High-Cervical Nerves (C1 – C4)
Most severe of the spinal cord injury levels Paralysis in arms, hands, trunk and legs Patient may not be able to breathe on his or her own, cough, or control bowel or bladder movements. Ability to speak is sometimes impaired or reduced. When all four limbs are affected, this is called tetraplegia or quadriplegia. Requires complete assistance with activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, bathing, and getting in or out of bed May be able to use powered wheelchairs with special controls to move around on their own Will not be able to drive a car on their own Requires 24-hour-a-day personal care
A report by the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VAOIG) says dozens of military veterans incorrectly received letters indicating they would lose unemployment benefits after an overworked VA staff member in Seattle lost track of records they had submitted. VA auditors took a sampling of 132 employment questionnaires and determined that one-fifth of the veterans had been sent letters indicating a reduction or cancellation of benefits, even though they had mailed forms that should have allowed them to continue receiving money. The VAOIG report is available on the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General website.
Mark – Urbandale, Iowa: I had a service-related injury that worsened over time. In 1994, I was awarded 100 percent V.A. benefits. When I inquired with Social Security back then, I was told I didn’t qualify due to my V.A. benefits. I accepted the response. I figured they should know. I felt bad about even asking, but I inquired, because I had paid in since I was 16. Yesterday, my nephew told me that that wasn’t true. So I called today, and they said I didn’t qualify, because I haven’t worked in the last five years. (Of course I haven’t — I am disabled.) I don’t know if the law has changed since 1994, but by today’s laws, I would have qualified since I had worked back then. This just doesn’t seem fair. Can you help or perhaps provide advice?
Larry Kotlikoff: I’ve asked our Social Security Technical Adviser, Jerry Lutz, to weigh in.
Jerry Lutz: First, sincere thanks for your service.
You can still apply for Social Security disability benefits, but you will need to establish that your disability began within five years after you stopped working. Social Security should be able to access your V.A. medical records (with your permission), so there should be evidence available in your case. Remember, though, that Social Security’s definition of disability is different from the V.A., so there is no guarantee that you will be approved. If your claim is disallowed, don’t hesitate to file an appeal. Many disability cases are approved during the appeals process, and you can usually find an attorney who will represent you on a contingency basis. If you are approved, Social Security normally pays a maximum of 12 months of back pay on disability benefits. However, if you can establish that they misinformed you at the time of your first contact, it’s possible that they could pay you all of the retroactive benefits to which you would have been entitled.
Remember the maximum 12 months of back pay is on top off your application date. In other words if SSA finds that you are disabled you will get your SSDI payment from your application date plus 12 (twelve) more months. Now if you hire an attorney you will have to sign an agreement to pay them 25% of your back pay and if SSA allows it, they will pay the attorney out of your back pay. I think 25% is the max the attorney can charge and it is you don't pay if you don't win. The key is your medical records have to prove that you were disabled within five years of you stopped working and you will most likely have to file an appeal to the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge).
Years ago when I was doing my own research on my medical health, I contacted the Institute of Medicine (IOM) for as much information they could help me with and this is what they sent me. I was just cleaning my PC and thought that this may help other veterans. Of course there is a lot more on the site but I think this is a good start.
Hope this helps
(91outcomes.com - June 5, 2014) - A Military Times article today cites VA data showing the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has denied nearly 80 percent, or four out of five Gulf War Illness disability claims denied. 
Today’s breaking news article also shows more than half of veterans denied for Gulf War Illness claims have been approved by VA for other conditions, demonstrating a VA bias against approving Gulf War Illness claims long alleged by ill Gulf War veterans.
A full 38 percent (38%) of veterans filing Gulf War Illness claims had their claims denied entirely, both for Gulf War Illness and other conditions.
A new investigative report by NextGov’s Bob Brewin (“Hundreds of thousands of VA disability claims not processed”) shows that at least 228,000 veterans’ claims have been dropped by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) because they weren’t completed in time.
Disability examinations of Gulf War veterans have unique requirements because this group of veterans is eligible for compensation not only for disability due to diagnosed illnesses, but also for disability due to undiagnosed illnesses. An undiagnosed illness is established when findings are present that cannot be attributed to a known, clearly defined diagnosis, after all likely diagnostic possibilities for such abnormalities have been ruled out. Examiners should follow the guidelines in the "Handout of Instructions for Compensation and Pension Examinations" but will also need to request more laboratory tests and specialists’ examinations than average in these cases.
1. Thoroughly review the claims file.
2. Address all conditions and symptoms specified on the examination request
and also address all additional conditions and symptoms that you can elicit from the veteran during the examination, even if not specified on the request form.
3. Conduct a comprehensive general medical examination, following the AMIE General Medical Examination worksheet. For all conditions and symptoms which the General Medical Examination worksheet does not address in detail, follow the appropriate additional AMIE worksheets, and request specialists’ examinations as indicated. Provide details about the onset, frequency, duration, and severity of
all complaints and state what precipitates and what relieves them.
4. List all diagnosed conditions and state which symptoms, abnormal physical findings, and abnormal laboratory test results are associated with
each. If all symptoms, abnormal physical findings, and abnormal laboratory test results are associated with a diagnosed condition, additional specialist examinations for diagnostic purposes are not needed. Diagnosed conditions will be handled as standard claims for service connection. Symptom-based "diagnoses" such as (but not limited to) myalgia, arthralgia, headache, and diarrhea, are not considered as diagnosed conditions for compensation purposes.
5. However, if there are symptoms, abnormal physical findings, or abnormal laboratory test results that have not been determined to be part of a known clinical diagnosis, further specialist examinations will be required to address these findings.
6. Provide the specialist with all examination reports and test results. Specify the symptoms, abnormal physical findings, and abnormal laboratory test results that have
not been attributed
to a known clinical diagnosis. Request that the specialist determine which of these, if any, can be attributed in this veteran to a known clinical diagnosis and which, if any,
cannot be attributed in this veteran to a known clinical diagnosis.
7. After the specialists’ examinations have been completed, and all laboratory test results received, make a final report providing a list of diagnosed conditions. Separately list all symptoms, abnormal physical findings, and abnormal laboratory test results that cannot be attributed to a known clinical diagnosis. Reconcile all differences among the examiners, by consultation or workgroup as necessary, before the examination is returned to the regional office.
If a veteran was treated for the symptoms of gulf war while still on active duty and have SMRs to prove it. Then he or she can be service connected for the diagnosed symptoms/illness. Keep in mind that these symptoms must be medically determined to be chronic.
This post is not to start a debate or argument, just trying to pass information on.
Just Part of the Story.
Experts suspect a variety of toxins could be linked to Gulf War Illness—from pesticides to the anthrax vaccine—but one likely culprit, Golomb says, is something that wasn’t an enemy weapon, or even an accidentally released chemical: the PB pill. The PB pill was given to troops by the U.S. Armed Forces in case of possible exposure to nerve agents—it was a preventative. The cure may have made them sick.
Disabled veterans might face new way to file claims
By ruperte14·January 23, 2014·No comments
Regional·Tagged: Department of Veterans Affairs, Disability, Veterans By Logan Hendrix
The days of submitting disabilities claims on scraps of paper might be ending for veterans, including more than 800,000 in Virginia.
A new proposal by the federal Department of Veterans Affairs would require veterans to use a standardized claim form. One veterans group says this will make the application process more difficult for disabled persons.
VA Spokeswoman Genevieve Billia says the current application process is inefficient. The VA must sift through all the different scraps of paper, ultimately delaying benefits to veterans and their families.
According to the VA, 400,000 veterans have been waiting more than 125 days for their informal claims to be accepted. The VA’s solution is to require veterans to fill out standardized applications, preferably electronically.
National Veterans Service Deputy Director Gerald T. Manar is concerned that abandoning the decades-long practice of filing claims simply with a piece paper will pose a hardship for some veterans.
“[The VA] is creating two classes of people: veterans who can submit things electronically, and those who can’t because they don’t have the resources or don’t have the ability to interact or drive to the VA,” said Manar.
Under the proposed change, veterans who submit to the VA electronically would begin a claim simply by providing their name, Social Security number and a number of a bank account to which the benefits can be deposited. The VA will hold the date the electronic application is submitted for up to a year until veterans provide enough evidence to complete the process. Once accepted, the VA will grant aid from the original date the claim was submitted. But retroactive pay would not apply to veterans who submit incomplete hard-copy forms.
Manar said he is worried that veterans submitting paper forms could lose months of benefits while they are corresponding with the VA.
“In our view, it’s another way for the VA to reduce the amount of work it’s receiving and make it appear it’s showing improvement when in fact it’s changing the rules that make it harder for veterans to file a claim,” said Manar.
“There’s no accountability,” he said, adding that the proposed change is “incredibly unfair” and “unnecessary.”
The VA states that veterans can access computers at the closest VA facility; for veterans in Rockbridge County, that would be about 50 miles away in Salem.
There is no set date for the proposal to be adopted. Once the VA makes a decision, the rule will be published in the Federal Register. If adopted, the changes would take effect 30 days later and apply only to future claims and appeals.
WASHINGTON — With Congress back this week, veterans groups are vowing to resume their fight against trims to military retirement benefits.
But what they’re really fighting for is relevancy, and to make sure the country hasn’t forgotten about them.
Military advocates worry that Congress’ willingness to attack veterans’ retirement checks shows that lawmakers — and perhaps the public — have already moved on from the wars of the last decade, and that the sacrifices and promises made will be forgotten.
“This is what happens when you have an unengaged population whose focus starts to shift away,” said Tom Tarantino, chief policy officer for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. “When times get tough, people say everyone has to sacrifice. But not everyone has been sacrificing for the last 10 years.”
Read the full article:
Don't worry the sky is not falling
WASHINGTON — As Department of Veterans Affairs physician Nancy Klimas told an agency panel Tuesday about the many successful ways her clinic has been treating Gulf War illness, veterans have responded with a combination of hope and anger.
The hope came because her clinic appears to be making headway in using research-based methods to treat veterans with the disease, which consists of symptoms ranging from headaches to memory loss to chronic fatigue, and plagues one in four of the 697,000 veterans of the 1991 Persian Gulf War against Iraq.
The anger came because, although Klimas had been using at least some of her methods for a decade, none of them have been disseminated throughout the VA system for use in other clinics. Her testimony was part of the ongoing fight between Gulf War veterans, who believe the government is ignoring physical causes for their ailments, and the VA, which has been reluctant to support the veterans' claims.
Klimas heads the Institute for Neuro Immune Medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Miami, and she leads Gulf War Illness research at the VA Medical Center in Miami. She said she has asked her patients to be their own advocates because many physicians don't believe the illness is anything but psychiatric.
Others, Klimas said, don't have time to read the training manual VA put out to help them care for Gulf War veterans, don't have more than 15 minutes to deal with each patient, or don't know how to refer them to specialty clinics where they can get care — and some simply don't care to learn.
"That was a great presentation, but I can't resist adding that this information has been in the hands of Dr. Klimas for 12 years," said Jim Binns, chairman of the Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses, which met with VA officials Tuesday.
For 23 years, Gulf War veterans have argued they were exposed to toxins, such as pesticides, insect repellents, anti-nerve agent pills and nerve agents that caused them to be sick. They've said they do not believe their ailments are due to stress because of the war's short duration and because the majority of troops were not exposed to the fighting. But until 1997, the VA focused on psychological disorders and not research to determine physical causes for the ailments.
In 1997, Congress mandated Binns' committee after a congressional report found that the efforts to find causes and treatments for Gulf War illness by government agencies were "irreparably flawed."
Binns said Klimas' use of research to create a plan to treat veterans is what should have happened at the top level.
Robert Jesse, the VA's principal deputy undersecretary for health, said the agency was trying to develop a "medical home" program that would allow doctors to spend more time with specialty cases, such as those involving Gulf War illness.
"This is a wholesale change in how we're approaching care in VA," Jesse said.
Relations between the VA and Binns' committee have long been contentious and worsened last year when VA Secretary Eric Shinseki signed a directive ending the panel's independence and ruling that Binns' term would end this year. The board's budget was also reduced, and new members were appointed.
New members of the board were at Tuesday's meeting.
Jesse said the "new membership is a good balance of veteran representatives and good science."
Some veterans activists disagreed that progress had been made.
Julie Mock, who served as a dental hygienist in the war and was exposed to sarin gas released when the United States bombed a chemical factory, and who now suffers from Gulf War illness, said she feels the VA is violating Congress' intent.
"There doesn't seem to be any accountability," she said after sitting in on the meeting. "Congress mandated this research, and now VA has reworked it to suit their needs."
Binns said a House hearing last March in which a former VA epidemiologist claimed officials purposely hid or manipulated data to avoid paying Gulf War illness claims changed relations with the department.
"We had three years of positive change," Binns said. "Then, abruptly, the wind shifted."
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68mustang posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research Forum,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
GlennieHB posted an answer to a question,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.
If you are new to hadit and have DIC questions it would help us tremendously if you can answer the following questions right away in your first post.
What was the Primary Cause of Death (# 1) as listed on your spouse’s death certificate?
What,if anything, was listed as a contributing cause under # 2?
Was an autopsy done and if so do you have a complete copy of it?
It can be obtained through the Medical Examiner’s office in your locale.
What was the deceased veteran service connected for in his/her lifetime?
Did they have a claim pending at death and if so what for?
If they died from anything on the Agent Orange Presumptive list ( available here under a search) when did they serve and where? If outside of Vietnam, what was their MOS and also if they served onboard a ship in the South Pacific what ship were they on and when? Also did they have any major physical contact with C 123s during the Vietnam War?
And how soon after their death was the DIC form filed…if filed within one year of death, the date of death will be the EED for DIC and also satisfy the accrued regulation criteria.
VA C and P Exam – Do’s and Don’ts – VA Compensation Pension Exam
The following is written from a VA Compensation and Pension Examiners perspective relating to psychiatric exams. It is a good guideline for all exams but I only did psych exams. I’ve been examined by the VA for multiple problems and this is my format when I go to be examined. A little common sense and clarity ...