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About Merc

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    E-3 Seaman

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    Inside the house

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  • Service Connected Disability
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  1. Broken: I've ordered some new toner for my printer and it should be here next week. I also have a nice scanner that I purchase a while ago to help me with all of the paperwork that I seem to have to deal with these days. I promise I'll be posting a bunch of stuff here. I've has some Vet friends hassling me about being slow on my claims so it's time to get hot. Also, aside from helping our own situation here at home, I am hoping to gain enough knowledge to help guide my niece. Her husband, a young active duty infantryman (also invincible), suffered a burst appendix and was hospitalized for days. Apparently, his leadership did not think the pain in his guts he was actually complaining about was important. I think it went septic. Anyway, while he's since recovered somewhat, he still tells the doctor he feels fine when he is an absolute mess. All sorts of pain, meds, can't sleep, etc.. They're going to give him a medical discharge but I feel it will be the minimum that they can muster. So, I want him to have the benefit of this knowledge so that he can get what he is due and maybe the compensation portion will help them a little while they try to get adjusted to civilian life with two new babies and no jobs... Buck: That's a great idea. Never thought of that. I try to avoid going to the VA or interacting with the doctors as it's always a hassle. Last time I went the young lady who does the intake and scheduling (They're called MSA's in think), playing on her phone, was just as dismissive as the darned doctors are! I will make it a point to remember to ask more questions about meds and other related conditions. It's sort of like when I spoke with Dr. B., I mentioned that I've had rhinitis since I was in the service. I'd go to the medics and they'd give me some duravant to dry it out a bit. Nevertheless, I never slept very well, snored, never really felt rested but I was in my 20's and with an Artillery unit--- "don't be a crybaby, suck it up" - would be what the 1sg would say.... So, years later I finally get a sleep study, get diagnosed with sleep apnea, get a cpap, still have rhinitis and often still have chest congestion, constant coughing, regular sore throat... Dr. B suggests possible GERD. Never occurred to me before. I tell him I'm connected for wrist pain. It's intermittent. Sometimes gets so bad I can't hold a fork.. Have pain in my knees that come and go, fingers and toes. Scans show arthritis. Doctors say that's common. I'm in my 40's not sure how common that is. Shouldn't hurt this much at this age. Dr. B suggests that this too is an issue that needs addressed as a complete system (If I understood correctly). That sort of insight is what I was really looking for when I started contacting experts for assistance. It's just not something where I know enough to start making all of the connections. I guess hanging out here I'll have no choice but to learn!!
  2. HA! You'd think so, but frankly I sometimes I think it's more talk than anything else. Now, just to be clear, I do not begrudge any professional from earning a living- even a great living! I think the opportunity to do so is what makes this Country great. That said, I agree that it would be nice to not have to fight with your provider. Or to pay an arm and a leg for an outside provider to take some time and help out a Vet. We use the VA exclusively (probably a mistake, but it's what we can afford right now) - If I ask for even something as basic as a signature for a parking placard, they look at me like I've asked for the secret code to the vault! It's crazy. The primary reason we'd kinda given up on this mess was that every time we go to the doctors they treat us like we're somehow trying to get over, trying to get something that is not due... It burns me up just writing this.
  3. Yes! I've been using that as I read your posts. There are still a few technical acronyms I am not sure of, but I still get the gist of your posts. Thanks. Right now it's just a matter of getting my ducks in order and making a list of things I need to accomplish so that I can set these cases up properly. Right now I have a mess of files, random VA denials, past issues and confusion with ebenefits, etc. So, in a nutshell this is what I have so far: Me- Army medical records (not too much there as I was young and invincible- paying for it years later lol), VA treatment records, c-file, denials Her- Army medical records, a few private doctor records, VA treatment records, denials, no c-file (ordered them along with mine and they sent me 2 copies of mine!) Reached out to VA FOIA still no reply. Contacted local congressman as well. Hope this will help to move things along. What I do not have: dbq's, nexus letters, lay witness statements, IMO, IME Additionally, after speak with Dr. B, he seemed to feel that there were various issues we both had that could probably be interconnected. Some that I had never before even considered. So, I think it's worth exploring and trying to flesh out as well. So, I guess the first thing I need to do is get my denials reviewed. I'll post up as soon as I can. In the interim, I think I need to sort through my stuff and make sure it's all there in an easy to read/find format. Most everything is scanned but I want to make sure as there are several duplicates. Then, I guess I will need to formulate a list of steps in order to stay on track. Right now it feels like I've got a jigsaw puzzle and a bunch of pieces but not all of them and no box cover to give me an idea of what the complete picture (packet) looks like.
  4. Ms. Berta: My scan will be delayed. The denials have identifying info on EACH page so I need to print and redact. I've ordered some new toner for my printer. I should be in business sometime next week. In the meantime, just trying to collect my thoughts and find a starting point for all of this. Since I'm working both of our claims, I want to keep it all separate so it's easier to follow. I suppose I can start different threads in order to keep it all organized. Still waiting to have my "probationary period" removed by the moderators so that I can respond more quickly. One of my posts on page 4 is still in "hidden" status while another on page 5 is not. Both are an hour old.
  5. All of my posts are still being vetted through the moderator so it's a little slow going for now. Kinda makes for stilted communication. Ms Berta: To answer your earlier question, I can scan but I could not redact. I'm getting some toner refill for my printer today and hope to have a few good redacted scans of our denial letters for your review. Is this something I can attach/post here on this thread or is it better to send via PM? Not sure the accepted protocol here.
  6. So, I guess the takeaway here is that his $9k per person fee IS reasonable considering the amount of work? I had sent the good Doctor all of our info and planned on trying to take out a loan or something to try and pay for the fees but it's just not possible right now. I even floated an alternative arrangement to him but he has not yet responded. I do not anticipate a favorable response but if you don't ask... Anyway, I will start working on our paperwork more diligently. It's all still very confusing and I have a limited amount of time in my days to work on this. I have to keep stopping to look up all the acronyms you use in your replies! LOL I'll figure it out, eventually.
  7. I understand that this is a bunch of work. That is why I was looking for a well respected expert to handle this and put the packages for both our sets of claims. My thinking was that sometimes, you need to pay an expert for their expertise. For example: if my transmission broke on my car could I fix it? Maybe, eventually, after spending a ton of time and effort learning, buying manuals and tools, and it still might not come out right because I do not have the expertise. Whereas, if I took the car to an expert, I might take a monetary hit, but I would likely be in a better position because the expert does this for a living. If they're not good at what they do, they don't stay in business very long. Anyway, I am taking all of this in. I am inspired by you all and hope that maybe I can do some of the groundwork myself. It's just been a constant battle...
  8. After reading all of these replies, I'm getting the impression that I might be able to do some of this stuff by myself. It's just so tiring to keep fighting when the VA is so difficult to deal with. All I wanted to do was to get an expert on this and now I'm getting the distinct feeling that I may be going about it the wrong way. Honestly, if we were both able to get into the 100% status, I suppose it could be worth the $18k that is being asked for. And as it turns out, I simply cannot make the money work. There's no way I can even swing a reasonable payment plan after reviewing the finance situation. I've sent Dr. Bash an email to that effect. I was so psyched to actually have a medical provider who knew what they were doing to help us. Think I may need to take ya'll up on the offer to assist. Just feel a bit out of my depth.
  9. Hello Moderator, this is a little frustrating. I'm trying to be responsive to all these good folks who have taken the time to reply and all of my responses are hidden. Is there any way to speed along the process? Or do I have to generate 6 posts first?
  10. The denial for my wife's claim is scanned. For some reason I don't have the correct tool suite to properly redact the papers. So, I figured that I'd just print it and redact the old fashioned way with a marker. Now my printer appears to be running low on ink!!! I'm having a rough time of it today.
  11. The requested amount of money of $18k is the discounted rate for both me and my wife. He stated he usually charges $10k a person but for the two of us it would be $18k. This would include DBQ, orders, lay letter, retro pay review by his legal expert, nexus and the complete package would also have the scans, reports and his resume. He seemed extremely confident that our claims were severely underrated and that he could get us both to 100%. Then he ventured into the realm of SMC-L and started talking compensation numbers that felt a bit unreal... (I heard Attig once mention 100% with SMC and it coming out to around $8k a month- for essentially worst case scenario quadriplegic, bed ridden, house bound.) Dr. Bash was talking close to those numbers (not THAT high) but much more than we ever anticipated. As I said earlier, the fees requested seemed really steep to me as well. Apologies, as I'm new here, all of my posts are bottle-necked until reviewed by moderator. I'm not being slow on purpose.
  12. Ms. Berta: I think it's a matter of having a disjointed mess where nothing is connected to the other thing. What I was looking for was to have an expert review our files and either tell us what we needed to do or to assist us with getting the file put together in the best way possible. I think we have allowed the hassle and headache of our experience with this to push us in this direction. My understanding is that we need DBQ, Nexus, IMO, IME, etc... When we spoke with Dr. Bash, he was talking about tests/consults we should have ordered and connections that could be made to meet certain guidelines. This is all new to us so it's overwhelming. You do say something that has me concerned "the RO refused to read his IMO's"--- WHAT?? If that is possible, how can anyone feel comfortable charging such a high fee? I can understand getting paid for services rendered, but if they are unable to be used, then that is an issue. I am happy to scan our denials for your review. It'll have to be a later this evening though... I'm curious to know your thoughts on this.
  13. Good Morning all! Lots of good info and things that I have considered. Both my wife and I have been out of the military for over 20 years. After fighting with the VA all this time we're UP to a meager 20% each. We've grown weary of the fight. All we ever run into is a hassle and inconvenience at the VA. The doctors are apprehensive and don't want to really consider our issue. My wife needs to use a cane for her issues and they give us grief for requesting a signature to get a disabled parking placcard. It's ridiculous. The VA doctors and C&P examiners make us feel like we're asking for something that we do not deserve, like we're somehow stealing benefits or something like that. I'm 10% for tinnitus and 10% for a messed up wrist. I have sleep apnea and the CPAP, rhinitis and probably GERD as well. Also, have lots of pain/joint issues and raynauds. Wife is 10% for hip issue and 10% for migraines (misdiagnosed MS)--- She was a paratrooper and has a bunch of foot, leg, back, neck issues. Apnea as well/cpap, etc. Thus, we've started to feel like we should get some expert help and sometimes you will actually get what you pay for. That said, $18k is a HUGE amount of money and not something we can readily afford. And when we spoke to the Dr. he did NOT guarantee 100%. He merely stated that he thinks we were severely underrated and that we should be at 100% with my wife possibly in the realm of SMC-L... He did think that he COULD get us to the 100% mark. I agree with you all that there are no guarantees and anyone who gives a guarantee in a business like this is surely not to be believed. He did state that he could offer some sort of payment plan and that it was basically on the honor system as we would have his work before he would have his fee in full. I did reach out to several "options" but it was surprisingly difficult to get responses from anyone. I've reached out to Attig twice (not even a return call or email); I reached out to REE Medical and they claimed they could get my wife to 70% for $1800. (nothing they could do for me); I reached out to Anaise and got a return email recommending I read his book, nothing further; reached out to Bash and received an email reply, a phone conversation last night for about an hour, and another call this morning. While he is super expensive, he at least appears to be responsive. I'm still nervous about this, but I need to do something. My hope is that there is way to get all of this sorted in a timely fashion, and maybe be able to reach back for retro pay as well. I understand that this is a public forum and that Dr. Bash is a member here as well as others mentioned earlier. My intent is not to disparage or dissuade. I am merely documenting our journey for the benefit of others. I welcome any and all input from the more experienced folks here.
  14. Hello all, Just joined the board. Stumbled on here after getting fed up with VA and their nonsense. Since I started reading, I've made a leap of faith and reached out to a few of the respected doctors for some assistance with putting our stuff together. So far, Dr. Bash has been the most responsive. After speaking with me and my wife, he thinks he can move us both from 20% to 100%... It's not cheap - quoted $18k!! But if he can deliver and maybe even get us some retro, it may be worth it. Figured I'd chronicle the adventure here for the benefit of others.
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