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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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AF-1963

Va Requirements For Sc Disability

Question

Hello fellow Veterans. I am a newbie so this is my first post. I'm kinda nervous so please forgive any mistakes.

I was in the Air Force from Jul 63 to Jul 67 and have a couple questions for the VA experts.

First though I would like to commend the members of Hadit for your tremendously valuable service to veterans.

Here's a little background on me. I was severely abused psychologically and physically by a mean sadistic alcoholic father. Strangely, he was more sadistic when sober than drunk. I grew up on a farm in Nebraska and went to a High School that was 27 miles from home. Two weeks after I started High School he killed my mother with a shotgun, which was one month after I turned 14. The shooting was ruled accidental so there was no trial. I was at the High School campus when she died, but I am certain he intentionally shot her.

I joined the Air Force to get away from him and make something of myself. I planned to get my degree through correspondence courses and night school. I even thought about going to OCS. Unfortunately, my TI in Basic Training at Lackland AFB was a mean sadistic alcoholic. Many times when I or other members of our flight did something wrong, his punishment would be a judo punch to lower back muscles, kick the side of the knee, or slap the side of the head. This was done while marching to "help us remember our right from our left". Other times it was because we simply did or said something that pissed him off.

When I joined the Air Force I had no anxiety, fears or panic attacks. However, when I left Basic Training I was overwhelmed with anxiety, experienced anticipatory panic attacks, and had unfounded fears (criticism, failure, rejection) and was extremely terrified of any authority figure. During my four years in the service I saw psychiatrists for anxiety and unfounded fears, which is in my military medical records. I began self-medicating myself with beer, which led to 20 years of alcoholism and addiction to elavil. Thanks to my Lord and Savior, I have been mostly clean and dry since 1983.

Next month I will be 64 years old and I still have all the above symptoms plus severe bouts of depression. In August of 2001, I was laid off from my 14th job since leaving the Air Force in July of 1967. The official reason for my lay off was that the company was eliminating my job, which was providing technical and programming support to a $600 million annual account. Two weeks later they had another programmer at my desk servicing the same account. I had been on probation for almost 90 days, which was the real reason for my layoff. I was almost 56 so they were probably concerned about age discrimination.

The reason they put me on probation was because I was in a position where I had constant anticipatory panic attacks about failing and then having to explain why I failed to my manager. I usually managed to leave the other 13 jobs before they laid me off, but not this time.

After 9/11 the job market went in the toilet. I was receiving Unemployment Insurance, but my young Filipina wife was really on my case about being unable to find a job. In June of 2002, upon my psychiatrist's advice, I applied for Social Security Disability. On July 4, 2002, I had a nervous breakdown from having to remember everything and write it down. I was admitted to a psych ward for 6 days until my feelings were stabilized. The Dr. put me on some strong medication and I was able to submit the application. I was awarded SSA disability on the very first application.

Did I say a little background? Sorry for the rambling, but you may need this information to answer my questions.

In 1995 or 1996 (I'm trying to get my medical records for that period) I was going to a psychiatrist who was treating Viet Nam Veterans for PTSD. After hearing my story he diagnosed me as a severe case of Childhood PTSD. He deduced that my fear of authority figures came from the fact that the TI was able to physically punish me with impunity. He told me that I left Basic Training with the knowledge firmly embedded in my subconscious that anyone with authority would hurt me.

I was going to the psychiatrist while on medical leave from one of my jobs due to stress and anxiety. The Medical Insurance through my employer only covered 20 mental health visits and 30 days of out patient Group Therapy. I began seeing a psychiatrist at Hines VA Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, where I had to pay $50 a visit. Upon his advice, I applied only for VA Medical Benefits. The VA refused to give me Medical Benefits on the grounds that my disability was not service connected and my family income was above the Means Threshold for Cook County, Illinois.

OK, finally, here are my questions.

  • In what year did the VA include the verbiage that is similar to "or if preexisting was aggravated by the service" in the requirements for VA Compensation before they would determine if it was a preexisting disability that qualified for service connection?
    • In case the above clause was included before 1995, did the VA have a responsibility at that time to help me and advise me in acquiring service connection for my claim?

    [*]Could the VA simply wash their hands of me back then because that was pre-VCAA?

    Last year I learned from a friend of mine who is a 21-year Navy retiree that if my condition was preexisting and the military service aggravated the condition then I should file a claim for disability. I am currently living in the Philippines so I sent my application to the VRO in Manila on December 31, 2008. They had me take a psychological exam in May. I called the FOIA department in the Manila VRO last month regarding my Military Records and a lady told me she would send them to me when the Rating Officer finished my rating. I hope to have a response by the end of August. It takes from three to five weeks for a letter to travel by regular mail from Manila to Davao City on the Island of Mindanao, which is where I am living.

    Last year my Filipina wife went back to the US. She took our daughter and abandoned me here.

    I want everyone to know that I volunteered for Southeast Asia three different times, but was never accepted. Still, I feel guilty about applying for compensation when I was never in Viet Nam.

    Thanks everyone for listening to an old lonely vet.

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AF-1963

Welcome to Hadit.

First of all I believe that when the AF accepted you it sort of cleared the deck and that your service aggravated or made you worse. All the facts point to that. It is pretty much a fact that VA is going to try and weasel out saying it won't pay for a childhood disability.

In my opinion you are going to need a damn good Independent Medical Opinion that links your current condition to an aggravation of your pre existing PTSD or maybe better to go the route that you did not have panic attacks prior to service and it commenced during your service.

I believe that you have a valid claim if that means anything and I wish you good luck. I am sure other Hadit Members will have opinions.

While you are working on your claim please get treatment it will make things a lot easier.

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I want everyone to know that I volunteered for Southeast Asia three different times, but was never accepted. Still, I feel guilty about applying for compensation when I was never in Viet Nam.

AF-1963,

Welcome to Hadit.

Nothing for you to feel guilty about in applying for compensation.

We salute all of those that served in Viet Nam but it certainly is not

a requirement to apply and be awarded compensation for.

Since you are close to receiving a rating decision I would wait a bit

more on it before doing anything else.

I do see some high hurdles in your claim and hope you were able to jump them.

Wishing you the best.

carlie

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Hello.

Firstly, when you joined the U.S. Military, they accepted you, after you having passed the entrance physical, as being of sound mind and body. (you were perfectly fine and quite capable of dying for the USofA). If you did not tell them of your psychological history at that time, then it, essentially, did not exist, records-wise. Si'? See?

Secondly, you WERE quite capable of dying for the USofA, what they did with you, whether or not you were in a hole in the Nam, waiting for the shit to hit the fan, or whether you were peeling potatoes at Tinker AFB in Ok City, was up to THEM. Do Not Belittle Youself, but Be Proud.

Thirdly, does the VA have, in their possession, proof or an indication that you have been diagnosed with "childhood ptsd"?

Fourth, you can obtain a copy of your Service Medical Records and you should. This will not affect your claim (either delay it or derail it).

Fifth, you can obtain a copy of your psychological C&P (the one you had in May) without requesting your C-file (claims file, which WOULD slow your claim down).

But, you want to know and need to know what the examiner opined in May. Go to the Med Center where the exam took place and request a copy of your medical records.

They'll have you sign a form and then they'll just print the records out for you, probably while you wait.

Find this information out, and swiftly. Then read the examiners notes. Find out what he/she has to say vis a vis your exam and your "history", so you/we will know from what basis/information that they were working from.....and the wording of their findings (more likely, as likely, less likely to have been incurred or aggravated by your service). I, by-the-way, do not know when the "aggravated" clause came into existence, but it doesn't really matter, for they must make their decision on your claim WITH the "aggravated" scenario as it is NOW written, i.e. they have to find your disability was either caused OR aggravated by your service, and it really doesn't matter WHICH........either will serve to your benefit.

peace, bro

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If there is nothing in your military or VA medical files about childhood PTSD never mention that again to anyone at the VA. As far as you are concerned your childhood was perfect. The VA will try and put all your problems off on your childhood. They did it to me, but I got SC anyway after a fight.

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If there is nothing in your military or VA medical files about childhood PTSD never mention that again to anyone at the VA. As far as you are concerned your childhood was perfect. The VA will try and put all your problems off on your childhood. They did it to me, but I got SC anyway after a fight.

Thanks, John, that is what I wanted to tell him, but, I didn't want someone on here accusing me of, well, accusing me of whatever they might accuse me of..........like it happened to me once before. :angry:

Maybe old AF-1963'll be smart enough to keep his "PRE-service yap shut", maybe................

Edited by LarryJ

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