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dajoker12

Third Class Petty Officers
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dajoker12 last won the day on February 25

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About dajoker12

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  1. What the examiner gave you was what is called a positive medical opinion. That additional verbiage is generally seen when an individual files a claim for IU (individual unemployability) as that is additional criteria that an examiner can examine for and opine about; this may or may not be applicable in your case. The rater will look at the DBQ to ascertain whether or not it was filled out correctly and whether or not there are any discrepancies. There can be discrepancies with previous exams, other medical evidence whether military, VAMC or private. The rater will look at the medical opinion and determine whether or not there are any manual references that contradict it i.e. peripheral neuropathy is presumptive to agent orange, but it must have an onset and diagnosis within one year of leaving RVN (most RVN Veterans get it by claiming it secondary to DM2 which has no time limit as an AO presumptive condition.) They will then look at the rationale provided and determine whether or not it is adequate. This is what will determine whether or not something is service connected; there has to be an event in service, current diagnosis and a nexus (presumptive conditions do not need a nexus.) A rater will then look at the specified criteria (they actually have an application that does most of the work) that will determine what percentage for rating one is at.
  2. I am an honorably discharged Veteran; I was active duty Army from 1997-2001. I was in the National Guard from 2003 until 2013. I am hoping that you are able to provide some clarification concerning VA disability compensation pay and alimony/maintenance. I was in the Army National Guard and was deployed under OEF from May 2010-July 2011 and OIF from April 2005-June 2006, and that is my only active duty period of service through the National Guard. My ETS date for the Army National Guard was in November of 2013. I was married in July of 2014 and had twin children with my spouse in June of 2016. We became separated in March 2019. I filed a claim for disability compensation in September 2017 with an intent to file date of July 2017. It was rated and mostly promulgated in June 2018 with two issues still deferred. I am currently rated at 100% and I claimed my spouse, the two children from my current marriage and a child from a previous relationship. I was under the impression that the VA disability compensation pay would be figured in for purposes of child support, which I have no issue with nor would I ever contest. Conversely I was told that that same money would not be calculated for purposes of maintenance/alimony as it could not be construed as a marital asset as she was never married to me while I was in the military; due to the our marriage never overlapping with my military service (there is an 8 month gap), I was told that she would not be eligible for VA disability pay for alimony. I know that VA disability pay is not considered a marital asset, and thus cannot be split, however, it can be used for child support and alimony. I have read many conflicting articles across the internet concerning the matter. Few, if any, deal with the circumstances in which I find myself in as most deal with Veterans and disability pay/military retirement pay and/or spouses that were married to the Veteran while they were in the military. Any clarification would be greatly appreciated.
  3. Keratoconus can have multiple etiologies, generally speaking, caused by environmental reasons or genetic. You would have to investigate the environmental impacts of it, and make an argument for it, and try to get a private doctor to provide a medical opinion concurring with an environmental etiology for it to hold water. If you could show that no other family members (if you aren't adopted) don't have the same issue, or better yet, a DNA analysis, to bolster it, that would be iron clad.
  4. If your DBQ was sent for a medical opinion, that means that the DBQ was done sufficient for the purpose of the VA ie it was correctly filled out, the examiner cited that they reviewed your C File, and no in person exam will more than likely be needed unless it is later determined that the DBQ submitted was insufficient Yes, there are IT issues with a certain vendor (not saying names) and it sometimes can take four days to get a clarification request back or sometimes a month. IT issues obviously extend that issue. When somerhing is done with your claim, suspense dates are placed on them, usually 15 or 30 days for most things. Your claim pops back up in somebody’s work que after that suspense date comes around. They will then determine if the appropriate action has taken place ie the vendor examiner has finished the clarification request. If so, they will send it on to a rater if nothing else needs to be completed. If the clarification is not completed, they will follow up with the vendor and put a new suspense date on it. My advice is not to fixate in the arbitrary date in ebenefits. Do everything for your claim and submit it.Dont keep adding to it. If we need something, we will ask. Adding stuff usually just keeps delaying it even further. Once submitted, forget about it until you hear from us or a vendor.
  5. Buddy statements will help out with direct service connection. I suggest you try going for both direct, secondary and possibly aggravated service connection. If you are not too far removed from service, getting buddy statements shouldn’t be too difficult I created a post entirely to sleep apnea and ptsd / mental disorders with more detail than I put in yours. I suggest you look into it. I also uploaded several academic journal sources that can be used.
  6. I just added a couple more............ one could write up one hell of a compelling medical opinion utilizing all of those resources. I would not use all of them at once..........hold some in your back pocket for the potential of submitting "new and relevant" evidence (formerly material evidence) Association of Psychiatric Disorders and Sleep Apnea in a Large Cohort.pdf PTSD depression binge eating.pdf Sleep Disordered Breathing in Patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.pdf Sleep Disorders and Associated Medical Comorbidities in Active Duty Military Personnel.pdf SLeep Disorders in Combat-Related PTSD.pdf Sleep Disorders in US Military Personnel A High Rate of Comorbid Insomnia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea.pdf
  7. I have not seen any claims for sleep apnea secondary to PTSD medications..........it would simply be due to PTSD.......if you want to go with the angle to PTSD medications you can, however, I have not seen any claims come in like that. I have seen people claim the likes of tinnitus and GERD secondary to NSAID medication (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) i.e. ibuprofen, however, the amount that one would have to take to affect those conditions is very very high, especially for tinnitus.
  8. Understood. I would just follow all of the steps for the secondary route then. Maybe even try to get a third IMO. The younger Veterans definitely have an advantage with gathering buddy statements, especially with the prevalence of social media and it is easier to stay in touch with those with whom you served.
  9. Moderator, you might want to Pin this somewhere, as this seems to be a recurring trend. I have given out this information to others, but I will post it here so that others can find it rather than searching through the forum. First and foremost, claiming and getting sleep apnea secondary to PTSD or Mental disorder is not easy. I have personally seen more lost than won, however, it can be obtained and I myself have personally received it. If you had sleep apnea diagnosed while in active duty, it is usually a slam dunk........for the rest of those trying to get it, it could require a lot of work. I suggest trying to get it both direct and secondary service connected. It is easier to get sleep apnea as a direct service connection obviously, however, most Veterans do not get it diagnosed while in service. Best way to get that resolved is through buddy statements. I suggest getting 3-4 (I personally had 7-8) or more. Do not have them only say that they saw you snoring.......that is great and all, but that is not a symptom of sleep apnea.......it is incidental. They would need to say that they saw you gasping for air, choking, etc. Preferably roommates. If you were deployed, it would be easy to have many people saying that they saw/heard this as you would have more than likely been in an open bay setting at some point in time. You can also have your spouse write up a statement. This all needs to be during active duty periods of times and dates need to be included. M21-1 reference III.iii.2.E.2.b "Types of Evidence VA May Use To Supplement or as a Substitute for STRs" allows for buddy statements to act as STRs for medical evidence.........if they are certified "buddy" statements or affidavits.............having them written on VA Form 21-4138 solves this issue as it has the appropriate verbiage written near the bottom. Under M21-1 reference III.iii.1.B.7.a and 38 CFR 3.200, it meets the certification criteria..........problem solved. From my experience, getting all of the buddy statements needed can take longer than you originally anticipate....plan ahead. Now, for secondary criteria. Have you ever been diagnosed with alcohol abuse (it is frequently written as "ETOH")? If so, has it been attributed to your mental disorder or did it exist prior to that and is it considered willful? If you have been diagnosed with alcohol abuse, and it is attributable to your mental disorder, guess what, alcohol consumption is attributable to sleep apnea. would suggest that you start doing your own academic research. You might be able to locate peer-reviewed academic journal articles (those are the types of articles that you want to submit) through https://www.researchgate.net/. If not, another alternative is using a college database to search academic journals through. Ah, but you need to be a college student to use the database to search academic journals through. One might make an argument that you could register for classes at a local community college (you can even register online nowadays without even stepping foot on campus) and even register for "late start" classes, and have access to the aforementioned database immediately (hint hint, look in the academic journal Chest); one could easily find within a 60 minute search at least 5 appropriate and recent journal articles clearly establishing a link between specific mental disorders and sleep apnea; there is a clear link between PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, and especially schizophrenia. One might make an argument that you could simply then disenroll from the classes that you enrolled in by the date specified in order to get a full refund, thereby being charged nothing. Save the academic journal articles as pdf files, and create a work cited page (bibliography) for them in APA format (google is your friend.) You now have a choice........... Submit your claim with the buddy statements, mental health notes from a private provider, and evidence that you have and go with either a VA exam or vendor exam (whichever is given) or you can get an IME and IMO from private providers. If go the latter route, I would schedule one with a sleep specialist, why, because sleep apnea is their specialty. Pulmonologists also fall within this scope as well, though I suspect that you will have better luck finding a sleep specialist believing there to be a link between mental disorders and sleep apnea. You will get a Sleep Apnea DBQ and an IMO. Make sure that you have your C - File first as an examiner is required to have access to it and state that they have seen it on the DBQ for it to acceptable proof to the VA. I would also get one from your psychologists/psychiatrist (Make sure that they are a psychiatrist or a psychologist.....if a psychologist, they need to be PsyD or Ph.D., or under the observation of a Ph.D.). Make sure before you solicit those medical opinions, that you acquire "buddy statements" from 3-4 (or even more) people with whom you served. Roommates would be best, or people who slept in close proximity to you.........again, this is only if you believe that sleep apnea developed while you were in Active Duty service. Make sure that they are written on VA Form 21-4138. Make sure they say that they witnessed clear symptoms of sleep apnea i.e. gasping for air, choking sounds, moments where they visibly or auditorily could determine that you ceased breathing etc. Remember, you will want the sleep specialist and the psych professional to have your academic journal articles and buddy statements. Once you have all of them, solicit your medical opinions from the two aforementioned providers. Ideally, you would love for the IMOs to say that they believe that you could be both direct service connected for sleep apnea or secondary due to mental disorder, possibly even say that the mental disorder and sleep apnea aggravate one another (which there is medical evidence to support.) If you opt to go the route of getting the private IMO and IME, you will obviously submit those with your claim, and all medical records from private providers pertinent to sleep apnea and your mental health treatment, buddy statements, academic journal articles, and a nicely written statement written by yourself on a VA Form 21-4138 talking about the issue at hand and summarizing everything concisely. Mention everything that you are providing that you wont to be considered for the claim, and when the issue first manifested.
  10. Yes, any claims submitted before 2/19/2019 will be processed/developed as they previously were.
  11. First and foremost, I would go back and redact some of your responses in which it shows peoples names and contact information. I personally do not think that it is appropriate that you include that, but that is just my opinion. Second of all, I noticed that your Dx date is after your RAD date. Did you consider getting any buddy statements clearly identifying your symptoms of sleep apnea (not snoring)? 3-4 Buddy statements written on 21-4138 forms would be very helpful in proving a direct service connection to sleep apnea if in fact it did develop during your time in service and you simply did not have it diagnosed during that time frame. The primary source that the examiner enclosed is current (originally published Jan 2018), however, none of the references cited (at least that I saw), looked psychological elements. There is a clear linkage between psychosomatic elements in the body, and sleep apnea is no exception. Interestingly enough, in the third hyperlink, it did note in the academic reference that alcohol use contributes to sleep apnea. This begs the question, have you ever been diagnosed with alcohol abuse (it is frequently written as "ETOH")? If so, has it been attributed to your mental disorder or did it exist prior to that and is it considered willful? If you have been diagnosed with alcohol abuse, and it is attributable to your mental disorder, then you have clear grounds for an appeal. So, you already have an IMO from a physician. I would recommend getting two more, and here is why. I would schedule one with a sleep specialist, why, because sleep apnea is their specialty. Pulmonologists also fall within this scope as well, though I suspect that you will have better luck finding a sleep specialist believing there to be a link between mental disorders and sleep apnea. I would also get one from your psychologists/psychiatrist (Make sure that they are a psychiatrist or a psychologist.....if a psychologist, they need to be PsyD or Ph.D., or under the observation of a Ph.D.). Make sure before you solicit those medical opinions, that you acquire "buddy statements" from 3-4 (or even more) people with whom you served. Roommates would be best, or people who slept in close proximity to you.........again, this is only if you believe that sleep apnea developed while you were in Active Duty service. Make sure that they are written on VA Form 21-4138. Make sure they say that they witnessed clear symptoms of sleep apnea i.e. gasping for air, choking sounds, moments where they visibly or auditorily could determine that you ceased breathing etc. Submit the buddy statements to the VA as you get them. Once you have all of them, solicit your medical opinions from the two aforementioned providers. Ideally, you would love for the IMOs to say that they believe that you could be both direct service connected for sleep apnea or secondary due to mental disorder, possibly even say that the mental disorder and sleep apnea aggravate one another (which there is medical evidence to support.) I would suggest that you start doing your own academic research. You might be able to locate peer-reviewed academic journal articles (those are the types of articles that you want to submit) through https://www.researchgate.net/. If not, another alternative is using a college database to search academic journals through. Ah, but you need to be a college student to use the database to search academic journals through. One might make an argument that you could register for classes at a local community college (you can even register online nowadays without even stepping foot on campus) and even register for "late start" classes, and have access to the aforementioned database immediately (hint hint, look in the academic journal Chest); one could easily find within a 60 minute search at least 5 appropriate and recent journal articles clearly establishing a link between specific mental disorders and sleep apnea; there is a clear link between PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, and especially schizophrenia. One might make an argument that you could simply then disenroll from the classes that you enrolled in by the date specified in order to get a full refund, thereby being charged nothing. For the record, the reason, more than likely, that you got in so quickly is not because the VA is trying to screw you over so many people keep claiming, but rather due to the fact that many times sporadically throughout the year there is mandatory OT for certain positions at the VBA. Sometimes there is unlimited OT. Perhaps your claim fell into one of those periods. Generally speaking, when a claim moves fast it is due to the fact that the claimant has filled out all of the paperwork correctly, and there is little to no development needed (i.e. we don't need to track down service treatment records, personnel files, send out for private treatment records, clarify anything with the Veteran), exams are warranted, and it is not a complex case. Best of luck.
  12. I would strongly encourage you to not only get as many buddy statements as you can but to have all of them written on VA Form 21-4138. I would encourage you to look at M 21-1 III.iii.2.E.2.b "Types of Evidence VA May Use To Supplement or as a Substitute for STRs" (You will see that buddy statements can, in fact, be used as STRs.) I would also look at M 21-1 III.iii.1.B.7.a and 38 CFR 3.200 (requirements for certification of affidavits) Based on those references, if you submit those buddy statements on the previously specified form, they can count as STRs in the absence of your claimed contention not being in them. Don't be afraid to submit your own statement, possibly even citing the aforementioned reference numbers and the case previously cited earlier in this post by another forum member. There is strength in numbers........the higher the amount, the better, though quality should be the primary feature i.e. clear and distinct recollections of you treating the symptoms of your own hand/wrist i.e. ace bandages, ice, heating pads, etc. Statements about complaints of injuries. Dates, locations, etc. You can always put in for an increase exam for bilateral knees. Have any of the gulf war presumptive conditions affected you? You might want to research that. Have you ever actually gotten a diagnosis with either your hand or your wrist? You could potentially get a gulf war medical opinion for that as well. Has radiculopathy affected your lower right side? Many many Veterans also do not realize that carpal tunnel and wrist are not one and the same. Whatever you do, don't be silly like a lot of Veterans and put in for a tinnitus increase. Best of luck.
  13. I don't know anyone that likes denying anything. The VA isn't the body that signed this into law. I am just letting people know so they aren't wondering why they are having to re-submit a claim. But if you prefer to submit them using a 526ez only to find out later what I already told you to begin with, then by all means, feel free to do so. I don't make policy. I am here trying to help out Veterans. Per my original post, if the VSR is following proper protocol, a letter will be sent out stating that the claim needs to be filed on one of the three previously specified forms.
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