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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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BMCS00

Question For Meddac

Question

MEDDAC,

You seem to know what you are talking about, and I appreciate the time you spend on here explaining things to other veterans, I hope you can lend some insight for me. I have a question, but first the background;

I currently have a claim in for service connection for carpal tunnel syndrome (submitted June 2008). It was in my claim back in 2000, which was put in right before I retired. I know the rules now are that if a veteran has a diagnosis within a year of discharge, it can be service-connected.

I had complaints of problems with my fingers going numb while I was on active duty. Within 3 months of my retirement, I had a nerve conduction study done, and got the diagnosis then. I provided that to the VA, but was turned down nonetheless. I had another nerve conduction study done last year, and it came back as moderate on my right (dominant side), and mild on my left. I put in to have my claim for carpal tunnel syndrome reopened with the new evidence. It was enough 'new evidence' to reopen my claim.

Say they do make service-connection for bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, and award more than 0%, since they reopened my original claim, will the retro go back to 2000 when I originally put in for it, or last year when I requested my claim be reopened?

By the way, I do have a good DAV service officer, she is located at the Togus VA center, one floor down from the VSO's. She just called me a couple weeks ago and told me she was sending me a letter to sign for the VA to change my 'Request for Reconsideration' (which was for a different issue) to a NOD in order to preserve the effective date. If she had not done that, I imagine my year would have or could have come and gone and I might well have lost my effective date. Latest status, my claim is ready to be rated with a suspense date of June 8th. She explained that suspense date as merely a reminder in 60 days to the raters that my claim is still on their plate. I was concerned they were waiting another 60 days for something.

Thanks,

--Jim

Life is good! :)

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4 answers to this question

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If your 2000 claim was final then the only way to get retro back to that date is to file a CUE. You won't get effective date back to 2000 if you re-open a claim in 2008.

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As I recall (which isn't that good these days) the item was deferred. The first 6 items on my claim were decided, the rest were deferred. This item was past number 6, so if that's final then I'll have to do a cue.

Thanks,

--Jim

Life is good! :)

Edited by BMCS00

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If this claim was originally submitted in 2000 and then deferred you need to take a look at all of the letters you have received from the VA.

Normally once deferred, the VA acts kinda quickly as they are simply waiting on another C&P etc...... I assure you that they do not defer a claim for eight years without requesting more medical evidence from the veteran or running you through another exam.

Now with all of that said, there have been cases where a deferred claim fell through the cracks and was never rated (this has been the case on all types of claims - initial, reopened etc...)

So a couple or three things could result here:

-Your deferred claim was rated and denied. In this case your claim date will be the 2008 date. I suspect this is the case since you asked that the claim be reopened and from what I take from your post the VA came back and stated that you did in fact have new and material evidence to reopen the claim.

-If the above is the case and this time around they approve the claim, then you could possibly find a CUE which would allow you to submit a CUE claim asking for an earlier effect date.

-Search your files for the denial to the original claim. If you do not have it ask the VA for a copy of it. If they can not produce it then cry foul and inform them that the claim is still open as it was never rated. This could possibly allow you to receive an effective date back to the original claim. It will depend on the evidence that was available at the time of the original claim.

It will take a bit of your time but your research could prove to be valuable to you. Good luck

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There were several items 'deferred', and no further C&P appointments were made. I was told they were automatically closed after 1 year of deferment, and that's why I had to have them reopened. The wording on that rating decision letter said it was deferred pending VCAA development. VCAA was new that year, so my gut tells me it fell through the cracks.

I am guessing I will have to go through the CUE process for the EED. Last year my DAV rep filed an informal claim as to the status of those items. That is when I got denied (because I had not provided any new evidence at that point). Until I got the denial, I didn't realize what an informal claim was. Either way, it was my first denial.

So, long story short, I rounded up all my medical evidence and submitted a request for service connection and a request for reconsideration last year. Should have an answer soon, but soon is never soon enough.

Thanks,

--Jim

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