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  1. 4 likes
    My Successful VA Claims Story Thanks to all on this site who have shared information, web site links, successes, failures, delays, processes, procedures, and advice. Your advice helped my complete my claim on-line with zero issues. I didn’t post or comment on any threads while I was in the process, but waited till all was done; now I have time to comment and return the favor and answer any questions. At the time of my retirement in 2001 after 20 years of service, filling a claim was the farthest thing from my mind. Sure I had aches, pains and scars but I was 39, didn’t feel disabled and honestly didn’t want anything to delay me from getting out on time and honestly felt there were more deserving of compensation. It took me several years to understand I did have injuries that affected me and I should file a claim. I was also going thru a divorce, custody battle, relocating from overseas, looking for a house and a job to pay for it all at the same time. Luckily I was successful on all accounts. Fast forward to 2015 I finally decided to start my claim after close to 15 years. After reading numerous postings and threads on this site and reading the length of time people have waited and hearing the horror stories associated with so many claims, I decided that while there are some very knowledgeable, dedicated and helpful people and agencies out there to help with claims that no one probably cared about my claim as much as I did. I went to work learning the process and reading the CFR cover to cover and read it again and read it again (did I mention I read it again). Obtained my records, civilian and military and made a list of each condition no matter how small that I believed I had solid enough documentation on. I then got busy making medical appointments for each the conditions I claimed. I did these one at a time to ensure everything was correct before moving on to the next. After each Dr. Visit I scheduled another appointment with the sole purpose of having the Dr. Complete VSARD. (This process took me approx. 8 months) After submitting claim on e-benefits I started preparing for my C&P Exam. Simply made an outline for each item I wanted to address and had copies of everything I submitted (which I was glad I brought with me, three items had not been uploaded to my file). The C&P exam was painless and professional the Dr. simply asked questions on each issue and did the exam to confirm what had previously been submitted. My appointment lasted 3.5 hours. I recommend you be patient and quiet while the Dr. reads your C-File and types notes for each condition and completes a VSARD for each. Don’t distract them let them work. I know I make errors typing if someone is talking at the same time and my claim was too important to have something missed by me talking and asking questions while they are typing their medical opinion. They take the issues one at a time and complete each before moving onto the next. You will be afforded a time at the end for questions, take notes of questions that pop into your head and save them to the end of your appointment. My Dr. was very thorough and took her time for each issue. Honestly I was blown away by the way I was treated at the Houston, VA after some of the horror stories I have read about C&P exams. I simply followed advice I came across from those that were successful with their claims and treated the C&P Exam like a business meeting. After the Doctor introduced herself the conversation basically went like this. I simply said...”Thank you for making time to speak with me today, Have you been given time to review my file for the following conditions”? Gave her a list of my claimed conditions (I listed all 10 on one piece of paper). She said all but these three. I then showed her the screen shot where they had been submitted and gave her paper copies which she appreciated. (Later in the exam she was able to retrieve them from the system as it was uploading slowly that day) At the end she asked what questions if any I had, I had two or three that I wrote down for clarification which she answered. I simply thanked her for her time and left the appointment. Recommend getting an account on the VA Blue Button, my exam notes were online in two days and after reading the Doctors notes I knew my claim would be just fine. My time line is below. Dec 1 2016 Claim submitted Dec 4 2016 Under Review/Gathering of Evidence Jan 25 2017 C&P Exam Mar 08 2017 Initial Review Complete/Preparation for Decision March 20 2017 Moved back to Gathering Evidence March 27 2017 Moved to Pending Decision Approval March 28 2017 Preparation for Notification March 28 2017 Complete awarded 90% Thanks again to all those that posted info and advice! Best wishes....OSC (SW) Retired
  2. 4 likes
    Here's how this works. When you acquiesce to free medical at VAMCs, you create a record at VHA. When you file for compensation and submit your civilian medical records, you create a record at VBA. You create one composite .PDF file now which is referred to as the claims file. A VBA Examiner looking at your claim for PTSD, or, in this case, a VBA Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) deciding a Chapter 31 entitlement, make a determination as to whether you can be trained "vocationally" or whether you are considered incapable of employment or that vocational training for you might be "unproductive" and your potential for future employment success highly doubtful. At that point, they declare you infeasible for employment and you are then eligible for the other side of the benefits-i.e. Independent Living Program under 38 USC 3120 and 38 CFR 21.160, 21.162. Or you can file a NOD and appeal this. Many here, including me, find it useful to "force VA's hand" into saying you are not trainable which, by admission means you should be on TDIU at 100%. Repair order? Get denial from VR&E. File for 4.16 IU based on VR&E assessment. As for HIPPA, that isn't for application. When you enter a govt. system like VA, all your records, both medical and compensation, are free game for VA to use to award/deny entitlements. VR&E is part of the VBA and has equal access to Virtual VA, VBMS, VACOLS and C/winnrs computer systems. That includes the VHA's VistA computer as well. To get a copy of your c-file, send in a VA 3288 and request one. To get a copy of all your VHA medrecs, go to a VAMC ROI office and ask them to print it up for you. Anything before 1995 is archived in microfiche and will have to mailed.
  3. 4 likes
    Yes I understand Mr. Flores. I fully understand the financial restrictions of most of us Veterans. I was there at one time. However, believe it or not this thread is the most important thread in all of this Discussion Board because an IMO is the Gold Standard to getting an Appeal Approved. A lot of Veterans want to get into a campaign speech knock out drag out my day in court back and forth with the V.A. and fail to realize their subjectivity does very little to win a case. At the appeal level it is simply a matter of Law and Facts which give a Nexus to your current disability. So paying a little money to get an IMO just about guarantees a favorable decision if you get a favorable IMO.
  4. 4 likes
    When you hit the 100% P&T wall, VR&E is hesitant about expending any monies towards a Voc Rehab program into any field. I presume your rating is a true 100% schedular rating as opposed to a TDIU equivalent. VA tends to insert you into the Independent Living Program and try to pawn off cordless phones, grab bars near toilets and showers, can grabbers, sock puller uppers and the like to facilitate Independence. I asked for a computer and all the peripherals in 2011 and had to fight to get it on an administrative review back to DC. I had a great reason-asknod.org. It worked. You could also say you wish to be in communication with the Veterans Community at large and the computer will facilitate that. You do not need a true "vocational" use for a computer. I also asked for a greenhouse and finally won that on appeal to the BVA after four years. With a 100% P&T, VA is going to be deaf to a new rehab retraining program as there is much competition for the $. On the other hand, the ILP program only has 2,700 slots per year with a max expenditure of $180,000.00 per Vet over the 3-year life span of an ILP rehab. plan. My greenhouse ate most of that up. Go in and file. See if they show you the door on a standard job rehab grant. If so, demand the ILP and sharpen up your pencil. How about a woodworking shop with all the saws, sanders and planers? Make wood crafts and sell them at street fairs. Read up on 38 CFR 21.16o and .162, 38 USC 3120 and 3104. I've written about one hundred blogs on the ILP subject and published all my NODs, VA 9s etc. to give Vets a feel for the path to a win. The trick is simple. Refuse to lose. Best of luck. https://asknod.wordpress.com/category/independent-living-program/
  5. 3 likes
    What is the disability you need the IMO for? It is best to try to find an IMO doc with expertise in the field of the specific disability. Can they do the IMO without examining you? - otherwise you would need an IME, and they need to follow our IMO/IME criteria here at hadit and have all available records. A reminder to all, this came up recently again. The VA will NOT accept any IMO/IME diagnosis of PTSD from a non VA MH professional if the claim was filed after July 2010.
  6. 3 likes
    Agent Orange: You are overthinking this. While I certainly agree that VA does not always act in our best interests, it is POSSIBLE that it indeed happened THIS TIME. Until you find out better, you need to accept that the VA is asking for "additional information" to get a higher rating, that the C and P exam was inadequate. Indeed, if you think the VA "developed to deny" your claim, that is, asked for more information when it already had enough to give you a good rating, then you can challenge that. But you cant challenge VA in what you think they will do. Let it play out, and see if you get a bad result, first. You may be suprised.
  7. 3 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!
  8. 3 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.
  9. 3 likes
    Don't get stressed, being in a VA Voc Rehab program won't affect your IU Status or Comp. When you finally get your Award Letter, the VA tells you your eligible for Voc Rehab, so stay in it and try to find something you might enjoy. Keep in mind, IU itself is never actually Permanent, unless you hold the Rating for 20 Yrs. Each yr (within 60 days of your IU Anniversay Date) your required to file a VA Earned Income Verification Form. If you have 12 consecutive months of above (SGI $12,400 under 65) income, you could find yourself up for an IU Reduction Review. Think about it, completing a couple yr VA Voc Rehab Program, then finding a job and working (12 Consecutive) months, we're talking 3 - 5 years down range. Just completing the Voc Rehab Program itself, is not grounds for losing your IU. It's all about the (12) Months of "Uninterrupted Earned Income," reported on your Mandatory Yearly Earned Income Filing, triggering the possible IU Reduction Review. Semper Fi
  10. 3 likes
    WHERE ARE THEY: Arizona NAME: Dr. Anaise WHAT IS THEIR SPECIALTY (or what you were seen for): General Med, Transplant, Practicing VA Attorney as well. COST: $1,500 CONTACT: http://www.danaise.com/ id they review your entire file - YES Did they provide a well written DBQ/IMO/IME? -YES Were they familiar with VA Claims (38 cfr, M21, etc) ? YES - exceptionally so as a VA lawyer. Would you classify them as "Vet Friendly" -- YES Would you recommend them to other veterans? -- YES Comments: (Be Brief) Provided me IMO for Sleep Apnea secondary to diabetes, asthma, and pain left ankle. Opined increase of left ankle to 30%. Very detailed, strong resume 5 patents, 100 published articles, board certified. Also a VA attorney. Definitely understand VA and how to write a letter. 2-3 week turn around.
  11. 3 likes
    Nope...can't persuade me that it's a savings in any way, shape or form. Been waiting on a LARGE retro check from the VA since October 2012...other vets have waited longer than I. If we owe somebody $$ in today's society and take that long to make restitution, we'd be looking at a lawsuit or worse. Same ole' story, but I do like your positive attitude. Trouble is, most vets don't have the luxury to sit back & wait on a big fat VA check while creditors continue to knock at our door demanding THEIR money...just sayin'. LC
  12. 2 likes
    Here is a link to the mandate in M21-1MR: I sent them that M21-1MR printout as well as the VBM (NVLSP) page that explains the statutory mandate.
  13. 2 likes
    Andy, if your other conditions have already been MD/DO DX'd, A NEW PTSD SC Awards effective Date would have to substantially predate the conditions in questions actual dates of DX. To the best of my recollection, I don't recall ever seeing a "Reversed Nexus" Award. Semper Fi
  14. 2 likes
    Good news today , I received my 100%. I would like to thank every Veteran on this site and other ones that help me along this path. No VSO or Lawyer help. Just Veteran helping Veteran.
  15. 2 likes
    "How long" questions are best answered with a coin toss..since VA will take "exactly" how long they want, and not one second earlier. Or, you can try reading tea leaves. Seriously, the VA world's "claimant friendly" system means that VA can take as long as they want, but Veterans must adhere to a strict deadline policy. (Try appealing your claim after 1 year and one second later and see what happens.) It took VA 8 years to decide my claim, and its been in appeals another 7 years. Mine is not, by far, the longest. However, some Vets get their claim decided in as little as 6 months. Its a crap shoot to know where yours will fall in that range. There are some things you can do, however, to make sure yours is not one of the many which gets "stuck" in some sort of glitch: 1. Send an IRIS email asking if there is any additional information needed from YOU, that your claim is many years old and has apparently been escalated. 2. Call once a week and inquire the status. You will get a different person (likely) each week and one of them may care enough to actually ask why its been delayed 9 years. 3. Keep the pressure on, by not forgetting about it. The VA can just simply misplace your file..sometimes for years..and just forget about it. 4. Email the VASEC, and Trump, too.
  16. 2 likes
    Not all VA attys. opt in to this system. I was going to until I saw the mountain of paperwork and the annual recertification. It requires a separate computer at home that isn't used like we do normally. You have to attend a "security school" at the VARO to do this. You have to go through annual recertification as well. It is time consuming and a lot of work to keep up to be legal. Smaller attorneys/agents opt out of it like me. If I want it, I send in a 3288 to the RMC via Janesville. I get them in about six weeks. To be anally correct, there are two different systems- VBMS and Virtual VA. All you get is access to read-only VBMS of your c-file in real time. And for the record, the only representative that will lie to you is a VSO representative. We, as private attys/agents are officers of the court and required to serve only the Vet. We cannot accept any offer or settlement from a DRO without running it by the Vet. Period. Look at 38 CFR 14.628-.634. VA will tell you there is no such thing as off-the-record bartering. I've done it several times. Appeal for 10 things and then accept a deal for 4 and give up on the tinnitus, hemmorrhoids and flat feet in a trade for TDIU to 2008. VA raters get points for wrapping this crap up that drags on for a long time-especially appeals. VSOs settle for 0%. With greedy attorneys or agents like me, they assign a Asst. VSCM or asst. RO director to you who mainlines your requests. I filed POA March 20th for a Vietnam Vet for 100% rating for his heart on IHD. I got a call from the Vet Eval folks this AM at 9. They are expediting his C&P exam to next week. The squeaky wheel gets the fix pronto. The more obnoxious I get, the more they treat me nicely. Off to Texas for NOVA conference.
  17. 2 likes
    Those conflicting feelings are quite Normal when a vet succeeds on their claim but realizes their working days are over. I am sorry I missed the CUE stuff here....because the last CUE I filed took one month to jump from denial to award but the sole reconsideration request I had took YEARS to finally be granted. That was due to 2 CUE claims as well. You did VERY WELL!!!! and unpaid volunteer work can be as satisfying as working for cash. We always need help here with vets whose success can inspire others. I guess you spoke to a VSO who put in the CUE claim? There is some discussion here that a CUE cannot be filed within the appeal period but 2 members here as well as myself have been successful with that tactic and I am glad to see someone else (the girl at VSO office) used it. I need to follow up a letter I wrote to the new VA secretary. One part of it was a request that he could issue a Fast Letter on the CUE approach, if feasible, and filed within the appeal period. It could help reduce the backlog. This is Wonderful News Corpsman!
  18. 2 likes
    B-56, SA Secondary to PTSD is a very tough sell to the Raters. Who DX'd your SA (VMC or Private Sleep Specialist)? How many of the SA's list of 12 or so usual suspects do you have? Male, BMI 30+, neck 17.5+in to name a few? Review both the PTSD & SA DBQ, you'll see the PTSD DBQ asks about Sleep Problems, the SA doesn't discuss MH issues including a PTSD DX. The Australian Study you reference addresses a "Significant Predictor of PTSD" in all Vets with a "History of an OSA DX" or being determined to be in the "High-Risk Category for OSA on the Berlin Questionnaire." I doubt you've been able to get a VMC MH (Psychiatrist/Psychologist PhD) or Sleep Neurologist to give you a medical Nexus linking your SA DX to your PTSD. You'll have a better luck with a Private MD, preferably an MD Board Certified Neurologist with additional SA Board Certifications. You don't actually need him to complete a DBQ, his Clinician Treatment Notes are sufficient for VA Rating purposes. Ther are actually (3) types of SA (OSA "Fat Neck - Big Tonge"), (CSA "Central, C02 retention Brain Problem") & (MSA (Combination OSA & CSA). Review the BVA Decisions for 15, 16 & 17. I don't recall any SA Secondary to PTSD reversals, could be wrong, check it out. Semper Fi
  19. 2 likes
    I lost all respect for Shenseki when he made me wear the beret. It was and is for the elite Soldiers, not for everyone. Part of the everyone gets a trophy gang. Anyway, Hamslice
  20. 2 likes
    Never seen a 21-674c. As Ham, Flores and Seminoles said, you can get paid aft 18yo still in HS and during Summer break- You will need to file a 674b if you also put a future school on the form- after the term actually starts. This is absolutely the worst form the VA has-- Must be signed by claimant, not student - must have a date in expected date of graduation Must have addresses in all three address boxes- even if its obvious Tenses on different terms are super confusing
  21. 2 likes
    If you have the sh*t in the can, no. You can always submit on your own, and if you do it via Ebenefits you can upload your documentation directly to them and its timestamped, too. VSOs are great in some instances but much of the time with a well developed claim they don't do anything you can do on your own, faster. If it gets thorny they can sometimes recommend how to get better documentation or explain the regs to you but between forums and the regs posted openly for reading most people will get along just fine.
  22. 2 likes
    Your past posts indicate this is a Section 1151 issue and you got replies, from me and from others. I have become burned out by a few fairly recent recent 1151 issues here because I give replies based on VA case law and my own experience with malpractice issues, yet my advice often goes no where aqnd others who replied to you probably feel the same way...... In February you asked and I replied thus: You asked: "Would a face-to-face hearing be more relaxed...informal? Better vibes? Better body language? Feel the passion...so, the judge would be compassionate for my dilemna? etc? " I replied:'The regulations do not account for vibes, passion, etc etc etc The only thing that awards claims is EVIDENCE. I agree with those above that you need a lawyer.' http://community.hadit.com/topic/69125-bva-hearing/ Here AGAIN is the criteria for successful 115/FTCA issues: There are 2 main ingredients to proving a Section 1151, 38 USC claim. This goes for veteran’s with what they fully believe are 1151 issues as well as survivors of veteran who feel the VA caused or contributed to their spouse’s death. 1.Documented medical proof of a ratable disability or death directly due to VA malpractice. 2.Documented medical proof of the malpractice/negligence that caused the additional disability or death. If anyone ,with what they feel is a basis for a valid 1151 claim, does not attempt to get a strong IMO/IME, then they will be part of the 98%-99% of 1151 claimants who will be denied. ANy claimant with a strong IMO/IMo regarding VA malpractice with a full medical rationale ,citing the negligence from the medical raerods and medical rationale as to why this negligence/malpractice caused an additional ratable disability or death, will not have a problem getting a lawyer to represent them. You asked:"Have an in-person BVA Hearing, Washington, next week. I'm going without representation. Looking for words-of-wisdom as to the general feeling of the conduct of the Hearing, etc. Is there an appropriate dress code? Are there certain things I shouldn't do...should do? Over-all what is the general tone of the Hearing? Formal? Informal? What is the general competance level of a Veterans Law Judge? Any other advice will be greater appreciated. Thank you." A veteran's law judge cares about only one thing.....EVIDENCE! If you still do not have significant medical evidence (from a real doctor with expertise in the basis of the claim) linking your claimed 1151 disability to a VA medical error,by time of this hearing, you will be denied.
  23. 2 likes
    Thanks for all the help Buck! Just posted my success story and plan on sticking around to assist others. Great site!
  24. 2 likes
    Here is what I recommend: Take the pressure OFF yourself. While I can understand you need money, and you need it now, and can relate. I lost my home waiting on VA to do my claim. (I applied in 2002, but did not get any benefits until 2005.) If I had it to do over again: 1. Dont count on VA money arriving in a reasonable time. 2. Get your self a hobby..fishing, walking, play chess, or write stories to tell your grandchildren. Anything "not" VA claim related. 3. Once per week, spend one hour on your claim. (you can do this once a day, if you like, also) Make you a list of "what to do" for the next 8 weeks. For example: a. Week one. Call the VARO, and ask. b. Week Two. Call your VSO and inquire. c. Week 3 Call your VA omnibudsman. d. Week 4. Send IRIS email....... ....Week 7 email VASEC Week 8 email Donald Trump. When you have an "action plan" and are working it, its confidence building. Also, "follow up". For example: If you sent an email to IRIS on week 2, then send another on Week 6, explaining you have not heard from them in 4 weeks, and ask why.
  25. 2 likes
    It is not unusual for the VA to make mistakes like this. It's probably a case of someone failing to read or document things correctly. One of my initial C&P's totally contradicted itself in a similar manner. One sentence said, "no painful motion". But the next said, "pain starts when motion begins". And keep in mind that initial claims and exams don't always get it right. That's why I always recommend everyone carefully read relevant medical records, C&P exams, and the award/denial letter from the VA. You can identify any goofs and make the VA aware so they can correct them.
  26. 2 likes
    If I could hand out some sort of award for understanding the nature of the beast in your comment, I would. They deal with it all the time I bet, and we're kind of naive to that perspective. I have terrible trust and paranoia issues. This causes said mountains. I'm only lucky that the doc (who has been my therapist for well over a year) is clearly aware of this phenomenon.
  27. 2 likes
    If some veteran don't have PTSD they will have it after dealing with the VA few years!
  28. 2 likes
    Hey Commodog, I hope this information helps you out. I have been going to the VA for more than 20 years and my wife is a surgical RN who did her residency at my VAMC (now she realizes I was not bullshitting her about all the stories about VA red tape). Most important - focus on this first: Regarding your medications, you do not want to run out. Double-check to see if the scripts you need have been renewed. If not, the first thing I would do is try to get an appointment before you run out. You can also go to the clinic as a walk-in, but it might cost you an entire day. You might be put with a Nurse Practitioner or another doc instead, but you need your meds renewed. Please keep in mind that some meds are worse than others when you run out. Don't give your doc the only copy of your documentation and don't assume it will make it to the records office either. I submitted some medical release medical records authorization forms and learned later that they got lost in the mail. I went directly to my VAMC's Release of Information Office and signed new copies. They did let me know it would take them a little bit to get it scanned into the system. Many docs have assistants, nurses, or students/residents who are designated to read/respond to secure messaging. My VA primary care doc never responds to my messages, but her RN does. At my VAMC, I have had horrible docs, nincompoop docs, scatterbrained docs, overworked docs, unorganized docs, and even some great docs. Please realize this doc is offering to do something nice for you. Having a doc offer to write a statement on your behalf is very reassuring, but for something like this I would not rock the boat just yet. It might be worth it to go through your progress notes to see if your doc wrote your recommendation in an addendum or documented. If you were asking her to fill out a DBQ, that might take a bit of extra time because it is a very field heavy document. Good luck!
  29. 2 likes
    Just list them all and claim primary for all of them that come to light during active duty or the first year post discharge. Since you retired you should claim everything, if you sneezed claim it. If you twisted an ankle 18 years ago, claim it. Things get rated 0 because they dont cause pain yet, and everything that happened during active duty should be primary service connection. Go to the VAMC, get them to put every ache and pain in the medical record because the minimum rating you can get with pain on movement is 10%. When they send you for a C&P, if you didnt document a condition, claim it and amend your claim later. The key is just get it on paper. Make a note at the end stating that if any of these are not considered primary, that they should be considered secondary to any of the other conditions that are found to be primary. That way you dont give them an out because you make an additional inferred claim. An "inferred" claim is one not specifically identified by a claimant, but supported by the evidence. The real key is that if it is documented w/in 1 year of discharge, and you claim it they should give it to you. The part where you spent 20 years and retired means that they have to give you what you can document. After that 1st year is gone, its much more difficult because then you have the burden of proof of SC to jump through. Right now, before the 1 year expires, you have an open door and should throw in everything, including the kitchen sink, even if it only results in a 0% compensation because in 15 years, that could change.
  30. 2 likes
    allansc2005: I too am single and with the legal advice I got, from an attorney on VA Watchdog- I decided to stop "fighting" as broncovet eloquently put it. I have my Navy Retirement & my other pension, along with the VA & SSDi - I am finally focusing on ME , my physical & mental health. Life Balance. :)
  31. 2 likes
    That wording sounds unusual, but there could be a reason for it. Please bear in mind that I am not an expert on heart ratings. In some cases, the RO will indicate a rating is "temporary because you are expected to improve". This often happens in cases where surgery may have been performed and they assume after healing the original problem might have got better. But sometimes there may be other reasons. I was subject to the "temporary" rating due to an asthma rating increase. They included that statement in my award letter. After so long, they brought me back and reduced my rating. It was in error because they ignored evidence, but I got it reversed on appeal and the DRO did me right. However, from what I have heard, in order to reduce a rating, there would have to be proof of sustained improvement. Hence, they would not be able to reduce simply based on one instance or one test. If that note in his records is dated after the dated CFR 3.304(c) and the Mariano decision, then they should apply. But if this happened prior, then you would need to look up the existence of previous versions of CFR 3.304(c) to see if it still said the same thing or you would need to look up similar previous preceding precedent opinions. I'm not sure if this helps, but I hope it does.
  32. 2 likes
    Haven't been on much but I wanted to write this, for Andy, and for anyone else for that matter, don't throw in the towel. Things get rough and seem hopeless but don't give in, even if loved ones are the ones that are telling you to do so. You will never get rid of that guilt and wonder, " what if I didn't give in, wonder what...." It's a killer man, no joke, it will eat at your brain for the rest of your days. I, myself, wonder about the would have, could have, should have and to be honest, I should have endured because I was right and just and especially when I had the evidence to support my contentions. Don't get me wrong if you need to compromise with the mrs then do so, just make sure it is for right reasons and for the best. Long term best that is. JMO
  33. 2 likes
    What's the date of the BVA Award? Looks like your getting an IU Award, so what's the problem? Who repped you at the BVA? What does your Rep have to say? You indicate that your 40% SC, what SC's are you working with? It would help my old eyes if you would "Double Space" after every 5 or so sentences, thanks. Semper Fi
  34. 2 likes
    I filed my NOD on November 6 2015, ebenefits updated with my new rating yesterday and the actual rating decision was made on January 20, last month, out of Winston Salem Regional. Don't hesitate to go to the RO or send an Iris Inquiry to check the status as well, Good luck.
  35. 2 likes
    I dont think they ever will John.But you never know so best to file. Hypertension is the most common form of stroke and can be secondary to hypertensive heart disease. VA loves to say in med recs, ' the veteran's HBP is " essential" meaning no known cause.( VA BS, it always has a cause) But a strong IMO can SC it to AO IHD as secondary with evidence of hypertensive heart disease and even the med recs themselves might support the HBP to IHD without an IMO. I was checking something I posted here--- 1151 HBP, under CUE They denied on March 4, 2015, I CUed them and they awarded on April 2, 2015 stating they re-opened a previous claim on March 27,2015,but it was my March 27, 2015 CUE claim via IRIS and email to the Director (they only listed that email as evidence) that prompted the award and VA even referenced the reg I cued them on, 38 CFR 4.6. My husband had AO IHD awarded in 2012 (Nehmer) but I realized when I read this HBP award yesterday that they stated the veteran had "hypertensive vascular disease." VA had never stated that before. I guess maybe all ischemic heart disease is in fact hypertensive heart disease....our cardio Guru here, John Basser would know.(jbasser) This was a 1151 medical error HBP award that was part of my FTCA case and then part of the 1998 decision I cued.It was the fourth or 5th CUE in that decision. My long point to you is that with some medical excerpts from a good medical site that show IHD causes Hypertensive vascular disease ,and specifically HBP, you may not even need an IMO at all.And the term 'hypertensive heart disease' might even be stated in your med recs. I would sure file the claim.
  36. 2 likes
    Are you using the VA IL (Independent Living Program) administered by the VA Vocational Rehabilitation Dept? If so, what does your IL Counselor have to say? Give some thought to contacting your City's Animal Control Dept about the neighbor's dog. Seems like just about all VA Benefit Programs, take an inordinate amount of time. In the end, we have to remember, this is the Federal Govt that we're dealing with. Good Luck Semper Fi
  37. 2 likes
    Well something similar happen to me when I had my annual VA doctor visit. He asked me if I ever had steroid shots for my arthritis and I said no. When I read his notes it said I refused to get steroid shots! I didn't know how to correct this. It's just amazing how they reword what you say to hurt your claim.
  38. 2 likes
    Personal satisfaction - doesn't figure anywhere in regards to receiving veteran's disability benefits. It does not matter whether you loath working or enjoy working - it matters if you are ABLE to work or not, due solely to service connected medical issues. There are no specific "buzz words" I can refer you to. jmho
  39. 2 likes
    I find it kind of humorous that the VA would consider that a Veteran "bombards" them with multiple issues when they file a claim. Considering that many mlitary members separate, or at least used to, without any real counseling regarding existing conditions, and what options are avalable to them. And unless things have changed, there isn't any friendly separation briefing about filing claims within a certain amount of time, what benefits a Veteran is eligible for if they do file a claim prior to separation or immediately afterward. I know that it's been a long time since I separated back in 1994, and that the Internet has helped all of us tremendously. (I would not have had a clue about what benefits were out there if it weren't for the Internet to be honest.) However, if an individual(s) is paid to do a job, and if they are taking tax payers money to do their job, for which they receive monetary compensation themselves, then they are public servants, and any attitude that a Veteran is a burden, or that their claim is a burden, simply because they filed a claim with multiple conditions is completely negligent. What a lot of the civilians working in the VA, along with many others, fail to recognize is that our military is an all-volunteer force, and that all of these military members and veterans volunteered and gave years of their lives to serve their country to protect those same people that feel a little irritated and overwhelmed at having to review a multi-condition compensation claim. And as for the non-volunteer veterans that were drafted, I hope that these poor overworked, overburdened office workers sitting in their air conditioned offices, playing Angry Birds or checking their Facebbok status remember that the draftees were taken from their normal everyday lives, trained and sent off to war to protect them, their parents and their grandparents, and then returned later (if they were lucky enough to survive) back to their hometowns with illnesses, conditions and other conditions that would not manifest for years, even decades later. And keep in mind that in those days, and to a lesser extent now, it was not considered popular to be disabled or to "ask" the government for assistance, even medical, for fear of the stigma of being labeled as getting government assistance. I know I personally was in turmoil over filing for quite some time before I actually sat down to start climbing the mountain of paperwork that the VA "bombards" uninformed Veterans with. (And before anybody takes it the wrong way, yes......the VA makes us "ask" them for assistance, and then prove exponentially why we need it. You can be healthy, never served a day of mlitary service in your life, and get tens of thousands of dollars of government assistance annually, including 100 percent medical/dental care, free tuition to higher education, and nobody bats an eye, and they call that an "entitlement".) We have to file for and justify ourselves each step of the way, and quite often multiple times for a single condition. I know that just as far back as 1994, most men and women who were separating were afraid that the doctor would put something down on their exit examinations that might slight their chances at some civilian career. I know now that this was foolish youth, and that 90 percent of employers that I've encountered don't really even ask to see or request copies of military medical examinations. (Some will though.) Most veterans upon separation want to be identified as healthy and capable, and don't know about what options were/are available to them, until in many cases, it is too late. I say this because conditions do affect us as we grow older, and what was small then, may be a major problem now. And the VA isn't exactly opening its doors to Veterans and providing counseling on how to file their claims properly, even though this would be the best and most proper way to allow a Veteran to enter the system, or better still hiring VA "counselors" who actually sit down and complete forms/applications with the Veterans. (The government provides information and counseling on just about any other program that is out there to assist claimants "before" they file a claim.) The VA is the only government entity I know of that tells you to file it, and gives a disclaimer that they'll do only what they have to do, and the rest is up to you. If I'm wong on any of this, please somebody jump in and correct me. I'm sorry I rambled so long. I hope that I didn't bombard you guys with too much. Have a great Sunday. Mark
  40. 1 like
    It seems like I recall something where 40% was the max for one knee, but I could be mistaken about that. As I recall 20% for a knee is more likely and even that requires it show up on xray. 40% is probably overly optimistic, assuming you can still walk.
  41. 1 like
    I dont think you will get above 40% when its only one knee, no matter what, as long as you can walk. Probably less.
  42. 1 like
    Thanks Buck, Looked at my original award letter and it does not have P/T , but I do remember when I did receive my letter I questioned the P/T and back then everyone told me that no future exams was P/T !! My claim was for a brain injury that will never improve. Plus I have old award letters that have P/T checked off on letter that says I am P/T!! And suddenly I noticed they were no longer checking that box, that is when I inquired about my status and was told yes you did have it and when they were changing computer software many veterans that were getting P/T got bumped off!!
  43. 1 like
    Oh I'm fine too. Can you believe it? What if I said it takes time for things to blossom with these damn mst claims? I mean it took me a hundred years to remember what to feel about not feeling anything and being forced not to feel anything. Yes, I'm talking in circles, but anyone who knows what it's like to be dehumanized knows what 'not feeling anything' means. I do. Do you? We could at least agree that feeling nothing is something.
  44. 1 like
    I feel this is favorable for IU. The NP checked Yes as to impact on employability but added: "If yes describe the impact of each of the Veteran's thoracolumbar spine (back) conditions providing one or more examples: Current functional status regarding this service connected condition permits physical and sedentary employment, but is obviated by efforts to allow use of electric scooter/rollator. Avoid prolong walking, standing and sitting. Avoid activities that require lifting, climbing, repetitive bending." Still I think this was a positive IU C & P exam. and the examiner cited Mitchell V Shinseki....... which is here: https://veteranclaims.wordpress.com/2011/08/23/mitchell-v-shinseki-no-09-2169-argued-june-15-2011-decided-august-23-2011-adequacy-of-medical-exam-pain-range-of-motion-loss/
  45. 1 like
    As long as they dont try to screw with those receiving retirement and VA compensation then 90% plus your retirement is pretty darn stout. Cant you also go for Social Security??? Retired+90%VA+Social Security would be the perfect recipe
  46. 1 like
    I think Mike is correct. When your kid goes to college, and gets chapter 35, you dont ALSO get benefits for a "school age" child. It probably has to do with pyramiding...you can not get paid for the same thing twice. And, if your son gets ch.35, you dont get paid for him. However, you bring up an interesting point, that may have not been tested in court: Can you get school age dependent benefits when the child is NOT collecting Ch 35 benefits. Its not a particulary large amount, so it may never get tested because, if he is attending college and getting ch. 35 most of the time, the benefits paid to you would be small and it would be an accounting nightmare. However, Ch. 35 used to be paid for the year, and they recently started "cutting" breaks, such as spring break, christmas break, summer break. I think it may be a good idea for you to appeal this. (I dont like them cutting ch. 35 for breaks). I mean, gee whiz, does employee health insurance not continue while on vacation or even on weekends? Its just another way they hornswaggle vets.
  47. 1 like
    It's hard to say for certain, but "mere speculation" is not always a bad thing. Relative equipoise may be a factor for you. If the evidence is both for and against, the VA is supposed to side with the veteran. When I filed my claim for chronic pain/depression secondary to my SC disability, my C&P doc stated "mere speculation" pretty much like what your doc wrote. I was initially denied, but I ended up winning on appeal due to relative equipoise.
  48. 1 like
    No but if there is no AO DMZ link I dont know what basis the claim could be filed on...but nothing is impossible. Did he serve in Thailand or Vietnam or on any ship in the 7th fleet during the Vietnam war,and if so, when and where and what is the ship's name. He does have a AO presumptive that caused his death so the AO would be the main focus and his SMRs and 201 personnel file might reveal much of the info you need as to whether or not he was exposed to Agent Orange,. Thank you for helping your Aunt.
  49. 1 like
    I could not find that docket # at the BVA. Do you have the citation number? The "A" tells me this claim was at the BVA before, so I searched under 14 07 318 without the A and still found nothing.
  50. 1 like
    I cant recall if anyone here gets SMC (t) but here is some discussion on how the VA determines that award: