Veterans Help Needed

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New member
Oct 24, 2006
I am in the process of being discharged from the Air Force due to ALS. I just received notice from my medical review board today, that since I have the familial type of ALS that they are considering it a pre-existing condition and are barring me from benefits. Has this happened to anyone else? Of course I am going to fight it but I am going to need help. Anyone have any suggestions? Thank you in advance.

Hi Brad -

From what I hear, by the time your done pressing your claim with the VA you'll wish you were dead. It's up to you but, if you go for straight Social Security Disability (Medicare comes with), you have what's called "presumptive disability" because of your ALS diagnosis so you won't have to wait for benefits. Depends on how much time and energy you want to expend fighting for what is right vs. just getting on with life. Also, not sure whether there is better ALS care through the VA or the private sector.

Thanks for your service.

brad, my sister is a certified case manager for the combined army/airforce medical boards here in south Texas, I am sending her your question, will let you know what I find out from the Wilford hall/BAMC board. hang in there, tidalpool
I really can't help too much, but, i find it absolutely crazy, that, men and women fight for our country, risk their lives for our freedom......then, when your down...the same military you so devoted your life to, punches you like a bad employer would. It's discerning that we live in the richest country in the world, however, prefer to give our money to people who don't want to work and buy their own food and medical insurance rather than someone who has a hard time doing the same and has devoted years of service to our cause. I highly respect persons such as yourself....and thank you .... from a fellow citizen, you deserve better.

Don't give up your rights, like liz said, you automatically qualify for SS. You'll also want to register with the MDA and the ALSA. Medicare will likely also step in for you.

I hope things turn out ok, please come back for any support needed. It looks like her sister may be able to help you get thru the ropes of the military medial system. IMO, you are better served going to an ALS clinic rather than the VA. I don't know for sure, but i think Medicare will pay for the clinic and the MDA should pick up the balance of the bills? I could be wrong, but taht's what i was told.

best of luck


Hi Brad
I find it outrageous that they would suggest that you had a pre-existing condition!
It obviously didn't stop you from putting some years in, why didn't they deny you at the recruitment stage? What about all the people in the military whose relatives had cancer/diabetes/heart conditions/arthritis etc...most can be herditary so are those considered pre-existing?

The powers-that-be are on a very slippery slope with your case, I hope it works out for you. It sounds to me that someone gave you bad info.

If they start jerking you around, I would let them know that my next call will be to CNN or another major news network and I hope they are ready to answer some pointed questions.
It would be too bad if it came to that but it's not your problem. Sometimes you have to shake the tree to get the fruit to fall.

Good luck to you!

I just got my DX on 5/9 from the Hershey Medical center. They put me in touch with Paralyzed Veterans of America
They will act as advocates for vets diagnosed with ALS. I filled out my paperwork and sent it to them and they are taking care of the rest. I would recommend giving them a call and see what they have to say. I haven't heard anything yet of course but from what I was told at the clinic they have been very successful in the past.

Hey in touch with my sister.......she had a few questions, are you a reservist? and if active duty, have you served more than 3 years? If you are active duty, and have served more than 3 years, the VA will overturn the medical board, and fund you. If you are a reservist, or are under three years active duty, the medical board MAY find your illness to have been pre-existing. Apparently, how the denial is worded is very tricky..if they say its service related, but not compensatory, the VA again will cover seems that the three year marker is important.....after three years, and up to eight years seems to be a gray area where boards may or may not find in your favor.
She did mention however, that if you are a reservist, or national guard, even if on activ e duty, the finding will be line of service:no.........and that seems to be a rule across the board, regardless of your disease. Hope that helped man.........tidalpool
Hey All,

A big thank you for all of your support! I knew I could turn to this board for help.


Thanks for contacting your sister. If she doesn't mind sending some more advice, here are my service specifics: I am in an ultimate gray area as I have 21 years total service in the Air National Guard. However, I have a combined total of 7.25 years of title 10 active duty spread throughout my 21 years. I have been on a continuos active duty tour since Aug of 2005. I passed my physical fitness test in Dec of 05 and started showing symptoms around April 06. I had no family history until my Mother was diagnosed in 1990, four years after my enlistment.

I will be contacting the Paralyzed Vets, SS, Medicare, and the VA as well today.

Wish me luck and again thanks to all of you.

Good luck Brad. Keep us informed of how it goes! Cindy
Hi Yankeebrad

A few question for you. Were you in Desert Storm? There have been a high case of soldiers in younger ages then normal als patients get it and are 2 times as more likely then non gulf war veterans. I knock on wood have not been DX with als and pray i never am however have been though several test at VA for nuro problems. I also read somewhere about airforce personal in the gulf ahving a higher rate of it. I am not exactly sure of the sites but just type gulf vets or veterans and als in any search site and it will lead you to several sites. Do not wait to apply for government disabilty no matter if it is in your family or not bottom line is you came down with it serving our country and believe me the goverment should be ashame at how they are treating all veterans when they come back from a war or even just serve. It takes time for stupid paperwork to go though so like i said contact the disabled veterans assiation near you they help me with my ptsd claim and headaches etc from the gulf

I am sorry to hear of your troubles. Not having a diagnosis is very hard to deal with. It took my neuros 8 months to diagnosed me as I did not start with some of the "typical" ALS symptoms. In fact I was treated for CIDP up until my diagnosed. Have you been looking at your anthrax shots as a cause? Whatever it is I hope that they get you healthy soon.

As for me, I never made it any closer to the Gulf than Turkey. (Three times starting in 97.) But I have had the anthrax shots and so I sometimes wonder if that wasn't what may have triggered the ALS. Anyway, good luck and thanks for serving.

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