One of the best things about the internet (for us old timers from the original electronic veterans community circa 1989) is that the VA Schedule of Ratings is now mere clicks away.
This is a long document but it contains the rating criteria that is reflected by each diagnostic code the VA uses.
The best thing a vet can do when they question ratings, is certainly to consider getting an IMO with some of the retro and make sure the IMO doctor has not only all available medical records but a copy of the rating schedule criteria for each disability you feel was incorrectly rated ,based on the evidence VA used (in the Evidence list included with the decision).
It as always amazes me how sometimes the most critical evidence can be missing from the evidence list, evidence that could warrant a higher rating.
But in most cases these days, a strong IMO that follows our IMO criteria here at hadit, can be the best bet, rather than building your own argument .because VA is quick to say we are not medical professionals and often will give our lay medical opinions no weight , even if we support them with treatises or other medical literature.
Do you have a proven inservice nexus for all of the disabilities they denied?
The Trigeminal Nueralgia. …..I would think that could be the cause of the migraines or associated with the eye condition but I am not a doctor. This is a very painful condition and I think the 10% is Way too low....
The TBI.... do your SMRs reflect a TBI incident?
The Gaf score ....it really doesn't mean much these days....
Are you able to scan and attach the Reasons and Bases for the award here? And the Evidence list they used? Cover your C file number,name and address before you scan it.
It would help us understand better what the VA came up with here.
This BVA decision, dated 1997,
contains the rating schedule for Trigeminal Nueralgia thus:
under Diagnostic code 8405
The decision is significant because it is a remand for extraschedular considertion:
The veteran testified that he must leave either his work area
or his leave the workplace when he experiences an
exacerbation of pain due to trigeminal neuralgia; and that he
experiences such exacerbations frequently, sometimes daily.
He contends that the pain interferes with his ability to chew
and that his ability to speak is affected. He also contends
that the pain interferes with sleep and concentration and
that medications to relieve pain make him dizzy. His
representative argues on appeal that the veteran’s trigeminal
neuralgia should be evaluated on an extraschedular basis
because it cannot be adequately evaluated under the schedular
criteria. Further factual development to determine the
extent of industrial impairment, including the effects of
pain during exacerbations, is required.”
Question....do you receive SSDI and if so, is it solely for any established
SC condition you have?
Here is another decision that might help us assess this all better if we can read
the VA decision:
'FINDINGS OF FACT
1. Trigeminal neuralgia is at least as likely as not related to a remote lightning
strike in 1969.”
The Veteran contends that in July 1969 at a missile base in Rockville, Maryland,
the guard shack he was in was struck by lightning, and that he currently has
numerous neurological residuals from this event, to include trigeminal neuralgia.
He asserts he was rendered unconscious by the strike. A fellow serviceman has provided
a statement to the effect that he witnessed the strike and waited with the Veteran for
the ambulance to arrive. In his written statement he indicates that he initially thought
the Veteran had died, but that "there was a medical person assign to the Company
that helped [the Veteran] to breathe," before the ambulance arrived.
Trigeminal neuralgia was initially diagnosed in March 2002. In an April 2004 neurology
note, the Veteran's treating neurologist attributed the trigeminal neuralgia to the
remote lightening strike. Similarly, the report of an August 2010 compensation and
pension examination conducted pursuant to the Veteran's claim for service connection
for migraine headaches, reflects the Veteran's history of having had symptoms such as
headaches, shakiness, vertigo, hearing voices and smelling smoke ever since the lightning
strike. In opining that the Veteran's headaches and vertigo were related to this
incident, the examiner commented that the Veteran had had a "very bad lightning injury which affected the whole body. Several neurological dysfunctions, including headache have been reported after lightning injury."
In the memorandum decision, the Court pointed to a 2002 medical record which reads,
"After he woke up from the lightening injury, he had tinnitus, vertigo, and facial pain,"
for the proposition that the Board should consider the trigeminal neuralgia to be
inextricably intertwined with the Veteran's vertigo and migraine claims, as all may
have a common etiology.”
( obviously the veteran had to file at some point with the CAVC)
“Thus, reasonable doubt is resolved in the Veteran's favor, and the appeal
for service connection for trigeminal neuralgia is granted.”
Did you have any incident inservice that caused you to believe you have a TBI,
and did the VA give you a TBI C & P exam?
It seems obvious to me that the migraines can be associated with the
trigeninal neuralgia and that, if there evidence evidence of any TBI,
the TBI would have to be rated separately.
These are 2 more BVA decision which have some rating info in them:
Your Trigeminal Nueralgia.... In my opinion, and/or higher migraine rating could boost
you closer to TDIU consideration if you are unemployed.
“I was flat out denied hearing loss” that too concerns me.
I regret I gave you a lot to read here because the Trigeminal Nueralgia is
not a disability I am familiar with and I wanted to look it up.
I learned it can stem from many types of accidents,injuries,(which could certainly
cause TBI as well) and even dental issues and can be excruciatingly painful.....
One more question .....The eye disorder....is it called nystagmus ?