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May 17, 2024

From 0 to 100% VA Disability Rating for PTSD

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A Chance VFW Encounter Begins One Veteran’s Road to a 100% VA Disability Rating for PTSD

Qualifying for a 100% VA disability rating for PTSD.

Marine Corps Veteran Turner followed his friend to the Tucson VFW. Inside, he noticed a pool table tucked back in the corner of the room. He walked over and sat down on the stool behind it. A few minutes later, a gray-haired veteran in a cowboy hat walked over.

“How long have you been out?” the man asked.

Turner looked around the room. “Almost a year.”

“Have you gotten help?” the man asked.

“Help with what?” Turner asked.

The man didn’t waste his words. “You have PTSD, man. You came into the room and scanned every exit. I watched you count all the people. You posted up in this corner, and you haven’t come out of a defensive stance since you got here.”

Turner hadn’t realized it, but his feet hadn’t come off the ground since he arrived. If he needed to defend himself, he was ready. If he had to bounce out an exit door—he’d be gone.

“You need to see somebody and get evaluated,” the man told Turner.

As they talked, Turner told the man he didn’t want to take time and money away from fellow veterans who had more traumatic experiences. After all, his story didn’t involve heroic battles or scars from bullets or shrapnel.

“I don’t wanna hear it,” the man said, “You served. I served. We served at different times. You’ve been to Iraq. I would much rather go back to Vietnam than Iraq. At least I knew who my enemy was.”

Marine Corps Veteran Turner
(Marine Corps Veteran Turner)

When the planes crashed on 9/11, Turner was a senior in high school. He signed up for the Marine Corps nine days after his 18th birthday.

After boot camp, Turner volunteered to go to Iraq. His unit was assigned to augment the 3rd Low Altitude Defense System and secure a 25-mile perimeter around the Al Asad Air Base in western Iraq.

“We were mortared and rocketed and received small arms’ pop shots’ from time to time, but nobody around me was killed or wounded in battle,” he said.

After leaving the military, reintegrating into civilian life proved to be difficult for Turner. He felt unprepared and without direction. The Marine Corps had conditioned him to keep moving, and he had trouble staying in one place for very long.

“I just bounced around like I was in a fog. I was trying to make logical decisions. I was trying to do the best I could for myself,” he said. 

From 0 to 100% VA Disability Rating for PTSD

Though Turner didn’t know it at the time, he had been quietly struggling with PTSD. Following his encounter at the VFW, he sought help.

Turner was diagnosed with PTSD, but the VA denied him a service connection. For the next six years, he received medication—but no compensation.

By 2020, Turner was ready to quit the VA disability claims process altogether. Then, a close friend told him about VA Claims Insider.

Six weeks after Turner joined the Elite Program at VA Claims Insider, he became service-connected and was granted 100% P&T.

“I’m still in shock,” Turner said, “It’s absolutely life-altering.”

Veteran Fire Fighter Battles a Blaze
(Turner Battles a Blaze)

Turner has worked extremely hard to get to where he is today. He’s earned multiple degrees, is a certified paramedic, and was promoted to Engineer at his local fire station near Tucson.

Turner credits much of his success to his wife and family, who provide an excellent support system. He also realizes the incredible opportunity he has as a leader in his community.

As a kid, Turner remembers looking up at the fire trucks driving by and thinking, ‘One day, I wanna be up in that truck.’

“It’s an amazing change of perspective,” he says, “Now I look down at the kid and smile and wave and realize, ‘Wow. I have an amazing life.’”

Veteran Fire Fighter


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