I’m a Marine Corps veteran that served about sixteen-months with the grunts in Viet Nam (VN). While in VN, on my second tour, I was medevac’d for what I believe was a nervous breakdown. I drew up in a ball with severe stomach pains and just froze-couldn’t move. The doctors found nothing physically wrong with me and referred me to a psychiatrist. I never saw the psychiatrist in VN because I was shortly sent to Okinawa under a Congressional Inquiry resulting from my brother and I both being in VN at the same time. I never saw a doctor or my records unit I was honorably discharged in November 1970. I was referred to the VA for dental work but nothing was ever said about my appointment with the psychiatrist.
I’ve had all kinds of problems with depression, anxiety, paranoia, night mares, sleep deprivation and stomach pains since being discharged. Over the years I’ve gone to several doctors at their offices and emergency room for help but it never got better.
I applied for PTSD benefits at the VA in 1993 but was turned down. The reason, I later learned, was because I didn’t have a PTSD diagnoses and I didn’t keep my appointment with the psychiatrist in VN. At that time the VA didn’t diagnose PTSD so I went to a private clinic in 2004 and was diagnosed with a severe case of PTSD and they started me on medication. With diagnoses in hand I went back to the VA and they then evaluated me as having a mild case of PTSD and gave me 10% disability. Sometime around 2000 the VA started diagnosing PTSD. I filed a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) and in January 2006 I was awarded a 30% compensation for PTSD. I appealed and in May 2012 was turned down.
If I had not received the medications from the private clinic, when I did, I would not be here now. The treatment I get at the VA hospital is great, but, I’m reluctant to place my trust in the VA because of how they have dealt with me over the years. Filing claims and appealing decisions really stresses me out.
I don’t even know where to start concerning the VA’s evaluation of my claim. I think I deserve a lot higher rating for PTSD than 30-percent. I also think they owe me benefits back to at least 1993 and possibly back to 1970.
Any advice on what I need to do would be appreciated.