VA disability rating of 90%, traditional Guardsman

Discussion in 'Reserve Component Info' started by Bluespagan, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Bluespagan

    Bluespagan PEB Forum Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Hello everyone,

    I joined this site because I recently finished dealing with the VA and was given a 90% disability rating for about 9 different issues which I will outline what caused it below.

    Back story:
    I was working as an active duty member in the Air Force as a Power Production Journeyman. On May 1st, 2008 I went to run one of our generators at the base BX when I found that it was broken. Per shop guidelines I had to replace the generator with one of our back ups so I went on to get everything set up for a gennie switch out. My shop was poorly equipped, with only allen wrenches to remove the lugs from inside the electrical panel which hooked the bldg up to the gen. When I got back to the electrical room I began undoing the lugs and lead wires after I did everything I knew to do to ensure the panel was de-energized. Unknown to me at the time, the panel was miswired and there was voltage going to the bottom portion of the panel where voltage was not supposed to be. As I was undoing the ground wire my wrench slipped and hit a live lug causing an arc flash, sending 480V of electricity through my body, leaving me with 1st-3rd degree burns. A month in the hospital and a year in and out of a burn rehab center left my hands and forearms scarred, me with PTSD, neuropathy of both of my hands (feeling loss), strength loss and a few other things I can't remember off the top of my head.

    Sadly, the month prior to all of this I had re-enlisted for another 6 years since I had planned on being a lifer. Months of fighting with Air Force personnel and dealing with facing returning to work, the Air Force told me I could not train out of my job and I was forced to Palace Chase (go from active to traditional guard) in order to get out of a job I feared could cost me my life and fulfill my contract. I went into a new career field thinking that I would be free from dealing with electrical components. Of course the ANG did a rework of my new career field where I will be put into a position where I will have to work with electrical components again, which honestly scares me and leaves me feeling anxious and worried.

    Add to that, my VA disability compensation far outweighs my weekend E-4 pay as does the benefits that go with that. This coupled with my new fear and some issues that I have going on at home that leaves it hard for me to go to drill on the weekends, I desperately want to end my time in which is nearing 7 years.

    So question #1: How do I go about getting medically evaluated to show that I no longer am able to carry on my duties and #2 do I qualify for medical retirement since I was injured while on active duty?

    Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. yardbirdaa

    yardbirdaa PEB Forum Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2010
    Messages:
    59
    Trophy Points:
    23
    I don't know how the Air Force works, but in the Army Reserve, after our first contract is up, you can request a transfer to the Inactive Ready Reserve. It might not be approved, but you can request it. As far as your drill pay goes, you can contact your finance center and ask them to withhold your drill pay because you are collecting VA compensation.

    If you are no longer comfortable working around electricity, then you damn sure don't belong working around it. Make sure your supervisor knows your situation, and if push comes to shove, then refuse to work on the components because you feel you cannot safely do the work.

    I'm sorry, but I don't know how to get medically evaluated in the Air Force, but I would say that you would qualify for medical retirement if the board feels you can no longer do your job. It's a long, drawn out process though, so be ready for that stress.
     
  3. bobcollier100

    bobcollier100 PEB Forum Regular Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2010
    Messages:
    28
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Question? Did you get a LOD (Line of Duty) for your injuries? If not get one, go see your Medical Group supervisor, Chief, Commander, Wing Commander…. Just tell them you have been found 90% disabled by the VA (or as the VA say, your 10% abled) ask the Medical group for advice on this issue, just say hay I’m no longer able to perform any military duties efficiently and would like to go to the MEB board please. The LOD will come from the medical officer at your unit, show that person your VA letter, the MEB is to see if you should be retained or not, I think you would have a hard time staying in at this point. If the medical officer says no to a MEB then use your chain of command because under the IDES system VA has a strong voice and they have already spoken loud! :rolleyes:
     
  4. Ed Mercanti

    Ed Mercanti PEB Forum Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Messages:
    681
    Trophy Points:
    43
    This isn't quite so simple. From what you've said, you've been reclassified into another MOS and can apparently (physically) perform your duties. Your apprehension is on performing those duties. While you may or may not have medically disqualifying conditions from your accident, you haven't said anything which would lead me to believe that those conditions are preventing you from performing your duties. Remember: under the IDES you are only rated for conditions which prevent you from performing your military duties. If I was you I'd talk to my 1SG, tell him the truth about how you feel, and ask him to back you in reqeusting transfer to the Air Force control group as an exception to policy.
     
  5. Bluespagan

    Bluespagan PEB Forum Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Thank you all for the replies.

    As it stands right now I was not given and LOD. When the incident occured and the safety investigation was completed many things just disappeared and no one ever addressed the incident again. I was put into an office where I was basically out of sight out of mind. When I started questioning my chain of command about how to properly go about this entire process many of them shrugged and said they didn't know. When I talked to my 1st Sgt on active duty about the issues I was having he told me to go talk to someone and then I would be ok to go back to work. I was literally left feeling stranded. That is when I learned about Palace Chase and I took it when I had the chance. I NEEDED out of active duty and into another AFSC.

    Now my problem lies in a few different areas. I was chosen last year to be a decon. line person (basically get suited up into MOPP and go through the process of decon so readiness could practice). When I was chosen to do it it was the dead of winter in Vermont, in other words beyond cold. The line was outside. By the time I came to the end of the line my hands were in so much pain I could barely move my fingers to take off my partners jacket. That is just one instance where what happened to me has started to hinder my performance in certain areas.

    My other issue is I am relatively fine on a day to day basis. But as soon as something reminds me of May 1st or I am faced with being near electrical components I start to sweat, my heart races and I get very panicky. This happened about 2 weeks ago when I was standing in a hall where a comm. troop was working on some comm. wires outside the classroom I was waiting to gain access to. I almost had a panic attack right there in the hall way. Thankfully I was able to walk away from the wires and used some self talk to talk myself down from complete meltdown.

    I just don't know how to convey this to the doctors without sounding like I am complaining or making things sound worse than they really are.
     
  6. Ed Mercanti

    Ed Mercanti PEB Forum Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Messages:
    681
    Trophy Points:
    43
    So, what are the medically disqualifying conditions which prevent you from performing your duties? I hate to be blunt, but this is what it is going to boil down to.
     
  7. Bluespagan

    Bluespagan PEB Forum Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Well not being a medical person I will try to put this the best I can.

    When the reconstruction happens I will not be able to phsyically do any work where I have to work with electrical components. Whether it be a wall outlet, a capacitor or a battery I simply can't do it without breaking down into a nervous wreck to the point my hands shake and I have a very big flight reaction (as in fight or flight reaction). I also have issues with knowing where my hands are in relation to things so when working with small objects or in tight spaces I don't know up from down or left from right simply because I can't feel the difference (according to the doc that rated me this is due to nerve damage). To add to that I have no feeling in parts of my hands which leave me vulnerable to easily injuring myself since I can't feel extreme hot or cold or when I have cut myself.

    So any of these count?
     
  8. Ed Mercanti

    Ed Mercanti PEB Forum Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Messages:
    681
    Trophy Points:
    43
    AR40-501 lists medically disqualifying conditions. Chapter 3 lists those conditions which are disqualifying for retention. In pertinent part it says:

    3–33. Anxiety, somatoform, or dissociative disorders
    The causes for referral to an MEB are as follows:
    a. Persistence or recurrence of symptoms sufficient to require extended or recurrent hospitalization; or
    b. Persistence or recurrence of symptoms necessitating limitations of duty or duty in protected environment; or
    c. Persistence or recurrence of symptoms resulting in interference with effective military performance.

    So between this and your nerve damage, you may end up with an MEB/PEB and get a disability separation. Wish you the best!
     
  9. 89Falcon

    89Falcon PEB Forum Veteran

    Joined:
    May 13, 2011
    Messages:
    92
    Trophy Points:
    23

    You may have PTSD......it's Post Traumatic STRESS Disorder....not COMBAT Disorder....I highly recommend you go see a counselor. Make sure they know the reason you have the anxiety.
     
    Jason likes this.
  10. Ed Mercanti

    Ed Mercanti PEB Forum Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Messages:
    681
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Good point 89Falcon . . .
     
  11. Bluespagan

    Bluespagan PEB Forum Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Messages:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    1
    Out of curiousity what difference does it make that I don't have a combat disorder? I am almost sure that people are diagnosed with PTSD with reasons given. I have never heard of Post Traumatic Combat Disorder.
     

Share This Page