Handicap vs Disability

Handicap vs Disability

Excuse or Reason –

My dad was a disabled WWII Veteran who never let his disability become a handicap.

His leg injury in the navy led to a surgery to remove his left knee and fusing his left leg. After leaving rehabilitation at the VA hospital one of the first jobs he got was pushing a broom as a janitor at a large church not far from the VA hospital.

Not able to return to farming he worked a number of jobs including a US Postal Carrier walking a route in Boise, Idaho. He was hired with a disabled veteran’s preference and gave his all into doing his job to his best ability.

In an attempt to force him to quit he was moved over to driving a box-truck with a manual transmission picking up mail from those blue postal boxes. He couldn’t bend his “clutch” leg and had a few mishaps. After which they urged him to quit. He refused, so they moved him over to sorting mail in the MHF.

Later they again urged him to quit since he “couldn’t” do the job they hired him to do. Dad told them that he had been hired with his disability and if they wanted him out so badly they’d have to medically retire him and they did just that.

Dad went to pastoring several church over the next few years before fully retiring.

Dad wasn’t one to sit idly by, so he tended to his gardening, berry patches and tinkering with lawnmowers just to keep busy when him and mom weren’t gone fishing.

Dad asked me to help him get an increase in his VA disability rating. So I gathered his medical info and wrote a compelling letter of support for a higher rating due to secondary medical issues as a result of his leg injury.

He went for his compensation hearing he was a very senior citizen (75+) pushing his walker or using two canes. He couldn’t walk without them.

The examiner asked dad what he couldn’t do now that he used to do before his disability? This simple question got a simple straightforward response- Nothing!

Dad proceeded to tell how he rototills and irrigates the garden, mowed the lawn, shovels snow, stacks and carry’s firewood into the house for the wood burning stove by himself.

The examiner informs him his request for a higher rating was denied.

Dad was the fifth out of seven siblings born and taught to work hard and a man’s word was his bond and raised his four boys to do the same.

Dad never saw his disability as a handicap. In army terminology- he never rode his profile.

Dad figured he’d go before mom and wanted to make sure she was taken care of. It turned out that mom died 3 years before him. His local VSO did the paperwork to insure dad was rated as totally disabled and home-bound, which helped him to spend his final 3 years in a local state Veterans home.

I have a hard time watching someone who is able-bodied, but milking the system with their handicap instead of using it to open new doors.

I too am a disabled veteran who has spent the past 14 years to get the VA to raise my rating from 0% to 100% while devoting many of those latter years helping my fellow Thailand based Vietnam Veterans with their VA claims process. – RTM

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