The question was put to him by a local reporter during an interview last week in Phoenix.
I'm no expert but here's what I think apply but do your own research to be sure. The VA and DOD both have comprehensive web sites.
- Proper honoring of your hazardous service to the Country
- Most of our C-123 veterans are not retired military nor otherwise VA disabled, so the VA service connection for their Agent Orange-presumptive illnesses means VA medical care and compensation they don't now receive
- All veterans with 50% or more VA disability can receive optical care, audio, prosthetics and other benefits not provided under Tricare. At 100% disability there is also dental care. At 80% disability plus unemployability, certain long term health considerations. I have been blessed with VA protection for two decades and am grateful for the skill and dedication of every health care practitioner I've encountered! VA care is not sought because it is free but because it is excellent!
- VA compensation is tax-free and may "shelter" all or most of the military retiree's service pension
- Most states have significant benefits for disabled veterans, such as property tax relief, motor vehicle registration, etc.
- Survivors of veterans who die of service-connected illnesses and injuries, or who are totally disabled for ten years or more, are eligible for Dependent's Indemnity Compensation of approximately $1250 per month, tax exempt
- If the military retiree was paying for survivor benefits and the survivor is also eligible for VA's DIC, the premiums withheld from the military pension are refunded to the survivor
- VA medical care to veterans who have to travel certain distances is reimbursed
- Agent Orange illnesses make military retirees eligible for "combat related special compensation" and can mean keeping certain percentages of both the military pension and the VA pensions
- Most of us are past having children in college, but eligible dependents have generous federal and often, state educational benefits
- Disabled dependents of disabled veterans have certain benefits, including benefits which survive the veteran
There are certainly more reasons to seek a VA disability claim than are listed here...and an hour on the Internet or spent visiting a veteran's service officer from your state or DAV,VFW or Legion will be more informative.