All I Wanted Was a 10% Veteran Discount at Home Depot and Here’s What Happened - ITS Tactical
 

All I Wanted Was a 10% Veteran Discount at Home Depot and Here’s What Happened

By Bryan Black

VA ID - ITS Tactical

While the title of this article sounds like I got screwed over as a Veteran at Home Depot, quite the opposite is true.

Today I’ll be walking through my adventures with the Veterans Administration when I attempted to obtain a VA ID so that I could get a 10% Veterans discount at Home Depot. Granted, my reasoning for obtaining one isn’t the most valid reason, but it’s honestly what finally got me into the VA to get one made.

It’s a fairly comical story and one I thought everyone might enjoy hearing. In this, I also hope my details will help fellow Veterans that might not be “in the system.” You’re going to hear that term quite a bit too, as it’s caused me to smack my head quite a few times in dealing with my local VA.

All I Wanted Was a Discount

When I heard that both Home Depot and Lowe’s offer a 10% discount to Veterans, I inquired to to find out more. My wife and I are homeowners and like many of you in the same boat, you probably have the same love/hate relationship with your local home improvement store that I do. On one hand, it’s exciting to look at all the eye candy there, envisioning what you can do to upgrade your home.

On the other hand, when something breaks, which it always does when you own your own home, you wind up at your local home improvement store covered in dirt and grime. You walk up and down multiple isles as fast as possible trying to find the repair part you need. Despite walking these same isles for 10 years, you still can’t find crap and wind up having to walk even more to track down a sales associate. Just me?

I digress, back to the ID situation. When inquiring with these home improvement stores about their discount, I obviously had to prove I was a Veteran to get the discount. Cool, so I’ll just finally get off my butt and go down to the VA and grab an ID. I’m in the system with the Texas VA and every few years they schedule appointments with me to verify my status.

Just to fill in a bit more on the backstory, I was medically separated from the Navy about 10 years ago due to my disability, which if you read my bio here on the ITS Crew page, it was the result of a diving accident while I was at BUD/s (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training.) Anyhow, I went through TAPs (Transitional Assistance Program) during my out processing, where they go through all the Veterans benefits available to you after being separated.

There’s a dedicated section of the course that helps you register with the local VA office in your home state. This is done to ensure you have a local VA to go to for checkup appointments, etc. I mention all this to say again that I was in the system. I’ll save you the details during this spot in the article where I complain about getting a severance when they medically separated me and then had to pay it back with my disability benefits, which I didn’t receive in full until that repayment was satisfied.

VA Handbook

Apart from attending my regularly required appointments, I really never had a reason to visit the VA for medical care. My wife and I have always had our own insurance policy, but this recently changed due to the exorbitant costs of the so called “Affordable” Health Care Act. This being the case, I figured I’d go ahead and inquire about my options for VA healthcare while I was picking up my shiny new VA ID.

I’d received a booklet months back that went over all the VA benefits, including instructions on how to apply for a VA ID. This included a document to download, complete and bring down to your local VA when applying. I followed the instructions, filled out the form and finally got off my butt to drive over to the VA and grab an ID. Easy, right?

The Hallmark of Efficiency

Here’s the deal, nothing is ever easy with the VA. Efficient? Maybe, but never easy. There’s no way to make an appointment for an ID, you have to just walk in. I knew my day could potentially be derailed by my VA visit, but I didn’t know just how ridiculous it could be.

I stopped by the information desk and inquired about where I needed to go to apply for an ID, luckily it was within 10 yards of the information desk, so no big deal. I glanced at the waiting area and only saw three people sitting there. Relieved, I was handed an electronic number puck like you get at a restaurant. I thought to myself, “man, how efficient!” Maybe things were changing for the better at the VA. I quickly realized the puck had a label maker number on it and it was non-functioning. Regardless, I took a seat and hoped it would be a quick process.

Much to my dismay, out of the four available windows to help people at, there was only one with a VA employee sitting behind it. I hoped that with just three people in front of me, it wouldn’t take too long. I spied another employee with a clipboard speaking with two of the three people ahead of me and realized they were together. Great! Only two people were ahead of me now.

The woman with the clipboard moved over to the other gentleman sitting down waiting and I overheard her ask him for the number on the electronic puck. She copied it down on her clipboard with the reason for his visit and instead of moving over to take down my info, she went up to the window to speak with the lone employee behind it.

After 20 minutes of conversation between these two women and no one having been called up yet, I started to get impatient. The clipboard employee worked her way back over to the group of us, which had now grown to another three people that had come in after me. She stopped at one of these people and ran through her questions again with them. I assumed the order she was writing everyone down in had something to do with the order people would be called up in and I got even more impatient. I stood up and walked over to her to make sure my info made it onto the clipboard.

One ID Please

It took another 10 minutes for the woman behind the window to call up the first person in line and there’s no telling how long he’d already been there. After a grand total of 50 minutes since my arrival, I was finally called up.

I presented the paperwork to apply for my ID and I was asked if I was in the system. Yes, I said. I’ve been to a couple of appointments over the past few years, but it’s been awhile. After a quick scan of her computer monitor, she said that I wasn’t in the system. I let her know that there must be some mistake. I’d been out for around 10 years and know that I’m registered with the VA. I’ve had appointments and get regular mail from the VA.

“Well, that’s not the same as being in our system,” the employee told me. “We’ll have to get you added to our system here before you’ll be able to get an ID. Please fill out this form and we can get you entered.” I didn’t mention it before, but I’d done my due diligence and brought the two forms of ID required to apply for a VA ID and luckily, this is what she asked for next to add me into the system. However, she told me she also needed a copy of my DD-214 before she could finish entering me into the system.

So let me get this straight, I told her. Your local VA system you’re accessing there can’t tell you there’s a Veteran attached to the social security number I just provided you? No, she said. That’s why we need a copy of your DD-214. Deflated, I said that I’d have to bring that back in. She promptly handed me back all my paperwork and said, no problem, just bring this all back in with your DD-214 and we’ll get you added in then.

Lessons Learned:

  • Lesson 1: You’re not eligible for care at your local VA until you’re in their system.
  • Lesson 2: You need a copy of your DD-214 for your local VA, even if you’re already registered with the VA.

I left the VA, drove home, grabbed a copy of my DD-214, drove back, grabbed another non-functioning electronic number, took a seat and waited to be called up again. Now 3 hours into the process, including drive time, I visited the lone open window again. “Hi,” I said. “I was just here a bit ago and here’s my application to get added to the system, along with my DD-214 and two forms of ID.” “Sure,” she said. “Let me get all this entered for you.” I breathed a sigh of relief and was glad to finally be getting somewhere.

“Ok, I’ve got you added in,” she said. “When would you like to schedule your appointments?” Wait. Appointments? I just need an ID. I knew I wanted to inquire about healthcare at the VA, but one thing at a time, I came here for an ID. After fielding that question to the woman behind the window, she let me know that my entry into the system would take at least a week and that until that was complete, I wouldn’t be able to apply for an ID.

Great, considering this new information I went ahead and said that I’d like to go ahead and book the appointment she’d mentioned as long as I’d have to come back a third time. She quickly reminded me that it was two appointments. The first was blood work that would have to be done at least a week in advance of the next appointment, which was an initial visit with a primary care provider.

I went ahead and booked these two appointments and figured that I’d just finish my ID application after my blood work on that first appointment date. Multiple trips and hours later, I still didn’t have my VA ID. Cheer up buttercup, you’re almost in the system!

Lessons Learned:

  • Lesson 1: You’re not eligible for care at your local VA until you’re in their system.
  • Lesson 2: You need a copy of your DD-214 for your local VA, even if you’re already registered with the VA.
  • Lesson 3: Once your info is added to your local VA system, it takes a week for it to actually be in the system.
  • Lesson 4: Two appointments are required to make your addition to your local VA official. Blood work and a Primary Care Provider appointment.

Mail Call

A week later, I started to receive local VA paperwork in the mail concerning my upcoming appointments. A third appointment had now been added that I never scheduled. This was a patient information class that would apparently introduce me to my local VA. This was of course scheduled at an inconvenient time and would need to be changed. I looked through my paperwork and found a phone number for my local VA to call to change this date. After about 45 minutes of getting transferred and lost in phone queue hell, I abandoned my quest.

A day before my scheduled first appointment, which I never scheduled, I received an automated call from the VA reminding me of my appointment. Much to my dismay, this message didn’t include a way to cancel or reschedule, just the addition of needing to be responsible and cancel if needed, so that another Veteran could use that appointment slot. Needless to say I missed this appointment and despite trying to call back yet again, I wasn’t able to figure out how to reschedule.

VA Blood Test

When my first actual scheduled appointment approached, I read over the instruction on my reminder, which said, “you have been scheduled for pre-appointment testing. If you are scheduled for fasting labs, nothing to eat or drink for at least 8 hours prior to these tests.” No one said anything about fasting labs, so do I fast? The day before my appointment I received a nice call from a VA employee reminding me of said appointment. I have to say, it was nice to actually receive a call from a human being, instead of the automated message. I asked the man on the phone if I was required to fast before my blood work and he apologized, saying that he’s just told who to remind about what appointment and didn’t have any details for me.

I decided to fast anyway, just in case. Considering how everything else had gone up until now, I didn’t need to get to my blood work appointment and find out it couldn’t be done because I hadn’t fasted. When I finally arrived for my appointment, I passed the area where I’d be going after this to finish my VA ID application and noticed that there was more than one person working behind the windows today. Awesome.

Upon entering the area to get my blood work done, I approached the desk and showed the VA employee my appointment paperwork. He then asked if I had a VA ID, which he’d need to check me in. “No,” I said. “I don’t have one yet.” “You really need to get that taken care of,” he said as he handed me a slip of paper to write my name and social security number on. I’m still baffled that after all these years and rampant identity theft, the military (and subsequently the VA) still uses social security numbers. My paper was clipped to a plastic number and I was told to have a seat. I wondered where that piece of paper would wind up and hoped it would be a shredder.

Waiting Room

Nestled amongst a sea of Veterans that had to number at least 50, I sighed at the long wait I knew was ahead of me. Surprisingly, the wait was only 10 minutes, which impressed the hell out of me. I walked back to the nurse who was drawing blood and asked if I had needed to fast for this. She said “yes, fasting is always required before blood work.” I mentioned that that was never clear to me, but I’d done it anyway. After an acknowledgement that I’d chosen wisely, she pierced my skin to start the blood flow.

After the harvesting, my arm bandaged with way too much coban for one man and I was handed a urine test jar. “Ok, just head down the hall to the bathroom and bring this back to me when you’re done.” This was news to me, I certainly didn’t ever get the notice that I should be ready to take a leak when I got here. This was apparently by design to be a surprise drug test too, I gathered. I purposely hadn’t drank any liquids since going to sleep the evening before to comply with the fasting instructions and hoped I could perform under pressure.

She attached that slip of paper I’d reluctantly written my social security number on to the test jar and asked, “do you have a VA ID?” After she saw the look on my face and my head shaking, she said, “you should really get that done, it will make things much easier around here.”

I was presented with two unisex bathroom doors to choose from and checked the handle on the one I approached to see if it was unlocked. I entered to find a fellow Veteran give me a scowl as he grumbled that he was in there. Geez, I thought to myself, lock the door man. The other bathroom was unoccupied and and I closed the door and reached for the lock, I found that there wasn’t one. Great, not only do I have to hope I can pee in a cup, but I have to do it with the possibility of someone barging in on me like I’d just done to the other guy.

Luckily, for some crazy reason, I had no issues filling the cup. After practicing good hygiene, I brought my cup back to the nurse and was told I was good to go. As I passed the lobby on my way out, I realized why I’d been seen so quickly, despite the crowd of Veterans that had clearly been there before me. I noticed many of them with cups in their hands, obviously sitting there waiting on that magic urge to pee. Phew, that could have been me.

Smile!

Feeling great for being able to control my bladder, I strode back over to ID desk and silently cheered on the inside when I saw no one waiting. I approached the window and let the gentleman behind it know that I’d like to get an ID made. He stopped me mid-sentence and said that I’d have to go get a number from the information desk. I did the “glance back” body language motion letting him know that it seemed a bit ridiculous, considering I was the only one there. He non-verbally let me know that he didn’t care and I walked over to grab a number staring at the top of my eyelids.

Non-functioning electronic number in hand, I reapproached the window and handed it off. “What can I help you with?” I’d like to get an ID made, I said. “Here’s my paperwork and my two forms of ID.” One was my driver’s license and the other was my voter’s registration card, which according to the worksheet listing forms of ID to bring, was as an acceptable form of secondary ID.

After looking over my paperwork and getting help with how to enter the correct number from my voter registration card into the system, the man helping me said. “That’s it, let’s just take your photo and you should get your ID card in the mail within two weeks.” This was it, I thought. I was done. When the flash went off on the camera, I distinctly remember trying to smile, but what came out was clearly an expression that tells the story of my experience.

VA ID

As I write this, I’ve just returned from my second scheduled appointment with the primary care physician and of course, it was a real doozy. First, let’s recap again.

Lessons Learned:

  • Lesson 1: You’re not eligible for care at your local VA until you’re in their system.
  • Lesson 2: You need a copy of your DD-214 for your local VA, even if you’re already registered with the VA.
  • Lesson 3: Once your info is added to your local VA system, it takes a week for it to actually be in the system.
  • Lesson 4: Two appointments are required to make your addition to your local VA official. Blood work and a Primary Care Provider appointment.
  • Lesson 5: Always assume you need to fast before your blood work, even if it’s not clear.
  • Lesson 6: Despite not being able to drink any liquids for 8 hours before your blood work, you’ll still need to be able to pee in a cup.
  • Lesson 7: Don’t forget your two forms of ID when you go back to get your VA ID made.
  • Lesson 8: Smile for the camera.

Primary Care Physician

My local VA has extremely efficient appointment check-in machines staged throughout the center, which I can now use, thanks to my shiny new VA ID that arrived in record time. Seriously, I was impressed. It took less than a week to get it.

After a quick check-in, confirming my details and walking over to the clinic where I’d be seen, I was already being called back. How about that! I met with a nurse first who took my vitals (blood pressure, temperature and also oxygen saturation using a pulse oximeter.)

A few questions later, many which I assumed tested for depression, PTSD and some other things, I was ushered over to my primary care physician. He was awesome and we had a lot in common to talk about. We went over my blood work and talked about my overall health, etc. In all it equated to a check-up in my mind and went extremely well.

I inquired with him about what I needed to do to set up future appointments and he said that he’d go ahead and schedule something for me in about 9 months, but the typical procedure was to make an appointment with the nurse of your primary care provider. So my question was of course, can I get the number to your nurse so I have it? “Oh,” he said. “I probably won’t be your primary care provider, but I could be, that’s assigned to you within about two weeks.” That makes complete sense, right. Rather than actually meet with who would be my primary care provider, the VA randomly assigns these appointments to whoever they can. Apparently there’s also no way to request a specific PCP, at least at my local VA. Bummer, I liked this guy.

The doctor also mentioned that if I should ever go to the hospital, I need to tell them immediately that I’m a Veteran and the center I’m “in the system” at. The hospital will then stabilize me if it’s life threatening and contact the VA to transfer me. He said that the local VA hospitals are often so full that they’ll authorize care where you’re at, but if you don’t mention the VA, you’re liable for your bills once they start working on you. Makes me want to hang a VA dog tag around my neck, just in case I can’t talk when I’m brought in. Seriously.

Back to that appointment in 9 months. I asked if that was necessary, considering I’m in good health. I didn’t feel like it was right to eat up an appointment slot, just because. I remembered the phone message telling me not to waste an appointment and to remember the others potentially waiting for my spot.

The doctor said that if you’re not seen every two years at your local VA, they’ll delete you from the system and you’d have to go through everything I’d just gone through with blood work and a PCP appointment all over again.

Wait, so the VA, who is known to be so busy that Veterans have to wait months to get seen, is telling me that I need to make sure I come in every two years, just to make sure I retain my status as a patient? That seems a little counterintuitive and extremely inefficient.

My appointment was fairly uneventful after that point, but I was still in disbelief about the whole two-year thing.

Lessons Learned:

  • Lesson 1: You’re not eligible for care at your local VA until you’re in their system.
  • Lesson 2: You need a copy of your DD-214 for your local VA, even if you’re already registered with the VA.
  • Lesson 3: Once your info is added to your local VA system, it takes a week for it to actually be in the system.
  • Lesson 4: Two appointments are required to make your addition to your local VA official. Blood work and a Primary Care Provider appointment.
  • Lesson 5: Always assume you need to fast before your blood work, even if it’s not clear.
  • Lesson 6: Despite not being able to drink any liquids for 8 hours before your blood work, you’ll still need to be able to pee in a cup.
  • Lesson 7: Don’t forget your two forms of ID when you go back to get your VA ID made.
  • Lesson 8: Smile for the camera.
  • Lesson 9: You may think your initial primary care provider appointment is with your primary care provider, but it’s not. They’ll pick that for you later.
  • Lesson 10: Always tell a hospital you might wind up at that you’re a Veteran and which center you’re “in the system” at. If you don’t, you’ll be footing the bill.
  • Lesson 11: You have to get seen at your local VA center once every two years to maintain your status there, or risk going through the whole process all over again.

Takeaway

VA Medical Center

I’d like to preface this section with one thing, the VA is indeed efficient in many areas. They’ll efficiently tell you to come back with your DD-214 and efficiently remind you that you need to get your ID made, but efficiency and speed are inversely proportionate at the VA. They also need help with their communication when it comes to written instructions, but I digress.

You may think that because of my documented experiences with the VA that I’m bitter or just a dick. I may be both, but I believe it or not I really like the VA. I love all they do for Veterans and no one is perfect, especially me. There’s things they need to work on, but overall I respect those that work for the VA and very much appreciate what I perceive to be a different level of care from the doctors there.

What I mean is that in the private sector, doctors seem to be bought off by drug companies and care more for their bottom line than for the care of their patients. Now these are only my opinions, as they’ve been in many areas of this article, but my experience with VA doctors has always been that they don’t operate like civilian doctors. They don’t appear to push the latest and greatest medication from the highest bidder, or measure their success at how quickly they can jump from one patient to the next.

I could be wrong, but that’s my perception from seeing what I have of VA doctors and those that work for the VA system. It’s an epidemic these days that medication seems to be the answer to everything. Drug companies have invaded every form of media available, telling you why you should remember their name and request their product if you exhibit the signs and symptoms. Nevermind those pesky side effects like anal leakage.

It’s damn near self medicating. People hear all about a new drug and think, “yeah, I need that.” I personally can’t stand those commercials and think they do more harm than good.

Overall, I’m thrilled that I’m in “the system” and now know that I’ll need to keep up what could be useless appointments every two years to retain my status. At least my VA ID is good until 2026 and provided I stay in the system, I won’t have to mess with the process again until I’m 47 and it’s time to renew it. I can’t wait to learn all about how to do that.

I’ll add one more lesson learned, just to bring the list to 12. I’m sure many of you out there have VA stories, both positive and negative. If you have the time, leave them in the comments. Hopefully they’ll help others, like I hope my story has.

Lessons Learned:

  • Lesson 1: You’re not eligible for care at your local VA until you’re in their system.
  • Lesson 2: You need a copy of your DD-214 for your local VA, even if you’re already registered with the VA.
  • Lesson 3: Once your info is added to your local VA system, it takes a week for it to actually be in the system.
  • Lesson 4: Two appointments are required to make your addition to your local VA official. Blood work and a Primary Care Provider appointment.
  • Lesson 5: Always assume you need to fast before your blood work, even if it’s not clear.
  • Lesson 6: Despite not being able to drink any liquids for 8 hours before your blood work, you’ll still need to be able to pee in a cup.
  • Lesson 7: Don’t forget your two forms of ID when you go back to get your VA ID made.
  • Lesson 8: Smile for the camera.
  • Lesson 9: You may think your initial primary care provider appointment is with your primary care provider, but it’s not. They’ll pick that for you later.
  • Lesson 10: Always tell a hospital you might wind up at that you’re a Veteran and which center you’re “in the system” at. If you don’t, you’ll be footing the bill.
  • Lesson 11: You have to get seen at your local VA center once every two years to maintain your status there, or risk going through the whole process all over again.
  • Lesson 12: Efficiency and speed are inversely proportionate at the VA.

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Discussion

  • Nick Lakich

    Weird, they automatically sent me my ID after being in the system for a couple of years. I’m glad I didn’t have to go through all that BS

  • Brian Davis-Grimm

    Bs man. Total fubar. Too much regulation. No one thinking about what a person must actually go through.

  • Jason Singleton

    I had to fill out paperwork but it wasn’t an issue. I was in and out in less than 30 minutes.

  • MiskiewiczWill

    ITStactical That sounds crazy, which translates to “business as usual” for the VA

  • Robbie CaptMilkbone Baxter

    Home depot told me my DD214 was not valid proof of service, I set my stuff down and told them it was nice of them to offer a discount but not all veterans go to the VA and if that is all they would except than they really are offering a VA discount not a veteran discount 🙁

  • Frank X

    Shop Ace Hardware

  • Alex Cisneros

    You can’t blame the business let alone a worker at a box store like that because how many of them know,seen or are familiar with a dd 214?
    Leave your veteran entitlement behind you are not always being harassed,offended or slighted.

  • ITS Tactical

    How long have you been out, Nick? ~ Bryan

  • ITS Tactical

    That’s disappointing to hear, but maybe they weren’t familiar with DD-214’s? ~ Bryan

  • ITS Tactical

    Yes, but were you already “in the system” of your local VA center? ~ Bryan

  • Nick Lakich

    6 yrs now sir.

  • Jason Singleton

    No, it was my first visit. I’m sure I was lucky that it happened that quickly for me. I hear all the hard times a lot of Vets go through when dealing with the VA, and feel lucky that my hard times are few and far between.

  • ITS Tactical

    Hopefully that’s a new thing the VA is doing, glad to hear there wasn’t any effort necessary for you to get your ID. ~ Bryan

  • Jason Singleton

    Recently it took me three weeks just to get a letter stating I have a diagnosis for PTSD. It would be somewhat understandable had I not known the social worker I contacted for it. But I had spent a little over a year seeing her weekly for treatment for PTSD.

  • Nick Lakich

    Judging by the expiration date, i believe it was issued to me august 2014. I hope they do this for everyone that gets into the system too.

  • Robbie CaptMilkbone Baxter

    They called over a manager who told me since it was not a photo ID it could be faked…. like people carry their DD214 around 😉

  • Jamie Krusac

    I came here hoping to hear more about your trip to home depot, not what I have to look forward too later on. Different adventure I guess.

  • Doug Reynolds

    The Home Depot by me refused to give a military discount. I walked out and left my 6000.00 bathroom upgrade sitting on the carts. I shop at lowes now.

    • HowardMartin1

      Home Depot is a good enough store
      They just have mostly very young and
      Very under paid employees and dam
      Few of them.

  • 6point8_SPC

    ITStactical Oops, guess I am out of the system. At least I have my ID

  • mrangry1039

    ITStactical that picture tho! Hilarious!

  • 519LA

    ITStactical and #SenSanders wants to give everyone government run health care. #Godhelpusall #FeelTheBern

  • Brian

    You just can’t make this stuff up! Four more years and I can get my VA ID card…..

  • Bryan Sweeney

    I admit after seeing 4 differant post about some one getting screwed by home depot I did not.
    If I made a mistake then I will admit it and retract my statement

  • James Pacheco

    I did three years hard labor on the Lot at one. Majority of those potatoes wouldn’t know what the fuck a DD-214 is. Much less how to spell it out.

  • James Pacheco

    I felt my blood pressure going up reliving all the fun of dealing with the VA. That said, I’m also in Texas and go the third worst-ranked VA in the country.
    There are glimmers of hope though. That automatic check in kiosk at my Team Clinic being one.

  • HowardMartin1

    I had my share of bull shit with the VA but all in all I have done pretty good. The VA has spent a lot of money on me and my care. I have blue cross blue shield through my
    Retirement fund from Law enforcement and
    I Still use the VA.

  • Ludwig von Mises

    I mean WTF I want to puke.  Think about the type of person that qualifies for a position in the VA.  “Government! Three fourths parasitic and the other fourth Stupid fumbling.” ― https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/205.Robert_A_Heinlein, https://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/908211

  • Jake50

    Something is not right, why would you get the affordable care coverage if you medically retired from the Navy? You should, as well as your wife have tricare standard at minimum. During your out-processing briefing from the navy the VA representative should have explained the process of getting a VA ID card as so forth. I know for a fact that 9 out 10 veterans aren’t paying attention to the briefings because they are ready to get out and then turn around and screw themselves in the Kiester and want to blame others for it. How do I know ? Because I was medically retired from the Army just last year and I have idiots calling me crying about problems that were totally preventable! Question? Just how did you initially receive VA treatment without being enrolled? Did you move or something for that to happen?

  • Brent Taylor

    My Home Depot doesn’t even ask for an ID. I think you’re getting some bad service.

  • Brent Taylor

    You guys need to sign up when you’re getting out (out processing). It makes things a lot easier. I’m a Marine and I figured it out.

  • Robbie CaptMilkbone Baxter

    Brent Taylor Lowes was worse, DFW area customer service is getting less and less about the customer 🙁 I went to the DMV to get my veteran status added to my DL right after the law passed and they told me I had to wait till it was time to renew… now you can just request it. Looks like I need to go stand in line again at the DMV or VA… huff

  • First, thanks for reminding me I likely need a new ID 

    Second, I though the CT system was bad, but damn that was way worse 

    My local clinic is small but actually efficient, and the West Haven main hospital is nice and I’ve only had one appointment there that took over an hour to complete, AND we have valet parking 

    Seems common too, some States actually have good systems and others not so much, which is sad for those of use that need more help, me not so much, others I will stand aside for with honor

  • ITS Tactical

    Kevin, did you read the article? ~ Bryan

  • ITS Tactical

    That’s the issue, Brent. I did sign up with the VA when I got out. Check out the article. ~ Bryan

  • psybain

    Over 2.5 years since we started the process, and my wife still is waiting for them to come to a final decision on her claim. Fuck the VA.

    • minatue

      psybain I am a lifetime member of the DAV and that doesn’t happen. Every time something pops up or becomes more of an issue, I just contact the DAV, they send or do the right paperwork for me and set everything up, then follow up. Worth every penny I didn’t have way back then. More than paid for itself.

  • bullitt4686

    Lesson 13: Bring your DD214 in with you to the DMV and get that VETERAN stamp on your driver’s license. That will get you your 10% discount at the hardware store. Much faster than the above 12 lessons…

    • Robert Crandall

      WitchDoc Not all states have that. Michigan just got it a few years ago. Even before that though the Home Depot in Fort Gratiot gave me the 10% with only my Dog tags. 30 miles away in Lapeer Michigan a friend of mine that lives there and has a valid Military ID still gets turned down. We both work near Fort Gratiot so he just goes there now.

  • Brent Taylor

    I did read the article. I’m not trying to take away from what you wrote or you highlighting how frustrating the VA can be.
    What I don’t understand is why so many guys aren’t taking care of their stuff before they get out and then they just get venomous about it once they get their DD214. It was a few years ago for me (not 10) so i don’t exactly remember the process but it wasn’t near as difficult as what you went through. How were you able to see a doc without an ID? I think you were getting some awful service. Not that mine was a breeze. I remember it taking all day but it was one appointment.
    I remember having a horrible time getting regular persceiptions filled and a mental health doc who kept trying to force the PTSD word on me. I ended up not going back because I was afraid of any diagnosis they were trying to pin on me.

  • McDonugh

    That DD Form 214! it’s a show stopper.  And really, the picture says a thousand words…funny now, right?  I got one of those Veterans cards and keep forgetting to use it?  When I moved back to my home state after about 18 years I went to the DMV to get my new state license, the girl had me fill out all the forms and present all these other forms of I.D. and then she said “would you like your old number from when your were here before?” and I asked her “If you knew it was me, then why did I have to go through all of that?!?!”.  Always fun, kill’em with kindness!  thanks for the story.

  • Lambing

    I just carry a  photocopy of my DD214 with the SSN blacked out, and it gets me discounts at lots of places. Sometimes I just ask for the discount and don’t have to show anything.

  • Corwin

    When a person receives their DD214, I would say that there should be a Veteran’s ID that comes with it.  You should be able to walk into any clinic, any hospital, any dentist, any eye doctor, any pharmacy, etc. and be taken care of on Uncle Sam’s dime.  I can understand a quick online verify that the ID is valid and beyond that, no questions asked.  Every last one of you who served honorably (and that’s almost all of you) are in our debt.  You should be treated as such…

    • @Corwin  The new Veteran Cards are verified and a valid form of ID and they are issued by the VA, your 214 is issued by the Army/Navy/MC/AF/CG, different systems that obviously do not talk to each other

    • USInfidelPorkEater

      While I do not dispute your comment, from the best that I know, all computers speak the same language. A little programming and presto, they could talk to each other

  • Scav

    Bryan, I feel your pain as I just recently had to start back up with the VA BS! Your article shadows a lot of my experience over this last year. I quit dealing with the VA in 93-94 because it was a huge nightmare and just used my insurance. But let just say with my recent diagnosis, a civilian doctor can’t really treat what a combat vet picks up in the killbox. I figured while we were chasing this particular issue the VA could go ahead and fix my ears that comes with the territory of an explosives career. After 2 visits to my local, and getting put into their system, I managed to get my ID. This makes it very easy to transition through the hospitals and VA Police guarded parking lots they sent me to for my next 6 visits (55 miles away).. It’s been quiet a stressful education for myself and my wife. Thank god for her or I’d have lost my cool more than once in this endeavor. For the most part the employees are friendly, but they assume we know how “their” system works and what priority level we are. What the hell is a priority level? You’ll find out if you don’t know.

    I was prescribed hearing aids last month which required a hearing test the month before. Last week I had to go for another hearing test for the compensation portion.This confused the shit out of me. I explained to “Jason – the won’t call you back after leaving 5 voicemail’s guy” that I had just had a hearing test done. He informed me that particular test was for a condition and this test was for an evaluation. So another 60 mile trip and day off of work to have the exact same test with the exact same results. I can’t wait for the visits to start for the initial issue I came back to the VA for help with. I’m sure it will be as streamline as it has been up to this point.

    As for the comments about about the Veterans Discount that I am reading, I’ve experienced the same issues at Lowe’s. There for a while a DD214 was good. Now it’s not. They want a valid VA ID.I guess it depends on the business and the particular store you are visiting. If the store offers it and Bryan wants to cash in, it’s his right. He was man enough to sign that check so stop your bitching.

     I suggest the nay sayers, VA defenders and the non believers give VA a shot…if you’re qualified to do so. I really didn’t want to jump back into their system and it’s been just as stressful for my wife as it has been for myself. It has gotten somewhat better since the 90’s, but I’m starting to believe they make it difficult on purpose. Why should it be up to the vet to “prove” all of the information that the VA should already have on file in their vast network of servers? The government sure does take care of my welfare riding, alcoholic, drug dealing neighbor. She doesn’t have to fight to have all of her medical needs met, and has somehow gotten on the transplant list for a liver, while I watch her pound Vodka walking down the street.

  • Matt Vine

    I was at Home Depot this weekend buying a replacement Hot Water heater and necessary piping.  My local H.D. is VERY supportive and I have been asked to show DD214 (which I keep in my truck), asked “Oh where did you serve?”, and now carry my VFW Life Member card.  I have never had anyone be even slightly problematic.  $60 in savings is real money in my world.  The IL VA system is SO messed up, I can’t even imagine dealing with getting a VA Card.  Glad it all worked out in the end for you.

  • Edward Stone

    Lowe’s and Home Depot Military and Veteran Discounts Explained: http://guardianofvalor.com/lowes-and-home-depot-military-and-veteran-discounts-explained/

    • dbass

      From your link – “Remember if you are a Veteran, but not Active, Reserve, Retired or disabled Veteran you are only authorized the discount on the above stated Holidays.”

      ??? What other Veterans are there???

    • Diane Crumbley

      Just a regular veteran that served less than 20 years and did not retire from the military.

  • Doc Badger

    The VA Healthcare System is such a pain in the arse.  Typical government operation that puts up more red tape, road blocks and walls than is really necessary.  I have been under the VA System since 1993 and it has gotten worse over the years especially since King Oblowmecare has kicked in.  I’ve had the Chief of Neurosurgery at the West Roxbury VA Hospital in Mass tell me to suck it up and deal with the pain.  I’ve got another Doctor that I have never even seen before at the local VA Clinic come up with a diagnosis just so they don’t give me two of my pain medications and the latest one yet, I have been ordered to the clinic and if I don’t go, I will not get any of my other medications renewed which are for cardiac, liver, blood pressure, et al.

    The VA doesn’t give a rat’s arse about us veterans at all.  They would rather have us die on the waiting list than see any of us.  Hell, that would take away from their bonus money they get paid.

  • Rattlesnake says

    Nice pic…at least of part of the Audie Murphy V.A. in San Antonio…also good story…and very accurate…;)

  • mad_casual

    Lesson 6: Despite not being able to drink any liquids for
    8 hours before your blood work, you’ll still need to be able to pee in a
    cup.
    TL;DR – Avoid calories. Normal amounts of water are fine. Anybody who tells you different is lying, an over-officious quack, or both.

    I don’t know about the VA specifically, but have worked with multiple hospitals and multiple laboratories for nearly three decades and can say this, they’re erring on the side of caution *in the extreme* with this guidance. This advice is generated by regulatory scientists and aimed at the general population. You may be able to fast until you pass out, but the recommendation is aimed at the sort of people who will come in with powdered sugar on their face and tell you they fasted. Even at that, there are recommendations to the clinicians (such as having remaining seated for at least 30 min.) that, in my experience, are loosely observed at best.

    The majority of these tests are screened for interference for common substances (caffeine, acetaminophen, aspirin, nicotine, etc.) and they are chosen for their robustness. Drinking normal amounts of water will be completely undetectable and most water-based/calorie-free beverages will be undetectable unless specifically detected for and, most of the time, the substances detected for can’t be differentiated from pre-fast vs. peri/post-fast (i.e. five cups of black coffee 8 hrs. ago are gonna be indistinguishable from a single cup of black coffee 30 min. ago).

    Even with calories, unless you have a known metabolic disorder, minor breaks in fast are tolerable. Moreover, the tests are meant to diagnose an element of normalcy. Obviously, if you’re diabetic and you just chugged down a triple-venti caramel macchiato topped with whipped cream 30 min. ago you’re blood will come out looking like a pink milkshake and there’s no point in testing about half the analytes the physician might want to see. But if you’re otherwise healthy and drank an 8 oz. coffee with cream and 2 sugars 6 hrs. ago and your bloodwork comes out screwed up, a medical professional should probably help you figure out why that is and whether you should still be drinking coffee or not.

  • Phil Bilbao

    Because of this article I tried get one and found out someone was stealing my ID…so thank you ITS Tactical!

  • ITS Tactical

    Phil, it’s disappointing to hear about your ID theft, but great to hear that you caught it happening. I’m glad my article helped you out. Thanks! ~ Bryan

  • JonesyJo

    Unless have an emergency, try to never… ever go to the Dallas clinic. The one in Fort Worth is much less dank and dungeonesque, and the people there don’t seem to have given up on life. On a side note, I had an actual emergency (broken clavicle from mountain biking) and drove to Fort Worth, they told me that they cant do anything emergency related… drive to Dallas.

  • ….I have attempted to get my VA ID 4 times, each time as taken over 3.5 hours at the VA in Amarillo, TX. To top it off one day I was there for 2 hours then got told the person who takes the photograph called out sick so no ID’s. As for appointments you got lucky, the shortest I have waited after my scheduled appointment time was a hour and 10 minutes. The VA is not efficient at all, my last two cents is they are not joking about the outside medical care. I got bit by a spider which needless to say gave me a B cup chest and sharp pulsating pains down my right arm. Called to get approval to go to the ER local ER because the nearest VA is 120 miles away from where I live. The response I received was, we believe you need to go to a ER withing 8 hours of calling our triage line, however, if going to a local hospital we are not guaranteeing your costs will be covered by the VA. 

    Needless to say I drank some Benadryl an monitored my symptoms. The swelling went away in a few hours and the pain subsided by the next day.

  • rottenrollin

    Where in HELL is my DD214?  I got out 45 years ago and haven’t a clue where my paperwork is.

    We used to say FTA all the time in the Army.  Sounds like if I need them, Im going to be saying FTVA, eh?

    Stay well, rottenrollin, stay well.

  • Been there done that2

    Im 68 and got my ID from the worst rated VA in the US – and hearing aids 3 years ago. Was eventful but after letting them run me through full physical evaluations, which I DID NOT REQUEST, to deny any other potential illnesses or disabilities, which I did not request, I finally got the hearing aids (3 month ordeal).
    I started using my ID for discounts (when I remember) about 2 years ago – but after building 6 homes over my life. I quit using HD about 20 years ago due to their employee attitude. It’s my last resort store.
    This is my take – I was drafted and spent over 280 days in the jungles of Vietnam, still have some issues and related service illnesses. I used the GI bill to get an education to help raise three wonderful children. I have grand children who I adore. Have been many road bumps in life.
    I operated in small teams and several of the boys didn’t make it and thankfully I have been able to contact and meet with their golf star families over the last few years. I’m thankful EVERYDAY I’m alive. The “special discount” or “appreciation” I receive is being able to have had my life and walk thru these stores. Not many stores give Veteran discount – nor care. If you are depending on the government to solely take care of your health care your in trouble – too much bureauracy and corruption. The VA is an INTERNATIONAL DISGRACE – and certainly not going to change much in my lifetime. Be thankful your alive and can go to the store and VA.
    As shared in the original post – it was a funny experience just working the system to get the ID.

  • Joe Pish

    I fully understand.I also needed e VA. Card to get discounts at Home DePot and Lowe’s.First I was told I made too much money to get benefits(that I didn’t want!) the was told that I won’t get one! I finally called a year later,and took a survey over the phone,fibbed about my income and qualified for an ID
    PFC Joe

    • Rick Alford

      I went through all that and some. I just want a card. After three trips I was told I would be notified to see a doctor. I did—. I was awarded a disability—-I did not ask for or need one. I have insurance coverage and was told I made too much (retired) to get medical coverage. ALL I WANT IS AN ID!
      I was sent a temp ID (with no picture) a year ago. I’m 70 now, maybe I’ll see one some day.
      We need more veterans working in the VA

  • Georgina Woodley

    This story rings so true with me…After all that I went through to get my card…and just get an appointment when they kept asking me if I was suicidal I want to tell them “Not until I came in here.” The nurses and doctors were great the actual people that were working were sour and all I could think was “I could do this job much better, faster, and with a smile on my face!”

  • Roo H

    Way way way way way way too long. Wall of text. Take 10% of this BOOK, and shorten it, get to the point. I’m not going to waste my time trying to figure out what exactly you were trying to get to when you can’t figure out how to summarize your point.

  • Henry

    Similar experience. All I wanted was an ID. Won’t repeat all the steps I went through, but the best advise I can offer is “get an advocate”. In my case, I live in Georgia, and there is an office that exists solely for the purpose of helping Veterans: Georgia Veterans Association.

    Take a DD214 to their office and they will advise you of what you need to do to secure IDs, get benefits, etc. they become your advocate. Other states may have a similar office; use the Web to find out. VFWs and other vet organizations offer advocacy programs. Do not attempt the process on your own.

    I did, and it took several frustrating months. Then I found out about the advocacy groups. It takes just as long, but they explain the process and walk you through it… which the VA incapable of doing. With the VA, each department only knows their step. The advocacy groups can advise you on how to get through the system.

    An important thing to know is that a regular “veteran” cannot get a “Veteran ID”, especially if they make over $42k. The Veteran ID is basically reserved for VETs who have Service Connected Disabilities, or below a certain income.

    Back to the advocate: In GA, the Georgia Veterans Association can help you get a free Veterans tag, and a drivers license with “Veteran” printed on it… which qualifies you for discounts.

    Don’t blame the VA for not being able to give you an ID, especially if you don’t qualify. I recommend that you use an advocacy group to walk you through the process.

  • Russ

    Just a thought. You as I are just one of many in or entering the VA system. Not to take away the fact that each of us feels the system is flawed it’s what we have. At this time and I think they do quit a good job. Something I remember from my service was Hurry Up and Wait! Yep I wait and happy I get the care I was promised. You might wait and when you really need Care the VA will be there. They were there for me on 4 surgeries.

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