I thought that I would post this to explain to some of you that were thinking about joining the military ... how financially rewarding it can be ... even in tough times.
I have been helping a friend who is retired and has a serious illness now ... he has ALS. A few facts below to help you understand:
My friend is now 73 y/o and joined the US Army as an enlisted man at 18 y/o and this is what has happened to him ....
(1) Joined Army at 18 y/o and did E-1 thru E-7 ... then O-1 thru O-5 and retired as an Intel Officer.
(2) Did 2 tours in RVN and saw no combat.
(3) He taught military science & etc. after Army retirement and had a total of 46 years in Army & civil service. Somehow (under the old rules) ... he had both retirements combined and gets about $8,000.00 per month (taxable) retirement.
(4) Retired at about 64 y/o.
(5) Has "tricare for life" medical.
(6) Has VA medical.
(7) Has Medicare medical.
(8) Was originally granted VA disability at about $3,000.00 (non-taxable) per month. Add minimum 25%+ because this is non-taxable = $3,800.00 per month.
(9) Add SSA at about $1,500.00 per month.
(10) So, at 65 y/o ... he had the equivalent $8,000.00 (DoD & civil service) + $3,800.00 (VA) + $1,500.00 (SSA) = $13,300.00 per month in retirement money.
(11) Plus he has 3 medical plans ... "TriCare for life", VA & Medicare.
(12) Now, he was diagnosed with ALS and that is a "predisposed service connected disease" from RVN and his VA rating and monthly amount has changed to a VA SMC R.2 rating of $7,800.00 (veteran & spouse rate) (non-taxable) per month.
(13) $7,800.00 (new VA R.2 rating) + a minimum of 25%+ (for being non-taxable) = VA compensation now at about $9,700.00 per month.
OK ... Now the guy is sick, but has these super bennies to take care of him & his family (many bennies continue even after he dies):
(14) $8,000.00 (DoD & civil service) per month + $1,500.00 per month SSA + equivalent of $9,700.00 (VA) per month + 3 medical plans for him & his wife).
(15) In round numbers ... he has the equivalent of about $19,200.00 per month to take care of him PLUS ... Tricare, VA & Medicare medical plans.
(16) He is getting a $62,000.00 - 2011 Honda Odyssey (wheelchair ramp) van for about $20,000.00 and can have 2 new vehicles every 24 months. With the math ... vehicle 2 and etc. are basiaclly free with previous vehicle used as a trade-in.
(17) VA is modifying his home at no cost ... total with ramps and etc is about $75,000.00. (aluminum ramps, chair lifts for steps and room & bath mods.
**** At today's interest rates .. this veteran would have to have over well over $10,000,000.00 ($10 Million) savings in the bank to get the "taxable interest" for this kind of compensation ... PLUS ... he has ALL of his medical paid for under 3 different medical plans and this does not include the extra vehicle and home modification bennies either. ****
(18) And he bought the annuity when he retired and his wife will get many of the bennies when he dies.
I may have made a few typos in this but my numbers are good and I wanted to show you all ... how this can work.
Would "Corporate America" do all these things for you or could you save this much on your own when you really need it when you get sick in your old age ??? ....
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He is the "exception to to the rule" as he has good documentation and has been very persistent in his career and the DoD, VA & SSA claims process.
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On he other end of the spectrum ... I was helping another RVN veteran (Agent Orange exposure) with a very rare "double lung transplant" due to service connected AO and he gets $3,000 per month VA ... but the VA will not consider him permanently disabled ... WTF ...
Morale of the story ... do the military service ... followed by civil service or whatever ... keep good records ... be persistent ... and you should do OK.
PS ... If I have made typos ... I will edit this as I see them ... but military service can be very rewarding in many ways ...
PPS ... Am I a recruiter ... ... LOL ... NOOOO ... ... I am just another veteran who got banged up in the military and tries to help other veterans when I can. And I must say (for the most part) the VA has done a very good job of taking care of me at this point in my life.