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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/07/2018 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    Howdy all. I recently received a decision letter on some of my claims. Some were positive, some negative, and some in between. After reviewing the decisions I have decided I am going to file a NOD on the decisions. SO as a courtesy I emailed my VSO to keep her informed on my intentions and provide my rough draft disagreement statements and reasoning. She immediately sent it to their legal staff. The legal staff came back with every reason why I should not submit a NOD. Their response is below. "If you are going to NOD and apply for an increase, you need to be aware of the risk that you could be reduced for the knee and/or not increased above 10% again if they do conduct another exam. Given that you just had an exam, I am not sure they would request another exam so soon after. Do you have a private doctor that you would be willing to go to to get a second opinion? Either way, applying for an increase will likely result in another exam down the road. But you should know of the risks associated with it as we are seeing many veterans applying for increase in turn being proposed to be reduced. As for the inadequacy of the exam, we can certainly make that argument, but you will need to go into greater detail as to what she did in the exam that rendered it inadequate. I see the statute you have cited, which is fine, but we need more details of your specific exam. As for your disagreement with OSA.. Your logic that the VA had a duty to assist that extended to the Rater who should have known the link between GERD and OSA does not supersede the requirement for that evidence to be submitted specific to your case and your issues. BVA decisions are not precedential, and every veteran still needs to make an argument based on their medical and military history." Now whether they are really concerned for me or just trying to dissuade me from filing a NOD, a Vet who is not a little versed in the VA Claim game would be discouraged and probably just accept the decision and not file a NOD. I know that is what i did in 2001 and then again in 2008. I won't do that now. ASKNOD just reminded me recently that the VSOs are actually chartered to assist the VA in adjudicating our claims. That means they work for the VA and not us. So as the old saying goes "Buyer beware".
  2. 1 point
    My wife called Peggy today and they told her my rating stuff at the RO and that its pending but that they didn't know how long that would take and there is no way to contact the RO. I also was told that as I am aware, I have one issue remanded as well on the same appeal and that the AMC is reviewing the details sent over by the BVA. It can take 7-17 months for a remand to be completed. I went down to the Detroit RO office to see if there was anyone I could talk to and they all sit behind literally locked door that align a hallway and you have to use a key to get into their tiny little storage space office. Everyone at the front desk was sitting on their cell phones looking at Facebook. So I did some more research and appears the Inspector General has already been inspecting my RO for complaints against them just last year.
  3. 1 point
    Unless, you were diagnosed in-service with sleep apnea. It will be difficult to "direct-service" connect. But, if you know that you went to medical and it's documented you complained of sleep problems such as; waking up gasping for air, choking, severe daytime sleepiness,sleep study confirming sleep apnea in-service, cpap issued in-service etc.You may have a case for direct-service connection. Since you've been out of the service for awhile, the best route to take is "secondary connection". If you have a service-connected mental health, heart, respiratory,diabetes, neurological condition(TBI or other brain condition) Sleep Apnea is linked to those type of conditions. Here is what is required to secondary service connect: 1.Must have a service connected disability. 2. Current diagnosis of disability claimed 3. Dr.Nexus of opinion stating "at least as likely as not" #1 and #2 are linked plus a rationale. I claimed OSA as secondary to ptsd. I was granted OSA ten yrs after service.
  4. 1 point
    Folks come to me with all manner of stuff they dig up. This one, FERGOOGLE, is a tool for VA raters but it is also a valuable tool for delving into the mysteries of the M 21. I find it useful insofar as you can find all the errors in how VA decyphers their very own regulations. Come on, 38 CFR §3.350(f)(3) and (f)(4) specifically state that they are both applicable in all situations. There simply is no "either/or but not both" argument. The M 21 says otherwise. I had that argument with a DRO in Fort Harrison Montana several months ago. She was powerless to grant both even though she agreed 38 CFR appeared to conflict with the Manual. https://www.fergoogle.com/ Here's a blog I just wrote about it. Enjoy. One more tool in the Vet's tool pouch. You will find some links appear to be dead but that is because the links are internal in the VBMS. If you don't have access, you can't view them. https://asknod.org/2018/12/08/dva-fergoogle-for-fergetful-rvsrs/
  5. 1 point
    All right, this id day 123 since BVA granted me 100% TDIU and SMC(s) retro to 2009. Still no news of activity on it. I called Peggy today. After a 12-minute hold, I talked to a know-it-all rep who knew next-to-nothing, and it took me 5 minutes to get that out of him. He began by telling me that it is waiting action on the remanded items, and that they'll have to be addressed before any money comes my way. I pointed out to him that the two remanded items should not hold up the award of TDIU and SMC(s), because there will be no effect on the IU/SMC amounts. He then said that the VARO will have to figure out ratings and amounts and Effective Dates. I explained that those issues are addressed in the BVA grant; the Effective Date is Nov. 2009, and no matter what my other issues are rated, I will be TDIU with SMC(S), so the VA is SUPPOSED to put my new ratings into effect regardless of remand items. I don't know why I was wasting my breath or my time, there's nothing that the Peggy rep is going to do. After wasting 20+ minutes of my life, I know as much now as I knew yesterday, or last week, or last August 7th. I was hoping to at least get a new AB8 letter so I won't have to pay property taxes on my homestead, but it's not happening today. Oh well, I just need to hurry up and wait some more. With Christmas just a couple of weeks away, there probably won't be anything happening at ANY VARO anywhere until January or later. I haven't seen any postings by the O.P. of this thread since over a month ago. I hope this means paulcolrain got his deposit and is enjoying life about now!
  6. 1 point
    If you think that your case needs appeal please do. Too many times we are told not to appeal our cases but the BVA appears to be more of a friend to veterans than the RO's.
  7. 1 point
    I'm also in the process of deciphering eBenefits. The request for the exam being closed simply means that the VA has successfully handed it off to the contractor. My own C&P was approximately a month ago, and it still says the same thing; VES got the results to VA a couple of weeks ago. Definitely show up for your exam. You may even want to call QTC and ask how many issues you're exactly being examined for, and what they are, so that you can be better prepared. Ebenefits will simply show "one" exam request, even if it's for multiple issues. I'd bet $2 that your doc or specialist referred your issue. I think there is a lot of variability here; some of them really take the "duty to assist" part of their jobs very seriously. On the other hand, I've been telling my doc at the VA about my worsening conditions for 2 or 3 years, and it hasn't gotten me anywhere.
  8. 1 point
    This, IMO, is the correct way to view your situation for all the reasons you listed. IT will do you a world of good if you are able work and supplement your family income, teach your son by example, and support your wife who has been/is supportive of you. you must learn the ins and outs to become your own best advocate with the VA. IT is lot of information, history, and even abuse; systemic challenges exist. learn how to read 38 CFR and the MR21 adjudication manual. learn when a lawyer or vso is needed and when you can DIY. Read Chris Attig over at Veterans Law Blog Put that ego, training, backbone, and determination to work for yourself, your family and for other vets.
  9. 1 point
    There are only three pro-Veteran outfits that really help us. The National Veterans Legal Services Program or NVLSP; the Veterans Pro Bono Consortium and NOVA. They are there for us-for free.
  10. 1 point
    1) no and 2) no that is not how it works. To reduce a rating or in your case take away TDIU, they would have to jump through a bunch of hoops and prove the you are no longer in a state of not being able to work. ...that isn't happening. I am not being rude, but your level of spinal problems don;t just get better and damn sure cannot be faked. yes there are more technical and detailed ways to say it, but the short version is don't sweat that. you still have not posted a list with percentages of what you are rated for that makes up the 90% so that is still unclear no. just no. What TDIU means is that a veteran who is NOT 100% schedular but cannot work even with a lower rating (lots of extra details not important here) gets paid at the 100% rate. the monthly compensation is the same. If that vets problems get worse and the VA increases their rating to 100% schedular, TDIU becomes moot and no longer applies. In other words you cannot be both 100% Schedular and TDIU at the same time. The lesser value rating is TDIU and the official VA party line is that all decisions are to be made to the best advantage of the veteran. your money will be the same in terms of compensation. If you have SSDI that is unaffected by becoming 100% schedular. As brokensoldier said in his second post As for rocking the boat. I will bet that 95% of the people who read that sentence will immediately think some VSO told you that...and I am one of them. Don't believe it. There is a lot of chatter as to why VSO's say this, and some can make sense if you are the conspiracy theory type or just believe that everyone in government is corrupt. Whatever the truth is, many vets do hear that from their VSO. I personally subscribe to the idea that the lazy ones just don't want the hassle of what appealing and asking for increases entail. if you are in pain, or some existing harm has increased, file for an increase!!!!!! The VA rating system for payments is meant to compensate the veteran for harms incurred by their military service. It is not a handout, it is not the VA's money and it is not a gift. It is compensation. if you want opinions on ratings we can do better if you supply more information. list all the SC conditions you have, and at what percent. List all the other conditions you have not yet been rated for, and if you have already filed a claim for, even if they denied that claim. list the date each claim was approved, made or denied. with your level of back problems I doubt you move very well (that makes the weightlifting entry in your profile unusual), which indicates you could possibly have packed on a few pounds and or may have issues with things like diabetes or are nearing that. IF you did pork out the extra weight and limited movement may be aggravating any condition you have with your knees, legs or feet. I am not trying to be rude my friend, but IF those things exist you may have claims available to you as secondary conditions. do you snore? do you stop breathing when you sleep? does your spouse have to wake you up when you stop breathing? you may have Sleep Apnea, which can be secondary if your existing SC problems can be logically and medically connected to the SA. for example, your back problem means you have porked out and now have breathing and sleeping problems from the weight. that is a direct line that can be fleshed out to help make the connection. I am not saying it is easy, or some straight process, just that it would be a valid path to explore if that situation exists. please understand no one here can make suggestions or offer valid opinions until you provide us the information on all your conditions. as I asked before is this based on a hearing test or just life? if there was a test was it part of a C&P? Deaf is a ratable and compensable condition and a 50% loss is too if they are service connected. if you have the audiogram please post the numbers and frequencies. Also post the Maryland CNC results. This will seem personal and intrusive. it is not meant to be so. Are you depressed, anxious, a little paranoid about things? do you get angry for reasons you used to not get angry? all since your back stuff started "falling apart" as you stated? you may be able to make a claim for depression and or anxiety secondary to your physical injuries. No one could blame you if you were depressed and anxious. it is no shame no matter what you may feel or think. the level of problems you have are consistent with developing severe depression. I am not suggesting you lie or exaggerate, but if you are depressed and or anxious, and be honest ask your wife if she thinks you are 'different', mention it to your PCP, Back Docs, and any other VA docs you see. get them to note it in your treatment record. ask for help with it. If it is bad enough file a claim. every vet here has empathy for you and wishes you the best. please post those things i asked for so we can give you better suggestions.
  11. 1 point
    Remember there is such a thing as service aggravated. If they accepted you as healthy at MEPS without a waiver you were accepted as healthy. Trying to blame a condition on pre-existing is pretty difficult.
  12. 1 point
    This is Wonderful News! I have used Chapter 35 DEA to finish my degree and also CHAMPVA- 2 GREAT benefits for family members and survivors.
  13. 1 point
    Are we talking SSDI? Then, yes, you can settle ahead of the date you would meet with the Judge if you have representation. My wife was denied twice, and in Wisconsin, at that time there was a 18 month wait to see the Judge. Three months after giving us are date, which was 18 months out, we did settle. My wife would receive disability payments, minus the SIX month waiting period, and we agreed she would not to go on Medicare until she turned 50 which was 32 months away. Basically, you don't get Medicare for the first 24 months anyway, so we had to wait an additional 8 months. However, she got disability payments about a year earlier and we had employer insurance at that time, so it worked out. As a side note, age plays a big role in SSDI. Age 50 was a big factor on getting approval for the Medicare part of SSDI. Also, we used a paralegal service which took 20% of retro, which turned out to be $1200.00 of the $6000.00 we got. One and a half month of disability payments took care of that, so, the 20% was well worth the deal making. And you need representation to get a chance to negotiate. They (SSDI) don't do that with us ordinary people. Just sayin, Hamslice
  14. 1 point
    So my claim moved to "Pending decision approval" phase today with a completion date now of 11/16/16-11/20/16. After only filing my FDC at the beginning of September 2016. I wonder does that mean my increase request for my already service connected 70% PTSD was denied or approved? On one of the questions on my 10/2016 C & P exam "Which of the following best summarizes the veteran's level of occupational and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses?" (Check only one) She marked "Total occupational and social impairment". However I do currently work (although with much hardship which is noted in my medical chart notes) and my other symptoms seem to be a mixture of the 70% rating level that I already have and the 100% rating that I'm not at yet. So I'm at a lost. Does anyone ever get a 80 or 90% increase instead of a full increase to 100%? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  15. 1 point
    @Gastone-Sorry for the delayed response. Was actually in a therapy session. Continuing to try to tame this PTSD monster. And you sound like my therapist. She was like you've been dealing with this since 1996. She's like the decision made was well deserved. She wasn't surprised at the 100% just the P&T part. And that's because she says the VA tries to hold out on awarding that for PTSD but thinks they knew with my symptoms worsening it would've been unfair in my case. Thanks for all the info in regards to my new associated benefits. I'm clueless and look forward to my package to shed a light on my new benefits. Living in NJ a property tax exemption on my currently $8K a yr taxes will definitely be a relief! I'm glad I'll still be able to work. I'm a nurse and like being able to help others. But I'm smart enough to know when I'm having too rough of a time and will remove myself when needed. Thank you so much for your continued support. XOXO
  16. 1 point
    I don't personally believe in "Luck," in regards to VA Claims Awards. The Rating you received is what you are due and is the result of your determination and perseverance. Be sure to avail yourself of all the "Scheduler 100% SC &/or IU T & P" associated Benefits. IE: State DAV Property Tax Exemption, VA (Under 65) Free $10K Life Ins policy, CHAMPVA , DOD Card Commissary privileges, State DAV Driver's Lic and Plate Fee Exemption. to name a few. Wouldn't be a bad idea to review the VA SMC S (1), Statutory Housebound Rating requirements, for future reference. Semper Fi
  17. 1 point
    @Gastone-Thank you! So much. I'm truly blessed. @Firewalker-No, I'm a nurse. I've been working (although with great difficulty some days) since I've been in treatment. I've been honest with them about working full time and the struggles, but was always encouraged to keep trying to socialize and not isolate myself. And if it got too bad asked to be taken off the floor for a shift. Which I did. I don't know what they're doing now. But it's P&T and 100% strictly PTSD related so I'm just still in shock and blessed. Maybe my case is the rare unicorn. Whatever the reason they decided the reason they did I'm grateful. And will continue my therapy, praying for myself, and others to have the same luck.
  18. 1 point
    Good Morning everyone. I wanted to first thank everyone whose given me feedback and who've been here for support, even if just by taking the time to review my question. I wanted to share with you the wonderful news I got today. As of today I'm 100% SC for PTSD only, permanent and total, and am still employable. I'm still in shock and still trying to wrap my head around it all. Waiting for my information package in the mail, but spoke to VA representative today after checking on EBenefits and she confirmed everything. Feeling truly blessed. So for all of those out there still waiting, keep praying as I have and will continue to do, and don't give up. And never say never because your claim could be that 1 rare unicorn like mine that ends positively.
  19. 1 point
    @Gastone-Thank you for taking the time to give me feedback. It's greatly appreciated. Accounts are set up for notifications as you suggested and am checking EBenefits as well in the letter area. Right now nothing has changed in my "disabilities" are or the "letters" area, so I don't know if that means they've denied my increase and are just going to keep it at 70% SC for my PTSD right now or if it's not going to reflect anything until the entire claim is completed. I've heard sometimes the letter part won't update until the claim is totally complete. Regardless, I'll continue my therapy and hope to one day get a hold on this madness, but a increase would show that they've acknowledged that my PTSD has worsened greatly. But I understand all the wording in your medical records have to be worded and documented almost perfect or they'll just kick your requests back.
  20. 1 point
    Andyman, The 30% rating for "more than six non-incapacitating episodes per year of sinusitis" needs to be "characterized by headaches, pain, and purulent discharge or crusting." If you see a doc for them, you might consider not taking the OTC meds before you go to the doc. It would be better to have the actual symptoms on record, not the reduced symptoms after you take OTC meds. Also, keep a "sinusitis diary" which describes when it started, symptoms, what you took, saw doc, duration, etc... I did this for migraines and it was helpful.
  21. 1 point
    No one responded but I will share what happened. My full retro is available in my bank currently and ebenefits does not show the payment made as of yet.
  22. 0 points
    I got mine in record time. Only problem is I only got about half because the VA paid me another veteran's amount and paid that veteran my amount.... I'm beginning to think they could hire people off the street and they'd do a better job than the VA's current employees.
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