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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


    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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Unrelated Stroke After Disability Rating/helpless


My husband has had a 20% disability rating for his left arm and hand for over 10 years. Last year he had a huge stroke and almost died. He is age 72 and has been retired for many years. The stroke was at home, not service related. I care for him at home. He cannot speak, his whole right side of body is paralysed. After his stroke tho, his left arm/hand has gotten so bad, he can hardly even lift a spoon to eat meals. He cannot survive without help, period. He is totally helpless. Next week, , we go in for his first rating of his left arm/hand, AFTER his stroke suffered in april 2009. This is NOT the side that was paralysed, by the stroke. How tho, do they calculate a rating now, that he is totally helpless, cannot walk speak etc...but this stroke was not service realted? Stressed here to say the least. Thanks for your help

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38 answers to this question

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The VA would be considering whether the SC arm and hand have been "aggravated" by the NSC stroke or they are disabled now due to a secondary nature.They will only rate the level of "aggravation" or secondary amount of disability.

I assume the claim was filed that way.

"He cannot speak, his whole right side of body is paralysed" My husband was basically in that condition as well after a major CVA.VA gave him speech therapy and he talked again and although the VA said he would be confined to a wheelchair gfor the rest of hs life- I determined they were unwilling to consider therapy,which he got after a battle and he did walk again.But he was 45 at the time. Still CVAs have so many residuals that I know how difficult this is for you and your husband.

My husband's stroke was in 1992 and last year I proved it was directly service connected.So nothing is really impossible.But it can involve a lot of work.

Is it possible his 20% SC disability involves a blood circulation problem that could have caused a clot to form in his blood stream and then cause the stroke?

Is it possible any med he is on for the SC disability has a pronounced clotting factor?

Is it possible his stroke stemmed from HBP that VA failed to treat properly?

Can you give us the exact medical diagnosis of his stroke (such as ischemic or hemmoragic?)

And the exact etiology his medical records show as to the cause of his stroke?

What is the nature of the service connected disability?

Edited by Berta

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Thank you for responding so quickly! My husband originally filed his SC claim approx 1999 or 2000. Just prior to arriving in viet nam, he had military accident which severed his left forearm which affected his arm and hand. there was never a fight to get SC disability. It started at 10% , then in 2006 was re rated at 20%. He was wanting to go in for re rating again prior to his stroke, as he had mild pain in his left arm/hand again. but he said he could live thru it. Personally, I think he did not want to miss work, as the economy was bad and he was so stressed with our finances, so he tried to just work through his problem. This past September I filed to reopen his SC claim.

What is HBP? His stoke stemmed form an a fib heart condition....causing a bloood clot, that went to his brain. You make excellent sense with the questions you asked. I am so grateful to have somebody to talk to about this. He is deteriating very fast on his left side. This morning he was barely even able to feed himself his own breakfast, Mornings are usually his best time of day. He was extremely active prior to his stroke..worked 2 jobs...six days aweek..with the attitude and energy of a 30 year old...even tho he is 72. Thank you for your hep. You went thru alot also with the VA and your husband. Thank you for your reply :)

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"What is HBP?" Hypertension (High blood pressure)

"His stoke stemmed form an a fib heart condition....causing a bloood clot, that went to his brain."

Was he being treated by the VA for the atrial Fib heart disease? and/or High blood pressure?

Do you have copy of his medical records?

My husband was found to have had his stroke due to untreated heart disease as well as his high blood pressure had been found to have been inadequately treated by the VA.It was malpractice.Years after that was resolved I re opened due to another condtion they were negligent on and they awarded a direct SC AO death.

If he is a VA patient -have they adequately treated his heart condition-which caused his stroke.

Malpractice sure doesn't happen often in the VA system.

It is always a point to consider when one tries to find a way to service connect a veteran who has no known other service nexus for their disability.

When they diagnosed his heart condition (I am assuming he got VA health care but could be wrong)some research on your part along with his medical records will show what the 'standard' medical community would do to treat his heart problems.

If that info does not really compare with what VA did-he could possibly have basis for a Section 1151 claim.

I studied Cardiology and cerebravascular disease in 1995 to succeed in my claims and it was long tedious work. The internet today has made this much easier then it was then.

If his heart disease was not medically treated properly, it is most likely the cause of his stroke.

Then again it might well have been properly treated.

I am just looking at every way I can to seek a way for him to attain SC at higher level.

Do I understand he never arrived at Vietnam? Or did he arrive in Vietnam and continue to serve with the left forearm condition?

If he did step on Vietnam soil, was his heart condition described as ischemia by any doctor?

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He was treated by many places...VA and personal doctors as he has medicare and tricare for life., so, he was not ONLY treated by VA. Yes, I have medical records..and can get any records I need. Apparently everybody missed the fact that he hed irregular heartbeat, yes he had HBP. He was at VA for routine office visit 10 days b4 his stroke. The Nurse practitoner said he was fine. They didnt even make him go for big testing...seeing that he has been diabetic and HBP for many years. They didnt even re direct his visit to a doctor. He was seen by NP. What is a section 1151 claim?

Congtars to you and all your long hours of research you spent looking into your claim. It paid off. Yes , Internet today has been huge help. I could not have this great chit chat without it. I am so glad to be able to talk to somebody about this.

He was NEVER on foreign soil. His severed arm kept him here. I dont know if the word ischemia was used by any doctor in any of the diagnosis paperwork. What will that word mean? They always refer to it as an "a fib" condition, it never was a hemerrage.

Question, what if we just made it simple and looked at his SC left arm/hand as it is now/ post stroke, regardless ? He cant do hardly anything..except MAYBE on a good day, feed himself in the mornings..after that..his SC arm/hand goes downhill...and now his hand is a bit deformed. It is odvious he is totally helpless. Hard to even get him to hold a pen. Seems I remember reading somplace "helpless" affects SC ratings. Let me know. thanks so much :)

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You are right to keep this simple-

some terms I mentioned would only apply to him if he served in Vietnam.

"What is a section 1151 claim?"

That is a rating by VA if negligence is proven in VA treatment that results in an additional disability caused by the negligence.

He certainly should be able to get a higher rating of the SC with the stroke causing these problems to hs SC condition.I only hope the VA sees it that way.

The term "helpless" usually is involved in claims for Aid and Attendance.

Those regulations are in this BVA decision.


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Can he get aid and attendance at ANY SC disabilty rating? or does it have to be 100%. I will try to get it possibly....he cannot do anything on his own. I see pension is a prerequisite...? He recieves military retirement AND SC disability each month. Is that the same as pension?

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