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HorizontalMike

First Class Petty Officer
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About HorizontalMike

  • Rank
    E-5 Petty Officer 2nd Class

Profile Information

  • Interests
    100% TDIU Dec 2015

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
    70%
  • Branch of Service
    Navy

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  1. It appears to me, that the C&P Examiner is lumping together; TBI, PTSD, Depression, and Alcohol Abuse into JUST ONE DISABILITY. The inability of the Examiner to differentiate/separate these symptoms(read disabilities) from one another, it should be pointed out, falls under: §3.102 Reasonable doubt. It is the defined and consistently applied policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs to administer the law under a broad interpretation, consistent, however, with the facts shown in every case. When, after careful consideration of all procurable and assembled data, a reasonable doubt arises regarding service origin, the degree of disability, or any other point, such doubt will be resolved in favor of the claimant. By reasonable doubt is meant one which exists because of an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence which does not satisfactorily prove or disprove the claim. It is a substantial doubt and one within the range of probability as distinguished from pure speculation or remote possibility. It is not a means of reconciling actual conflict or a contradiction in the evidence. Mere suspicion or doubt as to the truth of any statements submitted, as distinguished from impeachment or contradiction by evidence or known facts, is not justifiable basis for denying the application of the reasonable doubt doctrine if the entire complete record otherwise warrants invoking this doctrine. The reasonable doubt doctrine is also applicable even in the absence of official records, particularly if the basic incident allegedly arose under combat, or similarly strenuous conditions, and is consistent with the probable results of such known hardships. (Authority: 38 U.S.C. 501(a)) [50 FR 34458, Aug. 26, 1985, as amended at 66 FR 45630, Aug. 29, 2001] In other words, You should be considering pursuing each of the above as separate disabilities. The only possible exception is alcohol abuse, though alcohol abuse may/can be sought as a secondary disability to any of the other three, IMO. FWIW, I am in a very similar situation in my case. The VA is/was trying to lump my depression under TBI, though depression has its own diagnosis under §4.130 Schedule of ratings—mental disorders. --- 9434 Major depressive disorder and rated under 9440. chronic adjustment disorder 9440 Chronic adjustment disorder General Rating Formula for Mental Disorders: Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought processes or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name .................... 100 Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships ........................................................................................ 70 Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships ............... 50 Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events) ...................................................... 30 Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms controlled by continuous medication .................................................................................. 10 A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication.................................................. 0
  2. Well, it has taken 6-months for the RO to return my appeal(s) BACK TO the BVA in Washington. And as a result, there is now a 90-day window for "new" evidence to be submitted. At the end of THAT 90-day period, my appeal will then be submitted back to the Board to be placed (actually re-placed) on the docket. This means that the "RAMP" folks will have delayed my appeal(s) by ~9-months, from their mistake of pulling ineligible legacy appeals and placing them in RAMP. Only now, can my lawyer submit a "motion for advancement" on the docket, because of the RAMP/RO administrative error. The RO's procrastination is palpable... I swear......... RAMP actually stands for "Rapidly And Methodically Postpone"
  3. I am at just over 4.5yr on my appeals (+6.25yr on original claims so far). The appeals were already in the BVA Judges hands in Sept. 2018, but then were inadvertently pulled into RAMP incorrectly. Had to "convince" my attorney to to double-check on BVA status after receiving 3 (Three) denials from three different Regional Offices. Not to mention that all appeals published on eBenefits and VETS.GOV are still incorrectly showing all my appeals as "complete". If the VA can find a way to delay/deny, they will do just that. It takes a long time...
  4. Bingo on that! I went through TWO VSOs (Texas Vets and DAV) before finally hiring an attorney. I personally experienced just how ineffective VSOs actually are. And I had already written a 158 page NOD on my original claim before hiring my attorney. Definitely listen to ASKNOD's advice.
  5. I am RE-POSTING here because the then new RAMP subcategory did not exist at the time. I feel this is very timely because several of us have been appealing our claims for years, only to forced into a TOO NEW system that appears to be a rapid denial system aimed at making the VA LOOK good in "catching up" with disability claims. I hope that I am the only one,... BUT ___________________________________ IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN LEGACY APPEALS PROCESS,... THEN PAY ATTENTION! My legacy appeals were actually AT the BVA and being handed out to judges. This new "RAMP" thing erroneously "PULLED THEM" from the BVA! My FORM-9 was filed 2-1/2yr ago! This could be YOU, so pay attention to what is happening to ALL of your appeals! IMO, this "RAMP" thing is way too new to be trusted. I already have a corncob where I don't want it, and I am NOT smiling about a Dxxxxxmn thing! HorizontalMike _________________________________________________________ From: XX Xxxx Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2018 11:49 AM To: ME Subject: FW: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP I never received a response to my initial inquiry so I had to escalate my issue up further. I just received a response last night. See below. XX Xxxx Attorney at Law From: ZZ Zzzz, VBAWASH Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2018 10:54 PM To: XX Xxx, VBAWAC Subject: RE: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP Hi XX, I am really sorry this happened. Actually, the issues were still properly before the Board, but the RAMP processing station erroneously included all issues within the initial RAMP letter that was sent. After that, the Board updated the database to place all issues in RAMP, thinking that the letter was correct. Instead they should have adjudicated the issues and notified the AMO of the error in the letter so we could instruct the RAMP processing site to send a corrective letter. I would recommend filing an NOD with the Board as well as a motion to advance on the Board’s docket due to administrative error. I will also reach out to the Board from my end to explain the situation and tell them to look for your motion. Please let me know if that works for you. ZZ From: XX Xxx, VBAWAC Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 12:06 PM To:ZZ Zzzz, VBAWASH <@va.gov> Subject: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP Hi ZZ, I am hoping you can help me out with this situation. My client Michael YYYyyy (abcd) had claims for sleep apnea, depression, and increased rating for TBI that were at the Board (activated) and were already with the judge and his staff attorney ready to be adjudicated when all of a sudden the claims were pulled from the Board and placed into RAMP. We elected Mr. YYYyyy’s claim for TDIU into RAMP but that was the only claim that was eligible for RAMP since the others were already activated at the Board. However, it appears that despite being ineligible for RAMP the other appeals were put into RAMP anyway. Now rather than being with the judge waiting for a decision Mr. YYYyyy’s claims for sleep apnea, depression, and TBI are no longer at the Board. Will you please have someone look into this and reactivate the claims at the Board so that we can get a final decision? Here are a few important pieces of information that I have been given from the Board concerning this matter: The claims for TBI rating and service connection for depression went to Judge Kxxxxzz on September 18, 2018. There were then assigned to staff attorney In on the same day. They were pulled from the Board and placed into RAMP on September 24, 2018. The claim for service connection of sleep apnea went to Judge Tyyynnnxx on September 18, 2018. The claim then went to staff attorney P on September 20, 2018. It was pulled from the Board and into RAMP on September 24, 2018. Thank you so much! XX Xxxx Attorney at Law
  6. IF YOU ARE CURRENTLY IN LEGACY APPEALS PROCESS,... THEN PAY ATTENTION! My legacy appeals were actually AT the BVA and being handed out to judges. This new "RAMP" thing erroneously "PULLED THEM" from the BVA! My FORM-9 was filed 2-1/2yr ago! This could be YOU, so pay attention to what is happening to ALL of your appeals! IMO, this "RAMP" thing is way too new to be trusted. I already have a corncob where I don't want it, and I am NOT smiling about a Dxxxxxmn thing! HorizontalMike _________________________________________________________ From: XX Xxxx Sent: Wednesday, December 05, 2018 11:49 AM To: ME Subject: FW: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP I never received a response to my initial inquiry so I had to escalate my issue up further. I just received a response last night. See below. XX Xxxx Attorney at Law From: ZZ Zzzz, VBAWASH Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2018 10:54 PM To: XX Xxx, VBAWAC Subject: RE: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP Hi XX, I am really sorry this happened. Actually, the issues were still properly before the Board, but the RAMP processing station erroneously included all issues within the initial RAMP letter that was sent. After that, the Board updated the database to place all issues in RAMP, thinking that the letter was correct. Instead they should have adjudicated the issues and notified the AMO of the error in the letter so we could instruct the RAMP processing site to send a corrective letter. I would recommend filing an NOD with the Board as well as a motion to advance on the Board’s docket due to administrative error. I will also reach out to the Board from my end to explain the situation and tell them to look for your motion. Please let me know if that works for you. ZZ From: XX Xxx, VBAWAC Sent: Tuesday, November 27, 2018 12:06 PM To:ZZ Zzzz, VBAWASH <@va.gov> Subject: Claim improperly pulled from BVA and placed into RAMP Hi ZZ, I am hoping you can help me out with this situation. My client Michael YYYyyy (abcd) had claims for sleep apnea, depression, and increased rating for TBI that were at the Board (activated) and were already with the judge and his staff attorney ready to be adjudicated when all of a sudden the claims were pulled from the Board and placed into RAMP. We elected Mr. YYYyyy’s claim for TDIU into RAMP but that was the only claim that was eligible for RAMP since the others were already activated at the Board. However, it appears that despite being ineligible for RAMP the other appeals were put into RAMP anyway. Now rather than being with the judge waiting for a decision Mr. YYYyyy’s claims for sleep apnea, depression, and TBI are no longer at the Board. Will you please have someone look into this and reactivate the claims at the Board so that we can get a final decision? Here are a few important pieces of information that I have been given from the Board concerning this matter: The claims for TBI rating and service connection for depression went to Judge Kxxxxzz on September 18, 2018. There were then assigned to staff attorney In on the same day. They were pulled from the Board and placed into RAMP on September 24, 2018. The claim for service connection of sleep apnea went to Judge Tyyynnnxx on September 18, 2018. The claim then went to staff attorney P on September 20, 2018. It was pulled from the Board and into RAMP on September 24, 2018. Thank you so much! XX Xxxx Attorney at Law
  7. PING! I still want someone to answer the OP question, because it sure appears to me that the ROs are gerrymandering any and all excuses to undermine the definition of what it means to have your BVA Appeal "Activated" at the BVA. Geez, mine had been there for over two years and the ROs STILL claim that they could/can/did withdraw my legacy BVA appeals, with docket numbers, and "merge" them into RAMP. Surely I am NOT the only one seeing what is happening here...
  8. BOTH, got new C&P that stated "as likely as not" but the RAMP folks quit with the OLD C&Ps and denied everything! Geez, they even replaced the original DRO with a new one that HAD NOT been in the original DRO meeting. They did NOT record that meeting, BUT I DID. +6yr and counting...... IMO, this HOLE (and NO I did not misspell) RAMP thing is just another iteration of the VA Denial Machine. They stop when they can find ANYthing that works for them, and then they IGNORE other existing pertinent information in the record that would grant the claim/appeal. Smoke & Mirrors... and nothing more. Sad, very sad...
  9. After the above, I contacted the BVA DIRECTLY through the ask the the BVA a question with my BVA Docket Numbers. Well, the Board of Veterans Appeals has failed to respond. Instead, a Regional Office of VA responds and claims they "merged", my already activated legacy BVA appeals,into the only recent appeal that was "RAMPED" (for TDIU retro date). My council is and has been also failing to respond as to why this is. After all, the lawyer thought and believed that the RAMP inclusion and exclusion parameters were in fact true. I guess that this whole BS about RAMP has been rigged from the beginning, to be nothing more than a "DENIAL MACHINE" and they don't even follow their own rules/regulations. https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/3076 Rapid Appeals Modernization Program (RAMP) Who is eligible for RAMP Published 05/14/2018 09:12 AM | Updated 05/14/2018 09:42 AM Who is eligible for RAMP? Appellants who have a disability compensation appeal pending in one of the following stages at the time of election are eligible for RAMP: - Notice of Disagreement (NOD) - Form 9 - Certified to Board (not activated) - Remand Compensation appeals certified to the Board and "activated" through formal placement on the docket are excluded and will remain pending in the current appeals process. If you elect to participate in RAMP, VA will process all eligible appeals under the review lane you select. As of April 2, 2018, Veterans are no longer required to receive an invitation to participate in RAMP. VA will accept a RAMP Opt-in Election from any Veteran that meets the eligibility requirements noted above. _______ By Mail:Board of Veterans’ Appeals P.O. Box 27063 Washington, DC 20038 By Fax:(202) 495-6803 By Email:For a status report on your appeal before the Board, click Ask a Question. In your email, please be sure to include your name, file number, and specific request. PLEASE NOTE that we respond to emails in the order in which they are received. We may request additional information to verify identity in order to protect the privacy of our Veterans.
  10. FORM 9 filed May, 10, 2016... Received at least two docket numbers from that date (16xxxx and 16xxxx) ..."When the case is received at the Board, the appeal is activated or reactivated and formally placed on the Board’s docket..." (according to the BVA Report of the Chairman of 2011) And then... Lucky Lawyer filed a more recent Oct 2017 FORM 9 opted for a RAMP decision on this one alone , since all other appeals had docket numbers and were already "at the Board". Then my local Houston RO errantly sends us a notice that ALL appeals have been combined into RAMP, and that all my appeals at the Board have been withdrawn (acting as if they/RO was unaware that my docketed appeals were actually AT the Board. Vets.gov and eBenefits gets posted as everything COMPLETE and denied. Lucky Lawyer gets that corrected for about a month... Then, this crap happens again. An RO, this time in Winston Salem NC, sends a Rating Decision Letter denying all appeals, even the retro date of the original claim of 2012. And AGAIN Vets.gov and eBenefits gets posted as everything COMPLETE and I have zero access to WTH is going on. Lucky Lawyer emailed me that he would look into this nearly a full month ago: "...I believe this is just an RO trick. It seems that whoever processed the decision at the RO probably has just marked everything as complete. That should change as the decision goes through the quality review process once the quality review team realizes that your appeal is active at the board. Again, the RO there is no reason for the RO to have issued a decision so I am perplexed as to why it did. I have a hearing on Monday and Tuesday but I will see what information I can find out. .......... Talk to you soon,... Lucky Lawyer..." I have not heard from council since, even though I am/have and are trying to contact same. IMO, though I don't know for sure, my council may have made the mistake of opting the last/recent appeal into RAMP and thus causing the above meltdown. I am not really angry about this , HOWEVER, I need to know what steps have been or are being taken to correct this mess. BTW, my claim and appeals are now over 6 years old and counting. And CURRENTLY posted on va.gov: "...Compensation appeals certified to the Board and "activated" through formal placement on the docket are excluded and will remain pending in the current appeals process..." https://iris.custhelp.va.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/3076 According to everything I can find, even from va.gov, the above crap should NOT be happening! Am I missing something here?
  11. PING.... Again, still wondering what this RAMP criteria means... What does it mean your appeal was activated by the board?
  12. All I know is that I JUST received (as in today 10-26-2018) a RO denial of my ALREADY FORWARDED TO BVA in Washington DC appeal, that was/is a total denial. And that is even against the friggin' LAW! Got denied for MDD connected to TBI even though the VA's own regulations mandate it.... §3.310—Disabilities that are proximately due to, or aggravated by service-connected disease or injury (D), (1), (IV)……….. Geez, just don't let me die before I correct these blatant A-Holes! And I am already +6yr into this appeal! I swear!..... 8-(
  13. Boy isn't THAT the truth. At every MH appointment with my VA Psychiatrist I consistently bring up my TBI/MDD induced "lack of motivation" or my need to "increase my motivation." NONE of that gets into my VA NOTES medical record. Just as if it never occurred/occurs... And, about +3yr ago, after my sleep study showed my sleep apnea at a +10/hr level, the VA Clinic noted that I "...was offered..." a CPAP machine. And as I NOW understand more about how the VA is trying to eliminate SC'd sleep apnea, they are apparently requiring a formal diagnosis that a CPAP "...is required..." and does not accept that it was "offered." As my +6yr disability claim and related appeals marches on, ever so slowly...
  14. I agree wholeheartedly! I earned three college degrees (that included a PhD from Texas ATM), and I got 100% TDIU P&T on the first attempt. Granted, I had +150 pages of the +35yr of past work related demotions, firings, assessments, etc. Once I became unemployable, I HAD ALREADY EARNED MY PHD. I am NOT bragging about this, just pointing out that TDIU ratings are based on the highest education/training/qualifications that the veteran has earned before/when applying for TDIU. In other words,... I was NOT forced to look for nor accept a burger flipping job as "gainful employment". IMO, this is a point worth remembering.
  15. OK, I'll see ya' that and raise you Major depressive disorder (SCT 370143000) Geez, I'll even add in History of traumatic brain injury (SCT 88611000119100) ... Ain't it phunn' guestin' what it means when the VA's mission is CONfound and CON-phuuuuzzz...? BTW, 6-years into the "system" and just getting acclimated to the environment...
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