THIS IS A LINK FOR VETS LIVING OUTSIDE US. IT HAS ANSWERS.
I DONT THINK IT MATTERS WHICH ONE YOU CHOSE. YOUR HEARING DATE SHOULD HAVE HAD A TIME AND PLACE?
I had a BVA Hearing with a judge while accompanied by my lawyer on a CUE claim. I found the BVA judge to be just a person who gathered minimal information and accepted my lawyer's brief. Nothing was decided at the Hearing. I got a denial about 4 months later where the BVA could gather their lying lawyers and judges to write statement that would force me into going to Court of Vet Appeals. The best thing I ever did was to get my claims decided and won at the RO level. Once claims get beyond the RO it becomes more and more difficult to add evidence and get face-to-face with actual deciders.
If a claim you file is going to impact a whole class of claimants besides yourself then beware because the VA and their lawyers and so-called judges will do everything in the world to deny that claim IMO. If I had won my CUE it would have been precedent for all the vets who had claims that were made before the 1990's. The VA was not going to allow that liability. The Court judges have so much lee way on claims like CUE claims that unless it is black and white with not the slightest measure of doubt it won't fly.
Back in 1973 I got 10% rated for schizophrenia. Now all these years and many claims later I am P&T plus SMC "S". This is because the VA did not have a DX of PTSD at that time. Since that time VA has changed DX'es on me many times to include bipolar, MDD, anxiety disorder, back to schizophrenia so the actual DX means nothing once you are connected for a mental health issue. Chronic pain disorder is a mental health DX. If vet's records list any treatment for mental health issues or if he has stressors for PTSD he can claim PTSD or any other mental health issue that is backed by evidence of service connection. I got "some" good advice and I claimed my mental health issues within one year of discharge. For PTSD you can wait 60 years and still claim it if you have symptoms that persist and you have verifiable stressors such as CIB or PH. If the vet has an 80% rating and one rating is at least 40% he can claim TDIU and should do this immediately if not sooner. If it were me I would be claiming the PTSD and TDIU for the AO conditions. There are WW11 and Korean War vets who have claimed PTSD successfully in recent years. There is no way your brother should go another 18 months without either 100% scheduler or TDIU P&T. Once you get a MH service connection you can then use IME's to bump it up to 70%-100%. The VA is playing a shell game with making themselves the only ones who can DX PTSD. This is completely absurd since PTSD is diagnosed in the general public among crime victims, accident victims and law enforcement often and the VA is not there. One of our posters had his PTSD claim denied because VA said he did not claim it while he was recovering from extensive wounds and then discharged. This is why they call it Post Traumatic Stress because it is after the event (maybe years after) that the stress is finally recognized or become symptomatic. Because I can claim only one MH disability for compensation there is no use in me reclaiming PTSD now. I already get 70% for MH.
I have finally succeeded to have a BVA hearing in April. It is scheduled for a video hearing in Phoenix. However, if I go to Washington...I can have the hearing in front of the judge...in person...face-face. Do I have a better chance of success with a personal hearing...or, stick with the video hearing? Currently residing out of the country...so, whether I go to Phoenix or Washington doesn't make any difference. Also, it's possible I can go to the US Embassy to use their facilities for a video hearing...saving a trip to the states. Your feedback would be appreciated. Thank you.
My husband received his letter today. Good news is that overall he went from 30% to 50%. He received 0% on the issue that I was asking about earlier. It was denied in the past. So full benefit does not mean the top % allowable.
One thing that confuses us is that there is no mention of retroactive pay at all. Original claim was 7 years ago. The claim that I mentioned earlier was dated back to 2010. However, it went from denial to 0% so that means no retroactive money. The claim that increased for 0 to 20% is one that they said worsened. However, they dated it effective this month. Anyway, a little disappointed that he will not get back pay after all of these years. However, thankful that he reached that 50% threshold for all of his injuries during active duty.
Thanks for your help....