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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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    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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Overview On Dic For Survivors


An Overview on DIC for Survivors of Veterans

The death of a veteran spouse often brings more unique situations to the surviving spouse then a non veteran's death. Both types of deaths are as equally devastating and there is a lot to do in spite of dealing with the grief.

Many veterans here have already established a Death file . We have done SVR shows on this and there is discussion here at hadit as well on that. http://www.svr-radio.com/archives.html (May 5th and May 12th , 2010)

This file is a good place for copies of the DD 214/215, info on SGLI Life Insurance and other insurance policies, passwords the veteran uses that the spouse might need for paying online bills, and certainly for their hadit password, after they expire.

Also the Marriage license, birth certificates of the children, any divorce decree papers etc etc, VA award letters and SSA award letters, all should be in this special file .Many vets here already have the blank 21-534 form in their death files.

I have a large death file that contains my bank info, insurance policies, my will and Health Care proxy, passwords and even photos of where my septic tank lid is, where the well is, and how to turn the main power to the house and the barn off and on, photos of how the TV, and component cables are attached, and even a photo of how I set up my garden hoses to the main water line. As a widow, it also contains my VA Deed to the same plot at the VA Cemetery where my husband is buried. Also my file contains my signed statement that I am an Organ Donor. An advocate friend of mine has literally written a book for his wife when he dies, along with the important documents I mentioned above. Sometimes our spouses really don't know how to shut off water mains right away if a pipe breaks or how to change a blown fuse.The deed to the home should be in the death file too as it is one of many documents a survivor has to get changed,when their spouse has died.

If your spouse is an organ donor or has mentioned that in their wishes, if not formally recorded by their PCP or on their driver's license,or in their death file , the Organ Harvest people make that call within hours of death and the survivor needs to be prepared for it. Organ harvests involve an autopsy and this autopsy could end up being the most important evidence a survivor can have, regarding many DIC claims, as it will be far more detailed than the death certificate. Of course an autopsy almost always involves cremation.These are things we all need to consider in our lifetimes. And burial in a National Cemetery,for the surviving spouse, eventually ,means they need to know that if the deceased veteran has been cremated and rests in the Cremains section of the cemetery, then the spouse will need to be cremated too, to fit on top of the veteran's grave.

Also the VA as well as SSA (if the veteran receives SSA or SSDI, )should be informed ASAP of the veteran's death.

Often the coroner will ask the surviving spouse for any conditions that that veteran had in their lifetime that the coroner can not list as the immediate cause of death. If a service connected disability has contributed substantially to death, that should be put onto the death certificate by the coroner.Also the coroner will ask what medications the veteran was prescribed. A list of them should be put in the death file and updated as needed.

Death certificates are usually ten dollars each or maybe a little more. You might need more then you think.Also the Probate Court in your county can help with the various forms needed eventually for Probate and this is often a job you can do yourself,if the veteran died intestate (without a will).

When a Funeral Director is contacted , he/she will need the veteran's DD214, and any 215 if one was issued, and since they often prepare the Obit, you will want to think about what it should contain. I wrote my husband's Obituary myself.The funeral director checked it against his 214 and 215 and had it published verbatim.

If your spouse is being buried in a National Cemetery, make sure the Funeral Director and the VA knows of your wishes for a Military funeral:



The link to burial benefits does not include this information for surviving spouses of deceased service connected veterans as to burial expense and plot allowances here:


DIC: Dependents and Indemnity Compensation

The DIC application VA form 21-534 is here:


Although the form mentions if the veteran had ever filed a claim with the VA before,I suggest to note under Remarks, if there was a claim pending at time of death and the survivor should also fill out, sign, copy and attach (and refer to under Remarks) the Substitution form:

It is explained here:

You need to file the 534 and the Substitution form within one year after the veteran's death for any potential accrued benefits to be paid to you.

The EZ 534 is here:


An Accrued benefits claim must be supported with evidence as well as the DIC claim and they are handled as two separate issues with the VA.

Also I noticed that VA does not include the REPS application anymore along with the DIC app.

REPS Restored Entitlement Program.

My vet reps didnt even know what REPS was at all.

It can involve a considerable amount of money.

Here is the form that states which specific survivors are eligible for REPS:


After receipt of a DIC application the survivor will receive a VCAA letter that must include the Hupp decision.

As Military.com states:

"DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of the following:

  • Military service member who died while on active duty, OR

  • Veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR

  • Veteran whose death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling

    • for at least 10 years immediately before death, OR

    • since the veteran's release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR

    • for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999. “


DIC is also paid under a Section 1151 death, as explained below,with a more detailed description of each type of DIC here:

1.. Cause of Death

“In order to establish service connection for the cause of a 
veteran's death, the evidence must show that a disability 
incurred in or aggravated by active service was the principal or 
contributory cause of death. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1310; 38 C.F.R. 
§ 3.312(a).  In order to constitute the principal cause of death 
the service-connected disability must be one of the immediate or 
underlying causes of death or be etiologically related to the 
cause of death.  38 C.F.R. § 3.312(b).  In the case of 
contributory cause of death, it must be shown that a service-
connected disability contributed substantially or materially to 
cause death.  38 C.F.R. § 3.312(c)(1).

Service connection for the cause of a veteran's death may be 
demonstrated by showing that the veteran's death was caused by a 
disability for which service connection had been established at 
the time of death or for which service connection should have 
been established.  Service connection means that the facts, shown 
by evidence, establish that a particular injury or disease 
resulting in disability was incurred in the line of duty in the 
active military service or, if pre-existing such service, was 
aggravated during service.  See 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 1110, 1131; 38 
C.F.R. § 3.303(a).

Service connection generally requires evidence of a current 
disability with a relationship or connection to an injury or 
disease or some other manifestation of the disability during 
service.  Boyer v. West, 210 F.3d 1351, 1353 (Fed. Cir. 2000); 
Mercado-Martinez v. West , 11 Vet. App. 415, 419 (1998) (citing 
Cuevas v. Principi, 3 Vet. App. 542, 548 (1992)).  Where the 
determinative issue involves medical causation or a medical 
diagnosis, there must be competent evidence to the effect that 
the claim is plausible.  Lay evidence can be competent and 
sufficient to establish a diagnosis of a condition when (1) a 
layperson is competent to identify the medical condition, (2) the 
layperson is reporting a contemporaneous medical diagnosis, or 
(3) lay testimony describing symptoms at the time supports a 
later diagnosis by a medical professional.  Jandreau v. 
Nicholson, 492 F.3d 1372, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2007).” 
This means that either a primary cause of death is listed on the death certificate, as cause of death,
 or that a service connected condition is listed as a contributing cause of death.
For example, a death certificate of a non - AO vet lists NSC heart disease as prime cause of death 
but with  diabetes as a substantially contributing cause. If the diabetes has been service connected,
 the survivor should succeed with the DIC claim, although it might take an IMO if the veteran had not 
pursued the heart disease as secondary to the diabetes.

DIC Under 38 USC 1318:
Governing Laws and Regulations for 38 U.S.C.A. § 1318 Claim:

“Under 38 U.S.C.A. § 1318, VA death benefits may be paid to a deceased Veteran's surviving spouse or 
children in the same manner as if the Veteran's death is service-connected, even though the Veteran 
died of non-service-connected causes, if the Veteran's death was not the result of his or her own 
willful misconduct and at the time of death, the Veteran was receiving, or was "entitled to receive,"
 compensation for service-connected disability that (1) was continuously rated as totally disabling 
for the 10 years immediately preceding death, (2) was continuously rated as totally disabling for a
 period of not less than 5 years from the date of his discharge or release from active duty or (3) 
was continuously rated as totally disabling for a period of not less than one year immediately
 preceding death, and the Veteran was a former prisoner of war (POW) who died after September 30, 1999. 
 38 U.S.C.A. § 1318 (West 2002 & Supp. 2012); 38 C.F.R. § 3.22(a) (2012).  The total rating may be
 schedular or may be a total disability rating based on unemployability (TDIU).”  38 C.F.R. § 3.22(c).  

“The term "entitled to receive" means that, at the time of death, the Veteran had filed a claim for
 disability compensation during his lifetime, and the Veteran had service-connected disability rated 
totally disabling by VA for the requisite time period, but was not receiving compensation due to six 
possible circumstances: (1) VA was paying the compensation to the Veteran's dependents; (2) VA was 
withholding the compensation under authority of 38 U.S.C. § 5314 to offset an indebtedness of the 
Veteran; (3) the Veteran had not waived retired or retirement pay in order to receive compensation; 
(4) VA was withholding payments under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. § 1174(h)(2); (5) VA was withholding
 payments because the Veteran's whereabouts was unknown, but the Veteran was otherwise entitled to 
continued payments based on a total service-connected disability rating; or (6) VA was withholding
 payments under 38 U.S.C. § 5308 but determines that benefits were payable under 38 U.S.C. § 5309.”  
38 C.F.R. § 3.22(b)(3).  
In addition, the term "entitled to receive" can mean that the Veteran filed a claim for disability 
compensation during his lifetime and one of the following two circumstances is met: (1) the Veteran 
would have received total disability compensation at the time of death for a service-connected 
disability rated totally disabling for the period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section but 
for clear and unmistakable error (CUE) committed by VA in a decision on a claim filed during the 
Veteran's lifetime concerning the issues of service connection, disability evaluation, or effective
 date; or (2) additional evidence submitted to VA before or after the Veteran's death, consisting 
solely of service department records that existed at the time of a prior VA decision but were not 
previously considered by VA, provides a basis for reopening a claim finally decided during the Veteran's
 lifetime and for awarding a total service-connected disability rating retroactively in accordance with
 §§ 3.156(c) and 3.400(q)(2) of this part for the relevant period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this
 section.  38 C.F.R. § 3.22(b)(1) and (2).    

The Federal Circuit has ruled that § 1318 DIC claims are not subject to a "hypothetical entitlement" 
analysis.  Rodriguez v. Peake, 511 F.3d 1147, 1156 (2008).  See also Tarver v. Shinseki, 557 F.3d 1371,
 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2009).  In essence, under Rodriguez and Tarver, the amended regulation 38 C.F.R. § 3.22 does not have an impermissible retroactive effect, and it may be applied to bar DIC claims filed by survivors under the "hypothetical entitlement" theory, no matter when the § 1318 claim was filed.  Simply put, there is no longer "hypothetical entitlement" to DIC benefits under any circumstance.    

Therefore, the state of the law is such that claims for DIC benefits under 38 U.S.C.A. § 1318 

must be adjudicated with specific regard given to decisions made during the Veteran's lifetime and 

without consideration of hypothetical entitlement for benefits raised for the first time after a Veteran's death.  See again Rodriguez v. Peake, 511 F.3d 1147 (2008).

DIC payable under Section 1151,38 USC:

Title 38 U.S.C. 1151 Claims

“Title 38 U.S.C. Section 1151 allows VA to pay compensation for death or disability "as if service-connected." Don't be confused with this subtle difference. The disability is not considered service-connected. Under Section 1151, benefits may be paid for:

  • Injuries incurred or aggravated while receiving VA-sponsored medical treatment.

  • Injuries incurred or aggravated while pursuing a course of vocational rehabilitation under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 or participating in compensated work therapy under 38 U.S.C. 1718.

If eligibility is established under Section 1151, the disability is considered service-connected for payment purposes ONLY.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be a Veteran

  • You must have a disabling condition that is the result of or has been aggravated due to VA sponsored medical treatment or training

Evidence Requirements

As a result of VA hospitalization, medical or surgical treatment, examination, or training, the evidence must show you have:

  • An additional disability or disabilities, OR

  • An aggravation of an existing injury or disease, AND

The disability was:

  • The direct result of VA fault such as carelessness, negligence, lack of proper skill, or error in judgment, OR

  • Not a reasonably expected result or complication of the VA care or treatment OR

  • The direct result of participation in a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment or compensated work therapy program. “

In the case of a surviving spouse, it should clearly be indicated on the 21-534 form that this is a claim for death of the veteran due to negligence, under Section 38 USC, 1151.

This type of claim for VA negligence as the cause of the veteran's death will need probative medical documentation ,almost always in the form of a strong IMO, to support this type of DIC claim ,in order to provide a full medical rationale.
FTCA claims can be filed simultaneously with claims under 1151 for DIC, but any favorable FTCA award will be offset to the DIC compensation payable, until the settlement amount from FTCA is recovered by the VA.
DIC monthly amounts include that which is for any children under 18.
Also there is more info on that here:
In some cases parents of deceased veterans are eligible for DIC and that info is here:
Eligibility Requirements; what is a surviving spouse for VA purposes:
A surviving spouse may qualify for pension, compensation or dependency and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), if the marriage to the Veteran occurred before or during his service, or after his service if certain requirements are met. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1541; 38 C.F.R. § 3.54. Under the regulations, a "surviving spouse" is defined, in part, as a person of the opposite sex whose marriage to the Veteran meets the requirements of 38 C.F.R. § 3.1(j) and who was the spouse of the Veteran at the time of the Veteran's death. 38 C.F.R. § 3.50.

VA defines a "marriage" as a marriage valid under the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of marriage or the laws of the place where the parties resided when the right to benefits accrued. 38 U.S.C.A. § 103©; 38 C.F.R. § 3.1(j).

In jurisdictions where marriages other than by ceremony are recognized, marriage is established by the affidavits or certified statements of one or both of the parties to the marriage, if living, setting forth all of the facts and circumstances concerning the alleged marriage, such as the agreement between the parties at the beginning of their cohabitation, the period of cohabitation, places and dates of residences, and whether children were born as the result of the relationship. This evidence should be supplemented by affidavits or certified statements from two or more persons who know as the result of personal observation the reputed relationship which existed between the parties to the alleged marriage including the periods of cohabitation, places of residences, whether the parties held themselves out as married, and whether they were generally accepted as such in the communities in which they lived. Marriage may also be established by any other secondary evidence which reasonably supports a belief by the adjudicating activity that a valid marriage actually occurred. 38 C.F.R. § 3.205(a).

In the absence of conflicting information, proof of marriage which meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section together with the claimant's certified statement concerning the date, place and circumstances of dissolution of any prior marriage may be accepted as establishing a valid marriage, provided that such facts, if they were to be corroborated by record evidence, would warrant acceptance of the marriage as valid. 38 C.F.R. § 3.205(b)

A surviving spouse should always try to find a good vet rep to help with the DIC claim.

Regardless of what the rep says they have sent in to the VA, the survivor should keep copies of everything , to include their filled out DIC form, and double check that VA has received everything they send.

VA will not allow us survivors to use ebenefits but the ebenefit section ( # 5 I think on the phone pad), after you call 1-800-827-1000 will give you a status from a VA rep if you can hold on the line for a while.

Office of Survivors Assistance VA...http://www.va.gov/survivors/
This office is an excellent resources for survivors who have questions that do not regard their DIC claims. For example there is info at this site on bereavment counselling available to survivors through the VA.They have a direct email addy as well at the site.
Hadit has had superb discussions here in our DIC forum as to all of the nuances of the DIC benefit and advice to many, as each DIC claim can be either a very simple one or can be actually quite complex.
Also Tbird has put an entire Survivors packet here:
Surviving spouses of veterans, even if they had been very involved in the spouse's VA issues, find there is a lot to the DIC process and will also learn that our motto here, Knowledge is Power, is what can sustain them and that knowledge can hopefully reverse any DIC denial they might get.
If the survivor is age 60 or older, (age 50 if disabled)they can consider receiving an early SSA survivors benefit:

I only wish that some of the above information was available to me long ago when I was widowed of a veteran. Grief can stop us in our tracks and even cause us to put off filling out the many forms and sundry paperwork that the death of a spouse involves. I even had many flashbacks as I prepared this article,because ,when I was newly widowed , I was dealing with a pre -internet VA, whose web site holds a wealth of info now, yet I did have the VBM by NVLSP and that gave me good direction for my initial DIC claim.
Also I advise to file for SC death under more than one theory if possible.
If one theory fails, than perhaps the next one will succeed.
That is good advice for any veteran claimant as well, to raise as many logical theories of entitlement ,as possible, to gain service connection.

Meghp0405 has added this important advice:

“Submit a VA FM 21-534ez for DIC claims. I've also submitted this form along with a VA FM 21-526ez, FDC. The response times that I've experienced using this process is around 90 days..

The DIC claims have been directed to the Milwaukee VARO. I've always submitted the applications right to that office instead of the local VARO. Saves some time..

hope this helps”

Edited by Berta
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Thank you sooooo much for posting this. It is very important, yet something too many of us put off for a "rainy day" to do. I started working on this, got sidetracked, and need to complete it yesterday!

Don't want my loved ones to have to search for documents, etc. after I've gone to the "Rainbow Bridge!"


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Folks I am bumping this up, because it will give you all a chance to learn these regulations now, before you expire, and the spouses needs to know them too.

You can copy this whole article and put the copy in your VA files with your DD 214 etc etc.

If your spouse does not use the internet, he or she will have to depend on a VSO or vet rep, who might not have a clue on DIC and accrued. My former reps didnt.

Make sure the spouse has your hadit password or will register here  in their name when you die.

I usually always answer DIC questions here, but from now on I will give all of you a chance to help any survivor who comes to us. You will find all the info they need in this article and expanded on in our DIC forum.



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I wrote this in 2014, aqnd as I re read it 

there are some corrections.


Yes ,we survivors have been granted the right to use ebenefits now.

Also DOMA insures some same sex spouses these same rights for DIC:


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      Obviously, the Navy handled this clear cut case of rape, with evidence and my complete cooperation, like they do any scandal.  They buried it and came after me.  That might be a secondary stressor, but I've been warned that claiming a secondary stressor could hose up everything and to keep my mouth shut?  kind of amazing that the advice that is meant to help, sounds a lot like the advice that sent me careening out of control all those years ago.
      Anyhow, I survived, got married, got out, and went in and out of counseling.  Over the years, I've been diagnosed with PTSD, Chronic Depression, Chronic Adjustment Disorder, Agoraphobia, Generalized anxiety Disorder, and Dissociation Disorder.  I don't trust military medicine or the government, so most of my counseling was done through non-profit organizations and women's shelters. They're so secretive, that I felt it'd be safe to tell them what I went through and my statements wouldn't end up in the Navy's summary of Mishaps... again. So, I don't really have records of those, except for prescriptions that were reported to Tricare.   I do have my civilian medical records. It has page after page of doctors complaining that I broke down, was combative, emotional etc, etc.  I do have a few sessions with shrinks at MTFs in the last couple years. They were not keen on actual diagnostics, they just gave me the pills I asked for.
      I'm shopping shrinks to assess me and give diagnosis. I'm not sure I need a nexus letter, but I'm thinking it wouldn't hurt.  I have a letter from my ex boss describing how my work performance plummeted over the years and how he made accommodations to keep me on. I also have a letter from me, describing my bad days and my rituals to get through them. My husband and his best friend were witnesses to the fallout of my rape, in terms of the military's response to me.  They can verify in statements that I did report it and go into counseling. They can also verify that I'm socially isolated and very codepenedent on them to meet new people or get involved in activities.  I don't have a single friend that they didn't make for me, first.  I do not know how to people. I don't have friends from work. I don't have "my own" friends from church. I don't even have people who like me well enough, and include me in things, without my husband and his best friend acting as intermediaries.  
      oh, I also have the most recent sentencing transcripts for the ringleader of my attackers.  The judge stated that he felt this dude was unrepentant and a monster. He cited his past sex crimes, "both in the record and that didn't make it to trial" and his history of convincing others to help him conceal his crimes.  If that's not a shout out from the bench, I don't know what is.

      Anyhow, I guess my question is, has anyone here done a fully developed MST claim with multiple bullet points for anxiety, phobia, ptsd, and depression, and get 100% or at least, a high enough rating to qualify for unemployability?  Without having to go through appeals and lawyers?  Was a police report enough, even if the military dropped it?  Should I give the C&P my evidence, letters, and my personal statement too? I'm sure I have 1000 more questions,  but I'm mostly looking for someone who has done what I'm trying to do.
    • By Michigander
      What impact do you think my MST/PTSD claim will have because I am not on any meds for anxiety or depression.  The only medication I was on was Xanax for my anxiety and panic attacks and my neurologist told me to stop taking my Xanax because I have such severe memory and concentration issues.  I am on a very low dose which he knows and that I needed to take the meds because it is the only thing to this point that helps my panic attacks or recover more quickly from one.  I am not on any depression meds. because I will not take them due to having suicidal thoughts when I tried them two times in my past.  I did think of killing myself...I had and "urge" to kill myself and that was the scariest thing to fight off for almost two days until my meds wore off.  I vowed I would never take those meds again (or any other class of the meds) I'd rather have my anxiety and depression than to kill myself and my children have to live with that the rest of their lives.  
      Now that I am filing for MST/PTSD I see the DBQ has many questions surrounding medications and it looks like in my situation the yes and no answers does not allow for the explanation above and my claim may be rejected despite my many issues I deal with daily that I am now in therapy for.  
      Any advice on what to do to address this preemptively for my claim??
    • By babs
      I just submitted my first claim for PTSD from MST. When I was overseas, I was on guard duty was an infantryman. When in a guard tower, he exposed his penis and started playing with it. He was looking at me and wanted to me "help" him out. We were locked and loaded so I was fearful on what this man was going to do next. I just froze. I told his SGT and he was detained and sent back to garrison. The rules changed and I was looked at a different way since the incident. There was no touching but this incident has impacted my life and my sense of security. I'm fearful of everything and what's worse is that it's now effecting my children and my marriage and that's why I'm now filing. I haven't talked about it openly with my friends and now I'm expected to talk about it with a stranger for my c&p appointments? Any advice on what to expect and how long the whole process take. 
    • By Andyman73
      Anybody have any idea or know anything about the part of the PTSD criterion relating to derealization and or dissociation? I experienced them both during my multiple MST events...still do.
    • By Tbird
      I saw the below on Stateside Legal's site and thought I'd share.
      Are you a man who has experienced unwanted sexual contact or touching? You are not alone. Join an anonymous online forum and hear from other men who have had experiences with unwanted sexual contact. See the attached handout and Safe HelpRoom for more information.
    • By tsphamwi
      Hey everyone I am new to this and I just filed my claim for PTSD/mst claim in january 2017 and I have been so stress out because I have been reading about claims being denied and low balled and such. My question is i just received my C&P exam which was done by VES. I got a copy of it from my Marine Core League organization. I had a question as to the exam results it says I am occupational and social impairments deficiencies in most area. and then it list the systems which I have symptoms from 70 50 and 30 percent and they are equal to each other. I am confused does that mean they are going to give me the 30 rating because there is no one percent more than another. I guess how can you be deficiencies in most area when I have symptoms from each percent. the exams stated that ptsd and mdd are aggravated from the military services. I guess do i not quality for the 70 or is pretty rare to be in 70 do you have to more on the 70 to be rated at that.
      he checked depressed mood, anxiety, near continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, flatten affect, disturbance motivation and mood, difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationship, and inability to establish and maintain effective relationship. but he put me under the MDD recurrent severe, and mst. could someone please let me know what they think. 
    • By Andyman73
      This afternoon I have my C&P exam for PTSD secondary to MST, with a contracted provider. I found out Friday evening after work. Fed Ex had delivered the paperwork earlier, but I didn't get a chance to see it until I got home from work.
      To say that I am nervous would be the understatement of the year. I am desperately trying to hold myself together. My digestive system is all out of whack.  I did spend an hour on the phone last night with a wonderful person from a non VSO group. She is a Marine and has trauma history, so that made the connection pretty easy.  She gave me a lot of good tips, if I could only remember them when it's crunch time.
      One of my biggest fears is that this will be just like my previous mental health C&P...where that examiner, a VA employee, when straight for the jugular and ignored my heaps of physical evidence. I don't know why I am even doing this. I fully expect to get more of the same....nothing. If I do get granted SC, the shock of that may well kill me...because that goes against the grain of what the VA has given me over the years....tons of grief and denials.
      Anyway, just wanted to write this down as some kind of therapy...
      No body has to read it, or respond.  I'm not here anyway.........
    • By Michigander
      Need advice.  I do not have anyone helping me at this time with filing a PTSD/MST claim.  I do have a VSO appt. at a local vet center in a week or so.  In the meantime from what I have read you need three things to file a MST claim.  1. evidence (I have police report...check). 2. PTSD diagnosis, but you can also claim other conditions such as anxiety and depression etc...(right?).  3. Nexus letter.
      Please correct or add to anything above if I am missing something.
      My question today, is that although I just starting going to a civilian therapist a few months ago I have not disclosed my MST and have only talked about my daily anxiety, panic attacks etc....trying to deal with the problem without talking about the problem I guess.  When I decided to file a claim I thought I could start going to a VA mental health counselor to get therapy while at the same time getting diagnosed officially for my claim.  At this time, I do not have a document or official diagnosis of PTSD as my therapist has not told me that.  I did go to a therapist years ago who said I had PTSD, but she closed her practice and I cannot locate my records.   I know or guess it would have been better to have this long history of therapy for my PTSD claim, but I don't.   
      I ended up talking to a social worker at the VA last week who is the head of the MST dept. and although I fully intended to work with therapist there for my PTSD I am already not feeling good about working with the mental health staff there (without going into any details I just need to take another route). 
      My understanding is that I need the Nexus letter from a mental health person...right?  Does the Nexus letter come from a C & P exam or can you have a civilian therapist write it??  If you can have your civilian therapist write it I figure I would disclose my MST to her and start working with her in therapy then ask her to write the Nexus letter.  If I have up to a year to pull together my paperwork my therapist could write a letter a little further down the road once we discuss my issues related to my MST...right.
      I think I read it's best to go to a VA therapist to get a diagnosis and Nexus letter??... but I don't feel comfortable doing that.  If I understood what I read here...you may not need to have a C & P exam if you have the evidence and a Nexus letter...even if it's from a civilian therapist...is that correct?
      Anyways...sorry this email is all over the place, but hope it makes sense.
      Thanks in advance for your feedback!!
    • By MKAH
      Hello,  I am currently SC and rated at 10% Tinnutis & 20% bilateral hearing loss.
      Below is an examination and a review of that examination.  I am not sure how to interpret it?
      Thanks for any help reading it.
      Social Worker
      Signed: 06/03/2016 17:04
      02 Jun 2016 @ 0824
      Note Title:
      C&P Audiology 13294
      No CA Healthcare Sys-Martinez
      Signed By:
      Co-signed By:
      Date/Time Signed:
      02 Jun 2016 @ 0824
      LOCAL TITLE: C&P Audiology 13294
      DATE OF NOTE: JUN 02, 2016@08:24:04 ENTRY DATE: JUN 02, 2016@08:24:04
      Hearing Loss and Tinnitus
      Disability Benefits Questionnaire
      Name of patient/Veteran m…..Xxxxxx 1234
      Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P
      [X] Yes [ ] No
      ACE and Evidence Review
      Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this
      [X] Review of available records (without in-person or video telehealth
      examination) using the Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) process
      the existing medical evidence provided sufficient information on which
      prepare the DBQ and such an examination will likely provide no
      relevant evidence.
      Evidence Review
      Evidence reviewed (check all that apply):
      [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA)
      Page 18 of 44
      [X] CPRS
      This exam is for: Hearing loss and/or tinnitus (audiologist or
      non-audiologist clinician, using audiology report of record that represents
      Veteran's current condition)
      If using audiology report of record, date audiology exam was performed:
      1. Objective Findings
      a. Puretone thresholds in decibels (air conduction):
      | A | B | C | D | E | F | G |
      | 500 | 1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 6000 | 8000 | Avg Hz |
      | Hz* | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | (B-E)**|
      | 30 | 50 | 75 | 85 | 95 | 105+ | 100+ | 76 |
      LEFT EAR
      | A | B | C | D | E | F | G |
      | 500 | 1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 6000 | 8000 | Avg Hz |
      | Hz* | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | (B-E)**|
      | 35 | 50 | 70 | 80 | 85 | 105+ | 100+ | 71 |
      * The puretone threshold at 500 Hz is not used in determining the
      evaluation but is used in determining whether or not a ratable hearing
      loss exists.
      ** The average of B, C, D, and E.
      *** CNT - Could Not Test
      b. Were there one or more frequency(ies) that could not be tested: No
      c. Validity of puretone test results: Test results are valid for rating
      d. Speech Discrimination Score (Maryland CNC word list):
      | RIGHT EAR | 56% |
      XXXXXX, xxxxxx
      Page 19 of 44
      | LEFT EAR | 56% |
      e. Appropriateness of Use of Word Recognition Score (Maryland CNC word
      Right Ear:
      Is Word Discrimination Score available? Yes
      Word Discrimination Score appropriateness:
      Use of word recognition score is appropriate for this Veteran.
      Left Ear:
      Is Word Discrimination Score available? Yes
      Word Discrimination Score appropriateness:
      Use of word recognition score is appropriate for this Veteran.
      f. Audiologic Findings
      Summary of Immittance (Tympanometry) Findings:
      | | RIGHT EAR | LEFT EAR
      | Acoustic immittance | [ ] Normal [ ] Abnormal | [ ] Normal [ ] Abnormal
      | Ipsilateral | |
      | Acoustic Reflexes | [ ] Normal [ ] Abnormal | [ ] Normal [ ] Abnormal
      | Contralateral | |
      | Acoustic Reflexes | [ ] Normal [ ] Abnormal | [ ] Normal [ ] Abnormal
      | Unable to interpret | |
      | reflexes due to | [ ] | [ ]
      | artifact | |
      | Unable to obtain/ | |
      | maintain seal | [X] | [X]
      Page 20 of 44
      2. Diagnosis
      [ ] Normal hearing
      [ ] Conductive hearing loss ICD code:
      [ ] Mixed hearing loss ICD code:
      [X] Sensorineural hearing loss (in the frequency range of 500-4000 Hz)*
      ICD code: H90.3
      [X] Sensorineural hearing loss (in the frequency range of 6000 Hz or
      higher frequencies)** ICD code: H90.3
      [ ] Significant changes in hearing thresholds in service***
      LEFT EAR
      [ ] Normal hearing
      [ ] Conductive hearing loss ICD code:
      [ ] Mixed hearing loss ICD code:
      [X] Sensorineural hearing loss (in the frequency range of 500-4000 Hz)*
      ICD code: H90.3
      [X] Sensorineural hearing loss (in the frequency range of 6000 Hz or
      higher frequencies)** ICD code: H90.3
      [ ] Significant changes in hearing thresholds in service***
      * The Veteran may have hearing loss at a level that is not considered to
      a disability for VA purposes. This can occur when the auditory
      thresholds are greater than 25 dB at one or more frequencies in the
      500-4000 Hz range.
      ** The Veteran may have impaired hearing, but it does not meet the criteria
      to be considered a disability for VA purposes. For VA purposes, the
      diagnosis of hearing impairment is based upon testing at frequency
      of 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, and 4000 Hz. If there is no HL in the
      Hz range, but there is HL above 4000 Hz, check this box.
      *** The Veteran may have a significant change in hearing threshold in
      service, but it does not meet the criteria to be considered a disability
      for VA purposes. (A signi
      ficant change in hearing threshold may indicate
      Page 21 of 44
      noise exposure or acoustic trauma.)
      3. Etiology
      [X] Etiology opinion not indicated as:
      [X] Service connected condition
      [X] VBA did not request etiology
      4. Functional impact of hearing loss
      Does the Veteran's hearing loss impact ordinary conditions of daily
      including ability to work: Yes
      If yes, describe impact in the Veteran's own words: DIFFICULTY
      5. Remarks, if any, pertaining to hearing loss:
      1. Medical history
      Does the Veteran report recurrent tinnitus: Yes
      Date and circumstances of onset of tinnitus: FROM 2.16.16 EVALUATION:
      describes a subjective, bilateral, constant tinnitus with an unsure
      2. Etiology of tinnitus
      [X] Etiology opinion not indicated as:
      [X] VBA did not request etiology
      3. Functional impact of tinnitus
      Does the Veteran's tinnitus impact ordinary conditions of daily life,
      including ability to work: No
      4. Remarks, if any, pertaining to tinnitus::
      No response provided
      NOTE: VA may request additional medical information, including additional
      examinations if necessary to complete VA's review of the
      NIC…., MARK
      Page 22 of 44
    • By Michigander
      My heart goes out to all of my fellow survivors of MST ...
      For me, I have found I can no longer suppress and manage the daily physical and emotional affects of the sexual assault that took place on December 25, 1985 while serving on active duty.  In effort to find some help, relief and hopefully someday healing I am starting the uphill journey to deal with this and try to share some of the highlights of my battle.  I will be the first to admit I have no idea what I am doing and can only hope that God the father.... will guide my feet day by day. 
      First step locating documentation of the event.  A few weeks ago I was able to locate the police dept. and requested a copy of the report.  I received a copy of the 15 page report this past week and it makes me emotionally and physically sick just to look at the envelope it's in.
      I also tried to locate medical records over the years from prior mental health therapists and physicians that would have documented my history as it related to these events, but the practices were closed or my records were no longer available due to time.
      April I called the VA to inquire about mental health services for MST and hesitated to start the process because the MST would not be marked in my record for all my providers to see.  This was a big hurdle mentally as I have always hid this event at all costs from my providers.   I am sure this did not help my physicians treat me and fully understand my ongoing medical problems especially those in which are usually brought on by some big life event which I always adamantly denied when asked. 
      May 2nd 2017, I submitted a "intent to file".
      May 4th 2017, I went to a VSO rep?? to asked questions about the process to file a claim related to MST.  The rep was belittling, insulting, hurtful, rude and I walked out of that office with no more information and the psychological affects were pretty devastating.  At the encouragement from my daughter to go straight to the patient advocate office and file a complaint....I did just that.  I found myself have a total mental breakdown just trying to give the details of what just went down and was thankfully met with support and many reassurances that I would have a team of people helping moving forward and that person would be brought in...dealt with and re-trained.  I will spare you all the details.
      My next step is hearing from the mental health dept. to set up an appt. to do some type of baseline evaluation of my symptoms etc. as it related to MST... I guess to get an official diagnosis on record and to get me the specific therapy I need started.  I will likely opt for tele-therapy once I have a few sessions onsite at the VA. 
      That's it for now
    • By bright
      I have been 100% perm and total since 2003, before that i was 70%.
      I just got an appointment for a C and P exam to reevaluate. WHY!
      Has anyone ever heard of this?  Has anyone ever had one after being perm and total?
      What is going on?
    • By VETOVET
      Please, welcome new VET2VET podcast episode:
      Today we are joined by Thomas Wendel, DAV National area supervisor for West Cost Region.
      Thomas E. Wendel served in the U. S. Marine Corps from 1983 until 1997.
      Since 1999, Tom has worked assisting veterans in processing various entitlement claims on the local, state and federal levels; first in Clare County as a county service officer and then when he came to work for the Disabled American Veterans in 2000. In 2008 he was promoted to the position of supervisor of the DAV Service Office in Detroit and later he was promoted to the position of supervisor of the DAV National area for West Cost Region.
      DAV is America’s largest, most effective veterans service organizations dedicated to the needs of those injured, ill or wounded in service. We have more than 1,300 Chapters in communities nationwide to help make sure veterans from all generations and their families get the benefits and support they deserve. Today, nearly 1.3 million veterans belong to DAV, and we encourage you to add your voice to the cause. Our programs and free services help all veterans get the health, disability and financial benefits they earned. Take advantage of our benefits claims assistance, medical transportation and employment resources. Your local DAV Chapter is a great way to connect with fellow veterans in your area.
      ▶ facebook.com/VETOVET2
      ▶ itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/vet2vet/id1077206523?mt=2
      ▶ twitter.com/VETOVET2
      ▶ youtube.com/c/VETOVET2
      ▶ plus.google.com/u/0/+VETOVET2
      ▶ goo.gl/app/playmusic?ibi=com.google.PlayMusic&isi=691797987&ius=googleplaymusic&link=https://play.google.com/music/m/Iiqawbuzg7eviiyqm6xz7kju62m?t%3DVET2VET
      ▶ feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:198832065/sounds.rss
      ▶ soundcloud.com/vet2vet
      ▶ stitcher.com/s?fid=80842&refid=stpr
  • Our picks

    • 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. 
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      Claims Process – Your claim can go from any step to back a step depending on the specifics of the claim, so you may go from Pending Decision Approval back to Review of Evidence. Ebenefits status is helpful but not definitive. Continue Reading
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    • I was rated at 10% for tinnitus last year by the VA. I went to my private doctor yesterday and I described to him the problems that I have been having with my sense of balance. Any sudden movement of my head or movement while sitting in my desk chair causes me to lose my balance and become nauseous. Also when seeing TV if there are certain scenes,such as movement across or up and down the screen my balance is affected. The doctor said that what is causing the problem is Meniere's Disease. Does any know if this could be secondary to tinnitus and if it would be rated separately from the tinnitus? If I am already rated at 10% for tinnitus and I could filed for Meniere's does any one know what it might be rated at? Thanks for your help. 68mustang
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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.