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Second Class Petty Officers
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About MarineLCpl

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    E-4 Petty Officer 3rd Class

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  1. I have zero confidence that I could function normally in a public work environment. Zero confidence in being able to complete a task within time constraints. For this reason, I would attempt “freelancing” from home via specialized circumstance in hopes of earning a little something for retirement fund contributions. I feel I’m getting nowhere in terms of clearing this up, very close to trying it. I suppose the worst thing that could happen is they call me in for c&p, which after I explain the situation, should result in them agreeing with me that what I’m doing is far from what would be considered “substantially gainful employment.” I hate this system so much for making things so unclear that countless vets have to worry every day about being homeless if they do something the VA doesn’t like. Just saddens me, this worry runs my life...a blessing and a curse, I suppose... My ratios are 70% for PTSD and 10%x2 for a bilateral knee condition.
  2. Over the past year, I have contemplated on filing for 100% P&T for PTSD. Note that my condition has been static for almost a decade. A few months back, I reentered mental health counseling and treatment via meds to see if it made a difference; it hasn’t done so thus far. At this point, I’m wondering if it’s time to bite the bullet and file. Current rating is 80% with IU. It’s still unclear to me if IU offers any sort of protection, giving reason to not press the issue. I know it’s not the easiest thing to obtain, but I’m living in constant fear of it being stripped. Based on reading other threads, it seems that P&T status grants new protections every 5 years until you hit 20. Not sure if I’m gaining any of those protections under IU. Last time I posted, many advised that I don’t “poke the bear” so to say and just continue on with the IU. My main concern with continuing the IU solely is not being able to contribute to a retirement fund. This is where P&T status works in my favor. While I’m not confident I’d earn enough income to live, I feel I could at least earn 1-3k a year to contribute to an IRA or something similar. Going off current VA regulations, this is something I could also attempt on IU, but the difference is opening myself up to countless evaluations. As P&T, I wouldn’t have such a worry according to regs. My fear is attempting to work on IU jeopardizing all.. Hoping to gain some insight on my current situation. This is more of an update post; if you look back at my previous threads, you’ll find related content. I hope everyone is having a fantastic day, and god bless. MarineLCpl
  3. I received a call back from the doc the following day and had a nice conversation. He was very understanding and commended me for being honest and setting the record straight. Told me he appreciated the heads up and it wasn’t a problem. Also mentioned that the VA will never discipline a vet for pot use, nor will it negatively impact their benefits..that they simply want to know about any substance use to make sure it doesn’t affect the treatment plan they decide on. Thanks again for the guidance, it was definitely the right call.
  4. Well said. It was a total goof on my part and I think he’ll appreciate the sentiment. But I do agree, I don’t want there to be any misconceptions, he seemed like a good doc. Hopefully he hears me out and accepts my attempt to remedy the situation. Thanks for chiming in and putting things into perspective.
  5. Hello everyone! (Mods, if there is a more appropriate sub forum for this, feel free to move it) Ive always received a great deal of help from this community, so I thought I’d ask about this current conundrum. I just had my initial meeting with a psych doc about getting back in daily meds for mental health treatment. The session went well, but there’s something that is worrying me a little. Shortly before returning to therapy, I had experimented with marijuana and CBD oils as a sleep aid. The doc asked me if I was using any drugs and I told him no(which I’m currently not). He asked if I would pass a tox screen and I said yes, and before I left the facility, I got one. While the marijuana may or may not show up, should I call him and inform of the past usage? I just don’t want him to think I’m trying to be deceitful in any way. Once I started therapy, which was about 3 weeks ago, I discontinued all use of self medication for now to see what the VA treatment brings. So I guess my question is should I wait until my next appointment to confront him about it or should I call him and fill him in just in case the tests come back pos for marijuana? I read all about the VA policy on it and know that it won’t affect my benefits, but I’m still wondering if it’s my ethical duty to inform him. Pretty sure the reason they want to know about drug history is to make sure that you’re not indulging in anything that will affect the prescriptions they put you on, but I’m not 100% clear. There’s also the fear of it going in my record, which may or may not affect me and my future care/benefits in a negative way. Thoughts?
  6. I think what is outlined in the criteria section are just common examples of total impairment. Being honest is your best shot, and if you don’t get it, file an appeal. Your opinions will be heard and you’ll have a chance to explain your case in further detail.
  7. It’s my understanding that even if they stopped IU in the future, any current recipients would be grandfathered. I’m also 70% for PTSD and would love to get to 100 someday..but scared to death of a reduction so I haven’t pursued it.
  8. But that wouldn’t apply to you. Anyone receiving the IU benefit before a change would be grandfathered. But you did the right thing by filing. Anything you believe warrants a claim should absolutely be pursued if you have the evidence to support it.
  9. Never heard of SMC’s. After looking into it, it seems I can file a claim for ED(would award smc-k). I definitely experience that and without a doubt, relate it to my current SC condition. Of course, if I file, that’ll ‘open me up for more evaluations,’ so not sure if that’s even worth pursuing according to your logic You really nailed that last part. From 2011-2016, I earned a bachelor’s degree from a reputable school. A cumulative GPA of 3.81 over the course of five years. After graduation, I had a anxiety attack directly after my first interview(over Skype nonetheless). It was very clear to me that I was not fit to join the workforce at that time. I felt like crap because I let my voc rehab rep down. I thought being educated would give me the confidence I needed to get my life back on track. Since then, I’ve only dabbled within my craft, knowing that I’ll be unable to take on most clients. Anyone I decide to work with has to be very lax, without aggressive tendencies. Someone who doesn’t critique on such a critical level, doesn’t get angry, etc. If you know anything about the music industry, it’s not the friendliest place. This leads to me only working with a handful of people a year by default. Because I’m confident I can perform at the level they’re expecting, I’m able to chip away through the workload(at my own pace, of course). I take much longer to achieve tasks than most engineers I know. But this allows me to feel useful, like I’m doing something besides the usual wallow in my misery thing. Sadly, I don’t have much hope for my future self. It really sucks and it’s hard to admit. But I refuse to just roll over and do jack shit all day. Some may say that my type of work can be done without charging, and they would be right. But that sort of thing rarely leads to anything meaningful, nor does it hold the level of respect I seek. Heck, simply being able to truthfully say I work would be huge. I get why the system is in place, just think it’s rules and regs could be improved to cater to a more complex circumstance than how it’s currently written. But what do i know..
  10. DIC aside, why wouldn’t you trust them to pay IU P&T until death? If it’s warranted, where’s the argument for that?
  11. Lol, fair enough. I apologize for being so concerned about retirement, who knows if i’ll even make it that far. This ‘5,000 a year’ I speak of is just a figure. There’s no telling if I’ll be able to make 1k, let alone 5-10. My argument was that even if it was 10, it’s not like that figure will be consistent. Could make 5 one year, 3 the next, 7 the next, etc. I just don’t see how I’d be challenged on that when I’m working around my disabilities. Now it may not be considered ‘sheltered’ by definition, but when I’m working at my own pace, at times when my condition allows, it may as well be. And it’s absolutely marginal in my opinion as there’s no guarantees of work, or continued work. There are a lot of ‘one-time things’ in the audio world, which is the field I’m knowledgeable in.
  12. At this point, I’m left weighing 80% TDIU vs 80% TDIU P&T. Some make it seem like there’s a benefit in there, others say it’s not worth getting on their radar. Let’s say I do happen to bring in 5k if earned income from home, would being P&T be advantageous in any way versus being TDIU only? If not, I may just leave it be for the time being. Just figured it’d help my case if they tried to reduce. But regs say earned income has to be above the poverty line to be a problem, so if it never reaches that point, I just don’t see how they’d have a case against me...
  13. See, this is where I’m being misunderstood. All I seek is being able to work on my own accord at my home(freelance only with no actual employer). With my conditions affecting me daily, it would be hit or miss as to how much work actually gets done. I do not see my earned income exceeding 5-10k a year and I’d be lucky to make even that. But it would allow me to contribute SOMETHING to an IRA..whether it be $5 or 5k. Im being told that attempting to do this on IU alone isn’t a good idea. So I thought I would at the very least pursue P&T status before attempting it. If they still want to evaluate me after I report any income, so be it. But at least it gives me support in that the work I’m doing is a far cry from what I consider to be ‘substantially gainful employment.’ As far as pursuing a scheduler claim, while it would be nice to not even have to worry about hassle for reported income, I’m not sure I’d be eligible for PTSD alone based on the criteria for 100% that you provided. Maybe, but can’t be sure.
  14. After reviewing all the information I’ve been provided, I think I’ll proceed with this plan of action. If something sounds off, please let me know since my condition has been static for 10 years, I’m going to file for P&T first. But before I do, I would like to do a few things that I believe will help my case. 1. Start attending mental health counseling sessions again. I’ve done this several times before, and while it was nice having someone to vent to, I saw no change in my daily life. I’m willing to give it another try to see if anything improves. If not, I’m assuming the notes taken about me will be useful in a P&T case. 2. Reach out to a civilian mental health doctor to evaluate me. Reading some other posts, things such as a letter from a private doc could help paint a clear picture of my current state of well-being. 3. Write my own statement describing my thoughts and feelings about my condition and how it’s affected me in all walks of life. Not sure if my opinion will matter much compared to that of a doctor, but couldn’t hurt, I guess. 3. After a few months of counseling, if nothing improves, apply for the P&T status. The only thing I’m unsure about is whether or not to file for an increase on the PTSD, which is currently rated at 70%. Do I wait until if and when I’m granted P&T status or do this beforehand to support a stronger case for P&T? Or if I pursue an increase to 100%, would I fall under scheduler status then and not have to even worry about the earned income? All in all, I hope to reach a point where I’m not looked down upon for trying to pursue a means to a retirement fund. My issues are static and while I’m prepared to live the rest of my life plagued by them, imho, having a greater sense of security can only benefit my state of being. I thank everyone who has chimed in to assist me on this. I’ve received nothing short of kindness on this board and for that I am grateful.
  15. I fully understand the reasoning behind that, but aren’t you worried about retirement? Or would you be comfortable surviving on your 100% benefit alone. Now you may have a spouse that can contribute to a retirement fund such as a Roth IRA, but I cannot count on this. If I contributed 200k to an IRA over the course of 35 years, I would have around 600k I believe. But I can’t contribute, so the only option i have at the moment is a traditional savings account that earns a few bucks a month...big difference obviously. Im just trying to gather the best plan of action here. After reading all the information given, I’m starting to think that I should ask for P&T status first. For some reason, I feel I would receive less hassle if I started earning 5k a year from home as P&T versus if I continued on TDIU alone. My issues have been present for 10 years, static the entire time. If I were granted P&T, there’s still a chance I’ll get flagged if I report income, but I feel that having the opportunity to explain the reasoning and circumstance, any sane person should understand. If they don’t agree, I’d lawyer up, I guess. Buck, If I understand you correctly, you’re saying that I could work on TDIU, but only on a marginal platform, or sheltered. I get this part, and how you see it as a risk. I’d pretty much be taking the same risk if I were granted P&T, but at least I’d have documentation concurring the static nature of my condition. I feel this would work in my favor if they challenged me. And even beyond that, having a lawyer break down the operation and circumstance will surely paint a clear picture that what I’m doing is NOT “substantially gainful employment.” I suppose another thing to worry about is filing for P&T in the first place. This puts me on the radar and if I know the VA, they’ll use this as an excuse for more evaluations and possible reduction proposals
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