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    • I was granted 30% last year and paid retroactive disability pay to when I started my claim. I submitted my dependent status form for my wife and 2 kids immediately after my notification, through the mail. I never received a response about it and when I called the VA after 6 months of waiting, they told me it could take up to 12 months or longer to process and receive it, that I would get a notification letter when they finalized it. I called back again after recently and I was told to wait, at which point I asked for a little more help than that, I was forwarded to a woman that looked me up in the system and said the VA never received the form and that since it had been longer than 12 months after my claim approval, that I can not receive the retroactive pay for my dependants (which I've had my entire Army career), and I will only receive the additional amount from the moment I submit it through mail again or through ebenefits...I had no idea I could do it through that website. I did it online and started getting what I should have the next month. Is there a way to receive the money that was entitled to me the entire time since I did my part and they messed up? The VA is sticking to their story that they never received a form from me, I 100% for sure sent it, I didn't even get a packet explaining my disability compensation conclusions...just a letter saying I'll be getting a 30% rating. Thanks in advance.
    • Hello! I recently retired from the Coast Guard in July and had already submitted my claim application for disability.  I submitted a lot of medical records up with my claim.  A few weeks after I officially retired, someone from the local district contacted me to set up my exams.  However, at the time I was traveling and was not able to make the dates they had set up.  I was told that my exams were going to be cancelled and that I should call the national number and have my exams rescheduled.  Well, a couple weeks later, when I got back from traveling, I received a decision on my claim with a 50% rating for sleep apnea and a 0% rating each for my ankle and both hips.  All the other 22 items I listed on my claim application were not rated due to "no service connection" even though I submitted medical documentation with the application.  So my question is, how do I proceed with my appeal?  Should I go to a civilian doctor and get more documentation or should I go to the VA medical clinic?  I believe the reason I was rated so low was due to missing the exams.  I appreciate any advice anyone can give me.  Thank you!   Josh 
    • Thank you Berta for your comment. The decision letter did mention the letter from my PCP but they still denied me. What gives the rater the right to deny me over my Doctors opinion and my medical evidence of the motor accident? Also my decision letter stated that due to my ROM and the fact that I had no pain in back area and guarding or abnormal gait which the C&P clearly shows in my initial post (pg.1) that the examiner said I did. So isn't this conflicting and should be reconsidered?  Do I have a chance to get this reversed?
    • Hint:   Wait until you get a BVA denial to hire an attorney.  Attornies love representing claimaints at the CAVC, as those take 6 months to a year, while BVA cases take 5 years.   Once I got that BVA denial, I had 2  attorney offers, one from a very prestigious firm.  I chose the less prestigious firm.    I will probably know in a couple months if that was the right decision.  
    • I have hired an attorney TWICE, both in trips to the CAVC.  (I went to the CAVC 3 times, one of which was pro se when I did a writ of mandamus).   I was turned down by attorneys both times, and both times, I persisted and got another attorney to represent me.   The bottom line is that it takes attorneys a very long long time to get their money with VA.  So many attorneys simply will NOT represent Veterans, they represent social security claimants instead, as its much faster to get paid.   Many of us just dont want to wait 4 or 5 years to get paid, so if we did take a job which paid us 4 or 5 years down the road, it had better be a good one!  Attornies dont like waiting 5 years for their money either!   I spoke with one attorney who "quit" representing Vets because of this long delay.   Its a tragedy in more ways than one that VA takes 5 years to process a BVA appeal.  It hurts Vets 2 ways.  First, the Veteran has to wait forever, then, he has to hunt for an attorney who is willing to gamble 5 years on his case.  


From time to time I see that buddy letters are used to help develop the continuity and nexus of a claim. I also see recommendations for letters from a spouse, children or other family members. Does the VA really consider this strong probationer lay evidence?

I hadn't thought about having my wife write a letter, but if it will put another nail in the claim, maybe I should. Any thoughts or past experiences?

Happy Labor Day!


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3 answers to this question

I know I submitted a letter for my husband/ and him for me when we originally sent in our claim. On the VCAA paperwork we received it states "You may also send us your own statement, or statements from people who have witnessed how your claimed disabilities affect you. All statements submitted on your behalf should conclude with the following certification "I hereby certify that the information I have given is true to the best of my knowledge and belief".

After finding hadit.com - I saw this written by a former rater and questioned whether we should have sent it in or not: This is nearly a no brainer but be honest. Don’t embellish your stories with fanciful tales. Just the facts please. Be able to document everything you tell the examiner. You may run into someone like me who checked stories out. If possible have letters from people you served with, unit diary copies of incidents that occurred during your time and space, and letters from family members. Family member letters usually don’t add a lot of weight to your case because families are there to support you and examiners understand that. Which can be found here: http://www.hadit.com/thingstodoatcandp.html

I have also been reading several decisions of the CAVC and have seen letters from family members mentioned in several of the cases. It seems that family letters are used by the VA for or against the vet. Several of the decisions I was reading made statements such as "this symptom or this condition was not even mention by the spouse/family member in their letter". So if one is going to write one - make sure that every contention/symptom is covered.

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I got letters from my wife and brother. They were both used as evidence in my decision to get TDIU. A buddy letter is different since it puts you at a time and place in a combat zone perhaps.

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You know, I feel dumb for not submitting one from my wife. I hadn't even thought about it until I was reading Asknod's book over the weekend. It was enlightening, and helped fill in some of the blanks that I had on how the process worked, including the spouse letter.


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