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jimbostaken

Seaman
  • Content Count

    10
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About jimbostaken

  • Rank
    E-3 Seaman
  • Birthday 06/23/1957

Contact Methods

  • MSN
    jimschwenk@msn.com

Profile Information

  • Military Rank
    E-5
  • Location
    Breinigsville, PA
  • Interests
    Motorcycle riding, camping, being in the woods, and music

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
    100%
  • Branch of Service
    USN
  • Hobby
    Camping, motorcycle riding
  1. I went over to the link and read the whole thing. As I read, my eyes got bigger and bigger. I filed for my shoulders a few years ago, I don't even recall the year but i'll go through my records and find out. The claim was denied, ruled not service connected. so I walked away. They had my medical records from active duty in the Navy, 86-93 so I figured they looked through them and didn't find anything. Recently, I filed a new claim and the examining PA at my appointment stated as soon as I walked into the room that she had been going through my record and this is absolutely service-connected. I guess it helped that I've had two surgeries on the right side since discharge and numerous injections on the left. 100% for the right shoulder, with housebound assistance awarded from 2/2015 and then at 20% effective 1-/2015. That pushed me to 100% overall, effective 2015. Happy camper. But it's obvious that somebody missed something on my first claim filed way back when. So, I came home yesterday and my C-file CD was in the mail (all 5,000 pages, LOL). I started at the bottom and worked my way up just having a look. And sure enough there in black and white was treatment for both shoulders while on active duty. Which is what I filed for maybe ten years ago and did not appeal when they decided not service-connected... Fast forward to now, and as I read the decision you linked, I began to think, hey, wait a minute... Is it possible that I have another 10 or so years of back-award coming for this? I've used the DAV over the years with widely varying results. Lately, we don't even have an NSO around Wilkes-Barre who showed up when scheduled, nor do they come to Allentown, the largest outpatient clinic in the Wilkes-Barre network. So, I've mostly filed my own claims and appeals, and will admit to not being totally vigilant about everything with a wife who passed and a job that used to take 60 hours a week. I can't do that job anymore, am self employed but still very busy. If not for your great information provided here, I would not know diddly about anything regarding the ins and outs of the process. My question is, since they had the same information when they decided the first claim, is this a CUE? Looks like I've got some homework to do, but thanks for keeping us informed.
  2. That's a very good summary of how this works.Ii received a RAMP letter some months ago, and another one a couple of months afterward. I had no idea what they were even talking about. I'm not even sure which case(s) my letters referred to. Part of my problem is that all my VA papers get filed in the order they were received in by date, so my claims are mixed up. (That's my issue to straighten out.) What galled me at the time was the continued lack of response from my NSO, weeks to return phone calls, promises to "call me back tomorrow," not showing up for scheduled hours at the clinic or the hospital, etc. I have been encouraged by the VA rep here to hold fast regarding any switching of my power of attorney during a mid-appeal. So, my questions were never answered and I have stayed in the old system. Now, I've had a couple of favorable decisions (100%, scheduled, finally), but am planning to appeal them all or in part. It's nice to know that, going on the info from the link you gave, I still have that RAMP option for at least one of my claims. The diagram is very useful, at least I now have some idea of how even the original system works, as well as RAMP. Now, to find a reliable and competent Service Officer so can keep the ball rolling and know what the heck is going on. Oh, and go back and organize my files by claim, not dates. Thanks for the info.
  3. It took a long time but I was granted an increase in the sinus-related rating, back to 20% where it was ten years ago before they snuck a reduction in when i wasn't paying attention. now, in May, my appeal for the connection of my shoulder to my Naval service was granted, 100% due to house-bound status, back to my surgery date in 2015 but only for a few months, then down to 20%. Still, it has pushed me to 100% P&T. They denied the increase in the other half of the appeal, the cervical spine issue, but I will keep going after it. Now it's gotten to the point where my left arm goes numb when I lift my head up to use my bifocals. So it goes..i'm not going after the IU for now, can't see what benefit it will get me. I need to see how any real estate dabbling can be done as "passive" before I attempt to prove IU. I already get a Widower's payment for my wife's SS account, which is better than nothing. There again, I must monitor my taxable income. I'm "almost" able to live a fairly independent lifestyle, financially, without any additional income. But I would like to keep trying to do something as long as i am able. - - still trying to figure out how they left a year + out of the 100% back award when during that time nothing happened that's on the record - increased or decreased ratings or decisions. Ready to can my Power of Attorney, I'm shopping because the service currently is non-existent. but that's another issue for another thread. Sorry I was off here for quite a while due to some personal issues, but I'm back in the saddle again. Never give up the fight if you believe you're right and entitled to compensation. Jim
  4. Yeah, me too. I'm 60 years old and don't want to screw things up. I did get SMC for ED and never asked for it. I guess that was just as a result of telling my VA doc that my back, neck, etc. made it difficult to take care of my husbandly duties, in so many words. I am just trying to get to 100% and that would ease the money crunch a lot! Again, good luck to you.
  5. I'll chime in here, too. Being stuck at 90% for a while and having trouble with even doing my desk job at the VA due to a cervcal spine issue, I resigned last April. I had already applied for several increases last year; I'm one of those 40% here, 30, 10, 20 etc. guys. Had a number of C&P exams (all favorable) and then got two letters recently: The first letter said that my shoulder (already stated svc connected by the C&P examiner in my record last summer) was now being punted back to an appeal I filed in 2015 for the same thing. That appeal looked like it was going nowhere so that's why I put it on the newer claim again. The second letter said something about the VA checking my file with Social Security. Curious, I looked at EBenefits again and now it says that they added IU to the claim "by reference" or something like that. I never asked for IU, but in one of my statements I believe I mentioned that I left my VA clerk job because of constant pain in my neck and head. I guess that's where the IU thing came from. It is confusing, being eval'd for IU when I never asked for it, and like was mentioned by someone, here I'm trying to earn some income in real estate since physically I can't do manual work or a desk job these days. I guess as long as the income is "passive" I'll be ok? So far I haven't made a penny but that will change. To date I haven't applied for SSDI. Waiting to see what the VA says. Good luck to all.
  6. In July of '15, I appealed a denial of service connection for a R shoulder condition. I submitted actual copies of a shoulder injury from my Navy medical record, along with evidence of surgeries in 200 and 2015 done by non-VA doctors. At the same time, I filed for an increase in my cervical spine condition. Of course, nothing has happened yet, but it appears that the VA has lumped the two together as one "appeal." I submitted the paperwork under the direction of my NSO. I'm sure this question has been addressed here periodically, but I'd like a fresh opinion: As time goes by, I continue to be treated, tested, injected, etc. for both of these conditions; they are getting worse and worse and the NSO is encouraging me to go for and IU claim, but I still want to try to work. Also recently lost my wife to cancer so i'm the only income anymore. I've been told that submitting additional evidence causes your claim or appeal to go back to the beginning of the process. Is this true? Also, does the VA, when they do get around to looking at my appeal, automatically go through my record and look for information pertaining to my claim? I began using the VA system exclusively last fall, so the new information should be readily at hand. Do I have to go through and pick it out and submit it to them as supporting documentation, or will they find it on their own? If I need to submit, then it goes back to my question above; am I just moving my appeal father away from being considered? Aside from that, I recently got a favorable 10% for tinnitus. I was already at 90% and the new award doesn't push me to 100, but i guess it always helps to document it. Considering a subscription - these ads are a killer and make using the site a lot more confusing to me. Thanks for all the work you do, all of you! Jim
  7. I'll try to make this short. Got divorced in 2001, forgot to take my ex-wife off my benefit until maybe 2008, which I discovered when I remarried that year. Oops. This was all corrected and I paid back the balance that they had over-paid me. Everything was adjusted and the VA resumed paying me for one wife and no children, although I never checked eBenefits. Fast forward to a couple of days ago...my dear wife who I married in '08 passed away two days ago, 8/30/16. Remembering the fiasco of a few years ago, I logged on last night to take her off my dependents list. To my surprise, there was my first wife's name, birth date, social security number, you name it, plus the name of my youngest son who is now 34 years old! I KNOW this was corrected 8 years ago and I KNOW I have been compensated for one dependent, my second wife, for the past 8 years. How can anything be this screwed up??? Decided to call the VA this morning. As I write this, I am in the black hole of being on-hold with the VA. My next idea is to email the VSO supervisor in Philly. (I had called them about an appeal and another claim I'm waiting on and it took them 2 weeks to call back. I missed the call, called back and that was 5 days ago, so no, calling them again is not on my list of most effective strategies. I've been a DAV Life Member for over 20 years.) I have a wife to bury, and i really don't need this crap right now, just wanting to be proactive instead of trying to correct something later. Is it common to be unable to do anything useful on eBenefits, besides print out letters? Update - the VA answered and took care of the matter for me. No new info on my claim or NOD status but the rep was very courteous and professional. Thanks
  8. Not sure if this will help. I was able to see all the notes and the completed C&P form from my C&P about 4 or 5 days after it was completed, by using the blue button on MyHealthEVet. Make sure you specify dates, or your'll get tons of crap to wade through. Mine was for audiology, so maybe it's different for Behavioral Health C&P's. Either way, I wanted to see what they really wrote down, not how I thought the exam went.
  9. Are we talking about a new claim for the same condition that was appealed? I might be in a different situation. I was increased from 60 to 90% in March of 2015. On 7/30/15, I appealed this due to the VA denial of SC for my right shoulder. In January, a DAV NSO told me on the phone that my appeal was "ready for decision, you can expect a ruling by mid-February." I decided to file a new claim for tinnitus (not on the original claim) this year on 6/27/15. At the time, a VA rep took my application at the local OP clinic. i asked her about the appeal, and she told me the same thing, "ready for decision," and time frame depends upon the workload. OK, Grrrrr... E benefits still has the original notice of disagreement date of 7/30/15 with no updates. In the meantime, I've had a C&P for the tinnitus and according to E benefits the expected date of completion changed last week to sometime in September. Meanwhile, no updates on the old appeal. As stated above, the appeal, has nothing in common with my new claim, but it does make me wonder what is going on. While I hope to get the tinnitus claim approved (it's getting louder, and louder), I'm kind of burned about the old appeal just languishing on some paper pile somewhere. I could use a break, my wife is down to 84 pounds with cancer and I'm still not working, although I have an offer for a job which i think I can handle, no start date. By the way, I called the DAV office in Philly ten days ago, they took my message and said someone would call. Life membership sure has its privileges, huh?
  10. (I apologize if this posts more than once, turns out I wasn't signed in the first time) I just had my C&P on 8/5. The doctor at Wilkes-Barre was very professional and courteous. She did ask me about my occupations since I left the Navy in '93, and about my hobbies. I made sure not to mention my motorcycle riding, although my bikes aren't that loud. And I really haven't been exposed to much noise as a civilian, no concerts, not hunting, nor loud stuff at work. I've had ringing in my ears since probably before I was discharged, really loud in the past few years. I talked about not being able to hear conversations in crowded rooms, and the doctor explained that this is due to my loss of high frequency hearing. There's nothing in my service medical record, and only one referral to VA audiology back on 3/2015, where the audiologist discussed ways to deal with tinnitus. I submitted a copy of my DD-214 documenting my almost 7 years as an O-Level tech on F-14 aircraft, as well as my service at sea on the flight deck, in and out of combat. I also went back and included a copy of the write-up from that VA appointment in 2015. We'll see what happens. I'm at 90% for a few other things and it would be nice to get the other 10%. I also have an appeal pending for a denial of increase, plus service connection for a shoulder condition, first documented while on active duty and two surgeries in non-VA facilities since discharge. Just trying to cover all of the bases. Yeah, I know, "Don't hold your breath." I just found this page yesterday, and I think it's a great resource as well as a place where maybe I can help someone else.
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