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anxiousinMD's Achievements


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  1. Just providing an update: I got BBE which stated PTSD increase and IU request rolled up into my current appeal regarding those issues, awarded IBS (secondary to PTSD) at 30%, lumbar strain deferred, current total rating up from 80 to 90%. Ebennies stayed in GOE until this week, status changed from GOE to PDA back to PFD within a couple days this week. So woohoo, it’s the end of the month and we’re moving again. Ebennies updates: Now I’m back to Prep for Decision from Pending Decision Approval on ebennies, I know common. I’m ok with making sure the ducks are in a row, and a few days of back and forth that could save a few years in appeal are much appreciated. Now on disabilities claimed, TDIU has disappeared (expected, probably because it got rolled up into the appeal) but PTSD (INC) changed to PTSD (NEW), rather than just disappearing like my IU claim. BTW, my NODs remain sitting untouched since submitted last Feb with no status available or change, just confirmation of receipt, also expected (Thanks Hadit for tempering and helping with expectation management, truly helps with the anxiety). Wondering: Why wouldn’t PTSD just disappear too along with IU if they are deferred to appeal? Why the new claim? I can’t imagine they’re sending me to ANOTHER PTSD C&P when I just had one for this claim in Dec, which I assumed at the time was for the increase? Again, I don’t understand why they would even send me if they’re just deferring me? But GLAD they’re working on it. Could It Be: Since my rater folks seem so diligent in submitting me for the lumbar strain increase without me having to ask them, could it be that they are putting in a new claim for PTSD (perhaps as a reconsideration...I’m told by VSO that goes on the same claim form) and that’s what that PTSD C&P was for? I don’t quite understand the reconsideration thing as it applies to my claim, I thought since I put in a NOD that was the long road I took (DRO review) instead of reconsideration, and it was an either/or thing. If somebody wants to look at it while they’re working and say, hey, that’s obviously not right since the date I want to assign on this new claim should be earlier than the date we denied before, let’s fix this, I would be one to hope, and do whatever paperwork that needs to be done and call it a dro or nod or reconsideration or abc123. I’m paranoid that it seems like it makes too much sense and things seem to be moving accordingly, and I’m setting myself for disappointment. I’m expecting an ambush or something. Ebennies has been pretty accurate updating status with letters and disabilities, etc. pretty quickly and has been fairly accurate based on retro, letters, VA calls, etc. Anyhow, this part of the journey should be over soon one way or another. I appreciate any insight or links, as always, thank you all.
  2. Congrats! There is a light! If you have student loans don’t forget about debt forgiveness, and also the benefits for your dependents can be valuable. Also don’t forget about going after retroactive payments for property taxes in some states and student loan payments made, as well as the related benefits for your family. Hopefully you can focus on your health and well-being now!
  3. @Buck52 @Gastone thank you for the advice and wisdom. I unfortunately recently realized I will probably be dealing with the VA for life, and I too wish I had known what I know now when I thought I knew. Trying to start being proactive about my claim and take the advice and suggestions here, and it’s been working. At least to help relieve the anxiety. If my claim ends up favorable I’ll have to find another hobby other than checking ebenefits (and hunting misplaced things).
  4. Hello and TYIA for any responses and for reading my long post. BLUF: I would appreciate some insight or just plain ol speculatin on why the VA raters would submit me for a lumbar strain increase (that I didn’t submit for) while working on my current claim? Also, are secondary conditions disqualified in the 60% calculation for SMC Housebound? I know it says the 60% must be separate from the 100% condition, but how does this work if I’m on IU, with secondary conditions? I’m probably overthinking at 4am but why would they submit me for an increase for a condition when I didn’t ask them, and the increase has no bearing on the final rating due to VA math, unless it qualifies me for SMC, or they believe I should be qualified. I’ve never raised the issue of SMC and I’m still learning about it trying to figure out my claim, and I know they are supposed to do due diligence, but that’s not my first hunch since that’s why I’m still in this process. History: I filed a claim in 2015 for PTSD increase and TDIU, was granted increase in 2016 to 70% PTSD, denied TDIU. Combined, 80% with other SC conditions. BBE/VSO said I was denied increase to 100% even though I had a nexus statement from a psychologist saying total social and occupational impairment, at least as likely as not, etc., but they said because I was still employed (I was on long term disability leave but not yet “terminated” and yes they had the relevant evidence through my employer and insurance), and my VA treating provider’s opinion took precedence who didn’t feel my symptoms quite qualified me for total of course, though he‘s a CRNP versus a psychologist and I don’t think he even knows me. I thought they were supposed to take the rating and credentials that favor the Veteran but never mind me. I also survived and was approved for Social Security and life insurance premium waivers during this period without having to appeal, with the same medical information and evidence, with the same VA SC conditions, even coming from VA docs and providers. Of course I appealed the rating and TDIU denial (they can decide) in 2016. I also submitted a new claim for secondaries to PTSD, and in my fog, with that claim an increase for PTSD and TDIU, even though I already had those on appeal. I believe I read or was told somewhere (or maybe my brain made it up) that if I submitted new evidence, the raters could look back at the effective date and could EED to the original claim if the evidence shows and close the appeal. Or, they could approve me from the date of the new claim and the appeal could deal with the stuff before that. But what they did was what they are apparently supposed to do (according to Peggy and the VSOs): defer the appeal related claims to the appeal. DOH. Current Status: Early this month my claim progressed and I was granted an increase to 30% for IBS secondary to my 70% PTSD, and since I had a pre-existing 10% for nerve condition and 20% for lumbar strain, that brought me to 90%. My claim never went to complete and I never got the BBE, ebenefits bounced around from gathering of evidence to pending decision approval within days of my last C&P (I had one for PTSD and one for IBS). I’m not sure why they would give me a C&P for PTSD if they are deferring that part of my claim to appeal as I was told. Maybe they’re just giving me a checkup because my 30 appointments and inpatient stays and shock treatments over the past year weren’t enough medical evidence. I learned of the increase bc I got a small retro and my ebenefits letters and disabilities changed within days, but the claim stayed open. I found out by calling Peggy and VSO that it’s due to an increase for my lumbar strain that someone in the rating chain put in. I do have plenty of evidence in my medical records that show my back is also crap. I got sent to a C&P for my lumbar strain and now I wait in GOE. The C&P examiner, Peggy, VSOs specifically say I was submitted for an increase for my back, not a review. BTW, in ebenefiits in the disabilities section, the PTSD increase is still open, the TDIU disappeared, the IBS is rated, and the lumbar strain doesn’t appear. Yes, I know ebenefits is unreliable and I should find something else to do, but compulsively logging into ebenefits is an activity quite similar to playing a slot machine for me. Every 1 in 10000000 logins I might get a glimmer of hope, and it keeps me going lol. I Wonder: What difference does it make if I’m rated 20% or 30% for my lumbar strain? Why would this be raised since my overall rating won’t change from 90% either way? Trust me, I AM NOT COMPLAINING AND I AM GRATEFUL, anything they do (and they have been getting faster and more Vet-friendly it seems) positive for the Veteran that saves future agony and torture is an appreciated blessing. It would help in the future in qualifying for SMC, but I don’t qualify with the math now. Just wondering if they don’t have enough to do over there, because in the future I’d probably have to get another C&P. Also, I would have to have another condition at 30% for that math to work out, and I pray nothing else worsens enough for that to happen. Does “separate” mean it can’t affect the same body system or it can’t be a secondary condition? Because with secondaries, I could potentially qualify for SMC, and therefore the VA rater would be setting me up for success. Otherwise, it just seems like extra work for them when they could close my case and get their quota numbers and help another Vet...again, not complaining but whoever is on my file seems to be thorough regardless. I know they could be doing anything over there, and I’m glad they’re working on my claim, but just for s&g I’d appreciate any guesses or suggestions, and any help clarifying the SMC Housebound math thing please. Thank you all.
  5. Well, I just read these replies after a year and how eerie and foreshadowing. I very much appreciate the suggestions and advice. I did do my homework prior to treatment, deep into the depths of Google past page 3, beyond industry propaganda, where it is now being touted as a miracle treatment safe enough to administer to pregnant women and all efforts are made to avoid the words “shock therapy” so as not to scare away potential patients. Patient or victim reviews were both positive and negative, but my condition got so bad that “they” including my family all thought it was best, all things considered and tried before. Here I am after a year reading these boards with little to no memory of what I wrote and read here, and not only dealing with my existing conditions but now the trauma of recovering from what I affectionately call Swiss cheese brain. They failed to prepare my family for the part where I come home catatonic, drooling, slurring my speech and unable to add single digits or hold a fork, with only strict instructions to not be allowed to drive for 3 days after each treatment (lol...I shouldn’t be allowed to change the radio much less drive). There should be some kind of training or support class for Vets and caretakers as far as what to expect, expectation management could have been much better. The cognitive and coordination stuff obviously improved over time (although with definite residuals) because here I am typing away with a vengeance, but I’ve lost chunks of my life in terms of memory. Some things came back and some things haven’t, like I still can’t find my way around my own neighborhood, and I don’t remember many former friends and colleagues (their existence is erased), movies I’ve watched, places I’ve been, possessions I have or where I got them, etc. The neat thing is I have the same reactions to those things when I experience them again, so I’m told, so it’s nice to know I’m still me. The not so neat thing is everything else. My obsessive filing and organizing skills came in handy since I was pretty much able to find or follow paper trails and emails, so that was impressive. But otherwise, it’s been emotionally traumatizing and exhausting for me and my family to say the least, and for a formerly independent and proud person, it was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. The docs are happy it seems to have lifted my depression enough to save my life (?), but now we are dealing with PTSD and neurological issues, I won’t go into this post. I don’t know that I’d do it again and have a few things to say about “informed consent,” but I know that I will try to do everything I can to avoid having to do it again.
  6. @Gastone that's what I'd like to do...talk to other vets who had it done at the VA. When I had an impatient stay there was another patient that mentioned having it done, but she didn't seem to be in any better shape than me so I'm not sure how great it worked.
  7. So I waited the 7-10 days to call Peggy bc I still haven't received my BBE for my case that completed and closed Jan 4. The surprising thing was they were willing to fax it to me, I have an online fax number so it just goes to my account and I download it. That was a pleasant surprise, since I've read about folks waiting for months. The bad news was that they denied TDIU and my dependency claim. They stated that I didn't complete the application for dependents so it was denied until I provide all of the information (nice to find out 6 months later). Thing is, I completed it online and filled out all the required portions to move on in the application. Thanks ebenefits. So is the dependency portion a matter of just sending in the requested information they said I left out or is that a separate NOD? For the TDIU, my letter states: Entitlement to Individual Unemployability has been denied because you have not been found unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service connected disabilities. (Is this standard language when IU is denied? It's unspecific...) Information received from your employer revealed you were on short term disability leave and are now on long term disability leave. There is no ending date of employment. Based on this information, it appears you are considered employed, but on disability leave, such as FMLA. ******** There's no other reasoning listed, but it does show all of my evidence listed. I'm so confused on the second part...yes I have been on disability leave since June 2015 and it transitioned to long term disability in Oct 2015. I sent them all of that FMLA paperwork that shows my short term and long term disability dates. I am still technically with my employer because they cover the LTD insurance, and they haven't fired me since I suppose they fear a lawsuit. But I haven't been working since June 2015 and I sent proof of how my disabilities were affecting my employment prior to going on disability leave as well. I can't go back to that job unless my doctors sign a return to work fitness form which they won't do, I'm pretty sure. My doc just submitted me for a consult for ECT which is reserved for severe, treatment resistant issues. Either way, I've heard of folks getting approved for TDIU while working because it was marginal, or being employed part time. Even if I am technically employed on paper, I obviously haven't worked! Do I file a NOD? Is this a CUE? I'm at a loss... Note: all reference to disabilities are SC
  8. @Gastone ECT is electroconvulsive therapy, I guess better known as electro shock treatment. I think the consult is to see if I'm a good candidate, not sure what makes me a good candidate but I'd like to not be one.
  9. My VA shrink put me in for a consult for ECT. I'm pretty stressed about it and terrified. I've done the googling about it and saw that all the professional orgs say it's improved, safe, and successful...but there's always the horror stories. Also I read it's not permanent. I was wondering if any of you have experienced ECT administered by the VA? I go next week to the consult, if I don't reschedule it again. I'm torn between desperate to feel my normal self and terrified to lose something I didn't sign up for (ECT is known to cause memory loss, supposedly it comes back). I'm guessing they will keep me inpatient for the treatments. I cancelled the first time because I was afraid they would baker act me to force the treatments on me. Maybe that's paranoid but this is all scary to me. Maybe someone here has had a positive experience?
  10. Update: My claim status went to prep for notification on Friday, Dec 30 and this morning it disappeared and moved to historical claims as completed. Nothing has changed, disabilities and AB8 letter are still exactly the same. I would assume this means my claim for TDIU was denied, however I also had a dependent claim added in which also closed at the same time (opened as a separate claim when my daughters started college, but the system automatically rolled it into my then open claim)...I would think that at least there would be the addition of my dependents, which should be more administrative than speculative, and added to the award on my AB8 letter? Or will the letter just show the base rate? Or maybe I got denied for that too (under what circumstances would I be denied for ALL 3 of my full time college dependents, all under 20 years old, all my kids)? I know many get to see their updates in their AB8 before they get the BBE or retro, it seems most who don't see the change in ebenefits are denied? Oddly today I am not having a meltdown but almost a sense of relief, even if denied, at least I'm not in purgatory and can take the next steps for appeal or whatever, thanks very much to you all here for helping me maintain some kind of perspective and plan. Tomorrow may be different though, but I'll take that small victory in sanity for the moment. Telling myself to wait for BBE...I wonder if I could submit my ebenefits activity history as evidence for anxiety/OCD
  11. My VA doc puts my GAF in his notes, we never discuss it, but it shows up in my blue button records download.
  12. Update: my status changed back to pending decision approval yesterday, so it looks like they're working during the holidays. The estimated completion date is now Jan 3-9. I can only hope all the back and forth is to make sure the i's are dotted for an approval rather than correcting typos for a denial. I guess I feel a denial coming.
  13. @smoothc100 Hi, no I don't work for the federal government, but yes my LTD company made me file for SSDI which I'm in the reconsideration phase now since I was denied the first round. From what I understand about the approval statistics, I expect to be denied again and take it to appeal board.
  14. Thanks for the supportive comments and advice @Berta @Buck52 and @broncovet, you guys really help keep me grounded. I hope everyone is having a happy holiday. On Friday my claim moved from Pending Decision Approval back to Prep for Decision with estimated completion moved out to Feb-Mar, so I suppose I got what I asked for.
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