Military Cancer Survivor Benefit Questions

phknutson Member Posts: 1
I'm new to this message board... Was just diagnosed with AML M4Eo on 15 JUN while serving as a deployed guardsman in Kosovo. I spent 2 months at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and was able to be put into remission and am now being treated back in my home state. I might be told I'll need a bone marrow transplant ( I have 2 sisters who are a match), but won't find out for sure until this Wed. Here are some questions I have:

1. I will have 20 years DEC 04 and am currently a MAJ. Will my family be taken care of financially if I don't survive this? How much money and for how long will my wife and kids be payed a benefit?

2. What is a typical benefit % for cancer survivors, specifically leukemia? All the reading I've done, a person in remission could relapse at any time throughout their lives. Does the eval look at symptoms following treatment?

3. Do I need a military lawyer to represent/help me?

4. At what benefit percentages can I continue to work my civilian job?

I'll stop here... Thanks in advance,



  • spongebob
    spongebob Member Posts: 2,565 Member
    Ahoy, Pete -

    Actuve duty Coast Guard O-4 colon cancer survivor here... good questions, I'll look into your questions here - I have some real aces in medical benefits. I also have the name and number of an excellent attorney should you have to go to a med board. Off the cuff, I would say you don't have to worry about missing your retirement. Also, if for some reason you shouldn't survive this (but let's not talk that way - that's not productive) there are plenty of safety measures in place on the active duty side to help your family out. Also there is always SGLI and VGLI (once you're retired) plus VA bebefits. I would say let's hold off on that one pending your results on Wednesday. Focus right now on getting better.

    Let me shoot your questions out to some pals of mine and see what theye have to say.

    BTW, what is your home state? I don't envy your 2 months at Wally World - I did my treatments at Bethesda. If you can, I would recommend you consider getting into their program there. They are in a joint practice with the National Cancer Institute.

    More to follow.

    - SpongeBob
  • spongebob
    spongebob Member Posts: 2,565 Member
    Unfortunately I have not been able to dig up a whole lot of useful information for you despite a lot of shoveling. Disability determinations are primarily service specific as they are determined by the member's service. I highly recommend that anyone faced with these issues/questions engage with a military lawyer (JAG) who would represent them and can help research the questions posed. Survivor benefits are more of a personnel issue but a lawyer should be able to answer many of these service / situation specific questions/concerns. I am sorry that I don't have a better answer. Let me know if you'd like a recommendation(s) for private counsel - I can give you a couple of names and numbers of attorneys I know who routinely navigate the waters of Medical Boards with the military who may be able to help you.

    - SpongeBob
  • younghero
    younghero Member Posts: 1
    hi! i am 18 and my father is a Colonel in the Air Force! I had cancer when i was younger so i was thinking, if you still need some info let me know and i can ask him for you! we went through all that stuff! plus we have fellow officers who have had strokes and stuff and went through rehab and made it back to active duty. you also might want to see if you have a living will right now. anywho! i'll get back to you!
    hayley aka younghero
  • Hi My name is Nora Brown. I was a medical boards officer when active duty, thus have a little knowledge to share. Because you have twenty years in already what most likely will happen is, you will be recieve your traditional retirement. During your retirement period, if it hasn't already occured you'll I'm sure be attending DTAP, it is crucial that you copy every single bit of medical information you have, that is every inpatient doc, every outpatient doc. Regardless of whether someone tells you they will do this for you, DO NOT LISTEN, copy these youself!!!! Once you have your copied records you must prepare a package wich contains forms either supplied by your VA rep (you should have one there at Walter Reed) or where ever you are stationed or website. If you are already on terminal leave you may download the forms necessary off the VA homepage the website you will then go to the VONAPP SITE (Veterans Online APP). You simply follow steps, attach copies of in patient/outpatient/dental records. Make sure you list everything that has ever ailed you or been problematic. IE bad back,knees,neck, teeth!!! Vets that have severe illness like yourself often forget to mention crucial information such this. The VA takes anywhere between 90 to 120 days sometimes more (Gov we're dealing with) to review. You will have an exam scheduled. How they determined your compensation is through a formula that is unique since you are already retired. Essentially, they will convert your 100% pay and make it 100% tax free, plus or minus 40% on average. Don't quote me, but that should give you an idea. You generally do not need an attorney, the VA is very very fair to us. Should you of course run into problems, by all means hire counsel. The only time I every found the need for a fellow officer to hire counsel was secondary to a musculoskeletol injury:broken leg. Your illness is certainly nothing that can be challenged, plenty of documentation exist.