Jump to content


Second Class Petty Officers
  • Content Count

  • Donations

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by BFR

  1. No, I just take care of the servers that run the programs that the VA uses. I have nothing to do with the code, so I can't help fix bugs in programming or flaws in design sadly. But I have worked with teams that support things like eBenefits and I've given them feedback based on what I've read here. It's had a small effect a few times, but not a lot. And the VA denies claims by VA employees just as fast and as ruthlessly as anyone else's. And it's harder to get help from VA because so few VA employees have the special clearance to see my file. (This is designed to prevent a coworker from looking at confidential medical records.)
  2. I work at the VA (don't hate me! I deal with the back end computer systems in a data center), and nearly all the FTEs (full-time employes of VA) are prior service. **However** nearly 60% of my office is staffed by contractors. Some are ex military, but I think the majority are not.
  3. (bump) I need to get this claim moving again. Does anyone know an attorney that does a good job?
  4. First, I want to make sure I say Thank You!! Berta. You are such a giving person. I want you to know how much we appreciate your willingness to help all us clueless vets. I wish I could make you the Secretary of the VA. Yes, the IMO was listed as evidence as well as a few others including the records from the VA clinic. I can work on getting these documents scanned and posted, but I'm a mess tonight :)
  5. I was able to get a copy of my Statement of Case, and here are the relevant dates. (How many other guys have said "I wish I hadn't waited so long?") Fibromyalgia (FM)evaluated at 20% Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) at 10% 08/24/2010 Claim received. (For increasing FM and CFS) 03/26/2012 Claim considered 04/18/2012 Claimant notified of decision 12/13/2012 NOD received 12/13/2012 De Novo Review election received from appellant 01/15/2013 Appeal Election Letter sent to appellant 07/21/2014 De Novo Review performed. Decision: FM stays at 20%, CFS at 10%. ___ Unbelievable to me given what I thought was an airtight IMO. It looks like I have 2 months to work with, correct?
  6. From what I remember, I filed for the Desert Storm things back in 2009. I got a rating and did a NOD, The answer to the NOD (not sure what it would be called) came in 2014, and there was something about a 30-day window to get new evidence in and have a quick decision. I missed that window, but the VSO said something about a year before it became closed. To answer Berta: Have any of your meds increased since this decision, that would indicate a higher rating might be proper? - Yes, but to be honest the initial ratings were far too low. I had been seeing civilian docs, but starting about a year ago I've made it a point to go to the VA clinic to start better documentation. did you apply for Voc rehab but they said due to your SC school was not feasible? - Voc Rehab: not in a very long time. Back in the mid 90's I got some voc rehab, but none since then. Have you been awarded SSDI since filing this past claim but VA does not know that? - No SSDI
  7. I actually have no idea, Berta. I do remember something about a 30-day window. How do I find out?
  8. So there is this: https://www.ebenefits.va.gov/ebenefits/vso-search Which turns up quite a few attorney results in the Austin, TX area. I'm in Round Rock; does anyone in Central Texas have experience with any lawyer for VA claims they can share? Background: I filed a claim for the Desert Storm illnesses the day after Congress made them presumptives (Thank you IOM!!). VA granted me the typical low-ball percentages, I did a NOD that got nowhere in 2014. Now I have a year (right?) I lost the 30-day window because I was dumb enough to believe my VSO rep who was retiring and didn't care much (full disclosure: he is said to have been very good in his prime, but I guess after so many years....) Current ratings: - PTSD 50% - IBS 30% (max allowed) - Fibromyalgia: 20% - Chronic Fatigue: 10% - Allergic Rhinitis: 10% - some 0% What I honestly believe I should have: - PTSD 70% - IBS 30% - Fibromyalgia: 40% - Chronic Fatigue: 60% - Allergic Rhinitis: 10% - random 0%
  9. BFR

    Roll Call

    Got my latest denial. Time for round...something. I've lost track now! :)
  10. BFR

    August 1, Roll Call

    [oops, wrong month!]
  11. Greetings all! First, I wish to thank everyone who participates in these forums, especially those who give so much time in moderating them. You are a blessing to all of us. My question may have been asked before, but I'm not able to locate the threads, so forgive me if it's redundant. I'll put the actual question up front and supporting information after to save your time in case the answer would be the same regardless of the situation. The Question: Given what I think is my timeline (<10 years) should I submit the new evidence? I understand that i may delay the VA's next ruling. However, what bothers me is the effective date; if I submit new evidence *now* instead of waiting for a ruling in a year or two will the effective date of the new rating be today or be backdated to the original NOD (December 2012)? Current situation: Both reps I've worked with over the years have encouraged me to apply for C&T, but I've refused. I will work until I cannot do so any longer, but I feel the symptoms increase and there's something inside of me that tells me that I have less than 10 years left. Eventually I'll have to consider their advice, but as long as I can contribute I WILL. I will work until I cannot. History: I have a rating from VA that started at 10% and has increased to 80% over the years. As a 19D recon scout I was in combat in Desert Storm (and other places) and filed for the "presumptive" conditions of IBS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Fibromyalgia (FM) two years ago when Congress changed the law about them. Another presumptive is "skin conditions." I have a 0% for eczema from 1992, but since then have developed two types of skin cancer. I'm currently on a chemo routine to reduce them. My current rep filed a NOD requesting the denovo process in December of 2012 because I believed my IMO was quite specific (my rep gave me very clear guidelines and examples of "va speak," and my doctor followed them exactly), and I believe that for at least for the CFS and maybe the FM CUE applies. You know the deal--the typical VA lowball for the opening round. I have a wife and a 9-year-old daughter, and I earn a decent living. The wife has a part-time job but they depend on me as the primary breadwinner. We live modest lives, and are able to put away a small bit into savings each month. It could be more, but we tithe to our church and will continue to do so.
  12. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Berta. Here are the answers to yours: - I will take your advice and wait for the outcome. I just wish the VA wasn't so slow. (Don't we all!) - I didn't think so on the eczema and dermatitis, but it was worth asking. - How do I get a copy of the C&P exam? - Re: 1996: I think I only submitted a self-reported statement requesting a service connection for CFS. I dont know if CUE could be invoked, but who knows...it's an illness that pretty much relies on self reporting for diagnosis since there is no test for it. - Yes, I'm employed. At the VA of all places . I intend to be employed somewhere until I simply cannot function well enough to hold a job. That day will come, and IMO much sooner than it should because of these problems. - What is SMC? (Is there a list of acronyms on this site? I see a lot of them and understand some, but many are beyond me.) With much thanks, Ben A very interesting site! thank you for sharing it. I do wish it had a better search engine. It is a wealth of information. Ben
  13. BFR

    August Roll Call

    Present and sober. Well, mostly
  14. Good evening all, I'm currently rated at 20% for Fibromyalgia (FM) and 10% for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). I fit the definition for 40% for FM and 60 for CFS that I find on the eCFR. As a Gulf War vet these are presumptive conditions. All I should need is a statement in VA-speak with the proper levels included. I also have a 0% for eczema, but discovered that I may qualify for 60% if I interpret the definition on the eCFR correctly. Background: I filed for those conditions as soon as Congress changed the law to make them presumptive for the Gulf War vets. I filed a NOD in mid December of 2012, requesting the De Novo process to review and adjust the levels appropriately. No action on this yet. I first filed for CFS in 1996 and was denied. My questions for the community: - Regarding FM and CFS: Should I wait for this de novo process to finish before obtaining and submitting a new IMO? - Is it "better" or "easier" if I obtain the same information in my VA medical file from a VA doc at the local VA outpatient clinic? - Should I wait to submit a claim to increase the rating for eczema until the FM and CFS process is finished? A representative once told me that submitting new paperwork while something was in process would cause the entire thing to stop and start over, putting me back at the end of the line for a decision. I don't know if thats accurate or not, but I would like the claim date to be as early as possible for backpay reasons. - the eCFR lists "7806-Dermatitis or eczema" on a single line. Is it possible to get separate ratings for both? - Is it possible to get the rating for CFS backdated to 1996? I did not file something each year. There was about a 15 year gap between the first and second filings. That's a lot of questions, and I want to say Thank You! in advance to anyone who answers. Ben
  15. Were you able to contact your brother? Thanks!
  16. I had a good doc that I've been seeing for years in New Braunfels for GWI as well as standard medical issues. But "Obamacare" has pushed her over the edge and she retired. It was ~100-mile round trip drive but worth it to me because she took a special interest in GWI. Does anyone have a doctor in the Austin area that they can recommend?
  17. BFR

    News On Gwi

    yes: 21 years and counting!
  18. A coworker sent that article to me, saying a shot could cure PTSD. I told her that shots had caused my PTSD: shots from rifles, shots from tanks, shots from artillery... :)
  19. Found this article on PTSD treatment on Fox News. From what I understand the treatment is not new, just the intended result. "The cost of the injection is approximately $1,000 and is fully covered by [Dr. Lipov's] non-profit Chicago Medical Innovations." Dr. Eugene Lipov, medical director of Advanced Pain Centers in Chicago, said the procedure works in 70 percent of patients, and they show at least 50 percent improvement in symptoms. However, note that the study size is very small. This article talks about the existing use of the same treatment for other conditions such as pain from cancer and other syndromes. Personally I'm very interested, but I'll wait a while to see how things go before I get a shot--or six--in my neck.
  20. I started this case with documentation from an IMO who is board certified in Internal medicine as well as Endocrinology. I have her guidelines that I received from my County rep that gave the specific phrases as well as printouts of sections of the eCFR for to use as a guide. She created a lengthy document that seemed like it should have outweighed the VA doctor, but I guess it's common for the VA to open low and hope you give up. Thanks for posting the "whole person" theory. I'd heard about that a long time ago but had forgotten. So to see if I have it right the following table should apply: (remember the numbers are 50, 30, 20, 10. 10.) Start at 100% Subtract 50%, so 50% of a person left. ................................................................ 50% = rating subtract 30% of 50% = 15, so the rating is now 50 + 15 = 65%, with 35% of a person left..............+15% = 65 subtract 20% of 35% = 7, so now the rating is 35-7= 28 (rounded to 30%)....................................+ 7% = 80 subtract 10% from 30% = 3 .............................................................................................................+ 3% = 83, but that gets rounded back down to 80%. Yes, it does make sense in an odd way. Thanks all for explaining this to me. [Note: I thought I'd posted this a few days back but apparently I forgot to hit "Add Reply." Sorry about that!] .
  21. Carlie and Berta both, dig through your inboxes and read all the positive notes you've gotten over time. Each of you will find at least one from me :) You have helped far more than you'll ever know since many (like myself) have frequently gleaned what we needed to know from your postings, leveraged your experience and advice, and obtained successful results. You are pillers of this very much needed community. Don't let one or two rob you of your enthusiasm. Carlie: I just received an award that confuses me. I'd happily dump my VSO in favor of your representation. I dont care if you can calculate retro pay while accurately factoring in the occasional COLA or not. I (and all us damaged vets) need someone with negotiation and research skills. Your math skill is nothing for us to be concerned about. I'd be happy if you'd work with me on getting my situation squared away. I posted it earlier today in this subforum under some title that has the words "IRS Math" in it. I promise nothing but respectful thanks will come your way no matter the outcome. I've paid for purely random veterans I've met in restaurants. I always come out feeling like I got the most out of the encounter. BFR
  22. I applied three of the conditions under the Gulf War Illness umbrella back in August of 2010. All the appointments were completed about two months ago. I just got my award letter and while it's a big win in itself I'm confused by the "IRS math" that they used to compute the final percentage so I thought I'd ask the HadIt community for their take. I started with a 60% (50% for PTSD and 10% for some minor things). The decision for the GWI is as follows: - 30% for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) - 20% for FM (Fibromyalgia) - 10% for CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) Getting recognized for the GWI is a win. Getting IBS as a separate rating is also a win. Here's where the "IRS math" comes in: 60% + 30% + 20% + 10% = 80% combined rating. Apparently the VBA did not use a linear scale in determining a combined rating. Is this common? Any speculation on chances of getting this corrected? (I expect I should have little trouble getting the FM increased to 40%, and likely getting the CFS to 20% or even 40%.) Thanks in advance for all answers. BFR ("IRS Math" is a term I once read in a Dave Barry story.)
  • Create New...

Important Information

{terms] and Guidelines