The Best of Both Worlds: FAA Medical with Optimal VA Disability

The Best of Both Worlds: FAA Medical with Optimal VA Disability

Dr. Roxo first joined the military in 1994, Dr. Monlux in 1998 and Dr. McKinley in 2002. Combined we have over 75 years of military experience. We have known countless people who have left the military and applied for VA disability. We saw it as pilots and we continue to see it as doctors. 

Over the years we have noticed a couple of common, but significant, trends. One is accidentally being diagnosed with conditions, specifically mental health conditions, that can negatively impact your ability to get a FAA medical certification. Another is that service members often  avoid certain disability claims, hoping that they will not have to report it to the FAA. As we have previously discussed, both of these situations put you in an uncomfortable position with how you fill out your next MedXPress.

You get what you pay for

Many people who help separating military members with their VA disability claim do so completely for free. They are familiar with the paperwork, they know how to file and they generally know what various conditions will be considered service connected. With these in mind you can do a rough calculation of a VA disability benefit

However, there are some issues, particularly for pilots or would-be pilots. These people trying to “help” are primarily focused on maximizing your disability rating. They often have very little formal medical training and even less knowledge of FAA medical certification requirements. That is how you, as a pilot, get painted into a corner. 

An inappropriate diagnosis without a treatment plan or documented resolution will cause significant issues with FAA medical certification. Imagine it from the FAA perspective: you have a new mental health diagnosis, but no treatment or documentation that you are better. That doesn’t read well at all. Meanwhile, by intentionally omitting disability claims for certain conditions, you do more than forfeit the compensation you are entitled to. It is also illegal because those medical conditions are still reportable to the FAA, disability status or not.

The value of VA disability

Let’s go through an example. The VA has a compensation calculator so you can look up various combinations yourself. In this scenario we will use a 40 year old veteran with a spouse and two dependent children. We will also use a life expectancy of 78 years and a cost of living adjustment for the VA disability benefit that tracks inflation. 

There is big money on the table. Every 10 percent increase in VA disability is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your post-military life. But your FAA medical certification, and a career as an airline pilot, is also a multimillion dollar proposition. What does one do? How do you maximize your VA disability for your legitimate service connected conditions while ensuring your FAA medical certification is not in jeopardy? 

Combined VA/FAA Record Review & Case Preparation

What you do is hire Wingman Med. The physicians at Wingman Med are experts in aviation medicine. Our experience and expertise make us fluent in pilot, medicine and the FAA. However, we also know our limitations. As much as we are experts in aviation medicine, we know we are not experts in VA disability. So why hire Wingman Med then? Meet the newest member of our team.

Dr. Ray Portier first joined the military in 1993 and became a physician in 2007. While we have spent our time becoming experts in aviation medicine and helping pilots with their medical certification, Dr. Portier has done the same thing with VA disability. He is board certified in family medicine and has been working with Sailors and Marines for over 12 years to aid them in their disability claims. Dr. Portier has even been the lead physician for the medical board process of a Navy hospital. Now he is part of our team. He also just happens to be a FAA AME.

At Wingman Med we can help you avoid inappropriate diagnoses, and you will never be left to struggle with FAA medical certification on your own. We also won’t let you leave a service-connected condition unclaimed because of fear. We will prepare you properly so that you can get both: an optimal VA disability rating and a FAA medical certificate. 

Have your cake and it too

Our combination VA/FAA Record Review & Case Preparation will guide you through the process of applying for your VA disability rating while planning for the next FAA medical at the same time. If you are truly safe to fly, it is just a matter of proving it with the right documentation.That is what we do best. 

If you are applying for VA disability benefits and also intend on a career in professional aviation, there are millions of dollars at stake. Investing wisely at the beginning of that process can save you time, money, emotional distress, and maybe even your career. 

 

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