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Everything posted by MarkInTexas

  1. Amen! Only thing I would add is that if you are experiencing tinnitus, and you are hearing ringing/white noise/etc, during the examination, make sure that you tell them that. Famous phrase from my own C&P when I was granted that condition was, “Veteran stated that he actually can hear the loud white noise sound as he was speaking to me.”
  2. I agree! Took a little over a year and a half for the VARO to implement my granted conditions. BVA only specified the percentage on one of mine, which was an appeal for a rating increase anyway. Still waiting on one remaining granted condition and two remanded, so still on the clock on those. Good luck and definitely talk to an attorney as soon as possible if you want to appeal. Clock moves very slow when you are waiting for your decision, but it is goes like lightning when you have deadlines to file with the VA. Have a great weekend! Mark
  3. If that doesn't work, I'd do a FOIA request for those records in particular from the VA. You could ask for your entire C-File from front cover to back cover, but you might also include language, "...including, but not limited to, all records from the audiology compensation and pension examination performed by the XXXXX on the date of XXXXX in XXcityXX, XXstateXX for the claim of hearing loss, made on XXXXXX." Just a thought. Good luck! Mark
  4. Thanks, Buck! I was wondering about that. It’s something to keep in mind that there are clocks running on several veterans benefits as soon as that decision is rendered. Same holds true on life insurance. Great information! Mark
  5. Wonder if there is a time limit for how long you have to file for CHAMPVA after receiving a 100% P&T decision from the VA? Mark
  6. Chris, I agree with the above. It's a good sign that they scheduled you for a C&P, because that means the VA can't just say "no evidence, click" and then deny. Buck is correct in that you'll probably need to get your own doctor to provide that nexus that your current conditions that cause disabilities are connected to your military service. All too often C&P's are unofficially "adversarial" in nature, so you'll need that extra ammunition for the rater, but more importantly later in the BVA process if it it goes that far. I don't think I was granted a single condition that I didn't have a backup nexus IME/IMO for during this long process. A few dollars for an examination and opinion might well help make things go smoother, or at least more favorable in the long run. Good luck! Mark
  7. Buck, yeah this was in 2014 or 2015. Was real grungy. I think it was a time when the VA was doing a mad scramble to "handle" the backlog of cases coming into the VA system. Little did we all know that all they were doing was pushing it all off on the appeals process. There were no signs, and a camera was neatly placed in a corner, much like you would see for a security camera. And of course, it may well have been a security camera and I was just being paranoid. However, made no sense why there were some nickels and dimes scattered on a carpeted floor.....just a few. I made sure I didn't try to reach and pick one up though. And you're right about being yourself and not rambling or over exaggerating. They'll smoke somebody out on that every time. If you hurt when they bend it, tell them you can't bend any further without pain and just stop. Don't try to force it for their benefit. They aren't interested in your pain or your groans, they want to see how far an arm, finger, back, leg, etc. will go for their measurements. I haven't seen them annotate anything regarding, "He started to feel pain at this point, but I bent his leg further to see how far it would go." LOL! They'll say that the range of motion was...... and leave it at that. Also, when you do get out of their snake pit, immediately write down or record everything you remember from the examination, from the point where you say howdy to the clerk to where you tell her/him to have a nice day as you leave. When you finally see the DBQ and the VA's rating, you'll read something that looks like a completely different patient and doctor were at that examination. Peace out! Mark
  8. I agree. I've been sent to 'em all....LHI, VES and QTC. LHI is the only one that gave a medical opinion that didn't result in an appeal, but I also had documentation. VES and QTC seem to use the scrubs of the medical field (and I don't mean medical apparel), but I've found that they all seem eerily suspicious when I deal with them. Usually in some location that does not seem to be originally designed for medical care or examinations, and I always got the feeling that these VA contractors were on a month by month lease in whatever building they were shacking up in at the time. I remember one time, I was at VES in Houston and they had a bunch of us herded into a large room with hard metal chairs scattered about and a TV on the wall. That was supposed to be the waiting room. I saw a camera in the corner and noticed a few nickels and dimes here and there on the floor and saw one older veteran almost fall over trying to pick one up. I honestly believe they had them on the floor as a trap for veterans making claims regarding their back or limbs. True story. Trick is to make sure you have the medical documentation ready for when you have to file your appeal, loaded with private IME's/IMO's to blast holes in the quack of the day's DBQ. Good luck and keep on moving forward. Have a great weekend! Mark
  9. Thanks again, Y'all! I appreciate the good words! Buck, next time I'm planning to be up toward your area, I'll let you know and we can visit over a cup. This has been an experience! Just a quick update. I received my envelope. It wasn't big and brown or big and white. More of a paper reduction act middle sized with about 25 pages folded in half. My granted decisions matched the eBenefits and payment I received, so I'm happy there. Got low-balled on a couple of ratings, but all in all not too bad. It got me over the ridge. I did read the wonderful language regarding "permanent and total" and one of the "decisions' that I was granted for for "Eligibility to Dependents' Educational Assistance under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 35." Hopefully, my two daughters can get the benefit of this. Meanwhile, Veterans Evaluation Services called me a couple of days ago about my remaining remanded conditions and the one granted that they had not processed yet. I'm waiting for them to decide if they want to do ACE, telemed or in-person. They advised that for in-person C&P's they are still holding off until they get the all-clear for COVID-19. I don't look for anything that comes out of the remaining claims to amount to much, but I'll do the hokey-pokey for them and go where they tell me to. I agreed to whatever option they decided. I also reached out to the VA's prescription billing folks and initiated an audit to get a refund on the remaining prescription co-pays I had paid out prior to getting my previous rating increase. I had done that once before for a couple of years of co-pays when I got bumped over 50%, and this should get the rest. Might not be much, but it'll help pay a few electric bills I'm guessing. I'm thinking of taking a trip over to Fort Polk in Louisiana to get a military ID card now for commissary and base access, unless they are still in COVID-19 lockdown and I am going to look closer at the life insurance. That is one question I have. I do plan to keep working, so will I not qualify for the premium-free $10K in life insurance because I am still working? I read that you have to be completely unable to work for that. Or am I missing something. I meet all other "checkmarks" except that one. I also have a question about CHAMPVA. Is it pretty good for family coverage and what is the premium cost? I'll go research as well, but I wanted to see what everybody's experiences have been with this for their family members. I'm a cancer survivor and it all finally got service-connected. I'm still here and plan to be here for a while longer, but now I know that when the Lord does take me, my wife and kids will be provided for. That has been my primary goal since I started this almost a decade ago. Thanks again everybody. I hope you have a safe and peaceful weekend. Take care! Mark
  10. Well folks, I finally crossed the goal line that I have been moving the ball toward since I started this adventure in 2010. A few days ago, I saw all kinds of crazy activity on eBenefits and VA.gov as I went to check on my slow shuffle in the BVA line. I had already had my hearing and had several claims granted, and was waiting for the VA to move forward on the granted conditions, or see if they were were going to handle the remaining two remanded conditions that didn't amount to much anyway. I was sitting back with something like 33,000 claims still ahead of me in the slow march, so I was surprised to see an attorney fee determination claim pop up out of nowhere. I called my attorney and left a message with his office. He called me back a couple of days later excited and says that it looks like I'm about to join the Chapter 35 Club and that they will be retro'ing my EED back to my original claim dates. He said to watch for the mail, and as usual to never trust eBenefits, which I don't, but I still do go to, which I know I shouldn't, but I do. Y'all know what I mean. Anyway, a couple of days later, I get a nice retro in my account, and see that eBenefits is showing 100%, and the letter generator shows the same with the famous language of permanent and total with no future exams scheduled included in the letter. I noticed all of the BVA granted conditions were showing as service connected, except for one, so I'm assuming they are still working on that little one. Also the two remanded conditions have not been decided yet either. One called for a records review in the BVA remand decision and the other for a C&P, so since we now live in a COVID-19 world, who knows how that will work out? So anyway, I'm sitting and waiting on the one granted remaining and two remanded, but everything online shows green lights. I did notice that there is are now two "new" claims open in my eBenefits, one still for the attorney fee determination and one for a "STR-Medical", and when I go to it, it says the claim is a regulatory and procedural review. I'm hoping that some of y'all know what that means. I know that nothing is super "official" until I get the big brown envelope, or white, or brown and white....whatever the VA has in stock at the time, but it is a relief to finally be near the end of the tunnel that started with a VONAPP submission to the VA. Yeah, I said it...VONAPP......the claims are that old. I know I've said it before, but I will say it again. I joined this site back in 2012, and it has provided a wealth of knowledge, counseling and peace of mind, and also served as a place to ventilate. I couldn't have made it without the help of you folks. I also have to say that Asknod's e-book on Amazon saved me tons of trouble in the beginning, and it as handy as a pocket on a shirt as you navigate through the process. Thanks to all of you, and I wish you peace, good health and happiness. I'll be back and forth on here still to check in, and maybe give some advice or get some advice. Thank you all for your service, both in the military and now. God bless each and every one of you. Mark
  11. I've had similar situations, and to be honest, every C-File request rendered different results. There always seemed to be extra records that were not in previous C-Files and some pages missing. Of course, I also had nearly 100 pages of other veterans records, which took me several years of fighting the VA to remove them. You'll get similar results from requests from the NPRC. I actually received a new NPRC packet the other day and it had 6 pages of records from my active duty days that I had not seen before, even though I had done requests multiple times previously over the years. Amazing. Good luck in your fight and hav a great weekend. Mark
  12. I get the same screen and slowly march toward the end. Mine was decided by a Judge on at the end of October, 2018 with several granted conditions and two remands. However, the grants have not been "granted" at the local VA level, and waiting for a new C&P on the two remands. Meanwhile, the little status bar now moves at a little under a hundred appeals less in front of me per day.....still have like 43K in front according to the status bar. Good luck! Mark
  13. Just one question. Has the VA already done a C&P examination and rated you for Tinnitus? That would definitely be beneficial if you already had that ball in the corner pocket. Good luck and thanks for your service! Mark
  14. Back when I got my IME from him in 2015, it was not included. I looked him up and uploaded the information on his background to the VA to support my claims. I had already been shot in the back by a Nurse Practitioner who worked as a contractor for Veterans Evaluation Services and I wanted to make sure that the VA couldn't ignore the qualifications comparison. Mark
  15. Worth the drive if you can make it. I drove from East Texas for the appointment. Long haul, but went pretty quick once I hit I-35. There's a Springhill Suites that gives discounts to veterans and their families using Dr. Ellis for IME's, and it is literally walking distance from his clinic. Mark
  16. Agreed! Also, side note on the raters not liking Dr. Ellis' IME/IMO reports. Raters try to kill everything they can at their level. However, in my own case at the BVA level, Dr. Ellis' report destroyed the C&P examiner's and rater's opinions. Make sure you upload a copy of his curriculum vitae if you are going to compare his IME/IMO's to the C&P's. Good luck! Mark
  17. Amen, Bronco! Get that effective date locked into the record. Good luck and thanks for your service! Mark
  18. Great idea, Buck! That's true too. The nurses at the VA clinic typically "pencil whip" most of the preliminary questions in the system, and when I get look at my Blue Button report, I see that they provided answers to questions that they never asked me. I also note that different VA doctors will write different things, and sometime tend to berate another doctor for prescribing this or that, then enter a prescription for something totally different. Kind of a roller coaster ride. I also note that the nurses will mention that the veteran turned down a flu shot or TDAP when offered, but had never asked. I asked them about it the last time I was there, and they promptly gave me the vaccinations. Never mentioned why it was shown as denied in the previous clinic visit though. Also, I don't know about y'all. But I seem to get a different nurse each time and just when I get used to one VA doctor, they ship him or her out and I get a totally different one. Ok, off my soapbox! Mark
  19. A good attorney will help too! I know from personal experience that you can miss things or get things too complex when you are looking at it for months and years. Getting a fresh set of legal eyes on it can help and can unwind anything that needs it before it gets to the BVA. Mark
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