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Thread: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

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    Default VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    I am about to haul a friend of mine to the VA hospital in Kerrville TX to see if he can get any type of benefits for a severe back injury he received in Army Basic Training. He received a medical discharge in the late 80s. Now he is having back problems and barely able to work. Right now he's in the process of trying to find his discharge paperwork. He has never signed up for any type of VA benefits. Any guidance would be much appreciated.

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    Default Re: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    So far he is unable to locate his DD-214 or Medical Records. I found this National Archives page; we'll see if it works.

    https://www.archives.gov/veterans/mi...ervice-records

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    Default Re: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    It works, make sure you get the DD-214, plus a copy of all medical records, take all to your local VA rep, and local outpatient VA clinic for medical help. Get it all on record. Follow the "Yellow Brick Road" from there. Good Luck

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    Default Re: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    He might have something coming if he can prove his disability is directly service-connected. I had a couple guys wash out in Basic due to physical problems that didn't get caught in their initial Physical. Like one guy who had his ankle completely separate due to all the marching we did. I remember him hobbling past the company on crutches in his Class A's with his papers in his hand as we were doing punishment PT in the mud with our Protective Masks on. I actually was mad at God for making me so healthy. But I digress. It was my impression because it was a pre-existing condition he didn't get squat. Guys who got injured in training were usually put in a holding company to heal or be evaluated - if he didn't get an MEB and has no record of service connection it's going to be hard to prove.

    Most guys who got canned in training got out on an AR 635-1 "Shithead Discharge" - Inability to Adapt to Military Life. As I understand it, it could only be given to troops with under six months' service.

    I recall the magic number being 180 days in to get benefits. the word around (perhaps mistakenly) was that any benefits didn't accrue until one had served at least six months of "honorable" service. I know when I was in Germany my first hitch and got stuck being the unit DAES (Drug and Alcohol Evaluation System) NCO/Clerk (got dropped with both when the NCO went AWOL and they never replaced him - it was the 70s...) we had more than one guy intentionally get busted on drugs hoping to get a Chapter 16 discharge. At the time that was the discharge they gave you for Alcohol/Drug rehab failure. At that time it was an Honorable Discharge. These guys would enlist, then when they had their six months, come down on a positive pee test and take their discharge, go home and collect benefits. Really sucked IMHO. But the key here is six months was the magic date.

    I would be interested to know how this turns out for my general information as every so often I come across a vet who needs assistance in negotiating the VA system.
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    Default Re: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    Your pre-existing condition warning made me ask a few more questions - in June of 1984 during basic training at Ft. Jackson he came off the tower on a rope without a belay man ready and injured his lower back. He was sent to the doctor who said the fall injury was compounded by a previous back injury in a car wreck that occurred before he enlisted. He was given the choices of waiting around to heal or going home with an honorable discharge. We might be spinning our wheels on this one but I'll keep you posted.

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    Default Re: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    Your buddy might be screwed by the pre-existing condition - but that should have been caught on his enlistment physical. At the same time he was given a choice of waiting to heal or taking a discharge and he took the discharge evidently without a medical review board (MRB) - again there's that six-month thing. My bet is he signed some sort of waiver as part of his outprocessing. He might have screwed himself.

    But as I learned when my wife and I got slammed by a new driver and my knees got screwed up (which I think led to the final blowout of at least my left) I learned of the "cracked egg" theory in law - all because an egg might already be cracked doesn't relieve the person who finally dropped it and broke it from responsibility. But again, there's normally a time limit (I think off the top of my head it's still two years) to file an initial claim after separation except under extenuating circumstances.

    Again, I'm thinking your buddy screwed up when he signed the paper to get out rather than sweat it out in MedHold. Don't feel bad; I screwed up when I took 10% instead of appealing the initial Board finding. Probably like your buddy I felt it was a good idea at the time - for me I figured it was the best I could get - not knowing how serious the condition could and would become. But I digress.

    The fact he received a Medical Discharge is a start. He can get a copy of his DD 214 and probably his official records (what's left of them). Here's a site that helps:

    https://www.archives.gov/veterans
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    Default Re: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    Do people who drop out of Basic get a DD-214?
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    Default Re: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    Quote Originally Posted by SOWT View Post
    Do people who drop out of Basic get a DD-214?
    I would imagine they get something - either a DD214 or something like it. Maybe a Participation Certificate?
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    Default Re: VA benefits for medical discharge out of Basic Training?

    I'm pretty sure they get a DD-214. Gotta put an RE code on something. Whether that qualifies them for VA bennies is another matter.
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