More than a paycheck: Air Force vet fighting VA over 'way it's always been'

More than a paycheck: Air Force vet fighting VA over 'way it's always been'

More than a paycheck: Air Force vet fighting VA over 'way it's always been'

Whether intentional or by bureaucratic oversight, disabled veterans are not receiving compensation for their first month after discharge, according to a retired U.S. Air Force officer.

Air Force Lt. Col. (ret.) Jaclyn Frederick, a former air battle manager, has come forward with her personal story of a Veterans Affairs policy after serving her country in Afghanistan and inside an E-3 AWACS aircraft.

Frederick tells American Family News the entire retirement process was exhausting, but she never imagined collecting her disability would present such a big problem. Although all necessary paperwork was complete, she couldn’t officially submit her final paperwork to the VA regarding disability pay until her DD-214, a certificate of release of discharge, was also complete. With her orders ending December 1, 2021, the VA approved her disability effective date as December 1. That should have meant, she says, that her disability payment effective date was the same day.

However, the VA does not begin a member’s payment effective date until the first of the month after all paperwork is received.

“I received my disability rating in mid-January, and after going two months without pay, my first disability paycheck finally came on February 1,” she laments.

Despite all her paperwork identifying her disability effective date as December 1, an entire month of pay was looked over. When she questioned the VA about this, “They said that this is how it’s always been," she recalls.

After 20 years of service, including 1,000-plus hours in an AWACS aircraft, Frederick had decided to retire for reasons primarily associated with the unlawful enforcement of military COVD-19 vaccine mandate in 2021.

In additional to a variety of medical issues, Frederick first revealed a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to The Epoch Times regarding a sexual assault. She disclosed she was sexually assaulted in 2009 by an Afghan national policeman while deployed to Afghanistan.

Six months prior to retirement, Frederick says she disclosed all her medical issues for the Benefits Delivery at Discharge (BDD) program. The program allows service members to apply for disability compensation benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) between 180 to 90 days prior to separation.

For the military veteran, "this is how it's always been" was not the appropriate response from the Veterans Administration. 

“If my disability effective date is the day after retirement, shouldn’t the disability payment effective date reflect the same?” she asks.

What needs to happen to help the next disabled veteran, she says, is for the Code of Federal Regulations to be revised to make the payment effective date equal the disability effective date. That won't help many other veterans surprised by that first missing paycheck, she says, which she calls "criminal" to do so, but it will fix a wrong for those coming behind them who also bear the scars from serving their country.