in Jan. 1972. Spent almost 2 tours in Vietnam and was wounded twice. I never applied for or was informed about my benefits back then. About 4 years ago I lost my job again after 10 years to down sizing. For the third time in 3 decades. I new I could make a living working for my self……not getting rich by any means…..but being debt free made that a much easier proposition. However my concern, like most of us was Health Insurance… major problem could easily wipe me out. A friend suggested I go to the VA and look into my benefits. Reluctantly I decided to do so. Now, my advice to you is to go to the VA representative at your local court house…….most all counties have one officed there. He will do all your paper work… will sign forms and give consents…….everything else he will do. Thats his job. You will be notified of appointment dates for interviews and or tests at a VA hospital. If travel is involved they will even reinburse you. I would suggest to make the American Legion your advocate as well……..they have a staff of personel and lawyers that will help you (free) if a problem arises. I was accepted into the VA program within 30 days, 100% coverage with the exception of dental…….zero cost to me. During routine testing the audio tech said I had very dimished hearing in one ear. Not news to me, had that problem for years. She asked me about my job in the service and when I told her I had been a helicopter doorgunner she smiled and ask me if I had ever applied for disablility? No. She said, you need to, they cannot deny you base on your job and these test results A god sent to me. But it did not stop there. My local rep filed for several disabilitiy claims based on our conversations. Over the course of several months I went to appointments and was always treated well and with the utmost respect. All along I’m thinking, I got medical coverage…..great. Nobody has ever given me something for nothing…..I’ve worked all my life and scraped and saved for everything I have. But, if I got a small disability of 10%, wow that would pay my utility bills, or at least help. About nine months later I got a letter in the mail from the American Legion……they informed me that my disability had been approved and I should recieve official notification from the VA in about 30 days. The skeptic in me raised its ugly head as I noticed the application form to join the American Legion attached to the form letter……….hum….helluv a way to get members….think I will wait and see it they know what their talking about. Approximately 2 weeks later I went to the mail box and found a large thick manila envelope from the VA Administration. I felt it… was thick…..I carried it into the house and laid it on the bar. I stared at it for an hour or so……occasionally picking it up and holding it to the light…..laid it down and walked around it a few more times. I was scared to open it. As i stated, no one has ever given me anything. Surely there was only disappointment within the confines of this envelope. I perched myself on the bar stool and took a deep breath……ok lets get this over with. I slowly slid out the 30 plus pages and read the cover letter. Your disability claim has been approved, please refer to the inclosed doucuments and test results. My heart raced as I proceeded to read…..the more I read the harder it became… my eyes were starting to tear up in disbelief. Disability rating of 60%………OMG……this must be a joke…..a dream…..but no, it was fact. My first check arrived about 3 weeks later, retroactive back to the date I filed 10 month ago…..almost $10,000……I could have been drawing disability for the past 34 years…….but I have to be honest……I’m really glad I didn’t……I would have not appreciated it as much or used it wisely as I do now……I thanked my VA Rep for his help and guidance…….he just smiled and said, “Thats my job, your the one that earned it.”

    • Bruce says:

      That is a wonderful story and as I answered to Ben, after my friend telling my of how many have been helped and did not know about it, I felt the need to write this for all to know.

    • Tom says:

      Hey just want want to say no one gave you something for nothing this time either. Two tours in Vietnam, Wounded twice, Medical problems you have had for the last 34 years. You earned every penny. Glad you finally received your due.

  9. sandy says:

    m60man, It seems things worked out for you, that is terrific. S

  10. SteveinDavao says:

    m60man, Thank you for your service to our country, God bless.

    • m60man says:

      Thanks Steve. That means a lot to me. It took 18 years before I heard those words for the first time. They have been far and few between since. But I’m deeply touched each time I hear them. Thank you very much.

  11. Joe says:

    Yes, Bruce you may qualify for a monthly tax free payment since you were medically discharged. If you have a service connected medical issue. I’m a disabled veteran and here in Indiana my children can go to a state college and get a 144 credit hours paid for. You can get tax exemptions on your property and many other little benefits. Each state has different benefits. Veterans may qualify for VA training and Job placement assistance, and preference for placement in some government jobs. Im not a expert on VA matters but have dealt with them personally for several matters. A few years ago, my Dad got 40% disability for his current medical condition, issues from complications from active duty, 40 years later. He finally went to see a VA rep after I keep persisting and now he is getting a tax free check every month. You should definitely talk to a VA rep.

  12. m60man says:

    Hey Joe……I’m from Indiana too……your right there are several benefit……may vary from state to state but still can be very helpful. The property tax exemption was very helpful and lowered taxes considerably. What part of Indiana you from?

  13. Joe says:

    I live in Newburgh Indiana, just north of the Kentucky state line.
    Best Wishes
    leaving for Davao tomorrow morning 🙂

  14. Greg says:

    It brings me a great deal of satisfaction hearing how my agency can help so many. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) had a bad reputation prior to the mid 1990’s, and some of the negativity was certainly deserved. However, since those more challenging days, we have reinvented ourselves. While the VHA still faces challenges in delivering healthcare, as any organization does, I am proud to be part of what many observers, both inside and outside our agency, consider “The Best Care Anywhere”.

    Just to clarify to all, the days of no length of service requirement ended in February of 1980. Anyone entering military service after then is required to have served at least 24 consecutive months of ACTIVE duty before being granted access to our healthcare system. Also, those serving in the Reserves and National Guard are not granted health benefits, unless injured while on duty or those called to active duty by Presidential Order (example: those Reserve/Guard troops called up in recent years to serve in combat zones.)

    As with any program, there are exceptions, exclusions, and qualifications. As some advised previously, service officers are available to assist anyone seeking benefits. They are employed by states, counties, and service organizations (VFW, DAV, American Legion, PVA, etc.) to assist and cut through the red tape.

    Thank you to all that served this country, whether for 1 day or 35 years. You are all appreciated. And let us not forget our Filipino brothers that also served the United States with honor, from WW II through the Gulf War. This special bond between our countries was so apparent to me during my visit, despite the closure of the bases we maintained for many years in the Philippines. I hope the bond our countries have forged through the years continues on.

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