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  2. SAH/SHA Grant

    I am no expert of course, but it sounds like you really have your bases covered. Perhaps there is a quick decision because of the lack of research the VA has to do in the claim. I will also say from my experiences that the process now is much quicker than it was back in 2007. My VSO put in for several increases for me about 3 months ago. About 2 weeks after the claims were put in i was called to have a c&p exam. Then about 4 weeks after that i saw the claim as completed online. Good Luck!
  3. Hello, I was a combat medic working primarily in 8" howitzer artillery and MLRS rocket battalions in both TOT fire missions and forward observation roles, in Europe back in the very early nineteen eighties. Additionally, I worked as was a flight medic and and ground medic at Ft. Benning Georgia supporting the Ranger training facility as well as the air born jump school. Both duty stations provided for very loud working environments. The 8" artillery generated extremely loud concussive sounds, while the MLRS created a huge sonic boom sounds immediately as the rockets were launched. (usually all 12 of them). While working in forward observation of the impact area, I was exposed to constant concussive noises from a variety of weapons systems ranging from aircraft born bombs, rockets, close support Avenger 30MM from A10's, as well as run of the mill artillery and morter impacts. I was also assigned duties at firing ranges for Bradly, M60, M1, AA artillery, demolition and medium machine gun (50 cal and smaller M60s) and law rocket ranges. As a rule, particularly in Germany, hearing protection was not widely available and when it was, the yellow foam compressible ear plugs were the only thing available. Never was I informed prior to a fire mission taking place, it just suddenly happened (frequently TOT fire missions, involving multiple guns simultaneously). Years prior to applying for SC hearing loss, I had purchased and wore hearing aids. Around two thousand ten, I met a County Veteran Service Officer and a hearing impaired social worker while representing the company that I worked for, while attending a Veterans employment seminar. The meeting with the County VSO and social worker eventually led me to apply for SC for hearing loss, which was approved in about nine months or so. At that time, I was service connected with 20% Bilateral hearing loss and 10% tinnitus = 30%, due to high frequency noise induced hearing loss. From that time until now, my hearing loss has progressively gotten much worse and I have twice out grown my hearing aids. I now wear super power hearing aids with custom clamshell ear molds provided by the VA. Mid last year, I applied for an (increase) in my SC hearing loss which was approved. My service connected loss is now rated at 50% Bilateral hearing loss and 10% tinnitus = 60% total. Interestingly, about a year and a half or two years ago, I began having uncontrollable and random bouts of debilitating vertigo, pressure in my ears and unbelievable tinnitus. Additionally, VA audiology exams showed that my low frequency hearing that WAS pretty good, was now getting very bad on each audiological exam. As a long distance runner, cyclist and swimmer, the vertigo became such a problem I could not longer run nor ride my bike safely so I sold my equipment and no longer run bike or swim. More recently, it has become such a problem I (my family actually) have limited my driving to almost nothing. Initially, I thought the vertigo was caused by one or more of my VA prescribed behavioral health medications, eg; Buprorion, Dulxeteine, Trazadone, Prazosin, Naltrexon, Clonidine to name a few. After my behavioral health doctors tried many versions of medications and dosages without improvement of the vertigo, I was eventually referred to a VA ENT in Francisco. The ENT has recently determined that I have Meniere's disease and is treating me with water pills and anti nausea medications along with a revised diet. In about two months, I am scheduled have a VNG and caloric testing in order to measure the severity of the Meniere's disease during diet and medication management. I have researched the connection between concussive noise exposure and Meniere's disease, however I have not found any medical article that; indicates or contraindicates, a connection. I have seen BVA appeals that have awarded SC for Meniere's disease which was diagnosed while the service member was in the military, but not many cases post military. Medical articles do exist that point to a connection and or higher likelihood between NIHL and Meniere's disease, however just about all research regarding this disease is theoretical and doctors simply do not have many specific causes for this disease. So finally, the question; Considering I am currently SC at 60% for NIHL/Tinnitus, would it be reasonable or prudent to apply for SC for Meniere's disease? My concern is that if my hearing loss continues to decline (which is usually the case with Meniere's disease) the VA may conclude that my hearing loss is simple due to Meniere's disease, and not NIHL, effectively reducing my SC to zero? Thanks in advance
  4. Today
  5. On 08/07/17 I applied for the housing grants and my claim is already at pending decision approval, so I'm not really sure what to make of the quick turnaround. I am rated 100% P and T with SMC L for PTSD, 40% for Fibromyalgia, 10% for left elbow lateral epicondylitis with painful motion of the forearm, 10% for left elbow lateral epicondylitis with painful motion of the elbow, and 0% for IBS. (Yep, as the blue shows, I'm copy and pasting from ebenefits) When I applied, I included this statement: "I had a compensation and pension exam for Fibromyalgia (among other issues) with a Dr. X on 08/12/2015. Dr. X findings from this exam led to a rating of 40% from the VBA. 40% is the highest value the VA will place on Fibromyalgia, despite as noted in Dr. X exam that my condition exhibits widespread musculoskeletal pain and tender points, with fatigue, sleep disturbance, stiffness, irritable bowel symptoms, depression, and anxiety that are constant, or nearly so, and refractory to therapy. As X exam explicitly states, "vet has daily pain in all large muscle groups limiting any exertional activiites." These large muscle groups most certainly include those found in the arms and legs. Also, as it is noted in the exam and VBA criteria for a 40% rating, the Fibromyalgia must be "refractory to therapy," which essentially means "incurable," so in other words, my Fibromyalgia is permanent." Any opinions on the quick turn around and what the possible reason is?
  6. As indicated, the VA does not "have" to defend against you, they can award the benefit sought. This is good to know. I think this is part of what Berta was talking about when she "asked VA to CUE themselves". At least "some of the time", Va will admit the decision is in error and not force the Vet to go through the apppeals process. This should be done MORE often, maybe much more, to reduce appeals backlog. Once in a while we hear the VA will say things like, "well if you drop the xx claim, we will award the Y benefit". Usually, when VA does negoitiate like this, they realize they are in a weak defensive position. It makes sense to me: My attorney asked me to drop the sleep apnea claim, While I did not want to do this, I did know that it was a very rough issue to prove, as there was no such thing as sleep apnea diagnosis in the 70's, and I did not have documentation of snoring in service. I knew I had to go secondary, that is sleep apnea secondary to depression. I did discuss this very issue with a private sleep doc, who went so far as to say that depression/PTSD has the same symptoms as sleep apnea, so they are as related as birthday candles and a birthday cake.
  7. Is the I-9 filed on this?: https://community.hadit.com/topic/70087-va-gives-100-in-one-letter-and-the-next-letter-they-propose-to-cut-it/#gsc.tab=0
  8. I found this In section M28R, Part III, Section C, Chapter 3 March 8, 2013.. 6. Receipt of VA Form (VAF) 9, Appeal to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals The receipt of a properly completed VAF 9 is considered a substantive appeal. (a) The VREO must ensure that VACOLS is updated with receipt of the substantive appeal. (b) Additionally, the entire record must be reviewed to determine if further development is required. (c) If further development is determined not required, the VREO must ensure that one of the following actions is taken: • Award the benefit sought • Prepare the case for review by the Board of Veterans Appeals (BVA) • Determine if the appeal is deficient in specification of errors of fact or law
  9. Caluza Triangle questions

    Thanks Berta
  10. VOLUNTEER DECK LOG READERS NEEDED! We are continuing with our project of reviewing ship Deck Logs for those ships that were in certain locations off the coast of Vietnam. We need volunteers to read the Deck Logs and to record the various Latitudes and Longitudes that were entered within the daily location readings and from within the text entries for each day the ship was in the Theater of Combat. Familiarity with Microsoft Excel and Word (or similar spread sheet and word processing programs) is required. The purpose for this project is to prepare for the eventual expansion of the presumptive exposure area for herbicides in Vietnam. That situation does not exist now, but we are staying one step ahead of the curve. The “assignments” of Deck Logs are random, and are small tasks, allowing the reader to complete each assignment quickly and to choose to continue or not, following each completion. Your help with this project is critical. Any interested parties please email decklogsproject@yahoo.com
  11. I agree with Gastone, we were both on line here at the same time....maybe we can help more with the redacted info he mentioned, as attached to this post.He is right as to the N & M evidence.
  12. As far as I know , very few (if any) claims have turned around after the I-9 was filed. I had one claim,set for BVA transfer, that I got awarded by a VARO.The only reason that happened was that the claim ( an SMC CUE claim and an IHD CUE claim )had been sitiing at my AOJ for 6 years by then , and I wrote to the Nehmer RO (who had my AO IHD death claim) that the CUE claims were contingent on the IHD claim and that it had been filed years prior to the AO claim and that it should be resolved. The Nehmer VARO awarded the CUEs and the AO IHD death claim. If you or your lawyer had submitted probative evidence after they issued a SOc, or SSOC, within the deadlines, or asked for a Denovo DRO review---maybe the claim will get a new look. In my opinion the VA is happy to get a I-9 because that means the claims gets off their desk....... Still I would not count on it. Part of the instructions for the I-9 include: In part: "Block 9. Use this block to tell us why you disagree with the decision made by your local VA office. Tie your arguments to the issues you identified in Block 8. Tell us what facts you think VA got wrong and/or how you think VA misapplied the law in your case. Try to be specific. If you are appealing a rating percentage your local VA office assigned for one or more of your service-connected disabilities, tell us for each service-connected disability rating you have appealed what rating would satisfy your appeal (The SOC, or SSOC, includes information about what disability percentages can be assigned for each disability under VA's "Rating Schedule.") You may want to refer to the specific items of evidence that you feel support your appeal, but you do not have to describe all of the evidence you have submitted. The Board will have your complete file when it considers your case. " etc etc I feel if there is evidence that the VA misapplied VA case law or regulations to your claim, that is something the response to the SOC should have covered.If they ignored probative evidence, that too should be raised with the SOC response.Or they can be asked to CUE themselves on any illegal decision,to your detriment, right away. I am a little surprised that a lawyer would suggest , at the point of filing an I-9 that the claim could turn around, when they read it...if they even read it. The BVA, on the other hand, will read everything.
  13. How about posting redacted pdfs of the Decision Award/Denial letters and the SOC? Is there any written discussion regarding "T & P?" Was your recent Award determined by a DRO? What is the focus of your continued Appeal? With any New Decision, there is always the possibility of a VA Rating Dept Quality Review (QR) of the Denial or Award. I had a 07/15 Increase Denial reversed by mid 12/15 QR. Then there's always the possibility of the Vet's Post-Decision submission of New & Material Evidence. All N & M E would require a Review by the Rating Dept prior to the Vet's C-File being Certifed and transferred to the BVA for Docketing. This Review of the N & M E could result in an Award at the RO level. Did your Lawyer opine regarding his statement as to a possible early Award? Semper Fi
  14. Congratulations! The most likely time for that to happen is if you submitted new and material evidence. You see, Va is supposed to "reopen" the claim with N and m evidence. That evidence can be compelling, sometimes. Or, sometimes VA does cue themselves and, beleive it or not promptly fixes their errors. Its almost like winning the lottery. We just need to see this more often. Most of the time, if there is an error in the decision, the VA "defends" the error, even when its indefensable. Supreme Court Justice, Roberts, was "suprised" when he found out that Va takes a position against the VEt that is "substantially unjustified" over 60 percent of the time. This normally means that EAJA pays the attorney fees. However, I will be suprised if the EAJA will pay attorney fees when your RO awards benefits. This may signal a new trend, even tho its a good one, Vets may not like it that much. Maybe the VA is saving EAJA fees by awarding the claim at the RO level. Its all just a guess as to what the VA is thinking. People always ask me, "Why did the VA do this?" Im lucky if I can tell you why I did something let alone the VA.
  15. Rootbeer -the VA is counting on us to get so fed up and frustrated that we give up. When I finally got my first DIC award, I questioned it to the vet rep I had and he said 1151 DIC awards were different than other awards, and he thought that is why they didnt consider SMC. 1998 In 2003 my daugther, a vet herself, insisted I re-open my claim. She bugged me for months to do that. She wanted me to file for direct SC death due to undiagnosed DMII.I didnt want to deal with them again.The 1151 claim had been miserable and the RO even denied it after getting my FTCA settlement papers.They finally awarded because I raised hell with the OGC.( I called them and said they owed me more money so they got the RO to properly make an award.) The DM11 claim , filed in 2003, took 6 years to resolve, and be awarded.It trumped the 1151 DIC and offered many ancillary benefits I did not have under 1151. My daughter was right. But I didnt even want to file it at all. I was looking for more malpractice than I had found for the FTCA award.And I found more. It was during the course of gathering my evidence for the 2003 claim, that I filed the SMC CUE and IHD CUE claims. The 1998 decision kept bothering me , the more I worked on the DMII claim. My former vet rep (who didnt do squat for the 1151 claim), told me not to file a NOD on the 1998 claim. He was wrong. I should have never listened to him. I know how miserable and stressful all of this can be. Broncovet is right, to think about hiring an attorney. Many vet attorneys will even assess the claim via email....
  16. PTSD/MST C&P Exam

    Any chance you could post a redacted pdf of the Denial Letter? The Evidence Considered, as well as the Rater's discussion of the Denial Decissionwould be very helpful in understanding your Appeal prospects. Have you received a Statement of Case (SOC) yet? As I recall, the VA Rater determines the veracity of an Inservice unreported MST Claim primarily by focusing on a List of Certain Historical "Markers," to include such things as noted personality and performance changes both in and out of Service. Hadit member NavyNurse had a very informative MST/PTSD posting in 2016, give it a read. Semper Fi
  17. My lawyer just submitted the substantive appeal (form 9) to the RO, he stated that they will grant or send the claim to the BVA. I didn’t know they can still grant the claim at the form 9 step.. how often do they grant your appeal after submitting the form 9 to them? Thank you..
  18. Caluza Triangle questions

    One way to do this, which is my preferred method, is to turn it over to an attorney, then dont worry about it....do something else with your life. This is almost as stress free as just dropping your claim. Unfortunately, this does not work if you turn it over to an attorney and then "take it back", that is, if you REALLLY dont turn it over to an attorney but try to "manage" what the attorney does. When I get a letter from VA, I email. my attorney and make sure she got it. Then I dont care what she does with the letter. If you try to " micromange" the attorney, its even more stressful: "Gee (attorney), why did you 'drop' sleep apnea and, by the way, why haven't you filed a writ of mandamus? Oh, and I didnt get a copy of the the most recent c and p exam, so send it to me so we can decide if we will challenge that exam or not."
  19. Caluza Triangle questions

    Hey Bronco, I am actually waiting on an NOD, my first claim was denied, I sent in new and Material evidence and they requested more information from my Psychologist which she then sent in another 38 pages of treatment records. I have all the Nexus letters, DBQ's etc, I am just waiting for a result and then I guess I will just decide what to do from there. This claim and appeal stuff gets very frustrating and I don't know If I will continue to pursue it if the NOD gets denied, it is very mentally taxing for me, and shouldn't be for anyone.
  20. Caluza Triangle questions

    I agree with Berta. I had the Caluza triangle in 2002 but got denied anyway, because VARO made stuff up as a reasons and bases for denial that were NOT in the Caluza triangle. Most Vets who win benefits NOT ONLY have the Caluza triangle elements, but they also persist on the appeals until they win. Those are the keys: 1. Get the Caluza triangle. 2. Persist until you win. If you get denied (likely), you have to file a nod within a year, and it has to be on the proper form.
  21. PTSD/MST C&P Exam

    Hi Hockeymom The reviewer will not ask for a C&P if you dont meet specific steps along the way. If they do not see enough evidence to document the MST, they will not ask for the C&P. What evidence did you provide? If the notes you talked about in your service medical records didn't state anything about the event, then what else did you provide? Usually your detailed statement is one thing that would be lay evidence, which is evidence in its own right. But if that's all you have, it is a hard pull. Does anyone else know? Did you tell a family member, and did they give you a statement? Do you have any contacts with friends that you had back then that knew about this, that could give you a statement also? When there is nothing in your medical history, no reports of the event from law enforcement, and nothing else in your personnel record that would indicate any type of MST occurred, you have to start putting together as much lay evidence as you can...that is statements of people you told about the event. Stick with your legal team also, once they are on the case they should stay put.
  22. Yesterday
  23. You're absolutely right. It appears we've been had. This hotline is indeed a ruse and a complaint to it does not result in the White House itself, ensuring that the health care needs of the veteran are met. I've been advised more than once that it is merely a "call center" and the representative directs the complaint to the Chief of Staff of whichever VA Hospital you've complained about. The Chief of Staff then consults with the very same doctors who have neglected or abandoned the health care of the veteran. This is what happened to me as recently as two weeks ago. I have a rare condition called mandibular hyperplasia and maxillary hypoplasia, which in English, means that the left bone which connects my mandible to my skull, grew longer than the right, the joint grew bigger than the right and my maxilla didn't grow as much as my mandible. This has caused an asymmetric facial deformity, impaired my speech, masticatory function and not to mention, aggravated my major depression and anxiety, conditions which all oral surgeons involved, are aware that I am TDIU for. I have been trying to utilize funding from the VA, to seek care outside of the same, for on or about two years now. It started in Boston where one doctor tried for at least a year to secure this funding to avail and continued to New York. I have had to run from private oral surgeon to oral surgeon, only to be turned away once they figure out how extensive, thus expensive, restorative surgery would be. As I understand it, Medicaid doctors are only paid thirty three cents for every dollar. As a result, at each private doctor, I was sent out the door with all of my images, write ups, models and so forth, but denied explicit diagnoses or surgery. I contacted the hotline as a last resort. The first time I called, the VA closed the complaint with an email I was never made aware of, until the second call, wherein I acquired about a status. At least a month after the second, I received a phone conference from the Chief of Staff, the very oral surgeon who argued with me and refused to treat me and I suppose the go-between. Although I had submitted radiographic images including an ICAT, CBCT, results of an MRI, SPECT scan, scholarly literature on my condition and a private doctor literally diagnosing me with condylar hyperplasia on paper, the Chief of Staff informed me that nothing was going to be done. He said that the VA doctors, had spoken to the private doctors- mind you without my approval under HIPPA- and as a result, they saw no need for surgery. When I asked him based on the explicit write-ups of the doctors and the literal diagnosis what was going to be done, he replied, "Nothing". When I asked what my diagnosis was according to what I had sent them, he said, "You don't have a diagnosis." They were all very arrogant and apathetic, speaking in smug, condescending tones, no doubt confident that their lack of action would not be called into account. So you're right. This hotline is a hoax and does nothing to alleviate the mouse-in-a-maze treatment a veteran gets when doctors make decisions personally, instead of professionally. CBCT ASSESSMENT DESCRIBING SYMPTOMS OF UNILATERAL CONDYLAR HYPERPLASIA OF THE MANDIBLE.pdf
  24. Well I spoke with my psychologist, ( a va psychologist ) I am not sure honestly how straightforward she was with her answer. She said there is a connection of sleep apnea causing depression but not of depression causing sleep apnea. I am not sure if i should proceed with this simply because i feel they are likely to say its not service related and i hear appealing is more difficult. On that note the VA psychologist had also asked me why my VSO was trying to get sleep apnea as service connected when i have a few other problems ( but they are truly not service related which i told her ) and said it seemed like they were fishing. That along with what i have read online ( which yes i know not the best source of information ) makes me wonder. I am wondering if i should hire a private psychologist to evaluate and form an opinion or if the va would not care much for their opinion.
  25. Caluza Triangle questions

    Berta, Hi that's what worries me. It seems like I have everything in order, even had a VSR call me a few weeks ago asking questions about a truck accident I responded to but never listed as a stressor and that was the only stressor he asked about. The main stressor I listed was an aircraft accident I was involved in and he just said yes we have all the nexus letters and DBQ's etc and all the other information they requested from my Psychologist, so I have no clue. I then asked how long till it would be completed and he said he would give it to the DRO and it would be done in about a week, but that was weeks ago so I sit and worry. I honestly don't think I will able to pursue it any more if I get denied again it is way to stressful mentally for me as well as my family if that makes sense.
  26. Hadit Hadit

    I did not discover that till much later. I had just had it!
  27. Outsourcing C&Ps

    The VA will group PTSD with TBI always because they can. I'm in the same boat, my TBI came first, and the VA will say other wise with their own C&P examiners. Seems that you should hire Dr. Bash to get this separated since he is a Radiologist. Also, I have been reading some of your threads, as I am not mocking you in anyway, but I think you should consider paying a freshly graduated business student from the university in your area to completely assist you with organizing your complete medical file. This graduate will not only help you out but will even help organize your thoughts into an outstanding well written concise APA format essay that will help significantly reduce the cost and time that Dr. Bash will have to do by reviewing this claim. I speak of Berta's two IMOs having done her "homework" turning it into a well thought out, organized, and written file then submitting it off to Dr. Bash. Furthermore this is the same process that many top MBA/JD/MD prospects (myself included for my MBA) go through before sending off their application and getting accepted to their top school.
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