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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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Spent warrior

Need Advise On When To File Please


I can't work anymore.... I'm getting worse over time. My annual review was terrible, I just got a letter of warning for outbursts at superiors, and my co-workers think I am a rude recluse. My VA Psychologist strongly recommends I quit work to reduce the stress brought on by my PTSD. I am currently 70% PTSD (80% total compensation). He is totally supporting my TDIU claim with a great letter of support. Even though I am 63, with a son in High School and heading to college (along with the other already there) I planned to work for years yet, but it's clear I can't do my work any more. I already quit a part time job last year at the encouragement of the VA. I was driving motor coach, and was placing my passengers in danger because of flash backs and compulsive thinking. I will be "retiring" from my current government job, but because that is not earned income, I will still qualify for TDIU.

Here's my problem in not knowing what to do....

When I stop work this month, I can either retire effective December 31st, or I can stay on the roles for a few months using my accrued sick leave (which pays more than my retirement pay [needed for property and income taxes]). If I retire on December 31st, I know I can file for TDIU immediately. I thought if I waited and used sick leave till April, that I should wait to file TDIU till then. Surprisingly the DAV service rep says differently. He said even if I just go out on sick leave at the end of this year, I should go ahead and file for TDIU then concurrent with leaving work... even though I am still officially an employee.... although on sick leave and with the intent of not working any more days whatsoever. His opinion surprised me.... I asked him if he was very sure that I should file at that time (stopped working, but collecting sick leave) and he said yes, he is sure.

What do you think? I am still uncomfortable with his recommendation. I am in even worse shape with stress right now not knowing what to do. I am thinking about this for hours....and very indecisive.

I really have three choices:

1. Retire on December 31st and immediately file for TDIU.

2. Quit "working" on December 31, but stay on the roles using sick leave for three months collecting a paycheck which is larger than my retirement. Retire April 1 and file TDIU on April 1. (My prior assumption)

3. Quit "working" on December 31, but stay on the roles using sick leave for three months collecting a paycheck which is larger than my retirement. Retire April 1 BUT file for TDIU on December 31st. (DAV choice)

Your thoughts on any and all of this would be SO appreciated.



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12 answers to this question

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Does your job have a "disability retirement" option? When you retire you want to try and get it established that you are retiring due to disability and not to any other reason. Are you prepared to wait without a paycheck until you get your TDIU? It could take a while. Who do you work for now?

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disabilty retirement not an option because i will get regular retirement. I have fed gov job, so no Social Security. because i am civil service retirement system. retirement payments are not "earned income" so I am still able to get TDIU. Like I said... I would have worked for years yet, I am way upside down in debt, and I have to help kids with college, and my wife is ill.

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Option #3.

I am in total agreement with your DAV service officer.

Download VA Form #218940 from the VA website (under the "forms" heading) and fill it out and get it sent in right now. For the moment that they receive this form then you have established your "Effective Date". They will have to pay you retroactive pay back to this effective date...........when they get around to making a decision (favorable, of course) and that could, forseeably, take months.

You need to take a look at all the benefits that accrue to you upon a favorable TDIU award (chap 35 educational benefits for your dependents, for example). That is ONLY ONE reason for you to get this TDIU taken care of, NOW!

The VA will send a "questionaire" to your last employer, asking them WHY you could no longer do your job, etc.

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I was a postal worker. I took disability retirement under FERS. I assume you have your 30 years in CSRS. Other vets here have done what you are going to do. I actually waited until the USPS fired me. Then I applied for disability retirement. Just get all your ducks in a row. I wanted to continue to work as well, but it was not to be. I actually filed for workers compensation after the USPS fired me and I got it. I stayed on WC until I got TDIU.

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I know the general consensus is to file NOW, but although no longer working, "now" will have me still on the rolls collected sick leave for a few months. I just don't see how I can get paid by both.

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You can get paid for both. Just file the TDIU form and put down the last day you worked.

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      History: I filed a claim in 2015 for PTSD increase and TDIU, was granted increase in 2016 to 70% PTSD, denied TDIU. Combined, 80% with other SC conditions. BBE/VSO said I was denied increase to 100% even though I had a nexus statement from a psychologist saying total social and occupational impairment, at least as likely as not, etc., but they said because I was still employed (I was on long term disability leave but not yet “terminated” and yes they had the relevant evidence through my employer and insurance), and my VA treating provider’s opinion took precedence who didn’t feel my symptoms quite qualified me for total of course, though he‘s a CRNP versus a psychologist and I don’t think he even knows me. I thought they were supposed to take the rating and credentials that favor the Veteran but never mind me. I also survived and was approved for Social Security and life insurance premium waivers during this period without having to appeal, with the same medical information and evidence, with the same VA SC conditions, even coming from VA docs and providers.
      Of course I appealed the rating and TDIU denial (they can decide) in 2016. I also submitted a new claim for secondaries to PTSD, and in my fog, with that claim an increase for PTSD and TDIU, even though I already had those on appeal. I believe I read or was told somewhere (or maybe my brain made it up) that if I submitted new evidence, the raters could look back at the effective date and could EED to the original claim if the evidence shows and close the appeal. Or, they could approve me from the date of the new claim and the appeal could deal with the stuff before that. But what they did was what they are apparently supposed to do (according to Peggy and the VSOs): defer the appeal related claims to the appeal. DOH.
      Current Status: Early this month my claim progressed and I was granted an increase to 30% for IBS secondary to my 70% PTSD, and since I had a pre-existing 10% for nerve condition and 20% for lumbar strain, that brought me to 90%. My claim never went to complete and I never got the BBE, ebenefits bounced around from gathering of evidence to pending decision approval within days of my last C&P (I had one for PTSD and one for IBS). I’m not sure why they would give me a C&P for PTSD if they are deferring that part of my claim to appeal as I was told. Maybe they’re just giving me a checkup because my 30 appointments and inpatient stays and shock treatments over the past year weren’t enough medical evidence.
      I learned of the increase bc I got a small retro and my ebenefits letters and disabilities changed within days, but the claim stayed open. I found out by calling Peggy and VSO that it’s due to an increase for my lumbar strain that someone in the rating chain put in. I do have plenty of evidence in my medical records that show my back is also crap. I got sent to a C&P for my lumbar strain and now I wait in GOE. The C&P examiner, Peggy, VSOs specifically say I was submitted for an increase for my back, not a review. BTW, in ebenefiits in the disabilities section, the PTSD increase is still open, the TDIU disappeared, the IBS is rated, and the lumbar strain doesn’t appear. Yes, I know ebenefits is unreliable and I should find something else to do, but compulsively logging into ebenefits is an activity quite similar to playing a slot machine for me. Every 1 in 10000000 logins I might get a glimmer of hope, and it keeps me going lol.
      I Wonder: What difference does it make if I’m rated 20% or 30% for my lumbar strain? Why would this be raised since my overall rating won’t change from 90% either way? Trust me, I AM NOT COMPLAINING AND I AM GRATEFUL, anything they do (and they have been getting faster and more Vet-friendly it seems) positive for the Veteran that saves future agony and torture is an appreciated blessing. It would help in the future in qualifying for SMC, but I don’t qualify with the math now. Just wondering if they don’t have enough to do over there, because in the future I’d probably have to get another C&P. Also, I would have to have another condition at 30% for that math to work out, and I pray nothing else worsens enough for that to happen.
      Does “separate” mean it can’t affect the same body system or it can’t be a secondary condition? Because with secondaries, I could potentially qualify for SMC, and therefore the VA rater would be setting me up for success. Otherwise, it just seems like extra work for them when they could close my case and get their quota numbers and help another Vet...again, not complaining but whoever is on my file seems to be thorough regardless.
      I know they could be doing anything over there, and I’m glad they’re working on my claim, but just for s&g I’d appreciate any guesses or suggestions, and any help clarifying the SMC Housebound math thing please.
      Thank you all.
    • By hawkfire27
      Please delete
    • By TexasMarine
      Recently awarded 70% for Bipolar Disorder, granted TDIU, proclaimed P&T, with correct claim date determined.
      I must Thank all of you for keeping my hopes alive over the years, when darkness set in.
      I must publicly thank Bergmann & Moore, LLC of Bethesda, Maryland, for without their perseverance and capabilities, I would not have had any measure of success.  Professional in every way imaginable.  I can not say enough about their latest hero, Fatima.  Fatima, thanks for being rational, thoughtful, knowledgeable and thorough!  Mr. Bergmann and Mr. Moore, you two rock!
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      A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?

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