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Old 22-07-2014, 13:33   #1
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Disabled Veteran needs advice

I am a 100% disabled Desert Storm Veteran with benefits and income for life..... however the means of my escaping land is also proving problematic.

I was told today that I must have a US address (no PO box) as well as a port with a VA hospital (possibly any US Military base worldwide) to call a home base or possibly loose my healthcare and income .

I have read about "mail services" for long term cruisers on here but have not found anything that will satisfy the Military and VA.

I have met some very helpful fellow Vets on CF and hope y'all can help with ideas or possibly the same circumstance. I read all these post on sailing that either have 1. Cruising 50% working 50% or 2. Retired with a lump some of life long savings. Although at 40 I am closer to the 2nd criteria I've not found much on Veterans and VA. The VA hospital has told me to plan on being in my "home port" at least once every 6 months.... there has to be another way.

I'm going one way or another, however with a departure date of 1 Aug 14 that they just pushed back yesterday to 1 Sep 14 because my Doc is moving and I have to get another.... I'm a bit crushed as well as frustrated.

Thank you in advance,

Brian
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Old 22-07-2014, 14:06   #2
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

I'm Retired, but not yet sailing. I believe the St Brendans Isle will suffice for an address, but the VA thing, I do believe you do have to show up twice a Yr. I've heard second hand of at least one cruiser that flies home twice a yr for the VA thing.
Now I know enough to know that 100% disability isn't nearly 100% pay, or at least I don't think it is anyway and that finances will be tough for you so flieing home may not be affordable, but from what little I know, you will have to return to the VA at some scheduled visit.
There are I believe many VA clinics / Hospitals at least in the Gulf of Mexico anyway.
I'd have to go to the VA and ask politely to be given the regulation that is applicable, and then contact a VA rep. You have been in the Military system to know often, especially the civilian military employees are full of *****.
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Old 22-07-2014, 14:09   #3
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

I feel sure that if you lose your VA staus, you may play with the devil getting it back, I would try my best to ensure I didn't lose it.
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Old 22-07-2014, 14:42   #4
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

GB,

We lived full-time outside the U.S. for more than six years. Our St Brendan's Isle address was acceptable to the IRS, Social Security, all of our financial institutions, our prescription drug service, and our credit card companies. It was acceptable to the Clerk of the Court in Clay County, FL, who approved our legal residency in Florida. It was also acceptable as an address for voters' registration for both Florida and Federal elections, and as an address to obtain Florida driver licenses. FedEx and UPS will ship to SBI, even though they will not ship to a USPS box.

I can't imagine the VA would be pickier than all of the above agencies/organizations.

p.s. a SBI address is not a post office box, it's a Personal Mail Box (PMB). Big difference.
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Old 22-07-2014, 15:18   #5
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

You didn't mention where you plan to do your cruising.

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Old 22-07-2014, 16:21   #6
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

We've had good luck with Bexar mail service out of San Antonio Texas. The nice thing is the address reads like an apartment number rather than a mail box or mailing service. Been using them for over 10 years and have been very satisfied.
Bexar Fax & Mail Center | San Antonio, Tx 78213
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Old 22-07-2014, 16:41   #7
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

Gator_Bait,

Not a veteran myself. I want to comment on what A64pilot wrote, because it has such a ring of truth to it, especially the warning about letting the medical coverage slip away.

Whatever condition you are in now, it is still way better than what it will be by the time you are 70. By then, you are likely to need more medical care.

It seems to me that this is a quality of life issue. You don't say whether you have a boat at this time or your proposed cruising grounds. Maybe a way to try and meet your goals is to pick a different area that offers more potential for cruising and cruising back to make your hospital visits. Clearly, since the doc you knew and had built a working relationship is gone, so all new docs are equally unknown. Pick a different hospital that would make what you want to do possible, depending on the kind of cruising you think you want to do. I bet you can move every three years or something weird like that, but you will have to do the ground work first.

Good luck with it.

Ann
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Old 22-07-2014, 17:23   #8
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

I would like some clarification on this also. I have managed to keep my benefits, hearing aids, for 20 years visiting the va every couple of years. I just recently got awarded 60 pc and dont want to lose that. I have lived outus for the 20 + years. Can you ask to see chapter and verse of the regs and not just someones interpretation of them.
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Old 22-07-2014, 17:40   #9
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

I would get in touch with the DAV and ask for a VA Advocate. They have the ability to cut through the red tape and are thoroughly versed on the ruled and regulations. The American Legion also has such personnel.
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Old 22-07-2014, 17:44   #10
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

Brian-
"I was told today that I must have a US address..."
Told by who? In regard to what?
If an administrator of some kind said "you must" then politely ask them for the citing, the statute or other written reference they are basing this opinion on. Sometimes, they are wrong. Sometimes, reading the actual citation will give you more information on exactly what you need.
If you are concerned about residency requirements for veteran's benefits, I'd also suggest writing directly to the appropriate offices in the VA and the DoD to get a written reply, as those are most often correct.

"I have read about "mail services" for long term cruisers on here but have not found anything that will satisfy the Military and VA. "
You might try contacting SBI to ask them if they have any experience with this problem. They do probably enjoy the best reputation in the business, it may not be news to them.
Part of the problem may concern "residency". The fed may be asking where you actually reside, which is the lay definition of residency. However, each state has their own definition of residency and some of them--like Florida--allow each state agency to make their own definitions of residency, for their own purposes, even if those definitions conflict each other. So the Florida DMV will not accept "under the JuliaTutle Bridge" as a residency, but the Board of Elections is required to, after lawsuit. The Florida DMV will pretty much accept any postal address where you can receive mail--even if you never have been there, or never slept a night there.
In other states, you must physically reside and spend the night (sleep) someplace so you can see, the Fed might or might not agree with local mailstops.

You might find a VFW post or other military fraternal organization is willing to let you use their address, especially if you are a member. Just bear in mind, that "residency" address may tie you to local taxes, jury duty, and other complications. Florida (SBI) has an advantage there, in that Florida has no state taxes and is generous about waiving jury duty. Some other states will postpone it--but never waive it outright.

Hud-
It is worth pointing out that UPS and FedEx do not deliver to USPS boxes because the USPS regulations forbid them from doing so. The USPS restricts the use of mailboxes, any and all mailboxes, to only two parties. The USPS, and the recipient. This is done to preserve the legal monopoly status that Congress gives the USPS.
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Old 22-07-2014, 18:03   #11
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

I get home from a VA appointment and I am very thankful for all the feedback, haven't even read them all but wanted to thank you in advance.

Brian
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Old 22-07-2014, 18:08   #12
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

Do you have a relative or close friend with an address that will satisfy the VA? I use my son's address and haven't hit any snags with the USCG, IRS, NJ State agencies...etc...etc.

If not, go to a VA advocate and explain your situation. I doubt you lose your "status"...just the paperwork trail and I'm sorry as I'm not sure what that is anymore.

I am retired USCG and fortunately can still use active military facilities...the VA clinic in Cape May NJ did want some "fee" if I was going to use them.... I said why when across the street I get everything free...it's just more of a hassle as I have to deal with the shifting load of USCG recruits and the medical personnel. This was 10 years ago and I got the typical blank stare of a VA type. Thankfully I'm retired but I bleed every time I hear the travesties encountered by other non-retired vets.

I live aboard with no real dirt address except my son's that I use...fortunately it's close enough and they are responsible enough to make it work.
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Old 22-07-2014, 18:42   #13
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

Thanks for your service.

I retired Navy in '91 and just now started the VA Benefits process. I don't know diddly about it so won't chime in other than to give you moral support. We have VA here in Hawaii and also in Guam. Don't know about more west.
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Old 22-07-2014, 18:50   #14
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

A64 is totally correct, it took me 6 years to get 60% and 3 more for 100%. Includes full base access again, medical, roughly 3k per month (can be googled), tax free status and I find out about new things literally every day.

I've spoke to every one, I have an appointment this week at the regional office as well as a friend that works there looking into it once she gets back from DC on the 31st. (the regional office here in Salt Lake is in charge of all Vets west of the Mississippi). So I've not lost hope, found out that I do have to keep an US address and find a VA that is easy to sail to at very least twice a year (not as bad as I thought).

My plans (to fill in the blanks) is to head to the gulf coast of Texas (looking like Galveston area now after some great advice), pick up a 30-36' sailboat to live and cruise on, 21 year old son is coming with for a few years to get his feet wet with his girlfriend (Daughter is a Gator in college where I received my degree and Son wants to sail for a living) heading down the gulf coast to the keys and up to Jupiter for my son to grab his passport till they get proficient, then down to the Caribbean for a few years, then trade up to a blue water yacht to head out to the pacific to follow my grandfathers tracks (WWII) from Pearl to Midway then to the Bikini Atoll where his ship the USS Saratoga CV3 lays and dive down for a visit, then back.

I think that pretty much covers my cruising agenda for up to the next 10 years.

Thanks again,

Brian
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Old 23-07-2014, 02:01   #15
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Re: Disabled Veteran needs advice

Brian, that's an ambitious cruising plan. I hope you are able to do it.

Ann
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