I am writing this on behalf of my disabled Husband of 13 years. He served for 22 years.
A little history-
He filed for his disabilities in Oct 2008 when he retired and was initially awarded 80%. He initially received the VA catch all diagnosis of Chronic Adjustment Disorder, which in reality has been diagnosed by outside Dr's as Bipolar Disorder. He receives treatment from the VA for Bipolar Disorder. Shortly after, he received a more specific mental evaluation and diagnosis for a Chronic Pain Disorder with both Psychological factors and a General Medical Condition, service connected. He also received an increase to 30% for migraines, which increased his total award to 90%, and was granted IU based on all of the above factors a month after his original award.
He is currently 90% with IU for a Chronic Adjustment Disorder with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood, 40% for BPH, 30% for Tension Headaches (Migraines) 20% for Chronic Lumbar Strain, and 10% for Left Knee Arthritis-Post Surgery and also rated Incompetent to handle his own financial affairs. His right Knee was never addressed during his original C&P exams even though his Retirement Physical clearly showed it had severe Arthritis, and needed surgery. He just did not do it at that time. Shortly after his/our VA Award he received SSDI award for his service connected issues, in addition to several other issues. He had several conditions claimed on his retirement physical for which the VA did not address. He claimed he had spine issues of extreme pain, stiffness, lack of range of motion, in addition to hand pain and numbness, severe neck pain, stiffness, and lack of range of motion which the VA did not address. We'll we were adamant that there was something wrong and convinced his PCP to request MRIs. Of course the MRIs showed a Lumbar bulging disc, Degenerative Disc Disease throughout his spine, severe lack of disc space in his cervical area, and Moderate Bi lateral Carpal Tunnel. He was complaining of shortness of breath and lightheadedness so eventually his PCP arranged a VA stress test that revealed a Right Bundle Branch Block which causes him light headed ness and shortness of breath. Lots of issues not addressed during his initial C&P Exams. Flash Forward almost 5 years- He has continued to deteriorate both physically and mentally. He has not worked, nor is he able to do so. He has continued to seek treatment for his mental and physical disabilities both through the VA and his personal Psychologist. The VA health providers do what they can. He goes to his appointments and takes his medication. They tell us we can medicate or operate. As an example, he recently was given a new MRI on both knees (not just the SC Left Knee) and was found to have degraded over the last 8 years to the point where he is taking Synvisc injections as a last ditch effort to delay TKR. He is 53 and the Ortho Dr recommended that he wait as long as possible before he has them both replaced, which is his only option. His Psychologist prepared both an evaluation and completed a DBQ stating in clear concise words that due to his service connected disabilities, he is permanently and totally disabled with no chance of improvement. So he has his current award, SSDI, IU, continuing treatment and medications, a downward spiral mentally and physically, and a current eval from his Psychologist. VA records also show no significant improvement in any of his SC conditions. He just struggles to get by day to day. He has constant thoughts of suicide. I don't think he has a plan that I am aware of, but I am very concerned.
He sent a letter through the DAV requesting P&T status, not an increase, just P&T. Today he received a call from the VA informing him that he is now scheduled for 3 of his conditions to be looked at again.
I understand that he is at the 5 year mark and was going to be re-examined for these 3 conditions (MH, Prostate, and Lumbar Strain), none of which have noticeably improved. His mental health conditions have not improved, in fact his MH meds for his Bipolar Disorder and associated Depression and Anxiety were just increased a few months ago. He was recently given an OCD diagnosis by the VA. He lives on pain meds, muscle relaxers, meds for his Tension Headaches, and he takes his prostate medications and unfortunately he now has to wear ...pads to collect his excess dribbling. His Chronic Lower Back Strain causes him daily problems with pain and stiffness. He can not bend, turn, or twist without pain and stiffness.
My question to all of you is what can he expect? Can they easily take his/our ratings away given that none of his ratings have noticeably improved? He is planning on taking his Shrinks DBQ and Eval with him to the C&P Exam. He also plans to take a list of his VA prescribed Meds. What else can he take with him that may assist him in his C&P exams and ultimately towards P&T? Thank you in advance for any and all of your help, advice, and direction.