Air Force Reserve 16 good years so far

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PEB Forum Regular Member
Hello everyone – I apologize if my situation has been addressed elsewhere in these forums. I have read numerous threads and have found disparate bits of information that apply but I am unable to put together a coherent, complete picture.

Allow me to introduce my situation. I have 16 good years in the reserves – with a 15-month deployment to Iraq in 2003-2004 (Army Reserve at the time). I am currently in normal drilling reserve status, i.e. not on active duty orders. My current enlistment ends in about two years; I will have 18+ good years at the end of my current term. It has always been my goal to stay in for the full twenty and achieve my reserve retirement.

I have a chronic auto-immune disorder and was recently diagnosed with an associated auto-immune disorder based on symptoms I have had for the last few of years, but only recent addressed with my doctor. Up until now, I have just taken my annual fitness tests and dealt with any discomfort. As I age, I am becoming more reluctant to deal with the discomfort and potential long-term joint damage that may occur. My diagnosis was received as a civilian and I have never brought this up to my military doctors.

From my research, it appears that the condition itself isn’t automatically disqualifying but if I elect to go on the course of treatment that my doctor is recommending that will likely disqualify me from continuing service – the medication is immunosuppressive which makes one non-deployable.

I doubt this condition is “service connected” since it is largely hereditary and something I was likely to have developed regardless of my service. If I present this to my military doctors on my next annual physical, I believe that I will be disallowed from participating (if I start the medication). I looked at my combined conditions and they would appear to rate between 30 and 50 percent and I have read some about 30% disability and retirement before 20, but this may just be for active duty. To be clear, I am not really looking to get VA rated and getting disability from them. I just don't want to lose between 16 and 18 years of service and be kicked to the curb with nothing (reserve retirement) to show for it.

So my question is: When my current enlistment ends after 18 years will I just be not allowed to reenlist? Will I just be out with no option to get my reserve retirement? If that is likely to be the case I suppose I will just delay my treatment and keep this issue to myself.

Thank you everyone for your time and consideration.
 
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Deno

PEB Forum Veteran
Don’t delay your treatment. Get the medical care you need. If they do not want you in the military. In my opinion let them decide that. Take care of yourself because no one else will.
I have a coworker that just retired with 17 years. He Had over 15 years So you can still get your retirement. Per what he said. They processsed him out
due to fibromyalgia. Also yes you need to turn that into your VA! You earned it!
 

AFOddJob

Registered Member
I *think* that if you've been in the military for at least eight years that any condition you have will be viewed as "service connected" or at least "service aggravated". I doubt that they'll up and give you the boot after 16 years of service, but they probably will at least MEB you and determine whether you are fit for service or required to medically separate/retire.
 

Jason Perry

Benevolent Leader
Site Founder
Staff Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Avatar,

A lot to "unpack" here. I will try to give my thoughts based on what you wrote. Don't take any of this as gospel....there are a lot of issues with your case and there may be issues that I am not aware of. Still, I think I have some thoughts and input that may help you consider your options.

Allow me to introduce my situation. I have 16 good years in the reserves – with a 15-month deployment to Iraq in 2003-2004 (Army Reserve at the time)
I *think* that if you've been in the military for at least eight years that any condition you have will be viewed as "service connected" or at least "service aggravated". I doubt that they'll up and give you the boot after 16 years of service, but they probably will at least MEB you and determine whether you are fit for service or required to medically separate/retire.
@AFOddJob is referencing the "Eight Year Rule," which would help you if you are on orders of 30 days or more. Doesn't seem to apply to you since you are now in a drilling status.

I am currently in normal drilling reserve status, i.e. not on active duty orders. My current enlistment ends in about two years; I will have 18+ good years at the end of my current term. It has always been my goal to stay in for the full twenty and achieve my reserve retirement.
This may be the best outcome given the issues with "line of duty" in your case as presented. However, see, below for the other option for retirement based on non LOD conditions.

I have a chronic auto-immune disorder and was recently diagnosed with an associated auto-immune disorder based on symptoms I have had for the last few of years, but only recent addressed with my doctor. Up until now, I have just taken my annual fitness tests and dealt with any discomfort. As I age, I am becoming more reluctant to deal with the discomfort and potential long-term joint damage that may occur. My diagnosis was received as a civilian and I have never brought this up to my military doctors.
You did not mention anything about the date of incurrence of the auto-immune disorder. The etiology and history of your condition would be very important in understanding your case.

From my research, it appears that the condition itself isn’t automatically disqualifying but if I elect to go on the course of treatment that my doctor is recommending that will likely disqualify me from continuing service – the medication is immunosuppressive which makes one non-deployable.
I will assume what you state here is correct.

I doubt this condition is “service connected” since it is largely hereditary and something I was likely to have developed regardless of my service. If I present this to my military doctors on my next annual physical, I believe that I will be disallowed from participating (if I start the medication). I looked at my combined conditions and they would appear to rate between 30 and 50 percent and I have read some about 30% disability and retirement before 20, but this may just be for active duty.
I am not sure that your assumptions are correct. Many conditions with hereditary components may be incurred while in service and/or may be aggravated by service. Would need to know more about the history of your condition and the details. I understand you just asking the questions you have, but, your assumptions may be wrong and I can't even try to guess or comment on your assumptions without knowing a lot more about your situation. You may be correct. I just have seen many cases where supposedly "hereditary" conditions were actually found compensable. Given that, I won't guess and argue for findings or outcomes without knowing more.

To be clear, I am not really looking to get VA rated and getting disability from them. I just don't want to lose between 16 and 18 years of service and be kicked to the curb with nothing (reserve retirement) to show for it.
I don't know why you would not "look" to get compensation if you deserve it. The reason I specifically reference this is because getting a VA disability compensation finding (service connection and a rating) might help your military case.

That said, even for non-in the line of duty situations, there is still a possibility of a retirement. Under 10 U.S. Code § 12731b - Special rule for members with physical disabilities not incurred in line of duty, you could still be retired:
"(a) In the case of a member of the Selected Reserve of a reserve component who no longer meets the qualifications for membership in the Selected Reserve solely because the member is unfit because of physical disability, the Secretary concerned may, for purposes of section 12731 of this title, determine to treat the member as having met the service requirements of subsection (a)(2) of that section and provide the member with the notification required by subsection (d) of that section if the member has completed at least 15, and less than 20, years of service computed under section 12732 of this title.
(b)Notification under subsection (a) may not be made if—
(1) the disability was the result of the member’s intentional misconduct, willful neglect, or willful failure to comply with standards and qualifications for retention established by the Secretary concerned; or
(2) the disability was incurred during a period of unauthorized absence."


So my question is: When my current enlistment ends after 18 years will I just be not allowed to reenlist? Will I just be out with no option to get my reserve retirement? If that is likely to be the case I suppose I will just delay my treatment and keep this issue to myself.
You might not be allowed to re-enlist. If you have the option now to re-enlist or extend your enlistment, that might be an option to consider. As for being "out with no option to get" your reserve retirement, see my above comment about 10 U.S. Code § 12731b.

Hope this helped. Best of luck!
 

Avatar

PEB Forum Regular Member
Hi all - this is all really helpful. I appreciate you all taking the time to comment on my situation. I think I will probably initiate contact with the VA and have them look into my condition and history.

And Jason before I posted I read through a lot of threads. I don't know how you find the time to interact so fully with all the posters on here - this is truly an amazing service you offer.
 

Avatar

PEB Forum Regular Member
Hey Jason or anyone else. I have one last follow up question.

Does anyone know where I can find my medical records from my time in the Army Reserve. I tried a couple of the numbers from Archive.gov but nobody can locate my record.

I am wondering if the disposition was different because I joined the Air Force reserve with no break in service? Does this affect where my records are sent?
 
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