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Starting A Va Claim And I Need Advice

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I recently completed a 5 1/2 year Enlistment with the US Army on Sep 03, 2008. I was recently diagnosed with Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea through a sleep study during November, 2009 and on June 2010 received my CPAP machine. During my second deployment to Iraq in 2007 I spoke to an army physician during a sick call visit complaining about fatigue throughout my day, an inability to concentrate during work, kind of a problem since I was an intelligence Analyst providing Intel support to a BDE, and that I wake up several times during the night choking on thick phlegm and mucus. He told me these symptoms sound like Sleep Apnea. He perscribed a buterol inhaler and told me that it should break up the mucus in my throat if I use it before I fall asleep and that it would help me sleep through the night. He recommended that I used it again in the morning to help break up whatever was left over from the night before. He told me that this was all he could do for my sleep apnea but that I should consult the VA once I ETS after returning from Iraq. I have the form from this visit with me at home with my military records. I have several negative counseling statements given to me by NCOs reguarding my memory issues, such as forgetting my ID, losing my weapon, they weren't very happy, and several other things. I received an Article 15 for months of negative counselings for sleeping through formations and not being at the proper place of duty. I have 5 written buddy letters from my Ex-wife and 4 Army soldiers who were deployed with me during my first and second deployment, one of them who was my Squad leader and present with me during my Sick call visit I previously described. My question is do I have a legitimate Service connected sleep apnea claim. I also have a claim for a pre-existing condition of Ezcema, which was made worse by the temperature changes, dust and severe dry heat of Iraq leading to a 3 year flare up to which I was prescribed a corticosteroid through the VA, which has yet to go away. My intent is not to waste the VA's time and I would like to make sure before I file for disability. If anyone has any helpful opinions about my next course of action I would appreciate it.

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Welcome to Hadit

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I recently completed a 5 1/2 year Enlistment with the US Army on Sleep 03, 2008. I was recently diagnosed with Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea through a sleep study during November, 2009 and on June 2010 received my CPAP machine. During my second deployment to Iraq in 2007 I spoke to an army physician during a sick call visit complaining about fatigue throughout my day, an inability to concentrate during work, kind of a problem since I was an intelligence Analyst providing Intel support to a BDE, and that I wake up several times during the night choking on thick phlegm and mucus. He told me these symptoms sound like Sleep Apnea. He perscribed a buterol inhaler and told me that it should break up the mucus in my throat if I use it before I fall asleep and that it would help me sleep through the night. He recommended that I used it again in the morning to help break up whatever was left over from the night before. He told me that this was all he could do for my sleep apnea but that I should consult the VA once I ETS after returning from Iraq. I have the form from this visit with me at home with my military records. I have several negative counseling statements given to me by NCOs reguarding my memory issues, such as forgetting my ID, losing my weapon, they weren't very happy, and several other things. I received an Article 15 for months of negative counselings for sleeping through formations and not being at the proper place of duty. I have 5 written buddy letters from my Ex-wife and 4 Army soldiers who were deployed with me during my first and second deployment, one of them who was my Squad leader and present with me during my Sick call visit I previously described. My question is do I have a legitimate Service connected sleep apnea claim. I also have a claim for a pre-existing condition of Ezcema, which was made worse by the temperature changes, dust and severe dry heat of Iraq leading to a 3 year flare up to which I was prescribed a corticosteroid through the VA, which has yet to go away. My intent is not to waste the VA's time and I would like to make sure before I file for disability. If anyone has any helpful opinions about my next course of action I would appreciate it.

JMO, I think that you should get your sleep study and your evidence evaluated by a sleep specialist (Neurologist) and get their opinion if it is related to your service. It would greatly help if you could get something in writing from a specialist.

Welcome to Hadit

Hope This Helps

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Yes-I agree with that.

"My question is do I have a legitimate Service connected sleep apnea claim." YES!

" I also have a claim for a pre-existing condition of Ezcema, which was made worse by the temperature changes, dust and severe dry heat of Iraq leading to a 3 year flare up to which I was prescribed a corticosteroid through the VA, which has yet to go away. My intent is not to waste the VA's time and I would like to make sure before I file for disability. If anyone has any helpful opinions about my next course of action I would appreciate it. "

I would claim this as well. If a pre existing co0ndition is "aggravated by service" to a ratable level of aggravation, then they should SC the level of aggravation.

Your personnel records will be good evidence for the sleep apnea claim as well as the buddy statements.You already have a very good handle on what the VA requires as evidence. That is commendable!

They will use the actual date of the 21-526 form for any retro money due you if they award the claims.The form has a link here- file the 526 and state these claims on the form ASAP!!!! Mail it with proof of mailing to the VARO you will be dealing with.Keep copies of this foprm and of EVERYthing you get from or send to the VA. Welcome aboard.

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Thios BVA case copntains the ratings for eczema:

http://www4.va.gov/vetapp10/files1/1009509.txt

"ORDER

Entitlement to a disability rating greater than 10 percent

for dyshidrotic eczema prior to October 13, 2009, is denied.

Entitlement to a 60 percent rating for dyshidrotic eczema is

granted effective October 13, 2009, subject to the laws and

regulations governing the payment of monetary benefits."

---------------

These are the "aggravation of pre existing" regs:

"For purposes of aggravation of a preexisting injury, such

aggravation will be said to have occurred where there is an

increase of disability during active military, naval or air

service, unless there is a specific finding that the increase

in disability is due to the natural progress of the disease.

38 U.S.C.A. § 1153; 38 C.F.R. § 3.306; Paulson v. Brown, 7

Vet. App. 466, 468 (1995). Clear and unmistakable evidence

is required to rebut the presumption of aggravation where the

pre-service disability underwent an increase in severity

during service. Aggravation may not be conceded, however,

where the disability underwent no increase in severity during

service. 38 C.F.R. § 3.306(b). See Falzone v. Brown, 8 Vet.

App. 398, 402 (1995) (holding that the presumption of

aggravation created by section 3.306 applies only if there is

an increase in severity during service); Akins v. Derwinski,

1 Vet. App. 228, 232 (1991). In addition, temporary flare-

ups, even in service, will not be considered sufficient to

establish an increase in severity unless the underlying

condition, as contrasted to the symptoms, is worsened. Hunt

v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 292, 295 (1991), Browder v. Brown,

5 Vet. App. 268, 271 (1993). See also Daniels v. Gober, 10

Vet. App. 474, 479 (1997)."

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