Here’s a post I wrote for Quora.com last night. 9,800 views, 32 upvotes, and 1 share in 21 hours.
Most people don’t understand that if you play the game right, you could score big. Your chain of command will give you shit about going to medical, for example, but fuck that. Climb your own ladder.
Will you care what they think when you’re sleeping in and retired early, all while they’re out in the field or on staff duty? Maybe. While you imagine them saying must be nice, you can nod knowing that yes, it is very nice.
Super awesome benefits
- Retirement before 20 years under Chapter 61, and still draw a military pension (2.5% x ret. base pay x years of service). With Ch. 61, you only need to score 30% disabled to trigger this benefit. And that measurement doesn’t affect the VA rating below.
- VA disability, on top of that, at which 100% disability is a lot easier than you realize (from $3K/mo to $4K/mo). The answer to this test is Title 38 C.F.R. Part 4 for primary disabilities. There also exist secondary disabilities, which, if you research it, means that you can claim just about anything. Search Google for “easy VA claims,” for quick wins.
- SSA disability, too, at which you can use your VA rating to support a claim (amount varies on employed years and number of dependents).
- Continued medical coverage, kind of an obvious one, but very helpful.
- Army Career Skills Program (CSP), lets you get out six months ahead of your end of active service, still get paid as if on active duty, and intern somewhere. Some of these approved places are at community colleges. Totally sham or at least something you want to do, versus have to.
- Post-9/11 GI Bill pays you BAH (the housing stipend), which varies by location but probably about $1.2K+/mo, and in effect, it pays you to go to school.
- Unemployment compensation, it’s not a lot, but you’d probably say yes to it.
- If you’re a female, for some reason, this is all that much easier. I’ve checked. Women score these benefits much more easily. If you’re female, don’t leave money on the table. Take it.
- Get a four-plex with the VA Home Loan Guaranty, at 0% down, and rent out the other three units. Even more free money hacks by playing the game.
That’s quite a few sources of income you could collect on, for a very long time, without having to work a job much, if any, depending on what you choose. The first three mentioned above (retire, VA, SSA) you can pull off under 10 years, and net close to maybe $6K+/mo, depending on your family situation.
State-level and local-level greatness
Some more cool free tips while you’re playing the game. There are federal benefits. And then there are state benefits. States like Texas and Florida provide:
- A homestead exemption, or no property tax on your primary residence, but only if the equivalent of VA 100%.
- Free tuition for your children up through a bachelor’s degree. So, ha! No need to save for that if you score. But also, only if the equivalent of VA 100%.
- Free licenses or permits, such as at national or state parks, hunting and fishing, and in some places riding public transportation. Disability rating to qualify for this, varies.
Why work if you don’t have to? If you want to, go for it. You can find veterans doing all these things. Play the game! There are plenty more hacks, but those are some of the biggest.