Spondylitis Association of America
Posted By: lrkelley where to start? - 03/24/09 05:25 PM
Hello all,
Here's a quick glimpse of my story. After several years of back pain while in the service and nothing was found eventually I was honorable discharged due to weight gain(due to AS). While out of service just like the rest of AS patients pain would come and go in the beginning and as it got worse I was finally diagnosed around the time the Iraq war started. I thought about applying for VA benefits but I honestly felt bad about doing that since we had fellow Vets coming back with lost limbs etc. However know I am in my mid 30's I don't have a fused spine yet but every breath I take hurts(a lot of rib cage pain) It is getting to the point where I think I only have 10 years or less to be able to be the bread winner in my family. I have 5 kids that keep me on my toes. I guess my question is where should I start with the process of applying for benefits? Is one organization better than others in helping you out with the process? Any help appreciated and a thanks in advance.

LR Kelley
Posted By: lrkelley Re: where to start? - 04/02/09 04:09 PM
Posted By: BobbyB Re: where to start? - 04/02/09 10:29 PM
I think that any service organization would be a good place to start. I feel like I'm in the same boat as I'm also am a peace time vet. I've been going to the VA for over 20 years and I feel the same way, but I also know I need the care.

When you were in the service did you go on sick call? If you did you might want to request a copy of your service medical records. They might help you establish a claim. It might not hurt to just go to the VA and apply. I was hoping someone else might reply to you. I'm not that much of an expert but I can give you my two cents worth. I was discharged from the Army in 87 and went into the VA system for my knees. Now I'm trying to get my AS covered. My pain is mainly in my hips but it's geting into my back. The VA didn't even give me an exam for my hips so I've gone to my family doctor to get a statment saying that AS is conected to my Army service. That my be an avenue you need to do as well. If you have a statement, it helps to establish a claim. Hopefully someone else will post on this as well.
Posted By: lrkelley Re: where to start? - 04/03/09 06:16 PM
Yeah I was hoping to get some more help thanks for your info BobbyB after 44 views you where the only one to reply guess Ill do some homework the old fashion way GOOGLE it haha.
Posted By: Numafan Re: where to start? - 04/06/09 03:30 AM
Alright- Was stateside- 1st persian gulf veteran- Honorable discharge after 4 years-
Have 2 kids and beautiful wife-
Was diagnosed in 1992 when I got out- filed a claim with VA
Was diagnosed 10 percent service connected and because of uveitis and other problems am 30 percent service connected-
my son is going to California UC with no fees or tuition because I am service connected- I earned it- I served- in the end when you look at all those headstones- they all served- some had opportunities of heroism and some sat in a basement for years filing paperwork- they all served and its not about what you deserve its about you taking care of our lady now she needs to take care of you- get to it!
you are your own best researcher and advocate
And are you kidding me? Sorry for the bluntness but I would rather have been missing a leg than have my AS- although its made me who I am today and would not change that-
Do it for your kids- act as one of them has it -what would you do then? be relentless- I am a fire engineer for over 20 years now- didnt think i would last 5 years- take one day at a time! screw the AS- treat it like a bad neighbor- dont ignore its there, dont think about it all the time, If it bothers you kick the spam out of it! (not really the neighbor but ....)Facebook me-
start with one org and if it doesnt work take sees candy to your county reps secretary-do whatever it takes
the squeaky wheel gets the grease
you are trying to get overworked underpaid people to be motivated and help you- I once bought the guy at the VA hospital lunch and he tipped me to a few secrets i needed to do-

Posted By: lrkelley Re: where to start? - 04/07/09 09:16 PM
I do appreciate the bluntness Numafan sometimes you need to hear that stuff and thanks for the post I will keep you informed!
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