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El Train

First Class Petty Officer
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  • Service Connected Disability
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  1. Even though you might have all three of these (like I did) the VA can deny if you don't have continuation of care after you got out (you have to have Dr. visit records). Even though I sought continuous care (up until I filed my claim) when I got out, I did not keep these records. DR's retire or destroy records after a certain amount of time. This is what got me denied. I couldn't prove continuation of care. Hopefully you kept good records. Could I win this in an appeal? Yes, I have the means to get several Dr's opinions, but I'm 100% P&T, SMC-S. So I let them have their small victory. I still get care for my spine issues through the VA (Chiro, massage, etc.), so that helps.
  2. Did you get a copy of the C&P DBQ? I had a shoddy C&P examiner that did a 25 minute C&P and wrote up the DBQ so poorly, I wrote a written complaint to the regional VARO (I did piss her off, so I'm sure this didn't help. Don't piss them off). If you complain to the VARO, chances are they will ask for a second or third opinion (in my case). A proper TBI C&P exam should take a couple of hours. TBI is difficult to assess. I credit the VA for getting multiple C&P examiners opinions. My case may be a little different from yours, because they were trying to separate TBI symptoms from PTSD symptoms. It worked out for me in the end.
  3. One that got me; don't piss off the C&P examiner. Treat them with military kindness. Yes Ma'am/Sir, No Ma'am/Sir, thank you for your time and kindness Ma'am/Sir. Don't loose your cool. You get cocky, arrogant or pissed off, it won't go well. I promise.
  4. Twice a year. I drink military strength coffee. It stains my teeth. The cleanings keep them pearly white. The VA dental is really good.
  5. You can only have one mental health rating. You already have one. If you think it will increase it, then start discussing it with your mental health person. They will notate it. I have a mental health rating (PTSD) that states 'non combat', when my stressor is verified as combat related. This happens a lot. It keeps some veterans up at night. It won't change the rating, so don't dwell on it. I know what it is. Not like I'm going to show someone if it stated 'Combat related'.
  6. I filed an NOD for an increase within a year. I had an outside Dr. fill out an IME and DBQ scrutinizing the hell out of the previous VA C&P. When I got another C&P, I handed her the report. She was not amused that a Dr. would so harshly scrutinize her colleague. Bad move on my part (should've kept it on the lowdown and let the rater decide). She wrote up her DBQ/IME in such a way to get me reduced to zero from 50%. Stated I was an unreliable reporter (a damn liar in other words). I had to complain to the VARO. Subsequently, I had two additional C&P's that were heavily in my favor. I went from 50% to 100% when all was said and done. When I got my C-file, one of the reports had the bad C&P Dr's report as not making any sense. In other words, an unreliable reporter (a damn liar). Hopefully you don't get one of these examiners. The lesson here, don't piss off your C&P examiners.
  7. They will absolutely blame drugs or alcohol on cognitive issues you may have. They will absolutely blame your skull fracture on your TBI. The will absolutely blame your employment status as not having severe enough symptoms that cause you to be unemployable. Let's break it down. They prescribed you the drugs they are going to blame it on, for neuropathy etc. You could easily say these drugs help greatly with headaches too (I used this excuse for fibromyalgia and headaches). They accepted you in the military as being dutifully fit for service knowing you had a fractured skull and it wasn't a concern at that time (you are correct, it was aggravated by your jump accident). Your employment sounds pretty sheltered to me. Working from home with the aid of computers and such. Your supervisor (if willing), can help you establish this. My TBI issues went unnoticed until a keen Neuro Psyc. DR. probed deeper into my PTSD issues. The VA pinpointed it on PTSD. I did the legwork on getting the TBI diagnosed and linked to a bad training accident noted in my med records. Not too much different from your accident. I found Dr's and paid out of pocket to help me with my claims. The VA is not going to do it for you. They know very little about TBI. It is beyond their scope. I don't think they acknowledge it unless your missing half your skull and bedridden from an IED blast while on duty. Most TBI aren't obvious, therefore you must be fine. Look at pro football players (Aaron Hernandez, Junior Seau).
  8. If you got knocked out and it's in your records, you have a TBI claim. Once my TBI claim was established, they automatically sent me to a C&P for headaches. I got 10% without much evidence. TBI is not an easy claim. It would help if your Neurologist would link your headaches to your TBI incident. I had an MD and a Psyc. Dr. do an initial assessment for TBI to get my claim going. You are service connected for PTSD. This is fine. They did 3 different C&P's for my TBI claim and 2 additional C&P's for PTSD to try and differentiate the symptoms. I ended up with 100% PTSD and 70% TBI. They combined them for 100% PTSD with TBI. They separated headaches, and missed a couple other symptoms (eye issue and smell taste issue). But that's ok. I'm 100% P&T with SMC-S. TBI's and headaches go hand in hand. More so than PTSD in my opinion. Hit me up if you have any other questions, since I've been through the wringer with TBI/PTSD claim.
  9. Mine were combined (Even thought I claimed both separately). I believe they will go with the higher rating of the two symptoms since you have both. Kind of like my PTSD/TBI. My 100% PTSD was higher than my 70% TBI. So I got 100% combined.
  10. Or better yet, find a forensic Psychologist to look at any treatment records, support statements from your pastor, wife, supervisor at work, mental health medications, past mental health C&P's, etc. Have them submit a DBQ. It helps if they are familiar with the VA lingo. Maybe someone like a former C&P examiner (they're out there). That's the route I took. Went from 50% to 100% without a lawyer dragging it out for years. Besides, 'IF' they took your case, they're going to find this forensic Psych. DR. and do what I just suggested. Then they'll take 20 to 30% of any back pay (plus charge you for the Psych. DR. opinion). File a NOD. You have a year to gather additional evidence.
  11. I have it named PTSD, but I think it's all the same. They're may be a newer one that I'm not aware of, but this should cover the gist of it. Hopefully it opens for you. ptsd dbq.pdf
  12. It seems the VA asked more info (in letter form) on a buddy letter I submitted. They wanted his address and phone number. I wasn't comfortable giving out his info. I could tell he was a bit hesitant when I talked to him about it. We both declined. I got some things approved and others denied that involved the incident. Not sure it helped or not. In my C-file, they did question the buddy letter in the decision making part. Something like 'if they statement by Sgt. #### is to be believed'. That part of the claim got approved. The other part that got denied didn't mention any buddy letter. Personally, I probably didn't need it. The incident was in my medical record. I just thought it would help.
  13. I put in for an appeal to the BVA Dec. 7, 2020. June 8, 2021 I had the BVA make a decision on my case. I haven't received the decision yet in the mail. It's for a higher rating back paid to the early 90's. I thought this was very fast. I was expecting years. I'll keep you updated what the decide when I get their decision.
  14. How do you know it did you some good? Increases or additional claims get added? The reason I ask, I had a C&P examiner say the same thing. She said I should get the increase I was seeking. Got a hold of her C&P exam and it was a bombshell written in a way to get me decreased. I had to file a complaint with the VARO. Then the VA had me do two additional C&P's. I got the increase after these from 50% to 100%. Couldn't believe it. Hope she got relieved of doing C&P's.
  15. Make sure you go to VA dental. Get them teeth fixed up.
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