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brandt24

VA Disability and Class 1

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So I am separating from the military in a few months and I am going to be trying to get a Class 1 to start training as soon as I separate. I am wondering how VA disability ratings will affect getting one. I was going to submit a claim for minor tinnitus, shoulder problems, and wrist problems from service related injuries. If I submit these claims and the VA decides to provide compensation, will this affect my flight physical? I couldn't specifically find anything about these being disqualifying factors, although tinnitus is the one that I am most concerned about. I have passed the annual hearing test provided by the military every time and from reading into the one given during the flight exam I should have no issue passing that either. I'm just looking for input from anyone else, either an examiner or someone with VA disability, to see if this could affect me.

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I included my 30% rating for tinnitus, knee strain, and back strain, and had the Class 1 come back clear within 2 weeks for what it's worth. Obviously your circumstances may be different. It seems based off various posts here that Rucker isn't as strict as they could be. One member posted he didn't have an issue with limited mobility and hardware in his wrist.

 

ETA: Just realized you are talking about civilian side, maybe someone else can chime in. If you are planning on getting out for good, I definitely would disclose all your issues to the VA. If you hit 20%, for example, you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation which fully covers various educational goals (they are paying for me to attend a private law school with BAH, for example). That may or may not extend to aviation.

 

 

Mike

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A few years ago the FAA suspended the medicals of a number of people in California. A review of disability claims coincided with an FAA investigation, and a number of people were claiming disabilities that they didn't cite on their FAA medical applications. It went both ways. It impacted medical certificates, and the state went after them for fraud.

 

So long as you don't have a disqualifying condition and you're transparent, it shouldn't be a problem.

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A few years ago the FAA suspended the medicals of a number of people in California. A review of disability claims coincided with an FAA investigation, and a number of people were claiming disabilities that they didn't cite on their FAA medical applications. It went both ways. It impacted medical certificates, and the state went after them for fraud.

 

So long as you don't have a disqualifying condition and you're transparent, it shouldn't be a problem.

I definitely wasn't planning on not telling. I just don't want to kick myself by getting disability then not being able to pass the physical because of it. Any idea if tinnitus, is disqualifying?

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I included my 30% rating for tinnitus, knee strain, and back strain, and had the Class 1 come back clear within 2 weeks for what it's worth. Obviously your circumstances may be different. It seems based off various posts here that Rucker isn't as strict as they could be. One member posted he didn't have an issue with limited mobility and hardware in his wrist.

 

ETA: Just realized you are talking about civilian side, maybe someone else can chime in. If you are planning on getting out for good, I definitely would disclose all your issues to the VA. If you hit 20%, for example, you are eligible for vocational rehabilitation which fully covers various educational goals (they are paying for me to attend a private law school with BAH, for example). That may or may not extend to aviation.

 

 

Mike

I was planning on it, I just wasn't sure if that could come back to be a bad thing in the end. I figured the wrist and shoulder would be ok, but I can't find anything definite on the tinnitus. I was planning on using post 9/11 to get my license through a private school which comes with BAH and all that, are you saying that there is additional funding as well if you have a disability?

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Pull your medical records from the military and send em over to AOPA. They looked at mine and advised me what I should have ready when going to the AME once I got my VA claim decision. I also sent them my VA claim decision once it came in and got more recommendations. I followed them all and walked out with a medical, thanks to the additional stuff AOPA recommended I bring. Well worth the membership cost. Now it's all "previously reported no change".

 

And if you can, find a former military guy/gal AME. They get it a lot better than people who think you're on some sort of SSDI.

 

Mike

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I was planning on it, I just wasn't sure if that could come back to be a bad thing in the end. I figured the wrist and shoulder would be ok, but I can't find anything definite on the tinnitus. I was planning on using post 9/11 to get my license through a private school which comes with BAH and all that, are you saying that there is additional funding as well if you have a disability?

 

Yes. Look into VA vocational rehabilitation. Think of it like post 9/11 on steroids. I'd say half the military guys in my law school class are using this program. It works in conjunction with post 9/11... so Voc Rehab covers the program cost (and you still have your GI benefits for later), but the BAH portion of your post 9/11 is used in conjunction. There are other perks as well, including full coverage of materials and supplies. Also, the tuition is not capped. My school costs about 52K/year, and they pay it. I know a Marine who finished his undergrad degree and is now completing his MD on the program. I'm not sure if there are limitations on, for example, aviation as there are with the regular post 9/11 in some circumstances (as I understand it). They are way more flexible though, they can extend the timeline in certain circumstances (more months of TA), provide payments while you search for a job after program completion, etc.

 

In a perfect world from an aviation standpoint your "plan" with your counselor would be airline transport, for example, and they'd fund you through your ATP. Not sure if they do this. I know they do Lawyers, MDs, DMDs, NPs, PAs, and all sorts of other professional programs.

 

Found this, not sure if it's current, but it probably is: https://www.disabledveterans.org/2010/09/29/va-voc-rehab-flight-school/

 

Mike

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Pull your medical records from the military and send em over to AOPA. They looked at mine and advised me what I should have ready when going to the AME once I got my VA claim decision. I also sent them my VA claim decision once it came in and got more recommendations. I followed them all and walked out with a medical, thanks to the additional stuff AOPA recommended I bring. Well worth the membership cost. Now it's all "previously reported no change".

 

And if you can, find a former military guy/gal AME. They get it a lot better than people who think you're on some sort of SSDI.

 

Mike

Cool thanks for the info, I applied for a membership. I am trying to contact them for more info on this. Any tips on how to find a former military AME? Or is it just asking around?

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Yes. Look into VA vocational rehabilitation. Think of it like post 9/11 on steroids. I'd say half the military guys in my law school class are using this program. It works in conjunction with post 9/11... so Voc Rehab covers the program cost (and you still have your GI benefits for later), but the BAH portion of your post 9/11 is used in conjunction. There are other perks as well, including full coverage of materials and supplies. Also, the tuition is not capped. My school costs about 52K/year, and they pay it. I know a Marine who finished his undergrad degree and is now completing his MD on the program. I'm not sure if there are limitations on, for example, aviation as there are with the regular post 9/11 in some circumstances (as I understand it). They are way more flexible though, they can extend the timeline in certain circumstances (more months of TA), provide payments while you search for a job after program completion, etc.

 

In a perfect world from an aviation standpoint your "plan" with your counselor would be airline transport, for example, and they'd fund you through your ATP. Not sure if they do this. I know they do Lawyers, MDs, DMDs, NPs, PAs, and all sorts of other professional programs.

 

Found this, not sure if it's current, but it probably is: https://www.disabledveterans.org/2010/09/29/va-voc-rehab-flight-school/

 

Mike

 

Wow that is fantastic. I was planning on getting my commercial through a degree program anyway to get the max amount of funding but I was still going to have to do like 10-15k out of pocket. I just went through the VA benefits briefing all day 3 days ago and they did not mention this at all. Thanks for the info!

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Its an absolutely amazing program, though it does require you to be a little proactive.

 

Mike

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