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Advice On How To Handle Next Steps


I've had a claim in for a year for SC left knee and left ankle problems secondary to right knee SC problem. I was already rated 40% for the right knee after I got a knee replacement in 2003. Since then I have developed arthritis in my left knee and I broke my left ankle last year in a fall caused by my SC right knee giving way. I fall a lot.

I received the award letter yesterday. They awarded 10% for the left knee arthritis and 10% for the internal fixation in my left ankle. They denied additional compensation for my right knee and denied IU. My new rating is 50%.

My issue is that my right knee and left ankle are worse than months ago when I went to C&P and got documentation from private doctors. A new MRI shows traumatic arthritis in my ankle and my VA PPO doctor thinks that the pain I have is caused by nerve damage in the ankle. He prescribed a drug that is supposed to help with nerve damage. It does help some and I can walk short distances with a cane but it hurts like hell later. My right knee replacement is failing due to the additional weight I have been putting on it since my left ankle injury and motion causes pain in my knee. I haven't been able to work for about 15 months and I am 62.

My question is what approach should I take to continue my claim? I know I need to go back to specialists for new diagnosis. Is there a way I can get back in the VA queue and not have to wait 2 years for an appeal since I just got the letter?

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4 answers to this question

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Do you receive SSA disability for these conditions?

If not have you applied for it?

Has any doctor sdtated that these conditions render you unemployable?

What was the way the VA worded the denial of TDIU?

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"My question is what approach should I take to continue my claim? I know I need to go back to specialists for new diagnosis. Is there a way I can get back in the VA queue and not have to wait 2 years for an appeal since I just got the letter?"

I suggest you file for a Reconsideration ASAP- and use the specialists opinion if you get that soon-

we need more info here to help with that-do you have a vet rep ?

I also suggest you invest some of the retro in an IMO.

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I do get SSDI. Social Security includes a total shoulder replacement that is not service connected.

I don't think that any of my medical documentation to the VA used the word "unemployable". The wording on the VA denial is "we denied entitlement to the 100% rate because it wasn't shown that you are unable to work as a result of your service connected disability/disabilities."


"entitlement to individual unemployability is denied because the claimant has not been found unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service connected disabilities."

Also goes on to say that 50% isn't enough to qualify and that they didn't submit it to the Director for extra-schedular consideration.

In early correspondence they suggested types of acceptable evidence and they mentioned that letters or statements from people I know would be helpful. My wife wrote and gave a lot of information about her observations of my knee giving way and the falling. She wrote about my expression of pain and she listed personal and not so personal activities that I could and couldn't do. Their response is that "the lay statement does not meet the probative value of a medical opinion based on the lack of relative merits of qualification and analytical findings". She's a homemaker not a PHD. Why do they invite the information and then discard it?

I haven't been using a vet rep for several years since it appeared they were just a middle man forwarding my information to the VARO in the same building. They had a lot of turnover in their office and some of my stuff was getting lost in their cracks. I started this latest claim on my own.

Do the IMO's come from regular Doctors or are there IMO specialists? Are they expensive?

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A private doctor= if you have gotten treatment for the SC condition from them-they might do an IMO for free.

I paid 4,000 for 2 IMOs from a NeuroRadiologist but also had a freebee from former VA doc - and ordered a $1,750 IMO days before I got my award from the BVA.BVA gave the freebee as much weight as the 4000 bucks IMos.

It is hard to say what type of IMO fee you could expect.

I knew before I even ordered these IMOs that my claim was solid and the money would be well spent.I have the medical evidence I needed-but VAro refised to read any of it. It was one of my best investments.

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