So after some prompting from some friends I got an appointment with the DAV to look at what I thought would just be a new claim to ask for in increase on my psoriasis claim (10%). After the DAV reviewed my records, including my C-file it looked like the VA had ignored some evidence that would have given me 30-60% rating for psoriasis, which is based on the use of immunosuppresive medication. We couldn't find a copy of my civilian dermatologist medical records in the file, but we did find where I provided them with the information to locate the records and a note asking them to retrieve them. No where in my C&P exam did it state the I told them I was on that medication, but in my decision letter the cited the use of immunosuppresive medication to treat the condition (information only available through my private doctors records.) Also I believe that the VA did not fulfill its duty to assist in accordance with federal regulation under title 38 CFR 3.159, which states they must provide notice as to the identity of the records they cannot obtain, as well as what efforts they have made to obtain them. No letter of that type exists in my file. The only letter is a generic letter asking if there is anymore evidence I would like to provide (no specifics included).
Using these medications for 6 weeks or more in the last 12 months (at the time the application was filed) can lead to a 30% or 60% rating. My decision noted other items to justify the 10% but did not mention the immunosuppresives in the paragraph that tell you why you got that rating. The DAV reps submitted a CUE for me, so if we are right I should be back dated to December, 2009. It could possibly take me from a 30% overall rating to 50-70% overall depending on which criteria they think i meet. Any else seem like this should be one for the veteran win column?
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Something most Veterans on BOTH coasts of America might not realize is that when you abandon any claim with VA, you are, in essence, agreeing with their assessment of the denial- be it for a disability claim or a request for IL services. If you apply for the IL Program and then drop out, you are most assuredly allowed to refile a new request. I just did it right on top of the greenhouse win in April of this year. I asked for two years of the LexisNexis VBM for $350 a year ($700 total). They granted under pressure to finish ironing out the greenhouse IILP, I admit, but they granted. Making a claim/request for anything at the VA (or the VR&E) should never be done if you do not intend to pursue it to completion. It tells the VA you are spineless and the request was not necessary and vital as enumerated in VA OGC Precedent 6-2001. This why I advocate for a Win or Die approach. If you do not believe in what you are fighting for, you stand little chance of winning.
VA isn't stupid. They read these boards, too. They know Vets are using the VR&E "infeasible for work letter" as a springboard to TDIU so it's a matter of time before they alter their behavior and start saying a VR&E decision has no weight in an IU argument for an extraschedular rating. Vets are adept at finding loopholes and VA is just as adept at coming back around to back fill them.
If you apply for anything with the VA and do not appeal it, you are, in essence, saying you were not entitled to it and the request/claim was not substantiated. There is absolutely no reason why you cannot get a letter from VA VR&E saying you are hors d' combat for a Vocational pathway to a job and still keep your irons in the fire for an avocational ILP grant. The whole purpose of Form 1900 and the initial intake assessment is like a preauthorization for a mortgage. Either you qualify or you don't. Once declared infeasible, get out the Cabela's catalog and start browsing. By all means, ask for the letter stating the infeasibility of you being a candidate for 'Vocational' training and file it with the DRO but do not let your ILP aspirations lapse or agree to relinquish them.
States vary in what they will accept as proof of 100% disability. In Washington, you need a 100% or TDIU rating from VA or a determination from the Social Security folks. A simple letter from VR&E saying you've been turned down for vocab rehab training won't get you any sympathy at the Tax Assessor's office or relief from any quarter-including the Dept. of Motor Vehicles. Over the years, I've watched what VA does with TDIU. Folks in Rocket 1949's predicament with a hearing loss do not get the sympathy that a MDD-Vet with a major SC back problem would get. Or a DM 2 for 40%. Or peripheral neuropathy in all four extremities for 10 or 20%. VA considers anything less than dang near stone deaf in both ears like Buck to be a minor inconvenience. A job taking orders at the Jack in the Box Drive thru window is right out but selling widgets on line for 8 hrs a day using a computer is often feasible work in their eyes. If you are 64 years old, you're far more likely to get IU than if you're 38. Numerous things go into an IU determination for extraschedular.
And, since the Director of Comp. and Pen. is at VACO in DC, it matters little which coast of America you're closest to. On the other hand, in ILP programs the opposite is true. Most VR&E outfits here in the west deny anything past grab bars. My left coast greenhouse is the first in decades. I did get a gal a hoist for their swimming pool to haul grandpa (Korean Vet) out. It was expensive and they cried a lot but they caved in.