(I)njured service members are discharged on just a fraction of their salary and then forced to wait six to nine months, and sometimes even more than a year, before their full disability payments begin to flow. (...)It gives the impression that a disabled veteran, upon leaving her military base with discharge papers, receives a reduced paycheck until the VA and/or SSA get their shit together to evaluate that veteran. And once the VA does evaluate that vet, which happens within a year, she can expect to actually get two-thirds of her active duty pay. And this is supposed to be an example of the system failing- which I guess it is. It makes me wonder if the writer even realizes that this horrible scenario of hers is orders of magnitude better than what happens to many, many vets.
Most permanently disabled veterans qualify for payments from Social Security and the military or Veterans Affairs. Those sums can amount to about two-thirds of their active-duty pay. But until those checks show up, most disabled veterans draw a reduced Army paycheck.
Just to be clear: I have never heard of a vet receiving a reduced Army paycheck after discharge. Maybe that happens if you get a certain disability rating from the Army on discharge; when I was discharged, I got a zero rating from the military board although I was only able to work part-time at a civilian desk job at the time, and I was told that the military board often gave soldiers zeros when they deserved much higher disability ratings. The policy was to give soldiers as little as possible from the Army and just let the VA deal with them. So maybe you get a bit of an Army paycheck if you're a combat amputee or something, but your average disabled vet doesn't.
So you get out of the Army with maybe some severance pay, a few thousand dollars or so, and it takes the VA 3-4 months to get you into the system so you can apply for disability benefits from the VA, and then the VA takes a year or so to decide your claim. But the VA also has a policy of minimizing payments for disability, and so its quite likely that if the VA even admits that your medical problems are service-connected, they'll minimize your symptoms, and therefore your payments, as much as possible-or more. (The most recent example of this in the news was the hearing on VA administrators directing their subordinates to find that vets with PTSD had "adjustment disorder" in order to save on compensation costs.)
So you've been out of the military for a year, not working because of your disability, and you get a disability rating of 30% or 40%. So you appeal, but appeals don't have a time limit at the VA- they have no incentive to process your claim, so it gets tossed on a pile, and maybe a couple years later someone looks at it. If you're lucky, that someone will take the facts into account and get you the compensation you need; if you're not lucky, they won't, so you appeal again and the wait starts all over- and you're still living on $512/mo.
This is what really happens, this is how vets are really treated. It destroys people's lives and is an absolute disgrace; it irritates me that all anyone talks about are best case scenarios.