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tmclelland
(@tmclelland)
Active Member

Hello Island Dwellers !!! My son is recently (we picked him up this past Sat.), Medically retired from the US Army at the age of 21. We, as a family,(My wife,my parents,our daughter and my retired 21 year old) have been in the process of planning our move to USVI. I've been reading on this board for a while now and felt that with all the GREAT advice and information on here, this would be the first place I checked before I began my own research online. My question this time is for my son......What kind of Veteran care is available in the USVI ? Any info or contacts will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time and consideration.

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Topic starter Posted : June 14, 2011 1:47 am
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

To answer your question properly what was your sons percentage of Disability that the Army rated him at. Has he applied to the Veterans Administration for a disability rating and compensation yet or has he been awarded a percentage already? The VA has primary clinics on ST Croix and Saint Thomas both are part of the PR Medical Center.

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Posted : June 14, 2011 4:25 am
Marty on STT
(@Marty_on_STT)
Trusted Member

And, as a Vet, myself, I can say that the employees of the VA Clinic try to do a good job, but they are just limited by the bureaucracy with which they are run...for example, here on STT, the doctor comes from PR once per week, so that's a very busy day for the Clinic...which makes for a stressed staff and patients...I have also found that the medications that my regular doctor prescribe to me are unavailable to me thru the VA, so they have to substitute meds that don't work properly because they aren't authorized to prescribe certain meds....and they can only refer to specific specialists, which means that you may not be seeing the best doctor for that specialty...It's a noble effort on their part, but I'm not happy with the way our Vets are treated. Two years ago this past Memorial Day my bike Club raised over $5,000 and donated cash to the Vets...it got put into a bank account to be distributed as needed to those that needed it most....it's been over 2 years and not one vet has received a nickel yet....

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Posted : June 14, 2011 10:53 am
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

All Veterans are rated according to their service connected disability and put into priority groups from One (1) Thru Eight(8). One (1) being the highest and eight( 8) being the lowest. Priority one is usually a 100% service connected disability and Priority eight is a Veteran with no percentage or service incurred/connected disability. The Drugs available to the Veterans on St Croix and St Thomas are the same drugs that are available to all Veterans in the National System. Special Drugs not in the VA Formulary are ordered by your primary care Doctor and reviewed by the medical centers pharmacy control unit, if the drug is needed for a service connected disability it will most likely be approved. All Special Drugs for Vets are done on a case by case basis. According to your priority group your care will be determined by the VA regulations as to the care and cost (co payment , insurance and a financial means test). I have never used the ST Thomas Primary Care Clinic only The St Croix Clinic and I'M very happy with the services I receive there. Both Clinics are part of the PR Medical Center. As far as donating money to the VA for them to distribute the funds to most needy I have never heard of such a thing. However one can always check with the IG to investigate.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 12:44 am
tmclelland
(@tmclelland)
Active Member

First of all, thanks to everybody that's taking the time to lend your advice and wisdom. My son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes while in combat as an Infantry 240 Gunner in Afghanastan. The Army has put him on a TDRL and Honorably Medically Retired him. He received a 60% rating and he's applied at our local VA office for his rating with them yesterday. He also has other issues that will be rated thru the VA for injuries from a Stryker vehicle accident. After posting my question I went online and found that the USVI does offer him care locally which was a HUGE relief for ALL of us because we've been planning our move to USVI for over a year and hadn't even thought about this problem till we got him home. St.Croix was going to be his new "home base" till he completed his 6 yr enlistment then he would move there with us when he was done and go to school. Well, everything has been moved up now which is fine with him and us. We're just glad he's home in one piece. I'm currently talking with a Realtor from Coldwell Bankers in St. Croix. And yes, I've read all the posts on here about moving and I'm using and will continue using all the great advice on these boards to help plan our move. Marty, my son will definitely want to meet you as a Harley is for sure in his future!! Thanks to you and Lizard for your posts!!

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Topic starter Posted : June 15, 2011 5:04 am
Marty on STT
(@Marty_on_STT)
Trusted Member

To Lizard: Sounds like you've got your finger on the pulse, good work! Regarding "As far as donating money to the VA for them to distribute the funds to most needy I have never heard of such a thing", I don't think anyone has heard of such a thing...I mean, we raised all this money, thinking the Vets could use it for things that they couldn't afford themselves, but the Colonel hasn't given out any of it...every time we call to find out how our funds are being spent, we get nothing but the runaround...disgraceful is what it is...I mean, gee, 5 grand could do a lot of good for a lot of our Vets!

To Tmclelland: He'll hafta come to STT to meet me! Haha! I lived on STX for a year and a half, but have been back on STT full-time since 3-09...there is a good group of riders on STX called The Rain Riders...they have all types of bikes, not just real ones (Harleys)...when he gets there, lemme know and I'll make intros via internet...

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Posted : June 15, 2011 12:36 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

Sorry, but I don't think I understand. Why are we paying because your son was diagnosed with diabetes while he was in service. This is certainly not service related. Nor is it a disability in the sense that he is unable to work. Please explain.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 2:47 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Linda J
Again you jump into things that you have no idea what you are talking about. Try to look up TDRL. With Type 1 diabetes he could no longer perform the type duties required of a combat soldier. The veteran and his family members owe you no explanation.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 3:21 pm
jay
 jay
(@jay)
Advanced Member

Linda, absolutely anything that happens to you while serving in the United States Military is considered service related.....even if you are dumb enough.....(and drunk enough!) to jump off the second floor at Horton Plaza in San Diego and break both of your legs....and need help for ever......You are covered!

But I do believe she said there was also and accident involved in the case along with other medical issues.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 3:27 pm
tmclelland
(@tmclelland)
Active Member

Thanks for you post Linda J(not really).......and your support to our troops that are fighting to ensure you can peacefully and safely stick your toes in the sand everyday. First of all, I NEVER said anything about him not being able to work.....he's wanting to go to UVI on his GI Bill to study Marine Biology. And sorry, you're wrong, it IS considered service related. This disease does affect your ability to do your job when your job is a soldier and the military deems you undeployable because of the risk you've become to yourself and your brother soldiers. How do you feel about soldiers who get cancer while on the battlefield? Do we not take care of them either? When he enlisted he knew the risks, but he also knew that under the contract that he signed he would be taken care of if he was maimed, killed OR stricken with a disease. And another thing to keep in mind is that when our youth sign up for service in this day and age, they know they're going to fight......but he was willing to go anyway....because he's brave and he wanted to make a difference. This is a guy who, before he left, was as healthy as a horse. He was a state champion wrestler,a brown belt in Karate, a football star at his school as well as a licensed cage fighter here in NC. Now, after his service to his country, at the age of 21, my son has to take 5-8 shots a day to just stay alive.... for the rest of his life... due to a disease he incurred while literally fighting for YOUR freedom. His deployment to an austere environment is considered GWOT(Global War On Terror) related, which means his disease is considered a direct result of his time overseas. I wonder how you feel about the heroic men and women who have lost limbs or worse on the front lines. Either way, my son wasn't a radio operator, or a truck driver. my son is an infantryman. He fought for you. And in the process of standing up for what he believed in became horribly ill and now suffers from far more than just type 1 diabetes. If you don't like the way our govt. takes care of it's wounded soldiers.....maybe you should move to Canada instead of OUR Islands. By the way my son says "thanks" for his measly 1000 dollars a month. Have a nice day.

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Topic starter Posted : June 15, 2011 4:17 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

I asked a simple question regarding disability. Sorry.

I didn't realize someone who has "retired" from the army at age 21 would recieve the same benefits as my Father-in-law who was wounded in WWII and served almost 30 years.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 4:19 pm
tmclelland
(@tmclelland)
Active Member

Thanks Lizard!!! Thanks Jay!!!

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Topic starter Posted : June 15, 2011 4:20 pm
tmclelland
(@tmclelland)
Active Member

That's OK........just a touchy subject around this house. No harm done.

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Topic starter Posted : June 15, 2011 4:21 pm
tmclelland
(@tmclelland)
Active Member

now you know Linda

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Topic starter Posted : June 15, 2011 4:28 pm
InnAtPelicanHeights
(@InnAtPelicanHeights)
Advanced Member

Tmclelland

I am a 22 year veteran , two tours in Iraq, residing on St Croix.

I have had positive experiences with the VA on St Croix and in Puerto Rico, especially for surgery and rehab. My injury, falling from a fence while working on a TIKI hut roof on St Croix, will be determined service connected over 20 years after my service.

Why? Because , during my service in Operation desert Shield/Storm, I was exposed to nerve gas sarin and many other enviromental issues in the Gulf---documented by Department of Defense letter. Whereas, side effects of nerve gas sarin exposure in uncontollable spasms, ie if I didnt have the spasm on the fence , I wouldnt have fallen backwards.

My point, the Army and the VA rating system is very confusing. Its complicated and even the managers of the system admit its confusing.

Hope to meet your son when he arrives on St Croix---and if he needs a place to stay short or long term, I have some options and can assist him weaving thru the VA system and settling in as a student at UVI, ie looks like as I approach 50, I will also be a full time student taking advantage of the GI bill I am entitled to. Send me a private message , and I will send you my contact information.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 4:41 pm
jay
 jay
(@jay)
Advanced Member

I am guessing noboody meant any harm by the statement but that was very well stated on your part.

I wish everyone was as passionate about defending veterens as you are.

I've had my battles with the VA over benefits that I earned and hope your son is able to settle quickly.

Thanks for your sacrafice and to your son for his service.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 4:43 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

Tmclelland,

HOOAH!

One very important Item.When dealing with the VA Regional Office where you filed your claim have a National Service Officer represent you. They usually maintain offices at the VA Regional HQ. Contact the American Legion,Amvets, or VFW. You do not have to be an active member for them to represent you. They know exactly how to handle claims for Veterans. Good Luck!

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Posted : June 15, 2011 4:44 pm
jay
 jay
(@jay)
Advanced Member

Oh.....and FYI.......I wasn't the one who jumped.....Just the one who said "holy *!!! Are out of your *** mind????.......And away he went!

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Posted : June 15, 2011 4:47 pm
dougtamjj
(@dougtamjj)
Expert

Tmclelland, I would like to thank your son for his sacrifice.

Grandfather: WW11
Father in Law: WW11, Korea, Vietnam, sunk in the South Pacific, USS Duncan WW11, refused his Purple Heart, said it was only a scratch.
3 Uncles: Vietnam
Brother in Law: Vietnam
Brother: Iraq 82nd Airborne retired after 20 years with full medical, 2 surgeries to back and neck when his chute failed to open.
Son: Iraq
Husband: Navy Diver
Currently Serving: Nieces, Nephews, and Cousins

Thanks to all those who have served and for the freedom we enjoy!!!!!!!!

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Posted : June 15, 2011 5:31 pm
tmclelland
(@tmclelland)
Active Member

Thanks dougtamjj.......the same back at you and your incredible family as well !!!!!! 🙂

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Topic starter Posted : June 15, 2011 6:21 pm
dntw8up
(@dntw8up)
Trusted Member

Sorry, but I don't think I understand. Why are we paying because your son was diagnosed with diabetes while he was in service. This is certainly not service related. Nor is it a disability in the sense that he is unable to work. Please explain.

Linda J
Again you jump into things that you have no idea what you are talking about. Try to look up TDRL. With Type 1 diabetes he could no longer perform the type duties required of a combat soldier. The veteran and his family members owe you no explanation.

Thanks for you post Linda J(not really)...Now, after his service to his country, at the age of 21, my son has to take 5-8 shots a day to just stay alive.... for the rest of his life... due to a disease he incurred while literally fighting for YOUR freedom..."

Linda J is a U.S. citizen and taxpayer, and so has the right to question U.S. government expenditures. Further, since she is not in the military, she is not required to believe that the wars currently being fought by U.S. troops have anything to do with protecting her, or any American's, liberties. I don't know Linda J, or how she feels about the U.S. military's current involvement in overseas actions, but I'm certain she has the right to ask why tax dollars cover someone diagnosed with diabetes, and she's entitled to civil responses. I think the defensiveness evident in the responses she has received is very interesting.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 7:04 pm
stxem
(@stx-em)
Trusted Member

Unfortunately many people do not understand the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes and think that Type I is caused by lifestyle issues (over-eating, obesity etc) which is absolutely NOT the case (whereas lifestyle is a major cause in Type II diabetes). Type I diabetes (also known as juvenile-onset diabetes) is an auto-immune disease that may be triggered by a combination of environmental and genetic factors. In people with the condition, the body attacks and destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, so people lose their ability to naturally control blood sugar levels. My brother has Type I and is a star college athlete in college and I always get irritated when people say that his diet must be really bad or something or some other snarky remark. They don't understand that you can be the healthiest person, fittest person on earth and still get Type I diabetes.

Type I diabetes is an auto-immune disease and some research indicates that it can be triggered by physical or mental stress--in turn which could have been triggered by military service. Just based on that alone, it should be covered.

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Posted : June 15, 2011 9:18 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

stexm
Linda J claims to be a retired RN from Kentucky*-)

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Posted : June 15, 2011 10:51 pm
Lizard
(@Lizard)
Trusted Member

dntw8up.
Guess you know that Veterans and Active duty people make it possible for you to express opinions and enjoy the liberties of a free society that you are fortunate to live in..

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Posted : June 16, 2011 1:03 pm
MikeInCypress
(@MikeInCypress)
Active Member

Linda,
You obviously are an expert in Diabetes, but did you know that thousands of Viet Nam Veterans who were exposed to Agent Orange now suffer from Type II Diabetes and receive disability payments. In fact, if you served in Viet Nam and suffer from Type II Diabetes you automatically are approved for some sort of monthly disability payment if you apply.

It was an honor to serve the citizens of my country.

MikeInCypress
CPT, ARMOR
MACV TEAM 55 (1971 & 1972)

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Posted : June 17, 2011 2:35 am
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