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For The Veteran: The First Year After Discharge

Most people exiting military service are eager to get home to family and friends. Near the end of their term of service, they go through medical screening to theoretically ascertain their medical status–including any impairment or loss of function due to their military service. It is an unfortunate fact that veterans are returning home with impairment and disabilities in much greater numbers than was the case in previous conflicts.


In their eagerness to pass quickly through the medical-screening process–and to avoid the delays that come with reporting any impairment or medical condition which has, is, or may cause disability–some service folks are simply taking what they think is the “high [read: “fast”] road” out of the military. They’re not reporting the loss of function they are experiencing. Moreover, they may be in denial about mental or emotional symptoms that persist. They just “suck it up”. . . part of the time-honored military culture of being self-reliant, resilient, and just plain “tough.”

The Reason for This Discussion

The point of this brief discussion is not to be critical, but to focus attention on problems you may face that are a consequence of your military experience. You may be less able to function back in “the world” as you once did. If so, you need to get to your nearest VA Medical Center and report your symptoms and your problems. Tell the doctors and the other medical personnel (nurses, physician assistants, therapists, etc.) everything that is restricting you in living your life–what medical people refer to as ADLs (Activities of Daily Living).

Get Treatment

If you are experiencing physical limitations from a part of your body that was injured while in the service, get treatment and medical attention for it–preferably at a VA sanctioned medical facility. If you are having emotional or psychological dysfunction that connect back to your experiences in the military, this can be as disabling as physical injuries–get treatment, get counseling. Do not delay.

If the physical limitations from your service-connected injuries have reduced your ability to function and earn a livelihood, then you need to make a claim for service connected disability. If your psychological symptoms are persistent and hinder you in acquiring or maintaining employment and/or social relationships, then you need to make a claim for that service-connected disability as well.

  • If you are still within one year from the date of your discharge, then you may be entitled to retroactive benefits going back to the date of discharge. If you let the first year go by without making your claim for service-connected disability, you probably have lost the option of getting any retroactive benefits before the date you finally make your claim with the VA.

  • If you have service-connected disability, make a claim with your local VA Regional Office. If you are still within one year from the date of discharge, get your claim on file before that year has passed.

  • Even if you are now past the year, get your claim on file with the VA for your service-connected disability.

Contact UsIf you feel like the VA has not fairly addressed your claim for disability, contact this office and we will do our best on your behalf.


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