I am unable to work due to service connected disabilities. Please see the attached explanation and description of my situation for details. I have applied and appealed claims with the VBA, the Army Discharge Review Bo...
Thank you, Clint! I really appreciate your help.
I am an Army veteran and I was wrongfully given an "other than honorable" discharge. Because of this character of discharge, I can not get veterans' entitlements or benefits from the VA. With an upgraded discharge, I would be eligible and I have taken the necessary steps to get a character of discharge upgrade. The process is extremely complex and seems as though it is designed to deny upgrades before carefully taking all evidence into consideration. The initial upgrade request is done through postal correspondence. This makes it hard for the Army Discharge Review Board to fully understand the veteran's side of the story. Also, due to the volume of applications they receive yearly, it takes anywhere from four months to a year for the board and I to contact one another. I currently have claims/ applications pending with the BVA, the Army Discharge Review Board, Social Security Disability and Michigan's State Disability Assistance Program. I have the help of my Disabled American Veterans representative, my Social Security attorney and my case manager at my mental health services office.
(The top answer to "Other than honorable discharge and VA benefits" on a Google search says: If you received a discharge under conditions "other than honorable," you ordinarily are not eligible for most VA benefits. As long as you served for a total of 24 months, you can be eligible for benefits such as education and health care. Your eligibility for disability compensation will depend on some complex factors.)
Explanation of my need for help
I was 20 years old, in the Army, married, financially responsible and doing great for myself. I had never been in any trouble, always took care of my responsibilities and followed orders. I was in great health until after a few years of active duty service.
One day I woke up hours late for morning formation and didn't understand why. I didn't stay up late, I didn't think I was under stress at the time and I had an alarm set. I just didn't hear it at all. This happened to me a few times before I decided to see a doctor. Once the doctor evaluated me, he said I was possibly experiencing mental health symptoms and neurological symptoms. I was diagnosed with a sleep disorder called "Idiopathic Hypersomnia" after a few referrals to specialists, follow ups and tests. I was also diagnosed with depression, anxiety, PTSD and other family/ social problems. I immediately gave the information from my doctor to my chain of command so that I wouldn't be punished for any of the symptoms associated with those conditions.
The medical documents and doctor's note, called a permanent profile, didn't matter to them and they continued to punish me for my symptoms. I became so stressed out and depressed that my wife left me while I was away for a month on a temporary duty assignment. In doing so, she took all of the money in our accounts and maxed out all of our credit cards. She also didn't pay the bills that month or the previous month, leaving me broke and behind on finances. I became severely depressed and was all alone, without anyone to help me wake up and it seemed like everything was against me.
My sleep disorder worsened and so did the punishment. I was experiencing symptoms like memory loss, sleep attacks, hallucinations, uncontrollable sleep, I couldn't hear several alarm clocks, overwhelming depression, bad anxiety attacks and extremely manic episodes which later turned out to be bipolar disorder. My chain of command had it out for my by this point and had abandoned the idea of helping me resolve some of the issues. They began punishing me relentlessly. The punishments kept up for a few months until finally I couldn't take it. I went AWOL and decided to go back to my unit after two weeks.
This was not good for me at all because now they wanted to stand me up before a courts martial. They threatened me with jail time and even more severe punishment unless I accepted a chapter 10 discharge. This discharge co.es with an other than honorable character of discharge and they lied to me saying that I would still get treatment and benefits from the VA. I accepted the discharge and left the Army. Because of all of this, I have been struggling for years and I'm not able to work. All of my pending claims are going to take at least a year to be approved or denied and I have no way to provide for my three children. If they get denied, I will appeal and possibly be waiting even longer for a decision.
I have been struggling for twelve years now but somehow always had someone kind enough to give me a place to stay. I have tried working and kept losing jobs because of my sleep disorder and symptoms. I usually lose them due to being late or disoriented sometimes. I have no control over these things. Now that I have a Social Security claim, I cannot attempt to work because it may cause them to assume I can maintain a career and close my case. I am now homeless and scraping by from day to day. The only family I have will not allow me to stay with them and I don't understand exactly why. I did not do wrong by anyone and do not use drugs or alcohol. I try to help everyone I can when I'm able. I can no longer afford to be used and tossed aside time and time again. I only wish to become independent and provide a happy and healthy life for my children. My kids are safe and not on the streets. I visit them almost every other day when I'm able to and I would never abandon them. I am not perfect and haven't always made the best choices, but I will not give up. My kids deserve better than this and I think this campaign is worth a try. I'm doing everything I can and don't feel entitled to a handout, just some relief and an opportunity to survive while I'm fighting for my life.
I am humiliated and hoping that someone might be able to help me. I am a very compassionate person and even though I don't have much right now, I always help people as much as possible. If you can't help, I understand and hope that things get better for you as well. Please pray for me if you can. I constantly pray for everyone who may need blessings because I know how it feels to need help. In the meantime I am not giving up on my battle with circumstance. I look forward to getting back on my feet and someday paying it forward. Thank you for reading my story and may God continue to bless us all.
(If you'd like to help, donations can be made through this site, cashapp and PayPal. I know that cashapp and PayPal donations are instantly available, but I'm not sure about the method associated with fondly. Anything helps and is much appreciated. It will go to good use.
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