We just returned home from our local VA office. Today's meeting was to determine how to appeal The July 1 Letter. As it happens, we don't need an appeal. After some confusing wading through Donald's six inch high file the VA Rep determined that our financial shortfall is a Department of the Navy issue rather than a VA issue. After wading deeper and seeking answers from another office she determined that because Donald is on the Temporary Disability Retired List (TDRL), he won't receive his full combat related pay until he is placed on the Permanent Disability Retired List (PDRL).
In five years.
Anyone who is medically discharged for PTSD has to be on the TDRL for five years and must get psych evals every six months. PTSD does not go away. It really doesn't even get better. You just get to a point where you learn to manage it through meds and continued therapy. If the Warrior should get miraculously better during the five year period the military can put him back on Active Duty. So far this has never happened. After five years the Warrior gets automatically put on the PDRL. And then he starts getting paid the full amount of entitlement.
We knew all this prior to being medically retired except for the not getting paid part. No one bothered to explain that Crucial Piece of Info in all the pre-retirement training Donald completed. Seems like they may have wanted to mention it at some point. It's really hard to believe that we finally have all the pieces to the puzzle but have to wait nearly five more years. I'm no longer angry. Just Weary. At least there is nothing to fight.
In four and a half years we will have a pretty good pay increase. However, this doesn't help us buy a house now. Clearly we aren't going to close on Friday. Without a job we aren't going to close at all. Donald applied several weeks ago for a chaplaincy position working with drug and alcohol dependents at the Oregon State Hospital. It's the only job opening that actually fits his area of expertise. He is more than qualified and it seems like a perfect fit since he specialized in that area when we were stationed in Virginia. If only they would actually interview him . . .
Mentally, I give the whole thing until July 24. That date gives me seven days to pack, move and store my household by the 31st. I've done it in less time but I'd really rather not. If anyone is interested in a Packing Party details will be forthcoming!