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    • Way to go BrocoVet! Nice catch.
    • Go ask the doctors office for a copy of the exam.  If his office sent it to VA, then go to your medical records release of information office and ask for a copy.  Sometimes, they wont release it right away, but many places do.  
    • I agree with Berta.  While a "current diagnosis" is required for service connection, the doctor makes that diagnosis, not a rater, and the Doctor decides if you meet the applicable criteria for a current diagnosis.  This is a clear "Colvin" (Colvin Derwinski) violation.  The VA judges can not substitute its own unsubstantiated medical opinion for that of a competent  medical professional.   The medical professional apparently made the diagnosis, the VA rater decided, instead,  you did not meet all the criteria for a diagnosis.  He just over ruled what the doc said, substituting his opinion for that of a medical professional.  If the doc says you are diagnosed with PTSD, then you are diagnosed with PTSD, and the rater can say that PTSD victims should not get benefits, because they have to run for political office, first.  This is CUE.   This is CUE.  
    • Berta, Thank you for the work you are doing to figure this out. Buck, Yes I was SC 50% for PTSD in 2015. I did file a NOD for the EED last month.
    • How dare you go to the ER unconscious?  This is against VA regulations.  What you need to do is wait until you either die, (VA's first choice)  or get well enough to call the VA first.    It is unacceptable for Veterans to get sick and need medical care right away, the VA expects you  to be well enough to get into a very long waiting list for benefits, or they dont want to pay. The long waiting list is mandantory, and, you, obviously just got sick for the purpose of avoiding the very long mandantory waiting list.  When you do things like this, you make it very hard for VA executives to earn their bonuses, as they have to pay for sick Veterans.  The VA's purpose is not to help sick Veterans, but, rather to ensure VA execs get their bonuses promplty.   

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Question

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!

Mark

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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.

Mark

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