CyberKnobby replied to CyberKnobby's question in Eligibility - Veterans Compensation Benefit ClaimsThank you so much for your help! Been having a rough week so I'm not online much, but I'm seeing my pdoc on the 22nd and will bring this up then. Is there any benefit to using DAV for my claim vs. a lawyer? I'll be back here a lot I'm sure, you've all helped infinitely more than trying to figure this out on my own.
CyberKnobby posted a question in Eligibility - Veterans Compensation Benefit ClaimsI'm here because I'm not really sure where to start. I was active duty Navy from July 2004-Sept 2005, during which time I went from stable to self harm and eventually a suicide attempt that put me in Portsmouth Naval Hospital for a week. A month after I was released from psychiatric care I returned to duty for several weeks before going AWOL for 60 days, and then returning to duty. I was put on restriction, given an OTH discharge and went home hoping to put that chaos behind me. Although the therapist I was sent to on the boat was adamant that I was not bipolar, I've been treated for exactly that since 2009, along with anxiety and PTSD symptoms most likely stemming from the Bipolar disorder itself. Both my doctors and I believe that I experienced my first real mixed episode while on the ship. I am currently on SSDI if that changes anything. I guess I'm wondering: 1) Is it worth attempting to get VA benefits with an OTH discharge? How hard is it to get my discharge changed, and/or is it worth going through a Character of Service determination? 2) Will the 60 day period of AWOL disqualify me from benefits? 3) 2005 was a long time ago, and though my doctors believe I had my first mixed episode as a result of the stress incurred on the ship, buddy letters in regards to depression/erratic behavior 10 years ago may be hard to acquire. How important are these to proving a connection in aggravating my Bipolar? 4) I keep reading that I need to describe an incident that aggravated my bipolar disorder. Though I did experience quite a bit of bullying and feelings of being unsafe while on duty at the hands of a specific Chief, I'd rather not drag the man's name through the mud. There's no way he could have known how "fragile" my mind was at the time, and I'm sure he simply saw me as any other shipmate who needed tough love. Do I need to detail these specific incidences, or is there a way to make the argument that my time on the ship itself caused my first mixed episode due to multiple factors?