Question about VA eligibility

#1

I am a Vietnam era vet and have only used VA benefits once to go to school many years ago. Having read several posts where folks mention that they got aids from the VA, I was interested to see if perhaps I could as well. Watched a Youtube video about it and it was mentioned that one has to have served 2 years to be eligible. I got a certified copy of my DD214 recently, and it said that I was transferred to the reserves after 1 year, 11 months, and 25 days. I week shy of 2 years. I have always wondered why that was. I think I know now. So, will being a week shy of 2 years keep me from being able to get aids from the VA?

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#2

The only thing I can say is to apply for your benefits

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#3

Hi John,

I served around the same time you did and am in the process of filing my first claim (hopefully within the next few weeks). I don’t think anyone here will be able to answer your question definitively. You should try contacting a local Veterans Service Officer (VSO) in your area, who can better answer your question and help you file a claim.

Good luck!

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#4

The YouTube video is wrong. You do not have to have served for two years to be eligible. But there are other possible bumps in the road. I was turned down by the VA today because I did not serve in Vietnam and our income is too high when combined like they require. The lady at the VA Hospital told me the threshold is less than $40K for the household! Well, with both of our pensions and social security, we exceed that.

So because I didn’t serve in Vietnam anytime during the period 1962-1975 im SOL. There are many other qualifiers but none of them that I could meet.

My only recourse now is to file a claim for hearing loss due to military service and based off of previous claims I filed, I don’t hold high hopes for that working.

Luckily enough, we are blessed to be able and afford to purchase our own hearing aids but it’s very disheartening to know you served that long and are still not qualified to receive any assistance.

Here’s a link to the VA form you can fill out or they have a phone number that will connect you to someone that will complete it for you. If you look at the form you will see the automatic qualifiers that don’t come into play regarding the income threshold. How to Apply for VA Health Care: VA.gov

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#5

Try the calculator at the VA website. http://hbexplorer.vacloud.us/
It will answer your questions.

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#6

Thanks for that information. According to the calculator, I might be eligible. I started to fill out the online application, but hit a snag when it came to financial information. I couldn’t find last year’s tax return. I plan on finishing with this year’s information. Who knows, maybe I will qualify. I didn’t have any problems getting money for school, but that was a long time ago.

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#7

Money for school and home loans are a total different animal. Much harder to qualify for health benefits because once approved for healthcare it’s a lifetime entitlement, thus the harder qualifications. If you actually served in Vietnam the financial qualifications don’t apply. If you didn’t, they do. You can apply by just filling out and submitting the VA form 10-10EZ. https://www.va.gov/vaforms/medical/pdf/1010EZ-fillable.pdf section II is what can make or break your application, depending on your income. If you can’t answer yes to any question in Section II(2) they will default to your income. If your family income was over $40K last year you are probably in trouble. Remember that these are government employees and have regulations they strictly follow. They don’t care about this years income. The form specifically addresses last years income. They will require your last year family income.

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#8

I finished my application this week and submitted it. The next day, someone from my local VA clinic called to set up an appointment. I go next week for blood work and the following week for a doctor’s appointment. I will ask about audiology while there. I was pleasantly surprised at the speed of their response.

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#9

That’s great. Glad you got in.
Wait till you see the Doctor or Nurse Practitioner to say anything about audiology test. They will set you up for a hearing exam. Anyone else there wouldn’t know, and would probably tell you something not true.

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#10

While I was at the clinic for the doctor’s visit, I asked about an audiology referral and they just gave me the phone number and told me to call. It took a couple of tries to actually speak to someone, but I have an appointment scheduled for mid March.

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#11

You’ve got it made now. You and I have similar loss & the VA provides my aids.

BTW, they will also provide any of the accessories you feel you need… TV adapter, streamer, remote mic, etc. They will also provide batteries and all consumables.

Definitely tell them you want a hearing aid dryer.

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#12

Don’t be shy about it it is better to get it than wish you had gotten it. You can return what you don’t need

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#13

I went for my VA hearing test today. After some confusion about which building I was supposed to be in, I arrived at the correct office. After a very short wait, I met the Audiologist, a very nice young woman who introduced herself as “Doctor”. The hearing test was fairly thorough, and included word recognition testing where I scored 85%. My audiogram actually looks a little better than the last one I had almost 5 years ago. I asked which brands they normally fitted and she said Resound, and some Phonak. When I asked about frequency lowering technology, she said they rarely used it. I told her that the aids I had previously tried didn’t sound “natural” and that was one of my biggest issues with them. She replied that no hearing aid was going to sound “natural”. Then, she had a tech do impressions for molds. My level of optimism dropped considerably. I doubt I will be able to wear molds, but I will give them a try. When I was in the tech’s office, I noticed a cabinet with drawers labelled “Phonak”, Resound", and “Signia”. When I commented on that, she said they fitted mostly Resound, and rarely Signia. I go back April 4th for fitting. I must say I have been very impressed by everyone in the VA that I have come in contact with. They all seem professional, and seem to actually care about doing a good job.

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#14

Funny how they are all different. Went for mine on 3/11. Didn’t ask about results. I knew they would be bad. The person who did my testing told me all they use is top notch equipment from five different brands. Oticon being their primary choice of weapon, at least in my case. This will be the first time I’ve had one for each ear. She ordered the Oticon Mini-R with TV streamer for me. Suppose to be in on 4/8.

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#15

I Googled the name of my Audiologist and find that she has a private practice nearby. I would bet that she sells ReSound there. People tend to go with what they know. I doubt that she gets a financial incentive from prescribing ReSound at the VA, but she probably just likes ReSound better because that is what she works with outside the VA. I have been doing a little research on ReSound, and they have their own, unique way of describing the same features others have. I will wait and see just how well I like them. I am not crazy about the Phonaks I have now that didn’t come from the VA. I don’t think I will be able to tolerate molds in my ears, but I am willing to give them a try. I do know that if they jack up the gain to prescriptive levels, I won’t be able to tolerate that. Since I self program already, I might just take them, buy a set of the proper receivers and the programming device, and do it myself. I can wear open domes. I was curious to see how they approach things at the VA. Not all that much different from a private practice. They use a VA form for the audiogram results, and I wanted to understand everything on the form, but couldn’t find anything on the web explaining it. Oh well.

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#16

Went to the VA clinic in Birmingham to get my new, VA Resounds fitted. I have read numerous reports about the excellent VA Audiology service and how you can get any kind of aid you want as well as any accessory you ask for. Well, my experience was a little different. Went into the Audiologist’s office and she started explaining things about the aids. This was stuff I already knew, but not wanting to appear ungrateful for the VA’s free aids, I remained silent. During a break, I asked if they did REM. She said that they did, and she didn’t think much of anyone who didn’t. The REM machine had a computer type screen and was placed maybe 3 feet from my face. She attached a rectangular, block type device with wires to my shirt and placed very thin tubes into my ears, followed by the aids. The REM test consisted of a couple of loud bursts of noise followed by a woman’s voice reciting 3 sentences, first, fairly loud, then less so. Then a couple of more bursts of noise. The other ear was the same. There were traces on the screen which seemed to show prescriptive levels and actual levels. I couldn’t tell much difference between the two. After using her mouse a couple of minutes, she said the aids were now programmed to my prescription. She asked how her voice sounded, I replied that it was loud and annoying. Seeming somewhat surprised, she said she would lower the gain to 80%, but the aids would raise it back up over the next month. I was then passed off to the tech to get instructions on how to change filters and batteries. She also paired the app in my phone to the aids. She asked if I had questions. I told her that I had heard a lot of good things about the Phonak Marvel, and if they ever prescribed them. She said “no”, they didn’t. She wasn’t even sure if they were on the list of aids they could prescribe. So, I replied that I heard good things about them. She said they used what worked the best, and that that was Resound. I wanted to ask how they knew Resound was better if they never used Phonak, but I didn’t. I asked about different programs and she explained that was up to the Audiologist and that I only had the “allround” program. I then asked about accessories. She replied that it was up to the Audiologist, and apparently, I didn’t need any. And, that was that. I thought the molds would be a deal breaker for me, but in the short time I wore them, they weren’t all that bad. I don’t know about wearing them all day. My first impression of the Linx 3D is that they are just like the Unitrons I tried a few years back, and also like my Audeo B50’s with Sound Recover II turned off. Everything is too loud and annoying. I can’t stand it. I told the Audiologist on the previous visit that I was very sensitive to loud noises. Everyone says to just wear them and I will get used to it. No, I think not. Those Unitrons just about drove me nuts, and I haven’t worn the Audeo B50’s lately because the last I programmed them, I got the gain too high. When I say I can’t tolerate loud noises, I mean it. I want to beat my head against the wall. Even without aids, I have to put my fingers in my ears when my stepdaughter talks. There is just something about her voice that is like fingernails on a blackboard. So, I am going to try to wear the Resounds a few days to see if I can hear voices better. If I can, I will try to lower the volume by the app and see what happens. If not, I have two choices. One: Give them back to the VA. Two: Buy the Airlink II and try programming myself. I will likely have to buy two receivers and switch to domes while I am at it. I don’t think molds will work. I apologize for the long post, but I wanted to detail my VA experience fully. It didn’t turn out at all like I thought it would. I won’t say the name of the Audiologist here, but if you want to know and can contact me privately, I will tell you.

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#17

I have never been refused the extras that I asked for. Your hearing is worse than mine so I can see you benefiting from tv streaming. Now I have to say that my hearing loss is service related so that may make a difference but I wouldn’t think so.
Also if these are your first hearing aids then it may take a few weeks to a few months to get use to them. Also you don’t have to keep them you have a period of time to decide to return them. I was told 6 months but different vA clinics may have different policies.

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#18

John, your (UCL) Uncomfortable Listening Level or Upper Comfortable Level, is being exceeded probably because the MPO is too high. I had the same problem about 5 years ago. Audi reduced power by 10% and everything was great after that. Before that, some sounds were like ice picks in my ears. Tell your Audi to reduce the maximum power 10 or 20 percent , and give it a go. Good luck.

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#19

I get my new Oticon OPN 1 miniRITE’s from the VA on Monday. I’ve had a Resound Forte in my right ear only for the last year so I am very apprehensive of having two! What I did learn while at the VA was that the audiologist that ordered my aids was also responsible for ordering the streamer, because I asked her for it. I also asked for the remote but she said to try it first without the remote and if I thought I still needed it she would order it for me. I can live with that. I asked about the Phonak and she said they had the best results with the Oticon. Since they at least in theory know more about this than me, I deferred to her judgement. I’m more concerned about getting them programmed correctly because my hearing seems to be getting worse everyday due to my Meneiere’s.

Anyone know if the VA will change these out if they won’t work properly for my current loss. Also, my profile doesn’t show my current loss because I’ve had so many tests recently due to the Meniere’s I can’t keep up with them. Have another one scheduled for next Thursday.

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#20

It seems every clinic does things differently. I remember reading where a vet got Marvels through the VA recently, so they do dispense those. Regardless of what the tech told me, they can’t possibly know that Resound, or Oticon works better than Marvel if they haven’t tried them all. The tech gave me the box my aids came in and when pointing out the user’s guide, said not to believe anything in it that contradicted what they had told me. I have been down this very path before with some Unitrons. They just program them for the amount of gain my audiogram indicates and send me on my merry way, not taking into consideration my sensitivity to loud sounds. That approach just doesn’t work for me. I think that in order to give them a fair trial, I am going to buy an Airlink II and do my own programming. If I can’t improve on what they have done, I will give the aids back to the VA and sell the Airlink. After trying hearing aids for a while now, I am beginning to think I am just not a suitable candidate for aids. My only real problem with the loss I have is in understanding speech. I am now just telling people I am hard of hearing, and that if I don’t seem to understand what they are saying, it is because I don’t hear them. Works most of the time.

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