I was discharged from the military in 1976 after a job related accident. I was discgarged with zero disability rating. The military didnt find that I had AS, but deemed me unfit for military service. After seeing a specialist for spine conditions, and getting the blood test to check for the HLA-27 gene, I was then diagnosed with AS.
I took these findings to the VA hospital and immediatly filed for a service connected disability. After about 18 months I was denied and had to file an appeal. After waiting another 6 months I was awarded 40% service connected disability rating. I stayed at 40% for 15 years until I suffered a fall at work. My rheumotoligst examined me, determined that my AS had been aggrevated to the point that I was no longer able to work, and I again filed for an increase in my VA SC compensation. I then joined the local DAV chapter as a lifetime member, and they represented me in my quest for an increase in my SC disability rating. Once again I was denied and had to file an appeal. After about 18 months I was awarded a total of 120% SC disability, with a status of unemployabilty. The total of 120% was a combination of limited range of motion of the thorasic spine, cervical spine, lumbar spine, restrictive lung disease, due to the kyphosis and not being able to get a full breath. I recieved back pay from the day I filed for the increase, which was paid in one lump sum.
I hope this will help some veteran with AS find some hope and perhaps recieve the help they deserve.