We’ve had a whirlwind couple of days here in San Antonio!
The biggest reason for stopping in San Antonio was so that we could visit the VA and the local DAV chapter in hopes that someone, anyone could give us some help with Michael’s VA benefits claim/appeal. We stopped and talked with people in the medical eligibility department, the benefits department and with a DAV rep.
We spent from about 8:45 am to 3:30 pm at either the VA or the Audie Murphy VA Hospital speaking with various people. To make a very long day short:
- Michael had appealed approximately 10 decisions. 5 of those issues he was given a 0% rating and the rest were determined to be ‘non-service connected’ all because he has not had a physical. We were originally told that the appeal process could take from 3-5 years – the appeal was logged January 14, 2014….almost a year ago so we could have up to 4 more years to wait! We were advised to cancel the 5 appeals on the 0% issues and continue the appeals on the remaining issues. By canceling the appeals on the 0% issues he can now request a percentage increase on those issues. With at least a 10% disability rating he will be able to draw compensation. The percentage increase request can take 12 – 18 months…considerably less time.
- The DAV rep we worked with filed the request for cancellation of the appeals on those items as well as requested that a DRO (Decision Review Officer) been assigned to his case.
- We also met with a medical eligibility officer who completed the process of getting Michael’s eligibility for medical care at a VA facility established. Something we’d never been told he had to do before. We didn’t have everything she needed but took it to her the next morning.
- We also found out that he is eligible for medical care at VA facilities for any issues (not just service related) for 5 years after separation because of his tour in Iraq…so he has until September 2017.
This was the most information and the furthest we’ve gotten since Michael’s retirement 2 years ago…it felt GOOD that we were actually moving forward. We will be coming back in January on our way back to the oil patch to follow-up on a few things:
- Meet with the eligibility officer to turn in a questionnaire regarding Michael’s service in Desert Storm because of the chemical warfare that our soldiers were exposed to.
- Get his VA medical eligibility card issued – he could have gotten it made this visit but her equipment wasn’t working.
- Get assigned to a VA doctor and have an initial appointment.
- Meet with Mr. Gilligan, the DAV rep, so that he can look through Michael’s medical records for reference and also start a claim for Michael’s Tinnitus that was somehow overlooked on his original claim.
After completing our business at with the VA we took in a movie at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. We ended up seeing the newest Hunger Games movie and both enjoyed it. This particular theater allows you to order food, snacks, drinks etc from the comfort of your seat. Waiters come around and pick up your order slips throughout the movie and even drop off the check before the end of the show. It was great…and more affordable than we expected. $6.00 for a large bowl of popcorn with unlimited refills and $4.00 for a huge soda, once again with unlimited refills.
We stopped at Souper Salad for dinner before heading home after a very long day. They have a great selection of salad fixins, soups, pasta, breads, baked potatoes and desserts.
We left the house around 7:45ish this morning so that we could drop off copy the paperwork needed to confirm Michael’s medical eligibility. We wanted to beat the ‘rush’ and did as Michael didn’t have much of a wait before getting into see the eligibility office.
Afterward we stopped at Denny’s to get some breakfast…nothing fancy just a couple of the Grand Slam breakfasts.
From there it we made stops at Lowes and Home Depot to pick up some items for a few small projects. Then to the commissary to pick up groceries for our upcoming Christmas celebration with the kids and grandkids. We’ll have more groceries to pick up next week while we’re in Arkansas. We also stopped at the Class Six Store (liquor store) to pick up some requests from the kids. We must have looked like a couple of amateurs (probably because we are!) trying to figure out what was what and where things were!
Before heading home for the day we headed back off post to Jimmy Johns for an early dinner. Jimmy Johns is our favorite sandwich shop and Michael had seen it earlier in the day and couldn’t get it out of his head….so Jimmy Johns it was!
Tomorrow we leave San Antonio and head northeast….