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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/14/2018 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    Sounds like Sgtwish is entitled to some extensive SMC. Eventually,when the PD involves the lower extremity balance, you begin falling down. At that point most neurologists are willing to concede you have effectively lost the use of your lower extremities. If the shakes in the hands prevent most use functions like eating, taking medication, etc. you would require the aid and attendance of another. With those two "conditions", you would be entitled to SMC R1 At $7,896/month. I just got a Vet that last month. Especially if VA has all the records at the VAMC.
  2. 5 points
    I first found this forum after I started my claim Aug 7, 2018. This was 10 years after my discharge. I had done everything I could to stay away from the military after my experience and had never even been to the VA before this year. I prepared my claim myself and was concerned I would be denied. I posted my c and p exam results here October 31, 2018 and members commented on their thoughts of success or failure, and said I would get about 50%. I then took my exam results to the Veteran rep here at my local unemployment office who told me ultimately I would be denied and should appoint a representative and prepare for appeal. I choose the DAV and left with my spirits a little crushed, but after reading people stories here I knew I had to remain hopeful. Nov. 29, 2018 I received an email from the DAV with the Decision that had been made even before I could see it. The email stated I had been service-connected at 70% PTSD permanent, also approved for TDIU and Dependent Education, but Ebenefits still said pending approval. So again I came to the forums for assistance and posted a copy of the email. I was met with congratulatory responses and assurance that the email was legit. @GeekySquid then messaged me a ton of information about benefits that were now available to me. It was from that information I was able to start the process of getting my life back on track. Im currently working with VR&E also known as Voc Rehab, to go back to school. Geeky told me they would give me hard time but to be persistent and it paid off my counselor has approved my long term goal of a Masters Degree. I can not put in words how thankful I am for this forum and its Members.
  3. 4 points
    Geeky, this is a White House call if I ever heard one. I would have lost it half way thru. Un believable!!!
  4. 4 points
    Now I will add my 2 cents to the question... As many have said, you have the right to file any claim you want to file. I was told by so many people in the past, that once I was awarded TDIU I should never file another claim, because the VA will reevaluate every one of your conditions each time your file, this is just not true and don't let anyone scare you into this belief. At the time I was awarded TDIU. I had four separate ratings, two were 10% ratings, one was a 30% rating, and one a 60% rating. I did not stop there, and why would I when so many conditions where highlighted in my active duty medical records that I had not claimed yet, due to ignorance of the system when I medically retired. Since my initial rating I have been awarded a TDIU rating, I have been bumped to a single 100% rating, ( apart and separate from my TDIU rating ) and have received 14 other ratings from 0% to 50%. I have received adapted Housing ( which today is a $70,000 grant, I have received the Auto Grant which today is about $20,000. I was awarded 1 K award, and I have A&A at the L 1/2 step. My dependants have received the benefit of not one but two separate Chapter 35 awards with different start dates ( 1999 for TDIU and 2007 for 100%). I never even knew it was legal to get more than one chapter 35 award. Also, as we age, our conditions get worse with time. A back strain becomes degenerative disc disease and will bump a 10% rating up. Torn meniscus of the knee eventually results in arthritis of the knee and a seperate rating. And lets not forget about the damage a VA surgeon can do to someone when they have surgery for a service connected condition. There are so many valid reason to continue your quest for any condition that you feel should be service connected. My situation could be the highlighted as the poster child for continuing to file claims. And to this day I continue my quest to be receive increased ratings and new ratings for some medical issues. I have had people tell me why would you pursue a claim that only awards 10% its not going to result in any more compensation...but when I decide to file a claim I am not looking to get a 10% or 40% rating, I am looking to get service connected which is the hardest thing to do. After getting service connection then I pursue the rating I think I am entitled to, if I haven't already received it. I may have 9 10% ratings, and alone they may not amount to much, but when your start combing the 60% , 50% 40% and even 30% ratings you may achieve another 100% rating, and the nine 10% ratings will help you get to that second 100% rating. Also, don't forget the special monthly compensations that you may end up with, such as Housebound or Aid and attendance and the different levels of Aid and attendance as well as multiple K awards. Finally, you could end up being eligible for a free life insurance policy because your rated TDIU or 100%, or disabled veterans mortgage insurance, which you can only get if you are awarded the adapted housing grant. And for those that are really hurting they now have the caregivers program where a family member ( or anyone you designate) as your care giver receives a monthly check based on the amount of help you need, and this program has just recently been approved for all disabled veterans. Another benefit for those that have a TBI, is a higher level of Aid and attendance that only those with a TBI ( Depending on the severity) may be eligible for. And remember, you never know when or if the VA will decide to take back that TDIU or other rating. So additional ratings are one way to insulate yourself against losing your compensation. If you just sit back after your TDIU award, you will never know how much compensation you may lose, but if you continue to file and achieve new ratings you may just be surprised how fast the compensation dollars add up. Together with the compensation & ancillary benefits you may live very comfortable. Finally, wouldn't it be nice to leave your spouse financially secure when you leave this world with the mortgage paid off, and a monthly check from DIC or survivor benefits , especially if she/he stood by you and cared for your during the hard times, for me this was my greatest motivation. You served, and your quality of life has been diminished because of that service, you owe it to your self and family to continue to file claims if you feel they are valid.
  5. 4 points
    For those looking at buying another home. Starting Jan. 1, 2020, when the new law takes effect, the VA will not cap the size of a loan a veteran can get, paving the way for veterans to buy higher-value homes. The other change that comes with the new law will affect fees for some veterans. VA charges most veterans a "funding fee" when a VA loan is issued. Veterans receiving any VA disability benefits are exempt from the funding fee. https://www.military.com/money/va-loans/new-law-allows-you-get-bigger-va-home-loan-without-down-payment.html
  6. 3 points
    That's a good idea GeekySquid...
  7. 3 points
    DROs beg me to use a 526 EZ to accurately capture the Vet's name, rank, airspeed and tail number in all those squares they are putting on the forms now. You can also file it on anything that floats your boat by law. VA has told us in the last month they are coming out with a new form for that in the very near future. Define "near future". Until then, you can buy one of those metal cutting computer-driven doomoflotchies and file it on 1/64" steel plate. Just keep the sheets down to 8.5" X 11". My favorite is those endless paper towel roles in VAMC bathrooms. Just keep waving your hand in front of the IR sensor until it's long enough...
  8. 3 points
    Now its a new waiting game for them to finish up the rating and back pay (I am thinking positive).
  9. 3 points
    Isn't it ironic how a "tech" problem has delayed implementing a program for so many disabled veterans yet they can find ways to implement other things?? I call BS..........
  10. 2 points
    File an Extraordinary Writ of Mandamus at the CAVC. Free. It takes 45 days for the Court to whip the OGC into giving you a copy. About two weeks after the Judge gives them 30 days to poop or get off the pot, they'll say " Your Honor, we're mystified as to what the bitch is here. We gave his complete c-file records to him almost two weeks ago. Here's the certified mail receipt with his signature on it. We move for denial of the Writ." Here's a link to 64 articles I've written over the years and includes Ex Writs I've filed for myself (4) and for a client (2). I've also included some really interesting Ex Writs of other friends and neighbors. It'll give you the basics of how. When you file an Ex Writ, you are not the movant, claimant or appellant. You are the Petitioner. Always speak of yourself in the third person- i.e. "Petitioner begs the Court to..." By way of explanation, a movant is one who files a Motion to Revise (CUE claim). https://asknod.org/category/extraordinary-writs-of-mandamus/page/1/ On the other hand, you really only need to use the Court's informal claim process. Unless you have over $2 million stashed in a Swiss bank or the Cayman Islands, it's free. http://www.uscourts.cavc.gov/documents/Rules_of_Practice_and_Procedure_effective_Sept_15_2011_-_Form_4.pdf You can use regular stationary and ask (in simple language) the Court to make the Secretary give you your c-file. Since the Court has never set eyes on it-or you, you will need to send them all copies of any previous correspondence asking for the file. The Court likes it when you have a good paper trail. This also gets the OGC all in a dither and they start trying to get that claims file out to you lickity spit before the Court grants the Ex Writ. By way of explanation, only 11 people have won a Writ since 1990. A word of warning. Never get involved with the OIG. They'll be spending more time looking in your underwear than the bad guys'. Normal turnaround for me on a c file is about three months from the RMC. However, within 30 days of my filing the 21-22a POA for representation, I can see it all on VBMS with no restrictions. For some silly reason, VA gave me a Level 6 access instead of a 4 or 5. It lets me review all the HIPPA stuff unredacted like Psychiatric records. Shoot, I can even look at my own c file! That's a MegaBozo no-no at VA. If you're a VA employee, your VSO or attorney has to be in another state!
  11. 2 points
  12. 2 points
    When I am explaining using a lawyer, I often say this when it fits. "Look, I have a cookie jar here and I will give you a choice. You can have the whole jar, but just the jar, no cookies in it, or, you can have the cookie jar with 80% of the cookies still in it. Your choice.You can do the claim yourself and maybe because it is complicated, you lose, or, you can get someone (lawyer that knows what they are doing)to do it." If it is a complicated case, or the veteran doesn't have the ability to do it, they usually figure it out. Some people just want you to do everything for them, and they can just sit back. Others though just don't have a chance to make it happen if they try themselves. Those are the ones you should be recommending the lawyer to, because if they can't put the initial claim together, then they are even less likely to make the appeal right. IMO.
  13. 2 points
    First thing is take a deep breath. The chances that you will see anyone that really cares is very remote. If it is for a regularly scheduled exam, you need to find out why. I have to drive an hour and a half to mine, and I know that isn't anything for some veterans. I alway check on ebenies to make sure the day of my scheduled appointments. You can also sign up for automatic reminders, text, email and snail mail. Communication with veterans is not a strong point with the VA. It could have been rescheduled, not cancelled so you have to get some answers. Now, if it was for a C&P, then you really have to find out why. If you were rescheduled, it would be difficult to make an appointment you don't know about.You can start by calling the dept. you have the appointment with, but if not known, or you could call Peggy, because whoever you try to get an answer from first is going to hand you off to someone else. And, if you are service connected for 30% or more, I would put in for the mileage; don't know if they would sign off on it, but just to make your point. But don't get too cranked up; it just is going to make it worse for yourself. You can express your dissatisfaction without losing it for something like this.
  14. 2 points
    I cannot possibly comment on this without reading the actual decision.And the Evidence list . Yes it is definitely too long. Carlie, before she died, was trying to prepare a CUE on a past decision she got and became overly bogged down by it all. I do feel citations and even M21-1MR excerpts are often appropriate to send to them- but often they are not needed at all. But I recall that kanewnut DID have a good letter from Voc Rehab- it is in one of his past posts. If they failed to consider that letter it would be a CUE under 38 CFR 4.6. Also Motions to Revise are only appropriate for BVA decisions. Is this a BVA decision or a RO decision? There are countless templates here for RO CUEs. Many of them are from my CUEs. I never filed a Motion to revise at the BVA. The ROs make far more legal errors than the BVA does.
  15. 2 points
    Preach on, that. Im P/T for MH (MD, as he puts it) along with physical issues. My lower back nerve damage at 42 is bad enough to cause constant continuous pain and discomfort/neuropathy, but not in a safe enough location to warrant operating because if they screw it up ill be using Big Boy depends for the rest of my life, among other things, not just the shields I use now. That bit that Martin Riggs from "Lethal Weapon" says to Murtaugh about having to think of a reason every single day to get up? Yeah, its kinda like that. I really hope, Paul, that you reach out when it gets like that to the rest of us, or the phone line, or a friend, or whatever you gotta do to help get you around those.
  16. 2 points
    I'm not sure, but it apparently only happened to good (looking) people, so that why we had problems!
  17. 2 points
    If it exists, it is probably in your claims file at the VARO, not locally. If your local rep is accredited, he may have access to VBMS. I'm not certain if that includes access to your claims file. Start by requesting a copy of your claims file from the VARO. You can also go and view it in person, but many want you schedule an appointment vs. just showing up unannounced. CUE requests are pretty strict. You have to show black and white evidence which contains no grey area. Either the TMJ C&P appointment letter is in your file or it is not. If present, the VA will assume the presumption of regularity applies. That means government employees are assumed to have done their job properly (i.e. letter present in your file means it was a copy of what they sent). However, if it is not present in your file, you might have a CUE. You could also just file a claim to get it SC. You have evidence of the accident and follow up care in your service treatment records. As long as you have a current diagnosis, the C&P doc would probably have no problem granting SC. Once SC, you can file a supplemental claim requesting an earlier EED based on when you initially filed. Given the duration of time since then, you can expect the VA to try to fight it. I'm not a CUE expert, but am learning. I hope this helps!
  18. 2 points
    Fantastic; sounds great. Not to be a wet blanket, trust but verify! (Ebenefits?) Since we are talking about the VA, trust is kinda hard. So great news, but see it in your decision letter.
  19. 2 points
    It doesn't really matter. What matters is what the PA writes up. If it is favorable and it supports your claim great. It it isn't favorable because he/she doesn't do what they should., not so much. It really depends upon how competent the examiner is. If you appeal, and your dr.'s notes are in conflict with the results, the tie is supposed to go to the veteran. That doesn't mean it always comes out that way, and you end up appealing again. In theory, anyone the VA has to conduct the exam is supposed to be competent enough to do the exam. That doesn't necessarily mean that the PA doing your exam is or is not competent to examine your particular disability. This all assumes that your dr.'s IMO meets the criteria of saying he has reviewed all your medical record, in his professional opinion your disability was S-C and the reasons why. As Shrek just said, it is best to bring your dr.'s opinion/notes/dbq's with you and ask if they had a chance to review them. That may very well help the examiner formulate a favorable opinion. Of course if they say no they haven't seen the paperwork and it turns out that your C&P is unfavorable, you then have an avenue for appeal .
  20. 2 points
    I don't know about sleep apnea and GERD, but you do have allergic rhinitis service connected, and that may be an option, depending on your symptoms, and if you can get a medical nexus opinion stating how it causes or aggravates your SA.
  21. 2 points
    only you can decide "worth". You have to perform a self evaluation and some self reflection to clearly identify if your condition is indeed worse. IF you make that evaluation then you can make the right decision for YOU. As for going to treatment and the VA "looking at appointments" What matters is what is recorded in those appointments, not necessarily the quantity of appointments. Further based on your claim of the amount of time it takes to get an appt, i would consider asking for access to a civilian provider through the Choice program. As for evidence. We all need evidence to prove our claim or claim to increase. now to be clear according to your original post you are TDIU and SMC(s). That means you get paid 100% plus any adjustment for dependents AND about 350 more a month. You have to decide if that money plus the opportunity to be able to legally earn about 12k annually (poverty wages are all you can earn on TDIU) for the rest of your life. Or you decide that your condition has gotten worse and then evaluate your existing conditions to see if getting bumped to 100% Schedular and mooting IU will affect your SMC(s) grant. Even if it will, can whatever career you are training for pay more than what TDIU+SMC+12K comes too. You have to factor in how annoying it will be for years on years on years to have the VA peaking into your finances. None of us can tell you which way to go. But I can do math and it is plain to me to see which way I would go and losing 350 a month to earn 2, 4,5, or 10K a month is a better choice. Further by being able to work you contribute to your SS for when you finally retire. You need 40 quarters of wages to earn SS. You say you are young, so I am betting you have not worked 40 quarters of decent wages. Remember SS is paid as a percentage of your highest incomes averaged over time (the formula is much more complicated than that) paid monthly at retirement age. No insult intended, but I do hope you can do that math for yourself and come to the best decision for you.
  22. 2 points
    Well, right or wrong, I printed out me C&P exam notes today and highlighted areas where he falsified answers that he never asked me. I also noted his signature time of 12 minutes completing the exam and his notes. I then provided a state requesting another C&P prior to rendering a claim decision due to the quickness and errors of his exam. Probably a waste of time though
  23. 2 points
    This is so true lawrencebe. Never trust your VSO 100%. I almost lost five years of TDIU because my VSO did not file the proper form 9 when appealing a decision. He apologized and told me to re-file. I went to two other organizations and they told me to re-file since I had lost my original date. I did some research myself and found that at that time the form 9 could be written on a napkin. I had filed a statement when my VSO sent in the NOD without a form 9. I challenged the VA who said it was too late to file and won my original date.
  24. 2 points
    Broncovet's comment on this topic is inconsiderate, rude, snide, and sarcastic.
  25. 2 points
    Prednisone is a very special drug. It can be a miracle drug if used in low doses for short periods of time. I was on it for a non service connected issue for a year. I got grumpy and mean and developed a hump on the back of my neck. I did not know about the cataracts part though. I now have small cataracts forming in my eyes. Such is life.
  26. 2 points
    Sometimes I read stuff on here that I just find hard to believe.... I have first hand experience concerning drugs causing secondary medical issues... I lost most of the sight in my left eye because of steroid use for my lung condition. The VA doctors owned up to the problem as being a know issue, steroids cause cataracts, cataract surgery went terrible and I was left with almost no sight... Now I am having problems with my vocal cords again due to steroid use... VA doctor indicated in medical examination that the steroids caused the problem and this is a know secondary issue.. I am also looking at diabetes as a side effect to the steroids...The VA and the entire medical community know about these side effects... the va will not deny a claim if you have your medical records to back you up.. just like any other claim....
  27. 2 points
    Based on what you posted you do not have one condition rated 100% alone so you would not qualify for housebound unless it was based on the actual need. If your heart condition was not service connected.. you will not get housebound either... Now if it is rated service connected, you may get housebound back to the date of the claim but only if it is rated 100%. Housebound can in fact be awarded temporary if you have a temporary 100% rating.. otherwise no it will not happen....
  28. 2 points
    Well, get with it Buck. This board needs you. I need to lose thirty-five and have not been so good myself.
  29. 2 points
    I am glad treatment is working out for you right now. Other times it will feel like it is not helping and you will want to quit. Do not do this. Working with a stress disorder is a long and involved process and there will be ups and downs. I am finally getting a handle on my disorder thirty years after the fact, that is with counseling continuously. I sometimes feel like a professional patient. Some things place scars on your emotions and brain that are hard to find and deal with. Funny thing, last night we had dinner with some friends who we have known 19 years and the wife told me I was finally acting like a normal person. A backhanded complement but a complement nether the less.
  30. 2 points
    @pyrotaz The very first thing you need to understand is a technical one. VA compensation is not like SS disability or getting payments from AFLAK or workmans comp. VA Compensation is the measure of how your circumstances impair the ability to earn an income (over marginal income) for an AVERAGE PERSON. You can be a neurosurgeon and you would evaluated on that AVERAGE PERSON criteria. Understanding that technical fact helps understand the rest of the C&P evaluation process. ----------- Beyond the above understanding------------------- If you are shaking when you arrive you can ask if your wife can be in the room. All they can say is no. If the doctor comments on the shaking, tell them flatly why you are shaking. If the doctor tries to engage you in social pleasantries, don't engage. If the say "how are you today" say scared shitless, angry, anxious, frustrated.. .whatever you are feeling. Do NOT say "It's a great day to be alive". If you feel distrust in the DR. say so. If you feel that exposing yourself will turn people against you or laugh at you, say so. If you feel shame (and you should not but it is common) say that. I cannot emphasize enough that you have to do two things at the same time. 1) BE HONEST! 2) Describe your WORST DAY(S) not your good days. DO NOT MINIMIZE your problems. Don't say " i have dealt with this fine on my own." you will talk yourself out of a rating or an appropriate higher rating. This is not a contradiction. They only know what you tell them and what they observe in the meeting. The reality that days can be good and then swing bad cannot really be seen in the moment. So deal only with your WORST moments as if they are today. Read the DBQs and the rating tables for PTSD and MST!!!!! don't try and say those words exactly ( it will make you sound fake and rehearsed), but understand that the doctor has to hear you and make connections to those words. Each category is NOT exact. You don't have to have every condition outlined in the rating tables. There are many analogous situations and diagnosis for each specific item listed. you can have 3 from column A, 2 from Column B and none from Column C, but they all can add up to a higher rating What you have to show is social and employment impairment. The more impaired you are, particularly in employment, the higher rating you are consider for. The rater makes that decision NOT the Dr. understand what having a flat affect means. If you have night terrors and have peed the bed, say so and say how often. If you have ED tell the doc you have it and describe your intimacy problems. Are you incontinent during the day or night? use pads? tell the doc what situations make you leak. Yes I know how uncomfortable those conversations are, but ptsd has many secondary conditions, including ED and bladder issues. bringing them up in this initial C&P can help you get a higher rating or exams for those problems. You want those exams. Your exam needs to tell a compelling story of why and how your in service nexus events have harmed your life and income. Understand that saying 'i get mad at coworkers" is not going to get you a rating for impaired employment. Saying Yesterday I tipped over my desk and stormed out because a coworker was whistling and would not stop gives a much better description of the workplace problems (assuming you did that of course). Do you cause confrontations? are unwilling to be alone in a room with people similar to your attacker? do you have flashbacks to the events? do you run from things, metaphorically, physically, emotionally or intellectually? have you been arrested or detained for anger? have the cops been called to your home for a domestic situation? i am not being personal, I am pointing out possible scenarios that the doctor needs to know. I will give you a personal example. I am 100% PTSD P&T. One of my conditions is that I can go to a steakhouse today, and the smell of cooking meat will be delicious, tomorrow I can walk by a burger joint and the smell of cooking meat will make be vomit and run away. This happens in the grocery store and at home. I cannot tell you how much meat I have thrown away. The social impairment is obvious, but work wise this has happened at company meetings, trade shows, luncheons, dinners, award events and even in the air traveling to Europe with a group up C-Suite executives on the company jet. The Dr would not know that unless I described it too him to demonstrate the work impairment. If talking about these things frustrates you, DON"T HIDE IT. Don't attack the Dr, but don't try and pretend you are nifty with the situation and having to disclose this stuff to another human. Don't say "Talking about it has helped me". for gods sake don't say that!!! EVER!!!! Are you or do you suspect you are Bi Polar? Manic? Chronically depressed? these are all common to PTSD. So are drug use/abuse and alcohol abuse. I will also suggest you look at the letter (or online website) for the C&P Doctors Credentials. This is so important these days. The letter should say what type of Dr they are, where they went to school, how long they have practiced medicine, and what type of C&P's they are certified to do. It is a sad fact the VA contractors are often not qualified in appropriate areas that we are being evaluated for. Make sure you KNOW THIS as it affects what you need to do if you have to file a NOD after the rating results are delivered. When you leave the session, have a tape recorder at hand with a long battery life. Dump all your observations about the exam, the questions and the doctor onto that tape. Then go home and type it up and email it to yourself. You will then create what is called a contemporaneous record of the events. Store them both in a cloud account and or a safe. Humans have selective memory and waiting to write down or record information will frequently change what our perceptions were and what actually happened or was felt/heard in the moment. Sorry about the long post and I know it may seem a bit dry and unsympathetic. It is not meant to convey that, but you need to know what is happening and there is no touchy feely way to say it that I have ever come up with. Tell the truth, be honest, describe your worst days not your best day or today (unless today is your worst day) and you will make it through. I can promise you the next one, and there will likely be other exams, will be slightly less fear inducing. Keep coming here, venting, asking questions, developing a support system . We are all veterans and are here because of our own problems. We support each other, even when we disagree on some topics. There is no shame here, no condemnation. We won't ask personal details and you can share as much or as little as you like. Let us know what happens after the C&P. and after the rating decision.
  31. 2 points
    Yes, veterans here do vent. It is a safe place to do that. I was on another board and when I stated a true fact I had several moderators who I believe were raters take me to task because "that would never happen".
  32. 2 points
    If you have been rated for over twenty years for the same percentage for a condition it is considered static and cannot be reduced except by fraud. Please see https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/3.951
  33. 2 points
    I called the White House hotline at 855-948-2311 and complained. I also emailed the regional director about my issues with the C&P. She had someone call me and we spoke for over an hour, I have my new C&P on Friday.
  34. 2 points
    The good news is that you have been SC'ed, the bad news is that you must now wait for the two new conditions to be rated. It is most likely that all awards will be held until the new conditions are rated. As far as appealing your service connection that should not affect the payment of back pay. Will it, there seem to be no hard and fast rules with the payment of back pay. For instance if you win a BVA appeal and another condition is remanded they are supposed to pay for the awarded condition while your other condition is being rated. Does the VA do this, no they have been holding back pay until all actions are finalized. They VA will do as the VA has always done, delay, delay, delay.
  35. 2 points
    They inform you by setting up the appointment and you get a call from the contractor (VES, LHI etc). There is no formal set up for them to notify you. If the judge sent it back for records then you might not but even then they still notify you so you can help them obtain the records. One thing I have seen is on va.gov they will put in requests and you can view them if they update. Also maybe ebenefits. You should just check once a week and find a good hobby.
  36. 2 points
    @MPsgt & @paulstrgn That is a good point! I will say that the individuals context and other disabilities play into that factor. So Paulstrgn has to visualize the scenario and evaluate it himself. consider if he gets TDIU and it is P&T. The P&T is not likely off the bat. maybe in 2 or 3 years. If it is likely in the raters mind to be P&T they are likely to bump to 100% schedular P&T than leave him in suspense simply because of their duty to maximize a veterans benefits. Being 100% schedular P&T does NOT automatically preclude Voc Rehab. A schedular vet can earn as much as they want too while a TDIU vet is limited to the annual national poverty level wage for a single person (no matter how many dependents you have) so schedular is much better. The MR21-1 as I posted elsewhere in this thread says age and withdrawal from the workforce, and retirement are NOT to be considered in a TDIU claim. (VA often ignores that but they are not supposed to) Suppose he applies for and gets VR&E to send him to college for 48 months. His TDIU pays the entire time plus the stipend. That's a nice extra chunk on its own. Consider his 90% rating now and what it is likely to be in 4 years. There is a good bet his degenerating conditions will continue to degenerate in that time. Consider that to reduce/remove the TDIU rating they either have to bump him to 100% schedular, OR after he finishes college, and finds a job, has to perform at that job for at least a year before the VA can reduce the TDIU. Even then they have go through the process, give notice, have examinations and C&P's etc. Paul will then be what? 60ish? are they really likely to send him for all those exams, just based on age it will be less likely than for a 30 year old in the same boat after VR&E. It is all up to Paul what he wants to do, but in my book if you can get the VocRehab, get the stipend and get your degree, then it is worth considering. I know I would do it in a heartbeat and add yet another degree to my collection. Just food for thought
  37. 2 points
    Short Answer: YES. If you think you aren't receiving what you should for a rating, you definately should appeal. So what if it takes months or even years. The time goes by whether you submit or don't doesn't it? So yes, appeal. You need to get a IMO from a doctor to say how much these disabilities now effect your life. Go to findmydisabilitymadeeasy.com, look up your disabilities and compare your conditions to the different rating levels. If you deserve a higher rating, then you need to challenge. Get a IMO letter from a doctor that supports your condition. You can do this. As for the scarring, you are half way there if they granted s-c, even if it is 0%. Again, go to http://www.militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com/scars Scars are a little harder to evaluate; sometimes the evaluator misses a scar, or forgets to add them together, etc.: it really can be questionable. Also, do they cause you discomfort, never really heal up, etc.? If you got a doctor to document that they meet the criteria for a 10%, you can use that. See https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/dbq_ListByDBQFormName.asp to get a DBQ for the doctor to use. Go for it!
  38. 2 points
    https://speier.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-speier-introduces-bipartisan-bill-restore-military-servicemembers April 30, 2019 Press Release In part: "Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), along with her colleagues Richard Hudson (R-NC), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Charlie Crist (D-FL), and Greg Steube (R-FL) introduced H.R. 2422, the Sergeant First Class Richard Stayskal Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019, which would allow military servicemembers to sue the Department of Defense for instances of medical malpractice unrelated to their military duties. Currently, the Feres Doctrine, which originated in a 1950 Supreme Court case, prevents servicemembers from having their day in court when malpractice by military health care providers unconnected to combat results in severe injury or even death. For nearly 70 years, servicemembers have not been able to sue military medical providers after being misdiagnosed, mistreated, or subjected to botched surgeries, even though this malpractice occurred in health care settings in which all other Americans have that right. By creating an exemption to the Federal Tort Claims Act to allow servicemembers to sue the military for medical malpractice, the Stayskal Act would give servicemembers the same right as the fellow citizens they serve to protect. SFC Stayskal developed terminal lung cancer after being misdiagnosed in a military health facility. “The Feres Doctrine is a travesty,” said Rep. Speier, Chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel Subcommittee. “It denies servicemembers who put their lives on the line for this country the same access to the justice system enjoyed by servicemembers’ spouses, other federal employees, and even prisoners. Creating an exemption for medical malpractice is long overdue. I’m thrilled to have a bipartisan group of colleagues join me in addressing this injustice for our servicemembers and their families, who bear the burden of service as well.” The text is available at the above site, and the Bill has not been annotated yet with a number: "To amend chapter 171 of title 28, United States Code, to allow suit against the United States for injuries and deaths of members of the Armed Forces of the United States caused by improper medical care, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa tives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, 2 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE. 3 This Act may be cited as the ‘‘Sfc. Richard Stayskal 4 Military Medical Accountability Act of 2019’’. This is great- because there are now 2 Bills -one in Senate ( S 221 - which I have asked the senators to correct) and one in the House regarding VA medical malpractice,the Brian Tally Bill, and I have requested that Congressman Roe support a bill I wrote ,with 4 specific amendents called -"The Rodney F. Simmons VA Malpractice Accountability Act." Malpractice whether in the Military or the VA health care system is obviously unconscionable ! Sgt Stayskal's story is here: http://www.fox46charlotte.com/news/local-news/north-carolina-green-beret-fighting-cancer-the-government-over-medical-mistake My husband's story is documented with the VA OGC, OAWB, via a White House Hot Line discussion,also documented with Congressman Roe, Senators Gardner,Manchin, Moran, Collins, And Cassidy. in past letters to the HVAC, to past VA Secretarys, discussions I had with former Chair H VAC, Cong. Bob Filner, etc etc, and something better be done. Many of us have veteran adult children. These bills cannot change the fact of wrongful deaths, of veterans, caused by the VA , or as in Sgt Stayskal's case, he is still alive, but the results of the Military malpractice he experienced - will be fatal. We have to think about our nation's future Military men and women who need medical care while they are still inservice, and after service, if they enroll into the VA heath care system.
  39. 2 points
    SMC is a quality of life issue. You assemble it like Legos. Okay. There is no requirement to get to SMC S prior to ascending to SMC L. LOU (loss of use) of lower extremities is one SMC L. If you had LOU above the knees, It would be M. If the catheter causes you to need Aid and Attendance, that is another SMC L. Two Ls advance you to SMC O. If one of the Ls is for A&A, then you get R1. You could have two entitlements to A&A and get R1. The c&p for SMC is basic. You have to prove by medical records you have been dx'd with LOU of two extremities. VA does use the VAF 21-2680 for determinations. I've never heard of a SMC L c&p taking four hours. Generally, you medical records reveal the determination you have been dx'd with the LOU or the need for A&A- but not always. The M 21 states only a VA examiner can make a LOU/ A&A determination. Thus, even if a QTC/VES/LHI doctor says yes, VA can still say no. I am currently in that situation with one of our Hadit members right now. He deserves A&A and they refuse to grant. The good news is the Mariano v Principi decision. If you have a dr. saying yes and VA says no, that's equipoise and by operation of law, they have to grant it. Sadly, I almost always have to go to the BVA to achieve them.
  40. 2 points
    Winston Churchill once said “Never give up, never give up, never, never, never.” This holds true for those that have the invisible wounds of war. Sixteen years after my retirement I received a letter that outlined possible VA presumptions. The letter explained many challenges I experienced and encouraged me to apply for VA disability and the beginnings of denial. I received a 60% rating in 2017 with a service connection date of Aug 2014. However, my main challenge (PTSD) was denied. The denial was because I didn’t have a therapist confirming my condition; they agreed with the stressor. Since I am retired and use Tricare Prime, I went there for therapy and appealed. I was again denied because the therapist was not a certified therapist. How would I know? i was headed to an appeal with the BVA and my VSO (Virginia Department of Veteran Services), specifically Caleb Johnson, helped me get two independent evaluations from a university and a therapist. I entered the RAMP program and received a 50% PTSD rating in 2018 but with a service connection date of Dec 2017. I appealed the date and for an increase in Nov 2018 and yesterday (19 March 2019) received a 100% P&T with SMC (S-1) with a service connection date of Aug 2014. Below is my HLR Ramp timeline: 1.. 1/17/19 CR 26 Apr 19 - 10 Aug 19 2. 1/28/19 PFD 25 Feb 19 - 1 Apr 19 3. 2/6/19 PDA 6 Feb 19 - 10 Mar 19 4. 2/7/19 9 PFN Feb 19 - 11 Feb 19 5. 2/11/19 PDA 26 Feb 19 - 15 Mar 19 6. 2/19/19 PDA 6 Mar 19 - 23 Mar 19 7. 3/4/19 PFD 1 Apr 19 - 6 May 19 8. 3/5/19 PDA 20 Mar 19 - 6 Apr 19 9. 3/5/19 PFN 7 Mar 19 - 9 Mar 19 10. 3/6/19 PDA 21 Mar - 7 Apr 19 11. 3/8/19 PFD 5 Apr - 10 May 19 12. 3/11/19 PDA 26 Mar - 12 Apr 19 13. 3/13/19 UR 10 May - 23 Jul 19 14. 3/15/19 PDA 30 Mar - 16 Apr 19 15. 3/18/19 PFN 20 Mar - 22 Mar 19 16. 3/19/19 Complete As you can read above, there was a lot of bouncing back and forth. Yes, I watched eBenefits more than I should. This site was a source of support throughout my painful wait. This is what I learned: 1. Don’t quit! 2. EBenefits does not accurately demonstarate the RAMP stages. You may see the progress in EBenefits but the stages don’t apply correctly. 3. It is futile to tell a veteran to stop watching EBenefits. What else are they going to do? 4. If you feel like you must call EBenefits (Peggy), they cannot tell you everything they see but some will tell you more than others. I called several times till I at least got some type of information I thought was the most they could give. 5. While I had success with my VSO, it was with Caleb and not with the other people that worked there. So, sometimes you have to ensure your VSO cares. As a matter of fact, after receiving the 50% PTSD an idiot at that office told me to be happy with it. I submitted the HLR RAMP on my own. I didn’t bother to complain to Caleb but he found out and that person’s supervisor called me to apologize. The moral is that you are ultimately accountable for the outcome so don’t give up!
  41. 2 points
    There is an old Guamanian proverb. If the first marriage fails it might have been her but if the second marriage fails it is you.
  42. 2 points
    Don't get mad, file an appeal. If you can get to the BVA they will read all of the evidence and usually award. I had this many times were the VA refused to consider all evidence.
  43. 2 points
    Negatory, File a VAF 10182. Here's the link to download the document: https://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA10182.pdf The new regs say you can jump in after you get a SOC or SSOC. Read up on the instructions carefully.
  44. 2 points
    Vets wait so long because VA employees checks still keep coming even if they do not do their jobs.
  45. 2 points
    This is exactly how I feel about this, I live 24 miles from my local clinic, it takes more than 30 minutes to get there but if you google it drive time always says 29 minutes or something a bit less so they will use that or some crap similar to deny veterans like me the 30 minute rule for that one........I definitely will take advantage of the 60 minute one because I get sent 5-6 hour round trips for all of my specialty care. They wanted me to go to gait and balance once a week 3 hours away, I can't drive more than 30 minutes on a good day, can't take the van and as a pre 9/11 veteran my spouse sure as heck can't afford to be taking time off work every week to bring to to that many appointments so often I go without care. I also find it hysterical that MH is not a specialist??? Well played, well played. I sure as heck hope they start giving caregiver stipends to the first round of those they are supposed to roll into the program, I will be the last to be included but that is fine with me.........older veterans getting screwed over and over is absolutely beyond reproach. I was trying to work with adaptive sports, they referred me to all these organizations that receive grants from the VA, so I contacted the only one in Florida that helps with what I needed, guess what? They only help post 9/11 veterans. Seriously? So, the Va is giving them grants but not all veterans can get help??? This has to stop.
  46. 2 points
    The military and the VA worked hand in hand together to write DD 257s for General Discharges. The trick was to call it a preexisting condition (personality disorder) that manifested in service. Since it was preexisting, it could never qualify as a true psychological disease-and therefore compensation. I've turned over a bunch like this to get SC but never could call it CUE. It's too long ago, you did not appeal it and it's basically moot. The military and the VA made sure it was called a personality disorder. I, too, have one. Antisocial w/ passive aggressive tendencies. I was booted at 3 yrs +4 months.I don't reckon it had anything to do with two tours back to back in country and 3 Vs for valor. Purely a coincidence. I'd say you were wasting your time trying to win it but it all hinges on the records. If they forgot to issue a SOC in 1974 in relation to a filed NOD, then it's still viable. Every case is unique. Your claims file will be the last word on the subject. It's always worth while to investigate. You may have a chicken dinner winner and not know it.
  47. 2 points
    Go back to the DAV and ask them to print a copy of the decision for you. It should be available by now. I am assuming your address is updated with the VA correct? Congrats!
  48. 1 point
    No, but you can call Peggy, which is the overall catch for info. 800-827-1000. Plan to be on a while., and unfortunately, I can't vouch for accuracy or timeliness of info told to you.By the way, part of the problem is you are likely going to get these roadblocks because you used the "old" system, not the one currently in place. The folks at the VA will probably do that again and sidetrack it. Can't walk and chew gum at the same time; more than one option, and they get confused.
  49. 1 point
    Thanks so much Paul and Shrek for your responses. I'm about to give it a try!
  50. 1 point
    15 pages about a Vet and or Vets thinking using a VSO as an error, usually for their own ERRORS or misuse of an original Claim Filing VSO, just about always places the problem with the VSO. Are you accurate when you consider your VA Claim or Appeal VSO, Attorney or Agent an actual TOOL? Misuse of the most expensive costing TOOL (VA or private, Human or mechanical) is often the fault, if not always that of the Uneducated Vet or TOOL Purchaser. Best to become VA Claims educated and figure out exactly what ERRORS, you the Vet made, then laying the blame 100% on an unacceptable VSO-Rep. Sure the Rep can be a contributor to the Rating Denial, but your failures are being also Finger Printed on the Denial and now has to be corrected, usually adding the 1+ to 3+ yrs RO/DRO/BVA that is now Necessary.
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