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HONDOII

Second Class Petty Officers
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About HONDOII

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    E-4 Petty Officer 3rd Class

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    USA

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  1. @ToxicSgt73, I think most, if not all VSOs reside inside the VA Regional office (minus the ones with satellite offices elsewhere) so that they can access your C-File and VBMS. I was in the same situation in that my VARO and the VSO (DAV, in this case) were about 2 hours away from me, one-way. All my correspondence was done over the phone and I've never once stepped foot into my assigned VARO or VSO's office (I did visit a closer VARO once to try and get copies of some paperwork but that's a separate nightmare story). If you are capable of putting records together for yourself (like I mentioned in my walk through post), then you shouldn't really have any need to ever visit your VSO unless you like talking to people in person. Also, I'm telling you this with the utmost urgency, file your Intent to File TODAY. It will not affect your claim in ANY way other than preserving your back pay date to whenever you submitted it. If you don't file your claim within a year from that date, it simply expires and you can file a new one.
  2. Yea, I definitely didn't mean to imply that you should use the VSO for their advice. I solely used them as a tool to check status and get a timestamped confirmation on my my Supplemental Appeal. I'd definitely be wary of VSO advice. The responsible thing to do is always fact check and research things that someone tells you is the "correct" thing to do and make an informed decision. Obviously, this isn't always the case (guilty of it myself) and we often find ourselves just going with what someone said we should do. Sorry to hear about the lost compensation from unsound advice, @broncovet. Like you said, it could be way worse. I think a combination of my post and your feedback about VSOs should help any Hadit member become more situationally aware.
  3. Thank you everyone! I am extremely grateful to be afforded this opportunity and hope that I can help contribute to the rest of Hadit's member's successes.
  4. I read through this thread several times trying to make sense of everything. Here is what, in my opinion, needs to happen not only for you but for anyone who has extensive needs or would like to be walked through the process from how I approached it. 1. Elect a VSO as your Power of Attorney. I would suggest the DAV. 1A. Do not expect the VSO you selected to do ANY work for you or your claim. The value of the VSO is that you can call them to inquire on specifics of your claim. Example: You have a C&P exam conducted for one or more of your disabilities from an outside provider (non-VA). You want to know what the exam results are. You call your VSO and ask them to tell you what the exam says. If it isn't favorable, you now know you can begin to prepare to file an appeal and seek treatment from your medical provider to generate more documents and possibly a Nexus statement. 2. You do not need your Service Treatment Records to file a claim. The VA will attempt to locate them for themselves. 3. For your claims that you have personal treatment records for, carefully organize them into a neatly formatted packet (one per disability). I would recommend having a cover page and table of contents as well as include a Statement in Support of Claim. 4. Once you have all these packets laid out, file your claim as a Fully Developed Claim. If you find that you have more evidence later, just upload it. You will be transitioned into a Standard Claim but the difference in processing time is negligible. 4A. After filing your claim, go ahead and file another Intent to File in case you think of any new things you want to claim or secondary items. 5. Expect your claim to take around 2 months before you see any movement on it. At around 2 months you will start to see VA requests for additional records, C&P exam being scheduled and evidence reviewed. Comply with any VA requests. 6. Show up to your scheduled C&P exams with copies of those packets created in Step 3. Be polite and courteous to the examiners. 7. Check in with your VSO to see it they have C&P results for you prior to them making a rating (refer back to post 1A). 8. Sit back and relax while the claim is being decided. 9. Review your rating, and if you aren't happy with any of the decisions, appeal. Also file any secondaries you may want to address for granted items. 10. Relax, rinse and repeat the aforementioned steps.
  5. So I got the news this past Friday that I've been awarded 100 P&T after my last series of ratings that were in process (still have 2 deferred items). I'm in such shock that I was able to accomplish it on my own (with the help of HadIt/Reddit -- my VSO didn't lift a finger to do any work for me), especially after being told for several years that without any copies of Service Treatment Records that I couldn't file a claim. I got out of the Army ~9 years ago just happy to have a DD-214. I attempted to get copies but the shoddy medics at the Aid Station where I out-processed said that I didn't have anything in my records folder. Over the next several years I sent numerous requests to the Archives that resulted in responses saying that my records weren't found but I'll always remember the VA Rep during my out-processing say that "if you deployed, you're guaranteed at least 10%." I know there are no guarantees with the VA but that kept the fire kindling going over the years. It wasn't until a stroke of luck last October that I somehow managed to find Tricare Online and was able to log in with my eBenefits/VA.gov credentials. Low and behold, a bunch of medical entries ranging from first arriving at Ft. Benning up until my Phase II Exit Exam Physical were there. I immediately printed it out and saved a digital copy! I know it seems silly after the fact since I now know the VA will retrieve their own copies of STRs but it was finding those artifacts online that motivated me to register with a VSO and file my initial Intent to File in October 2018. I spent the next few months organizing my evidence and researching (soooo much researching posts, eCFR, and M21-1) issues that I wanted to claim that others also referenced in their posts on the various Vet forums. In February 2019, I finally submitted what I believed to be my FDC after gathering all my private medical records and organizing them neatly along with a couple private doctor DBQs, my STRs, and several Statements in Support of Claim. There were a few hiccups along the way in that I was incorrectly rated at 0% for a few issues which I submitted a Supplemental Appeal for correction (which was successful). All said and done, my first round got me to 93% with one deferred issue. While waiting for a C&P re-exam for that issue, I decided to file a second claim to cover a few extra things that I didn't put in my initial claim due to not knowing about secondaries and presumptives at the time. I submitted a couple more private DBQs and had two more C&Ps in August. Shortly after, I received my decision which stated I was 100 P&T and sure enough, I am now able to generate a Commissary Letter and Benefits Verification that both state that I am considered Permanent & Total. Definitely a huge thanks to all of you here. Without this site, I would never have been able to read all the archives of posts from people with similar claims to try and see how things may play out or how I could better present or position myself during the claims process. A couple of tips to leave everyone while I try to sort out what kind of benefits I'm now eligible for: Don't worry about how long you've been out for. Only worry about your health, its relation to your service in the military and presenting your case in a clear and concise fashion. A Statement in Support of Claim DOES provide a SIGNIFICANT advantage. I've read several places that say the VA dismisses this form. It may or may not be true, but where it has helped me out the most is during my C&P exams. I ALWAYS brought copies of evidence that applied towards my C&P exam that I was at. Each and every time, I was very courteous and let the examiner know that I made copies for them because I know the VA doesn't always tag all the info to send to them. A well written Statement in Support of Claim helps not only the Examiner be able to check boxes but it also gives you a voice after you leave the exam. During C&P exams, don't be afraid to (politely) speak up and ask if you can reference your evidence so that you can give them the correct information. I always made it a habit to turn to the page that I wanted to read from, angle it towards the examiner and trace the sentence, diagnosis, or date with my finger. This usually triggered the examiner to comment on how great it was that I was able to have adequate evidence that supported the exam. Thanks again everyone and good luck!
  6. There are deadlines for VARO employees to complete claims tasks. They usually have a 2-4 week timeframe before the actionable items become past due. I would expect to see movement within that timeframe. Patience is the hardest part, especially when everything is complete on your end.
  7. VA.gov is good but does it show any ratings on eBenefits? The latter typically goes into greater detail as to what stage your claim is in and might even show newly assigned ratings.
  8. Pasting this from my phone but 10% criteria is: Diastolic pressure predominantly 100 or more, or; systolic pressure predominantly 160 or more, or; minimum evaluation for an individual with a history of diastolic pressure predominantly 100 or more who requires continuous medication for control I had 3 elevated BP readings from my service records (all systolic 155+, no diastolic above 95) and had my private doctor fill out a DBQ to show my current readings (several readings over 100+ diastolic). The VA awarded me 0% based on that info. While waiting for my initial decision on that, I had to go back to my doctor because amlodipine alone stopped working to bring my HBP down and she prescribed me Lisinopril to take in addition. I filed a supplemental claim with a statement in support of claim stating that I required additional medication to stay below 100 Diastolic with the CFR quoted and included my last doctor's visit where it had my reading from that day and new prescription. Seemed to be enough to get 10%.
  9. I swear, the VA loves deferring shin splints claims, lol. Mine has been deferred for months and I just recently had another exam for them last week. Hoping for the best! Good luck on yours too!
  10. Regardless of the BP readings they used to grant service connection, if you take HBP medication to combat diastolic readings of 100+ file a supplemental appeal to get your 10%. I was initially awarded 0% but had to take additional meds (Lisinopril in addition to amlodipine) to stay below 100+ and was granted 10% after quoting the CFR.
  11. Congrats! Does this include the shin splints you mentioned in your other post? If so, what was the verdict on that?
  12. Favorable in terms of diagnosis during a C&P exam doesn't necessarily equate to favorable overall. Do any of your service treatment records have entries for any of the claimed items? Were you ever seen or treated for them? They decision letter lays it out for you in that you have a diagnosis, just nothing to show any possible link between your current condition and a similar one that occurred during service.
  13. I've called out percentages twice in my appeals saying I meet the criteria X, Y, and Z that warrants XX%. I wouldn't however say, "I'm 30% under CFR 1234 for this condition."
  14. The way it was explained to me is that shin splints are lumped into painful ROM (knee or ankle) unless the tibia/fibia have fused together, in which case they can be rated separately. Probably best to wait and see what they grant you after a decision is rendered since the CFR isn't entirely clear.
  15. Don't know if it's the case for everyone but they folded my shin splints in with patellafemoral pain syndrome for 10%.
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