I am a disabled veteran having served in the United States Marine Corps. While enlisted I destroyed my knee, had surgery, and was discharged. After some time, my knees began deteriorating significantly and I went to the VA hospital for help. I was given a comp & pension (C & P) exam and I was deemed 80% disabled for my knees and severe depression. I was also assigned general unemployability and assigned a rating of 100% disability. After a year I was called back to the VA for another C & P exam. The doctor talked to me for 5 minutes and I left. About 3 weeks later I received a letter stating that my disability rating was being knocked down to 50%. That’s a reduction in pay from $3200 per month to $1000 per month. That is a severe pay cut, for no reason.
Over the last year I have been trying to get my rating back to that 100% rating. After a year of waiting, I was just informed that a decision was made, but they kicked my appeal for an increase because the C & P doctor didn’t fill in a section on the form that she was supposed to fill out. I was informed that the doctor failed to fill in the range of motion section because I have no range of motion in my legs. I cannot bend my legs to sit. I can’t drive more than 20 minutes from my house without severe pain in my knees. I sleep on the floor in my living room because I cannot get up the stairs and laying in a bed is extremely painful. I have fallen because of my knees and broke my wrist and sustained a concussion and I am now forced to walk with the aid of a walker. At this time I can’t even think about working with the amount of pain that I am in.
This last year has been hard on me physically and emotionally, but it has been even harder on my family. My wife is now working two jobs to try and make ends meet since the reduction in pay. My 3 children have to take on many of the responsibilities around the house in addition to helping me get up off of the floor where I sit every day and sleep every night, helping me off of the toilet, and helping me up the stairs so that I may wash. The creditors are calling like crazy, and we are in danger of losing everything now because of the reduction in pay. The bad part is that we have no idea when this will be resolved and things are looking very grim.
I believe it is deplorable that we have waited for over a year now and we are being forced to wait even longer now because of a clerical error. I was under the assumption that things at the VA would be fixed after all of this time. Why must the veterans that gave so much for the protection of this great country be treated like the scum of the Earth? I’m sure that veterans of other countries are treated in a much better way.