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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/14/2019 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    You are not alone! You will never be alone! This trauma caused you pain in a way some of us here will never understand. I have had my own demons to slay over the years some I knew I had and others were so ingrained I had no idea how to deal with them. This story has nothing to do with your experience, just to give you some tools to deal with trauma. I was born into a Cult. I was brain washed from a very young age. The abuse to place over 18 years until I finally left. I had to leave behind my 11 siblings where I was living(Knowing I would be allowed to have a relationship with them). I left in 1999/2000 and joined the Military in 2001. I had never had time to process what had happened to me as a child. I did not realize my dad was having sex with his daughters. I was always taught to suck it up and be a MAN! I was told there is no one who can help you! There is only you! Almost everything I was taught from a young age was a lie!. I blamed myself for many years and was told I was the problem and how could you do this to your family? I have dealt with this by allowing myself to feel again. I had blocked myself behind so many walls I was hollow inside. I did not love myself or anyone I was in a relationship with. I allow myself to remember! I allow myself to cry! I allow myself to forgive me! I allow myself to love! It took me a long time to realize how to love myself, I had told myself I was not worthy of love. Letting yourself back into your life and forgiving yourself are the hardest part of trauma. The events happened and they will not go away. The pain is there and will not go away. You have an injury no one else can see, it is so deep and painful. I had a wound like this and I found a friend who helped me heal myself. My wife had a lot to do with it, but in the end the friend was me. I was causing the wound to stay open and fester, I did not want to get better. I wanted to pain because I deserved the pain. I was to weak to deal with it. I just want you to know we are here for you and you are loved! You have support from all of us here!
  2. 4 points
    Paul is right about needing a space where you can come after you have had defeat or a win. I know my wife gets sick and tired of me talking about my fight with the VA. For her all she sees is me spending a bunch of time not doing things with her in her mind productive things. At the end of the day for me this is a personal fight as I have had my health taken from me. I am also doing this, because in 5-10 years there is no way I will have the energy to fight this hard. My wife told me for years I would never get to 50% and now we are looking at 100%. She sometimes understands how bad it is, but I am pretty good at hiding the pain most days. I will say it has changed a bunch around here now that we have been this far down the road. I think she is finally understanding I have limitations. She is also very supportive of my issues. I just don't want to always weigh her down with my crap. As for this site is great to come here and see I am not alone, and there are those who are where I was at and other who are where I want to land. I am glad I can give back some of my experience to make someone else's life easier! Remember we make up less than 1% of the USA. We have a unique bond and we all support each other. I also find it a blessing there are those out there who have never fought in a war who are willing to fight (for years) through a court case to help us be able to take care of ourselves! Thank you to all of those who help us here without any knowledge of getting paid at the end of the day. It would be very hard to work knowing there was a chance to never get paid and to put so many hours into a persons case. My hats off to you and keep up the fight!
  3. 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........
  4. 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.
  5. 3 points
    Take it to the Barney level so they can’t miss it.
  6. 3 points
    The VA might be supposed to be working in the veteran's best interests and applied SMC to my case without my asking but I do not see them looking into the side effects of medication. One of my medications that I used to take caused cognitive dysfunction but they never looked at that. I would spell it out for them if it was me.
  7. 3 points
    Why not skip the HLR and go straight to the NOD at the BVA? It's just as fast as the HLR and you get real lawyers looking at it-not illiterate GS=10 VSRs. Without new and material evidence to submit to change the decision (assuming no CUE) in a HLR, you might as well go straight to DC. If you lose, the Judge will tell you why and you can turn around and go back to the supplemental lane and submit more evidence to win with. You still keep your effective filing date too.
  8. 3 points
    Thank God for TDIU. I had my claim for sleep apnea secondary to asthma accepted 3 weeks ago and was awarded a bump from 30% to 50% which brought my overall 80% up to 90%, with that small raise in pay. Today, VA.gov said this
  9. 3 points
    Sure is a lot of good comments on this. On the payment of a lawyer or agent I'm pretty much in line with Alex and Bronco. You do your homework, weigh it all out and if you come to the conclusion that you need to hire a lawyer, you do the best you can and settle on a fee. No sour grapes on that, if you don't like the results, don't enter into the agreement in the first place. As for using this to vent, not so much. I go along with Shrek on it; I'm here to learn and, with a little luck, I can pick up something that maybe I can use to help another veteran out. If I have some knowledge I can share along the way, all the better. As the saying goes: "A smart man learns from his mistakes. A wise man learns from the mistakes of others."
  10. 3 points
    I think our wives must be related Shrek . My wife loves me and is always there for me and she is always will to listen, but I know she does not understand why I need and enjoy this site. It is where I can be with my brothers and sisters in arms, for we know what we went through and why we did it. We did it for the love of our country! It truly is a personal fight for we have all had our health taken from us at too young of an age. That is why I am for every vet being awarded every benefit they are entitled too. They are not being greedy, they just want what they have earned! I encourage everyone to always keep good notes and write down (in simple language) what your spouse needs to know and do if we should (and we all will) pass away. We also want our spouses and children to get the benefits they have also earned such as DIC. Make sure they know all your passwords! JMO
  11. 3 points
    I find from reading these post that most vets are looking for help with their claim and also wanting to vent/complain. It is much easier to vent/complain here to people you really don't know and probably will never see than it is to someone you know or are doing business with. I find myself often complaining/venting about something I know is being done correctly but it is a slow process. I have found myself venting to the 800 number many times (I always tell them it's not them...its the process that I am pissed about). I guess for me this site is a great place for finding information out and also venting about the VA while not wanting to offend anyone...I just need to let off steam is all. JMO This site is great for information and I am glad I stumbled across it!
  12. 3 points
    Bronco you are dead on with this assessment of what happens. I know one way I have really improved my claim is to take the VSO for the most part out of my claim. I submit all the evidence now on Ebenefits so there is a digital foot print of this information. I have found they are having a much harder time denying my claims right out the gate. I am waiting for an RO to say oh hey I never saw that as I have screen shots for everything now. I have not had to use it as they have not denied anything yet!?!?!
  13. 3 points
    I am and will do the same, I don't trust the VA one bit to award DIC even if it is warranted to just like I didnt' trust them to continue my IU PT until my death I sure as hell am not trusting them to honor DIC after my death so I will continue to fight for secondaries and every single thing they denied service connection for. I take it in baby steps as I am able to physically and mentally because mentally they can wear me down and piss me off.
  14. 3 points
    If and when I get to 100% P&T I will keep adding to my claim. Most everything I have is secondary to my back. I have a SA and hypertension claim pending with the BVA (in my opinion it should be approved but we will see). If my hypertension is approved (even at 0%) that will be fine, I have the feeling I will go from a stroke or heart attack and those I will be able to link to hypertension. I want my wife to be able to get DIC when I go so I will keep adding on until I either have 100% P&T 10 years or or one of the other issues I have. After all I don't think I am going to die from my back or nerve issues! I believe you should always add to you VA disabilities, plus who knows you might get an SMC from it. JMO
  15. 3 points
    Good to friggin' go and congrats! Deferred is actually a good thing, it's not a denial. Basically, your claimed condition or conditions needed to be sent back for further development. All you need now is an additional 10% to get that 1 point to get 95%...which gets rounded up to 100%.
  16. 3 points
    I do not read or react to profile posts- I dont have time-
  17. 3 points
    Well, sir. Imagine this scenario. I get to work at 0800. Sometimes I have to get up and call VA raters and DROs and ask them why they screwed my Vet(s). If they're in St. Pete's, I have to get up at 0500 to call them. I also get calls from them answering my emails. I have to write legal briefs for upcoming travel board hearings before VLJs. I don't have any office staff to do it. Even if I did, I'd still be researching a claim-sometimes on Westlaw which costs me $59 a minute to access. Many big outfits use paralegals (unaccredited) to do intake and communicate with the Vet. It's not that we don't want to talk but that it isn't always feasible. I keep my caseload down to about 100 and it still eats all my time. And yes. I talk to every one of my clients if they call unless I'm with another Vet -but I'm the rare exception. If your atty. is winning your claims and they are very difficult, then 33% is a bargain. I won a Vet $188 K a year or two ago. He was pissed I got $37 K. That was 20%. If I'd lost, I would have gotten 20% of zero dollars even if I had worked my butt off. He still got $151 K but feels like I screwed him. That's the down side to helping anyone. Murphy's first law is " No good deed goes unpunished." As most know, I generally take those funds to offset the cost of helping other Vets for free... There are good attys and bad ones. Too bad they don't have Win/ Loss records!
  18. 3 points
    That is the best attitude to have. My attorney received ten years equivalent when he only represented me for five years. It is hard to see that much money go away but focus on what you gained. Without an attorney I might have gotten nothing.
  19. 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!!
  20. 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.
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. 3 points
    They are probably digitizing them, not scanning as in looking through.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.]
  26. 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.
  27. 2 points
    Maybe I should write my response to them in crayon
  28. 2 points
    I agree fully with broncovet and paulstrgn. If you are a citizen you have rights. If you are not a citizen and get into trouble it could turn out bad for you, like deportation.
  29. 2 points
    Now to POTUS! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HR 299!!!!!! I just got the call . might know more tomorrow, but Now is the time for BWN vets to get their files in order ,and to start filing their claims. No word on Nehmer yet----I have made two wonderful friendships through the BWN saga- John Rossie and Carol Olzanecki- and I expect them to be there when the Bill is signed at the White House! What wonderful news!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Justice has finally come to our nation's Blue Water Navy veterans- and to their survivors....................Thank God!
  30. 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....
  31. 2 points
    I got robbed, the VA did not complete my case for ten years and my county does not reimburse for the taxes collected. Another wonderful VA benefit.
  32. 2 points
    Do not miss this exam. A missed exam is reason for denial or reduction.
  33. 2 points
    Always remember the VA is an antagonistic foe. Do not let it get you down if it does not work out the first time. You have several lanes of appeal.
  34. 2 points
    Received the call from my local VA to set up the date for my C & P exam. Next Thursday the 13th at 8:00 in the morning. I thought I was ready for this and while on the phone with the receptionist I started shacking and my pulse went up to 156 beats per minute. I took the day off from work and my wife will be with me for support. She will stay on the grounds and I will call her when done. I am a nervous wreck but know I can and half to do this.
  35. 2 points
    I filed an SMC K claim on 5/15/2019, had my C&P exam on 5/29/2019. The case was approved today on 6/5/2019. This is the fastest I have ever had a case completed. Now I wish they would work this fast on all my claims.
  36. 2 points
    So I had some advice from a friend in the Navy who gave me the best advise. So before he separated he asked his doctor to x-ray all of his joints. He also made sure he went through his C-file and any medical events which still bothered him were noted and brought up on his exit physical. The best advice really is to tell the truth if something is wrong tell them.
  37. 2 points
    SOOO. I filed the CUE during my claim and called the hotline making a complaint. WOW, that really worked. They approve an NOD on a separate issue in 30 days. They called me from the VA in Columbia, SC and told me that the office in Waco, Texas is working on my claim now. I spoke to a Congressional Liaison on the phone and explained my CUE wasn't for me NOD but for my current claim. They thought it was for the NOD. So he was going to relay that info to whomever he needs to. Either way, the NOD was worked out in my favor, really fast.
  38. 2 points
    I contacted my MST coordinator at the VA and they have been very helpful. They gave me a pamphlet about MST for men and really put into perspective of some issues that I have and provided a reason for them. I go once a week for a 1 hour session and it feels good.
  39. 2 points
    @GBArmy and @shrekthetank1 bring evidence to your exam. When I go for my back I bring a copy of my MRI and copies of x-rays, I just tell them in case they want to see them. All but one of them have been happy that I brought them along. When I am called by QTC/LHI/VES and I don't like the doctor or NP that they want to schedule me for I ask is it possible to be seen by someone else, they have always said yes and it does not count as a re-schedule. I am just very friendly with them when I ask. Like shrekthetank1 said when they use their tool you want to stop as soon as it hurts, only suck it up if you want a bad rating. Also as I have read on this site, you want to tell them about your worse day. Good luck with your C&P.
  40. 2 points
    Yes.. you could get IU even if you have already retired..... I did.... like you I was retired from service then civil service ... but in my case I was forced to retire from Civil Service because of issues caused by a service connected disability. I know many guys that were retired for years before they received IU for heart problems that got worse.. The VA does not take retirement into consideration when you apply for IU, unless you were retired because of a service connected condition ( as in my case) There usually is no benefit to TDIU if you are rated 100% the only exception I know of is if you are eligible for Housebound under TDIU, but not at 100%. In this case the va would give you TDIU because they are required to give you the max compensation allow under law. I was rated TDIU in 1999, in 2007 I was rated 100% for one condition ( lung disease) I was also approved for A&A so in my case I benefited with the 100% rating, but in some cases ( under bradley v Peake) a veteran could be better off with TDIU. Another side note: When I was awarded 100% the TDIU was not revoked, apparently , technically you can be rated with both, while having both will not really help in compensation. In my case I had YDIu for a back injury that is rated 60%. When I was awarded 100% , my dependents were awarded chapter 35 benefits a second time, which surprised upon reading the rules, I learned that it was legal to award chapter 35 each time a veteran receives a permanent 100% rating or a permanent TDIU rating...
  41. 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.
  42. 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.
  43. 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.
  44. 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.
  45. 2 points
    Having worked with digitizing records before and storage id much rather they be digital. Ctrl-f search is much easier than reading hundreds of pages and if there is a fire or flood there are always backups.
  46. 2 points
    I live near a VAMC and ran into a vet pt there who I know. He comes here to hadit as a guest and asked me something about one of the older posts I had made regarding AO---- I clarified the post he meant -but this is my point- We get hundreds of guests here almost every day. They read articles and posts here that go back many many years. It is important that they try to seek the most recent info they need...a good example is the VA's AO ship's list- I post it ,as it is added to. There are far more ships presumed exposed to AO in the 2018 VA AO ships list than in prior older lists, so Blue Waters need to make sure they read the most recent list as well as the most recent Procopio decision. Also DIC changed over the years but in minor ways- PTSD regulations changed in 2010 in a big way. VA has changed or added to the VA Schedule of Ratings Disability many times over the years. The entire claims process is far different than it was when I first filed a claim ( 1995) Even the BVA web site recently started to use a new template. It seems OK but I mentioned to the BVA ombudsman that the older template was better because it named the RO i the decision, and often named or added initials of any IMO/IME doctor. That way a vet needing an IMO/IME for the same disability could do some searching to find the same IMO/IME doctor, and maybe even in their area if the RO is mentioned specifically.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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!
  50. 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.
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