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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Patrick1

Anything For Mom

Question

Hi all-

I am new to this forum and in need of any assistance. Here is the deal, my father had been rated 100% disabled by the VA off an on for years. He then had his 100% rating for about 6 consecutive years when he passed away. They listed NC on the death certificate. My mother took care of him the entire time and did not work. Now she has been denied benefits because he was not rated 100% disabled for I think 8 consecutive years is what they said.(how can this really be a law?) So now she has no income and no health insurance. The VA is saying tuff. I dont know what I can do... Any ideas?

Any responses very much appreciated

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Is there any possibility his death was due to any SC condition- causing or contributing to death?

Can you tell us what his SC % was for and what he died from?

Even though VA denied on direct SC death- perhaps there is something they overlooked?

That is the reg in 38 USCS 1318- it is ten continuous years at 100% SC - then VA awards the survivor DIC benefits, unless they can succeed in a direct SC death claim.( meaning proving death was caused or contributed to by SC disability.

I assume they denied her a pension?

If he was wartime veteran and her income met the income limits guidelines, they should have awarded her a pension.

Does she have his complete SMRs and medical records?

A long time ago the VA denied my direct SC claim many times. They did award me DIC under 1151 (malpractice causing death). But I continued with the direct SC death claim and was recently awarded direct SC death.

This goes to show that persistence pays off in gathering all medical evidence possible and in my case I had 3 strong independent medical opinions as well as other significant evidence.

It took 14 years all in all but this is my point- that there might be something the VA overlooked -evidence wise.And something that you or your mom overlooked in his medical records.

But there also might be no possibility at all of DIC but I am concerned as to the pension-if they denied it-and why.

Is there any way your mom could prove by medical evidence that he should have been SC at 10% for ten years?

"Here is the deal, my father had been rated 100% disabled by the VA off an on for years. He then had his 100% rating for about 6 consecutive years when he passed away."

Off and on? I think that could be the key in getting a ten year rating. What did the VA say regarding the prior awards?

when the 100% was not on-going-why not ?

How could a vet be 100% on and off? Did VA reduce him or just cut off his comp?

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Berta-

Thanks so much for the reply. My dad had PTSD and was on a ton of medications. He was rated a 100% then he would have a hearing and if he said he was feeling ok they would take it away.. it was such a mess. They denied because they put natural causes on the death certificate and my mom did not have an autopsy done. Since it wasnt SC related and he wasnt 100% for 10 consecutive years then denied it. I wrote a letter stating my father should have been rated 100% all along and of course they responded that I "allege" that. They wanted medical proof.. We have alot of his medical paperwork, I am just not sure how to prove he should have been rate 100% all along. My father really died from a heart attack which could have been caused by the medication he was taking, also he couldnt exercise due to that medication and his condition.

What are SMRS?

Is there any possibility his death was due to any SC condition- causing or contributing to death?

Can you tell us what his SC % was for and what he died from?

Even though VA denied on direct SC death- perhaps there is something they overlooked?

That is the reg in 38 USCS 1318- it is ten continuous years at 100% SC - then VA awards the survivor DIC benefits, unless they can succeed in a direct SC death claim.( meaning proving death was caused or contributed to by SC disability.

I assume they denied her a pension?

If he was wartime veteran and her income met the income limits guidelines, they should have awarded her a pension.

Does she have his complete SMRs and medical records?

A long time ago the VA denied my direct SC claim many times. They did award me DIC under 1151 (malpractice causing death). But I continued with the direct SC death claim and was recently awarded direct SC death.

This goes to show that persistence pays off in gathering all medical evidence possible and in my case I had 3 strong independent medical opinions as well as other significant evidence.

It took 14 years all in all but this is my point- that there might be something the VA overlooked -evidence wise.And something that you or your mom overlooked in his medical records.

But there also might be no possibility at all of DIC but I am concerned as to the pension-if they denied it-and why.

Is there any way your mom could prove by medical evidence that he should have been SC at 10% for ten years?

"Here is the deal, my father had been rated 100% disabled by the VA off an on for years. He then had his 100% rating for about 6 consecutive years when he passed away."

Off and on? I think that could be the key in getting a ten year rating. What did the VA say regarding the prior awards?

when the 100% was not on-going-why not ?

How could a vet be 100% on and off? Did VA reduce him or just cut off his comp?

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SMRs Service Medical Records

They can be obtained by your mother with a SF 180 form- Google the NARA web site (National Archives) and the form is under the Military Records Section.

PTSD has been associated as contributing to death in some cases.

I had a claim like that myself after I filed a Section 1151 claim.

That type of claim would take a strong independent medical opinion (you might even need one from both a psychiatrist and a cardiologist) to show with full medical rationale that his SC PTSD contributed to his death.

If the medcication he took for PTSD contributed to his death -that too would be a possible way to get DIC under Section 1151 regs.

That too would need medical evidence.

It can be done. I proved the VA made errors in medication that contributed to my husband's death.

Also -I hope your mother has all of his past rating decisions- I suggest she write to VA for a copy of his C file

as she also has potential to prove DIC under the ten year rule.

She would have to prove (and this might need to be a CUE claim-if he didnt appeal some of these decisions)that the medical evidence of record proved that he should have been 100% continuously for ten years prior to death.

Was he an incountry Vietnam veteran?

Was he ever diagnosed with diabetes?

Did the Death certificate give more details such as atherosclerotic heart disease?

Was the VA treating him for heart disease?

She needs to follow any time lines on the denial to prepare a NOD and could obtain a lawyer.I assume she still is within the one year NOD filing time frame.She will need copies of all clinical medical records, his SMRs and his complete C file.

She could file claims on all above bases.

She is going to need -in my opinion- a strong medical opinion to succeed- and they can be very costly- but a good IMO could cover one if not all of the above situations that could have caused his death.

The main focus of this all is how did his PTSD cause or contribute to his death-

was his blood pressure poorly controlled -therefore causing additional heart disease?

did he have heart disease from undiagnosed diabetes? which could have been from AO?

If VA gave him medical care and diagnosed and treated his heart disease, were the meds for CAD counterindicated by the PTSD medications?

Without an autopsy this will be difficult but nothing is impossible.

AN IMO is an expensive chance to take sometimes too- as it is good idea to know with little doubt that a costly IMO will support a claim like this.

What NSC rating did he have for his heart disease?

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to add- The file and his medical records are more important than obtaining the SMRs-for the DIC-

but always good to have them-

I assume -since most PTSD vets were wartime vets- and you said your mom's income was so limited- did the VA deny the pension claim for her or are they still working on it?

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is there any dic a widow can recive when the vet died 20 years ago and was getting retirement? they were getting his retirement pay and after his death she got cut off and started on SS.

altho

the widow is on SS but not enough to make ends meet, However sinse her hubby did not sign up for the insurance while he was living is there any chance for this widow ro get any help from the va? now/ 20 years later.

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