Master Chief Petty Officer
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Vync last won the day on March 31

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About Vync

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    E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer
  • Birthday October 15

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    Ft.Living Room, AL
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    Family, fishing, movies, video games, gardening, hot rods, computer programming, electronics, music

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  • Service Connected Disability
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  1. An increase is easier than requesting a new claim. Essentially, for an increase, you need only meet the criteria required for a higher rating. Look at the rating criteria and see what it takes (https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div5;node=38: Then look at your medical treatment records to see if you can find evidence within the past 12 calendar months from when you requested the increase where you meet the criteria. For spine claims, there are multiple qualifying conditions. Consider secondary disabilities. If your existing SC disabilities, or the medication used to treat them, cause a secondary disability, then you can file for that too. Common examples include digestive problems or GERD due to pain meds or NSAIDs. If the pain caused you to become depressed and even if the meds used to treat the secondary depression cause intimacy problems. If you were appealing a new claim, it might be helpful to find out why you were denied so that a member of the Hadit family could provide helpful advice. I hope this helps.
  2. The BVA is not known for their speed, so 1+ years sounds typical. If it was me, I would go ahead and file the FDC for sleep apnea: 1. If you win, it will protect the effective date of the claim. 2. If you use a CPAP machine for SA and win the FDC, that's a single 50% rating. 3. Check the math and the dollars. Assuming you are currently 30% for IBS and 10% for tinnitus, adding a potential 50% SA win would result in your combined rating being 68.5%, which rounds up to 70%. If you are unmarried and have no dependents, your monthly amount goes from $589.12 to $1338.71, which is about $749.59 more each month tax-free. If you waited one year to file, that means you could be losing out on $8995.08. 4. Once you reach 50% combined rating, it means no more VAMC co-pays for non-SC treatment visits or meds. 5. Lets assume you end up winning your BVA appeal, the MH rating % would then be factored into your combined rating. Based on the effective date, it might result in an increased combined rating and possibly more retro dollars. I say "might", because it takes much more to advance to higher combined ratings. If your MH rating comes back with 10%, it would not boost you above 70% (in addition to a winning SA claim), but a MH rating of 30% should be adequate to push you to 80%. 6. Your c-file will be collecting dust somewhere in the meantime, so why not consider filing for the SA. If you have everything which meets the Caluza triangle requirement for the SA claim, you might end up winning the claim before you hear anything from the BVA. Good luck! I hope you win. Remember, most initial claims are denied but won on appeal.
  3. 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.
  4. Awesome! Most VAMC MH docs are seriously overworked. Glad she was able to contact you!
  5. Crossing my fingers for you! Be sure to check your mailbox and bank account daily for the good news to materialize.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. PlumBob, Also here are some additional tips to help you out: Do not turn down medical, dental, or MH examinations when preparing to leave the service. If you have not already done so, get/request copies of your entire medical and dental records. Sometimes they become lost in part or whole, but you need a backup. Go through them and identify any conditions which were caused or aggravated by service. There are more to secondary conditions than people realize. If a directly SC disability causes another disability -or- the medication/treatment of a directly SC disability causes another disability, then both can be considered secondary. For example, if you were given psych medications for treatment of PTSD, depression, etc..., and it negatively impacted you in the bedroom... Familiarize yourself with the VA claims process. VA.gov has some decent info, but this site contains fantastic resources beyond the forums themselves.. Don't expect the VA to get your claims right the first time. Many of us won our claims on appeal, often due to VA human error. In terms of VA math, 10% + 10% equals 19%, not 20%. Learn about how combined ratings are calculated. Good luck!
  9. I don't have much experience in TBI evals, but am wondering if this might be to help rule out pyramiding and also to help assign the correct %'s for each condition.
  10. When I went to the ID card office a few years back, they would only accept the original award letter (which didn't say anything about P&T either). They looked for the blurb which stated dependents are eligible for chapter 35 dependent education benefits. I guess it may differ at other locations or my location was just a stickler.
  11. Welcome to Hadit! At 50% or higher, VA care is free. Don't forget to also ask for travel for your appointments if you live far enough out. Was the torn meniscus service connected (SC)?
  12. Flores, I have not been on here as regularly as I would like, but I just read this. Congratulations on your fantastic win!!! I am very happy for you!
  13. You can get multiple SMC's and from different ways than folks might even realize. Please keep in mind that SMC does not count towards your combined rating %, but typically results in $$$ and other extra benefits. For example, if the SC disabilities or the medication used to treat them resulted in ED, problems with the hydraulics functioning properly, etc... then you can file for SMC-K. That's a little more than $100/month extra. It is possible to have multiple SMC-K awards, too. Check out these links for more details about SMC And this one here too: https://asknod.org/2014/08/25/cavc-howell-v-nicholson-what-smc-s-really-says/
  14. 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.
  15. I know what you mean. Our VAMC does not have a chiropractor, so I am considering using the choice program to pay for the one I use outside of the VA. Do you think your VAMC will cover this for you via the choice program? Congratulations to you and your wife! We just had a little boy back last November, but he was 2 months early and doing great.