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broncovet last won the day on March 23

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About broncovet

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    E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer

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  1. It may be a good idea to find out who is representing you. Its been my experience that you have a local VSO who is (supposed) to be there to help you file forms BUT when your claim reaches the BVA you are assigned a NATIONAL VSO, who has more experience and expertise in hearings and the BVA. A national VSO normally files a "brief" in your behalf. Generally, as Alex explained, your VSO usually argues that you should get the "benefit of the doubt". Of course, national VSO's are like everything else..some are very competent and good, and some, well not so much. This is one of the reasons I like attorney representation...I will KNOW who is filing the I9, who is doing the hearing, and who will file the brief. With an attorney its one "you" select. Not so with a National VSO. You get the next one on the list who is not the busiest with other appeals. I found out, the hard way, its not a good idea to hire the VSO who has the least backlog and can see you the fastest. Why? Well, WHY does that VSO have an "opening" when many of the busy VSO's do not have "openings"? Usually, there are 2 possible resons: 1. This is a rookie VSO, with no clients, or few clients. Do you want to be a guinea pig for a VSO to learn? 2. This is a VSO with a rather poor reputation, and other VEts have shied away. When you pick a resteraunt, do you pick the one with no one else inside?? My dad always used to say, if you are looking for a great resteraunt, go to the one with the longest waiting line. It makes sense, to me. I made the mistake of picking the VSO who could "see me first", and did not get a good result. It may not be a good time to change VSO's, but you should at least find the one who is representing you and ask him for a "status" of your appeal. I have explained before, that professional representation (that is, an attorney) does NOT ALWAYS cost you more than a non attorney VSO. The reason is that an attorney can/often does get EAJA to pay your fees, so it may not cost you anything, especially at the CAVC level. My attorney charges 20 percent of the retro, but, she already won a remand and got paid 6000 dollars by EAJA. This means I wont ever have to pay this 6000 dollar attorney fee. Since she charges 20 percent of the retro, this means unless my retro exceeds 30,000 dollars, I wont pay a cent of attorney fees. Here is how this works: Retro example: 35,000 Lawyer fee 20%. 35,000 times 20% is $7000. However, eaja already paid 6000 So my attorney fees in this example will be 1000 dollars. The attorny can NOT collect from EAJA And from you also. They can only collect retro on the difference, as I explained above.
  2. Great answer from VYNC. As long as you can continue working with your PTSD, by all means do so. If/when you can no longer bear it, and are forced to give up your job, then you can seek an increase. There are some circumstance where you could get a higher rating, however, if your symptoms worsen even if you are still working.
  3. Ok, so you are single, TDIU plus SMC S. So you can choose: 1. Send the IU form in every year (at least until you have been TDIU for 20 years) OR 2. Continue fighting VA for schedular so you dont have to send the form in once a year. Personally, I probably would not keep fighting VA "Just" so that I didnt have to send in a form once a year. Id send in the form and forget it. As Gastone pointed out, if you think you may be able to make over 10k per year ("earned income"), then it may be worth your while. Remember, its not against the law to "earn money" from investments such as stocks, bonds, bitcoin and the like and still get TDIU, as many retired or disabled people do just that. For me, it just would not be worth all this effort for no money, since you are already SMC S.
  4. Not everyone agrees with Chris Attig. The only likely monetary benefit you can get by continuing your claims is SMC S, if you manage "100" plus an addition 60 percent seperate and distint from each other. Of course, an earlier effective date is not out of the question, however. You have to decide if you want to make a career out of fighting VA for additional benefits. Its possible your wife could benefit from your continued support of claims because she is eligible for DIC if you die a. From a "service connected" condition, or b. Die from any condition 10 years or more after you were awarded 100%.
  5. 1. Your pay should increase. YOU should tell VA shortly after the wedding, and your benefit should be increased as a married Vet gets more than a single Vet, if everything else is equal. 2. As the spouse of a disabled VEt, she should be able to get Champva. Champva is very, very good insurance, and its free.
  6. 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. 1. No, its not the end of your appeal, UNLESS you fail to timely file the I9. Do nothing and your appeal dies. 2. "Substantive appeal" is legal mumbo jumbo for you need to file the I9. 3. The SOC is done because regulations require it. They are supposed to state YOUR case. Its hogwash to expect VA to prepare your case for you. But regulations do require it. Its part of that "claimant friendly, non adversarial" BS the VA is always telling us, but then doing the opposite.
  8. The SOC is a "sign". The sign says: "Your claim has been denied again (usually by the DRO). This is SOP. NOW YOU MUST FILE an I9, within 60 days of the SOC, to send your claim onto the Board of Veterans appeals. If you do not file the I9, your appeal dies."
  9. The nexus can come from any qualified medical professional, who is competent to opine on your condition. To be competent, he should have medical training/ and or medical experience in your disability. No, a PHD in basketweaving can not opine on whether or not your arthritis was due to military service. However, a Nurse Practioner who is trained and regurarly treats arthritis conditions, would be "competent" as an "expert" witness for your arthritis condition. VA often uses nurses or NP's to do C and P exams, they can not say that "only" MD's are competent. Its less about the medical degree, and more about the level of training and experience in your claimed disability. Your PCP will also need to cite a medical rationale as to why he opined in such a matter in regards to your claimed disability. YOu can challenge the competency of the examiner, and so can VA. You should be good to go as long as your doc has experience/expertise in your disability.
  10. To find out if your VSO knows your docket number, call him. (Yea, VSO's return calls to Vets..good luck with that) Better yet, call the BVA Omnibubsman and ask him the docket number. You "might" get your national VSO to return your calls, if you are persistent enough. This is a big problem with VSO's. They are supposed to help Vets, but try getting one to return your calls. (some might).
  11. Smart money gets a lawyer, others get denied. Its just the way stuff works at VA.
  12. I think VA treats TBI, PTSD, and MDD about the same. For more info on TBI, you may try looking up PTSD or MDD. Sometimes they refer to them as anologous ratings.
  13. Questions are answered by volunteers, on their own schedule. Unfortunately, we dont have a lot of volunteers who are TBI victims, so many of us just do not have expertise on TBI. One reason for that is that TBI victims are rarely all that cognizent and able to help others. Hadit NEEDS a TBI expert, so feel free to read up and learn all about TBI, and become the hadit TBI expert. We already have experts on Hep C (alex Graham), Widows benefits (Berta), and we could really use an expert on TBI. To become a TBI expert, you can do what Alex and Berta have done, and that is they have read hundreds of case laws (BVA and CAVC) on that subject, and they become familiar with the CFR's on the topic. Feel free to dive right in, the water is fine. As a former teacher once told me, you dont really learn something until you teach it. You learn from your students. So, try answering a few TBI questions, especially by citing regulations or case law for your answer.
  14. Sure. Make sure you have the Caluza Triangle documented: 1. Current diagnosis of back condiition 2. In service event or aggravation 3. Nexus, or medical opinion as to the link between 1 and 2. Dont leave home without your Caluza triangle. Often the nexus is the most difficult to get. Your VSO will likely send you off to battle VA without a nexus. If they do that, you will be slaughtered by VA like a pig. YOur chance of getting benefits without a solid nexus are much worse than buying a lottery ticket.
  15. Most people who try to get from 90 to 100 percent usually accomplish that with TDIU. It takes another 50 percent to go from 90 percent to 100 percent. Try explaining that to your 6 th grade math teacher. The VA math is an ingenious plan, originally devised by insurance companies and copied by VA, to reduce their compensation paid out to claimaints, called the "whole man" theory. VA always adopts anything that results in lowered compensation for you and I or other Vets.