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About Narose

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    E-3 Seaman

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  • Service Connected Disability
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  1. Two new updates, I did in fact find out that they assigned my effective date correctly, so there will be no more fighting them on this claim! Retro-pay already showing through the DAV so it should be hitting my account next week sometime. AND the best news of all, my rating is not actually TDIU, they assigned a scheduler 100% P&T so I am truly DONE with all of it for good! I am incredibly thankful to all of you here for your support and encouragement on this one; I felt so defeated and you all really made me feel like I could get through it, so thank you!!
  2. Honestly my expectations are that they went with the bare minimum in terms of effective date. I’ve been dealing with them long enough to know that they will probably use the later date of the claim filing without considering the ITF, so I’m mentally prepared for it. I’m just relieved that the worst of it is done and I can take a moment to breathe without worrying.
  3. Hi there everyone, back with an update! I submitted my supplemental claim and included a letter outlining the obvious errors and issues with the original decision, along with a letter from my VA Psychiatrist and a lay statement from my spouse. Mailed it on 6/18 VA received it 6/22 Decision made today, 6/25 TDIU granted along with P&T!!! Packet will be mailed tomorrow so I don’t have many details yet, but thank you to everyone for your advice and support! I am somewhat concerned with the effective date; not sure which date they are using for retro pay, but I will find out soon enough.
  4. I don’t know the specifics of your situation, but Dr. Wilhelm at the Hampton VA is an excellent ortho doc and will establish a diagnosis and nexus if possible. His notes of record are very detailed and thorough as well, so he doesn’t leave much room for outside interpretation. If the VA Medical center isn’t an option for you then I have heard good things about Atlantic Orthopaedic in the Hilltop area of VB.
  5. I have truly never had any good experience with the Roanoke office. When I was pregnant, they denied my claim and falsely stated that I was a no-show... to an appointment that THEY cancelled. They never have any answers to questions and good luck getting the same information from two different reps; I swear they use a magic 8 ball for inquiries. I have little doubt in my mind that Roanoke is one of those ROs that has some covert memo that just says "screw everyone you can using any justification available". I tried scanning the QR Code on my letter and I got nothing useful out of it, just a bunch of numbers with zero search results or corresponding info. Probably for the best because if I knew it would just send me further down the rabbit hole. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  6. To be honest, using the DAV as my representative has only been fruitful in my efforts to gain more information than the VA makes readily available in a timely manner. They have not been of much assistance in the claim itself, but I have been able to get things done faster because of their access to the system. The rep said that he could not see what regional office my claim was handled out of, and the letter also does not specify so I can only assume that it was done via the national queue system. I can definitely say that you are not alone in your experience with Roanoke specifically, that place is a shit show. Searching the M21-1 under TDIU hasn't produced much clarity, but this excerpt seemed relevant: "A Veteran whose sole employment consists of performing household duties may qualify as unemployable, if the Veteran is no longer able to perform the principal household duties without substantial help." This is the case in my situation, as my husband and nanny both pick up a lot of the work, with me only handling about a 25% share, averaged across both good and bad days. Due to the nature of disability, I have some "good" days where I can do more, but not consistently or reliably. Another technicality that I feel is relevant is the assertion that being a caregiver somehow equates to gainful employment. I am a parent in my own home who is caring for my own children with considerable assistance; nothing about that is "gainful" by definition. And last but certainly not least: "The following factors have no bearing on a determination of whether an SC disability renders a Veteran unemployable: age NSC disabilities injuries occurring after military service availability of work, or voluntary withdrawal from the labor market." So it seems to me that the rater completely ignored M21-1 IV.ii.2.F.4.c when commenting on NSC disabilities (that I do not have nor have I been diagnosed with), and the availability of work due to COVID 19.
  7. I honestly feel like I have been avoiding submitting an SSDI claim out of pride. It was hard enough for me to accept the fact that TDIU was necessary but now that I have finally accepted that I know that the next logical step is to follow suit with the SSA. I am fortunate to have a VA doc that is both knowledgable and supportive, so I am hopeful that will work in my favor throughout the process. After a successful military career, and professional and academic successes in spite of my struggles with PTSD, surrendering myself to the fact that my disability has become overwhelming and obstructive was the hardest thing for me to do. I had a good job that paid far beyond anything I could receive between the VA and SSA combined, so the most frustrating aspect of this case is the implication that I can work, I just don't want to because I have kids, really is infuriating. I feel compelled to see this through not only because it is necessary, but also based on the principle of it. If (more like when) the SSDI claim gets denied, it is comforting to know that a law firm would essentially be handling the case and shouldering the weight of the stresses that go along with an appeal. I will be researching firms and getting a list together for if and when the time comes to appeal; better to be prepared and not need it than the other way around.
  8. I fully understand that the burden is on me to get them to see my claim as it is and not as they interpret it to be, unfortunately that doesn’t make it any less frustrating. I’ve already sent an email to the voc rehab specialist that Broncovet recommended, and I will be starting my application for SSA later today. If the VA won’t see the light then I’m gonna have to blind them with it.
  9. Would you recommend filing the SSA claim at the same time that I am managing the appeal with the VA? It feels like it would be too much for me to handle all at once in terms of stress. I’m not sure what timelines the SSA runs on for initial claims, I would just hate to have to be dealing with both at the same time. I know I should bite the bullet, I just feel very discouraged and overwhelmed following this setback.
  10. Okay so essentially an IMO would be there to strengthen my case and reinforce what the C&P examiner opined? When my DAV rep read the exam findings, he said it should be a “slam dunk” because the examiner worded it in a way that not only indicated that I couldn’t work, but also included the infeasibility of retraining. Obviously more evidence in my favor is hard to deny, so getting the IMO is crucial, but still frustrating. Do you recall how long it took for Mr. Clifford to review everything and issue a statement for your claim?
  11. Okay so this is my first post, but I have been a long time lurker and just want to say thanks for years of informative and helpful content! I recently applied for TDIU due to my PTSD rated at 70% (90% overall rating) in April of this year, with an intent to file dated back to October 2019. I am honestly flabbergasted at what the rater used as the basis for their decision. I have never seen or even heard of something like this and am looking for input on how to proceed. I am definitely appealing but thats as far as I have gotten at this point. Here is a brief timeline for reference: January 2019 - Started struggling at work (desk job, minimal interaction with people outside of email/calls) 6 months into my job due to issues related to my PTSD June 2019 - My employer and I mutually decided that I should resign due to my ongoing PTSD related performance issues; this essentially was them saying they didn't want to fire me but I could not continue working there in my mental state at the time. They don't have to pay unemployment insurance, I get to keep them as a positive reference on my resume for when/if I am able to work again, win-win for everyone. August 2019 - My last day at work, the previous month was spent finding my replacement and using up sick/vacation days, etc. September 2019 - Former employer fills out VA 21-4192, everything about the statement is favorable to unemployability. January 2020 - I give birth to my 4th child. April 2020 - I submit the claim for TDIU; I waited until this point to file so that I did not go over the income requirement and get an automatic denial based on that. April 2020 - C&P exam for PTSD, examiner opines favorably and conclusively that I am not employable due to PTSD. May 2020 - Denied. Copy of the basis for denial down below, with the only edits made for protection of privacy (names, dates, locations, etc.) Entitlement to Individual Unemployability Entitlement to individual unemployability is denied because you have not been found unable to secure or follow a substantially gainful occupation as a result of service connected disabilities. You are considered capable of gainful employment. {38 CFR 4.16, 38 CFR 4.18} Although you and your previous employer noted issues with reporting late to work, missed days at work, and unsuccessful attempts at teleworking it should also be noted that during that time you appeared to be the primary caregiver to three young children and were approximately six months pregnant when you left their employment. During the examination conducted in April, the examiner noted: "Veteran is either in a panicked state or depressed, so could be emotionally unstable in a public environment. She has flashbacks and distressing memories daily, which could make it difficult for her to attend to tasks and support other staff. She has issues with mood and affect and cannot tolerate strangers or crowds, which could make it difficult to work customer facing or in a sheltered work environment. She does not get sleep, has poor concentration and memory, which would make it difficult for her to learn and retain as well as use new information." However the examiner did not address concerns related to non-service related post partum depression and possible thyroid issues, which can affect mood, concentration, and memory. Although you have had consistent issues with chronic sleep impairment, a newborn would also affect sleep which could also affect memory issues (which was also noted as a new symptom), however again this was not addressed by the examiner. The examiner also did not appear to consider the job that you do at home with regards to primary caregiving for four young children. Evidence indicates that you completed four years of college and have not tried to obtain employment since you left your previous employer in August 2019. It's noted that you had your fourth child in January 2020, just prior to the COVID 19 outbreak and that unemployment rates are currently at an all time high due to pandemic restrictions. The SSA determination letter copy dated March 2013 noted that you were denied disability benefits as you are not considered disabled under their rules. While your service connected disabilities are substantial and may preclude you from doing certain types of work, the evidence does not show that you are prohibited from all forms of substantially gainful employment. Being unable to find a job, being unable to perform a particular job, the feasibility of working full time with four young children at home, or experiencing difficulties while being the primary caregiver to four children while trying to work are not sufficient reasons to find you unemployable due to your service connected disabilities. Recent VA Medical Center treatment records indicate that although you still struggle with your PTSD symptoms that you are able to appropriately care for yourself and serve as primary caregiver to your three children and newborn, even during current restrictions due to COVID 19. After carefully considering the available evidence, we cannot establish entitlement to IU. In order to establish entitlement, the evidence must show that your service connected disabilities by themselves prevent you from performing physical and mental acts required for any employment. A few important things to note: I was service connected for PTSD in 2013, and have been rated 70% for the past 7 years, with one dip to 50% for a few months in 2017. My medical record shows a clear and consistent picture of my mental health, with most issues remaining the same or worse, and I have had the same VA Psychiatrist for the past 4 years. I have NEVER been diagnosed with Post-partum Depression, nor has it ever even been suggested anywhere in my record. The "possible thyroid condition" mentioned was the result of an abnormal blood test done on the same day as my exam, so the examiner obviously would not have that information as they did not even have the results that same day; never had any abnormalities with thyroid hormones before, the most recent test prior to that was done in May 2019 and was normal.The "new" memory issues are not new and are documented in my medical record. The SSA denial mentioned was from SEVEN years ago for an unrelated neurological condition. I even included a statement with the claim to that effect just for clarification. The fact that it feels like the rater essentially said that because I am a parent then I that means I am employable really bothers me at my core. I am not the primary or sole caregiver of my children; I have a spouse and a part time nanny who shoulder the majority of the burden. This really feels prejudiced because I am a woman who recently had a baby, so clearly that means that I am fine. The sleep issues I've had for over 7 years are apparently invalidated because I have a newborn who is the real reason my sleep is affected. Men who have children certainly are not denied IU because they are parents, so why is it that I was? It was the focus of the denial and it feels personal somehow. My VA psychiatrist was the one who recommended applying for TDIU and she will be writing a letter on my behalf refuting the statements made above, so that will be the new evidence used in the appeal. I am really trying to pinpoint what legal basis was used for this decision and how to move forward with my personal statement. There are a lot of little details missing but that is the gist of it, so sorry for the wall of text, and thank you all in advance for your input and help!
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