Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Is a VA Home Loan Worth It?

Most Veterans know about the Department of Veterans' Affairs Home Loan program, and think that it will help them get their first home.  It is a great program, but before signing up for it take a look at other mortgage offers.  When I bought my first home, I found a better mortgage offer from the Department of Agriculture.  Everybody's situation is different, but in my situation, the option I chose worked best.  I did not have 20% to put down on my home, and most mortgages, including VA Home Loans require 20% down or you have to pay an extra fee every month until you have paid your mortgage down enough.  The Dept of Agriculture loan did not have that requirement, and I got a great rate.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to everybody, and that I hope you have a safe holiday season with loved ones.  I know that many of the people that read this blog are not in the best of situations, whether it is a disability or otherwise, but remember that there is always somebody in a worse situation and be happy for what you do have.  It can be hard, but just do it.  Everybody that loves you wants to see you in a good mood, and so do I.

Feel free to share your holiday experiences with all of us, as I am about to.

My neice was born a couple of weeks ago, and she is absolutely beautiful.  My brother, her dad, was in Afghanistan when she was born, but he has been able to come home on leave to see her and his wife.  They were able to spend Christmas together, and they could not be happier.  I am very grateful to have an addition to the family, and I cannot wait to see her!

Mya Rhea Dade

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Guest Post about PTSD Treatment

Drug Treatments & Alternatives for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
The most common psychotherapy and prescription treatments for PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that often develops following a traumatic event involving the threat of your personal safety. It can manifest itself in anyone, at any age, but typically develops following horrific events—such as a car crash or a natural disaster—or after a traumatic injury or threat of one’s safety—take an ongoing danger such as child abuse or even war.

The National Institute of Mental Health links PTSD with numerous symptoms, including:

• Flashbacks
• Bad dreams
• Frightening thoughts
• Feelings of guilt
• Worry/anxiety
• Depression
• Fear avoidance behavior
• Memory problems
• Loss of interest in social activities
• Persistent feelings of stress and tension
• Irritability
• Sleeplessness or insomnia

Common drug treatments for PTSD

Monday, September 26, 2011

My Story of Military Abuse Part 3: Conclusion

After I got back from my surgery and leave, things did change.  I had been working in my battalion personnel office and living in the Bachelors Enlisted Quarters prior to my surgery, but when I got back I was given an ultimatum that changed my life.  My Platoon Drill Sargent, a man that I trusted, approached me and told me that we needed to talk in a private area.  When we got to an empty room, he told me that I had two options:  to go back into full training or they would put me in for a dishonorable discharge and I would receive no benefits for my surgically repaired hip.  He told me that they wouldn't force me to do anything that would hurt me when I got back into training, and that I would not have to repeat any training I had already completed.  Because I wanted to make the Army a 20 year career, I chose to go back into training.

Monday, September 12, 2011

My Story of Military Abuse Part 2

After I was given the crutches, I was not able to get back into full training and I had to stay after the graduation of my basic training company.  Three months after graduation, I had my first hip operation in Philadelphia and was sent home for a month to recover.  It was amazing how much better I felt after that surgery.  I was able to walk without assistance from a cane or crutches, and I felt confident that I would be back to training in no time.  I went through physical therapy and did not get back to the point where I could train so I started working in my battalion personnel office.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

My Story of Military Abuse Part 1

Seven years ago I signed up for the Army with the intention of being the best paratrooper and best Ranger I could possibly be.  I was physically fit and ready to get past basic training with no trouble.  It was hard leaving my family and new girlfriend, but I did it and was excited for the next 14 weeks of infantry training before I could see my family again at graduation.  I knew that I was going to make the military a 20 year career and that I was going to do some good things for my country.
Me taking inventory of our weapons.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

VA PTSD Disability Ratings

Today, many veterans are applying for a disability rating because of their PTSD.  It sounds to me that many that have applied have not been granted a rating that is fair.  It almost seems that the Department of Veterans' Affairs does not realize how debilitating it can be to not be able to sleep at night or to constantly re-live the traumatic events that are causing the PTSD.  This is something that I have lived with for the past five years, and at times it has been difficult to even get out of bed or go out in public.  I have been so agrivated at times that it is hard not to snap on the person who mildly irritates me, and at times I have felt my blood boiling over something that did not really matter.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Debt Deal and Veteran's Benefits

The new debt deal was signed and the government has to make billions of dollars in cuts to government spending.  Multiple sources have stated that these cuts will not affect veteran's benefits, but I am a bit skeptical.  The main reason that I am not so sure that this will not affect benefits is that the government is likely to stop hiring new positions, and we have already seen hiring freezes within the VA.  There are millions of new benefit claims each year and that number is growing.  If they cannot hire more people to compensate for all of these new claims it will make each claim take longer to approve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Looking for a Guest Post

I would love to hear some of your stories about what you are going through so I can post it on here.  The more you can share with me and everybody else the better off we will all be.  Thank you all for reading my blog and thank you to anybody that wants to submit a blog post.

Email it to me at

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Veterans with Disabilities Deserve More
The Department of Veterans' Affairs is supposed to take care of our fallen comrades when they exit the military, and according to all accounts I have heard they are failing miserably in this task.  Veterans are struggling to pay their bills as it takes over a year for a disability rating to be approved, they have to suffer from PTSD because of the horrible things they went through, and they have to fight the system to get the benefits they are most deserving of.  I know that the people that work for the VA are not purposely depriving Veterans of their benefits, but the system seems to be set up to slow things down and to keep Veterans upset and annoyed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Veterans Disability Claims not Being Processed

Back in May, CNN had a story about the VA not processing disability claims.  They found 16,000 unopened pieces of mail at a VA facility, and 132 claims that were shredded and never opened.  This type of news saddens me and frustrates me, as I am one of thousands waiting for my disability claim to go through.  At this point I have been waiting 14 months for my claim to go through, and I cannot find anybody to talk to to find out why.  When I try to call the 800 number either the automated message tells me that my call cannot go through at this point in time, or they tell me that it will be a 15 minute wait to talk with somebody.  When I do talk with somebody, they tell me what I have been told for the past 6 months, which is that I just have to wait for the claim to go through.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Veterans with Disabilities Struggling

One thing that I have come to realize over the past few years is that it is difficult to get a job as a veteran with a disability.  When I got out of the Army five years ago, I did not have a college degree, and my only work experience was working in the back room of a Best Buy.  I could not go back to that job because of the physical requirements, and it has been very hard to find a job that I could enjoy that I could also physically do.  I have a lot of skills that I can put to good use, but in today's market most jobs require a degree, or are too physically demanding for many with physical disabilities.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Do Something Nice for Yourself This Memorial Day

Memorial Day can be a difficult day for many veterans.  Some have lost a good friend, some are constantly reminded of something bad that has happened.  For me, I'm reminded of dreams that I was never able to fulfill.  Either way I will be proud to put on my uniform and march in my local Memorial Day parade, and I urge any veteran to do the same.  One thing that I have realized over the past five years is that people are thankful for your service and it will make you feel good to know that people care about what you have been through.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Update on Disability Ratings Taking Too Long

One of my first posts was about disability ratings taking too long, and it has been by far the most popular post I have written so far.  I have had a lot of people writing to me telling me of their stories of the VA delaying their cases and their disability ratings taking two years or more.  To me, the fact that people have to wait for any more than a few months disgusts me, and we need to do something to change the system.  If you are reading this, whether or not you have had to wait a long time for a disability rating, please take the time to write a letter to your congressman or senator asking them to be proactive to try to change the way disability ratings are going through the system.  This small action can go a long way toward helping those who put their lives on the line to protect you and your family.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Thoughts on People from WWII and Today

I have been doing a lot of reading about World War II recently, and the citizens of that time really should be admired for the sacrifices they were willing to make.  People had limits on amounts of milk, gasoline, and other items we take for granted today in order to help with the war effort.  As I read in "Flags of Our Fathers", during a Northeastern Women's basketball game, they stopped the game so all of the players, referees, and fans could look for one lost bobby pin that could be used for scrap metal to help in the war effort.  People were lining up to sign up to serve to protect their country, and people that couldn't sign up were willing to work long days in factories to build essential equipment for the war.  The amount of effort the average citizen was willing to put in is something that everybody should respect, and should be something that we should strive for today.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

One Benefit You Didn't Know About: Vocational Rehab

When you leave the military, you might not have the best information about benefits you are eligible for, and it is hard to find out all of the benefits you can get from the VA.  One benefit that I have taken advantage of is Vocational Rehab.  If you have a service connected disability of 20% or more and have not been out of the military for more than 12 years you are likely eligible.  The goal of Vocational Rehab is to help you gain employment, which means that they will send you to school or trade school if that will help you reach your goals.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Possible Shutdown Showed How Our Government Feels About Us

The government shutdown was avoided right near the deadline, but it showed our Military and our Veterans how the government feels about us.  Reading about how the shutdown would have affected us disgusted me, and it really left a bad taste in my mouth.  The government was getting ready to shut down all non-essential government positions, and paying our active Military was considered non-essential, as is rating veterans disability claims.  The worst part about this was that even if pay was stopped for Military and Veterans, our Congress who would have been responsible for the shutdown would have still been paid.  This just goes to show how many people that are supposed to work for us in our government are self-serving and could care less about the people they "represent".

Friday, April 8, 2011

Kathy Lagoli

I have received a few messages from Kathy Lagoli, but for some reason, I cannot reply to your emails.  Leave me a message on this post or on my Facebook page.  Here it is:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Enough is Enough

I try to stay positive and not bash the VA as much as possible, but enough is enough.  I am just one of millions of veterans who signed on the dotted line to serve my country, and came back just to find out that the government doesn't care about me or my injuries.  I've already written about my struggles, but I never realized how similar my problems are to other veterans problems.  I have been talking with the wife of another veteran, and they have been going through some things that are so close to the same problems I have gone through that I thought they were telling me my story all over again.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big Difference Between VA Regions

Over the past few weeks, I have had appointments in different VA regions, and I have noticed a pretty big difference between different hospitals.  I live in New Hampshire, which is the only state without a full-service VA medical facility.  I had an appointment in Boston in the pain clinic, and it was amazing how different that hospital is from Manchester, NH.  The staff in Boston seemed a lot more friendly than in Manchester, and the doctor I saw actually listened to me about my knee problems when nobody in Manchester would.  I have had to call the White River Jct, VT hospital to set up appointments, and I get a hold of somebody right away without being put on hold, which has never happened in over four years at Manchester.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't like your doctor? Change it!

When I got out of the Army over four years ago, I was assigned a doctor at the location closest to me.  As time has passed, I have grown more and more frustrated at the level of care I am receiving and I knew that I needed some change.  I recently found out that I had the right to change doctors, or go to a different office or region all together.  My reason for making the change is that my doctors have basically given up on trying to fix my disabilities, and they are resorting to pain management.  I am not ready to give up, so I thought it was time to get a fresh set of eyes on my case.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline" to be Renamed

The topic of PTSD and mental health issues among veterans is a topic that is growing every day.  Many veterans experience serious traumatic events during their time of service, whether it was during war or not.  It is easy to see a physical injury, but it is far more difficult to see a mental health issue.  For a long time mental health was not an issue taken seriously, but that seems to be changing.  Over the past year or so there seems to be a sense of urgency to take a closer look at the system and to make some changes to help veterans in need.  One step that was announced yesterday is to rename the "Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline" to the "Crisis Hotline".  The hotline is meant for anybody that is in crisis, and more people are likely to call if the stigma of suicide is removed from the equation.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

VA Disability Ratings Taking Too Long

I know that a lot of people have had issues with how long it takes to get the decision for their disability rating.  I have been waiting since May 2010 for my paperwork to go through and for the medical evaluations to go through.  I have been out of work, and paying the bills is really tough.  This is an issue that all veterans are affected by, and it is something that needs to change.  We need to come together and figure out a way to make some changes in the way the VA works.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why I'm Doing This

Welcome to my Veterans Helping Veterans blog!  My name is Steve Dade and I am a disabled veteran going on four years now.  I decided to start this blog because I have found that the best help I have received with veterans' issues and VA issues has come from other veterans.  This site is designed in a way so people can ask me questions and I can try to help answer.  If I don't know the answer I will either try to find it out or make a posting requesting others to help.

I have had my fair shares of difficulty since my times in the Army; physically, mentally, and otherwise.  If you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran I want you to know that you are not alone in your struggles.  Sometimes it is difficult to get help through the VA, and sometimes it might feel like there is nobody out there to make things easier.  That is why we need to stick together.

You can expect to hear some stories that I have from my experiences as a veteran and postings about helpful resources for veterans.  If you want to hear about something in particular, write a comment or send me an email at  Any emails or questions can be strictly confidential if you choose, so feel free to contact me.