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HadIt.com Elder
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john999 last won the day on November 13

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About john999

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    HadIt.com Elder
  • Birthday 01/09/1950

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  • Location
    Tampa FL
  • Interests
    VA law and history of the Blues

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  • Service Connected Disability
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    history, computers, reading

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  1. If I were you I would stay in treatment at the VA for your SC conditions. You need to stay in treatment even if it is private care and keep records of your treatments. This is what the VA will use to deny or accept a claim. If you are not getting treatment or taking meds for mental health issues they seem to believe you are better and need to be reduced. I get tons of meds and have been seeing VA shrinks for 20 years. They don't do me much good but I will keep going until I get 20 years on my claim and it becomes really permanent. I advise you to do the same.
  2. I am not so keen on the c&p doctor's "remarks" section. He also says you don't have any other MH conditions. What about depression, panic disorder, social phobia? These are all co-morbid conditions IMO. What I don't like is his statement that you can follow complex demands, no suicidal ideation, and no impulse control difficulties and that you can complete all tasks of daily living. These screwy contradictory exams baffle me. You have all the symptoms of severe PTSD and yet he mentions your good hygiene and being on time and it sounds like a job interview where you got the job. Have you ever gotten a private IMO on your PTSD since you already have the VA's DX of PTSD. Your own doctor can comment on the severity. You should be getting "S".
  3. I think you need and want medical evidence to support every contention you make. The VA will say any secondary conditions or new conditions not presumptive or supported by medical evidence is just speculation which is something the VA is great at doing to the Vet, but not when the shoe is on the other foot. I had medical evidence for my AO conditions to have a strong DX with no doubt especially regarding DMII and secondary conditions. You just have to lock it up so they is no wiggle room . I had a IME/IMO from my old psychologist for bipolar condition and in the IMO my doctor mentioned I had chronic pain and was treated with opiates from the VA and my claim for higher percentage was denied. The VA blamed my MH symptoms on the opiates ignoring the accepted Bipolar DX. I overcame it but it meant another IMO to explain what the first IMO said. Time.......!!!!!!
  4. I think you should have gotten TDIU for the years before your current date. I think you would have a good case for TDIU as the same date you got SSDI? The VA should have known you were getting SSDI for the same condition you were getting VA compensation for if you informed them. That should have triggered a implied TDIU claim. I say "should have" but with the VA you usually have to claim it, but on an appeal that reveals your unemployability that should have been an informal and implied claim for TDIU. To some extent I am throwing it at the wall to see what might stick for you just the way the VA throws you at the wall to see if you stick. I don't mean this in a nasty way except for the VA part. They are just SOB's IMO. If all the vets who deserve 100% or TDIU were added on the rolls would triple.
  5. Skin Cancers Service Connection

    My forearms are a mess of scabs and pre-cancerous lesions. I have all sorts of red looking sores that itch and major sun damage. You know in Nam we rolled our uniform up to above the elbow. That is where all the damage is on my arms and to an extent on my face. I have had these creams applied that made my arms turn into a mass of red and painful sores. The dermatologist told me this was an indication of abnormal skin lesions as in cancer or pre-cancerous cells. If you even had these you know what I am talking about. My hair was dark brown I thought but I did find red in my hair and I don't tan. That tropical sun really burned me. I have a buddy who was in Nam and he has the same mess on his arms. The Derm. VA nurse told me it was normal sun damage and nothing to worry about then she burned off about ten lesions at the VA. My own derm. Dr. says that they are pre-cancerous lesions or suspicious lesions and he froze them which feels like a burn. To some extent I believe I am vulnerable to skin cancer since my grandmother had it.
  6. Between the date you first filed a claim and the date you got TDIU how did you support yourself? This is what the VA would want to know? Charity is not gainful employment. I think your old lawyer wants a slam/dunk. I don't think she knows what she is doing either regarding the definition of "unemployability". If there is a big pot of potential TDIU retro money at stake you should be able to get a lawyer to go for it. What I have found is that many or most lawyers want to get paid in a reasonable amount of time. With the VA you never know since they can just keep rejecting your claim for a decade and not many lawyers will hang in there that long especially if they are spending money to get a shot at a jackpot. When you get to exact definitions of "gainful employment", sheltered work, part time vs full time work, and how close to the poverty level you income is from work these are all questions that have been debated. There must be case law on all this stuff. You want to cite decisions that set the rules for that set of claims.
  7. You should get an IMO that asks and answers all the questions you have for the VA. IMO the VA will stick to just the exact things you ask for in your claim. Have you read the VA's schedule for rating your disability. They are looking for certain things to rate your claim. One thing is "bedrest" that you are required to take as mandatory for your condition. If I am not mistaken 40% is the maximum for many cervical and lumbar conditions. However, having constant back or neck pain can lead to other psychological conditions and might also have other secondary conditions than are non-psychological. Any vet who has chronic pain due to SC condition should also see a VA psychiatrist and think about making a depression claim. If being in pain 24/7 does not depress you then you may be too depressed to realize it. I went to the VA with neck pain and back pain issues and they started me on Morphine. That involved a whole new list of problems that I did not ask for then.
  8. It has been so long since I filed a claim (2010) that the idea of making a claim and then having a c&p exam before the VA has your SMR's sounds crazy to me. How in the world can the VA even think about making a decision before they have your SMR's especially if you are claiming PTSD or anything that needs records to prove? This all seems assbackwards to me. The way they used to do it was the last step in your claim was the C&P exam and you could count days before you got a decision. Has all this changed? Using Ebenefits to file a claim makes me nervous. Just because something seems faster may be much longer in the end if you lose your original claim and have to go into appeals. I never want to go to the BVA/CAVC again. I want my claims decided at the VARO. Every time I filed a claim or for an increase the VA always lost my evidence at least once. I got to the point where I would drive to the VARO and put the papers right into their hands and got signed copies. I like to do it step by step and get receipts for everything. The one time you don't have proof the VA got something is the time they use it to screw you to the wall.
  9. Many of these VSO's have been declining since the end of WWII. I know as a Vietnam vet I did not get a warm welcome from the DAV or VFW. They have their political uses. They can squawk when the VA tries to get rid of VA programs or tries to reduce compensation rates.
  10. I got TDIU on a 70% rating. Some years later I got an extra 60% and I got "S", but I had to file a CUE to get it. I don't see how the VA can take away your TDIU unless you go back to work. Bradly V Peake is the case that was granted SMC S for a TDIU case where the vet had TDIU plus 60%. You get statutory S based on that rating.
  11. I think there is some benefit in getting a face-to-face meeting with a DRO. They may connect your face with a claim and remember how you presented yourself and your evidence and be able to tap the tiny compassion gland where their heart used to be and give you benefit of doubt. I always tried for personal hearings on my claims. The fastest way may not always be best, and if you don't actually need the money top live slow and sure is better IMO. In some claims like CUE claims with lots of retro behind them I don't think it matters what they tell you in person, because their boss may scream that they cannot grant such a claim. I don't thing the VA is overjoyed at employees that grant huge claims without getting many sign offs from above. I don't even think it is possible for a DRO to give a vet over $25,000 in retro without a sign off from a bean counter. Since many vets don't even appeal their rating decisions I think the VA cheats vets every day. The way you win in the end is by evidence and persistence. I fought with the VA for 30 years on my original claim going from 10% to 30% and then 70% TDIU. I should have had 100% from my first claim but I did not appeal the lowball rating. When I filed my first claim back in 1973 I was in bad shape and deserved 100%. I got 10% which was a joke but the joke was on me since I did not yet realize what bastards they were at the VA.
  12. PAR: The time limit for filing a NOD for the 2014 claim has run out on you. So you have never been rated for MST/PTSD? I don't know if you can get a CUE claim out of this due to CUE rules. The earlier effective date for MST/PTSD may be possible. Like Bronco says 80% of something is better than 100% of nothing if you are able to get a lawyer to represent you. He/she would get 20% of any retro. You don't pay them up front. You may have a chance since you did file the MST/PTSD claim and you had evidence to support that claim. I got an EED for a depression claim I filed because I had been an inpatient for a few days a year before my original effective date. The VA went back to my hospital admission because that constitutes a presumptive claim in the eyes of the VA. I was given the GAF score and it definitely was low enough for a 70%-100% rating. So the VA did grant me an EED back to the date of the VA admission. I also had a much earlier effective date for SSDI. I had originally asked that since the VA knew I was on SSDI they should use that date for my effective date. Somehow they did use the hospital admission to grant me the same date as my SSDI. There are many ways to skin a cat. Don't give up since if you had been rated 100% in 2014 that is a lot of money and the effective date would be the day you claim it, or even in my case the date the VA treated you as an inpatient or maybe even as an outpatient. They used the GAF I think then and if your doctors gave you a GAF of 50 or below there is no question that you were suffering severe symptoms. I would run it by a lawyer and if he/she did not want to take it I would do it myself just like you are doing. You should realize the VA has screwed tens of thousands of vets out of compensation so what happened to you is just SOP. By fighting and filing you learn the system. Just ask Berta Simmons and Bronco. John
  13. Skin Cancers Service Connection

    Marine70 That is interesting to read your post. I do remember even when we wore our shirts in Vietnam the sleeves were rolled up and that is where I have all the sun damage. I used this cream that reacts to cancerous cells and my arms turned red with many sores. My face is the same way. If you or me have a melanoma that kills us then at least your spouse would get DIC. This is the main thing to me and not just compensation since I have been P&T for 16 years. However, if I get some medical problem that is due to service or agent orange I am filing just to get it service connected. How many years after your service did you have the skin cancer? I got out in 1971 and in the last ten years I now got to the dermatologist at least every six months because my arms look so bad and I have had moles removed and precancerous cells removed by freezing them. I am very fair skinned and I don't really tan much beyond just getting red. I have a friend who was in Nam and he has the same skin problems.
  14. Skin Cancers Service Connection

    Did you have these skin cancers in the service or after? Us light skinned people who spent a year in the tropics got a lot of harsh sun. I know that my arms look like crap due to all the precancerous spots. I only have these things on my forearms and hands and my face. These are the areas that were exposed to tropical sun in Vietnam. Of course, I live in Florida and got sun here but not really tropical sun like in Vietnam. If a vet was in Iraq or Afghanistan I would think that might be a case for skin cancer, but if it develops five years later I bet the VA would fight that all the way. I hope I am wrong.