Please note that many of the links here go to pages outside the Rattler/Firebird site. Those links are blue in color and will open in a new browser window. Several of the links in this section of the site are to Adobe Acrobat files. Those files require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader that can be downloaded from http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat/readstep2.html. Links to Adobe Acrobat files are indicated by the icon.
This page is designed to help you find out about benefits provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). One publication published by the Department of Veterans Affairs is Federal Bebefits for Veterans Dependents and Survivors. If you are interested in trying to obtain benefits, download and become familiar with this booklet.
One of the first things you should understand when you consider applying for benefits from the VA is that the VA has a dual role. The first is helping those veterans that need and deserve it. The second role is to prevent waste and fraud so that the money will be there for those who are elegible and need it. Those two roles are, in some cases, in direct opposition to each other. Often, the veteran who genuinely deserves help has to fight the system to get what is rightfully theirs because of the second of those two roles. Remember that, with the exception of Agent Orange issues, the burden of proof is on you. You must prove that your problem is a result of your military service. We hope that this section of our web site can perhaps give you a bit of ammunition to use in that fight. You did your part. When your country called, you responded. Now you should get what your country owes you. You earned it.
Over the years, there has been quite a bit of helpful information published in our newsletter regarding VA Benefits. In case you missed them, here are a few links to articles:
- November 2010
- May 2007
- November 2005
- May 2005
- November 2004
- May 2004
- May 2003
- November 2002
- November 2001
- May 1999
- May 1998
When you get the newsletter, don't skip over the Veterans Affairs bit. This is all good information that can help you get what is rightfully yours.
Two of the big, and sometimes controversial, issues for Vietnam era veterans are Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Agent Orange, but their are many others. As helicopter crew members, you almost certainly suffer from some degree of hearing loss, for example. Think your hearing loss is minor and not worth anything? The type of hearing loss we suffered as a result of prolonged exposure to turbine engines will never get better and it has the potential to get worse. If you get a favorable finding now, a later degredation will be much easier to substantiate.
There is another issue that affects nearly all of us who served as helicopter crew members. That is tinnitus and hearing loss. Prolonged exposure to the sound of turbine engines has almost certainly caused some degree of hearing loss. Combined with the loud noise of the engine, transmission and gunfire, most of us will also suffer from tinnitus (a ringing in the ears).
Since there is so much information available on these subjects, it is often difficult to find what you need to know buried in that mass of information. For that reason, we have extracted some information that you may find helpful and placed it here.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Agent Orange
- Tinnitus & Hearing Loss
- Compensation Rates
- Combining Multiple Rates
- Forms you may or may not need
- Tips for Filing a Claim with the Veterans Administration
Please bear in mind that official information from the VA may be more current than what is presented here. Where possible, we have included links to the original source documents so that you can check them as well.