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About NoZZZ's

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    E-3 Seaman

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  1. Thank you for the suggestions on organizing, they are very helpful!
  2. Thanks for the reply. 1) already did this last year. It took me a while to get nexus letters, so I am putting the claim together now, but have a few months to spare. 2) I do have 4 SC disabilities already, 2 at 0%, the other 2 combined to 20%. My C-File is pretty slim. My claims were pretty strait forward. I have all of my service treatment records and military records, and most of my care has been at the VA. Even the C&P exams from my previous claim are in my VA records. I imagine if I am denied any of the new claims, this will be more vital. 3) Done. I have it all in PDF format. There is a lot though. Probably about 800 pages, mostly VA records. 4) This is the part I am confused about. I have written a summary of the claim, including an intro section, in-service events section, diagnosis section, and summary of relevant records section. Do I have to put this on a form, or can I submit it like a memo? I have my name and SS# on each page of the memo. It's the "exhibit" section I don't know what to do with. Since most of my records are with the VA, do I just say the date of service and "found in VA medical records," or do I print off each single relevant record and upload it? For example..."I was diagnosed with OSA on 1/1/2012. Refer to VA Sleep clinic record dated 1/1/2012 in VA medical records." Or, do I print that specific record off and upload it as a single file. 5) I have summarized the in service events, and have referenced the relevant records. unfortunately, no in-service diagnosis. 7) i have one. probably will not be able to get any others. 10-4 9) I agree it is better than a 5000 page c-file. It is still a lot of records, though. Thanks for the advice. Organizing this mess of records seems to be the most difficult part.
  3. No worries. Perhaps I can steer it back. When filing an FDC, the instructions that I have been reading from the VA and other resources say to include relevant medical records. Does that mean all the records I have, or just the ones relevant to my current claimed issue? Also, I started uploading files to eBenefits. There doesn't seem to be any order to the uploaded documents. Won't that just be a big haystack of files?
  4. An update...I have been able to get nexus letters for the conditions I will be claiming, and have decided to apply for direct and secondary connection for OSA at the same time (the other conditions are all direct), to offer all possible scenarios. I am going to write a summary of my medical treatment and records, for each condition, including attachments of the relevant pages from my medical records (both VA and private), in hopes to walk the rater through my claim in the most strait forward way. I have about 800 pages of medical records in total, and I think that would be overwhelming for a rater to go through all of it to try to find the information related to my claim (although I do have a spreadsheet for them). I intend to upload the summaries as part of my FDC. Do I have to put them on a specific form? Or can I just submit the summary and attachments in "memo" form (these will be one PDF document for each, including attachments, hopefully under 5MB). Will the VA reject anything not on a specific form?
  5. Thanks again, everyone for the input. I am awaiting nexus letters, and will hopefully file the claim soon, as I filed the intent to file last august. In the meantime, I am still looking for medical research to support the claim, and will be organizing my claim to make it easy for the rater to go through.
  6. I requested to have Dr Anaise write an IMO for me for sleep apnea, and a few other conditions I am filing for, mainly because of the length of time since service. From reading his website, he appears to have experience and success with sleep apnea claims, which is why I had contacted him. He spoke to me on speaker phone, which made it difficult to understand him. He said that I could not secondary service connect sleep apnea to my already SC conditions, and that it was probably because I was obese (which he then added, "if you are obese"). He also said that it would not be worth the money of the IMO to service connect the cervical condition I have, since I would probably only get 10% at most (which for me, would actually make a big difference). Then he abruptly hung up the phone. The whole conversation was less then two minutes. He didn't really listen to me, nor give me a chance to discuss why I was seeking a nexus opinion for sleep apnea, or any of the other conditions I was seeking nexus for (it is only two others, not like a whole shopping list). This was just my experience of course. From reading this forum, others have had positive experiences. I can't say that I did.
  7. If you file a FDC, and then submit new evidence, the VA will just remove your claim from the FDC track and put it in the standard claims track. I'm sure there is a time limit for when you can submit the new evidence and have it included in the claim, so I wouldn't wait too long if that is the route you plan on taking.
  8. Thanks for the replies. I do think that I will have to rely on secondary connection, but I am going to propose direct anyway, since this all started when I was in. I wish I knew more about this process when I had gotten out, but there is nothing I can do about that now. When I submit my claim, I plan to also submit supporting documentation from medical journals regarding the etiology of the conditions I am experiencing, as a way to reduce a negative C&P argument, particularly related to the time since I have been off of active duty. Do the VA raters even look at stuff like this? Is it considered lay evidence, or does it have more weight since they are scholarly journals?
  9. Thanks for the reply Vync. I have already submitted an intent to file in order to preserve the date. Since then I have been gathering my records and reviewing them to make sure it is even appropriate for me to file a claim. Since doing so, I started wondering why the VSO I had used the first time had not submitted for these already. I didn't file a claim when I got off of active orders, because I was still in the reserves and didn't think I could (which I now know is wrong). I also didn't want to get kicked out of the reserves for medical reasons, so I waited until my enlistment was up to file. I do remember him saying that it would be easier to file for what I did, since I had LOD's in my file already, but I have continuity of symptoms for other conditions that arose in service and still bother me now that I think should have been filed for but were not. Now, 15 years later, I fear it will be harder to service connect, despite 15 years of VA medical records dealing with the same issues. I plan on connecting the dots in my claim as much as I can. I have a spreadsheet of all of the issues I am submitting, with date, provider location, and a summary of the visit/lab/test report. I also have a summary for each condition, including the symptoms I experience, and a timeline of Dr visits from the first onset until present. My wife will write a buddy letter as well. I do not keep in touch with anyone I was in the service with, and feel awkward trying to call out of the blue and ask for a letter about something they may not remember (I don't remember that they snored, why would they remember that I did). Which leaves the nexus letter firming up the connection between my medical history, my current diagnosis, and my military service. I can't think of anything else I can do to make this as strong as possible, but that nexus letter seems to be the vital link. I have read about Dr Bash on this forum. I have also started finding other "services" like vets4valor and va claims insider, but its hard to find reviews of those services. I would hire an attorney, but I know that is not allowed unless I have been denied already, which is what I am trying to avoid. This is becoming a part time job!
  10. Hello all, As part of submitting my claim for Allergic Rhinitis/Sinusitis, I have been reading a lot of BVA decisions. Many of those decisions will be a denial of higher than 0% at initial rating (or denial of increased rating) for allergic rhinitis that does not include "polyps," but where there are mucous retention cysts present. I did find, however, one decision where the rater analogized that polyps and mucous retention cysts have functionally the same effect: The Board nevertheless has considered whether the several mucous retention cysts present are analogous to polyps for the purposes of Diagnostic Code 6522. Given that both are growths located in the same area, and that mucous retention cysts can, in some cases, cause some of the same effects as nasal polyps, the Board finds that the Veteran's mucous retention cysts are functionally equivalent to nasal polyps, and that the Veteran is entitled to a 30 percent evaluation for allergic rhinitis. This ruling is from 2015: Citation Nr: 1540763 Decision Date: 09/22/15 This is the only example I have found like this so far. Has anyone else found this to be true as well? Thanks!
  11. Hello All, I am planning on filing a claim for sleep apnea, which was not diagnosed while I was on active duty, as well as cervical pain and Allergic Rhinitis, which were noted in STR's but not officially diagnosed until a few years later, despite continuous treatment for them by the VA. While there is some reference to sleep issues while I was deployed, and treatment records in service for the other two, I want to make my claim as strong as possible from the start. Having read through many of the posts here and elsewhere regarding the nexus to service connection, I believe I will need an IMO to connect the in service event (injury on deployment) and my current diagnosis for sleep apnea, since it was diagnosed about 9 years after I left active service. My spouse is willing to write a statement regarding the symptoms she has witnessed since I left service until my diagnosis, and I have had two sleep studies confirming a diagnosis of sleep apnea (both done at the VA, 6 years apart). I plan on trying for direct service connection (unlikely but worth a shot) as well as secondary service connection (I have other SC conditions, but only rated at 20%, to connect it to). The pulmonologist at VA said my chronic pain likely contributes to my sleep apnea, but I am guessing this is not affirmative enough language for the VA rater, which is why I plan on seeking an IMO, for all three issues I am claiming. My primary care Dr is at the VA, and tends to write in generalities, so I don't think she will be a good choice for writing the IMO/DBQ (she tells me I have to wear my CPAP or I will stop breathing or die in a car accident, but only writes in my chart that "CPAP is recommended"). I have been looking (unsuccessfully) online for doctors who specialize in providing IMO's, and have read about the ones reviewed here, but was wondering about another I keep seeing pop up in the google searches - VA Claims Insider. Seems like a one stop shop, but I have not found much information about them other than what is offered on their website and Youtube channel. Also, the idea of paying after a claim increase seems like a good option, since multiple IMO's can be expensive, but I would think this could present a conflict in the eyes of the VA, since the fee increases with the size of the award. Also, I'm not going to lie, I think it would be great to have someone go over my records and possibly identify issues that I can rightfully claim that I am just not aware of. That seems to be the service they also provide, along with IMO's. So, any guidance or reviews would be appreciated. I am pretty confident that I will need the IMO's. I just don't know where to get them without a potentially awkward first visit to a new Dr, "Hi, I know that we just met, but can you write this very detailed letter for me so I can get disability compensation. No pressure." Thanks, and thank you all for the great info on this site. P.S. - I do not intend for this to become a thread to bash one service over another, or to endorse any particular service. I would just like some honest opinions about any of the people you folks have used. The nexus letter seems to me to be the deciding factor in many of the BVA appeals I have read. Despite its importance, I have had difficulty finding solid info and advice about getting one. Also, I assume VA Claims Insider probably reads this forum, and I don't want to disparage anyone who is trying to help vets.
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