Ill Soldier Awaiting VA Rating Increase Gets Boost from VFW Program

The help "was a great relief."

In 2009 Army National Guard SSG Travis Alberhasky contracted a serious condition called avascular necrosis from medication he was prescribed while serving in Kosovo. The illness can be extremely painful and physically debilitating, causing bone tissue to deteriorate and can lead to eventual bone collapse.

Since the onset of the condition, Alberhasky has had surgeries to replace both hips, and now needs both shoulders replaced as well. Although his health improved following the hip surgeries, he was still unable to work. He’d been awaiting a VA rating increase for over a year and needed immediate financial assistance for his mortgage and utilities.

Alberhasky’s medical NCO told him about VFW’s Unmet Needs program, which provides emergency grants to service members who face unexpected financial difficulty. The recipients need never repay the grant. 

Alberhasky acknowledged he was initially hesitant to apply for the program, explaining it was hard for him to ask for help when he was used to providing for himself. In the end he did apply for, and receive, a VFW Unmet Needs grant. 

Alberhasky was glad he did, saying, “It was a great relief” knowing his mortgage and utilities would be paid for. “I could breathe again when I heard I got the grant,” he explained, noting he had been forced to withdraw half of his retirement savings prior to receiving the assistance.  

“My experience with the program was great…It was easy to use too. And the people that I spoke to helped me clarify paperwork that was needed,” he explained. 

Alberhasky continues to wait for his increased VA rating, and he’s extremely grateful to the VFW for making that wait a little easier to bear. “I just want to say thank you so much for the support. It helped me out when I needed it the most, as well as kept my spirits up and a roof over my head,” he said.