Hello all,

I am new to this board (or any board really). Veteran of the USAF (2003-2007, w/ 1 tour in Iraq). I worked on ground radar for the 4 years of my service.

I was recently diagnosed with AS after about 15 years of trying to figure out the reason for my pain (SI joints mainly, but mid back, knees, hips, shoulders, sternum and lets just say - upset stomach...). I had given up looking for help on many occasions and had convinced myself I was just being soft (one can only be told so many times that its just muscular or sciatic or as one doctor put it "in my head"). I took my first Enbrel shot this week and am hopeful to see results!

When I was discharged (honorably), I considered applying for benefits base on the lower back pain. I ultimately decided the money was meant for veterans with disabilities more severe than "lower back pain" and I did not apply.

Long story short - I am wondering if anyone has had a similar situation and applied for benefits from the VA after the fact. Did you have any success (whether its 5%, 20%, etc). I am considering applying (what's the worst that can happen?).

I am not angry, but can't help but think this diagnosis could have/should have come much earlier in my life - perhaps I could have started Enbrel (or similar) sooner and 1) not been in pain and 2) not have as much bone growth in my SI joints (and probably vertebrae). Logically it would seem I might be entitled to something because of that, but who knows.

Not sure if people read these, but figured it was worth a shot! Thanks in advance for any/all input.