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First Class Petty Officer
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81 Excellent

About HorizontalMike

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    E-5 Petty Officer 2nd Class

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  • Interests
    100% TDIU Dec 2015

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  • Service Connected Disability
  • Branch of Service

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  1. HorizontalMike

    Newbie question...

    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...
  2. HorizontalMike

    College Degree Myth

    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.
  3. 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...
  4. Everything Broncovet says is +10 on this issue. Especially about how attorneys find little but important things that the veteran never thinks of, that are good for the veteran's case. During my first DRO appeal, which I taped, the DRO insisted that we(my attorney and I) must file a new FORM #8940 (that was NOT required at the time and was just being introduced into the VA system) that form was a "request" for an "increase" and NOT part of the APPEAL. My appeal was then processed as a "new claim" incorrectly. This is what my attorney (same firm as Broncovet) explained to me back in 2015: "...The IU claim should be processed as an appeal. The reason it is showing as a “new” claim is because the VA now requires a form 8940 to be submitted before the DRO can decide a IU claim. What makes things confusing for the Regional Office is that the form 8940 is used to initiate a new claim for IU so many times it is logged as a “new” claim even though it is just a formality for consideration of the issue on appeal. This issue was brought up at our hearing and in our written arguments to the DRO so I don’t think it should be confused for a new claim. However, in the past with other claims at the Houston RO, we have seen the appeal get processed by one DRO and the IU claim (also on appeal) get processed by a different DRO. It doesn’t make any sense to me as to why they would do that but it’s the VA so most things they do don’t make sense to people like you and I..." And THAT was exactly what happened, our DRO appeal was treated as a "new" claim and only backdated to the most recent C&P date, for retro-compensation. And that is why we are now at the BVA with out TDIU retro and SC for other appeals. It should have been backdated an additional ~30month$ in retro. Never put anything past the RO, and particularly the Houston RO. I recently got an incorrect RAMP letter withdrawing my BVA appeals FROM THE RO! The RO had already certified and activated my appeal to the BVA and the RO is out of the hierarchy if and until a remand. This was the second time the RO has tried this stunt! Ridiculous but true, so watch out for all actions and pay attention to where they are actually coming from.
  5. IMO, don't let the VA bastards win! Stay focused as best you can, and if you have not lawyered up yet, then do so IMO. They can help maintain your sanity, knowing that lawyers take this crap in a different manner/mindset and are better prepared to react to such "attacks". If I ever get asked those questions in the future, I will just respond that THAT ANSWER is in my medical record... Didn't you(C&P examiner) read my medical record?! Why not?! ETC...
  6. Please don't be TOO complacent with your attorney. The OP received some compensation from that very same attorney, but dropped him on further appeals going forward. And I TOO have been with the same law firm as you for over +4yr so far, on my multiple issue appeal(claim is +6yr old now). That said, while we all know attorneys are busy, they don't always catch all/everything on their own. Hadit helps, but even that/this is no end-all. Pay attention to what ever details are available to you, and monitor those details. If something is not right/correct, then point it out to your attorney. After all, this same law firm is, or will be, getting/earning over +5-figure$ from my appeals and maybe more if they stick with it for/through SMCs. PM the OP if you want more details of the OP's journey with same(that is why I am now somewhat skeptical). Keep your eyes wide open, IMO.
  7. That does not actually stop them from marking online, that a development/decision/proposal "was sent". Best to check online with eBenefits and Vets.gov, and if you have already hired a lawyer have them check. And yes, IMO you should consider hiring an attorney at this point.
  8. BTW, this is NOT the first time that the Houston Regional Office (RO) has tried to "rule" on appeals that they, the RO, had already forwarded to the BVA. And this RO does this WITHOUT even going to/through a VA Law Judge! Anyway, I sure hate it when these RO antics are entered into my records, and later referred to as "fact" after the fact. At this point IMO, Ramp is just another avenue to RO misbehavior and appeal denial. Your opinion may vary...
  9. Boy, I sure don't know/understand what the BVA is trying to do to me regarding RAMP. Three of my appeals are already at the board, dated May 2016. I am going to try and put these attachments in order, and make sense of them at bottom of page... I hope... A-XXX, What Happened? Last month you had assured me that “…Since your appeal for the effective date of your IU is a newer appeal (Form 9 filed in Oct 2017 vs. May 2016 like the other 3 appeals), we opted that issue into the RAMP program (the other 3 appeals don’t qualify since they are already activated at the Board…” HUH? And the attached “decision” says that we opted for the “higher level Review”, and the way I understand HLR, is that we can no longer add information to our appeal?! What about IMOs and such? PLEASE ADVISE! Michael ------------------------------ Michael I recall what I said last month and it remains true. The only issue in RAMP is the earlier effective date for IU. The letter below is in error. In fact, I just checked the Board’s database and confirmed that TBI, depression, and sleep apnea are all still active at the Board and no in RAMP. I will contact the RO and have them send out a corrected notice letter regarding the RAMP issue on appeal. A L, Attorney at Law _______________________ V...NOTE BELOW...V That the decision date is Aug 30, 2018, AFTER my earlier appeals were locked in. Well... it looks like the BVA is, or did, try to WITHDRAW all my earlier Legacy Appeals. Note that they are ALREADY being distributed to the BVA Judges! IMO, the VA/VBA is still not following their own rules! Are they going to argue semantics be tween "to" and "thru"...?
  10. Boy I agree with you Buck! My C-File dates from the early 1970s when everything was hard copy. BTW, the best part about those hand written hard copies is that when YOU scan them in with your home scanner you can take them into Photoshop or some other photo editor and play with the exposure and contrast levels and bring up what was next to invisible. Lowering the contrast is very helpful.
  11. Now that we're into September, I'm at 72-monrhs (6yr) on my original claim date, and I feel your anxiety for sure. FWIW, I am getting the impression of RAMP procedures as something like this... Vets in RAMP will get a decision very quickly, but it appears that being notified of a decision to make a decision, is just one more method/way to string the appeals process out longer and longer. Kind of like punching the "walk light" button (decision #1), and then trying to determine if cross-traffic will prolong the "wait" time before the walk "light turns green" (decision #2). And then while the green walk light is illuminated green, trying to determine if cars turning right on red will actually let reach the other side before the walk light turns red (decision #3) and then the cycle begins again (decision #4 and then again turns into #1). Rinse and repeat until the vet(s) drop out due to attrition/death. In my case, the authorizing step was claimed by the BVA actually to be a decision just to ALLOW them (BVA) to then to actually make a another decision based on the evidence. Who knows what that "next" decision will be...move my appeal from pile "A" to pile "B"? BTW, logging onto Vets.gov, it appear that my earlier legacy appeals have been moved into RAMP. The only appeal supposed to move into RAMP was the Oct 2017 (FORM#9) and the other appeals dated (FORM#9 May 2016) were to remain in legacy appeal mode. And currently appeals dating to June 2016 are now being distributed to BVA judges. Am I being screwed by this RAMP unilateral decision or what? LIKE I CAN BELIEVE ANY OF THE BELOW. BLOW THROUGH ~83,000 CASES IN 2-4 WEEKS? ...'shore...ju-betcha..." Status of Your Claim Preparation for Decision Submitted: 05/23/2018 (Appeal) Estimated Completion: 09/20/2018 - 10/18/2018 Estimated Completion Info Tooltip with additional information Disabilities Claimed: EFFECTIVE DATE FOR IU (Reopen), SERVICE CONNECTION FOR DEPRESSION (Reopen), INCREASE FOR RESIDUALS OF TBI (Increase), SERVICE CONNECTION FOR SLEEP APNEA (Reopen) Representative for VA Claims: ADAM R LUCK Current Status: Preparation for Decision urrent Status Info Tooltip with additional i How long until a judge is ready for your appeal? The Board of Veterans’ Appeals reviews cases in the order they are received. When you completed a VA Form 9 in May 2016, your appeal was added to the Board’s docket, securing your spot in line. The Board is currently reviewing appeals from June 2016 or older. Your appeal is eligible to be sent to a judge when it is ready for their review. 82,913 Appeals ahead of you You are here Front of docket line 195,418 total appeals on the docket
  12. Looks like another change in direction... AGAIN... Geez... semantics...
  13. Broncovet has great advice here. We are all accustomed to responding to people in our everyday lives, in a well practiced manner when asked how we are doing. The default answer always tends to be "...I''m fine..." or "...Yes, I'm having a good day..." or something to that effect. We tend to answer this/that way in order to NOT have to get into a long protracted conversation with the other person. Don't fall into that trap. Lay it all out to the C&P examiner, in detail.
  14. Welcome to HadIt! Congrats on your 100% TDIU. PTSD is considered treatable and thus does not usually rate P&T. Best of luck in getting better, and eventually being employable in the future. That said, be careful about how you seek Voc Rehab. I have seen (online) where vets on TDIU get revoked just for "attending" school or other rehab programs. Keep this in mind as you go forward, so you don't get potentially blindsided if this happens. Keep in touch with Hadit, and best of luck!
  15. Not sure that I have seen "...pending decision approval..." grouped like that before. The BVA is really black&white, they have made a decision or they have not. All of us at this level of appeals get rather anxious and we tend to try and "read" the tea leaves, attempting to predict the final outcome. I am as guilty as, or more so, at doing this and having to constantly remind myself to avoid doing exactly that. FWIW, mine no longer says "pending decision" or "estimated completion date". Mine states that a decision has been made and that I am being notified of that decision via mail. That said, I have also seen it posted that I have/had been notified, when in fact I (or my lawyer) have NOT been notified with hard copy in the mail. That is why it is very important to constantly monitor your case online through ebenefits/vets.gov frequently. That is/was part of my reasoning in hiring a lawyer as well. Attorneys also have a higher level of access to BVA records than just us veterans, and that is well worth the $$$ IMO.

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