On the "Chop Block" with the Navy because of Diabetes!

I’ve been in proud service to my country for 14+ years now, and I’m unfortunately coming to the end, due to a LADA diabetes diagnosis 3+ years ago. I flew under the radar (for fear of this outcome) for many years, but it will catch up with you end the end, when you prepare to transfer to another duty station. It did me. I have appealed the outcome of the Navy’s medical panel several times now, and they will not budge. What to do?..What to do?.. Has anyone out there faced my situation and come through just fine? I’m terrified of where to turn next. Insurance costs, among other things, seem daunting (at best). The Navy’s only cutting me a severence after I’ve made it nearly 3/4 of the way to retirement. I hope there’s someone out there with good news…

Have you tried connecting with the American Diabetes Association Job Discrimination resources? Not sure of any other suggestions. Sorry.


you should be eligible for Tricare and potentially a VA priority two. You should also get preferance for a government job. May eligible for some additional vocational or college training its not the end of the world. Tri-care is cheap for retiree 440 a year for a family. Its not discrimination with diabetes you are not combat eligible nor can you do isolated duty pretty simple. I understood that when they discharged me. Aren’t going to get a medical retirement thats what I got so I do get a prorated retirement check and comissary priv’s? Mike

I’m a Navy mom and even thou it sounds bad what they are doing Michael does have a point. I wish you the best and thank you from the bottom of my heart of your services. Patti

So, Mike. You got out and put on the TDRL list? I think that’s what you’re saying. Which branch? I’m only rated at 20% (per the VASRD), and went to appeal in D.C. I was shut down, even though I had a history of low episodes (40-60%). My endo doc told the board that I’d shown better numbers within the month prior to going to D.C. So, I guess she busted my chances.

Thanks Patti. You’ve always had something nice and/or informative to say… God bless and keep you and yours.

First Troy, Thank you for your service to our country. I know the gov’t is exempt from a lot of it’s own laws but it seems the Americans with Disabilities Act enforcement has some teeth. I spelled it out because I didn’t the confusion caused by TLAs Best of of luck to you. It sure sounds like discrimination due to a disability to me.


Thank you so much for your choice to join the military and do this for us. Just wanted to let you know that my family and myself really appreciate all of you.

Just to pipe in, it sounds like discrimination to me also. You would think that you would be allowed something for all of those years. You would also think that you would be able to get disability because it sounds like you developed the d while in the military. Correct?

Times sure have changed. I have been out of the Navy as long as you have been in. (I was in for 10 years) I saw people get out with more benefits for less reasons than you. I just don’t get it. Keep fighting the good fight.

Dear Troy,
Been there, survived that. After 13 years in the Army, I was given a disability discharge 9 months after my diagnosis with Type I. It bites, big time, but since then, the VA sent me to college, I met my wife - both of which would have never happened if I had not gone through the ugly wringer you are encountering. Many times in the days ahead you might be tempted to be bitter, but I for one appreciate your service and sacrifices for our nation. God bless you and watch over you.

Lessons learned: Fight hammer and tong to get the 30% rating for DM from the Navy. Fight hard - don’t give up for a second until you walk out the gate for the last time. I mean HARD. Period. Ride sick call. Whine, snivel, complain, then do it some more. I know, it is counter to the military culture, but your long term financial health rides on getting a +30% rating to get military disability retirement as opposed to separation pay. Do the math. It will also help when you file for VA disability. The bottom line: the worse your health condition appears on paper, the better your financial health will be.

Things have changed (somewhat) since my discharge in '94. I understand that you can do your VA filing while you are still on active duty. Look into that. Also check out www.hadit.com.

Also get a copy of the VA benefits booklet from www.va.gov, in addition to finding what what state benefits you can get form your state.

Forget about discrimination gripes while still in uniform. That is a one-way road to nowhere. They can do what they want. Save your energy time for gaming the system.

Start looking at going to school. Set your sights REAL high. The VA will foot the bill, and we civilian taxpayers owe you nothing less than the best. Let us do it for you.

Hang in there - things will turn out fine.
e-mail me for more.

Thanks, Tom. What a wealth of protocol knowledge you possess. Please disregard my first reply, as I had yet to read your e-mail. I would absolutely relish any other wisdom you can impart. So, feel free to proceed. How has your situation been since discharge, and looking back would you have done it differently?

Thanks Dave. It just doesn’t seem right, after 15 years, to be here…

Thanks for you kind words, Connie. It’s an uphill battle everyday, but my wife motivates me to keep fighting. I’m sorry to hear that your hub is newly diagnosed. At least you understand, and can ease the fall. My prayers go out to you both…

Thanks, Mike. You and I have both seen that. An ingrown nail gets you 40%… The worst part is that I have other health issues and they weren’t rated. The battle continues…

Hi, Troy! I’m honored to help in whatever way I can.

First, a couple of questions. Where are you in the PEB/MEB process? If you have not yet been discharged, then you have the opportunity to do a lot of things that will have a substantial impact on the outcome of a VA disability rating. Have you had a chance to talk with any of the personnel folks at your installation’s transition assistance activity? Pick their brains about the services that will be available to you while you are still on active duty as well as what you can do once you are out. Do you have a JAG officer appointed to represent you in your PEB/MEB? If not, get one ASAP, preferably the most experienced one you can get, and see them as soon as possible before your hearing.

Here are a few links that will provide background information and advice on negotiating the bureaucratic process. You are fortunate in that you will automatically move to the head of the line when it comes time for the VA to evaluate your disability claim. This means that the processing time will be much shorter than it is for veterans who do not have active service after September 11, 2001.

About the PEB/MEB:

VA General Information
http://www.vba.va.gov/predischarge/index.htm (This is fairly new – definitely worth a look to find out what you can do with the VA before your discharge)
http://www.vba.va.gov/predischarge/des.htm How the VA and DoD disability systems are interrelated.

VA disability filing stuff:
http://www.howtoassemblevaclaims.com/ (This is really good stuff on how to put together a VA claim. It is hugely important to get it right the first time when you do your filing. Once you receive a decision, it can take years to get it appealed and re-decided, and that is no guarantee that you will get what you want.)
http://www.vba.va.gov/REPORTS/mmwr/index.asp Want to know how long it will take? This spreadsheet shows processing times by various types of claims by regional office. It will give you an idea of where it will get done the fastest. Also, various regional offices are more generous in their ratings for identical diseases/conditions than others. It’ll take me a while to resurrect that information, though it comes from various studies by GAO and CBO.
http://hadit.com/index.php?categoryid=107 (use the links at the left)

VA Vocational Rehabilitation Information
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/vrs.htm (Vocational Rehabilitation overview)
http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/vre/sa/09/safy09_rates.pdf (not only do they pay for tuition, books, fees, etc. but they also pay a stipend for training/school at the rates listed in this document)

This is certainly not all inclusive, though it is a good start. I hope that it is helpful.

Thank you for serving America!

For the most important paragraph that will be huge in your PEB/MEB/VA claim, take a look at


See section 7913 - it specifies the disability rating that will be assigned to you (and how much $ you will get) based upon the severity of your diabetes. When I had my PEB, my endocrinologist quoted every singe word in the 40% rating when she dictated her evaluation of my condition. Sadly, they gave me 20%. Looking back on it, she did not document in my medical record examples of how I’d have to regulate diet, physical activity, etc. It ended up costing me ~$750,000 over my lifetime.

My recommendation: read it carefully, see doctors frequently to document each item. For example, having a doctor state in your medical record that you must specifically avoid the following physical activities (a., b., c., etc) will help. Have a dietician state in your medical record the restrictions of your diet, why, the consequences of not following it, etc.

Troy: I don’t have any experience with the military and being diabetic, just wanted to say I’m sorry to hear this is happening. You may need an attorney. I’m not sure they can discriminate against you like this. You are completely capable of performing service somewhere in the system with diabetes - a desk job even, recruitment, etc. You got this while serving and now you have a disability. Talk to a VA social worker too. If they kick you out after all that, consider trying to get employment in the VA system somewhere. Veterans are alway prioritized for jobs and the benefits are great.