Hello everyone. I've been searching this website and yukon website for my answers and I guess I just want to ask this question again because the answers I'm seeing are from 2011 or so and I want to make sure it's still valid for 2017.
I got out of the service on medical discharge for fibromyalgia, MDD, and GAD in 2008. I was unable to tell anyone about my MST that happened prior to me developing Fibro (which I found out is usually connected to PTSD). Anyrate, since then I have talked to the VA Psychs for help and tried to "fix" myself and finally I opened up and told them about my MST and received a diagnosis of PTSD in 2013. Then in 2016 my VA Primary Care told me to reapply for benefits because she said they need to service connect me for my PTSD. I submitted my application, was honest and straight forward and very forthcoming even though I cried through my Comp and Pen exam. I have used Voc Rehab to change careers from Nuclear Electronics Technician to an Ultrasound Tech, and have worked as a tech from 2012-2014. After 2014 I quit working when my daughter was born, but also my fibromyalgia was flaring up so bad that it made it impossible to work anymore. I haven't worked since.
Voc Rehab screwed up my award and didn't close out my case so I still have benefits left over and I was approved with a severe work handicap to use my benefits to go back to school after the birth of my second child. So here I was waiting for my disability decision and studying for the GRE to apply to a Nurse Practitioner Program helping women only because I have PTSD attacks with men. I was hoping that wouldn't be as hard on me as my Ultrasound position was. Then I get the decision stating that I am 100% P&T for PTSD, and 60% combined for fibromyalgia and hearing issues from the Navy, all service connected, and I'm getting SMC for Homebound criteria being met. I called the VA directly to find out if that meant that I wasn't allowed to work anymore. (I didn't plan on going to school until 2019, and not trying to work again until 2022.) The VA rep said that I WAS allowed to work and they may evaluated me in the future for my PTSD, and 'could' lower my rating, but that the rating wouldn't be lowered if I still met the criteria for 100% PTSD, it wouldn't have anything to do with whether or not I was working. The American Legion rep said I was allowed to work as well. But then when I read these forums it says I'm not allowed to work. I know already that Voc Rehab wouldn't pay for me to do the Nurse Practitioner schooling anymore because I was having difficulties trying to get them to approve it when I had a 50% rating, and now that I'm higher I know without a doubt they wouldn't allow it, so I understand I'm not going to be a Nurse Practitioner for Women's Health anymore.
So I guess what I'm so upset about is accepting the fact that I can't work. I will have two children that I don't want to lose the education benefits for whatsoever, and everything else that's included with the 100% rating. No way in heck I want to lose that! It will sit easier with me if I get approved for SSDI. But that terrifies me too! I'm waiting for an appointment to apply in person because I'm scared I'll mess it up doing it online.
So, confirmation: I cannot work if I don't want to risk losing any benefits, correct? And what are the do's and don'ts as far as what I should do in order to keep this disability rating for the next 19 years? I think that terrifies the most, screwing up and having my rating decreased.
I know we are all stressed about this, please forgive me for this long post. And thank you all for your service and your advice. Peace and Love.