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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/04/2019 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    You can immediately ask for a different doctor to do the exam. When I say 'flawed', I mean the examiner did not have the expertise to opine on your claim, or the doctor did not have any of your medical records, to include SMRs in many cases, or the doctor failed to consider any other probative evidence that you moght have brought with you to the C & P yet the doctor didn't want to see it--- or the examiner LIED. There are probably many more reasons why an exam can be flawed. This AM I received a call from OAWP-VA-DC, as to the ongoing investigation they are doing based on my other complaint . I have more evidence to send to them-we went over some of the evidence they already have- it is solid to support my complaint-It is a different issue than this post is about- But then I mentioned to the Triage manager the C & P situations I see so many of you here are dealing with. I told him of 2 of my C & P exams (posthumously done on my husband) and am waiting until Jan 15, 2019 for a copy of one of them-to adequately prepare a OAWB complaint. on that matter, which affects so many veterans....and I am sure I am not the only survivor of a vet who has had this problem consistently with the RO I deal with. He was shocked at what one SOC C & P examiner had stated..... I told him this was only one of many C & Ps they did- all wrong, to deny my claims. (all awarded since-yet not the point)) Would anyone here be willing to follow up my next complaint on the C& P problems many here have? If it took a costly IMO/IME to get a full reading of your evidence, and then attain an award, tell them that. If your are in financial diffculties and cannot possibly afford an IMO/IME, tell them that. If they lied about your condition , tell the OAWB that- and give evidence to show that they lied. Be prepared to attach the C & P exam to the email you send to them, and attach any other evidence you feel they might need. I told the OAWB Triage manager I have seen many C & Ps over the years that are highly erroneous and deny many valid claims . Claims that will add to the backlog and if they are valid they should never even be in the appeals process at all. If you prepare a complaint, specific only to the C & P problem, you can refer OAWB to my complaint ( Berta Simmons, NY ) that will be at OAWB on the 16th of this month.I am waiting until the 15th to see if VA will send me a C & P exam I requested.Whether I get it or not the complaint will still be filed on the 16th. I do not really have a dog in this fight because so far I won any claim VA gave a lousy C & P on.I only needed the IMOs I have for one claim. Something needs to be done about this situation.That wont happen with one complaint from a dead veteran's widow. The only evidence I have is my own personal letters and C & P exams from the VA, And the info from NVLSP and GAO-which covers all veterans but is general, and not specific to what many of you really go through with C & P exams, that are geared to what the VAROs want- and that is - to deny the claim.
  2. 4 points
    https://www.informnny.com/news/blue-water-navy-vietnam-veterans-act-passes-house-of-representatives/2003742731 Maybe there will be no need for the Secretary to pursue fighting the Procopio decision........ This is Big news but all I have so far........
  3. 4 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.
  4. 4 points
    I got my retro today.it was three days after closing.Now can plan for daughters college in two years.
  5. 4 points
    I am a Veteran Service Representative for the Dept of Veterans Affairs for compensation on the rating side. For those unfamiliar with my job, there are two key figures processing compensation claims. RVSRs (raters) and VSRs; they do the medical side and we do the administrative side. Essentially my job is to do everything but rate the claims. I have seen some on here disputing the merits of DBQs. That being said, I think that is foolish to advocate that DBQ's for musculoskeletal exams are the only worthwhile DBQs to submit. One very worthwhile one to submit is Sleep Apnea. Yes, the VA will do it for free, but if you have a decent insurance policy, you can get DBQs done for a $25 co-pay w/ a medical opinion. I get that that not everyone has good medical insurance and that that is a disadvantage for some, but for those that do have it, that is one course of action to take. One might make an argument that you could even essentially write up a medical opinion and save them the legwork and have them edit it to their liking...........don't like the opinion........go to the next doctor and only submit the ones that are favorable to you. If you want to really cement your claim, get cross disciplines to and do multiple DBQs i.e. have an orthopedic surgeon and a podiatrist do foot and ankle DBQs and medical opinions. Have a chiropractor and an orthopedic surgeon do your knees, back, neck, hips, shoulders. Want to get sleep apnea, well, get a handful of "buddy statements" from people that you served with on active duty written on 21-4138 forms so that they become affidavits if you have no complaints/treatments/sleep study while on ACTIVE DUTY, submit them so they become part of your "C-file", see a sleep specialist for a sleep apnea DBQ, get a medical opinion for direct service connectedness...........make sure that he sees the buddy statements.........if you legitimately had sleep apnea in service, your buddies will make adequate statements. Then, if you have PTSD, see a psychologist and try to get sleep apnea secondary to PTSD. Double whammy. Lots of studies out there to corroborate that. Make sure that you have your C-file. Doctors filling out DBQs are supposed to have access to your C-file to adequately make a medical opinion. If you don't care about the medical opinion, then don't worry about it. For presumptive issues such as gulf war i.e. chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal, I wouldn't even bother trying to get a medical opinion as it will not carry much weight. Again, DBQs accompanied by medical opinions, especially in number, are in your favor for getting a favorable decision. Don't like the PTSD rating that you just got last month............go right away and get a PTSD Review DBQ and Medical Opinion by a Psychiatrist, Ph.D. Psychologist or a Psychologist under a Ph.D. psychologist. Learn about the M 21-2 references.............google is your friend. Learn about the rating references...........google is your friend.............. Don't want your claim held up............take your damn time when filling out all of your paperwork and make sure everything is filled out completely and send us everything from the get-go. I would suggest doing an intent to file call the 1800 827 1000 number, fax in a 21-0966 form etc. That way everything will be back paid to whenever we receive that. Take your time filling everything out. If you want to claim dependents, have a 686c form filled out............every damn line that is there fill out.........don't have the information........get it.........I am guessing that you can get it quicker than 15-30 days, so get it. Have birth certificates of your kids and marriage certificate for your wife. We don't need social security cards....just numbers. Have records from private doctors scanned and ready to submit. If you have copies of your Service treatment records, DD 214's, OMPF (Personnel FIle) scan them and have them ready to submit (we still have to send out for them, but if we can't retrieve them, then we have them there ready to use as a last resort. If you are wanting to claim aid and attendance, have those forms scanned and ready to submit. Wanting to claim PTSD, have a 0781 or 0781/a scanned and ready to submit unless you were in combat and it is easily verified. Wanting to claim IU, have an 8940 and 4192 filled out and scanned ready to submit. I would also suggest making a brief (5-6 sentences at most) statement on a 21-4138 for each contention you are claiming; be specific with what you are claiming.............don't say foot pain..........be more specific i.e. pes plan (flat foot)..........when did it start.......was an injury involved.........where did you initially get treated..........where have you continued to get treated............etc... When filling out the 526ez be specific............ especially if you were in the reserves or the guard..........tell us the name of unit you were with, current address and contact information. If you have a line of duty reports (again, guard and reserves) better believe that you should submit those. It pays to take your time. You will be more likely to have a quicker turn around if you take your time and do everything completely. If you don't like your rating, don't appeal it right away...........that should be the last resort. Send it new and material (relevant) information. Do not get disheartened. For direct service connected exams, we can generally only send you out for exams if there is a complaint/treatment/injury in your service treatment records for a contention that you are making. Secondary connected issues are different. This is why it is highly intelligent for anyone wanting to file a claim to actually be in possession of their service treatment records BEFORE filing for a claim. It would also be intelligent to have a copy of your Personnel records which you can actually get off of DPRIS which can be accessed via va.gov or e-benefits if you got out of the service within the last twenty or so years. If not, I would recommend downloading an SF 180 form and sending it out.........hopefully the government shutdown won't slow it down too much. Once you have all of that done, sit back, relax and have a cold one. Believe it or not, people sending out original claims (first time claims) that have everything put together and in which the claims are not overly complex i.e. 35+ contentions w/ aid and attendance, IU, 4142/4142a etc ad nauseum, are actually having exams ordered for them within 2-3 weeks of the claim being received. Best of luck.
  6. 4 points
    My own BVA appeal was granted on several issues back on October 31st, with two small remanded conditions. Waited until mid-December to call to check on the status with Peggy, and was told that my appeal was back at the Houston VARO, and they had no further information from there. I’m at 80%, so I’m still good during the wait for the remaining granted conditions and retro, but I also feel the aggravation that others feel knowing that initial claims have been ripening on the vines for years, only to sit for a few more AFTER the BVA grants awards. If you want to watch for the pot to boil though, set up a VA.gov account and you can access your “place in line” while you wait for your appeal, along with the VA’s guess on how many appeals are in the VA system, something like 179K today. They seem to update it after every work day, and for some reason, there is even a small update on Saturday afternoons. My place in line numbers only change like 50-100 per day, but I’m hoping that this has only been a slow down because of the holidays, and that next week things will begin to move quicker. I would figure that between the AMC and all of the VARO’s working on appeals that they could get veterans and their grants/remands taken care of much more effectively. Good luck to you all, and have have a safe and healthy New Year! Mark
  7. 3 points
    Also, if you complete VR&E. You’ll likely be expected to return to work. AF retirement+Federal retirement+100P&T= find something else worth doing with your time. The VA and service organizations could use your talents. Congratulations too!!
  8. 3 points
    I will first say that I have hired a lawyer three times in my life and been royally trounced two times. I lost many thousands of dollars at my medical board due to my lawyer. The third time is when I hired a lawyer at the BVA. He was able to shake some things loose for me and get things going more than once. I believe he earned his pay for nothing other than explaining the system to me. Once my claim was completed and he got paid he told the RO not to send my remand decision back to the board for final approval. I was perplexed by this and fired him and requested my case be sent back which was the right decision. What I have learned by dealing with lawyers is that you are the best advocate for your case. Interview any lawyer you are thinking on hiring and try to ascertain what makes them tick and then stay on top of them. If I had to do it all over again I would have hired the lawyer I hired again. I guess one out of three is not too bad when dealing with lawyers.
  9. 3 points
    OldSoldier. Broncovet is dead on. The process has gotten easier, especially if you have all of your ducks in a row. You should look at the SMC and see which area first your circumstances the best. From what has recently happened to me, it is dropping the 5 star evidence and then a C&P is done. Took about 20 minutes. As for the fight it does not get easier, and it does suck to have to fight them so much. It feel like a handout, for whatever reason we went in healthy and did not leave the same way. There is a reason that soldiers have such a high disability rate. There is a reason GULF WAR VETS have 5 presumptive conditions which one or two of them can cover hundreds of conditions. Also remember you part of the 1% of those in our country that will see war have probably see some awful things, which other Americans will never see. So fight for what was taken from you! We are all here to help our sisters and brothers!
  10. 3 points
    Moderator, you might want to Pin this somewhere, as this seems to be a recurring trend. I have given out this information to others, but I will post it here so that others can find it rather than searching through the forum. First and foremost, claiming and getting sleep apnea secondary to PTSD or Mental disorder is not easy. I have personally seen more lost than won, however, it can be obtained and I myself have personally received it. If you had sleep apnea diagnosed while in active duty, it is usually a slam dunk........for the rest of those trying to get it, it could require a lot of work. I suggest trying to get it both direct and secondary service connected. It is easier to get sleep apnea as a direct service connection obviously, however, most Veterans do not get it diagnosed while in service. Best way to get that resolved is through buddy statements. I suggest getting 3-4 (I personally had 7-8) or more. Do not have them only say that they saw you snoring.......that is great and all, but that is not a symptom of sleep apnea.......it is incidental. They would need to say that they saw you gasping for air, choking, etc. Preferably roommates. If you were deployed, it would be easy to have many people saying that they saw/heard this as you would have more than likely been in an open bay setting at some point in time. You can also have your spouse write up a statement. This all needs to be during active duty periods of times and dates need to be included. M21-1 reference III.iii.2.E.2.b "Types of Evidence VA May Use To Supplement or as a Substitute for STRs" allows for buddy statements to act as STRs for medical evidence.........if they are certified "buddy" statements or affidavits.............having them written on VA Form 21-4138 solves this issue as it has the appropriate verbiage written near the bottom. Under M21-1 reference III.iii.1.B.7.a and 38 CFR 3.200, it meets the certification criteria..........problem solved. From my experience, getting all of the buddy statements needed can take longer than you originally anticipate....plan ahead. Now, for secondary criteria. Have you ever been diagnosed with alcohol abuse (it is frequently written as "ETOH")? If so, has it been attributed to your mental disorder or did it exist prior to that and is it considered willful? If you have been diagnosed with alcohol abuse, and it is attributable to your mental disorder, guess what, alcohol consumption is attributable to sleep apnea. would suggest that you start doing your own academic research. You might be able to locate peer-reviewed academic journal articles (those are the types of articles that you want to submit) through https://www.researchgate.net/. If not, another alternative is using a college database to search academic journals through. Ah, but you need to be a college student to use the database to search academic journals through. One might make an argument that you could register for classes at a local community college (you can even register online nowadays without even stepping foot on campus) and even register for "late start" classes, and have access to the aforementioned database immediately (hint hint, look in the academic journal Chest); one could easily find within a 60 minute search at least 5 appropriate and recent journal articles clearly establishing a link between specific mental disorders and sleep apnea; there is a clear link between PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, and especially schizophrenia. One might make an argument that you could simply then disenroll from the classes that you enrolled in by the date specified in order to get a full refund, thereby being charged nothing. Save the academic journal articles as pdf files, and create a work cited page (bibliography) for them in APA format (google is your friend.) You now have a choice........... Submit your claim with the buddy statements, mental health notes from a private provider, and evidence that you have and go with either a VA exam or vendor exam (whichever is given) or you can get an IME and IMO from private providers. If go the latter route, I would schedule one with a sleep specialist, why, because sleep apnea is their specialty. Pulmonologists also fall within this scope as well, though I suspect that you will have better luck finding a sleep specialist believing there to be a link between mental disorders and sleep apnea. You will get a Sleep Apnea DBQ and an IMO. Make sure that you have your C - File first as an examiner is required to have access to it and state that they have seen it on the DBQ for it to acceptable proof to the VA. I would also get one from your psychologists/psychiatrist (Make sure that they are a psychiatrist or a psychologist.....if a psychologist, they need to be PsyD or Ph.D., or under the observation of a Ph.D.). Make sure before you solicit those medical opinions, that you acquire "buddy statements" from 3-4 (or even more) people with whom you served. Roommates would be best, or people who slept in close proximity to you.........again, this is only if you believe that sleep apnea developed while you were in Active Duty service. Make sure that they are written on VA Form 21-4138. Make sure they say that they witnessed clear symptoms of sleep apnea i.e. gasping for air, choking sounds, moments where they visibly or auditorily could determine that you ceased breathing etc. Remember, you will want the sleep specialist and the psych professional to have your academic journal articles and buddy statements. Once you have all of them, solicit your medical opinions from the two aforementioned providers. Ideally, you would love for the IMOs to say that they believe that you could be both direct service connected for sleep apnea or secondary due to mental disorder, possibly even say that the mental disorder and sleep apnea aggravate one another (which there is medical evidence to support.) If you opt to go the route of getting the private IMO and IME, you will obviously submit those with your claim, and all medical records from private providers pertinent to sleep apnea and your mental health treatment, buddy statements, academic journal articles, and a nicely written statement written by yourself on a VA Form 21-4138 talking about the issue at hand and summarizing everything concisely. Mention everything that you are providing that you wont to be considered for the claim, and when the issue first manifested.
  11. 3 points
    OK, you have nexus and SC already. I am surprised that this exam was used to reduce you from 40% to 20%, especially since your records were not reviewed. That alone can be a game changer at the BVA. I would appeal this and try to get it to the BVA where real lawyers will be reading the evidence. The VA likes to lowball PN ratings it seems. I have some serious neuropathy in my legs and it is rated at 20% also. I just never fought it because I am 100% overall.
  12. 3 points
    They are probably digitizing them, not scanning as in looking through.
  13. 3 points
    As a veteran who fought for SC for almost 30 years, and now accredited, I would ask you to review any and all DBQs and show me where there is a box that says "Is the condition at least as likely as not SC?" This option is available on the ones used by VES/QTC/LHI occasionally. However, regardless of what the VBA says, the general rule is as it states in your attachment ( VHA Directive 1134) above: 1. Service connection and disability ratings for VA benefits are purely legal determinations belonging exclusively to the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA). VHA providers often do not have access to military medical records, and may not be familiar with all the health issues specific to military service, such as environmental exposure. Additionally, the issues of service connection and disability ratings are governed by statutory and regulatory provisions beyond the scope of VHA examination and/or primary care. Consequently, they are often not well suited to assess causality of a current condition in a manner helpful to inform the VBA adjudication process. VHA providers who wish to provide medical opinions that state causality must include clear and specific rationale citing evidence to support the conclusion reached, and should employ standard language appropriate for medical opinions (such as “at least as likely as not”, etc.) As for the second document (VHA Directive 2000-029), it is obsolete. It was issued prior to 2010. I don't wish to argue with you. I'm sure you feel I'm wrong. I litigate each and every day for Vets. I live and breathe VA law and study new techniques. I pay $3,000 a year to maintain that accreditation by taking the required CLEs. If I don't know the answer, I use Westlaw to confirm it. Westlaw costs $59 a minute to access. If I thought using VA doctors was a viable option, you would have heard about it years ago, sir. The CAVC and the Fed. Circuit would have tons of cites saying a VA doctor's word is gold. Now, if you are familiar with VA case law and precedence, you will know that a medical opinion is based on knowledge (the claims file and private medical records-or VA medical records). VHA doctors can fill out generic DBQs listed at the link above. If they do opine, it rarely has any bearing on a win. If they have not researched your case via the claims file, it isn't a probative nexus, sir. Try talking your VA doctor into reading a 2,000-page c-file and providing a IMO with supportive, peer-reviewed studies. I see hundreds of "nexus letters" by doctors. VA ignores them if they do not specifically note they have reviewed the claims file. You are welcome to believe what you will but speaking from experience, depending entirely on a VA doctor for a nexus is not advised. Here's a few from my file I find very much on point taken from Fed. Circuit and CAVC decisions: >The credibility and weight to be attached to medical opinions is within the providence of the Board as adjudicators. Guerrieri v. Brown, 4 Vet. App. 467, 470-71 (1993). Greater weight may be placed on one physician's opinion over another depending on factors such as reasoning employed by the physicians and the extent to which they reviewed prior clinical records and other evidence. Gabrielson v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 36, 40 (1994). >However, Dr. Bash did not address contemporaneous evidence, including VA and private treatment records from throughout the period under consideration, that note the Veteran was, in fact, ambulatory, albeit at times with the assistance of a walker or cane. His opinions are conclusory, inconsistent with contemporaneous clinically recorded data (which he does not acknowledge), and cannot be afforded any substantial probative value. >See Nieves-Rodriguez v. Peake, 22 Vet. App. 295, 301 (2008) (stating that a medical examination report must contain not only clear conclusions with supporting data, but also a reasoned medical explanation connecting the two); see also Stefl v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 120, 124 (2007) (stating that a medical opinion must support its conclusion with an analysis that the Board can consider and weigh against contrary opinions). To begin, a VA medical examination report is entitled to no weight if it contains only data and conclusions. Nieves-Rodriguez v. Peake, 22 Vet. App. 304 (2008) Remember, we are here to help Veterans win. Each must tailor his defense to win using proven techniques. As an example, if you try to submit a psychiatric evaluation from a private doctor at the beginning of your claim, it will be rejected even if it's probative. VA's shrink must always opine first. It's the law. VA c&p doctors/nurses offer their assessment of a disease or injury for the VBA adjudicators to study. It is not binding on VA. I've had hundreds who said "Yep. It's due to AO. A month later I get the denial saying it isn't. I take no pleasure in arguing with any of you here. My desire is to teach you what you need to succeed. As they say, you can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink. You are free to ignore my advice and it will not hurt my feelings. I've helped thousands over several decades attain SC-usually IU or 100% +. It's a recipe-just like baking cookies. If you choose to substitute baking soda instead of the baking powder called for, you don't get what you desire. Many tell me I'm wrong here at Hadit. Considering I have never lost a claim or appeal yet (knock on wood), I take it with a grain of salt. I wish the best for all of you. VA screwed me in '89 & '94. Every win is a b*tchslap for that treatment I received. They should never have said I was not in Vietnam.
  14. 3 points
    My guess would be that yours is not a difficult claim to adjudicate so they were able to get it (almost) finished faster than expected. Based on the info you shared, there's no way they'll reduce your rating. Regarding the term "moderate to severe", it's important to put it in perspective. 90% to 95% of the country is not suffering from two serious debilitating mental disorders at the same time. Here's Dr. Mark's off-the-cuff, unscientific, for-illustrative-purposes only, 11-point "severity scale" that I just typed out as a "thought experiment" to give you a sense of where "moderate to severe" fits on the continuum. Rating - Description 0 - No symptoms, no history of disorder. 2 - Mild symptoms but frequency, intensity, & duration insufficient for DSM-5 diagnosis of disorder. 4 - Mild symptoms that satisfy DSM-5 diagnosis for the disorder. Experiencing symptoms more often and with more intensity - harder for him to say "it's just a bad week" or similar. Wife said he seems dejected, less energy, motivation flags. He'll bounce back for days or even a week or two but that's becoming less often. Calling in sick to work more often. Supervisor said management has commented on his declined productivity. 6 - Moderate symptoms that cause noticeable and significant social and occupational impairment; frequent distress, dispirited; interpersonal relationships strained, even with her children; school functioning has clearly declined. Got a "C" in one course and two Incomplete grades. Decided to hold off on continuing college coursework, even though she is close to earning all credits for bachelor's degree. 8 - Moderate to Severe - frequent painful symptoms much of the time despite assiduously seeking treatment and following his doctors' advice; significant social & occupational dysfunction; probably will need to seek medical leave, reduce work hours, or may end up not being able to work. Psychiatrist has discussed options for "treatment-resistant depression", e.g., ECT (electroconvulsive therapy); the new ketamine-like medication; Lithium; Abilify; etc.; psychologist recommended VA's 6-week residential treatment program for PTSD in Sheridan, WY. 10 - Severe - very frequent, soul-crushing painful symptoms most of the time despite assiduously seeking treatment and following his doctors' advice; substantial suffering is obvious; significant social impairment, and no longer able to work, at least for the next several months or longer. [The above is not an official, unofficial, actual, or real mental health scale. It's just a way to put symptom severity and functional impairment in perspective for illustrative purposes only.]
  15. 3 points
    @acesup I was previously in the same boat. My DRO appeal was granted on July 31, 2018. I learned the hard way that White House phone calls and Congressional Inquiries don’t work. Last month (February), I called the VA 1-800 # like I did everyday, three times a day. And the representative said she would give me the number to the VA liaison for my regional office which is Baltimore. Long story short, her office was directly across from the person who oversees the entire appeals Dept. The liaison took action on my behalf and was quite upset about the whole ordeal. My claim was closed the very next day and money in my account three days later.
  16. 3 points
    I have joined !!!! Hamslice
  17. 3 points
    Congratulations on your win! If you are already setup with the VA to get disability payments via direct deposit, then you might see the retro in your bank account before you get anything in the mail.
  18. 3 points
    I found this document while searching for other information and wanted to share it. I don't know if it was here already or not. I did a search but nothing came up. It is PDF document created but the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) with a list of precedent setting decisions on appeals. The last revision was January 2010 but there is a wealth of information in this document that I think could be of great use to everyone here. http://wicvso.org/mbr_resources/2014_conference_presentations/CAVC_Digest.pdf
  19. 3 points
    Welcome to the Remand boat. My BVA award for scarring at 30% has been awarded and has passed the 120 day window as my VSO told me and said it has been with the RO since October. I have heard every excuse on why they have not done it and I have sent the Fast Letter and I am almost sure they just laugh at it. We are both at the 7 of 17 month wait for the remand to get started and completed. As of right now with this change I am pretty sure it will come with the Remand. You know the awesome thing about my remand is all they want is and update from my offsite therapist and a new physical exam of Dercum's disease. I already got the update for the therapist and sent the release in. As for the disease it is a progressive disease and will only get worse, and they have access to my medical records and can see my 3-4 surgeries a year. So now a 1+ year wait for someone to fax my updated therapist records and 20 minutes with a doctor to see I have hundreds of lumps under my skin and have had 130+ removed. Sorry for the rant, just got to keep bugging everyone and maybe get lucky while still facing the reality it will be a year or 2. I will update if there is any change. Keep up the good fight!
  20. 3 points
    I'm compelled to agree with you on the evidence part. It outweighs anything else. I stand corrected.
  21. 3 points
    I have a suspicion that if the government supports private care there must be a considerable cost savings. I hope the savings is not at our expense. Every time the government changes the VA is seems I am worse off. I am 100% vet, so my gripe with the VA is the fact they are usually behind current medical knowledge and treatment by 20 years. My other problems is access since I must drive miles for care. If the new VA was actually easier to access I would have fewer gripes. I just don't trust these our VA masters. We are usually the last priority for them.
  22. 2 points
    All, After many years (20+) of slight heartburn, swallowing problem, etc., etc, I requested a (EDG) Esophagogastroduodenoscopy to see if I do in fact have a problem. I did have severe heartburn in the late 80's, which would wake me at night etc., but resolved itself, I thought, until I talked to the doc today after my EDG. Preliminary procedure findings; Grade 2-3 gerd, suspect Barrett's Esophagitis, type I sliding Hiatal Hernia and they did a biopsies of GE junction. My daughter, who is an RN, was my driver today. I gave instructions to the doc to tell her my findings after the procedure as when they told my after my colonoscopy, I didn't remember a thing. Anyway, he told my daughter that he has seen it a hundred times before and that I have Barrett's Esophagitis and will wait for the biopsies to come back. Worst case could be a form of cancer. Back to the beginning, I told him that I had severe heartburn along time ago and he said that I still have it, just my sensors were burned out a long time ago. I should have been on medicine for a long time, etc. One of my original (denied) claims when I left in 2009 was for Gastroenteritis, but was denied because of no symptoms. I suspect my symptoms were burned up... After the results come back, new medications, and some research, I will shoot in a claim, Hamslice
  23. 2 points
    @GeekySquid So I had a similar experience at my VA doctors office asking for FMLA paperwork and they printed off a copy right on the spot and gave it back to me. They did have me sign a FOIA (that they mailed to me and I sent back) and everything was good. I was very surprised this happened as I had always heard no you can't do that, but maybe it is when you ask?
  24. 2 points
    "I would be very interested to hear if you learn anything more on your question." I am sure I will- I emailed the "doctor" with no response and I filed a WH Hot line complaint. I also emailed the Director of the VARO to let her know that. It is one more piece of evidence along with 25 years of SOC, SOCCs, that had deficient C & P exams done posthumously .I won those claims but that isn't the point. They think us widows are push overs. Not me.
  25. 2 points
    The firm I hired back in 2011 had a good NOVA reputation, of course that was through google reviews, so I sent them a email and their questionnaire. Next day, I got a call back and the attorney ask some questions and decided to take my case. Well, 2 months later, he got canned and a new one took over my case. This time, he was very in depth and we chatted for like an hr as I was sending him my files, denials, and etc through email. I filed for Lower back and PTSD with a VSO, who mainly dealt with Vietnam and Cold War vets. As I’m a OIF Vet but, he wasn’t really interested in what I had to say and presented to him. In the end, he submitted my claim and said, good luck. I figure he had more of a relation to those vets of that time period, than vets of my time period..no big deal. I must admit my attorney literally busted his rear off for me because he was jumping through hoops and submitting this and that, because I always get a copy of what he was requesting or submitting to the RO, then to the BVA. Got a partial grant through DRO ( lower back) %20. In 2016, then off to the BVA for the PTSD appeal. He would call about once a month just to see what’s what with me and the appeal. In the end, I won my case or grant back in September for PTSD and the TDIU was remanded but, the RO rated me %100 scheduler on April 9th. So that kind of even itself out..rather be scheduler than on IU. The firm is based in Florida and I’m in Texas, starts with a B and ends with B..not sure if we are allowed to name firms on this board as the other Veteran Forum, it’s like a monarchy, I used to go to is Forbidden..oh the horror.
  26. 2 points
    To add, in my case they sent me a 5103 for 2 separate issues which I thought was odd...and I listed the evidence for each claim that they already had , but I enclosed it again with the waiver. The Director Buffalo VARO called me twice on one issue -and revealed she didn't even know basic VA case law. Then some VSO called me on the other issue, twice, and I asked him to read back a brief description of the evidence I had sent for both issues, and he read back correctly what they had. I wish I had taped those calls because I have no proof- but yet the decisions reveal what errors they made. The Initial denial 3-4-015 was awarded 4-2-2015 and does contain in the Evidence list a 21-0820 Report of contact was done.Feb 19,2015. I believe that was the initial calls from the director and need to check my notes.There were 4 calls from my VARO.I guess that would cover the proof, as well. My long point is they had my 5103 waiver, they had the evidence for both issues, yet both issues are not resolved. This has been the entire experience I have had with my RO. since 1995- I never file a claim without impeccable evidence. This RO even withheld highly probative evidence from the General Counsel over my FTCA charge. Only by being aggressive and calling the OGC and VA Central Strategic Health team in DC did I even know what was missing.I still recall the VA CO Cardio doctor holler "what Autopsy!" when I asked her why the OGC denied my FTCA. It was then immediately awarded as soon as they got the autopsy. Another critical Peer Review had caused the local RC to want to settle with me but I already griped how that went-the OGC never had that either. VA told me it never had "existed". I found it in my C file 9 years later and used it for my Nehmer AO IHD award. The Peer review doctor had focused solely on one of my charges- undiagnosed and untreated heart disease and completely supported that charge. The VA has a deep state. I am a victim of it. I am probably not alone on that by any means.
  27. 2 points
    https://cck-law.com/news/veterans-appeals-modernization-act?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=May 2019 I am sure we have their past info but this is a recent update I just got in email from them.
  28. 2 points
    So I got to the dashboard at the top right. Then click disabilities. Then scroll all the way to the bottom to and you should see your current claim their. click on claim status and it will take you to where you can upload. If that does not work VA.gov does and you just check you claims status and once you are there scroll down to see a blue button to add more evidence.
  29. 2 points
    The answer isn't the number of claims submitted, but the evidence supporting each claim. Many veterans want to protect the earliest effective date possible, but if the evidence aint right, it won't matter. 1. In service episode (sickness or injury). 2. current diagnosis (by medical verifiable means) 3. Connection (nexus from doctor or continuous care) NEVER GIVE UP
  30. 2 points
    Oceanbound, this veteran was denied at BVA for stroke (TIAs) and issues and went to the CAVC, and the court found the BVA had erred and he won when he returned to the BVA: https://www.va.gov/vetapp18/files9/18133810.txt In part: "The Board concludes that the Veteran has an additional disability of exacerbation of hypertension, TIAs, and residuals of serotonin syndrome caused carelessness, negligence, lack of proper skill, error in judgment or other instance of fault on the part of VA in providing mislabeled medication. Further, the August 2018 VHA opinion supports a finding that the medication error and subsequent additional disability was an event not reasonably foreseeable. Accordingly, the criteria for compensation under 38 U.S.C. § 1151 for additional disability, including hypertension, TIAs, and residuals of serotonin syndrome, due to VA treatment have been met." The stroke part of my FTCA case was fairly easy to win- (actually all the malpractice charges I made were) but it took a lot of time reading and trying to understand medical terms, many trips to law libraries and medical libraries etc etc- and the internet then was Nothing like it is now.I dont think I had a single internet orint out for the FTCA/1151 claims. At one point A nurse, when he was hospitalized at the local VAMC, pulled me aside and said, 'can you get him out of here before they kill him'-she did not know that I had confronted his doctor , and said I would call my Congressman if she did take immediate action and the CT scan she told me was broken, was miraculously fixed in ten minutes-and it revealed not the problem she said he had ( labyrhithitis) but 6 areas of brain damage , to include the recent undiagnosed massive stroke. The other 5 areas I proved were misdiagnosed TIAs, and without proper treatment and diagnosis they led to the massive stroke. I am bringing this up because I was reading the final medical report from VA Central and the cardio doc stated the nurses were far more observant than the doctors, in his medical care.The nurse who told me to get him out of there said she had made a specific entry in the records- but I never found it. Still the nurses notes ,although not extensive , kept cartegorizing his symptoms which were not indicative at all of labyrinthitis, He had a bad fall one night and a nurse told me about it but that never appeared in the med recs. I asked the doctor about it ( my husband didnt remember it due to the stroke, but complained of shoulder and head pain) I asked if an X ray was done and the doctor said Yes. But no X ray had been done. Even a Chaplain note in the medical record was part of my evidence. We cannot overlook a single thing. But this is why it pays to get an IMO/IME. I did miss something however- due to my daughter's insistence, I re opened my claim. I proved he had undiagnosed and untreated Diabetes Mellitus due to the Vietnam War. It awarded a direct SC death. There is no Honor in a 1151 death. It means the very system that the service of veterans created, caused the death of the veteran. I was able to decifer and get a brief free IMO from a former Neuro doctor who had diagnosed diabetes but his diagnosis was crossed out and not part of my FTCA /1151 claim. Also I looked up one word in his autopsy that I thought I understood, for the FTCA issue, but medically it was a nexus to his heart disease (undiagnosed and untreated)that indicated the affects of diabetes to his heart. I prepared a cover letter for Dr Bash referring to the specific medical entries ,in the med recs I sent, that proved he had DMII and he did the opinion in less than a week. Since the RO refused at first to even re open my DIC claim on a new basis, I knew I would need IMOs this time because it was not an OGC FTCA issue.I could not claim malpractice again.I claimed direct service connected death. My long point here is that these types of issues are aggressively fought by the ROs.Even the BVA can make errors, as in the case above. The CAVC will consider everything in the established record.But the claimant cannot add to that record, when it is at the CAVC.The best thing that can happen is for a CAVC remand back to the BVA due to an error.That opens the door for even more evidence if it is needed. The only 1151 claim I ever saw go fast with no BS, was the claim I wrote for a friend of my husband, filed about 3 months after I filed my 1151. They awarded 100% P & T under 1151 with no rigamorale. The vet from the older board who just won a 5 figure retro ,who I helped,long ago, said part of it was for his 1151 issues but he does not have the formal award yet.He did get the cash in his bank account.This took him YEARS! Both vets above are with the same VARO I have-I guess it all depends on having a rater who can read.
  31. 2 points
    BroncoVet touches on an interesting precept with attys/agents. Most of us will never touch a new claim but will advise you to use a VSO to file it. The reason is simple. We are forbidden by law to charge you to file a claim. We only can enter in to the fray once a denial is issued. It also is a good experience to discover what "hands on" really means in claims development. I do not fault VSOs for their lack of ability. They are not trained to do this. They are glorified mailmen. They fill out your 526 and deliver it. I have learned to file an 8940 at the outset of a claim regardless of whether a client is working. I've won on a Vet being "marginally employed" in a sheltered work environment. He was a CPA working for himself and all but unemployed but for some of his oldest clients. The VR&E angle is good but time consuming if attempted after filing. With the new AMA, you want that in your file at the outset if possible. I advise you begin that asap and prepare it as a tool ahead of time. I never procure an IMO until I lose. Why waste the money? I'm an undying optimist that VA might be agreeable and give my client his due. Of course, I was convinced we were going to win in SEA in 70-72. As with all techniques, VA is learning to deny IMOs by sending out to get second opinions. This is called developing to deny and is forbidden by Mariano v Principi and §3.304. Thus, I always ask for a SOC asap and submit it to a VLJ. I just got back from a TB hearing in Oakland before VLJ Matt Blackwelder last Thursday. My client has Hep C and he admitted to snorting toot in 88. He has no medrecs. They burned up in 73 or so VA says. I had to explain to the judge that Stage 4 cirrhosis takes 50 years-not 30. 1988 doesn't fit the medical scenario. You could never accomplish a win like this without an extraordinary IMO presented in person to the judge. He read it while we sat there and nodded in agreement. I never forecast wins but I feel good on this one. Absent qualified counsel, he could never have won it on his own or with a VSO. A videoconference would never have conveyed my client's advanced debility from the cirrhosis. One thing I cannot impress on you folks here. There is no template for a claim. Each of you is unique as are your circumstances. There is some commonality in how it is done but each one must be produced based on the evidence you possess-and most especially- what you do not possess. I like to use this as the ultimate example of what you can create with absolutely nothing to work with but negative evidence-or worse- no evidence whatsoever. The gentleman was advised in 2015 by his VSO not to waste his time filing as he could never win it. We shall see.
  32. 2 points
    VA quit allowing their doctors to opine on Veterans' conditions and whether they are service connected back in 2010. You'll have to look to an outside source in the private sector to get the opinion [option]. You can use an PA-C, PA, or ARNP but an MD is the best. VA often uses registered nurses at the ROs to make the decisions. They are called "VA examiners". Good luck.
  33. 2 points
    I personally believe that a letter from your spouse or significant other is one of the most important pieces of evidence you can have inside your claim. I believe that many examiners and raters do not consider them important and tend to dismiss them and give them no credibility. However, on appeal it is something that seems to be a deciding factor in overturning a poor rating decisions by the BVA. There are two important pieces to this letter that I believe is critical. 1. Your spouse should only list symptoms they see. They should never state in the letter a diagnosis. If your letter has a diagnosis in it and your spouse is not qualified to render a diagnosis the rater will immediately ignore it. 2. Your spouse should state how your disabilities impact your day to day living. What things you could do in the past but cannot do now because of your disabilities. No one is more qualified to stated how your daily life is impacted than your spouse. I think anything else in the letter would be overkill but that is just one man's opinion.
  34. 2 points
    In addition to the excellent advice you've received from your fellow vets, I'll briefly share from an examiner's perspective. I learned from my friends who are veterans and from the many veterans I evaluated over the years that the "rules of the game" change dramatically when services members leave the military and enter the world of being a veteran. In the military, seeing the doc for anything that's serious or chronic will likely hurt your career and you'll go from "Awesome member of the team" to "Potential liability". Then, when you enter the world of being a veteran all of a sudden everyone is exclaims, "What?! You haven't sought treatment? You gotta do that man." I don't mean in any way to discount the advice you've received here--I totally agree with it. I'm simply highlighting the stark contrast between life in the military vs. life as a veteran. My main point is that decent C&P examiners know that there are many possible reasons why a veteran hasn't sought treatment before. When and if it seems appropriate (trust your gut) tell your examiners in a brief, matter-of-fact way (like you did here) why you put off treatment for so long. Don't belabor the point. Finally, as others have said, when you go for treatment appointments, try to put your disability claim out of your head. Ask yourself, "If I didn't have a pending claim, what would I say? How would I act?" I've had severe allergies since I was a teenager and they're awful. People who don't have them really don't understand (unless they're medical folks.) But over the years my doctors have found treatments that work for me and now the allergies are a nuisance, but tolerable. Allergies are just one of the ailments you're dealing with, but my point is that treatment is often quite helpful. All the best, Mark
  35. 2 points
    It’s been a long road 4 years and 7 months long but finally WON! Never thought at my age I would ever see P&T. Now on to SS. Thank you to everyone who has posted. This site has helped me along the way in so many ways!
  36. 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!
  37. 2 points
    Here is a PTSD checklist found on the VA's web site: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/assessment/adult-sr/ptsd-checklist.asp There is a lot that should be reviewed before coming to a PTSD diagnosis. However, if you are not currently SC for a MH disability, you don't need to wait for a diagnosis before filing for SC disability. The VA will only grant a single MH rating regardless of the number of diagnosed MH issues. The rating would be based on the impact the MH disability has on your occupational and social life.
  38. 2 points
    My rating came out to 70%. Several 0% and a couple "no's". 1 item is deferred. I did not see a letter on eBenefits. She said it was dated at the beginning of the week. eBen said "pending decision approval" with an estimate date of April-June. I guess that is due to the deferred item? She said to check the mail... nothing received. She said check my bank account because they pay out on the 1st... nothing. I have some issues that were not on this claim (1 major item that I recently ended up in the ER for and off work a couple days). Their advice was to wait until this deferred item was done. So, here is a couple questions and some advice to others: 1. The VA accepted my claim in October. Will I get paid November-March all at once? 2. Does the deferment mean another C&P or just additional time for them to decide? Advice: As prior military we are taught to complete the mission, fight to the end, never give up. Do exactly that! I tried to put a claim in right after I got out 10 years ago. The county VA where I lived at the time told me it was impossible because I did not receive a rating when I got out and needed to see civilian Dr's etc (even though I was only out 1 month...) I couldn't see Dr's because I had no insurance and was a full time student. She said get a job, get insurance and come back. Long story short she and the county director were eventually removed from their positions. Eight years later new county and new VSO. I stopped by and inquired. She said sit down we are starting a claim right now! Be patient with them and the VA. CHeck the websites 100 times if it makes you feel better, but it will only drive you Crazy! Get on this site and read others stories. Have faith and wait for the light to show at the end of the tunnel. At your C&P's, be genuine and honest. Whether its the VA or a contractor... They know the story. Help them help you! I had 1 C&P with the VA and the rest were with QTC. I walked in to my last C&P's (with QTC) armed and dangerous. I had every document organized and separated for each condition. They really commented on how organized I was. I even took official photographs with me from different time periods to show various condition at different stages. It helps! Again, help them help you! First impression is a lasting one correct? Make sure what they are writing down is an accurate picture!I was really irritated at my first C&P when the VA only saw me for one condition. I went in there with no ammo in hand per se. I thought i was going to be seen for everything. That issue was secondary in my opinion to my major issues. SHe kept saying we're not here to talk about those issues, only about this one... I walked out of there saying that was only practice for the next one... Take my advice. Read other peoples stories and ask questions. It will only make things easier. Relax, there is no magic button that anyone can press to hurry the process. Its like being in boot camp sometimes. HUrry up and wait. Do they really need me to treat me like this? Will it ever end? At this point, you know those answers. Thanks so much for sharing, answering and supporting. My story isn't done, but I hope this helps someone. LR
  39. 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.
  40. 2 points
    D0C 25 -The VA IG went through vet web sites years ago because someone had reported to them that vets were being given advice, 'not to bathe, shave, or tie their shoes' etc when going to a PTSD C & P, on some veteran web sites. The IG report is somewhere on th VA IG site. Hadit passed the IG internet investigation with flying colors.I hope the other sites did too. My husband (100% P & T SC PTSD ) had impeccable personal habits. I agree with vetquest who said: " I can look good but that does not mean I am not a wreck on my bad days. " That was so true regarding my husband and the Many PTSD vets I have known. VA MH professionals do not diagnose PTSD by the way a veteran looks...or lives ( I mention that because I have known a few wannabees-one who lives in the desolate boonies of NY surrounded 'by pungy sticks') always in cameos , and believe me I did try to help him prove his stressors. But there was no proof. His 17 page BVA denial is still at the BVA web site. PTSD arises from a valid provable or conceded stressor.
  41. 2 points
    You have two positive medical opinions that's the good news. The not so good news is that the nexus of opinions are absent of a rationale (A medical study, article, etc). Therefore, the rater "might" use that technicality to deny your claim. I have taken the liberty to provide you with the necessary rationale that links Fibromyalgia to PTSD/MST below. I do hope this helps your claim/appeal. The Gerber Study was done by VA Dr. Megan Gerber and some other researchers. GerberMRFibromyalgiaWVJGIM2018.pdf PTSD and Fibromyalgia Syndrome.pdf
  42. 2 points
    I cannot stress how important it is to have a doctor state it is more than likely than not that your RA is related to your ankle injury that occurred in service. If he is out for your best interests he should add this to your DBQ or IMO. Your C&P examiner eluded to this but did not come out and say it but if your doctor is willing to say this it brings up reasonable doubt and that is supposed to be done in the veteran's best interest. Please speak to your doctor and see if he is willing to add this.
  43. 2 points
    Vets wait so long because VA employees checks still keep coming even if they do not do their jobs.
  44. 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.
  45. 2 points
    What aggravates me more than anything is at this point there is no way to keep up with the stages of your claim. Peggy will give different answers depending on who you talk too. Some will try to be helpful and answer more than their supposed too. Why are they not allowed to say Hey, a rater is making a decision or has made a decision and waiting for authorization. Instead it's being worked on with no timeline. Obviously they have the information in front of them, or some wouldn't be able to volunteer more info than others.
  46. 2 points
    I find this information very helpful. The only thing I disagree with is going to your private doctor and only paying a co-pay of $25 for a DBQ and medical opinion. I have submitted three so far and had to pay extra for two of the three medical opinions, so be prepared to pay extra for the medical opinion. As Buck states it is getting the rater to read all of the evidence instead of only part of it. If they read all of the evidence I believe more claims would be approved. JMO
  47. 2 points
    I have no idea why VA will take one claim and zoom through it and then dawdle and take another and drag it out for years. I'm sad to say I was unable to get on Theresa's gala 22nd anniversary show this morning but I had a doctor appointment I could't put off. I apologize to all who I missed. I visit other sites that help Vets. There are quite a few out there. Some are snobby and stuck up. I don't see Hadit and asknod in that light. We generally help more than we hinder. Anyway, Here's a link to the win. Carla would have found this one to be a hoot-especially the business about the right hand. I attached the redacted ratings documents to it. I love it when I get to meet my clients. I'm even more glad when I can gitterdone quickly and save everyone a short ton of money. https://asknod.org/2019/01/19/lz-cork-sweet-home-alabama/ Once you get your SMC L foot in the door, getting A&A and then R1 is a lot easier. 2019 is beginning on a positive note.
  48. 2 points
    As I mentioned before, I used both Dr. Ellis and Dr. Anaise. Dr. Ellis performed an actual examination and provided an IME/IMO, and Dr. Anaise did a full records review of everything, including Dr. Ellis’ own IMO. Drive-out cost for a baker’s dozen, plus a couple of conditions: Dr. Ellis - $550 (It included a full blown exam. I had to mail off all of my documents to him in advance, which was no real problem thanks to the U.S.P.S. Great staff, and a free sucker (lollipop for those inquiring) when I checked out.) They maintained contact with me throughout the process until I received my final IME/IMO draft. Yes, they will correct mistakes or note something for you if you ask nicely. Dr. Anaise - $2K (I e-mailed most all of my documentation to his office, and only had maybe two phone calls. The staff there, consisting of at least one more doctor...maybe more, are efficient. They are pretty much business only, but he writes a great IMO.) They will also go back and forth with you via e-mail to proof your final draft. My Oncologist....$25 co-pay, rest covered by my health insurance. He did a short and sweet IMO based on records and his 20 years of treating me. A friendly East Texas Audiologist - $40 - She did a one-pager IMO after doing a round of audiology exams on me. Throught it all, the VA sent me to three different full blown C&P’s and two Audiology C&P’s. The process has been slow, and the VARO ignored everything they could ignore as I climbed up from 10, 20 and then 80% (The last big jump was due to a new condition that the VARO actually approved right out of the chute. I’m still amazed.) Now, reading the BVA’s recent decision, which granted 12 conditions and remanded two, I see that the Judge and the BVA attorney staff loved Dr. Ellis’ work and cited it in nearly every grant. They also cited Dr. Anaise quite often, and both served as a one-two punch against the negative C&P’s. They also loved the short IMO from my oncologist due to him being my treating doctor for over two decades, and even mentioned the audiologist IMO once in granting a hearing loss connection that I had all but given up on. In truth, I also had plenty of medical records and some recent VA treatment and x-ray reports that my representative shot over to them at the last minute, which they cited as well. Long story short, I think the BVA really liked that Dr. Ellis and his staff actually performed examinations instead of just records reviews, and Dr. Anaise served to bolster the evidence even more in my favor by providing medical basis for each claim with legal reasoning. (I did not use him as my attorney, although he does do that too, but he ensures that the language of each nexus conforms to legal standard at the BVA.) Now keep in mind that the costs probably have risen since I obtained mine three or four years ago. I’m still sitting in the waiting line back at the VARO to handle my granted conditions and work on my remands, but at least I have that BVA decision and I couldn’t have done it without those solid IME/IMO’s. Good luck! Mark
  49. 2 points
    And, depending on which RAMP path you chose, you are not allowed to submit any new evidence to the BVA that might mitigate in your favor once you start down that road. The problem with RAMP is simple. You trade in due process rights-in this case, the duty to assist you in developing your claim(s)- for a speedier decision and an expedited decision at the BVA. Since the new system BVA RAMP part doesn't kick in until February 2019 (we hope), you could never get it expedited in the truest sense. If you are not permitted to submit a new nexus/IMO at the BVA, what, pray tell, would be the purpose of appealing? The sole purpose of the BVA is to give you another bite of the claims apple. This is the stage where more claims denials are overturned-many due to introduction of new evidence. RAMP is a feel good panacea to give Vets the illusion of a faster decision. Unfortunately, it strips you of protections accorded you under the old legacy situation. All this will end up doing is overburdening the CAVC with a huge backlog. USB Allison Hickey promised us a streamlined system in 2013 with the advent of VBMS and electronic claims processing. That led to Fully Developed Claims (FDC) where you do all the work in collecting the evidence. With RAMP, in essence they effectively forbid your doing even that. So... FDC gets you a 125-day decision with a 75% error rate. Add in RAMP and you get a denied appeal with no added evidence permitted within a month after you get the appeal(s) certified. If it were just a pure law argument like CUE where you are not permitted to supplement the record with anything new, it (RAMP) would be advantageous. This poker game is already stacked against us. RAMP is just one more tool to be used against us. One thing I see in VA law is when I get in front of a VLJ literally face-to- face rather than video conferencing, I win. Granted, I submit a new IMO, too. You want that interpersonal relationship. You need to get the Judge to view you as a Veteran and not a number. It's one thing to see an ASPCA commercial showing a shivering dog. It's another thing entirely (and far more poignant) when you come across a shivering dog in the flesh. A VLJ's compassion level goes up immensely face-to-face and even more so if your appeal is justified.
  50. 2 points
    I have posted extensive here on this type of claim. Here is a brief run down from the VA. http://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-special-1151.asp VA says they have a 1151 form on line now: But this is all I get from VA and this separate link: https://www.pdffiller.com/en/project/81839399.htm?f_hash=d9744d&reload=true What form? None appears at any link. I never used a form for my 1151 claims . The Order of the Purple Heart gives a clear explanation of these types of claims: http://www.purpleheart.org/serviceprogram/Training2013/10-M--1151 Claims-Maria.pdf There are many nuances to 1151 issues, so best to read all that is here in this topic.
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