It’s been suggested that, in order to fill recruitment quotas during this challenging wartime period, the military has been “scraping the bottom of the barrel” to get recruits.

But I happen to know that’s not true, and here’s how I know it. I’m a disabled vet, rated at 30% for an injury I received while working as an Army medic. One of my legs is now half an inch shorter then the other, except when it pops, painfully, out of my hip. For this, I receive $364 a month, though something like $26 of that is because I have one dependent, my nine-year-old son.

I’d love to get back into the army, reserves, or national guard. To get back in, I’d need waivers because I’m not physically fit and, to some degree, not capable of becoming physically fit. There are some things that, due to my service-connected disability, I will never be able to do. All the same, if my country would take me back, I would consider serving, injury and all.

However, if I were to go back into the military, I’d have to give up my $364 a month. Now, think about this. It took me roughly FIVE YEARS of long, difficult appeals to finally get my crystal-clear evidence fairly and squarly considered, and get what (even the VA now admits) I had coming to me. I consider the money to be compensation for ongoing pain and disability which, indeed, that is its purpose.

If I were to take any other job, including a job with the federal government, I could just keep my $364 a month. The one job which would require me to give up the $364 a month is the job which put me in this position in the first place: serving in the miliary.

Now think about this: who would be more dedicated in their service other than a disabled vet? Disabled vets have already been hurt, once, serving our country in uniform. Some of us are eager to serve again. But, when I factor in the money I’d be losing, both from giving up disability pay and from not working in the more lucrative civilian sector, I’d be pretty much paying for the privilege of serving my country. I’d probably do it, if I could afford to do so, but I can’t. And, again, all this service would be contingent on procuring waivers and permission to serve in a unit which would overlook my disability, probably running some kind of desk.

If the military really wanted to get a few more recruits, it would revise the rule about collecting disability from the Veteran’s Administration while continuing to serve in the military. But since the military DOESN’T change the rule, one can’t help but conclude they’re overlooking people who could, logically, be recruited as soliders. The military is not, truly, scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Though I kind of wish they would. Because I’d like to put that uniform on again, under the right circumstances. And I have looked into the matter quite a bit, which is why I’m aware of the issue of disability pay versus serving in the military, and how you can’t have both, even if you undoubtedly earned the disability pay and the military supposedly needs all the qualified people it can get.

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