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Questions Regarding A Possible Claim For Tdiu


Let me begin by saying that this forum is a great resource for disabled vets like ourselves to get assistance. Thanks!

I was just approached by a neighbor last week regarding TDIU for myself.

I am rated 60% SC and have been for over 10 years. I'm 40% left knee [had three surgeries], 20% right knee [had two surgeries], 10% back pain [no surgeries....yet], 10% OCD [VA prescribed medication] plus 0%-10% for other SC ailments.

I have been unemployed since September 2008. I had to stop working my last job due to the fact I could not continue working due to the stress and strain on my knees and back. I have made NUMEROUS attempts over the last 1.5 years at finding other employment but have had no luck. Prolonged standing or frequent lifting causes me "issues". A few years back I was given custom-made knee braces from the VA for both knees for stability, which I wear almost daily. I have also been on daily pain meds (Vicodin) for the last 4-5 years, also VA prescribed by my VA PCP. This medication makes driving a vehicle to work everyday somewhat dangerous. Also, three years ago I was told by VA orthopedic surgeons that I am a candidate for bi-lateral knee replacements, but I declined having it done due to my younger age [i'm currently 37].

As for seeing doctors, I have only gone to VA doc's in the last 12 years since I have had a hard time getting health insurance from other resources. So, I only have documentation from the VA, not from other resources.

My questions for this forum are...

Besides filling out VAF 21-8940, what other things should I send with this form to help support my claim?

By submitting a TDIU claim, could the VA possibly require me to have bi-lateral knee replacement?

Am I just asking for trouble for myself by submitting a TDIU claim?

I'm a lifetime DAV member, but is there any other resources for help with this that I can get?

Thanks to anyone for assisting me with my questions and for any advice!


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"This medication makes driving a vehicle to work everyday somewhat dangerous."

If you havent filled out the TDIU form yet-I suggest you state Yes to # 18 and then apply for SSA disability benefits. and then under # 25 refer them to a separate page with your C file number, name and address on it and tell them any other info such as the vicodin side affects as you mentioned here.

"could the VA possibly require me to have bi-lateral knee replacement" that is a good question- but with

multiple sutgeries on your knees already maybe you are not a candidate for knee replacement.

Let them know how the OCD interferes with your employment too-

Has any VA doctor stated yet that your SCs prevent you from working? This is what the VA will need-

medical evidence that due to your SCs -you are unemployable.

Edited by Berta

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The VA can't require you to have any medical treatment. That is up to you. I think you should file for IU and SSD. Like Berta says you need a doctor to say you are IU because of your SC conditions. If you have been on vicodin for 5 years you also have a drug dependency . You find this out when you try and stop taking it. The dose you are taking is probably just enough for you to stay normal. Pain relief went out the window years ago unless you have been constantly increasing your dose.

If you take the vicodin as the doctor prescribes every eight hours you become dependent in a matter of months. If the VA suddenly decided they would not prescribe narcotics to out patients the street price of drugs like vicodin would soar. They have created tens of thousands of vets with drug dependency. They need to take responsibility for that. If you take the drug exactly as prescribed you will become dependent (physically addicted). This is just a chemical fact.

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Well, last year at my 2008 annual exam my VA PCP mentioned to me about IU, but I had just stopped working and figured I'd find something I could do. 1.5 years later, still no job. I saw him again in June 2009 and he suggested VocRehab as a way to get training for a job that allows me to sit all day. All VocRehab did was direct me to other employment resources. Needless to say, I have an appt. on Nov 16 with him again to discuss IU and see if he will write up something for me to submit along with VAF 21-8490. I have no plans to submit any medical documentation from my surgeries or other docs since the VA already has this inside my VA medical record.

Should I submit the IU form right now WITHOUT documentation from my VA PCP or should I wait til I see him on Nov. 16????

Also, is the VA likely to schedule me to see more docs to support my claim? Or should I do that myself BEFORE submitting VAF 21-8490???

Thanks again for any and all advice.


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Welcome to Hadit.

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Well, my body and mind could not wait, so I decided not to wait for my appointment on November 16th. They can get that information once my PCP enters it into my VA medical records. This morning I faxed all of my info to the DAV, which holds my Power of Attorney, in the Seattle VARO. Not two hours later they stated that it was turned into the appropriate department within the VA.

I submitted a 21-8940, a 21-4192 that I hand delivered and got completed by my previous employer, a personal letter of fact from my previous employer as well as a personal letter of fact from myself.

Now I just wait to hear when my appointments are with all the doctors they want me to see at the VA hospital.

Thanks for all the information and advice that I received on this forum. Hopefully I'll be able to reply back in a few months with some good news.


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