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WomanMarine

"I've been service connected since 1975 and haven't recieved a dime"

Question

Sorry for the 'wall of text' ... 

First off I would like to thank everyone for their service. Whether you served in one of the honorable branches or are just a contributor to this wonderful forum I have been lurking on, commitment to Veterans is valued. I am a female, Vietnam era, USMC vet. There are not many of us, as during those days they trained the women as the men, resulting in a high attrition rate. I believe it was due to this intense training that I am, in my old age, starting to feel the burn. 


I was never as proud as the day that my Eagle, Globe and Anchor were pinned on me. It was a lot of work to become a Marine and, sadly, it took its toll. During Boot I started having problems with my R knee giving way. I had this happen to me in high school from running track, but never did my knee cap totally dislocate nor tear my meniscus, as it did that night in the Leather Neck Lanes @ MCRDSD. I was seen the next day in Ortho and subsequently diagnosed with a Sublexing Patella (7244 EPTE) and awarded 10% disability.


This was 1975. Within six months after I was discharged, I got a good job with the railroad. The job only lasted a few months, as my knee went out on me while at work. I was seen at the V.A. in Los Angeles. They put a full leg cast on me, which I was to wear for six months. I applied for my disability then, but was denied. I do not recall the exact reason I was denied, but I do recall that there was an issue with my DD214. I had gone in initially as a Reserve, but later went Active. My last period of service was on my final DD214 but not my first. This required a correction and a  DD215 was issued. Finally the DoD did get my paperwork corrected. 


After a few months in the cast my boyfriend  removed it, as it was causing me back pain. We were both totally amazed to see my leg that had been hidden for over four months, as it was practically non-existent! It had atrophied beyond belief and took quite a bit of work to regain the muscle. However my knee did not act up for some time. The V.A. had stated they rated me at 0% and gave me a card that stated that I was service-connected. In 1980 my knee decided to go out on me again. And again I applied to the V.A. for my service-connected disability. Again I was turned down. And this time they wanted my V.A. service-connected card, stating I was not V.A. rated.


In 1993 I got involved in a new 'fad' called the Internet. I started building small networks. It was a great job, sitting behind a computer, watching my business flourish. In 2000 'dial-up' came to an end, with the prolific growth in wireless comms. My job changed from sitting behind a computer to climbing towers and high rises to install wireless systems.   In 2006 my darn 'Marine Corps' knee returned. It was not the sublexion I had experienced in years past, but more of a 'giving way' that caused me to fall down some stairs and injur my shoulder. By this time I had given up on the V.A. ever recognizing my 'service-connected' injury, so I just started wearing a soft knee brace. In 2012 I was climbing a tower and was 80' in the air when my knee decided to 'give way' ... That was a harrowing experience. If not for my safety harness I would have been 'splat' on the deck. I decided because of this I could not climb anymore. And because of this it cost me more to run my business. In 2014 I sold my business, as I was no longer capable of the physical aspect. I took a loss and now live on a small SS Survivors pension. 


The last two winters have been hell for me, as my knee has now developed arthritis and is causing me sever problems with my back. In 2009 I was diagnosed by the V.A. with DDD of the Lumbar. I am sure that my knee has contributed to this. Also I am now developing arthritis in my left knee. Last summer I tried to be seen for my back in V.A. emergency care, as I had a sever sciatica attack. I waited over four hours and finally checked back in with the ER only to learn that there was only one DR to see the backlog of patients. I left the V.A., once again disgusted.  


I decided last year if Trump was elected that I would re-apply to the V.A., as he made promises to clean-up the V.A. system. I reapplied the day of his Inauguration. I had my C&P last month. The C&P exam I found in MyHealthyVet and stated that my R knee was recognized by the examiner as:
'Recurrent subluxation R, Date of diagnosis: Right 1970.
Knee joint osteoarthritis, both knees, Date of diagnosis: Right 2017.


Comments:

1. Very mild lateral subluxation of the patella.2. Degenerative change involving the patellofemoral joint.3. Very mild degenerative change involving the knee joint.4. Very small knee joint effusion.5. Small popliteal cyst.6. Degenerative change involving the lateral meniscus.7. Degenerative change involving the medial meniscus and a tear involving theposterior horn of the medial meniscus cannot be excluded.Initial ROM R: Flexion: 5 to 110* Extension: 110 to 5*ROM L: Flexion: 0 to 115* Extension: 115 to 0*

No ankylosis shown in either knee. The examiner noted that my recurrent subluxation and lateral insability of my R knee are both Severe with recurrent effusion. The examiner also noted: Crepitus bilaterally with right more pronounced than left. Atalgic gait with increased weight bearing to the left extremity. Also noted was a recent X-Ray that showed degenerative changes and was noted as Mild degenerative arthritis. The examiner scheduled an MRI and X-Ray of my L knee. The MRI indicated a small effusion.  The X-Ray indicated Mild degenerative skeletal change.  Under 'Functional Impact' it was stated that I "must be afforded opportunity to walk on smooth even surfaces. Must avoid repetitive walking inclines/declines, stairs and the use of ladders. Unable to tolerate prolonged standing or walking. Unable to participate in moderate to high impact aerobics. Unable to tolarate kneeeling or squatting. Also noted in the C&P: Veteran had CT Scan 2012 Lumbar spine indicating L4-L5 vacuum phenoma, DJD with recurrent cronic back pain/right radiculopathy s/s. She is requesting consideration for a MRI of lumbar spine. Veteran has positive history of MST but "does not want to deal with it at this time".


After I read the report and saw that my status had changed from "Gather Evidence" to pending decision with a due date of 9/28/17, I became 'hopeful' that the V.A. was actually finally going to grant my service-connected disability. However yesterday that changed and hence the 'wall of text' I am dumping on your doorstep, in need of help. From my understanding they have sent in a request for 'clarification' from my examiner. As well they have not located my records from 1976 that shows when I initially applied and the course of action. They are now stating that my completion date is 1/18/18. I am well aware that the V.A. is like the military, hurry up just to wait. 

Is this normal that they would bump the date back this far?
AND is there any indication that the V.A. is going to finally do right by this ole vet?  

If you made it this far, thanks! 
Semper Fi!
WM

Edited by WomanMarine
typo

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WomanMarine,

Ok, I can tell you that the rater going back to the examiner to "opine" happens quite often.  In my case(s), it has been favorable.  The rater wants to see the correct VA verbage, I.e., "more likely than" (good) or "less likely than" (bad), etc.  The examiners comments should show up in myHealthyvet about 3-7 days after they opine.

From what I read it sounds like you were service connected right from the start, but then VA confusion set in.  I would wait until you get your letter in the mail and then come back with that as there are some Veterans on here that may opine on the dates.  You may be owed back to 1970, but not my expertice by any means.

After that letter, you need to request your c-file from the VA and your medical records from St Louis.  You may not know what you don't know about your medical issues and future claims.  You need to see what they see.  There not going to help you.

I read that you were awarded 10%.  Was that the med board when you were discharged?  And do you still get that?

Hope you get good news,

Hamslice

 

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WomanMarine,

I forgot to mention, your title for this post may have cause a delay in responses. "1st C%P, now what", really sounds like a newbee asking a basic question.  Some of the experienced helpers on here may have went right on bye and never gave it a look.  When I'm bored I go back and read most all posts and caught yours.

A better title would have been, "The VA owes me $$$ back to 1970" or "i've been service connected since 1970 and haven't recieved a dime"

Anyway, just a thought,

Hamslice

 

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9 hours ago, Hamslice said:

After that letter, you need to request your c-file from the VA and your medical records from St Louis.  You may not know what you don't know about your medical issues and future claims.  You need to see what they see.  There not going to help you.

I read that you were awarded 10%.  Was that the med board when you were discharged?  And do you still get that?

Hope you get good news,

Hamslice

 

Thank you sir!  From my research I am now understanding how important the c-file is and will do my best to acquire.

Actually the 'first giving way' was in high school in 1970. I was not diagnosed till 1975 when It started again 10 wks into Boot and finally a complete sublexation and tear of my meniscus. Maybe this is the need for clarification? in any event this lead to my discharge. DoD assigned 10% and stated injury was most likely permeate and service-connected.

I am thinking, what may have happened in 1980, is that the V.A. did not have my discharge papers ... Not sure yet.

Does this look like a CUE?

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9 hours ago, Hamslice said:

WomanMarine,

I forgot to mention, your title for this post may have cause a delay in responses. "1st C%P, now what", really sounds like a newbee asking a basic question.  Some of the experienced helpers on here may have went right on bye and never gave it a look.  When I'm bored I go back and read most all posts and caught yours.

A better title would have been, "The VA owes me $$$ back to 1970" or "i've been service connected since 1970 and haven't recieved a dime"

Anyway, just a thought,

Hamslice

 

Roger that!

 

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For VA, "its Always all about documentation".  

1.  Do you have a letter which awarded you 10 percent?  If you do, make a copy and send the copy to VA, and request back payment since 1975.  

2.  If you dont have the VA award letter, hopefully you have something to document it.  

     It seems pointless to apply for a disablity to which you are already service connected.  However, DO ask for an "increase".  

       It sounds like VA may have lost or shredded your file which awarded the 10 percent, but, if you have excellent records, you should be able to get that again.  

      I met another Vet, in a wheel chair who was awarded a disabiity in the 80's and VA had no record of it.  THIS VET HAD HIS LETTER.  He sent it to VA and they said the "letter was in error".  

       Remember this, tho.  VA's favorite things, other than delays and denials, and lowballs,  are passing the buck.  You see, its "above a GS7 rating specialistls pay grade" to authorize retro back to 1975, so you can almost expect some bogus excuse as to why they wont give it to you.  Bottom line:  You need an attorney to collect that kind of retro.  Get an experienced NOVA attorney.  

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