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LightningFan75

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Everything posted by LightningFan75

  1. I think I decided to file an NOD for my TDIU\PTSD effective dates but wanted to get some opinions before I open the can of worms. I filed for PTSD 4/18 and my claim was placed in deferment without a C&P in 7/18. When I called to inquire why I wasn't given an exam, they miraculously sent me an appointment for 12/18 The doctor denied my claim stating my MST trauma was due to a childhood incident, but my claim was never closed. I wasn't sure how to approach not getting a denial, so after going to therapy for several more months, filed a supplemental claim for PTSD, which sent me to another C&P in 8/2019...this time a separate VA doctor didn't even listen to me and falsified 90% of the report, calling my test scores too high to taken reliably and made it a point to say I was exaggerating my symptoms. As soon as I got the documents on MHV, I wrote a letter to impeach his exam. Fast forward to 12/2019 I finally got an exam with a VES psychologist who went line by line with me, through each of my previous C&P exams and basically set the record straight on everything. She was fantastic and took all the time needed to rebut the previous doctors. The award later I received stated that I was granted 30% PTSD as of 9/19 due to my symptoms not warranting a higher rating and a 70% rating as of 12/19 (the date of my C&P, not my claim) stating that it was on this date that factual evidence was presented. Separately, I filed for IU 1/19 when became unable to work due to my PTSD. I was awarded IU as of 12/19 based solely on my 70% rating of PTSD. I want to appeal the IU decision since I filed January of last year but since it's tied to my PTSD I need to appeal that date as well. Considering my last exam was to rebut the previous 2 exams is it likely to get the PTSD effective date moved back and therefore allowing the IU date to move back? My husband isn't convinced we should appeal at all. He's afraid that an appeal for the effective might reverse my 100% P&T by having someone else review the case. If an appeal is made solely for effective date is there a chance of my rating going down or does VBA only focus on the actual appeal? I know i've asked a variation of this before but the thread was taken off topic and died. Thanks for everyone's patience and opinions.
  2. Thank you so very much!!! As always these forums are what keep me sane when dealing with all of this!!
  3. I need help appealing my PTSD and right shoulder condition effective dates. My PTSD condition has been in deferment since 2018 and was closed Dec 26. 2019. I was awarded 30% as of Sept 2019 ( They claim I submitted a supplemental claim then when in fact it was in June of 2019) and 70% as of Dec 13 2019 when I had a 3rd C&P MH exam to straighten out the previous 2 exams which were full of inaccuracies. They state the Dec 13th exam is when 70% was factually proven. My shoulder condition was originally claimed in April 2017 and my Service records show an injury to my shoulder but the C&P did a less than thorough exam and claimed it was less likely than not that my injury happened in service. I had to go outside the VA to get MRIs to prove the injury was severe and a NEXUS letter to show connection. When I brought the MRI results to my primary care and ortho they chastised me for letting it get this bad and said I need surgery to have any hope of full motion in my right arm again. Well no s%*t...so now I have SC at 20% but only as of May of 2019.
  4. Thanks for everyone's input. My initial claim was in the beginning of 2017. From what I can tell, they placed the claim in a deferred status immediately and then sent me to my first farce of a C&P MH exam. Unfortunately it wasn't until the beginning of last year that my husband finally convinced me to see a therapist. He couldn't take seeing me go through the outbursts and panic attacks anymore (kills him that he can't help). So I've definitely been in therapy longer than 12/13 and have numerous people who can write statements showing PTSD symptoms dating back to 2014. But I digress....since the deferment I did enter new evidence and opened a supplemental claim which is what recently was closed along with the claim that was deferred, I guess since they were both PTSD. As far as the shoulder claim, it took 18 months to get all the evidence I needed to reopen the claim so I don't know if I can appeal for an earlier date since it's past the one year mark. I'm just a little anxious...my husband and I made so many mistakes with my PTSD claim that I feel drew it out longer than it should have...I don't want to make the same mistakes again and would like to use the best appeal process on the new system.
  5. I figured I'd start a new post since my original post in MST is a little old an now off topic since i was approved!!! Merry Christmas Everyone!!! and Happy Holidays for those who don't celebrate!!! I had a Christmas miracle happen! I logged into EB on the 26th and my rating went from 70% to 90%!!! They approved my PTSD at 70% and my shoulder that I've been fighting since forever at 20%. Now the bad news...the effective date of my PTSD was 12/13/2019 even though I submitted my supplemental on 6/13 and have been claiming mental health issues since 2017. Also I first claimed my shoulder in 2017 and they denied my claim without a C&P exam even though I had a report of 2 accidents in my MR. Can I appeal the date of my shoulder since I was never given a C&P and had to gather the evidence on my own? And can I appeal the date of my PTSD since the C&P exams I had from the beginning reported my statements in error? The doctor from the very last exam I had (on the date of the rating 12/13) was wonderful and took the time to go through my past exams and listen to me very careful and set the record straight correcting all of the false statements the previous doctors made, and gave her own opinion based on our discussion coupled with the letter from my current VA MST therapist. See my very first claim of PTSD from 2017 has been in deferment until just a few days ago so technically shouldn't it be still be considered open? So shouldn't I be able to request a back date all the way to the date of that first claim?
  6. Merry Christmas Everyone!!! and Happy Holidays for those who don't celebrate!!! I had a Christmas miracle happen! I logged into EB on the 26th and my rating went from 70% to 90%!!! They approved my PTSD at 70% and my shoulder that I've been fighting since forever at 20%. Now the bad news...the effective date of my PTSD was 12/13/2019 even though I submitted my supplemental on 6/13 and have been claiming mental health issues since 2017. Also I first claimed my shoulder in 2017 and they denied my claim without a C&P exam even though I had a report of 2 accidents in my MR. Can I appeal the date of my shoulder since I was never given a C&P and had to gather the evidence on my own? And can I appeal the date of my PTSD since the C&P exams I had from the beginning reported my statements in error? The doctor from the very last exam I had (on the date of the rating 12/13) was wonderful and took the time to go through my past exams and listen to me very careful and set the record straight correcting all of the false statements the previous doctors made, and gave her own opinion based on our discussion coupled with the letter from my current VA MST therapist. See my very first claim of PTSD from 2017 has been in deferrment until just a few days ago so technically shouldn't it be still be considered open? So shouldn't I be able to request a back date all the way to the date of that first claim?
  7. I just submitted my ROI form to my congressman, who funny enough had an office at the Orlando VA until recently when they kicked him out. I think they were mad that he had an open door policy for veterans and was sort of a champion for disability benefits. He's also held several town hall meetings for vets to discuss what they're going through with care and claims. (MST is apparently a VERY big sticking point with him and the treatment here)
  8. Thank you! That's a great idea...the only sticking point I see is that I've been bounced around to 3 different doctors and a handful of "phone consultations", so I'm not sure which doctor made the mistake and I can't find it in my Blue Button records (though to be fair there are about 100 pages of notes). I will, however, ask my PTSD doc (the ONLY MH provider I've been to that seems to want to help) to put in my session notes that I'm very upset and anxious about the mistake and have him confirm where it actually happened. He told me that he should have the letter he's writing ready for me at my session tomorrow...once I get it I'll upload it to see if it's even worth submitting. I have a feeling he's going to play it very safe and not write a NEXUS letter per se. I already have my book of records ready to go for Friday.
  9. I have SC for my back at 20% and 10% and migraines at 50%. Both have made it impossible to do my job since it is very physical which is why I'm claiming IU...unfortunately they recently sucked my PTSD claim into the IU which pushed everything back again. I also just received a notification for yet a 3rd Psych C&P appointment. This time through VES instead of at the VA. I consulted my PTSD therapist about it and, after some research, he's saying somewhere along the line in my treatments or C&P exams, a doctor put down that my assault happened in Dubai. I never told anyone that it happened there...I did say that my assignment at the time was Dubai but I've made it clear where it actually happened. I don't know if this exam is because I wrote a letter to impeach the examining doctor from my last one, or if it's because now they think I'm lying since a doctor was incorrect in quoting me. Either way this is going to be difficult to get through and i have no idea how to get the record straight...almost like a clean slate. My therapist also, said he would write me a letter but he didn't say what he would put in it. And the rabbit hole keeps getting deeper.
  10. That's just it. His "exam" didn't even approach past trauma, so unless I were to have jumped up and said "hey before we start you should know x", it would not have been a fluid self report. So by not approaching the exam the same my answers were different. Only AFTER the exam did he go through my past C&P and notice it and then call me out. Anyway, to be honest I'm about to give them what they want and stop fighting. It's putting a strain on my marriage and both my own and my husbands health. They're dragging their feet on the IU claim and we're starting to fall behind on everything. My file is flagged for hardship yet they still give a decision date of April...by then we'll be too far gone to keep the house and I won't know what to do. Everything we worked so hard to build gone because I can't keep a job and the VA doesn't care. The last thing they told me very coldly was...we can help with homeless shelters if you lose your home. My husband's been through losing his house and bankruptcy and has always prided himself in being financially responsible and now it looks like he's going to have to go through it all again.
  11. They have diagnosed me with depressive disorder but my C&P exam did a pretty good job of denying that one as well: -A diagnosis of PTSD was less likley than not incurred in or caused by the MST reported by the Vet. -A diagnosis of insomnia was less likley than not proximately due to or the result of her service connected tinnitus. -Her current diagnosis of adjustment disorder was less likley than not incurred in or caused by active duty service. -Her current diagnosis of Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood was less likley than not incurred in or caused by active duty service. In terms of PTSD, although the Vet reports a period of sexual harassment and a rape in her active duty service, the STRs were silent for circumstantial markers, as as MH assessment/treatment in active duty. Her other stressors described in the stressor section would not meet category A standards for qualified incidents. In reviewing post service treatment records, her first MH contact came in 4/2019, and was precipitated by a job loss secondary to verbal altercation, prior to which she was functioning fine until a poor performance eval came about before the verbal altercation, MH treatment notes only describe self report of the MST and self report of the Vet's interpretation of more recent psychological difficulties; MH providers have not given a PTSD diagnosis and allude to such a condition only from self report of symptoms; in VBMS, there are many buddy statements from her husband and former co-workers, these do not provide evidence for a MH condition that arose from active duty, and only relate recent struggles with chronic migraines and back issues. In speaking with the Vet today, she did not disclose her hx of childhood sexual abuse as she did in the 12/2018 MH c and p exam, her scores on symptom validity screens (see behav obs scnt) were far above normal limits, indicating unreliability of self report, and she described fears of abandonment and anger in the context of having problematic romantic relationships she got into in the past to fill a void. He basically said because I didn't tell him I was assaulted as a child that I'm not reliable in self reporting and exaggerating my symptoms now so my issues did not occur during my time in the service. He also read all of my IU buddy statements but not the one from my shipmate that was relevant to this claim. My goal wasn't to alienate my MH provider but i found it very unprofessional for him to respond the way he did to my request. It's all just very frustrating.
  12. While that's true, my C&P examiner was clever enough to tie EVERY....SINGLE...Mental diagnosis I have to childhood trauma, negating service connection for all of it. So one doctor, who never served, who I had never met before and talked to for 90 minutes and never looked me in the eyes, falsifying ALL of what I said, took away all of my SC issues with one stroke of the keyboard. While I did write a scathing letter of impeachment, I have yet to hear whether it was received or if the appointment is still being used in my claim. My file is flagged for hardship but they're still dragging their feet. I have a claim in for IU as well, but they sent a request back to my outside examiner for migraines for clarification on Oct 2nd and still haven't received a response. He's 12 days past his deadline and they've put no pressure on him to close it out. They just don't care...I feel like as long as you're not suicidal they get to check off a box and move on. Yet they don't see that what they're doing is causing veterans to lose everything and BECOME suicidal. It's all about reacting and putting out fires instead of preventing it from happening. I'm just fortunate I have a husband who loves me and would do anything to make sure I'm ok...and 2 dumb dogs that are natural service dogs, who can sense my panic attacks well before they hit me.
  13. I think that's the email referenced in an IG report I read....where of course they found no evidence that the providers heeded the "suggestion". However that article is my story almost verbatim...my MH primary even told my they didn't have time to diagnose PTSD.
  14. Since my last post I think I've pretty much become persona non grata to the entire Orlando MH staff with the exception of my PTSD therapist who has been purposely remaining out of it in order to keep treating me with objectivity, which I can appreciate. The chief of MH and the AO's no longer return my calls and the MST coordinator is vehemently sticking to the story of "the VA does NOT write nexus letters". My primary provider went so far as to state that since I didn't report the incident that there is nothing in my record to prove that it happened so he can't give an opinion. He stopped responding when I reminded him that his job was to help me and that the VA mandated that statements from someone you served with backing up the events and witnessing changes in behavior, etc. are as good as reporting and should be counted as such. He stopped responding to my messages. At this point I'm honestly ready to call the IG and let them explain why they're causing they're veterans anxiety and demeaning them when they ask for help. The bright spot in this is that I started my prolonged exposure on Thursday and even though it was just informational to begin with, the notes were uploaded to MHV and it looks like my PTSD doc dropped the r\o and may have inadvertently given connection? Below is the excerpt...can I upload this and use it as evidence of diagnosis and SC along with my buddy letter? VA Notes Source: VA Last Updated: 04 Nov 2019 @ 0707 Sorted By: Date/Time (Descending) VA Notes from January 1, 2013 forward are available 3 calendar days after they have been completed and signed by all required members of your VA health care team. If you have any questions about your information please visit the FAQs or contact your VA health care team. Date/Time: 31 Oct 2019 @ 1425 Note Title: MH PSYCHOTHERAPY NOTE Location: ORLANDO VAMC Signed By: Co-signed By: Date/Time Signed: 31 Oct 2019 @ 1540 Note LOCAL TITLE: MH PSYCHOTHERAPY NOTE STANDARD TITLE: MENTAL HEALTH NOTE DATE OF NOTE: OCT 31, 2019@14:25 ENTRY DATE: OCT 31, 2019@14:25:19 AUTHOR: EXP COSIGNER: URGENCY: STATUS: COMPLETED PROLONGED EXPOSURE: INITIAL SESSION Time in session (in minutes): 70 Session Number: 1 SESSION FORMAT Face-to-face session SESSION LOCATION PTSD clinical team DIAGNOSIS: Primary (focus of treatment): Unspecified Trauma-Related Disorder Assessment: PCL-5 A PCL-5 was performed and was positive. The score was 64. PHQ-9 A PHQ-9 screen was performed. The score was 18 which is suggestive of moderately severe depression. SESSION CONTENT Veteran completed session 1 of Prolonged Exposure therapy for PTSD. The following occurred during the session: Facilitated a good therapeutic relationship. Provided psychoeducation and introduced PE treatment for PTSD to Veteran, including: -Information about PE as a treatment option. The following information was given: -Readiness to engage in treatment. -Addressing Veteran's questions or concerns about treatment. Veteran expressed the following concerns: Veteran discussed fear associated with imaginal exposures. Her fears were validated and discussed within the context of the rationale for treatment. Presented treatment rationale, focusing on describing factors that maintain trauma-related fears and symptoms (i.e., avoidance and unhelpful thoughts and beliefs). Also, described key therapeutic elements of PE: imaginal and in-vivo exposure procedures. Veteran's response to rationale involved: The Veteran was able to discuss acknowledgement of the rationale for treatment. INDEX TRAUMA to be addressed in PE is related to: MST Sexual assault while in the military HOMEWORK Veteran is to complete the following practice items between sessions: Listen to audiotape of therapy session one time. Read "Rationale for Treatment" handout and note questions. PLAN Next session planned for agreed upon date/time of: November 5, 2019 **************************************** PAIN SCREEN: Veteran reports: Significant pain or changes in pain. Pain level reported = 5, on 0-10 scale with 0 indicating no pain and 10 most pain imaginable. Location(s): Back, wrist, shoulder. Veteran receiving treatment for pain: Yes
  15. I would love nothing more than to get a private IMEO. Unfortunately, my PTSD has cost me my job and my IU is getting the run around too. We're blowing through our savings like water and barely making ends meet as it is, so 2K is mighty hard to scrape together right now. I'm in the process of getting a new Primary MH doctor (I'd love to force them to send me outside using the MISSION ACT, but that seems like a whole other roadblock). Since my last post, I've requested a Nexus letter from my current one and his messages gave me less than warm feelings about his handling of my case or recollection of who I am. Not only that but I think I hurt his ego when I sent him the VA rules on NEXUS and a sample letter. Now he's butt hurt that I'm including the local VA chief of staff on all my communications so he can't deny what he's saying. It's a match of wits and rather than being a professional and approaching as a psychologist he's trying to beat me into the ground and tear me apart like I don't know what I'm talking about. The only bright spot in all of this is that I start Prolonged Exposure next week with a new doctor who is the ONLY MH provider who comes out and greets my without calling my name like a roster. He actually makes me feel like he knows who I am. My psychologist and psychiatrist come out read off my name and wait for me to come up...real impersonal. Unfortunately my PE therapist doesn't believe in Nexus letters so that's a dead end. Now my MH "team" thinks I'm in it for a pay day and not therapy. Nevermind the fact that the VBA put me in this spot and it's VBA that's causing me to prove everything at every turn. I did finally get a buddy letter from a shipmate who reached out and actually remembered more about the incident than I remembered...so that's been uploaded to ebenefits. End of the day, I'd love to get an IMO or a lawyer...it's just not financially in the cards right now. Thanks all for your input...it's all valuable and more helpful than anything and everything I get from VA.
  16. They've already denied my combat PTSD claim due to the fact that all of my over seas records are missing and they're stating that a DD-214 is not sufficient enough evidence to prove PTSD. Basically they're telling me that I may have been in combat but it didn't cause any stress on me. I've asked my MH provider for a letter of nexus and he said he'd "look into it", so I provided him with the VA policy on medical opinions and a sample letter. Of course I'm now realizing that he hasn't diagnosed me with PTSD so I don't yet meet criteria 1. Having to relive these events by telling a new person what happened is taking a toll on my sanity and my family and i feel like I'm experiencing it all over again and then told it didn't happen or I'm exaggerating. I honestly feel like I'm worse now that I've sought treatment than when I just kept it bottled up. I'm not sure how to convince my MH provider to actually diagnose me with PTSD. He's agreed I have it, he's agreed I need to go through specialized treatment and yet he won't write it down. Almost as if he's been told to reduce the number of PTSD diagnosis he gives and instead come back with Depressive Disorder, or Adjustment disorder with Anxiety. In the US murderers and thieves are innocent until proven guilty but Veterans are just the opposite. It didn't happen until you can give us iron clad proof.
  17. I need some unofficial guidance with my claim for PTSD. I think I have two uphill battles ahead...I just had my C&P and have received the notes from the exam. The doctor has completely discounted that the event happened, much less any secondary markers, attributing my trauma to a childhood incident. His notes contradict themselves on multiple occasions. He states that I denied any history of alcohol abuse, yet states later in the exam that I disclosed that I started abusing alcohol after the incident. He also discounted and falsely reported several facts surrounding my time in the service. He stated I was never in combat, never had foreign service or received any combat medals and to view my DD-214 for more information, yet my DD-214 shows multiple combat medals, foreign service and he his report lists my service dates where i received combat pay and hostile Fire/Imminent Danger pay. His notes are mostly snippets copied and pasted from my past appointments that support his denial, but he leaves out all of the relevant parts of my session. He never looked me in the eyes and stared at his clip board the entire time He said I started therapy after I lost my job and that I lost my job in April, when in fact I was therapy months before I lost my job which was 7/16. I told him all of this and he reported it wrong. He also put down: On the SIMs, a measure of symptom validity, the score of 37 indicated significant symptom exaggeration/over reporting. On a PTSD symptom validity screen, the score of 25 indicated significant symptom exaggeration/over reporting. Basically he's calling into question my integrity and makes no reference to my MH sessions with my provider, who never once questions my honesty in our sessions. My test scores from my MH sessions are: PHQ-9 (Depression): 23 PHQ-9 was administered and score indicates severe depression. (RANGES: 0-4 Minimal; 5-9 Mild; 10-14 Moderate; 15-19 Moderately severe; 20-27 Severe) GAD-7 (Anxiety): 19 GAD-7 was administered and score indicates severe anxiety. (RANGES: 0-4 Minimal; 5-9 Mild; 10-14 Moderate; 15-21 Severe) PCL-5 (Posttraumatic distress): 64 (very severe symptoms reported) PCL-5 was administered and the score is > or equal to cutoff score of 33 and may be consistent with a diagnosis of PTSD.. That leads me to my next issue...my MH provider continually throws out the term PTSD in our sessions, has started me on a treatment plan that consists of BOTH MST and PTSD therapy and yet WILL NOT put PTSD as a diagnosis. Instead I'm diagnosed with: DIAGNOSES (per chart): Major depressive disorder, single episode, moderate Anxiety disorder, unspecified On top of that my VA psychiatrist put contradicting statements in my last exam: DIAGNOSIS: Mental Health Diagnoses and Relevant Medical Conditions: Unspecified Trauma-Stressor-related Disorder r/o PTSD Significant Psychosocial and Contextual Factors: MST (Sexual assault) CASE FORMULATION AND RESPONSE TO TREATMENT: 35 y/o female veteran with anxiety, depressive Sx's and significant clinical distress since index trauma, in 2011. High suspicion for PTSD. No prior MH treatment. So he in essence ruled out PTSD and then stated he had a high suspicion for PTSD. I apologize that these thoughts may seem all over the place, but my treatment notes are a mess and the C&P examiner added 112 pages to it with mostly copy and paste, so it's hard for me to make sense of and I'm very hesitant to upload personal information. I just don't know what to do when MH provider says I have PTSD from MST, puts me in treatment but won't diagnose me, and then a C&P appointment with a doctor who acted like he had better things to do and went mostly off my test scores and didn't really listen to a word i said since his notes are riddled with inaccuracies.
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