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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims


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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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Tdiu That I Did Not File!?


Hello I'm looking for a few questions in regards to TDIU. First of I am already rated at 60%. 50% PTSD with Major Depressive Disorder, 10% Irritable Bowel syndrome, 10% Tinnitus and 10% for Degenerative Arthritis Lumbar Spine. I also work for the VA, not a Regional Office but I do work in Release of Information and know a great deal in regards to claims as part of my job is assisting fellow Veterans in getting their records and fullfilling requests from Regional Offices for records wnen a Disability Claim is filed. With that being said I have had a lot of issues since my return from Iraq the second time when I was near the Balad Burn Pit for a year. I was diagnosed with narcolepsywhich has been in appeal almost three years along with a slew of other unknown issues. I recently had my Primary Care Doctor(PCP) at the VA fill out the VA FORM 21-0960Q-1 CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME DISABILITY BENEFITS QUESTIONNAIRE. I also recently have been missing a lot of work due to a lot of these undiagnosed issues and had to get FMLA paperwork which my PCP filled out as well. The VA actually tried to talk me into a Medical Retirement. I have not gone through with this because I simply can't just quit work and draw the small retirement check along with my 60% in VA Disability. I know eventually in time it would all come together and I could request TDIU but I was waiting on my appeals to come through. Long story short I get on eBenefits today and there is a new claim that I did not submit. It is for chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia and TDIU. Yes you read it right, I did not file for any of this. I did however send the Regional Office some evidence to add to my C-File which consisted of that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome paperwork in which I asked to be added to my appeal for the narcolepsy. I sent them my FMLA paperwork which shows a slew of iisues to include possible fibromyalgia and I simply put on the Statement in Support of Claim that I have been missing a lot of work...had to get FMLA paperwork...that the VA recommended I retire but I couldn't because all of my issues were in appeal. Pretty much I sent that stuff in as more evidence for my appeals and poof there is this new claim. Is this normal??? Who would put me in for TDIU because I did not. I'm all for it but really I did not file for it yet. I have also not claimed the fibromyalgia, although it is listed as possible on my FMLA paperwork and I have missed a lot because of it, it hasen't officially been diagnosed let alone a claim for it put in. Did the Regional Office just decide with all of my evidence that they submitted it for me? I am currently still working, although I miss a lot so how would they put me in for TDIU. Any input to this would be much appreciated because I'm confused!?

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11 answers to this question

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DO you have a VSO/ Perhaps they did it for you?

If not, It could be an inferred issue.

How many years civil service do you have under Fers.


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Just use the PVA peeps that I know in the VA. I sent them a fax the other day asking them to inquire on my appeals and explained my current situation of missing work, possible Medical Retirement and the fact that most of the issues I am retiring from are all tied up in appeal. I haven't talked to them since the holidays but I am certain they would have let me know. I have 12 years total. Have already been given my retirement benefits estimate from HR but told them I wanted to think about my options. Wouldn't the Regional Office laugh at a claim for unemployability if I'm indeed employed? I have dropped out of Voc Rehab three times as well because of the same issues and have letters from my OEF/OIF Doc as well that I have submitted but am baffled at this new claim.

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I use the PVA inside the VA as I know them but they are only my Power of Attorny(POA). I usually do everything myself as I'm usually pretty knowleage unless it is regarding this TDIU. I have fax access etc. from work to send everything straight to the RO. I did fax the PVA peeps something before the holidays asking them if they could inquire on my existing appeals and let them know of my current situation with possible Medical Retirement and that I have been using FMLA for all of my issues that were in appeal. I would think they would have let me know if they put in a claim though. Wouldn't the RO laugh at a claim for TDIU when I am indeed employed and by the VA of all places? I do miss work a lot and have ample evidence but I am still an employee.

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It seems to me that they have enough evidence to award you at 70% and then consider TDIU if you become unemployed......

"Wouldn't the Regional Office laugh at a claim for unemployability if I'm indeed employed?"

In essense they would not act on or advance the TDIU form....if you are still substantially employed.....

but they might send you one, as it looks like you will need to file it in the future.

" I have dropped out of Voc Rehab three times as well because of the same issues and have letters from my OEF/OIF Doc as well that I have submitted but am baffled at this new claim."

When a vet is un-vocrehabable solely due to SC, then they are unemployable solely due to SC.

Have the PVA peeps had any take on this?

Many PVA reps are very good.

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I had to chuckle at the irony of this: You are a VA employee, and you ask Berta (and hadit) for advice on your claims. Does anyone see the irony of this besides me?

Berta, as usual, gave you good advice.

I will add:

If you review the regulations on Informal claims, you will see that there are instances when, you go to the doc and it amounts to an informal claim for increase. In other words, it is not always necessary to make a formal claim for benefits, once you have already submitted one formal claim. You dont have to submit a new formal claim each time you seek an increase. This is likely where your other claims came from that you did not apply for.

Also, the VA differntiates between "marginal employment" and Substantial Gainful employment (SGE) for TDIU purposes. If you have had regular employment income for the past 12 months, you should not be eligible for TDIU, and it will likely be denied.

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Well glad you got a chuckle. Yes I do work for the VA, I did mention not a Regional Office(RO)-therefore I work at a VA Medical Center where we take care of Veterans medical care not an RO which takes care of benefits but I'm sure you know this. I do work in Release of Information so yes I work closely with all Veterans that need their information-wether it be for a second opinion in medical care, filing for benefits etc. and also work closely with processing requests from various RO's when they are also seeking information. I am pretty knowleagble on a lot of this but not TDIU and especially when I did not file a claim for it so I came here. I learned a lot of what I have learned from other Veterans different issues and doing what I do on a daily basis but I'm not an expert by any means and I see there is a lot of knowledge and experience here and I really appreciate the replies thus far.


That it what I thought but the claim is in. I will paste it:

Compensation & Pension Claim Status
Details of Your Claim

Claim Received: 12/14/2012
Claim Type: Compensation
Estimated Claim Completion Date: 06/12/2013 to 09/11/2013

Contentions: chronic fatigue syndrome (New), fibromyalgia (New), unemployability (New)

Claims Status Process Skip the Claims Process and go to the current phase.
  1. Claim Received

    Your claim has been received by the VA. If you applied online with VONAPP Direct Connect, you should see receipt in your list of Open Claims below within one hour. If you applied through the U.S. mail, please allow mailing time plus one week for us to process and record receipt of your claim.

    Phase Start Date: 01/10/2013

    Estimated Phase Completion Date: 02/03/2013 - 03/10/2013

  2. Under Review

    Your claim has been assigned to a Veterans Service Representative and is being reviewed to determine if additional evidence is needed. If we do not need any additional information, your claim will move directly to the Preparation for Decision phase.

  3. Gathering of Evidence

    The Veterans Service Representative will request evidence from the required sources. Requests for evidence may be made of you, a medical professional, a government agency, or another authority. It is common for claims to return to this phase, should additional evidence be required.

  4. Review of Evidence

    We have received all needed evidence. If, upon review, it is determined that more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back to the Gathering of Evidence phase.

  5. Preparation for Decision

    The Veterans Service Representative has recommended a decision, and is preparing required documents detailing that decision. If more evidence is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence.

  6. Pending Decision Approval

    The recommended decision is reviewed, and a final award approval is made. If it is determined that more evidence or information is required, the claim will be sent back in the process for more information or evidence.

  7. Preparation for Notification

    Your entire claim decision packet is prepared for mailing.

  8. Complete

    The VA is sending a decision packet to you via U.S. Mail. The packet includes detailed information explaining your decision or award. Please allow standard mailing time for your packet to arrive before contacting the VA call center.

Next Steps:

We will review all available evidence and make a decision on your claim upon receipt of all requested information as outlined in the headings, "What Do We Still Need from You?" and "What Have We Done?".

Several factors will determine the duration of the "Development" phase, including:

  • type of claim filed
  • number of disabilities you claim
  • complexity of your disability(ies), and
  • availability of evidence needed to decide your claim.

Additional Details
  • Your Designated Power of Attorney


  • Regional Office of Jurisdiction: help_icon.gif

    The Regional Office of Jurisdiction is the station that has primary authority over your claim and permanent jurisdiction of your claim folder.


  • Send Documentation To

    Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office
    Regional Office
    Federal Building
    125 South Main Street
    Muskogee, OK 74401

Now again I did not submit this claim, however I do on a continuous basis send documentation in myself for each of my appeals which are for Chronic Sinusitis and Nasal Congestion, Migraine Headaches and Narcolepsy as well as an increase on my PTSD with Major Depressive Disorder. I do have the PVA as my POA but only to inquire into my appeals for me and hopefully speed things up, other than that I have always done everything myself. As I mentioned earlier right before the holidays I sent my friend in the PVA Office a fax asking her if she would check on my appeals for me as they have all been in for nearly three years and still sitting in the initial phases. I briefly explained my work situation with missing so much work that I have used all my sick Leave, Annual Leave and am now using FMLA and having to use Leave without Pay. I mentionedto her that HR and the Union recommended or said I could do a Medical Retirement. I then explained to her that I am missing all this work due to all of the very issues that are in appeal so can we look into seeing what is the hold up on these appeals because of the above... I also add very detailed Statements in support of Claims any time I send anything in to the RO. I also mention all of this to them along with things that my VA Providers have filled out such as the paperwork for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the personal letter my my OEF/OIF Doc and so on.

I have not talked to my PVA Rep since I sent her that fax but can only assume that she wold have called me if she did anything like that or called me with any update on the appeals. I was just shocked when I checked eBenefits yesterday to find the above claim. Now I am confused on should I go ahead and Medically Retire since the ball is rolling or is missing so much work and still being employed good enough?

Oh and yes I have had to drop from Voc Rehab three times for these reasons but they were prepaired to start me again so it wasn't like they gave up on me but I did let the RO know of this so they can add it to any evidence they may need to substantiate any of my appeals if needed.

So I will talk to my PVA Rep ASAP to see if she knows anything but if she didn't do this then the RO decided to do it based on what I have sent them? If so then they know that I am employed and still processed this so I would assume it would not be denied if evidence was strong enough that they opened a claim for me???

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    • By bc0311
      I'm new to this site, and somewhat novice with claims as I've ignored them since my discharge in 2012, but I have some questions that I've yet to find answers for that hopefully someone can help me with:
      In a nutshell, my story is I did my four years, two hellish combat tours to Afghan, got out in 2012, immediately filed my claims for a few disabilities like back and shoulder issues and got a 40% rating total. I've since not looked back as none of that concerns me. My issue now is that I was sent to a mandatory PTSD screening during one of my visits that year, and the examiner kind of went about the thing blase, and although I did tell her most of my traumatic experiences, she gave me 0% for "Combat PTSD not related to military service" as it says in their justification, whatever that means. I don't think they even attempted to listen to me as my experiences were extraordinarily traumatic and have been a detriment to my mental health and quality of life since. And yet I now have an effective date of a PTSD claim from day of discharge 6 years ago for 0%, says it right on eBenefits. I think you know where I'm going with this...
      After 6 years of dealing with a slew of issues related to PTSD, I decided this week to start looking into trying to re open the case. My questions for you are.... Would I be entitled to any back pay if I could prove that I've suffered from PTSD since then, and that they made their original decision in error? And if so, how could I go about receiving the exact paper work / medical records from that one specific screening I had in 2012? I've looked everywhere and I don't really know how to navigate either of these situations... 
      Thanks a lot!
    • By Inarticulate&Distorted
      It's official! After 3 years 8 months of fighting the VA. Now at 100% TDIU P&T. Chapter 35 Bennefits will be a nice addition. I look forward to hearing your success stories too fellow Vets.
    • By Ddsr
      If awarded IU with no PT what health benefits are dependents eligible for if any? Would ChampVa be available, or is it only for P&T  TDIU?
    • By tazntaylr
      I have been working with a VSO to file my claim. I am currently in the process of gathering information. Only thing, file for MST with PTSD or file PTSD. VSO was hung up on the sexual part of MST.
      Was in service 1991-2000. In 1995 was involved with a female soldier, who also was involved with another male (married) soldier. After an exercise and the last night sleeping together she asked me to kill his wife. After the second time I went to CID and wore a wire twice. While the Article 32 hearing was going on she was let out of pre-trial and started harassing me, being around me. I was moved from my company to another, and ultimately to the brigade HQ (rear detachment). Brigade HQ was deployed then. Both the female soldier and male soldier were other than honorable discharged, but I was exiled for a year. Not the same after. As I was getting out in 1999 I learned that she had asked other people in the unit to kill me. I was seen at a Vet center into 2000.
      Same time as the Article 32, my chain of command was trying to discipline me for an Article 15/court martial. The incident was with the female soldier (before she had asked me) and was on a trumped up charge. Even had the 1st sergeant threatened me in his office about "if he could not get me on that charge he would find another". After my time in Brigade HQ I returned to almost a new unit, only 5% knew me. All I wanted was out, but he harassed me every day to change my mind and go to the promotion board. Would not even let anyone drive me to airport to PCS.
      It took my wife to point out that when I get harassed or witness it at work that I am affected by it. I am currently being seen for it by the Vet center I was seen at before. The vet center had listed me as PTSD and marked as military trauma. 
      Also, I don't have anything from that time as I was not in a good place and as a 26 year old did not want the reminders in my barracks room. So if anyone knows how to get the CID or JAG records I am all ears.
    • By Aquabear
      Should I (does anyone??) write a timeline about my claim? Like a one page timeline or outline or my history. Example: I just sent in my Social Security Disablilty paperwork for my claim because my SSD was approved due to my damage to my lower spine(posted a few days ago) the judge approved it. I was in Voc rehab 9/2008-4/2009 withdrew from college due to physical/mental meltdown then again went back 9/2010-5-2011 and again had to withdraw because I physically and mentally crashed( I was approved to the National Honor Society). I was approved for SSD 11/23/2009 and I figured if I wrote it out on a timeline it would help the to show the VA exactly the time line since I'm thinking they are not good at that.
      Advice please and thank you in advance. 
      ((A quick FYI during this time I have been consistently getting spinal injections, spine fusion surgery, quad tear surgery, take pain meds(which make it hard to impossible to think theoretically) and doing physical therapy and PTSD group n one on one at VA PTSD clinic for 3 years now which helps with my daily anxiety.))
      Thanks again. 
    • By anxiousinMD
      Hello and TYIA for any responses and for reading my long post.
      BLUF: I would appreciate some insight or just plain ol speculatin on why the VA raters would submit me for a lumbar strain increase (that I didn’t submit for) while working on my current claim? Also, are secondary conditions disqualified in the 60% calculation for SMC Housebound? I know it says the 60% must be separate from the 100% condition, but how does this work if I’m on IU, with secondary conditions? 
      I’m probably overthinking at 4am but why would they submit me for an increase for a condition when I didn’t ask them, and the increase has no bearing on the final rating due to VA math, unless it qualifies me for SMC, or they believe I should be qualified. I’ve never raised the issue of SMC and I’m still learning about it trying to figure out my claim, and I know they are supposed to do due diligence, but that’s not my first hunch since that’s why I’m still in this process.
      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!
    • By Stick Slinger
      I was never diagnosed in service with OSA. I weigh 220 and I am 6' tall. I am rated at 70% for PTSD and the meds I take add to the OSA. I had my personal Dr. and the Psychiatrist I see both write letters to support that the meds I take add to and cause the OSA. My Dr filled out the DBQ and sent it in as well. I had a failed sleep study results sent in  with my claim. I also have documentation I sent it that back up the fact that OSA is tied to PTSD and is aggravated by PTSD. Then sleeping with the prescribed CPAP machine adds to the PTSD. Just curious if anyone has ever won this claim? I am going to appeal but wanted to get any advise here first if someone has any to share.. not sure if there is anyone who has gone this route before and won?
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    • I have a 30% hearing loss and 10% Tinnitus rating since 5/17.  I have Meniere's Syndrome which was diagnosed by a VA facility in 2010 yet I never thought to include this in my quest for a rating.  Meniere's is very debilitating for me, but I have not made any noise about it because I could lose my license to drive.  I am thinking of applying for additional compensation as I am unable to work at any meaningful employment as I cannot communicate effectively because of my hearing and comprehension difficulties.  I don't know whether to file for a TDUI, or just ask for additional compensation.  My county Veterans service contact who helped me get my current rating has been totally useless on this when I asked her for help.  Does anyone know which forms I should use?  There are so many different directions to proceed on this that I am confused.  Any help would be appreciated.  Vietnam Vet 64-67.