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    • Update 8, Pending decision approval New completion date; 08/02/2016  
    • Contact  Mary Ann Wentzell  and that's RMC  (Records Management Center) email= MaryAnn.Wentzell@va.gov she super Nice!
    • The S.A.V.E. Farm A gap exists between the need for new farmers in our country and a large potential population of new farmers that exists within our veteran and transitioning servicemember populations. The average age of farmers in the U.S. is approaching 60 with 40% over 65. Sixty-three percent (63%) of our farms may be in the last generation. Therefore succession planning is critical in the country's farming future. 2.3 million veterans and transitioning servicemembers are looking for a meaningful way to live life. A high percentage of them indicate an interest in farming. Therefore, a tremendous opportunity exists. To bridge the gap, a pathway to farming for our veterans and servicemembers is needed. Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education, or S.A.V.E farm, will bridge the gap providing a home-like training center where they can learn to farm and heal as they are brought into the culture of agriculture. Upon completion of training, transitioning servicemembers and veterans will be matched with mentor farmers with the potential to work on, manage or own a farm. View the full article
    • In the middle of a C&P exam for scars, the examiner didn't take any measurements. He sent a woman in after he left, to take photos of my scars.   I asked this person," Why didn't the examiner measure my scars?", as this was necessary to get a fair decision/rating. She left and in a short time the examiner returned.   I asked him the same question. He measured one scar on the back of my neck and none of the others. I even specifically pointed out the ones I wanted him to measure. He said that the rating officer will see the scars from my photos and that is mostly how they make their decision.   That isn't the rules on scar evaluation.   This guy was a P.A.   It was a bad omen when one of the first questions the examiner asked was," What is your current disability rating?" That made me feel like he was going to do all he could to make sure I would never reach 70% disability.   At the end of the exam he stated he was a veteran too.   When his assistant returned once again to take the photos, she began to tell me how my examiner was a really good guy and was serving in the Reserves currently. Took all I could do to bite my tongue and hold back and tell her how he did a hatchet job on my claims.   Finally.... forgot to mention..he checked my ankles range of motion without using a goniometer, or any form of test instrument. Then he proceeded to inform me that I needed to get a medical diagnosis of my ankle condition. I told him that I have an orthopedic appointment scheduled for my ankles the following week.   MY QUESTION IS: Will I have to wait and NOD/appeal the bad exam AFTER a decision has been made? Or is there an alternative such as writing a complaint and/or request a new exam before I get a rating?
    • I know what you mean. It took me about three years to go from 40% to 90% and then another year to hit 100% (backdated to original EED from five years earlier). The 90% hurdle is just probably the toughest for most veterans. It is pretty bad when the VA fails to read records properly (even typed ones) and causes all sorts of unnecessary anxiety and stress in the process. Despite still having heart issues, I have not won SC yet. The docs pulled me off of one heart medication that was actually making the problem worse and it put me into the 0% category. However, I do have two other claims that I know can be increased if I filed now. One would go from 30% to 40% and the other from 30% to 50%. I talk with my wife periodically about filing for all three, but she doesn't want me to rock the boat. She told me to wait until I retire.

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Hoppy

Smitty's Gerd Claim

4 posts in this topic

I am still alive. I have been battling a major lower back problem for over five months. Sitting was difficult. The computer became an enemy. The symptoms have almost completely resolved, so I will try to get back to the board. Smitty called me yesterday and told me he won service connection for his GERD claim at the second go around at the BVA. He is mailing me the decision. He says it is 25 pages. 25 pages and two denials for a pretty obvious (to me) valid claim. Basically the claim was awarded without any significant new medical evidence. Basically what it took was being persistent and connecting the dots for the raters. The trick was explaining to them that the C&P reports used as evidence against the claim on the two previous denials was based on the failure to make a diagnosis of GERD by the C&P examiners that had no legal merit and that the only significant evidence was the continuity of symptoms and diagnoses clearly established in the VAMC treatment notes and a DBQ written by the primary care doctor. On the previous denials they Gave weight to two C&P that said there was no objective evidence of GERD. There actually were several reports based on scientific tests showing reflux. Additionally, I found BVA cases where subjective complaints of GERD were sufficient even in the absence of scientific evidence. Smitty’s symptoms started in the military and continued without any significant interruption or resolution. These facts were well established in the VAMC treatment notes.

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Thank you Hoppy for connecting the dots, in a way, a first grader could follow. Thank you for helping me. I will be sending the descision letter to you.

Without you, Hoppy, I would have been another disgruntled vet that the VA swept under the rug. Again sir, thank you!!



Thank you Hoppy for connecting the dots, in a way, a first grader could follow. Thank you for helping me. I will be sending the descision letter to you.

Without you, Hoppy, I would have been another disgruntled vet that the VA swept under the rug. Again sir, thank you!!

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Hoppy.. Glad to see you posting again. You give excellent advice.

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Well, according to the VA, I called yesterday to get an update, I was assigned a 0 percent rating. After 5 years of denials,BVA,AMC,BVA, and finally conceded by the BVA. I am happy it was SC, however, with the treatment records, multiple endoscopy reports, and the outstanding DBQ filled out by my PCP, I will get a 0 percent rating. I wrote my congressman, Jeff Miller< to have his office look into WTF. I have looked at the CFR to get an idea of how they should have rated it. If I understand correctly, there is no code for GERD. I understand that they rate it analgalously with Hiatal Hernia because the symptoms are so close. I was denied tha Hiatal Hernia claim by the BVA, but awarded GERD, and Gastric ulcer. Looks like this is going to be another 5 year battle. I want to also thank HOPPY, for all his help,experience and input into this claim. I dont feel I would have made it through the BS without him. Although this is a bit premature, as the guy at the VA said it was in the authoization phase, I feel LOW BALLED!

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