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I retired civil service with 25 yrs. service, 4yrs. in the Marine Corps and 21yrs. with USDA-NRCS. I retired on the old program and not FERS. I do draw a retirement pension but my problem is drawing disability. In 2018 I turned 62 yrs. and started drawing $135 per mo. for Social Security but under SSDI I do not qualify due to not enough quarters worked.  The VA rates 10% service connected disability for tinnitus, and in the same letter rates me over 100% non-service connected disabled due to Implantable Defibrillator 100%.   Sleep Apnea w/CPAP 50%,  and hypertension 10%.  Because of my condition and the amount of my retirement leaves me below poverty the government offered me a 'Vietnam Era Pension' that started out as $528.00 per mo. and this included the 10% service connected tinnitus. But then the government said they over paid me and now that pension is $390 per. mo.  My only employer was the Federal Government except for a couple part time jobs that add up to maybe a year or two. Both the VA and SSDI pay around $3,000 per mo. for a 100% disabled person. The VA rated me 10% active duty and 100% total disabled yet I only collect $390 per mo. I have 21 years working for the federal government that disability does not cover. Something in this picture is not right. I feel like I'm swimming with lead boots on.  What should I do to correct this mistake?

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A1:  I need some more info before offering assistance - what do you draw from OPM? Seems odd you quad. for "Vietnam Era Pension" as that is needs based and if you did 21 yrs w/USDA + 4 in USMC your OPM pension would not meet needs basis. Did you make a deposit for your time in USMC? You state you are getting SS - probably should have postponed that until 66 - how many quarters do you have with SSI. Windfall Benefits Provision & Public Pension Offset comes in play too with CSRS.  I too did 4 years in USMC, worked VA for 8 years, did total of 42 years with Uncle. I only get $165 from SS but I did work & got 40 quarters. Most of my time was in HR so I understand VA and OPM retirement pretty well. Sorry about your NSC disabilities - but can't understand if you qualify for SS then why not SSDI?  (SM)  4/20/19

A2:  To get VA you need to show that your medical issues were a result of or agrivated by the military. If they were you need to file a claim or a notice of disagreement showing how they are related. There is no correlation between usda employment and VA.  (TB)  4/20/19


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