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  1. 28 likes
    Greetings: I am grateful that one afternoon a few years ago, I Googled "I've had it with the VA". That simple "search" born out of utter frustration led me to "Hadit". And there it all started! As of two weeks ago, I'm rated 100% (long overdue). And, I am still NOT done with the VA. For those looking to do there own research I offer this process: Obtain your Military Service and Medical Records by mailing (certified, return receipt requested) an SF-180, found here: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/standard-form-180.html Obtain your full VA treatment records from the "release of information" window at the center you receive treatment at. Review the CD-rom (PDF file) for all CHRONIC medical conditions, treatments, and diagnosis - chronocity is critical! Identify the incident, event, or situation in service that "caused" this condition. If it's in your active duty medical records that's extremely valuable. If it manifest after service you'll need to find a way to "connect" it to service - the "nexus". Next search USC 38 part 4 for your CHRONIC DIAGNOSIS, found here: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div5;node=38:1.0.1.1.5#_top Match up the conditions and rating percetnage to the CHRONIC diagosis in your medical records. Review the DBQ the C&P examiner "must" use to rate your current condition, found here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/dbq_ListByDBQFormName.asp Search for VA court cases on your condition(s) to understand how the VA Regional Offices is likey to "rule and rate" on your claim. HINT, the cases tell you what evidence actually supports a claim. For example, here's a search for Sleep Apnea secondary to chronic Sinuitis: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#q=sleep+apnea+secondary+to+chronic+sinusitis Look for evidence in these cases that would support your claim, and THEN match and find your evidence - NEVER, EVER lie! Gather all your evidence, write up a Statement in Support of Claim, found here: https://www.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl#newwindow=1&q=va+"Statement+in+Support+of+Claim" and mail it certified return receipt requested. NUMBER every single page, make copies, and wait. Make someone sign for your mailed packaged - VA has NEVER lost my packages! Before you go to a C&P review your evidence and especially the questions the Dr. is going to ask from the DBQ. I usually hand write a list of the 6-7 items that supports my claim. I make sure the examiner see this. I'm so done with the VA, I walked into to my last C&P with my 4" binder and the Dr. undersood I knew what is going on. A C&P exam is a LEGAL MEEETING, not medical treatment. I submitted my last three claims in July and they were fully decided correctly in six months. Help the VA help YOU! And, most importantly, never, never, never, ever give up. Be relentless! Most grateful, PJ I got a request to see how I wrote Claims, so here they are: Hearing loss, Peripheral Vestibular Discorder, and Tinnunitis. Digestive disorder. Skin disorder. VA's 2015 Decision on these three Claims. 1 -STMT IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM - PERIPHERAL VEST DIS - PG-1- redacted.pdf 2 -STMT IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM - PERIPHERAL VEST DIS - PG-2 - redacted.pdf 3 - STMT IN SUPPORT OF CLAIM - PERIPHERAL VEST DIS FOLLOWED BY TINNITUS - PG-3 - redacted.pdf 4 - DBQ WITH TINNITUS - HEARING LOSS & PERIPHERAL VEST DIS - AMENDMENTS_Redacted.pdf 5 - C&P EXAMINER'S DBQ FOR EAR CONDITIONS.pdf 6 - STMT SUPPORT CLAIM - RHIODS 2014 - redacted.pdf 7 - DBQ FOR RHOIDS - FOR C&P.pdf 8 - STMT SUPP CLAIM - ECZEMA 60% - PG 1-2.pdf 9 -STMT SUPP CLAIM - ECZEMA 60% - PG 3.pdf 10 -STMT SUPP CLAIM - ECZEMA 60% - PG 4.pdf 2015 DX REDACTED FOR HADIT_Redacted.pdf
  2. 7 likes
    The problem you experience is contained in 38 CFR 3.350(a) Ratings under SMC K. Read this sentence and I will turn it into Vetspeak. This special compensation [SMC K] is payable in addition to the basic rate of compensation otherwise payable on the basis of degree of disability, provided that the combined rate of compensation does not exceed the monthly rate set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1114(l) when authorized in conjunction with any of the provisions of 38 U.S.C. 1114 (a) through (j) or (s). Translated, this means you can have no disability ratings whatsoever and get as many Ks as you want as long as they do not exceed what is paid out as SMC L. Concurrently, you can be entitled to a 100% schedular rating and get as many Ks as you qualify for as long as you do not exceed the SMC L dollar amount. SMC S (which is a compendium of your 100% rating PLUS the $346.84 bump for the SMC S) still permits you to have K ratings -but again- as long as they do not exceed the SMC L barrier. The roadblock will always be the "does not exceed the monthly rate set forth in 38 U.S.C. 1114(l) " when you are also getting SMC S ( or 100% schedular plus more than six (6) SMC K ratings) . For the record, a male can only qualify for seven SMC Ks. A woman can achieve eight because she can have loss of breast(s) as well as loss of creative use of her ovaries for reproduction. For argument's sake, you could be entitled to X number of K's. The only limit is explained in the above paragraph. When you are granted SMC S via a"substantially housebound" interpretation or via the 100% plus 60% (which you qualify for because of your ratings percentages), the SMC L metric kicks in concerning how many SMC K ratings you can have. The VA set the limit by saying you cannot exceed the amount granted under SMC L. Note that they did not say "If your SMC S and all those Ks exceeds SMC L, then we're going to pay you at the "L" rate. They did not. They said it cannot exceed the amount paid for SMC L. SMC L currently pays $3,617.02 for a single Vet. I'm not going to add up your children and spouse. Those would not be included towards the ultimate $ figure limit anyway. If you are a single Vet at SMC S, you get $3,253.67 per month. SMC K is good for $103.23 per month per K rating. Thus $3,253.67 + $103.23 + $103.23 + $103.23= $3,563.36. That is three SMC Ks on top of the SMC S. Note that if you add a fourth SMC K of $103.23 to it, you will exceed the rate paid for SMC L which is forbidden. Nowhere does it say you get to jump to the SMC L pay scale or magically gain entitlement to Aid and Attendance. VA is very stingy with their funds. Qualifying for SMC L is set in stone. BroncoVet enunciated the requirements above. Proving the need for Aid and Attendance is usually decided based on how Form 21-2680 is answered. One missed question on this test disqualifies you for it. If all that was not confusing enough, if you are entitled to any of the SMCs L through O including intermediate rates (1/2 steps), your added-on SMC Ks cannot exceed the rate of payment for O/P, which is $5,075.60 per month. You would have to add the $103.23 "K" multiples for each rate between L-O/P to see where you exceed the O/P rate. An example here would be if you qualified for the N 1/2 rate of $4,808.00 per month and had two SMC Ks. A third "K" would take you over the O/P rate. There are no K ratings after O/P in the R1 and R2 levels of Special Aid and Attendance. To say Special Monthly Compensation is misunderstood is a masterpiece of understatement. It's almost a juris doctorate in its own right. It took me years to understand it and they occasionally change the rules as they did in 2011. When in doubt, Powerpoint it. Parse every "if...then". I can show you how it is technically (and legally) possible to advance to R2 from SMC L based on only two of the requirements of SMCs L-O by legally pyramiding. This (in conjunction with 3.352) is the only regulation in 38 CFR that actually permits pyramiding. SMC has more twists and turns than the Mississippi River. I've even explained it to VA lawyers who get lost in it. I hope this helped.
  3. 5 likes
    Consider yourself blessed. My DAV experience was the exact opposite.
  4. 4 likes
    I wanted to update everyone on the great news I received yesterday when ebenefits updated. I received, as a result of the NOD I filed in November of 2015, 100% schedular rating for my SC lupus, p&t with no future examinations scheduled. My other ratings remain-50% for MDD/Memory Loss, 20% for fibromyalgia, and 10% for gerd/hiatal hernia. I was also awarded inferred housebound. I want to thank alot of members on this site, like Broncovet, Buck52, Ms Berta, Asknod, Gastone, and many others for your invaluable knowledge and help. My children thank you as well, as I have one in college currently and one about to start in fall semester, and the Chapter 35 benefits will be a blessing. I ask going to continue to contribute as much as I can to any veteran that needs help, I will do my best to provide it. Thank you Hadit!
  5. 4 likes
    I received a call from my regional office saying he was instructed by the secretary to call me and update me on my appeal that it is now certified and in the BVAs hands. So now I'll call the BVA as annoying as it sounds I don't wait for it to sit I get them to tell me why. This is my second appeal certified in two years at the BVA my first one I won...
  6. 3 likes
    I finally got a response from VA Secretary Office that it reviewed my email and has sent it to the VBA leadership team for review and I should hear from them in 7-12 days. I will keep you informed when I hear something.
  7. 3 likes
    No you don't need to sendyour private records to the VA but you can share them with the VA if you don't use the VA for your treatments of S.C. Disabiity's you can use the private sector...just keep these records in a safe place incase the VA does try to pull some hanky panky and reduce your % they need medical records of evidence that your S.C. Disability has imporved and they need at least two Dr's to state so...so I doubt they will try to reduce you for not using the VA Medical Centers for treatment. As long as you stay in treatment and take meds you should be good to go. just hang on to those private records and medications list. jmo
  8. 3 likes
    Call up the VA director at the VARO. Tell me which RO and I'll give you the phone number. That presumes you do not have a VSO rep. If you do, call him/her and ask them to go onto the computer and look up the answer to your question in your c-file.
  9. 3 likes
    Retro showed up in my bank account today. May 4, 2016 - Jan 10, 2017...beginning to end. Thanks everyone, for your help.
  10. 3 likes
    To those it may concern: Please proceed to the BVA Decision Search for "Find These Words* TBI Co-morbid PTSD. As of 20 min ago, the 1st (1) listed for 2015/2016 is: Citation Nr 1548311, Decision Date 11/17/15, Docket # 15-07 615. This is a Rating increase of a 1955 TBI SC 30% to 40% Award and a 2014 PTSD 30%, continued Decision. A great read and excellent source of evidence information required to get (2) separate Ratings for TBI & PTSD, as well as what's needed for increases. Definitely took me to school. Should answer a lot of Vet's Questions regarding the Dual Award. Semper Fi
  11. 3 likes
    Valor Compensation Consulting Name- Bethany Spangenburg Where they are. AZ Specialty- general health and VA Compensation and Pension exams Cost- Is a negotiable fee ( they offer payments and other options) very helpful!!! I contacted them from this forum and found them to not only Veteran owned but very knowledgeable about the claims process. What is I really liked is the understanding of situations and flexibility the offered me. They even follow up just check and make sure I am doing ok and ensure that I am attending appointments that I should, or if I just need to talk. I am awaiting my decision but the documents I received from Valor compensation Consulting were more than I could have hoped for and I feel very confident in their service. Plus they took payments for my services. That really helped me so much.
  12. 2 likes
    I've used a VSO for most of my claims with the VA, obviously I always did all of the work and research, to get my claims approved. I'm at 90% right now. I currently have appeals in, on my OSA denial, and my Chronic kidney disease the varo approved, but the awards effective date was off by 10 yrs, that is a lot of retro, and I did not agree with the ratings. It is without a doubt time for an attorney, because if varo approves my OSA or my Kidney disease for the correct ratings and the correct awards effective date which is 10 yrs back, and would be 100% ratings 10 yrs ago. NO MATTER HOW MUCH CLEAR EVIDENCE I HAVE, NO VSO IS GOING TO GET SIX FIGURES APPROVED, AT VARO OR BVA!!!! Will contact first attorney Monday, Hill & Ponton, PA, and go from there!
  13. 2 likes
    Filed a notice of intent in Feb 2016, filed claim in January 2017, C&P exam end of January 2017, decision March 2017 30% IBS. From all of the advice on this forum did this claim myself, made sure to attach all of the needed information and was the fastest claim I have ever had with the VA. Thanks to all of you that have shared your knowledge and experience on this forum. You have educated an old scout LT about this process. Your information armed me to be successful in providing all of the information needed the first time. By the way they backdated the effective date to the date I filed my notice of intent to file. Maybe a little topic about how that works might help someone out there. I did not know that piece of the puzzle.
  14. 2 likes
    Good Advice from A.O.Wife you can also request to your hubbys PCP and other specialty Clinics Dr's to use layman terms when speaking in medical terms so you can understand all this . Always have pen and pad handy when speaking to the Dr's & take notes. get back home get on the old computer and do google research that's the best way to learn And when you do file a claim you need to have all this documented from a medical Dr your lay statements is not enough , it has to be said by a medical Dr as to this condition or condition's is likely as not caused by this veterans military service..to get this service connected. once service connected then they go by the severity of symptoms as to the ratings % you may have your hubby to file a ITF (Intent to File) you have a year to file the claim for all these conditions the ITF starts his EARLY EFFECTIVE DATE...During the year you gather up all your medical evidence and any material related favorable to your hubby claim. & request your hubby C-File ASAP as broncovet mention the Big 3 Diagnoses ,In service event, nexus letter from a qualified Dr.
  15. 2 likes
    Hello there - I'm a newbie on hadit and just read your post. My husband is service-connected for A/O CAD and more. I was reading your CT report. I am NOT an expert but I see some key words in the CT report. Bear with me, and know that my advice is worth what ya paid for it:). If this was my scan, first off I would look for synonyms for every word and phrase that sounds medical: a good search might be "medical definition dilated pulmonary arteries" then you can see what that really means in plain English. I mean who the heck knows what spondylosis is? That way you can translate what the CT report says and correlate the symptoms. It seems that the VA laws don't speak the same language as the doctors. Knowledge is key for example the phrase "enlarged heart" could/could not be known as dilated or hypertrophic etc and that might/might not be part of a CAD claim. Same with cardiomegaly (if it's heart). I see key words reflective of potential CAD issues and broncovet noted pulmonary issues. Since the claim is already underway, the next most important step is to make a list of the items reported, and questions to ask the doctor about what each item means. Ask about possible medications which should be prescribed. Ask about procedures. Ask about the overall picture of all the items combined. Ask about prognosis. Be a nice, polite, firm squeaky wheel as an advocate for your husband's health. If possible, getting a non-va second opinion is also a good idea. I would certainly ask the va PCP to refer to specialists - pulmonologist and interventional-cardiologist. I always attend every doctor appointment at the va because I want to make sure my husband gets the best health care he can to keep him healthy. I hear different phrases than he does, and I ask different questions. The doctors are very respectful and I have been told that they appreciate my time because we are working together as a team to keep him healthy.
  16. 2 likes
    This report is both good and bad. Your diagnosis of "Minor Abnormality" is not that great. Keep your focus on the Big 3: Current diagnosis, in service event, and nexus. "Minor Abnormality" sounds like there is something "abnormal" but its non specific and would likely have to be rated in analgous ratings. However, the term used above, "recurrent" is good. The VA does not like us to have an "event in service" where we have no problems with it for 20 years, then we apply for benefits for that and begin treatment when we need money. (This is their view, not mine). To give us benefits they want "continuity of symptoms", that is, a problem in service that resolved itself and we have no symptoms wont be getting us benefits. This report does not address whether your pulmonary "minor abnormality" is related to herbacide expousure, but it does identify its a "recurrent problem". My adivice is that you can apply, but, on the bases of THIS REPORT ALONE you wont likely be compensated over zero percent. However, if you do have some pulmonary symptoms documented elsewhere, this would supplement your claim. If you are seeking benefits for this, keep your eye on the big 3 criteria. This means you MAY need an IMO/IME to document some things for the big 3 unless you already have that documentation in your records. The only way to find out is to get your whole medical file and read it over.
  17. 2 likes
    Actually the vet was grateful it's the VA staffer who was mad at me. We chuckled behind her back!!
  18. 2 likes
    Fla also gives a 5k discount on property tax to all disable vets. "Eligible resident ex-servicemembers with a VA certified service-connected disability of 10 percent or greater shall be entitled to a $5,000 property tax exemption. The ex-servicemember must establish this exemption with the county tax official in the county in which he or she resides by providing documentation of this disability."
  19. 2 likes
    I know..Ive seen the waves and wow I LOVE them.. But it just feels like a long time since weve had juicy success stories. Good luck everyone. I will pray that you find success soon!!!! Im 70% so hopefully I will post an 80% story one day too!!!!
  20. 2 likes
    I use the VA Medical Center for my s/c disabilities and the meds that suppose to help. I also do my annual with my Dr. just so VA wont say I'm not using VA services and try something to say I may be getting better. I'm static with my disabilities and over 55, so they shouldn't be trying to get me to do reexaminations. I'm also over the 20 year mark on one of my disabilities. My suggestion is to see your primary VA Dr at least once a year. If you don't have one get one.
  21. 2 likes
    That depends on how old your NOD is. If you dont have an advance on the docket, due to advanced age or hardsship, then its gonna take 3 to 4 years, mimumum (most say longer now) to get to the BVA. Do you have a docket number, and did you contact the BVA to find out? Contact the VASEC or TRump only if you HAVE contacted your RO, the BVA etc, and you have not got satisfactory results in serveal months. You should have this documented. For example, if you contacted IRIS eemail in 2014, and they never responded to your satisfaction, then there comes a time to call the big boss. But dont aliente the VA employees, because your claim was not appreoved in 6 months, and because your VSO wont call you back. (VSO's dont do call backs..lawyers dont either.) I have a 2002 claim, that was not adjuticated until 2009 (denied as moot) appealed; it went to the BVA in 2012. It took the RO 3 years to implement the BVA decision, where they denied it again.. I went to the CAVC in 2016, and got a Remand. Now, if I do NOT have a 2012 or 2009 docket date, I am emailing Trump, since I have been fighthing VA for 15 years now. If you have waited 15 months..that is a normal wait and you wont get bumpted to the top of the line.
  22. 2 likes
    VA Secretary doIing good so far! check out this link for Veterans with PTDS & has a OTH. Discharge! https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USVHA/bulletins/18c404b
  23. 2 likes
    I some what disagree about the VA Examiners are paid by the VA & represents VA interest not yours or who or how their paid. that is not my concern. This is certainly debatable. if the C& P is unfavorable then yes we can simply say they have no interest in helping a veteran but when the C&P Exam is favorable we never think about rather or not they have our best interest at heart. My C&P Examiner was very through, & ask me questions and if I had anything I needed to add or let her know but she could only take medical records that I had and she would not take any evidence that was from researched article and such. She introduce her self has a Licence certified PTSD Phyistrist with a P.H.D. in this field of medicine and was contracted out by the VA for QTC & Had been notified by QTC and she mention she had 10 years experience & she let me know that she also was a Veteran. This PTSD C&P was performed at her Office. she had read all my medical records that was pertaint to my claim week before and had them up on her computer to read as she conducted the Exam. she was very nice and seem like she did have my best interest at heart..she mention to me that she has read my stressors from the records that showed them and she will not be asking me any questions about them she has enough evidence that she did not need to dwell in the past. from my experience in having 5 C & P Exams in the past a lot of it depends on what type of Examiner the Veteran gets He/she will either get a Hard Ass Examiner or an examiner that has no experienced or have the expertise (credentials) in the C&P Exams for what she is called for. or get a nice compassionate experienced Examiner (with correct credentials)that will conduct the C &P exam like its suppose to be. jmo
  24. 2 likes
    I agree with you about VSO, even the very few that try, can only take you so far in your claim and appeal process and get you the benefits you deserve!
  25. 2 likes
    Thank you to everyone for all of your help on this site. I don't want to re-invent the wheel. Does anyone have an example of a successful letter or email that was sent to the VA Secretary? I want my correspondence to be effective, not too short, or to contain too much data.
  26. 2 likes
    This is just wrong, 700 plus days. I realize you have called, but what about IRIS email? Please keep record of all phone calls and the response.It only took me 10+ years to get my claims settled. Good luck. I would not use VSO, useless in my opinion.
  27. 2 likes
    skidmark, I see this is your first post. Maybe more info on what you are currently rated at and if not what have you claimed etc., then we might be able to see what can be done. VA is notorious for denials and low-ball ratings. Hang in there, its a long fight, Hamslice
  28. 2 likes
    That is Great News Nick!
  29. 2 likes
    Received a decision on my sleep apnea as secondary to allergic rhinitis...approved, using Dr. Anaise's nexus letter.
  30. 2 likes
    Mark Also you might contact Elder Hadit Member Asknod, ( Alex Graham) has been certified and accredited VA Rep He is very good helping Veterans, He is fairly busy these days but He may could find time to help you, give him a shout in PM.
  31. 2 likes
    I had a lawyer in my recent CUE claim. What lawyers do is argue the law. So your lawyer will set up a face to face hearing at the BVA and probably give them a brief that the judge won't read right away. Then VA lawyers will read your lawyer's brief and if it does not open up a can of worms for a class of veterans they may remand it back to the VARO. If your claim does affect a class of vets they will probably deny it and you can then go to the Court of Vet Appeals. Now all bets are off and you will be dealing with a hostile and totally adversarial VA. Now your claim is out of your hands and it is up to the VA lawyers and your lawyer to argue the case in front of a VA appeals court. From the start of my CUE at the RO until I was finally denied at the Federal court took 7 years. Lawyers cannot change facts and after the BVA they cannot add any new evidence. Now I was doing a CUE and I learned just what a long shot many of these claims are even when it would appear to anyone with any sense of justice that you have a valid issue. If you cannot win on the facts and evidence of your claim you cannot win with a lawyer. However, if the facts and evidence of the claim have not been argued well then the lawyer can do that if he/she is a decent lawyer. I say that if you are going to the BVA get a lawyer. The lawyer should shape your claim for possible appeal to the Court. You need to get all the evidence "in" at the BVA because beyond that point no new evidence can be brought into the case. That does not mean the VA won't try. Beyond the BVA the VA really fights dirty. My claim was based on the undisputed fact that the VA did not include my IMO from 1973 in their rating opinion. However, since the law at that time assumed that the VA included and considered every fact of a claim at the VARO level I lost because I could not prove that the VA did not consider my IMO even though they admitted at the BVA that they did not include it. They still denied it. Then the VA argued in front of the Court that I could not prove the VA did not consider my IMO. How do you prove a negative? I could not prove by the 1973 regulations that the VA did or did not consider my IMO even though they did not mention it one time in my rating decision. At that time they did not even have to list the evidence they used to make rating decisions. With all this I would still hire a lawyer ( very experienced) if I were going to the BVA. If the lawyer does not think they will win they won't take the case. My lawyer believed and still believes we should have won the claim. I believe it. The VA believed it, but it would have made benefits available to an entire class of vets so they denied it. John
  32. 2 likes
    It's always about the $$ with the Legal Eagles. In early 15 I advised a friend, that was about 4 or 5 years into a BVA Appeal with DAV Rep, to contact Attig Law. After doing the what appears to be the standard legal associate interview, they begged off. Citing that the Firm was too busy with other Vet Representation to take his case. They wished him well and told him to try other Firms. He called me all Pi$$ed off, really down in the dumps. I pointed him at the DC Pro Bono Vet Firm, (?Veterans Legal Consortium?). I had told him before he contacted Attig Law, being already IU, his 5+ yr SMC K Retro ($7K) was going to be a problem. The DC Pro Bono outfit signed him, got a Denial at the BVA end of 15 and Rep'd him at the CAVC. I think about 9/16 CAVC Remanded his case back to the RO, as of last week, still pending. However, the DC Pro Bono Firm scored VA Legal fees to the tune of either $13 or $18K, to be paid by the VA. At the CAVC a Remand is considered a WIN (Legal Fee eligibility wise), regardless of the final outcome. Semper Fi
  33. 2 likes
    Thank you, L, they awarded me 100% schedular for the lupus, and inferred housebound since my other disabilities add up to 60%, which is a tremendous help, especially with the p&t. My older children really needed the college assistance, and I'm so grateful they now qualify for chapter 35 benefits. My daughter has already submitted her application for her benefits.
  34. 2 likes
    I Totally agree with Gastone on this. Get You an Experienced VA Attorney!!!
  35. 2 likes
    Steve This appears to be your remand: https://www.va.gov/vetapp16/Files4/1627475.txt As you know I felt your 1151 claim was superb. But this sure concerns me: “However, the Board notes that the many volumes of VA and private records do not actually include reports of the actual surgeries forming the basis of his 1151 claim. Such procedures were said to have taken place at the San Diego VAMC in March 2008. See 310 pg VAMC in Virtual VA at p 52. This would include no actual records of the biopsy procedure of the pancreatic cyst or the ERCP resulting in complications of a leak into the abdomen or the subsequent lengthy hospitalizations from March to April and April to May of 2008. Additionally, the release form is not shown to be in the current records, although this as well as the surgical records were apparently available to the January 2015 VA examiner who addressed the 1151 claim. An effort must be made to obtain the VA records not already of record that are in the VA's constructive possession. See Bell v. Derwinski, 2 Vet. App. 611 (1992). “ That VA ERCP caused the necrotising pancreatitis.Even your VA doctor agreed with that fact. It might seem odd that this critical evidence is missing, but it is not odd, at all, believe me.I went through the same crap with my Section 1151/FTCA issue in 1995 As the BVA states they had this stuff in January 2015. I guess the VA called their MF in- (MF Mysterious force who removes critical documents from med recs and C files, to deny the claim.) Then they often put the documents back. when the claim is denied. The Jet Fuel claim costly long toxicologist report was useless in my opinion. Still you had enough evidence on that claim for a remand. This 1151 claim needs a strong IMO from a real doctor. I laid out here (available under a search) considerable info to support your 1151 claim in the past...I wish I had MD after my name because it would be so easy to write that IMO.But then again I have never seen those records when they screwed up the ERCP....the procedure info -that is now missing. The SOC however was evidence of the screw up in my opinion. I have asked the new Secretary recently to consider some suggestions I had on reducing the backlog as well as the high rates of malpractice in the VA. I told him I am aware of the hidden proven cases as well..which neither Congress nor the public know about….blatant malpractice that VA awards at RO levels when they have no choice,due to probative evidence, such as strong IMos, and I told the Sec exactly what crap my VARO ( Buffalo) pulled on me and pulled it on the General Counsel and their VACO medical professional as well. I quess I am not the average claimant because I raised a ruckus at OGC and VACO many years ago about what they-the Buffalo VARO ) did. They did not get away with it. It is coming back to bite them again. They will deny 1151 claims as long as they can get away with it.They will lose ,misplace, and manipulate the evidence any way they can.I made it clear that I cant be the sole claimant VA has done this to.But maybe I am the only one willing to gripe to the Secretary about it. I saw no POA or attorney on the BVA case.Do you have anyone representing you now? I sent a copy of my Secretary Shulkin to President Trump as well ,to follow up on something he received from me a few weeks ago and I certainly expect a reply based on some sensitive info I gave them. I hope you consider an IMO/IME for the 1151 claim.I really didnt think you would need one based on what you posted here in the past but now I think they are definitely trying to screw you.
  36. 2 likes
    Thanks Flores....I'm going to submit my claims as a FDC as well. I appreciate your input....he was a very nice person, really knew his stuff. I will definitely update this thread as it has been a LOT of work on my end to get to this point with the VA and hopefully my experiences will help others!
  37. 2 likes
    I emailed the Secretary this morning concerning my claims and appeal, I have in the system. They responded to my email in 2 to 3 hours and said they will be forwarded my inquiry to VA leadership for review and direct feedback to me ASAP. I will keep you guys up on the feedback. Thanks a lot for HADIT.COM
  38. 2 likes
    Victor Ray It's totally up to you who and what you want to do to help you with your claim that;s certainly your choice my advice is just from my past experience with veterans claims mine and there's & is only my sole opinion. When a veteran has the probative evidence which is usually medical records to be a positive or favorable outcome to substantiate his/her claim and VA fails you your due process by ignoring your evidence or just not reading it .or don't comply with there own Law & Regs it's time for that veteran to do what it takes to see to it that he is fairly treated and gets his benefits he solely deserves. How that veteran works his claim is certainly his business and that's one of my reasons I mention emailing your Congressman /or Undersecretary of VA ,they do and can put a bug in the R.O. Ear and that my friend will shake the tree and things will start to happen with your claim. Although some will disagree and that's fine to me in my humble opinion what ever it takes to win, a veteran has to do it. No one can tell you what they will do or rate you but we can get fairly close to what you deserve in regards to your well earned benefits. Read up on the Laws and CFR's....and use there own words against them to help your claim!!! Here is an Interesting Read please read this. : click on the link below http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/las-vegas/veterans-say-legitimate-claims-routinely-denied-or-ignored jmo
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    If the stroke is "ischemic":,than that is as likely as not due to the IHD ( and/or the low HBP rating), but VA doesn't care what I think. A strong IMO/IME would be able to SC the stroke as secondary to the SC IHD.. Atherosclerotic and/or diabetic heart disease causes ischemati brain strokes. I was very concerned about the Amyloidosis. Have you claimed that? "What do you need to see exactly Berta? " Just their reason and Basis and Evidence list for the TDIU denial....for now... Thanks for making this clear for me. You are a Vietnam vet so you know Battles are most often won by yards and not by acres (believe me I too have had many battles with them and agree they can be liars) so the Reasons for the TDIU denial will help a lot " On January 11, 1983 a blanket denial of all agent orange claims was issued, so I was denied before the local VARO even received my treatment records." Yes that happened to other vets as well because the Nehmer AO presumptives did not start until Sept 1985.And there were onl;y 2 presumptives on the list then. I hope you are not diagnosed with diabetes mellitus but figured I better ask that too.You claim is a little like what I am fighting over now. Nehmer should have kicked in here for the best retro EED. "The VA denied every claim and all service connection and treatment until about 20 months ago when I got 30% PTSD and 10% IHD, I ask for reconsideration and got increased to 30 + 30 or 50% with unemployability denied. I ask for another reconsideration, caught DAV in several lies, revoked their POA, so the VA denied my reconsideration at DAVs insistance and immediately i was denied any increase and unemployability. I just this January 20, 2017 got to 70%, 50PTSD, and 30% for IHD with U.I. still denied. I had a pretty bad stroke 7 years ago, and have been disabled " etc etc When we see the TDIU denial ,and figure that out, then we can start with the Nehmer issues,if in fact they gave you the wrong EED for the IHD. You did Very well so far in spite of the DAV...this is something to always keep in mind Victor.....that...the successes we do manage to get, mean we did do something right, with those claims, and we aren't nuts...and many, like me, were discouraged by vets reps and lawyers, until I decided to say Piss on them,I will do it all by myself. VA wants us to get so angry and confused that we wont be able to fight back. Thanks for narrowing this down for now to the TDIU denial , that will definitely help us be able to help you.
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    If he puts his most recent denial and the evidence list here, maybe someone can determined what he should do. Personally I think congress people are useless for Claims issues. Two different vets , same thread......again....... too confusing
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    Start a thread just on the denials, do an outline of what's occurred. I *THINK* I'm reading STR's with complaint of tender prostrate, and denial flat out saying it doesn't exist. Please be as concise as possible. We all understand that they play BS, no need to include that- i'll do it for you ;).
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    Buck52, correct you are! I requested a DRO review almost 4 years ago, finally got one. Had all my records, information..ready to go, and Tuesday 2 weeks ago I finally got my hearing. I had a CUE and IU to be reviewed, and after 15 minutes or so of questions and answers, the review officer made his decision ON THE SPOT. He awarded me the CUE, which went all the way back to 1990, as well as Permanent TDIU going back to 2008! After doing much "homework", I learned to win with the VA, you need to: 1. Do all your own research. 2. Don't let the VA get anything for you, no records, no dates...nothing. Have everything you need when you go to fight for what you want. The Reviewing Officer was astounded at what I brought in. and commented after the recording stopped "This has been the fastest and easiest decision I've made in 25 years with the VA..." Attribute it to going to war, have all your "guns" and "ammo", ready to fight! Allan
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    MikeHunt, This is a fairly ''harsh'' statment don't you think? ''The DRO sits 20ft from the person who denied you, goes to lunch with them, commutes with them, maybe even sleeps with them.'' I think were all lucky to be able to make our own decision to choose the way we Appeal our claims & if were denied, then using the DRO Process and even the BVA is helpful no matter ever how long it takes. Without this due process for most of us our claims would never be.
  44. 2 likes
    The DRO sits 20ft from the person who denied you, goes to lunch with them, commutes with them, maybe even sleeps with them. They could have a scheme worked out so decisions are mutually beneficial- rater denies, DRO get all kinds of OT. Set no scenario too low for the VA. Good for you if it worked.
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    Anytime the phrase "Don't Do," is used, a Vet "Must Do" their own due diligence before making a Decision to DRO Review, DRO Hearing or get on the Long A$$ BVA Traditional Appeal Train Ride. DRO's take less time, Reviews less than 18 mos, Hearings up to 3 to 4 yrs. Just getting a BVA Docket number can take 4 to 5 yrs, then there are the Remands, no actual Guarantee of success at the BVA. Check out 2014, 15 and 16 BVA Decisions. A Vet can, for the most part, handle their own appeal at the DRO Level, keeping in mind the absolute need for the VA Mandatory New & Material Evidence being provided pre-Review or Hearing. A Vet deciding to go the BVA route would be wise to consult with a couple VA Attorneys. I think VA Attorney's have better success Stats than Vets using VSO Reps, but maybe not. Your Claim, Your Decision. Ignorance is said to be Bliss, the Bliss goes away with the Denial Letter. Semper Fi
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    Was this a mild or Severe TBI. Were you knock out for days, hours, or at all. Was there a LOD done in service I know back then they didn't have the same wordings as they did with mine having gone to Afghanistan. But the words concussion I have spent days and hours reviewing past appeals before my TBI was granted try going on the BVA.VA.GOV site snd clicking on past decisions on the right where it says resources this is where it get tricky. Ive spent hours looking for correct combinations of words strung together to find what I am looking for. Just start by putting in "TBI" in the exact phrase then spacebar "TDIU". Make sure to click all the years you should get Page 1 of 1559 results. Have fun reading finding evidence if needed to help with your claim like I did. .find these words : this exact word or phrase : any of these words : none of these words
  47. 2 likes
    Well, yes this sounds like a bad C and P exam. You should dispute it ASAP. Your examiner stated "no diagnosis". This is a deal breaker for your claim. But, dont be alarmed.. VA often hires docs that give c an p exams favorable to them. You just need something to refute it. You may already have it..with your current VA docs. Chris Attig has written about something called, "develop to deny". VA is not supposed to do this. If they have competent docs with a diagnosis, and a nexus, then they should not need a c and p exam. When they order one to try to deny you, that is "developing to deny". You may need an attorney involved. You can challenge the competency of the examiner. Does the examiner have experience and or training in treating MST? It the examiner has no experience/training in treating PTSD/MST, then you can ask that this exam is thrown out. Order your cfile, and read it. Did your docs diagnose and treat you for PTSD/MST? You dont need a half dozen diagnosis, one should suffice. Did your docs state, to the effect, that your (PTSD/MST) was "at least as likely as not" due to (event(s) that occured in service). With PTSD, you need to document a "stressor". (That means something happened triggering your PTSD..such as seing someone blown up, or something, like, for example, handling dead bodies) If you are claiming MST, you should have documentation of an "in service event". Hopefully you reported the event(s) and were treated in service.
  48. 2 likes
    Greetings all! I thank you all - in advance - for the wealth of information available on this site to help vets. I stumbled upon it while researching what to do, where to start, etc. on filing for an increase for my S/C rated disabilities. At this point, what I have is: a full copy of my service records, and I have filed a notice of intent this week with VA. I am going to chronologically organize & flag my service records this weekend so I can identify where these things are noted in them. This will be long, but I want to lay out as complete a starting picture as possible to help understand my situation in hopes of getting advice on how to proceed. I've been fortunate to have had good health insurance through my employer for years, and have used it for treatment as needed vs. the VA because of how cumbersome getting to & through the VA system can be. In the last two years, my insurance is now an HDHP, which means until I pay out of pocket $3500, insurance doesn't kick in, so I need to start utilizing the VA for these issues because I cannot afford to pay for the injections, films, treatment, etc. anymore. The neck, shoulder and low back issues stemmed from a combination of a fall I took during a training exercise carrying way more gear on my back than I should have; a fall during a squadron event; and, a motor vehicle accident. What I feel may complicate things is that I have also been in a few car accidents since being S/C rated; none were my fault; I'm sadly just a crash magnet for inattentive drivers. The last one caused a minor rotator cuff tear in my left shoulder, further aggravated my cervical spine pain (to include shooting pain down my arms and fingers) and lumbar area & SI joints (to include severe shooting pain down both legs to the ankles). Following each accident, I've gone through ortho treatment, MRIs/x-rays, PT, injections in the SI joints and left shoulder, etc. And in 'settling' each accident, the insurance companies cite my 'pre-existing conditions' as reasons for low settlements. I had a bad flare-up of both the neck & low back problems earlier this week with the shooting pain down arms & legs, and went to the Durham, NC VA hospital ER because I'm not assigned a VA PCM yet (that appt is next week). The ER did x-rays which - according to the ER doc - showed: loss of disc space and degenerative changes in cervical & lumbar spine and SI joints and my cervical spine is too straight vs. curved - all of which is resulting in the nerves from cervical & lumbar areas being pinched causing my shoulders/arms/fingers to go numb, as well as the shooting pain down my legs. She also noted arthritis in my spine, but I didn't catch the specific locations. Her discharge diagnosis reads: neck/back pain; degenerative disc disease. I was prescribed cyclobenzaprine, prednisone, 800mg iburprofen, and hydrocodone/acet. What I currently have S/C per eBenefits (all from 2000, retroactive to end of service in 1998, except the lumbosacral strain which was increased in 2005 from 10%) Lumbosacral strain to include coccyx condition (previously claimed as coccyx fracture)(VCAA) 20% Service Connected Refractive error (claimed as astigmatism) Not Service Connected Degenerative joint disease and rheumatoid arthritis, secondary to a coccyx fracture -Not Service Connected Bursitis, right shoulder 0% Service Connected Bursitis, left shoulder 10% Service Connected Allergic rhinitis 0% Service Connected Cervical strain 0% Service Connected Tinnitus 10% Service Connected What has arisen/increased in severity (why I'm seeking an increase/file new claim/s): Sacroiliac joint pain - I know I verbalized this repeatedly in my C&P exams, but not sure it was factored into or as part of the lumbosacral strain rating or not, but this pain is noted in my service records with the word "sciatica", and it is excruciating. I remember describing it to the C&P examiner as someone smashing my tailbone area with a baseball bat. If you have this, you understand. I get injections about every other year for them, and take 500 mg naproxen to ease flare-ups in between injections. Shooting pain (sciatica, radiculopathy ... I've been told both and not sure what the difference is) in both legs to my feet and arms to include my fingers. Anxiety - I believe this is secondary to my injuries. I barely drive because I have panic attacks as a result of the pain I'm in and the fear of yet another potential accident worsening my injuries. I had a panic attack in my ortho's office when he suggested I might need surgery on my shoulder. I cannot sit in the dentist's chair without Xanax because the sounds and feeling have me clenching my jaw and fists (never had this problem before the injuries). I saw a psychologist after my last accident about the panic attacks, and my private PCM put me on anxiety meds, but I don't attend regular counseling, as there isn't much we can do except understand the triggers, perform exercises when they come on, and take my meds when it happens. Consequently, I work full time from home, barely drive anywhere, and take Xanax whenever I go to the doctor for anything other than a routine exam. Hearing - I was rated for tinnitus; however, I believe I mentioned to C&P examiner that I also had (at that time) some hearing loss/challenges. This has - over time - gotten far worse. I cannot differentiate conversations from background noises (e.g., music, tv, etc.), and I strain to hear people who speak in normal tones. I also experience a severe 'crackling' sound in my left ear if there is any loud noise (e.g., firetruck passing, in church if sitting too close to speakers, music being played too loudly - for me). The cause for the tinnitus (and I suspect the hearing loss) was from escorting media on the flightline during deployments as well as through other high-noise areas on base where - because of the need for interaction with the media and those they interviewed (make sure they weren't saying things they shouldn't) - it wasn't conducive to wear any sort of hearing protection. Questions I have to get started: 1) What is the most effective way to request my C&P exam documents and any films/x-rays/to see how earlier decisions were reached and what they considered for each S/C disability? I was initially evaluated at the VA in Wilmington, DE, and the low back strain (originally 10%) was increased in Winston Salem, NC. 2) How (if at all) does my having been in the car accidents (since being rated) impact my claim for increased pain/problems/aggravation of these injuries? Will the VA say 'too bad, not our fault', or are they considered aggravations/worsening of conditions and therefore 'rate-able' or able to be considered for increase? 3) Would the shooting pain in my arms & legs due to the pinched nerves be separate claims from the cervical and lumbosacral strains, or would those items include these items? I keep reading about 'secondary' ailments, but I'm not clear on what that means in regards to the VA process. 4) I used to have a DAV rep helping with my claim, and they still have a POA on record with VA. Is it better to keep working through/with them, or can/should I go it alone? I'm sure I'll have more questions but for now, hopefully that is enough to get started. And please, feel free to ask any questions to clarify anything I noted and/or make any suggestions/recommendations/etc. It's been so long since I went through this all that I don't know where to start, where to go, what to do, etc. Thanks again!
  49. 2 likes
    Thanks, Buck. I can't remember the details that long ago, I'd have to go through my file cabinets (two) of VA paperwork to figure out if that was the reason. However, when the RO doesn't act for a couple of years on a claim, then that claim gets bounced between the RO and the BVA four or five times, then the BVA gets the AMC involved, you can easily see where the time goes. I already have two writ petitions under my belt and told Gen. Hickey that I was considering another one. She had someone email me today to tell me someone from the Board Director's office would contact me by next Friday. Maybe a writ won't be necessary. I'm crossing my fingers because just from looking at the docket number, it's an embarrassment to them that it's as old as it is and has never even been to the CAVC, to boot. The docket number speaks volumes on its own merit without my having to say much of anything else.
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    The Regional Office cannot physically send the claims file to BVA until all pending NODs and all pending claims have been decided. There can be no appeal issues pending before the Regional Office at the time the claims file is sent to BVA; otherwise, BVA will issue a Remand instructing the Regional Office to issue an SOC on any pending appeals. Additionally, if the veteran has requested a BVA travel board hearing or BVA Video conference hearing, the claims file remains physically at the Regional Office until the BVA hearing can be scheduled. In the past, if any additional evidence was submitted which related to the issues under appeal, then the Regional Office had to review the additional evidence, and if the appeal continued, it had to issue a Supplemental Statement of the Case (SSOC) explaining why the additional evidence did not change the prior decision and give the Veteran 30 days to reply. If yet more evidence was received, another SSOC was issued with another 30 day reply period. There was no limit to the number of SSOCs which could be issued. The appeal could not be certified to BVA until all of evidence in the claims file had been considered at the Regional Office level. If an appeal was certified to BVA and additional evidence was subsequently received, the Regional Office had to either obtain a waiver of jurisdiction from the Veteran or his Representative, or the appeal had to be removed from certified status and another SSOC issued. Following the 30 day reply period, if no additional evidence was added to the claims file, the appeal could be re-certified to BVA. This is the stage where many delays occurred because many Veterans have multiple appeals pending in various stages of the appeals process. Additionally, they will also have new claims pending in various stages of initial development. Therefore, every time additional evidence was added to the claims file, the Regional Office Appeals Team had to review all of the appeals to determine if an SSOC was necessary. If so, then any appeals already certified to BVA had to be removed from certified status, and the process continued to repeat itself until such time that all evidence in the claims file had been considered in a decision at the Regional Office level. It was only then that we could physically transfer the file to BVA jurisdiction. Effective February 2, 2013, Section 501 (Automatic waiver of agency of original jurisdiction review of new evidence) of Public Law 112-154 took effect. This change in law established an automatic waiver of Regional Office (agency of original jurisdiction) review of evidence received after receipt of the substantive appeal. The evidence is subject to initial review by BVA unless the appellant specifically requests, in writing, initial review by the Regional Office. ..............Buck