Disability Question

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by futurecadet, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. futurecadet

    futurecadet 5-Year Member

    Nov 26, 2011
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    Realizing that my decision to attend a service academy could very well result in serious injury (or death), I have a few questions about what happens to an academy grad who suffers a serious injury of the sort that seriously hampers one's ability to perform physically.

    1. Who pays for the medical bills?
    2. Are disabled servicemen automatically discharged, or could they still be employed in some administrative/desk job capacity?
    3. If someone with, for example, an engineering degree from West Point has been leading infantry for the past 10 years, does the fact that they have not been actively employed in the engineering field for many years factor negatively into that person's resume when applying for a civilian engineering job?
  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ 5-Year Member

    Sep 27, 2008
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    Big, big questions here whose answers could get quite lengthy, but assuming from "futurecadet" you just need Big Big Picture and general concepts...

    1. "Academy grad" doesn't signify - if you are on active duty, and you are injured, generally speaking, the military TRICARE medical system pays for your care whether in a military treatment facility or civilian.
    2. Injured service members are evaluated by medical review boards which determine fitness for duty based on extent of disability, whether full duty or limited duty, either for a designated period of time or permanently. If a member is found permanently unfit for duty, separation or medical retirement can ensue. At that point, the Veterans Administration gets involved. If you want to see all the benefits for veterans, go to www.va.gov
    3. Military officers are valued in the civilian job sector precisely for that leadership experience you mentioned and many other factors. Scan the Life After the Academy threads for many discussions for what kinds of jobs/careers military officers find success in, whether SA grad or not. Having that BS degree from an SA, even if not an engineering major, added to hands-on leadership experience and resource management, gives that officer an understanding of engineering principles. I know a former Marine officer, a USNA English major, who was hired as a systems/process engineer by a well-known international tire manufacturing company - just got her third promotion and is overseeing a large production department, where she is valued for her leadership, team-building skills and decision-making. Just one of many examples.

    It's good to recognize that going in harm's way is part of the deal when going into the military, from any source, and equally good to ask questions. As is often noted on these Forums, focus on whether a military career is for you, which service culture fits you best, then work backwards toward which commissioning method is right for you.
  3. InterestedRetiree

    InterestedRetiree LCDR USNR-R 5-Year Member

    Apr 1, 2011
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    Both of these reviews can take months. During the first you will remain on active duty. If the severity of the injury necessitated you would be placed on convalescent leave. All of your medical costs would be covered.

    If you are found fit for duty and remain on AD that does not preclude you from later filing for VA service connected disability once you leave AD. Again this process can take months. Most likely you would have free outpatient and potentially inpatient care during this period, but would be liable for a copay for outpatient medication costs (currently $8/month for each prescription).

    If your disability is found to be service connected you would be provided all medical care in and out patient for free and medications, for the service connected condition, are then free. You would also receive compensation based on the percentage disability that's assigned to your condition. This would be paid from back to the date you applied. The payments range from approximately $125 per month for a 10% disability to approximately $4000 for 100%. I don't know all the immediate numbers but the increases are on an irregular scale. 20% is around $286.

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