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Second Class Petty Officers
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  1. After a long battle, my Marine Vietnam Vet brother has been awarded 100% service connection for schizophrenia. The VA has denied this claim since originally filed in 1982. Even though he had schizophrenic episodes and subsequent hospitalization - it was well past his discharge date of 1971 -- thus no service connection in the eyes of the VA. (Discharged because he tripped over a grenade booby trap and was WIA, I might add). Now 48 years later, the VA has approved the claim. It has been denied at least twice, and I filed a Notice of Disagreement, and was fortunate to include an IMO from a very knowledgeable doctor who is a former C&P Examiner. No doubt this is what turned the tide. I happened to luck upon the Doctor on this HAD IT site! I also converted the processing of the NOD to the new RAMP process - instead of waiting years on end for a final decision. Thank you HAD IT and all the members here that have given me guidance through the years in getting my brother the benefits he earned!
  2. Thank you Gastone. Did you support your secondary claim with a nexus letter or just rely on C&P Examiner to confirm the connection, along with your private doctor DX ?
  3. Has anyone had any luck with claiming Sleep Apnea as secondary to Hypertension and/or Arteriosclerotic Heart Disease ? My husband has service connection for both hypertension and heart disease and now a current diagnosis and medical equipment for sleep apnea. I've read where VA has approved hypertension secondary to sleep apnea and heart disease secondary to sleep apnea, but not the other way around. If anyone has an archived VA citation in this regard, or personal experience, would greatly appreciate hearing about it. Thanks all.
  4. Update to Vietnam Vet Bro's Disability Claims -- I was successful in obtaining a medical opinion that my brother's schizophrenia was more likely than not from Vietnam War combat (WIA) from a psychologist who used to be a C&P examiner. So I filed a NOD in May, 2017 going the DRO route.
  5. UPDATE -- I have heard back from the PsyD who will be addressing the nexus letter shortly.
  6. Thank you Berta and Mike. I paid for an initial consult. So no, I didn't pay for an IME/IMO. My brother is indeed receiving compensation for scars and limited range of motion due to his grenade injuries. He is also receiving comp for Diabetes II and Coronary Artery disease from Agent Orange. The VA diagnosed schizophrenia in 1983, but denied it being service connected and denied PTSD altogether. Now, again in 2016, they denied service connection for schizophrenia - stating there was no injury in service (!) and denied PTSD altogether because there is "no current diagnosis" of PTSD. Anyone who is following my brother's saga would certainly agree that by today's standards, he had PTSD when he came back from Vietnam, with additional psychosis (suicide, hallucinations) presenting in 1978. However, you had to "get" PTSD within a year of discharge by the old VA rules at that time. So I've pretty much forgotten about trying to Disagree formally on the PTSD denial. He does not exhibit PTSD symptoms (nightmares and such) currently although medical research now says there are overlapping symptoms with schizophrenia. I'm no doctor so this argument won't stand up. Also new evidence that the blast wave from explosive devices gets into the brain and scars it - causing symptoms that are mistakenly diagnosed as PTSD when it is actually a TBI. Again, no help to me. My dilemma is I need a nexus letter from a psychologist connecting the schizophrenia to service. The deadline for NOD is fast approaching and I need to get my brother in front of a doctor and have him fill out a DBQ. I'm going to try for Dr. Bash who is relatively close to me in the DC area. If anyone out there can help with this, please please contact me. email is smccabe122@msn.com Thanks much.
  7. I made the request for the C&P exam directly to the FOIA officer in Washington DC and quoted the 60 day response time. I sent the request to other places as well. The exam was conducted by QTC -- a contractor here in the Washington DC metro area that performs exams for the VA so the exam is not available on the 'Blue Button/ My Healthevet". I engaged someone here on the HADit site for a consult / interview with my bother / IME etc --- paid for consult. I mailed all of the records to him, had a brief convo on the phone months ago and now he's not responding to any of my phone calls or emails. They bounce back and phone is disconnected and web site is blocked from any contact, and even facebook has a canned "acknowledgement" response when I send him info. Anyone have any experience with Mark D. Worthen, Psyd ? He was going to help me with service connection nexus. Very discouraged right now.
  8. PS -- @Buck52 I enumerated and explained many times to the VA in the original schizophrenia/PTSD claim that his behavior includes: Total disregard for personal hygene (does not bathe, use deodorant, launder clothing or sheets) and has not done so in decades Grossly inappropriate behavior (smearing feces on walls - ugh - sorry) Leaves gas stove burners on high to heat the apartment - very dangerous Impaired communication - cannot understand what he is saying/does not enunciate and yells his responses Has had no personal interaction/friend since he left for Vietnam. (His best friend was KIA and that's why he enlisted voluntarily) Has no phone, no computer. Didn't have a TV until my husband and I provided him with one along with cable service at our expense. No interaction with outside world unless it's at grocery store. So I'll include all of this info again with the disagreement/appeal.
  9. Yes, this is why I need a copy of the C&P examination on Schizophrenia and PTSD. They determined, and put in writing in the denial letter, that he is 50% schizophrenic - but not service related - and incompetent to manage his own VA funds. And then they question him about his symptoms (which I'm sure he denied) and take his answers at face value? They wouldn't let me attend the exam so I'm very anxious to see the Doctor's notes. VA is taking forever to give me a copy.
  10. Thanks Mike for your response. He had a mental C&P exam for PTSD and Schizophrenia last year. They diagnosed him with schizophrenia but said it was not service connected - they declined the PTSD claim as it's been so long since his trauma I guess he didn't give the right answers. (He was wounded in action - set off a grenade booby trap - still has shrapnel in his ankle and deep wounds in legs and arm). He has all the combat badges / purple heart etc. I have requested a copy of the C&P exam and have been waiting 11 months. I have a private psychologist on retainer who used to be a C&P examiner to analyze the examination document and hopefully provide some new evidence and nexus letter to disagree with the PTSD/Schizophrenia denial. He has also agreed to do a "Facetime" interview with my brother to write up a DBQ. I've been told by another psychologist that a successful Schizophrenia claim is extremely difficult to obtain. Unfortunately, back when he had his breakdown (about 7 years after Vietnam), the private doctors then didn't recognize or even use the term PTSD and his official diagnosis was Paranoid Schizophrenia. So it will be a tough nut to crack. Thanks again for your input. Really appreciate it.
  11. Thank you --- he hasn't worked since the 80's. Totally dependent on my parents until their passing - at which time I took over. He is 68. His only 'earnings' are from social security - $10,920 annually. Well below poverty line - not even enough to file taxes. I got him on Food Stamps and got him Medicaid QMB that pays his Medicare Part B premium. In addition to social security, the VA will now compensate him $18,672 annually. Btw, they deemed him incompetent to manage his affairs (schizophrenic) and just appointed me his Federal Fiduciary. Is TPIU a possibility ? Even though he's a senior citizen now ?
  12. My brother's Ischemic Heart Disease as a result of Agent Orange exposure as a Marine Rifleman in Quang Nam Province in 1969-70 was just approved - and rated at 60%. Another AO disability of Diabetes II was also approved at a 40% rating last summer. These, combined with his previous disability of scars/lack of motion from his battle wounds, gives him a total combined disability rating of 80%. I couldn't have done it without the help of HADit. I had no clue about the claims process when I started. I am still going to keep plugging away on getting a schizophrenia nexus. But I wanted to say thank you to everyone out there in the HADit community that has given me guidance. God bless you.
  13. I get your drift BroncoVet. I go to Walter Reed/Bethesda as well as my husband (retired LTC US Army) for specialty appointments they don't offer to retirees/dependents at Ft. Belvoir Hospital. Pretty nice facility - good care there. My daughter was born at the 'old' Walter Reed hospital that was pretty grungy 26 years ago. I tried to get my brother a special "Choice" private physician appointment and could not even get a call back from the VA even after I left 3 messages that it was an acute cardio problem. They definitely have issues with that program.
  14. I have got to post that a recent C&P Exam at the Washington DC VA Medical Center was absolutely delightful ! Not what I was anticipating! Took my brother in for Diabetes Type II (presumptive for Vietnam / Agent Orange Exposure) C&P exam . First the doctor called at 8 am and said he wasn't busy - come on in anytime. Waited 2 minutes in the lobby and then he allowed me to accompany my brother back. Asked a few questions and even said, "if he gets any heart issues to be sure to file another claim". Wow. Now we had just had a physical performed by his VA primary care physician a few days earlier and blood tests were back for high A1C, and his primary had noted on his VA medical record that he had Diabetes 2 so I guess this was a no-brainer for the C&P examiner and non-debatable. The appointment was less than 10 minutes. So now we wait for the disability rating. But I can say that since he was enrolled at the DC Medical Center, all of the care he has received there has been quickly scheduled / handled smoothly / and extremely thorough. Everyone we've come into contact there has been very polite and accommodating. This includes a physical, blood work, two EKG's, cardio referral, and now this C&P exam. In light of the negative reputation for VA medical - thought I would share this pleasant experience. Hope it continues.
  15. This is the same dilemma I'm facing. Requested a copy of my brother's April 2016 C&P Exam. Completion date of 2/18 - 2/19 is noted on eBenefits. Review of this exam is crucial for Notice of Disagreement and supporting evidence for PTSD/Schizophrenia service connection. Even have a psychologist waiting in the wings to critique the exam when I get it. Looks like if and when it comes, it will be well past the 1-year deadline. The VA needs to address this wait problem. Veterans are entitled to receive their service medical records expeditiously.
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