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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Scrapnel Wounds



This is bizarre-

email from Colonel Dan--

what VA stated is just ridiculous.I could see if maybe they are just scarring surface wounds and not ratable-

but the statement VA made is ludicrous-the wounds "aren't related to your military service.

Champaign veteran fighting disability battle with VA



Thursday March 22, 2007

CHAMPAIGN, IL - According to Army doctors, Garrett Anderson has "shrapnel

wounds, all over body."

But the Champaign man found out last week from the Department of Veterans

Affairs that the wounds "aren't related to your military service."

"I must have got them on North Prospect," Anderson jokes.

It was no joke on Oct. 15, 2005, when an improvised explosive device tore

through his body in Iraq, injuring his face and destroying his lower right


The VA sent him a letter dated March 5 saying that the 30-year-old is 90

percent disabled, following a complicated formula that gives him 70 percent

automatically for his arm.

Anderson would like the full 100 percent, not just because that means more

money - about $1,000 more, according to their figures - but because 100

percent guarantees educational expenses for himself, his wife, Sam, and his


Sam is just finishing law school in Michigan and has enormous college loans.

"We have the (debt) number somewhere, but we don't like to look at it," she


Her husband plans to go back to college himself, perhaps to study criminal

justice. He is also considering a career in politics, as a crusader for

veterans rights.

As a National Guard soldier earning hazard pay in Iraq, Anderson earned

$3,000 a month. His disability pay will be about $1,800 a month.

Carl Henderson, a spokesman for the Veterans Benefits Administration Chicago

regional office, said he can't discuss the specifics of Anderson's case for

health privacy reasons.

He acknowledged that explaining the percentage scale is not easy.

"It's a complex process based on ratings schedule and special reviews. The

disability percentage or compensation is based on service-connected injuries

- they do not have to be combat-related," Henderson said. "Veterans

disability compensation could be combined on several injuries or wounds that

are service connected."

He was puzzled by the description of shrapnel wounds as not service-related.

"I have no idea why shrapnel wounds would not be service connected if he was

in the military. Maybe he incurred the injury when he wasn't in the


The good news, Henderson said, is "the appeals process is always open.

Unlike other types of appeals, they can always be reopened."

The Andersons do intend to appeal the ruling, and they've been told that

process could take two years. There's a level of uncertainty about whether

to proceed with college immediately.

Anderson said he's a little angry about the 90 percent rating.

"I feel that (the VA's) just trying to save money," he said.

He's also not pleased that he needs to have another VA physician examine him

when he's recently undergone the long process.

And he's concerned about documenting his military medical history, which

starts in a fog in a field hospital and continued at the trouble-plagued

Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

"He's not even sure where the amputation took place," Sam said.

Garrett and Sam still have a sense of humor to fall back on.

"We're going to put you to work," they tell their infant daughter, Skyler.


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