This eBook will teach you how to get C-Files (paper and electronic) from the VA Regional Office.
How to Get your VA C-File


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    • Ebenefits Claim Status????
      EBenefits is not that reliable.  You have a congressperson involved, no?  That would be a response to your request for help to a congress representative I would think.     Try to call Peggy (the 800 827-1000 number) and ask them what the status is.  Its more likely that they can give more complete info to you.
    • ratings
      In EBenefits, under Disabilities, it will show exactly what your current ratings are.  This should show if you have 2 10's or 1 10, same with the back rating.   I would think that they are just updated verifications of SC. One spine rating cover sacroiliac, the lumbar and thoracic sections all in just 1 rating, so you can not have 2 separate ratings on DDD for L5/S1.
    • Untold Award percentage
      Hey Broncovet i had a letter say 50% 40 30(3x) 20 and 10(13X) but then those disappear on the next letter. what are your thoughts  
    • ratings
      sorry I do have others,  attached is all that i have been awarded.   I will have to look for those decision letters also degenerative disc disease, L5-S1 20% Service Connected   11/13/2002 depressive disorder 50% Service Connected   10/24/2014 peripheral neuropathy, bilateral lower extremities   Not Service Connected     esophageal reflux (formerly DC 7205) 10% Service Connected   01/29/2009 abdominal surgical scar 10% Service Connected   07/23/2003 hiatal hernia secondary to esophageal reflux surgery 0% Service Connected   07/23/2003 right ankle condition   Not Service Connected     allergic rhinitis (claimed as sinus condition) 30% Service Connected   10/24/2014 sleep apnea   Not Service Connected     hyperparathyroidism 0% Service Connected   09/21/1993 hypertension 10% Service Connected   01/29/2009 residual scar, status post adenoma resection (formerly DC 7800) 20% Service Connected   03/06/2014 degenerative disc disease, L5-S1 20% Service Connected   09/26/2003
    • C&P Exam Completed [Bad Vibe]
      Did the examiner use any type of measuring tools for your ROM?   Shoulder and Arm Limitation of Motion Code 5201: If the arm cannot be raised to the side more than 25°, it is rated 40% for the dominant arm and 30% for the non-dominant arm. If it cannot be raised more than 45° from the side, it is rated 30% for the dominant arm and 20% for the non-dominant arm. If the arm can be raised to shoulder level (90°), then it is rated 20% for either arm.    
    • My husband died in motorcycle accident
      Found this today; Competent lay evidence means any evidence not requiring that the proponent have specialized education, training, or experience. Lay evidence is competent if it is provided by a person who has knowledge of facts or circumstances and conveys matters that can be observed and described by a lay person. 38 C.F.R. § 3.159. Lay evidence may be competent and sufficient to establish a diagnosis of a condition when: (1) a layperson is competent to identify the medical condition (i.e., when the layperson will be competent to identify the condition where the condition is simple, for example a broken leg, and sometimes not, for example, a form of cancer); (2) the layperson is reporting a contemporaneous medical diagnosis, or; (3) lay testimony describing symptoms at the time supports a later diagnosis by a medical professional. Jandreau v. Nicholson, 492 F. 3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2007); see also Davidson v. Shinseki, 581 F.3d 1313 (Fed. Cir. 2009) (where widow seeking service connection for cause of death of her husband, the Veteran, the Court holding that medical opinion not required to prove nexus between service connected mental disorder and drowning which caused Veteran's death). In essence, lay testimony is competent when it regards the readily observable features or symptoms of injury or illness and "may provide sufficient support for a claim of service connection." Layno v. Brown, 6 Vet. App. 465 (1994). In ascertaining the competency of lay evidence, the Courts have generally held that a layperson is not capable of opining on matters requiring medical knowledge. Ruten v. Brown, 10 Vet. App. 183 (1997). In certain instances, however, lay evidence has been found to be competent with regard to a disease with "unique and readily identifiable features" that is "capable of lay observation." See, e.g., Barr v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 303 (2007) (concerning varicose veins); see also Jandreau v. Nicholson, 492 F. 3d 1372 (Fed. Cir. 2007) (a dislocated shoulder); Charles v. Principi, 16 Vet. App. 370 (2002) (tinnitus); Falzone v. Brown, 8 Vet. App. 398 (1995) (flatfeet). Laypersons have been found to not be competent to provide evidence in more complex medical situations. See Woehlaert v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 456 (2007) (concerning rheumatic fever).         The whole effect of PTSD can be observed by a wife, who is a lay person.  Her statement is a powerful tool, as shown in the BVA rulings, when it is not a complex medical issue.  Behavior can be readily observed in this case, carelessness, thrill seeking, dangerous behavior is something that you can assert as a lay person.  Writing the statement, I would describe his behavior before and after, deliberately drawing out the changes in behavior and how you note them, and why/how you believe it contributed to the accident.  As long as you dont try to inject medical expertise, they can not ignore your statement.  If you son is capable of doing this same thing, and of sufficient age to understand what it means, his statement would be admissible as well.  Friends, family, employers, also can provide lay statements to the effect of behavior that was risky and dangerous.  That sense of excitement, or thrills, can be directly attributed to PTSD by a medical professional.
    • Ebenefits Claim Status????
      I have a claim I that was put in 3/20/16 its red flashed for homeless and FDC however it has been closed I looked  on E Benefits and saw that is status was no longer open saw no letters being mailed out just close. When  I looked further on my page on the left in the my profile   section under disability portion of my claim on E benefits where they have my disabilities listed at the very Bottom as Pending Disabilities then it Table of pending disabilities it say  a Congressional Inquiry 5/18/2016 New and Folliculitus  dated back to 3/20/2014 what does that mean the 2014 case is an appeal is this about to be rated is that why its in Pending Disabliites??? Help Pending Disabilities Table of Pending Disabilities Disability Submitted Type Actions Congressional Inquiry 05/18/2016 NEW   Folliculitis Face/beard 03/20/2014 NEW
    • VSO
      I believe that I have and yes this is a remand that back to the regional to appeal board then to my VSO. Everytime I check my file location it shows it as being with  my VSO at the board. All the document I sent to the AMC shows as being unsoliciated. But  since I haven't  received  anything from VA or DAV since then I'm lost about my claim.
    • ratings
      MOstly, you will have to read your decisions to see if they are seperate ratings.  What do they say?  The VA combines, not adds, ratings, using the combined rating table.  There is also a bilateral factor, if applicable.   If you are at 90%, there is something else going on, as those neither combine nor add to 90 percent.  Something is wrong somewhere.  

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Lower Back - Degenerative Disc Disease

10 posts in this topic

Like many, I've suffered lower back problems for years and have received PT, MRI and lots of drugs over the years while active duty. I retired with 27 years active duty (AD) last year. I recently received a copy of my C & P exam from Sept 2010. While AD I was always told that the pain in my LB is caused by "Bulging Disc" at L4/L5 and the sporadic pain and follow-on numbness down my right leg is Sciatica. But the C & P calls it Degenerative Disc Disease instead. <BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">

My question is – does the VA look at long-term chronic pain when judging for award or only range of motion on that one particular day of the C & P? My range of motion is stricly determined by my level of pain . . . on C & P day it was minor, and I had full ROM.

Thanks in advance - Jim

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ROM on the day of. The usual canard is to approach the C&P as if it was your worst day, or, a bit more drastic, don't medicate for a few days prior.

CAS

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I bet if you are having numbness down your leg you have a herniated disc even if it is not really bad. When did you get a MRI the last time. When it starts to run down the leg it means the pulp of the disc is impinging on the nerve in a serious way. I am no doctor. I have DDD in neck and back so I am telling you what I know. I have herniation in my neck and I get the pain running across the shoulders and numbness. That is a clue you probably have some of your disc touching the nerves that run down your leg through the backbone. I am sure you know all this already. Has anyone recommended surgery? When VA says DDD they may be implying that it is just due to normal aging. I am really glad you filed your claim soon after discharge because if you wait the VA has a way of saying it is just due to age.

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I know just how you feel.

I'm having more trouble with being able to stand. Numbness and shooting pain down both legs now. Butt cheeks feel brused. Used to be just the right leg or just the left. Have lost 1 inch in the length of my right leg due to muscle loss from nerve damage is my guess. But, just a guess cuz no ones ever said what caused it.

I've lost work just by sneezing and having a disk pop to the side.

I have several disks and joints in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar that are bad. One in the cervical that is poking the spinal cord, but hasnt penitrated it according to MRI results.

According to research i've read and people i've talked to who've had joint fusion, they say it wasn't worth it and little if any pain was helped.

I've delt with DDD and DJD for over 40 yrs. Have had many periods of 3 months or so where I could barely walk.

About all i've found that helps is muscle relaxants for spasms, and Oxycontin CR. You must do some kind of exercises and stretches. Any part you dont use, you'll loose the use of it. If the disc is completely gone, you may not have a choice but choose fusion.

I'm no dr, just know how"my" body works.

PS

After seeing the patient next to me only get operated on one side of his cervical because the students operating ran out of time in the operating room, than having to go through being knocked out and another operation the next day to finish it, I don't think I would have the VA operate anyway. I would rather get surgery where i'm not a lab rat.

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I know just how you feel.

I'm having more trouble with being able to stand. Numbness and shooting pain down both legs now. Butt cheeks feel brused. Used to be just the right leg or just the left. Have lost 1 inch in the length of my right leg due to muscle loss from nerve damage is my guess. But, just a guess cuz no ones ever said what caused it.

I've lost work just by sneezing and having a disk pop to the side.

I have several disks and joints in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar that are bad. One in the cervical that is poking the spinal cord, but hasnt penitrated it according to MRI results.

According to research i've read and people i've talked to who've had joint fusion, they say it wasn't worth it and little if any pain was helped.

I've delt with DDD and DJD for over 40 yrs. Have had many periods of 3 months or so where I could barely walk.

About all i've found that helps is muscle relaxants for spasms, and Oxycontin CR. You must do some kind of exercises and stretches. Any part you dont use, you'll loose the use of it. If the disc is completely gone, you may not have a choice but choose fusion.

I'm no dr, just know how"my" body works.

PS

After seeing the patient next to me only get operated on one side of his cervical because the students operating ran out of time in the operating room, than having to go through being knocked out and another operation the next day to finish it, I don't think I would have the VA operate anyway. I would rather get surgery where i'm not a lab rat.

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Thanks to everyone for the quick replies and information. I am 50 years old now (retired last year with 27 years AD), and have had LBP since 1992. I was injured in the line of duty as a flight mechanic with the Coast Guard. Luckily mine is no-where near as bad as most of the cases I've read. I had my C & P while still on active duty (Sept 2010). I just wanted to make sure that it was listed in case it gets worse as time goes by; I agree that there is likely a herniated disc pushing on nerves. That's why I was surprised to see it listed as DDD rather than the original diagnosis I received from the flight surgeon. I did have an MRI back in 2006 which merely showed compression and "slight" bulging at L4 L5.

I haven't received my results from the VA as of yet – I was told that I currently have a suspense date of July 18th.

Again thank you all - I really appreciate your time.

God Bless America - Jim

I bet if you are having numbness down your leg you have a herniated disc even if it is not really bad. When did you get a MRI the last time. When it starts to run down the leg it means the pulp of the disc is impinging on the nerve in a serious way. I am no doctor. I have DDD in neck and back so I am telling you what I know. I have herniation in my neck and I get the pain running across the shoulders and numbness. That is a clue you probably have some of your disc touching the nerves that run down your leg through the backbone. I am sure you know all this already. Has anyone recommended surgery? When VA says DDD they may be implying that it is just due to normal aging. I am really glad you filed your claim soon after discharge because if you wait the VA has a way of saying it is just due to age.

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The day of my C & P was a great day, I felt good . . . I didn’t lie or embellish the way I felt – but did explain that it was a good day, and that I had been on terminal leave for a considerable period of time, so I naturally felt better as I hadn’t been doing much. Of course none of that was in the remarks.

Thanks again – Jim

ROM on the day of. The usual canard is to approach the C&P as if it was your worst day, or, a bit more drastic, don't medicate for a few days prior.

CAS

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The day of my C & P was a great day, I felt good . . . I didn't lie or embellish the way I felt – but did explain that it was a good day, and that I had been on terminal leave for a considerable period of time, so I naturally felt better as I hadn't been doing much. Of course none of that was in the remarks.

Thanks again – Jim

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I just retired from the Air Force after 26 years on 31 Dec 2010. I've had two back surgeries while on active duty for L-5-S1 decompressive laminectomics & microdiscectomy at Bethesda Medical Center, Bethesda Maryland. (Dec 2001) & L5-S1 redo discectomy Nov 2010. My C&P exams were conducted Aug& Sept 2010.

During physical therapy Feb 2011, I experienced shooting pains from my lower back & buttocks down my left & right legs. 02 Mar 2011, I was treated in the emergency room for chronic back pains & given Percocet's. 19 Mar 2011, Ihad an MRI, & the results were forward to my Neurosurgeon. 21 Mar 2011, treated for lower back pain in the emergency room & given Neurontin.

07 April 2011, I received my MRI results from my Neurosurgeon, recurrent left L5-S1 disc protrusion, central broad-based L5-S1 disc protrusion, L5-S1 lateral recessstenosis, right L5-S1 neural foraminal disc protrusion with questionable involvement of the right L5 nerve root. There is also a right L4-5 neuralforaminal disc protrusion with questionable involvement of the right L4 nerveroot. There is also left L4-5 neural foraminal and proximal far-lateral discprotrusion with involvement of the ventral aspect of the left L4 nerve root.There is also a left L5-S1 neural foraminal disc bulge/protrusion.

07 June2011, I received the brown envelope from the VA 80% disability

50% Sleep Apnea,

20% IVDSdegenerative arthritis changes, thoracolumbar spine, lower back, status postsurgery

10%Patellofemoral syndrome, left knee condition with osteoarthritis

10%Residuals right ankle fracture with brace, inserts, degeneration and torn ligaments

10%Tinnitus

10% Boweldysfunction associated with IVDS with degenerative arthritis changes,thoracolumbar spine

Statement also attached from the VA: We have reviewed your records and they suggest you may be entitled to additional benefits. We first need a claim from you or your representative. Please tell us on the enclosed Statement In Support of Claim (VA Form 21-4138) that you want to file a claim for degenerative changes of the left hip and DJD, right knee and bilateral pes planus, plantar fasciitis and hallux valgus.

09 Jun 2011, I filed a VA Form 21-4138, for reconsideration of rating decision of thoracolumbar IVDS and TMJ, status post surgical repair (claimed as dental surgery x 2/hardware and Individual Unemployability. Per the DAV, I'm also entitled to service connection for DJD left hip, DJD right knee, B/L plantar fasciitis,B/L pes planus and B/L hallux valgus.

21 & 23 June 2011, back in emergency room & treated for Lumbar disc herniation with radiculopathy, stenosis of lumbosacral spine & osteoarthritis of the knees. 12 Jul 2011, myelogram & CT scan revealed 3 herinated disc's with bone spurs. My next appointment with my Neurosurgeon is schedule for 3 Aug 2011& Orthopedic surgeon appointment, 10 Aug 2011. My back isn't getting any better & knees are always buckling. Good luck with your claim.

Edited by Big Mac

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Wow a 6 month turn-around time on your claim - Good For You . . . I've heard most take longer. I guess your medical stuff was very well documented.

I retired last Sept, and other than a couple of letters stating that the VA is working my claim I've recieved no correspondance at all.

Hope you can get better with PT and BE CAREFULL!!!!

Jim

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