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  1. Here is my TBI exam that was ordered in a remand from the BVA. Now I will sit and wait for the decision to be made. Review Evaluation of Residuals of Traumatic Brain Injury (R-TBI) Disability Benefits Questionnaire * Internal VA or DoD Use Only* Name of patient/Veteran: England, Larry Adam Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this document: [X] In-person examination Evidence review --------------- Was the Veteran's VA claims file reviewed? [ ] Yes[X] No If no, check all records reviewed: [X] Veterans Health Administration medical records (VA treatment records) [X] Other: VA rating documents as this is a review tbi SECTION I: Diagnosis and medical history ---------------------------------------- 1. Diagnosis ------------ Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever had a traumatic brain injury (TBI) or any residuals of a TBI? [X] Yes [ ] No [X] Traumatic brain injury (TBI) ICD code: 000 Date of diagnosis: 3/2005 [X] Other diagnosed residuals attributable to TBI, specify: Other diagnosis #1: headaches ICD code: 000 Date of diagnosis: 2005 2. Medical history ------------------ Describe the history (including onset and course) of the Veteran's TBI and residuals attributable to TBI (brief summary): from neuropsych hx 2012: According to medical records intake note from 2nd Medical Group, Barksdale AFB, LA, on 5 MAR 2005, "25-year-old male hit right side of head near temple while cleaning pool on base. Patient hit side of concrete pool. + blurred vision, patient unsure if LOC, + neck and shoulder soreness, - EtOH, + headache at the moment with nausea." Subsequent evaluation that same day by physician revealed: "Mr. England was noted to be in no acute distress, laughing, smiling, alert and oriented x 3, cranial nerves grossly intact, strength 5 x 5." He was diagnosed with a minor head trauma and ordered to return on 7 March 05 for f/u eval prior to being returned to duty. A subsequent medical technician note from 7 March 2005 indicates "patient here for f/ head injury f/u Patient states he's very much better. Still has occ. HA." The subsequent physician note of that same day stated: "?not any worse than any other ou headache. RTD, f/u prn." He was discharged to follow up as needed. There are no other medical records pertaining to this injury. He reported no cognitive difficulties or other residual effects at the time. He also reported an episode of brief loss of consciousness from a MVA during the 9th grade. A CT of the head on MAR 20, 2009 revealed: Study was performed with intravenous contrast. The brain is of normal attenuation. The ventricular system is midline and symmetric. There is no edema or normal enhancement. The globes and orbits appear normal. Impression: Normal brain. rated by neuropsychologist Dr Hughes on 2/8/12 1 memory: mild c/o memory loss without objective findings on testing 2 judgment: normal 3 social interaction: routinely appropriate but with multiple firings from jobs 4 orientation: normal 5 Motor: normal 6 visual-spacial:normal 7 subjective: c/o 3 or more symptoms that mildly affect work or social interactions 8 neurobehavioral: one or more that frequently interfere with work 9 communication: normal 10 Consciousness: normal In summary, based upon this interview, history, and testing, it is clear that the veteran manifests normal organic cognitive capacities but that he has significant emotional/motivational/behavioral difficulties. He likely suffered a mild concussion when he hit his head on the side of the pool; but organic cognitive factors do NOT appear to be involved in a current clinical picture. Indeed, psychiatric factors seem to play an exacerbating role in his symptom picture and are likely responsible for the veteran's reported cognitive and functional difficulties. Diagnostic Impression: Axis I 311 Depression NOS 309.81 PTSD Axis II: 301.83 Borderline personality disorder Axis III: Please see medical record Axis IV: History of volatile interpersonal relationships,lack of coping skills, marital and family problems, unemployment, financial problems Axis V: GAF = 49 Finally, in my professional opinion, the veteran is able to manage his own financial affairs for VA purposes. Please contact me if you have questions concerning this evaluation. states hit head on empty bottom of pool while cleaning it in the service, felt nauseous and vision off, and had headaches without loss of conciousness SECTION II: Assessment of facets of TBI-related cognitive impairment and subjective symptoms of TBI ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Memory, attention, concentration, executive functions -------------------------------------------------------- [X] A complaint of mild memory loss (such as having difficulty following a conversation, recalling recent conversations, remembering names of new acquaintances, or finding words, or often misplacing items), attention, concentration, or executive functions, but without objective evidence on testing If the Veteran has complaints of impairment of memory, attention, concentration or executive functions, describe (brief summary): see previous testing and note that this is as least likely as not related to ptsd, he recalled three things, and oriented to day and year 2. Judgment ----------- [X] Normal 3. Social interaction --------------------- [X] Social interaction is occasionally inappropriate If the Veteran's social interaction is not routinely appropriate, describe (brief summary): he feels uncomfortable in group settings and doesn't leave house much not related to tbi 4. Orientation -------------- [X] Always oriented to person, time, place, and situation 5. Motor activity (with intact motor and sensory system) -------------------------------------------------------- [X] Motor activity is normal most of the time, but mildly slowed at times due to apraxia (inability to perform previously learned motor activities, despite normal motor function) If the Veteran has any abnormal motor activity, describe (brief summary): states baseball not as easy as was in past. However had mild tbi and is not as least as likely related to tbi 6. Visual spatial orientation ----------------------------- [X] Normal 7. Subjective symptoms ---------------------- [X] Three or more subjective symptoms that moderately interfere with work; instrumental activities of daily living; or work, family or other close relationships. Examples of findings that might be seen at this level of impairment are: marked fatigability, blurred or double vision, headaches requiring rest periods during most days If the Veteran has subjective symptoms, describe (brief summary): veteran states occ dizzy, ringing in ears for which is sc, headaches,states completely stop from working. only symptom related to tbi is headaches see headaches exam included 8. Neurobehavioral effects -------------------------- [X] One or more neurobehavioral effects that interfere with or preclude workplace interaction, social interaction, or both on most days or that occasionally require supervision for safety of self or others If the Veteran has any neurobehavioral effects, describe (brief summary): veteran states unable to work due to social interaction difficults which have precluded work for 3 years and he has ssdi for this but please see headache rating exam included 9. Communication ---------------- [X] Able to communicate by spoken and written language (expressive communication) and to comprehend spoken and written language. 10. Consciousness ----------------- [X] Normal SECTION III: Additional residuals, other findings, diagnostic testing, functional impact and remarks ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1. Residuals ------------ Does the Veteran have any subjective symptoms or any mental, physical or neurological conditions or residuals attributable to a TBI (such as migraine headaches or Meniere's disease)? [X] Yes [ ] No [X] Hearing loss and/or tinnitus [X] Erectile dysfunction [X] Headaches, including Migraine headaches [X] Mental disorder (including emotional, behavioral, or cognitive) [X] Other, describe: tinnitus see previous rating exam, mental heal issues see previous rating exams, erectile dysfunction not related to tbi 2. Other pertinent physical findings, scars, complications, conditions, signs and/or symptoms ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- a. Does the Veteran have any scars (surgical or otherwise) related to any conditions or to the treatment of any conditions listed in the Diagnosis section above? [X] Yes [ ] No b. Does the Veteran have any other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs and/or symptoms? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe (brief summary): cn grossly intact, dtrs = and 2+ bilateral, sensation and movement intact, able to heel and toe stand, rhomberg neg, moves all extemities, sensation intact upper and lower extremities. no dysdiadokinisis 3. Diagnostic testing --------------------- a. Has neuropsychological testing been performed? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, provide date: 2/8/12 Results: I. Memory, attention, concentration, executive functions The veteran has a complaint of mild memory loss (such as having difficulty following a conversation, recalling recent conversations, remembering names of new acquaintances, or finding words, or often misplacing items, attention, concentration, or executive functions, but without objective evidence on testing. II. Judgment The veteran exhibits normal organic judgment capacity but mildly impaired judgment overall as a result of emotional dysfunction. "I get impulsive without worrying about the consequences. I just react to stimuli." For some decision making, he is occasionally unwilling to identify, understand or weigh the alternatives, understand the consequences of choices, or make a reasonable decision due to emotional reasoning. Concerning his judgment, the veteran stated: "On a stable day I have good judgment but on a depressed day I don't. I get impulsive without worrying about the consequences. I just react to stimuli." III. Social interaction The veteran stated his social interaction is routinely appropriate "because I stay reserved." However, he also notes inappropriate reaction to authority resulting in multiple firings from jobs. IV. Orientation The veteran is always oriented to person, time, place, and situation. V. Motor Activity (with intact motor and sensory system) The veteran's motor activity is normal. VI. Visual-Spatial Orientation The veteran's visual-spatial orientation is normal. VII. Subjective symptoms The veteran complains of 3 or more subjective (emotional or pain related) symptoms that mildly interfere with work; instrumental activities of daily living; or work, family, or other close relationships. Examples of findings that might be seen at this level of impairment or: Intermittent dizziness, daily mild-to-moderate headaches, and frequent insomnia. VIII. Neurobehavioral effects The veteran complains of one or more emotional/behavioral symptoms that frequently interfere with work place interaction, social interaction, or both but did not preclude them. "I have had over 15 jobs since I left the military; and I lost them for arguing with coworkers and customers. I'm on Social Security disability for bipolar disorder, PTSD, and depression since May of 2010." IX. Communication The veteran is able to communicate by spoken and written language (expressive communication), and to comprehend spoken and written language. X. Consciousness The veteran's level of consciousness is normal. In summary, based upon this interview, history, and testing, it is clear that the veteran manifests normal organic cognitive capacities but that he has significant emotional/motivational/behavioral difficulties. He likely suffered a mild concussion when he hit his head on the side of the pool; but organic cognitive factors do NOT appear to be involved in a current clinical picture. Indeed, psychiatric factors seem to play an exacerbating role in his symptom picture and are likely responsible for the veteran's reported cognitive and functional difficulties. Diagnostic Impression: Axis I 311 Depression NOS 309.81 PTSD Axis II: 301.83 Borderline personality disorder Axis III: Please see medical record Axis IV: History of volatile interpersonal relationships,lack of coping skills, marital and family problems, unemployment, financial problems Axis V: GAF = 49 Finally, in my professional opinion, the veteran is able to manage his own financial affairs for VA purposes. Please contact me if you have questions concerning this evaluation. b. Have diagnostic imaging studies or other diagnostic procedures been performed? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, check all that apply: [X] Computed tomography (CT) Date: 3/20/2009 Results: normal c. Has laboratory testing been performed? [ ] Yes [X] No d. Are there any other significant diagnostic test findings and/or results? [ ] Yes [X] No 4. Functional impact -------------------- Do any of the Veteran's residual conditions attributable to a traumatic brain injury impact his or her ability to work? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe impact of each of the Veteran's residual conditions attributable to a traumatic brain injury, providing one or more examples: see included headache exam 5. Remarks, if any: ------------------- none **************************************************************************** Headaches (including Migraine Headaches) Disability Benefits Questionnaire Name of patient/Veteran: Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this document: [ ] Review of available records (without in-person or video telehealth examination) using the Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) process because the existing medical evidence provided sufficient information on which to prepare the DBQ and such an examination will likely provide no additional relevant evidence. [ ] Review of available records in conjunction with a telephone interview with the Veteran (without in-person or telehealth examination) using the ACE process because the existing medical evidence supplemented with a telephone interview provided sufficient information on which to prepare the DBQ and such an examination would likely provide no additional relevant evidence. [ ] Examination via approved video telehealth [X] In-person examination Evidence review --------------- Was the Veteran's VA claims file reviewed? [ ] Yes [X] No If yes, list any records that were reviewed but were not included in the If no, check all records reviewed: [ ] Military service treatment records [ ] Military service personnel records [ ] Military enlistment examination [ ] Military separation examination [ ] Military post-deployment questionnaire [ ] Department of Defense Form 214 Separation Documents [X] Veterans Health Administration medical records (VA treatment records) [ ] Civilian medical records [ ] Interviews with collateral witnesses (family and others who have known the Veteran before and after military service) [ ] No records were reviewed [X] Other: VA rating documents as this is a review tbi 1. Diagnosis ------------ Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with a headache condition? [X] Yes [ ] No [X] Other (specify type of headache): unknown type ICD code: 000 Date of diagnosis: 2005 2. Medical History ------------------ a. Describe the history (including onset and course) of the Veteran's headache conditions (brief summary): developed headaches at time of tbi in 2005. Had neurologic consult 3/2009 and diagnosed with headaches of unknown type inially treated with ibuprofen b. Does the Veteran's treatment plan include taking medication for the diagnosed condition? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe treatment (list only those medications used for the diagnosed condition): ibuprofen 3. Symptoms ----------- a. Does the Veteran experience headache pain? [X] Yes [ ] No [X] Pulsating or throbbing head pain [X] Pain on both sides of the head [X] Pain worsens with physical activity [X] Other, describe: stress worsens and tinitis increases during headache b. Does the Veteran experience non-headache symptoms associated with headaches? (including symptoms associated with an aura prior to headache pain) [X] Yes [ ] No [X] Nausea [X] Vomiting [X] Sensitivity to light [X] Sensitivity to sound [X] Changes in vision (such as scotoma, flashes of light, tunnel vision) [X] Sensory changes (such as feeling of pins and needles in extremities) [X] Other, describe: headaches vary intensity, frontal headaches on 1-10 7-8 and severe posterior headache 8-9 c. Indicate duration of typical head pain [X] Less than 1 day d. Indicate location of typical head pain [X] Both sides of head [X] Other, describe: both sides of head and back of head 4. Prostrating attacks of headache pain --------------------------------------- a. Migraine / Non-Migraine- Does the Veteran have characteristic prostrating attacks of migraine / non-migraine headache pain? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, indicate frequency, on average, of prostrating attacks over the last several months: [X] Once every month b. Does the veteran have very prostrating and prolonged attacks of migraines/non-migraine pain productive of severe economic inadatability? [X] Yes [ ] No 5. Other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs and/or symptoms ----------------------------------------------------------------------------- a. Does the Veteran have any scars (surgical or otherwise) related to any conditions or to the treatment of any conditions listed in the Diagnosis section above? [ ] Yes [X] No b. Does the Veteran have any other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs and/or symptoms related to any ENGLAND, LARRY ADAM CONFIDENTIAL Page 16 of 17conditions listed in the Diagnosis section above? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe (brief summary): see included tbi physical 6. Diagnostic testing --------------------- Are there any other significant diagnostic test findings and/or results? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, provide type of test or procedure, date and results (brief summary): ct normal see attached tbi exam 7. Functional impact -------------------- Does the Veteran's headache condition impact his or her ability to work? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe the impact of the Veteran's headache condition, providing one or more examples: veteran states headaches cause him to be unable to function in a job seting due to need for no sensory input during headaches. He states that he has up 5 severe headaches a week lasting up to 2 hours that would prevent him from having full or part time work. 8. Remarks, if any: ------------------- none
  2. I have been on 100% TDIU for several years, and now I am coming up on age 65. I have a basic employee provided health insurance plan through Aetna from my Teachers Retirement System of Texas. This TRS-CARE1 program has informed me that after age 65, that they will become a "secondary payer". If I understand this correctly, what was once an 80/20 plan (TRS-CARE1) now becomes a 20/80 plan. I have a number of questions/concerns in how that works with VA 100% TDIU Disability. The VA has been billing Aetna (TRS-CARE1) for services I receive from the VA (contracted rate, 80%, etc). How does this change when I turn 65? I am receiving SS benefits at this time, so I assume that I will be auto-enrolled in Medicare A&B. Correct? Do/Will I need to up-grade my parts A&B? What about part "D"? I currently get all my meds from VA, wonder if having an outside option would be worth the cost? How much of a supplemental insurance plan do I NEED? Can I depend on the VA to continue to cover me at 100%? What if I have an auto accident and am taken to a non-VA hospital room? Do I get stuck with the out-of-pocket expenses? FWIW, hit deer on Harley a year ago, spent 32days in hospital and VA re-hab. Got lucky since I never lost consciousness and was able to direct EMS to take me to the VA designated/contracted hospital... THIS TIME. Bill was over $200k. Everything got covered between VA and Aetna... THIS TIME. Still ride Harley, so what will happen under "Medicare" in an out-of-network emergency in the future? (my biggest concern) I have attempted to talk with Aetna, but all I seem to get are sales-people who refuse/can't give any advise as to options. They only ask WHAT do I want... Not helpful to me at all. And when I watch the news that TrumpCare wants to 5X elder health rates, I get very depressed. BTW my major disability is TBI, so that may be factoring into my panic/depression about this as well. Not having fun... 8-(
  3. I just turned 63. I am rated 100% P&T/TDIU. When I reach 65 and become MEDICARE elegible, will VA benefits based on unemployability automatically end? Would they automatically end at some other retirement point? I don't honestly know for sure, but it seems like if an award is based on unemplloyability, that you'd lose it when you're no longer of working age (not my common sense, but the way the gubment seems to think sometimes :-)
  4. Hey everyone, I was rated at 80% in 2014. My highest rating is for a skin rash that covers about half of my body and requires constant systemic steroids. For this skin rash I am rated at 60% (which is the highest of all my SC issues). This rash initially occurred during active duty in 2012 and for the past five years doctors have just treated the rash and given me all the prednisone I could ever want. In 2015 I developed migraines. I began suffering from chronic fatigue, and I began experiencing muscle pain and weakness. Long story short- I recently saw a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with amyopathic dermatomyositis. The amyopathic dermatomyositis is basically the rash I have displayed for years, except no one ever knew that. The migraines, muscle weakness and fatigue are also common issues in people who have amyopathic dermatomyositis. I have wanted to apply for TDIU since 2015, however I didn't feel I had enough medical information to link all these issues together, and I also didn't have a diagnosis other than a basic rash. Now that I have new information regarding my SC rash, I want to apply for TDIU. I'm a bit nervous as to how these ratings might be combined. For example, my current rating is under DC 7806 and the rating for dermatomyositis is under 7821. I take chronic steroids, so under 7806 and 7821 I'd be 60%. If I file a new claim for the dermatomyositis will the ratings from DC 7806 and 7821 be combined, or will it basically just be the changing of some verbage on my claim (7806 would switch to 7821)? I don't see anything that says 7806 and 7821 cannot be combined. Like a lot of people, I dread opening the flood gates to my VA claims and risking my already 80%. Any info/advice on my questions or TDIU in general are so much appreciated. Thanks!
  5. 1970-74 weighed 130 in and 134 out, I had 4 yrs USAF Jet Engine Mechanic experience – much exposure to JP4, Jet Exhaust, PD-680 degreaser, carbon soot, noise, etc. I don’t have much medical information in my service records package, but I do have several pages of upper respiratory sickness, sore throats and earaches from one USAF base. None of my other medical records from other bases were in my service file. While in-service I married for the 1st time, we lived off base and thanks to my wife I was pretty good at getting to work on time. She would complain that I kept her up half the night with my snoring and would go back to bed after I would leave. She also described the loud outbursts and would try to put a pillow over my head to muffle the sounds – eventually she even bought some earplugs. The marriage didn’t last very long and we divorced in less than a year. After the divorce I moved back into the barracks, I was always tired and difficult to wake up and often fall back asleep. I eventually received an Article 15 for repeatedly being late for rollcall, and a reduction in pay scale for several months. Prior to entering service I had lived with my older sister Kathy and her husband. I did not exhibit the typical SA symptoms, I snored and I physically did not fit the profile. They told me I it got much worse after I got out and that I sometimes scared them when I would quiet down and suddenly let out a loud gasping/snoring sound… which sometimes woke me up too. I remarried in 85 and this was the first time I was told I may have sleep apnea. My wife Laura has a medical background and told my doctor what goes on at night and he made arrangements for me to have a sleep study done. It was confirmed and I received my first CPAP machine and have been using one ever since. My weight then was 203lbs. In 2006 I had this mysterious bout of ITP, of which I was hospitalized and transfused with platelets for several days. Aftercare was 6 months of prednisone, many needle sticks, bone marrow aspiration and finally tapering off they prednisone for 3 more months. In 2010 I had several significantly blocked arteries and underwent CABG dbl bypass at the San Francisco VAMC. During the surgery the urologist came out of the OR and ask my wife if I had any known bladder problems, which I didn’t, but their concern was that I was passing blood through my urine. He advised to follow up with urology once I recover and have it worked up. I had a cystoscopy and everything looked fine. In 2012 I put in a claim for IHD 60%, DMII 10%, MMD 70%, ED $125, Hearing Loss 0% and Tinnitus 10%, I was awarded, using VA funny math it was 90% scheduler with 100% compensation for TDIU plus SMC. At one of my recent psych visit I confided in something I never told anybody, not my wife, nor friends (not that I have many, quite the loner) or anyone else. Back in my last year of service I was sexually assaulted by another male, I was so ashamed I stuffed it for 40 yrs, but it just came out. I have been in several PTSD clinics and they helped me to realize I was a victim, that my assailant was a perpetrator, purposefully got me drunk and assaulted me in my sleep. Dec 2013 my wife gets annoyed with the VA doctors because they are all ignoring that some of my blood work always come back a little under the lower range so they blow it off. Via her pushing I get a Hem/Onc consult and it is discovered that I have an Ultra Rare illness called Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH), is a rare acquired (not hereditary), life-threatening disease of the blood. The disease is characterized by destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), blood clots (thrombosis), and impaired bone marrow function (not making enough of the three blood components). It is closely associated with AA & MDS, all are bone marrow failures diseases. Benzene is known to be a toxic chemical which causes bone marrow failure illnesses. My illness is stable so it is in watch & wait state. I’m followed by Hem/Onc once a month to evaluate blood labs and I was prescribed Folic Acid for now. Jan 2016 it is discovered that I have L/carotid artery blockage at 80%, and R/carotid at 60%. I am supposed to have CEA on the left one but first wanted to consult with a well-known PNH specialist in New York NYU to discuss risks of thrombosis. He wants me on an intravenous medication call eculizumab (Soliris tm $$$,$$$ per year) prior to surgery for the carotid artery. Part of his workup for new patients is to check for venial clots with a Head MRI, Abdomen MRI and Lower extremity Doppler studies. No clots found, but I apparently had a chronic lacunar infarct of the left caudate head (stroke) that apparently was asymptomatic. The report also indicated that Scattered areas of white matter signal abnormality in a configuration most suggestive of chronic small vessel ischemic disease. Not sure what that means but it sounds interesting… Now here are my questions: Should I leave well enough alone with my TDIU award or file some additional claims? PTSD due to MST or should I file for increase in MMD PNH due to toxic chemical exposure (Agent Orange, PD680, Carotid artery due to IHD Chronic small vessel ischemic disease in the brain due to IHD Exacerbated my non-SC Sleep Apnea due to PTSD (central & OSA) previous reports only show OSA I am revisiting this since I saw the post on this site that the VA doctors can no longer hide behind not filling out a DBQ because they were told not to. I’m sure I’ll still need to get IMO for the non-SC items.
  6. I was hoping that someone can tell me how and where I can read the notes from my C&P or any of my notes from my Dr.'s appointments. Thanks in advance.
  7. I'm currently at 90% and currently told my claim for TDIU will be granted and is being expediated because of hardship and my pregnant wife. Current employer is forcing me to resign but am currently on Medical unpaid Leave due to my disabilities this is a union environment collective bargaining so they don't have to accommodate my shift. I have resigned yet because I have medical through the company but to keep it I have to pay out of pocket. I'm not being paid on this leave and am stressing out. If I leave get TDIU I won't be able to afford Obamacare and my mortgage when it goes up in January let along food to eat. What's the deal I was also told my migraines might be increase but am going into a C&P for it within the month I'm rated at 0% service connected with migraines daily ER visits and pain killers prescribed with a Cefaly device. I don't know what I've started I'm know finally getting treatment from Polytrauma for my TBI. Thought things were looking up doing well at my Job at Amercian Airlines until the doctors sent in a request for a reason accommodation resulting in my unpaid leave now I'm xxxxxx. That's the short version of my issues I just want to provide for my family for their continued healthy life I don't care if it kills. Does anyone have any ideas what I can do or what might happen if I do except IU my TBI is being reviewed for unemployability? Should I see in the review if possibility of separating my PTSD from my TBI can be done?
  8. Goodmorning, Last month I received my decision from the BVA.They granted me TDIU and 70% PTSD back to 1994. My question is will they go back and pay on each separate decision or Does the TDIU decision override the 70% PTSD decision. I was granted TDIU permanent and total in 2010. I filed a claim shortly after that 2010 BVA decision to have them go back to 1994 and BVA just finally granted it. My second question is since they are going back to 1994 on a granted TDIU claim, will I be grandfathered in for future c and p exams. Also, does this decision assist with survivor benefits when I pass away?
  9. Some advice on SMC- S
  10. My VSO and I put in a request for TDIU. I also wonder why E-Benfits shows IU and increase for 100% PTSD when we did not file for 100% PTSD increase? Is this automatic? I am currenty at 80% total, 70% is for PTSD-Combat. My last C&P for PTSD was less than a year ago. 08/12/2015. The doctor that did the new onebelow called it a "REVIEW"??? I was working during the 1st one and I am not now, I resigned in December 2015. Please let me know what you think and please answer my above questions. THANK YOU!! Service Connected Disabilities: ASTHMA,BRONCHIAL (30%-SC) INGUINAL HERNIA (0%-SC) KNEE CONDITION (10%-SC) POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER-COMBAT (70%-SC) IMPAIRED HEARING (0%-SC) TINNITUS (10%-SC) Review Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)Disability Benefits QuestionnaireName of patient/Veteran:SECTION I:----------1. Diagnostic Summary---------------------Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with PTSD?[X] Yes[ ] NoICD Code: F43.102. Current Diagnoses--------------------a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Post traumatic Stress DisorderICD Code: F43.10Comments, if any: Previously diagnosed by Dr. David Coron on 8/12/2015.Currently Service Connected 70% for PTSD. Total service connection isreported to be 80%Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Opiod Dependence in RemissionICD Code: 304.01Comments, if any: Reports that he has been clean for last 6 years.b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of theMental Health Disorder (to include TBI): Please refer to Medical Recordsand CPRS for all medical problems and concerns. Veteran is currently 30%service connected for asthma; 10% for knee, 10 % for tinnitus , 0% ofinguinal hernia and 0% for hearing impairment.3. Differentiation of symptoms------------------------------a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed?[X] Yes[ ] Nob. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable toeach diagnosis?[ ] Yes[X] No[ ] Not applicable (N/A)If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate whatportion of each symptom is attributable to each diagnosis and discusswhether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses:Comorbid relationship between diagnosis such that separation ofsymptoms can not be reliably performed without engaging inspeculation. It is likely that all symptoms are related to PTSD.c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)?[ ] Yes[X] No[ ] Not shown in records reviewed4. Occupational and social impairment-------------------------------------a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of occupational and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check onlyone)[X] Occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas,such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking and/ormoodb. For the indicated level of occupational and social impairment, is itpossible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and socialimpairment indicated above is caused by each mental disorder?[ ] Yes[X] No[ ] No other mental disorder has been diagnosedIf no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate whatportion of the indicated level of occupational and social impairmentis attributable to each diagnosis: Comorbid relationship betweendiagnosis such that separation of symptoms can not be reliablyperformed without engaging in speculation. It is likely that allsymptoms are related to PTSD.c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate what portionof the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused bytheTBI?[ ] Yes[ ] No[X] No diagnosis of TBISECTION II:-----------Clinical Findings:------------------1. Evidence review------------------In order to provide an accurate medical opinion, the Veteran's claims folder must be reviewed.a. Medical record review:-------------------------Was the Veteran's VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) reviewed?[X] Yes[ ] No Was the Veteran's VA claims file (hard copy paper C-file) reviewed?[X] Yes[ ] NoIf yes, list any records that were reviewed but were not included in theVeteran's VA claims file:Elecronic Medical Record was also reviewed today.If no, check all records reviewed:[ ] Military service treatment records[ ] Military service personnel records[ ] Military enlistment examination[ ] Military separation examination[ ] Military post-deployment questionnaire[ ] Department of Defense Form 214 Separation Documents[ ] Veterans Health Administration medical records (VA treatmentrecords)[ ] Civilian medical records[ ] Interviews with collateral witnesses (family and others who haveknown the Veteran before and after military service)[ ] No records were reviewed[ ] Other:b. Was pertinent information from collateral sources reviewed?[X] Yes[ ] NoIf yes, describe:Electronic Medical Record was also reviewed today.2. Recent History (since prior exam)------------------------------------a. Relevant Social/Marital/Family history:This is a 52 year old male Veteran who has been married 2 times. Hisfirst marriage was from 1988 to 1993 and he has 2 adult daughters,ages31 and 28 from this marriage. He was married a second time in 2011 and his wife, , is a medical secretary. He has no children from this marriage. He does report today that he has another daughter from aprevious high school relationship in 1986. He has some contact withher, but does not see her regularly. Veteran was born and raised in. Veteran reports that his parents were divorced when he was approximately 10 years of age. His parents have both passed away from heart attacks and he reports having one younger brother and one younger sister. He does not have contact with them on a regular basis. He attended xxxxxxxx school and graduated in1985.b. Relevant Occupational and Educational history:Upon graduation from high school this Veteran worked for approximately1 year in construction. He then entered the military (Army) on August19, 1986 and was discharged on August 19, 1995. He completed basictraining at Fort Knox, Kentucky and was then stationed at FortBelvoir,Virginia for the next 3 years. His MOS was 52-Charlie, utilitiesequipment repair. After Fort Belvoir, he spent approximately 3 yearsat Fort Bragg. He was then deployed to Desert Storm for approximately9 months, followed by 1 year in Korea. He returned to Fort Riley,Kansas for 2/3 years before discharge. While at Fort Riley he alsoattended xxxxxxxxxxx xxxxx in Kansas and obtained an associateddegree in liberal arts. Regarding his deployment to Desert Storm hestates that he was responsible for driving parts back and forth,maintenance on vehicles and generators and filling sandbags. Upondischarge in 1995 and began workinginheating and air-conditioning. He worked for xxxx forapproximately 9 years until 2004, xxxxxxx for 8/9 years until2013,xxxxx for less than a year and finally xxxxxxy for lessthana year. He resigned from xxxxxx in December of 2015. Asked forthereason he resigned, he stated that "I couldn't take thestress andanxiety of the job. They were willing to let me work from home, butthat didn't work either". He continued to say that he began"havingdifficulty rememberingthe names of clients and what needed to bedone". Since that time he has not worked. He reports that he wasreceiving NYS Insurance, but that ended 3 months ago. His TotalService Connection is currently 80%, 70% of which is for PTSD. Hestates he receives approximately 1800.00 monthly from this serviceconnection.c. Relevant Mental Health history, to include prescribed medications andfamily mental health:Veteran states that he had no medical or psychological issues as achild/teenager. While in the military he had knee surgery, a herniarepair and dental surgery. He reports that while he was at FortRiley,he received drug and alcohol counseling and was then sent to Miramarfor a 30 day inpatient stay. He reports that he began drinkingheavilyafter his deployment to Desert Storm. Continued drinking heavily inKorea and his first wife eventually divorced him. After his dischargefrom the military he reports that he attended SA treatment at thexxxxxx VA in 2000 for 28 days. At that point he states that hestopped drinking alcohol. However, he then became addicted toVicadin,which he reports that he stopped in 2011. He began taking Suboxonewhich was originally given to him by an outside provider, but which henow receives from Dr. xxxxx here at the xxxxx Suboxone clinic. His psychiatrist here at the xxxx is Dr. xxxxx, who is prescribing Quetapine, Duloxetine and Prazosin. He also reports that he sees xxxxxxx currently at the Veteran's Outreach Center on a weekly basis for individual counseling since 2015. Symptoms reported today include increased anxiety and depression. He reports feeling that his self-worth and esteem have decreased since losing his job and he keeps obsessing about the fact that he was earning 85,000 a year and now"can't hack it". He continues to report nightmares,fighting and screaming in his sleep, often wakes up wet and soaking as a result of this dreams, hyper vigilance and high startle. He also reports that hestill cannot wear a seat belt, which he attributes to a fire he wasinvolved in in Saudi Arabia and is triggered by the smells of gasoline and burning fires. He also reports panic attacks and isolating behaviors.d. Relevant Legal and Behavioral history:DWI in 2000. No other significant legal history.e. Relevant Substance abuse history:States that he has been clean from alcohol use since 2000. Clean fromOpioid Use (vicadin) since 2011. Does admit that he currently smokes tobacco.f. Other, if any:No response provided.3. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria---------------------------Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, are from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manualof Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). The stressful event can be due tocombat, personal trauma, other life threatening situations (non-combatrelated stressors.) Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly notattributable to the Criteria A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptomsclearly attributable to other things should be noted under #6 - "Othersymptoms".Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) seriousinjury,c) sexual violation, in one or more of the following ways:[X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s)[X] Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event(s) as theyoccurred to othersCriterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusionsymptomsassociated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after thetraumatic event(s) occurred:[X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressingmemoriesof the traumatic event(s).[X] Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/oraffect of the dream are related to the traumaticevent(s).[X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposuretointernal or external cues that symbolize or resemble anaspect of the traumatic event(s).[X] Marked physiological reactions to internal or externalcues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of thetraumaticevent(s).Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with thetraumaticevent(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred,as evidenced by one or both of the following:[X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories,thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated withthetraumatic event(s).[X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders(people, places, conversations, activities, objects,situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts,orfeelings about or closely associated with the traumaticevent(s).Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated withthe traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after thetraumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more)ofthe following:[X] Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror,anger, guilt, or shame).[X] Markedly diminished interest or participation insignificant activities.[X] Persistent inability to experience positive emotions(e.g., inability to experience happiness, satisfaction,orloving feelings.)Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated withthe traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after thetraumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more)ofthe following:[X] Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or noprovocation) typically expressed as verbal or physicalaggression toward people or objects .[X] Reckless or self-destructive behavior.[X] Hypervigilance.[X] Exaggerated startle response.[X] Problems with concentration.[X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or stayingasleep or restless sleep).Criterion F:[X] The duration of the symptoms described above in CriteriaB, C, and D are more than 1 month.Criterion G:[X] The PTSD symptoms described above cause clinicallysignificant distress or impairment in social,occupational, or other important areas of functioning.Criterion H:[X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiologicaleffects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) oranother medical condition.4. Symptoms-----------For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to theVeteran's diagnoses:[X] Depressed mood[X] Anxiety[X] Suspiciousness[X] Panic attacks that occur weekly or less often[X] Chronic sleep impairment[X] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recentevents[X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and socialrelationships[X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work oraworklike setting[X] Inability to establish and maintain effective relationships5. Behavioral Observations:---------------------------Cooperative and genuine throughout interview. No evidence ofhallucinations or delusions. No evidence of suicidal or homicidalideation or intent.6. Other symptoms-----------------Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and othermental disorders) that are not listed above?[ ] Yes[X] No7. Competency-------------Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs?[X] Yes[ ] No8. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any:---------------------------------------------------Based on today's evaluation this Veteran continues to meet thecriteriafor a diagnosis of PTSD. He is currently service connected 70% for PTSDbased on his last Compensation and Pension Evaluation performed by Dr.xxxxxx on 8/12/2015. Veteran reports that he resigned from his job in December of 2015 because " I couldn;take the stress and anxietyof thejob. They were willing to let me work at home, but that didn't workeither". He was receiving NYS Insurance up until 3 weeks ago andthat hasnow ended. Based on the veteran's report today, it does not appear that his PTSD symptoms have necessarily worsened (he is currently service connected 70% or PTSD. It appears that he was experiencing stress related specifically to his job. Since he has resigned, he has increased stress and anxiety and is emotional today, stating that he is feeling like a failure to his family because he lost a job where he was earning 85,000 because "I couldnt hack it anymore". This examiner encourage this Veteran to conitnue his weekly counseling At the Veteran's Oureach Centerwith Les xxx and to also consider vocational rehabilitation, It is hoped that one his self image and self worth begins to increase and he is able to secure another vocational opportunity, that his overall stress and anxietywill lessen. It may be that he will have to begin slowly with part time opportunities until his overall self image and self worth is restored. So what do you think???
  11. Hello all, first of all thank you to all who share your stories and advice. While this is my first post, I've been stalking the forum for months as something to do during my insomnia as I wait for my decision. I have found both comfort and education here. I was hoping for some opinions, advice, or even encouragement. I realize I'm not in the worst shape compared to others, but this process has my anxiety through the roof. I am currently rated 30% SC PTSD-MST (total rating with other disabilities is 50%). My condition has progressively worsened, especially over the past few years. I submitted my FDC for PTSD increase and TDIU in May and it has been in Gathering of Evidence phase. All of my treatments have been with VA docs. My GAF scores average around 50. I obtained a favorable IMO to submit with my application. I haven't yet been scheduled for a C&P exam. Over the past several years I missed a lot of work, burned through my leave with sick days, was previously placed on both short and long term disability with my employer, all from my SC medical issues. I would appreciate based on your experience and thoughts on whether I might have a good case for increase, what my rating might be, whether I might get TDIU or P&T, how long it might take for VA to get my medical records from VA hospitals, if I will have to do a C&P exam (the thought almost triggers a panic attack), or any advice on what I can do to pass the time as I wait besides chronically check eBenefits and read every single thread on this forum. I realize I have a much longer wait ahead of me, so I figured I'd start engaging here. Thank you in advance for any help.
  12. Hi all, I've been receiveing TDIU for about 5 years and I recently came across your article: " 6 Reasons to Keep Pursuing VA Claims and Appeals – AFTER you reach 100%". I've never received an "income statement" nor a request for one. My income has, in that time, been only VA benefits and SSDI. Common sense says to leave well enough alone because I don't want to trigger a C&P exam that might result in a reduction in benefits when nothing has changed with my condition anyways. I think it's VA Form 21-527....but since I've never received one....I'm not sure. Should I just continue as I've been doing, or actually print out the form and start sending it in annually? Also, in E-Benefits, it says that there is "no request for documents" Thanks! From your site: Link "...When a Veteran is awarded TDIU, there is no guarantee that TDIU 100% will last forever. In fact, if the Veteran does not submit the annual income statements, or if the VA gets evidence that the Veteran is engaged in substantially gainful employment, the VA could reduce the Veteran’s rating to the combined rating in place prior to the TDIU grant..."
  13. A few months ago my service connected hearing loss was increased from; 10% tinnitus 20% Bi-Lat hearing loss 30% total to 10% tinnitus 50% Bi-Lat hearing loss 60% total While I do not meet the single disability percent to apply normally needed to apply for IU, I do see a "Special Consideration" which I believe applies in my case" Below is my letter asking for my increase. I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback on the content in order to determine of I should even bother to apply for UI ? BTW, I will be 57 years old on December 1st, of that matters? Thanks in advance, Mark *********** 3/17/2016 Department of Veterans Affairs I am respectfully requesting consideration for an increase in my current Service Connected Bilateral Hearing Loss rating based on VA Autonomic re-evaluation dated 2/16/16, performed by XXX Snyder, MS, Audiology which included Maryland CNC word recognition testing, conducted at the VA Audiology Clinic, 760 XXXX Avenue, XXX Ca. 96001 (530) XXX-8830. History: I am currently rated at 20% Service Connected Bilateral Hearing Loss and 10% Service Connected Bilateral Tinnitus, dated 3/8/2011. The details and evaluation of that service connection are documented in my VA file number XXX XX XXXX. Continued and ongoing issues: Based on my ongoing occupational, Retail Store Manager and non-occupational hearing problems, which include but not limited to; Understanding and or comprehending spoken words Understanding and or comprehending telephone, conference call conversation and intercom announcements Understanding and or comprehending MIS helpdesk, police and other government or municipal telephone conversations. Understanding and or comprehending streaming television, computer, radio or other electronically produced broadcasts. Communicating in moderate to noisy environments, including retail store operations. Communicating with a group of individuals, including retail store operations, staff meetings and training. Communicating using retail store, company provided two way radio handsets. My service connected hearing problems, severely limits my ability to applicably react to audible occupational signals from: Building alarm, emergency warning and other electronic security systems Fire and Loss prevention alarm / notification systems Point of Sale alarm / notifications and alert systems Point of Sale scanners; Symbol DS9808, Motorola LS2208, Inventory management scanner; Symbol MC3100 EAS Loss prevention entry/exit scanners Refrigeration / Freezer malfunction notification systems Environmental systems (heating/cooling) notification systems Energy management systems NOVAR notification systems Freight delivery truck, backup warning notification systems My service connected hearing problems have resulted in: My inability to efficiently communicate with friends, acquaintances, family, customers, vendors, subordinate employees, peers and supervisors. Frequent outsourcing or shifting of my normal and personally assigned managerial functions that require high amounts of communication, to my subordinate managers. Personal, occupational and social withdrawal due to reduced access to services and difficulties communicating with others. Experiencing significant emotional problems caused by a drop in my self-esteem and professional confidence. Exacerbation of my VA diagnosed PTSD, that I am currently being treated for at the VA XXX VA Behavioral Health Department. Recent VA recommendations and action by XXX Snyder, MS, Audiology: Since my recent VA Autonomic re-evaluation which included Maryland CNC word recognition testing, dated 2/16/16, I have been issued and subsequently fitted with updated VA issued hearing instruments: PHONAK AUDEO V90-13 RIC to replace my previous hearing instruments: AUDEO SPICE SMART IX UZ RIC. I have also been issued and fitted with a Remote Control, ComPilot II and Remote Microphone in order to specifically assist with my occupational communication problems. Mr. XXX Snyder explained to me that the new hearing instruments will provide a longer usable service life for my substantial and difficult to manage hearing loss. ***************** Below is the actual examine results: 1. Objective Findings --------------------- a. Puretone thresholds in decibels (air conduction): RIGHT EAR +==============================================================+ | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========+ | 500 | 1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 6000 | 8000 | Avg Hz | | Hz* | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | (B-E)**| |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========| | 30 | 50 | 75 | 85 | 95 | 105+ | 100+ | 76 | +=======================================================================+ LEFT EAR +==============================================================+ | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========+ | 500 | 1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 6000 | 8000 | Avg Hz | | Hz* | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | (B-E)**| |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========| | 35 | 50 | 70 | 80 | 85 | 105+ | 100+ | 71 | +=======================================================================+ * The puretone threshold at 500 Hz is not used in determining the evaluation but is used in determining whether or not a ratable hearing loss exists. ** The average of B, C, D, and E. *** CNT - Could Not Test b. Were there one or more frequency(ies) that could not be tested: No c. Validity of puretone test results: Test results are valid for rating purposes. d. Speech Discrimination Score (Maryland CNC word list): +=======================+ | RIGHT EAR | 56% | Thank you, Mark Nicholson
  14. To list the many many Tags would have been ludicrous. My case is relatively new. I joined here last year, this place has always been great to calm burned out nerves. I sometimes don't make sense to myself let alone anyone else. But when I got out, I went tearing away from anything and everything that even REMOTELY resembled authority. People being able to control my life terrified me to the point where it has literally affected every single part of my life. I came here seeking help and I got it. So, if my story can help anyone else, and my opinions on what you can do to help your own Battle, because that's what this REALLY is, then I will feel like I have done a small and meager effort to pay it forward. My C-File isn't stuffed to the gills with medical records because I didn't serve long enough to qualify for VA Medical. My Claims were handled fairly fast compared to the average. My Story is simple, I got kicked out of the US Army Infantry, after Basic, but I did not finish my A.I.T. We were OSUT. How and why is my business, and I have completely accepted that now. I wasn't even aware I had "issues" until about 9 years after I got out of there. And, a further 6 years before I swallowed my pride and went and finally asked for the help, that I had been convinced by every Veteran I knew, that I now have. I filed my initial claim for PTSD with Anger and Depression. 5 months later they denied me without a C&P, oh gosh gee wilikers was I disappointed. But, once again, fellow Veterans pointed me the way. I went to my Second VSO, and they filled for Depression, and I was scheduled for a VA C&P Exam. Why do I emphasize the VA part, well, I had learned from reading here at Hadit that C&P exams don't show up on your VA website thingy. Which, I thought to myself, that IS kind of important, you know, so no one can "lose" your record of that particular exam. I must admit that my best decisions I have made after getting my actual 50% Service Connected decision letter last year was to continuously educate myself. Not just about me, but the VA itself. IT IS IMPORTANT THAT YOU BRING YOUR COPYS OF YOUR PERTINENT INFORMATION WITH YOU. Sure that really friendly guy on the phone making your appointment is probably say it's not necessary to bring any documents, the Examiner will have ALL your evidence. Bullshit, don't ever leave your case DEPENDENT on ANYONE else' actions! Seriously, I took that advice from someone here, and it saved my ass. A actual Lt. Col. in the US Army Medical Hospital Diagnosed me with exactly what i was filing for. Match the Words, don't try to guess, don't try to infer. Take all your important verifying information with you. Don't leave out anything that you feel may hurt your case, if you think the VA is going to not use any excuse to take away what they give you, you are DEAD wrong. They will dig for it and hunt it down. Be honest, give them everything. But remember, you are literally not DEFENDING yourself to these Raters, you are pressing your case base on verified fact. They will work harder to rip your benefits away, than they are supposed to help you get them.Tell them something is wrong if you don't know exactly, and make them give you an examination, it is your right as a Veteran. I see too many Vets who are always asking others for help, guess what, it's up to US. DO YOUR HOMEWORK Seriously, you need to know more about your Disability's then the people who wrote the books and TREAT you for it. No one knows your Disability's like you. Because they are literally YOURS, not as a statistic or a Roster Number. Because remember, these are not minor discomforts or passing ailments. These damages are severe enough to make us DISABLED. You are LEGALLY entitled to the compensation for the damages done to you, maybe that's why the VA Denies us so consistently. No matter how many changes in Technology or public opinion, they have NEVER done it at a pace that allows most of us to barely maintain our composure and dignity. As far as the Law goes, if you have evidence, you're solid, it is not the RATER who is processing your claim wrong, it is YOU. Every "T" must be crossed, every "i" must be dotted. You have to make your case so solid,that it would literally be a breaking of the Law not to Service Connect you, or a fair Scheduler Rating, or TDIU. You have to SLAM THAT Claim DOWN ON THAT RO's desk, and CHALLENGE him to find flaw in every single interpretation of the Laws, Rules, Regulations....... Become your own greatest weapon, by realizing that you personally can't do that, you have to show it through your work, every page has to be meticulous, don't give them any reason to take the scalpel to your pages. I have a theory, based on how fast I was Denied the first Claim, how fast I was sent for a C&P for my second and winning Claim, and the fact that I was approved the DAY after my C&P exam. I personally feel, as if the moment a Rater can find a reason, and Literally the first reason, he denies and kicks out. Because I was denied without even a C&P exam. Then, when my second claim got sent up, they took one look at it, and knew they were caught out, so as soon as they got my results, they gave me 50% and expected me to be grateful for it. Never stop, always press on, continually advance, and when you can't advance, you bear down, shield up, and dig in. You are now in the Trenches of the VA, and we are literally all here because we are STILL Brothers and Sisters in Arms, against our own people. My OPINION of VSO's and LAWYERS A VSO, no matter where he works, is not gonna fight for you, oh they will file paperwork.....if you tell them what to file, you see, they just mostly don't have the balls for you, because they have balls for EVERYONE. A Lawyer, on the other hand, is motivated by Passion, and Profit. Think about it, if you were to Arm yourself with a Hypothetical Spear-like weapon, would you not want the one with the longest reach, sharpest point, and stopping power? A Lawyer, will fight, because he will look at your Claim, in whole, at ALL the FACTS, and take your case ONLY IF HE BELIEVES THE LAW IS ON YOUR SIDE AND HE CAN WIN IT! That alone, is a boost of confidence that will sustain your Hope, while unfortunately also being a two-edged sword. If he doesn't take your case, then do MORE HOMEWORK. If you can convince a VA registered Lawyer to take your case, you're fairly solid. ONCE AGAIN, MY OWN PERSONAL OPINION. Always Dig Deeper than the Surface Picture that the VA forces on you,If the Law is on your side, stand firm, and advance,Remember that you are right, and you need not defend against their No, but insist on your Yes. Good luck y'all
  15. Hey there ALL...hope all has been well with everyone & sorry that I have been away from the forum for a while but I wanted to update you all on the current status of my claim. Like I told my wife 20 min ago, I'm like 58% "nervous" 42% "excited"...but I feel 100% BLESSED, either direction the ball may end with this claim here in the next few days! It's been roughly a year (5/25/15), since when I started my claim & 02/12/16 when my claim was received by VBA and about 04/22/16 the status was "Prep for Decision". Now...its estimated completion date is 05/20/2016 to 05/22/2016 and is "Pending Decision Approval" for final decision review & award approval which is the exciting part. The parts I'm most nervous about is 1) "how fast" the entire claim process has gone since last May and, 2) the thought of my PTSD (1 of 3) C&P exams have yet to be uploaded into ebennies yet. Maybe they will be Overall, I'm going to remain as positive in thought. Thanks everyone!
  16. My psychiatrist of 10 years transferred last December, I have been waiting to be seen by a new psychiatrist since calling in March to see someone and have my meds redone. The mental health clinic schedule me with a pharmacist to bridge my meds, I have seen her 3 times. She is has changed my medication every single time. I am on xanax, ativan, etc. as well as meds for bipolar and many other sc issues. This pharmacist put in my record that I have agoraphobia without panic disorder. I clearly have a panic disorder, I have been on anti anxiety meds for at least 10 years, is this so the VA can say it isn't related to my service connected mental health issues? I also noticed that my future appointment with my new psychiatrist has been canceled, with no new one rescheduled!! Is the canceled appointment with no letter, no phone call what is happening to "cook the books" on when we are seen?
  17. Greetings ladies and gentlemen, I received a 70% rating for PTSD from last years increase when it was at 50%. I've been unemployed for over a year since being fired for several aggressive angry outbursts related to stressors tied to my PTSD. Filed for TDIU May 11th of 2016 and I have a C&P scheduled for June 10th of 2016. What the heck can I expect at a TDIU c&p? I sent in all of my formal write-ups and suspension paperwork from my previous employer as well as buddy statements from coworkers who witnessed my behavior and how my work performance was affected due to PTSD. I have tried multiple times to have HR from my previous employer fill out the VA-form requesting employment info but they have not cooperated with me. Won't return calls or emails. Even sent them the form but nothing gets back to me. I fear that will hurt me and also be I'm clean shaven and well dressed (I'm ocd about my appearance by it seems as if it's the only thing I can control). I stay home taking care of my daughter but she goes to daycare a couple times a week to give me a break. It gets too much at times. Should that be mentioned ? I just thought my claim is moving fast and not sure if that is good or bad 😕 Any thoughts? Thanks for all you do. It is greatly appreciated.
  18. Hey fellow vets! So, I logged into eBennies early this AM & it has finally happened...Im now at 100% w/ SMC-s1 and not rly sure if its P&T or TDIU but honestly, it doesnt matter...100 is 100 & im just beyond happy for my wife and 3 kiddos more than anything...blessed! So, heres the breakdown: OLD Comb Rtg--80% Primary SC Cndtns : 70%--TBI w/ residiuals; Secondary 30%--Maj Dep Disrdr NEW Ratings & Conditions Comb Rtg--100% Prim: 70%--TBI w/residuals Secondary: 50%--Migraine HA; 10%-Tinnitus; 100%--PTSD w/Neurocognitive Disorder (NCD); SMC-1 Its still hard to believe this is happening for me & my family. I want to thank all of you for the support, advice & encouragement. To those who are still fighting...KEEP AT IT and dont give up! Semper Paratus CoastieAirman96
  19. Hey guys! Seems like I been away from you guys for a while now, so I knew I needed to login and share some updates with my fellow vets! I had my final C&P Exam--Hearing Loss/Tinnitus last Monday April 18th. I checked eBennies last nite 04/285/16, and my claim is now in the Prepped for Decision: New Documents Rcvd--Development letter Sent, so I'm happy to see that its been moving faster than I originally expected or had hoped it would be. After all, I submitted my claims about 73 days ago and my estimated completion time was 06/22/16 to 10/122/2016 and now its 05/22/16 to 06/23/2016!! Sooooo...I been busy with other things to this point and even now and not sure how I shold be feeling when it appears to be moving so fast now. With that being said, I had three exams (TBI Residuals--HA's/PTSD/Tinnitus) and I only seen that my VARO has only recvd or showing 2 of 3 exams in eBennies today when I logged in. So, what does that mean if the PTSD DBQ wasn't shown & the TBI Residuals--Headaches & Tinnitus were, with it being in the PFD stage? Semper Paratus
  20. I've scoured the forums looking for this info but I missed it if it exists. Real quick brothers and sisters, After ten years of dodging inpatient treatment for PTSD (service-connected) I've finally decided to say hi to my demons and I leave in a couple weeks (North Chicago). Is it true that the VA provides 100% comp rate after 21 days of inpatient/hospital stay? I find it hard to believe. I do not work and am the primary care provider for my toddler. Daycare will cost $980 for the 49 days I'm away in treatment (35 exactly since no weekends at daycare). Huge financial burden and I don't want to have to cancel treatment due to childcare. I want to focus on treatment as opposed to worrying about bills and child care expenses while I'm away. Is there a claim or paperwork I need to file if it is good to go? backpayable? Many info is greatly appreciated (goes without saying) have a wonderful weekend.
  21. I am currently 70% combined with the VA. 50% PTSD, 30% Kidneys, 10% Hypertension. I am also SSDI that includes PTSD. I have a claim in appeal with the board in Washington DC original claim for TDIU goes all the way back to June of 2010. I was recently pulled in for a C&P just over a month ago. My question is when I log onto E Benefits and on the initial log in page under Rated disabilities that show all my rated and unrated disabilities and their rating is a new tab with NEW thing in it that were not there before. The tab is titled "Pending Disabilities" this has never been there before and it shows all the things I have in appeal at the board ATM. Does this mean they have decided my case and are waiting to update my stuff , or does it just mean they are looking at or trying to decide my case?
  22. Tough question that I can't seem to find an answer for. I am 90% and paid at 100% for TDIU. I am trying to add to my rating a few things connected to Gulf War Illness and also asking for an increase for 2 already rated conditions. When using Ebenefits to process a claim it asks if I want to If you want to claim unemployability, continue to answer the unemployability-related questions. Unemployability will then be added to the list of disabilities when you submit your claim But since I am already getting paid for unemployability I do not know if I have to fill out and submit this form???? I don't think I would need to as I am not reopened what I am considered unemployable for but I don't want to mess this up. Any ideas?
  23. I recently joined the forum though I've been reading it for awhile but was afraid to join before my claim was approved. I got a call from the local VA office the day after Thanksgiving and was told that my claim was done and I'd be getting a large deposit into my bank account. This was from my initial claim from 2009 for CFS which was approved at the BVA. I did hire a lawyer but didn't think I had much chance of even getting service connected due to the length of time I'd been out of service and the issue - CFS related to vaccines I was given for my laboratory research position while in service. I did have a nexus letter from a private doctor and two letters that my VA neurologist wrote (for private disability) that said I could only work 3-4 hours per day due to my cfs. My C and P was very favorable also. The C and P dr had done her homework, reading my files and the statement for TDIU that I'd sent to the lawyer days before the C and P exam. She even did the correct dbq (for CFS) when the paperwork requested the wrong infectious disease dbq. Just wanted to share my story of a successful claim to give others hope for positive outcomes too. Tracy
  24. I have a C&P scheduled today for TDIU...and I am so stressed out I am sick. This is my second evaluation for PTSD and Kidney problems as it was on appeal. I am currently 70% combined and SSDI has me rated 100% for PTSD..<service connected .....and a back injury that is not service connected. My question is what do I need to do this time to not sabotage myself? The last C& P I had a young lady spend not more than 6 min with me and I explained what day to day life was like for me.....I requested the copy of the C&P report and she recommended no increase because she put on the report that since I was able to watch some TV...I was still employable. My appeal goes all the way back to 2010 when I first applied for TDIU. Would I be better to put down on paper what day to day life is like for me and give it to examiner when I go in today? I am rated for agoraphobia lumped into my PTSD, I have panic attacks, literally get sick in bathroom or get cramps so bad I have to use restrooms when I go out in public, I no longer drive as my wife does. I yell at my daughters and wife all the time, I do not sleep due to nightmares, and when I am not I frequently checking doors and windows. Started to drink in the last three I dont have to feel. I have great fear of being targeted by people/terrorist because I am a veteran and fly a flag out in my front yard....I know it not rational. Ashamed and do not like to be identified as a veteran, I feel betrayed by my country to have went to Iraq and watched my buddy's get killed, have my life torn to nothing and all for what......the president hands it back over to the terrorist.
  25. Received a call today from VES Veterans Service Services. They told me they were assigned my case and would be setting me up with a C&P! I asked what was the C&P for? In response they said it was for PTSD. At first I started having panic and high anxiety. So I called my service rep and asked just what is going on. I felt I was being blind sided because I am scheduled for the RRTP inpatient treatment for PTSD next month for 9 weeks. My service rep told me it was because I filed a NOD in 2011 on my original rating of PTSD. He said the new C&P would be used to evaluated my PTSD and if I was not satisfied then afterwards I could file a SOC. Has this ever happened to anyone and is this how it is usually done? If it is since this is not the VA but an outside agency do they do a fair assessment? I have already been low balled by the VA with the first rating of 50% when all the evidence pointed to 70% or even 100%. Records clearly show serious impairments with work, social and hospitalization twice due to suicide attempts. I don't really know what to expect from this outside agency so I requested my wife be present to help me follow through with it and help if my anxiety level spikes. All I can do is be honest with the doctor and hope for the best! Any other suggestions?