Wayne, did the initial Denial specifically state you were Denied SC for Lack of an in Service DX, or because of the not being on Cpap?
The Cpap RX basis for a SA Denial, very strange. I haven't looked at the 38 CFR 4 for SA since I requested an Increase of my SC 50% to 100% back in 14. I do believe there are (2) lesser SC 10 & 30, (3) if you include a 0%. I'll have to do a review. Even if you had extremely Mild OSA and it could be Directly or Indirectly Secondarily SC'd, you should have received a SA SC 0%.
Your Denied SA Claim, were you trying for a Direct SA SC or a Secondary to a current SC condition?
You've NOD'd that Denial, right? What did you choose, DRO Review (12 - 16 months), DRO Hearing ( 3 - 4 yrs) or BVA Hearing (4+ yrs). If you chose the DRO route, could you share your redacted compelling "New & Material Evidence," that was not available to the original rater, and is mandated by VA Reg for a DRO Review/Hearing?
Any chance you could post redacted copies of you SA DX and your VA Denial Letter?
Go to the Legion, DAV or VFW etc. and ask to look at your both your eFolder in VBMS and Virtual VA folder. This will show any recent documents. Unless it's ancient, it's extremely unlikely they put it in a paper folder, if one even exists.
The first phone clerk would've left a note in VBMS (this is different than VBMS eFolder) and should've also put a form documenting your call in the VBMS eFolder (but probably didn't, or the RO they work for never uploaded it). At this point, the clerk should've filled out the actual dependency form over the phone, or sent the form to you- They didn't do so.
Complain, whine, pester your congressional aide until they go to VA central office's direct line- not just their usual letter to the RO- based on the VA's inaction during that call. Keep complaining until they take that phone call as being well within the one year of an event.
It's difficult to get rid of documents in the VBMS eFolder, but not impossible. I don't know how a clerk would do so in Virtual VA. I don't think the VBMS notes can be deleted easily.
As Bronco said, it's best to go through as many hands as possible when submitting documents. Your CVSO, then the VFW (for example) so there's no question a document got uploaded. Then call 10 days or so later and ask the clerk to
1. Verify they received ALL the documents
2. Politely ask them to not only leave a note, but write a report of contact detailing she did, indeed, verify the documents were in either eFolder.
The clerk will also make sure their electronic tracking is correct without you asking.
As Bronco alluded to, clerks HATE dependency and will do anything they can to get rid of it- first and foremost is asking for information they already have- so it gets it out of their purview.
If this happens- Again go to your congressional rep's aide and again, complain, whine, pester until they go to VA central office's direct line. This shouldn't happen to Veterans but does too often.
But, perhaps, as Berta explained, they hate everything and will use the same tactics of any type of claim- don't know.
I believe the Doctor gave an excellent medical rationale for the inservice nexus.
I hope others opine here as well ...
I can't imagine what other cause or reason VA could come up with for the Menieres.
Have you googled for any abstracts or medical articles that specifically involve Menieres caused by multiple exposures to cabin air pressure?
I have read OGC reports for years.
They often focus on errors in TDIU awards.
If the VA creates an overpayment (their fault) the veteran usually never has to pay back that amount.
But this is a legal issue and depends on each individual situation. A VA VSO long ago at the local VAMC asked me to opine on a situation he had regarding a serious large overpayment that the VA insisted the claimant was aware of herself (widow's claim) He had filed for an administrative review.Unfortunately he lost the AR because the VA held that she knew an overpayment had been made and did nothing herself to tell the VA of it.
But in other cases the VA will not attempt to collect something that results from their errors.
What bothers me about these OGC reviews is that only a small part of claims are reviewed at each VARO from time to time and I have no idea if the RO goes ahead to correct errors OGC finds that were financially detrimental to the veteran or widow.
I take these reviews and investigations with a grain of salt.
Even if the directive involves a M21-1MR change on SMC adjudication.
(if VA could read M21-1MR properly they would not even have to have a directive)
I feel every veteran who has had a TDIU or 100% award ,with any additional SC disabilities or might have become HB or SMC eligible at time of last award or since..should look over those older ratings.
My 1998 rating sheet for DIC OBVIOUSLY warranted a SMC award.Even with the wrong 1151 ratings on it.
My rep said because 1151 awards are ';different' -I should not NOD the decision.
That decision bothered me for 5 more years to feel confident enough to file CUE on it.( 4 separate CUEs in all appeared on the Rating sheet- all awarded- and I bet VA since, has made many errors on SMC issues ,at every RO.