This tells me I'm being watched, likely because I don't support the Israeli actions in Palestine, and likely because I tend to advocate radical things, such as marijuana legalization, a $15/hour Federal minimum wage, a Basic Income Grant. I also don't support more war in the Middle East and I happen to think Obama is a wolf in sheep's clothing.
OK, do I have your attention now?
I am a USAF decorated veteran. I was awarded the AF Commendation Medal and several other awards for my work during my enlistment. A few years after separation, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Degenerative Disk Disease, and Degenerative Joint Disease. With the advent of MRI technology, all these diseases were confirmed.
My initial application to the Veterans Administration for benefits had to do with my back. This was before we knew that MS was the basic culprit behind my health problems at the time. Once MS was confirmed by MRI, I was grantd 40% disability - 30% for MS, 10% for "back strain".
The Veterans Administration has stonewalled me six ways to Sunday over getting my benefits increased. I went on Social Security Disability in January of 1996; I turned 36 that year. I have not been able to work since, and I have the qualified opinions of private - AND VA - doctors backing that.
In the last two years I worked, I recieved enough corticosteroids to last me for the next 5-10 years. I was also put on beta interferon, known as Betaseron. Between the two, plus countless pain medications I was given, I have lost significant calcium, leading to a vast degeneration of my teeth. I have, at the time of this writing, one healthy tooth in my mouth. The rest are broken, removed, or degenerating.
I believe that my gender plays a large role in the stonewalling that I've had to endure. I know from experience, and knowing others, that, if I were male, I would have my 100% disability by now. I would not be facing the uphill battle that I've dealt with for the last 18 years. I am clearly unemployable. One faction of the Federal Government has no issue seeing that - why can't the Veterans Administration also see it?
The last so-called "advocate" I met who helped me file my last appeal looked down on me as though I was trying to get something I'm not entitled to - which reflected directly in the way he filed my appeal. He was male. My disabilities are hidden. To the average person, I look like someone who didn't take care of my teeth and let myself go to hell. The reality is I deal with pain every day and my teeth break like glass, no matter how well I keep them clean. The dental problem has gotten so bad that I have a minimum of one serious abscess a year.
What I need is an advocate who is going to fight for me and is not going to care that I'm female. Who is going to look at the evidence and say to themselves, "Yes, this person deserves her benefits increased and I'll do all I can to make that happen." What I don't need is someone who is prejudging me, without so much as knowing me, and therefore is not putting their weight behind their word.
I deserve 100% disability. I deserve the healthcare that goes along with that, including dental. I deserve that NOW.