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About AimSmall

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  1. Ive since switched lawyers to someone I can work with face-to-face and he has a lot of experience working with vets both on the SSA side and the VA side. He also actually seems to care, which surprisingly, helps immensely. So often I feel like Im fighting these battles all alone. Trying to shield my wife and kids from the stress and struggle. We filed the appeal yesterday. The judge broke so many rules it seems. He completely ignored my PTSD, that if you read my VA description of it, almost perfectly mirrors word-for-word what the SSA's Blue Book description is. Its like he just decided to completely pretend it did not exist. Tried to bring up a bunch of stuff I used to do from a few years back, out of context and also out of the time frame of my claim. Tried to say I was basically "exaggerating" my symptoms during the hearing. I was very amped up and on the verge of a damn panic attack, so I was shaking pretty bad, but I held it together. Serious business, you know? All sorts of things he put in his decision. I felt like he was questioning my integrity and character and that pissed me off the most. Hoping at least for a remand of the decision, plus, no matter what we are switching the case over to the city where I should ACTUALLY be going so hopefully I wont have to see this jackass ever again. They sent me 8 hours away for the first one, fully knowing that I moved. They sent me mail at my new address for crying out loud! So, we'll see how it all goes. The weight of this and other life issues are crushing my soul. I feel like I just walked 1000 miles with a 125lb ruck... and I still have to take the objective. I totally hear you on "why doesnt daddy work". Its a sore spot for me. Bad enough that Im always bumbling around and dragging my rear-end trying to keep up with things around here. SMC? I dont think so. I dont have 100% in any single catagory.
  2. Broncovet, I do appreciate your reply and advice. We are not frivolous by any means. Our biggest expense is of course, our mortgage. Its about 1550 a month right now with the escrow. That really cant be helped, heck, most 2 bedroom apartments go for that much where we live. For 20 percent of our income, I couldn't even rent a studio apartment. I have a wife and 4 kids. I think we are at least average on our housing expense. I did file for our tax exemptions which should knock this down to about 1300'ish a month starting in november... but for right now, it is putting the screws to us. My other bills Ive tried to keep minimal as well. Our car payment for our SUV is pretty high, but not absurd (250.00). We had to get an SUV because A: transport the whole family and B: we live in a rural area a couple miles down an unpaved road that gets pretty rough in snow and rain season. Having a reliable vehicle is a major concern here in north idaho. Our internet/phone bill is pretty high. I need to find a way to reduce this. Its 200 bucks a month combined, and our internet is terrible (running it off a verizon jetpack and the data sucks too). It was our only real option for internet where we are. The other big expense is of course, FOOD diapers and gas. We try to keep things low for all of this... but things seem to just keep going up. Seems this last year we've gotten hit left and right with expenses. Repairs, well pump, water-heater, and a bunch of other stuff. I had a saving set aside as a cushion... that got eaten alive over this past year from just everything. I dont buy much for myself. Theres 1000 things we need. Id love to buy a new pair of jeans. I cut corners every chance I get to save money. So thats about where were at. Part of my VA is recouped right now because I was drilling a lot a few years ago. It was sporadic and added up quickly. I am on a payment plan with the VA. In trying to remain productive, I really hosed myself there. I am moving into the IRR currently, my packet is being processed. From there I will likely just leave the service as I have a really hard time performing to standard these days. It was fun to pretend for a while in the USAR, but I have to leave. A 1000 bucks a month extra would be more than adequate for us. We are not big spenders and believe in being frugal when possible. I agree, Buck. Thats about what our area looks like too. A guy can about rent a 2 bedroom apartment for what our mortgage is. I think we've done fairly well on that, all things considered. Once our exemptions kick in, we'll be about where you're at right now. If our mortgage was 600 a month, I would not be having this conversation... but short of living in a tent, I dont see that being a realistic option.
  3. Hey guys. So, Im 100% P&T, combat vet. PTSD, TBI plus other various issues. 36 years old going on 106. Major memory, anger, anxiety and concentration issues, ect ect. Most of you guys know the rest.Anyway, Denied once, appealed, denied twice then waited months for my hearing. A year long pile of crap, and just saw on my online SS website that I have been denied.The Hearing:So the guy was respectful enough during the hearing, thanked me for my service and all that. I had my issues written down on a piece of paper so I wouldn't forget them. I was holding it together pretty well, shaking like a leaf (anxiety sucks) but felt I was articulate enough to get my points across. My "lawyer" said I did well and was credible. The vocational expert was on the phone, said i could have been a marksmanship instructor, rural postal delivery or document prepairer. Lawyer got her to admit that there were no jobs for me for someone who would would be "off task" so much ect.Judge finished with "for better or for worse, for what its worth, thank you for your service". Ha. Why they even had to go the "off task" route is beyond me because even my medical records fit the Blue Book PTSD descriptions to a "T". This is ludicrous. Im pretty pissed right now. I just got wind of this. I wish i could sustain gainful employment. I was in the reserves for several years, but that barely qualifies as "part time"... hell, I mostly did that to keep fooling myself into feeling kinda "normal". So here I am. Financial hardship. Looking at doing an appeal. Meanwhile, some 20-something year old gets approved who has hurt-feelings and "fybromyalgia" or some damn thing. This judge is known for being a prick though, from a local lawyer in my area and has a 35 or so % approval rating. They sent me 8 hours away, even though Spokane is less than 2 from me. The Lawyer:I used "American Disability Alliance". They were kind of hamfisted the whole time about various things. They didnt follow up with me about records (supposedly they got them all to the SSA but Im not sure) and towards the hearing date I called..... they had missed the previous 6 months of treatment records! They farmed my case out to some local lawyer, who seemed pretty decent. I felt he could have been more aggressive for me, but who knows. Lessons Learned:Not sure yet. I can tell you this sucks. All of it. Pretty pissed about the whole thing. I have a family of 5. Im in financial hardship. Guess Ill try an appeal. Trying not to lose hope.
  4. Rgr on all, Ddsr. Im going to see what i can do about this time-now. Thank you for your guidance.
  5. I see. My brain was on the fritz. I thought you said id have to enroll in the voc rehab program to get a feasability letter.
  6. Thank you DDSR. I appreciate the help. Ive never heard of this. I will dig on this for sure. Is this the only way to go about doing this? Per our private conversation, it sounds like since I am awaiting my SSDI hearing yet am Im already 100 service connected, that messing around with voc rehab could hurt me at my SSDI hearing?
  7. Ive never heard of this, how does it work? Where do I talk to one who could help me? Ddsr, great info thank you! What are the particulars on getting this done?
  8. Vsync, yes I did use the fast track. It seemed to have sped up the process a little bit. And I wouldnt be able to do this without a lawyer, no way. I see some guys have had success doing everything themselves, and that is awesome. I just cant do it. Id have better luck trying to thread a spare 240 barrel through the eye of a sewing needle.
  9. Hello All, Ive been coming to this site on and off for a couple of years, but this is my first post. Lot of knowledgeable and great people here. Thank you to all the old timers and those with experience for everything you contribute here. You do a lot for people, even though it may not be evident. Im a 36 year old 100 P&T VA for combat related PTSD, TBI and other service connected issues. Former active duty 11B B4, fought with the 101st in OIF. Left active in 2009 as I was having issues. No one was helping me, didnt understand what was wrong with me, and of course the culture of "if youre not bleeding or missing a limb, dont go to sick call", ect. So I left, joined the reserves where Ive been ever since. That door is about to close as well, as I just cant do it anymore. I did my best to try and still contribute to my nation, feel some sense of worth and continue to serve, but my issues are too great and I have to step away. Even though the Army has changed a lot, I still feel a great sense of loss of over this. But, I have a family now and must do what is best for them. That alone is difficult for me. Those of you who have the same issues as me may understand, PTSD and TBI are what I call a "perfect storm of bull____". Our hardware and software are both busted and feed off each other in ways that I myself cannot even begin to describe. Damn near ruined my life and just trying to get through the average day takes everything Ive got. I used to be a mostly-normal, fun-loving, smart and well-adjusted guy and I was good at my job. Anyway, this ain't a therapy session, but Im sure a lot of you can understand where Im coming from. My latest battle is with SSDI. Denied. Appeal denied. Now Im onto the hearing phase. Hearing is set for April 5th. I have a lawyer firm I sort of just picked out of a hat. They arent even in my locale, Im in the Northwest, they are Philadelphia or something. They are supposed to be representing me. I have a hearing in April and I havent even talked to a real lawyer yet. Im worried and scared about this whole process. It has made me extremely anxious, among other things. Its causing a lot of extra stress. Im trying to find answers on how to maximize my chances of success. What Ive gleaned so far is of course, get all VA records. I still attend treatment every month (i would go more but Its a 4 hour round trip just to see them every month). Im sure its going to be harder to get SSDI because of my age too. Not to mention, the VA does not seem the best at keeping records. Most all of my treatment has been with the standard-issue social worker therapist type and of course, the docs/nurses who prescribe me my meds. My head is swimming. I am having a hard time making sense of all this. Im scared and I could really use some guidance. I dont trust these lawyer people to do their best for me. Im hoping there is not something critical I am missing. Im not good at describing my symptoms, reflecting on my life.... let alone in court in front of a judge. Sorry such a long post, sort of hard to collect my thoughts. Thanks for any input and advice.
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