I am a disabled veteran who is barely surviving on a small, Department of Veterans Affairs non-service connected disability pension. Which is for a bad back and a good dose of depression. My monthly, DVA pension check equals about what a minimum wage earner would receive for take home pay.
I inform everyone whom I can about the terms of my Department of Veterans Affairs pension, because there are many other American military veterans who also qualify for one, desperately need one, but who have never learned of them.
I have written and published articles, which are on Magic City News, about veterans health care issues. I advocate for veterans rights.
About a year ago, the DVA was ordered (I Believe it was by Congress) to educate more veterans about their non-service connected pension benefits. So I know for certain that many vets don't know of these earned benefits.
Here is the official DVA web site's text on this pension:
"Veterans with low incomes who are permanently and totally disabled may be eligible for monetary support if they have 90 days or more of active military service, at least one day of which was during a period of war. The discharge from active duty must have been under conditions other than dishonorable. The permanent and total disability must be for reasons other than the veteran's own willful misconduct. Payments are made to qualified veterans to bring their total income, including other retirement or Social Security income to a level set by Congress. Unreimbursed medical expenses may reduce countable income. Veterans of a period of war who are age 65 or older and meet service and income requirements are also eligible to receive a pension, regardless of current physical condition."
I can't find that text on the DVA web site again, because they have a new web page for pensions. This is the link to the new page.
My disabilities are partly service connected, but the Department of Veterans Affairs refuses to acknowledge this fact. I have earned a service connected disability for severe depression, but must make do with a lesser paying non-service connected pension. The story of my battles against the DVA for full service connected disability benefits is titled: Lieutenant T. Gordan Barber and The Stolen Marine Corps Property.
I have much more time, talent, and self motivation than money. I am never paid for any of my writing or photography.
I cannot work at any boss's dictated pace. I cannot accept newspaper or magazine photo assignments, or take a chance at photographing any weddings, etc.. My degenerative back disease dictates that I must work at my own pace, or it's back into the hospital and wheelchair again.
Any photo assignment could easily end up being like a certain Firesign Theatre skit, "He's no fun, he fell right over."
I possess a powerful desire to work my way out of this relative poverty, out of this low income apartment/town house complex I live in, and hopefully off this meager pension. I have built up a nice selection of stock photography type photos. I shoot all I can, when I can. I write and write and create blogs/poor man's websites and post my work onto the World Wide Web, wherever I can.
The entire body of my Internet published work is all linked together and easily accessible from each of my blogs.
If you are either are a veteran, the close relative or friend of any low or no income vet, a vet's social worker or caretaker, please make note of veterans available non-service connected disability benefits.
And good luck. You may need it.
The Department of Veterans Affairs does not like paying out all that they owe to veterans.
I am, though, grateful for the financial and medical benefits that the Department of Veterans Affairs does pay me.
David Robert Crews Copyright 2008