About 35 years ago I fled the VA system in fear of my life. I never refiled a rejected claim and swore I would never go back. I dealt with various PTSD demons on my own nickel and discovered both my cervical and lumbar spine was disintegrating from a severe mine incident in 1968. I have been crippled on and off for the last five years.
I have worked and payed into the SS system since I was 14, rarely making more that $25K a year. All told I worked about 24 years in government service. When I retired early a couple years ago, I walked away from a early retirement bonus of $25k had I stayed another year. I cashed out my retirement accounts and payed a ton of tax penalties for doing so
At the urging of some crew mates from RVN I filed a new claim with the VA and they all helped in documenting what happened to me while there.
The VA is now addressing my problems, hopefully completed before the storm.
For the last year and a half I have received: SS retirement, Government pension, and 70% VA disability. It is a good income in my present situation. I paid for it all in one form or another.
Before I retired, I lived on the SE Gold coast of S. Florida in a high rise on the intercoastal water way. Working 50 hour weeks, nights, with long commutes, I lived ” La Vida Loco” and pissed away about $100K inheritance, one year on fast boats and booze. I had some expensive toys and my maintenance payment alone was over $500 a month. I managed to do a very quick under value sale on my condo having lost about $300K in equity, from the housing crash. I bought well so I still did walk away with a profit.
I moved to an undisclosed location in the country the day after my retirement and shortly paid off the mortgage on my new moderate property.
I now have chickens, a dog, cat, well water, aquaponics and am building an extensive solar system. I live in the sticks with good, simple, polite, God fearing people.
I have fled to the mountains, so to speak, because, I do not envision those three government checks to last very much longer. No matter who you are, individual or government, you can not long continue to spend $10 to make $5. The end has to come soon. I have devoted all of my energy and treasure to being self-reliant. Being able to step off grid with a few very close friends at a moments notice and be beholding to no one. The final step in my break from the “future” is paying off my final credit card, which is more than I care to think about. I have few other bills so I will make short work of that. I keep a minimum in the bank to cover bills (car insurance, electric, communications and all other expenses going on AM EX which is paid off every month). I have cash and some metals put aside for future real estate taxes. Those of you who have followed my past articles know also of the extensive supplies and preps I have made.
Due to the fact that I have planned better and longer (always been a prepper of some sort) than my friends, I have invested a great deal of my life’s profits in our retreat so that we have some hope of a comfortable survival, come the fall. I have long been the best friend and the worst of enemy.
I have had money and I have lived on instant potatoes and catsup packets.
If you are new to this, get involved. Don’t put it off. You have to really work at it. No one is going to give it to you.
Let it snow!
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Wonderful post, D. I personally thank you for your service, and get your dime while you still can…you deserve it, you earned it! I was ‘on the dole’ when I was younger but used that time to get a degree and a license and RETURNED to the ranks of working taxpayers…Our country does not do enough for our service members, IMO…and the current gooberment wants to control those on the dole and add to their numbers…not a pleasant climate for someone who works hard to scrape by…but us self reliant folk, sharing our experiences and wisdom, will persevere…and survive!
Thank you for your service Brother. I too fought the VA system for years trying to prove my disabilities from serving in the military. Had it not been for the DAV Service Officer assitance, I would probably still be 10% instead of 80%. I too am leary that my benefit check could stop/cease at any time. No faith in the current administration on the way they are spending. I recommend to everyone to use the DAV and/or appeal your denials. You have nothing to lose except time. Takes years and years to finally win. Your lucky you have some close like-minded friends who will help you when the time comes. You just can’t beat good friends, aged whiskey, and Gods many blessings!
D, thanks for your service and I understand your reluctance to use the VA as I only started about six years ago and Am still fighting them with the help of a VSO. They either hope you die first or they may well run out of money first. I live in north central FL and most of my neighbors don’t agree that something will happen, me, like in the Boy Scouts, be prepared. Keep Prepping and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.
I am in a similar situation, living off a military pension and VA Disability at 100 percent. After a 3 year battle, I just won my Social Security case. I also fear that the government will cut us off first when the inevitable economic collapse comes. We don’t raise any animals, or grow much food right now. But, we have been stockpiling considerable beans, bullets and band-aids the past few years. I had planned on a solar installation and a fence around my property as the next preparation steps, but I did not get nearly as much back pay from Social Security as I expected. I did pay down credit debt, but not off. I may have to change plans, opting for solar generators instead of an entire system. I only need power for a few items: well pump, hot water heater and refrigerator. I will need some help calculating our exact power requirements before I purchase any generators. I may also opt for barbed wire instead of a full fence. Working on it!
It was late last night when I typed my comment, so after my head hit the keyboard the third time while dozing off, I closed out and went to bed. I did want to thank you, D, for reminding me how truly fortunate that I am. Although the VA doctors really misrepresented my medical conditions and the raters butchered my disability claim, I still had enough ailments to get a 90% decision (after waiting ONLY a year). I was approved for Individual Unemployability 4 months later and it took a SHORT 19 months to get paid. Consequently, I cannot complain. Some veterans wait DECADES to resolve their cases. I’ll never really know for sure, but I am fairly confident that Social Security would NOT have denied me IF the Veterans Administration had issued an accurate disability decision in a timely manner. This cost me more than ten grand. “Water under the bridge”, now. I thank God every single day for what I have. Although I am still “in hawk”, I donated considerable funds to charities: the Church, veterans in long term care, Salvation Army (no overhead) and multiple organizations that support sick, suffering or starving people.“I complained when I had no shoes, until I saw the guy with no feet”.