Benefits Question


Well-Known Member
My father served in the Army National Guard for approximately 18+ years (not sure of the exact amount of time). He was a Captain when he was stricken with Multiple Sclerosis (woke up on Christmas Day of 1972 and was paralyzed from the waist down).

His first indication and subsequent diagnosis came while he was on duty at Ft. Sill, OK. He was a Forward Observer and trained same.

After he came down with the paralysis, he was not discharged.

A few years later, he requested a discharge and got PROMOTED to Major.

He then requested a discharge again and this time it was granted sometime in the mid to late 80's.

My father does not get one penny in benefits from his time in service. Nor is he allowed to utilize the V.A., or any other benies that retired military personnel do.

My question: Should he be receiving benefits? If so, who do I contact to get this thing squared away?

Thanks in advance.

Did your father serve any time in active duty? If so, anyone who has served active duty time can petition the VA to receive medical benefits (it is income-based coverage). You can go to any VA to their benefits office, fill out an application and provide the proof that you had the time in service (now on a DD214 form, but not sure if that has always been the case). Check out the VA's home page for more info.

Now, if your father requested separation after 20 years of SATISFACTORY service (I say this, because if you do not acquire the necessary number of points for completing drills, tours, etc., you do not receive credit for that year towards retirement), he should have been eligible for retirement. If this is the case, you can contact the Army's personnel center (PERSCOM) - check out their web site for help in requesting a change in status. If your father instead resigned his commission, he is not eligible for benefits, but again, PERSCOM can help you and him in determining a possible course of action.

As long as he did not receive a medical discharge with disability severance pay, he is most likely eligible for benefits, but it will take some time and effort to rectify the records. If he received disability severage, he is not eligible for any retirement/separation benefits.

Hope this helps a little...
A good place to go with extremley helpful people would be the DAV (Disabled American Veterans Association). There is no cost for their services; You can become a lifetime member if you feel the need. When I retired I went to the VA and things were pretty slow going. I then went across the hall to the DAV and got a lot of questions answered. They not only answered questions but when it came time and my medical record went to the VA for review, they had a representative there. Does your father have a copy of his DD214 and medical record? It will help greatly if you bring those to the DAV.
Also try The Retired Officer Association. They are a very powerful lobby group. and keep trying with all the organizations until you get the answer that you want to hear. In my opinion he is entitle to disability and retirement pay.
Thought I'd bring this thread up again and update you guys.

I contacted the Department of Veterans Affairs and downloaded the benefits/pensions form. DAMN that thing is long!!

Anyway - I talked to my father, who is in the hospital and has been sice January 2nd (should be out in about two to three more weeks) and he's willing to sit down with me and dig through all of his papers and do whatever it might take to try and get an answer.

According to the folks who I spoke with (VERY HELPFUL, by the way!) my father SHOULD qualify for his pension because he falls under the definition of one who suffered "an injury, heart attack or other disease while a member of the National Guard"... or something like that. (Sorry, I don't know the true definition.)

As I might have mentioned - his first symptoms occurred while on what WAS supposed to be his ACTIVE term at Fort Sill, OK. His stay was cut two days short because of being treated for the first signs of M.S. (this is actually the time where Army physicians actually diagnosed the disease).

So, who knows how this will turn out? I'd like to see him get some form of benefits for his time in the service. He TRULY enjoyed his time in and would have stayed in until they kicked him out a the ripe old age of ..... ????

So, thanks for everyone's help. I'll keep you posted. It will take a while I'm sure.

Thanks again!


I wish my father would have pursued this a long time ago, but for those who aren't familiar with MS, it has a profound effect on not only ones psyche, but ones memory after a while.

I had sworn that my father received a letter about 5 years ago stating that he was to begin receiving his pension as of his 60th birthday...But he has no recollection of it.

In speaking with my mother last night and explaining what I plan to do to see if we can get a resolution to this, she mentioned the letter too and stated that Dad has no memory of it, but she is SURE that he received it.

So, the VA form may be a moot point and it may simply be a case of following up on the letter.

I hope SOMETHING positive comes of it. Not that my folks need the money.. They're doin' okay, but it would be nice to see my father receive what he worked for for all those years.