4 myths about the VA

There's a lot of misinformation that spreads between service members about VA medical care

4 myths about the VA

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

By Tech Sgt. Trevor Vander

I want to first say I am not affiliated with the VA in any way; however, I do receive benefits from the VA due to injuries received while serving. As someone who went through quite a few years of military service, I’ve heard rumors and I want to dispel some myths and misinformation.

Here are a few:

1. Everyone is entitled to VA benefits automatically.
2. Anything over 40% and you get BX/PX and base access
3. Sleep apnea is automatic 50%
4. The VA is bad/slow/non-helpful - insert random insult here as portrayed by the mass media and the voices of the few outweighing the silence of the many.

Now, I'll go a bit into correcting some of the misconceptions and dispelling some rumors that are preached as truth while I was Active Duty and Reserves.

1. Everyone is entitled to VA benefits automatically

There are clauses and items that can get really in-depth on this, and I have seen conversations as well that had truths and myths in the responses. The truth is, if you produce a DD214 for time served and do the proper paperwork, you can get benefits. The real issue here is that people don't realize they need to do the paperwork and work to get the benefits. They just verify, then get you scheduled to get your rating. Don't be the guy/girl that doesn't do your part then complains you didn't receive assistance. If you need assistance, contact me and I’ll help you track down resources!

2. Anything over 40% and you get BX/PX and base access

There is absolutely no truth to this. I thought 40% was the magic number based off all my Sergeants telling me to reach that number. The reality is 100% is needed for those items, and with 100% comes a lot more benefits. I do not get 100% but have done some research on it. Some of the benefits are tax breaks, cheap license plates for vehicles, State and National park free access and many others. Also, various states have additional benefits for different levels of VA disability. The DV tags that you see requires 100%, so if you see a DV “disabled vet” tag, shake that man or woman’s hand and thank them for their service, because 100% means they’ve experienced pain day and night, and few are deserving.

3. Sleep Apnea is automatic 50%

I have sleep apnea and it’s not part of my rating, but there is no proof to this being an instant 50%. There are, however, a lot of documents stating that the percentage of vets getting out in the last 10-15 years have seen the claims for this go up significantly.

4. The VA is bad/slow/non-helpful

I have been to 4 different VA hospitals for various treatments, including a surgery. I have received top-notch care and nothing but respect. I have given them respect and been extremely happy to receive the free – but earned – healthcare that has been provided. I have always gone in expecting it to take longer. It never has – it has always been fast and friendly.