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About rentalguy1

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  1. To ensure continued compensation to your dependents should you die before the 10 year mark. If you become rated P&T, and then die from a unrelated condition five years later, your dependents lose any DIC and DEA that your P&T status entitled them to. If you have a secondary condition that could kill your before your 1 year mark, and you are able to get that condition rated, even at 0%, and then die from it before your 10 years are up, your dependents keep those benefits.
  2. Hi all. Hope everyone is as well as can be. I have a few questions, and I value your opinions. This board got me to where I am today, and I once again need guidance. For those that don't know me, or for those who have forgotten, I have a total combined rating of 90%, and TDIU. I have been P&T since 24 October 2008. I was recently diagnosed with fatty liver disease, and severe obstructive sleep apnea. I am considering filing a claim for each of these conditions. My main disability is lumbar spinal stenosis (IVDS), which is rated at 40%. I have several secondaries to this condition, which are all nerve related. It should be fairly easy to establish a secondary service connection between both of these issues and my SC'd IVDS, due to my inability to get any exercise becuase of my disability. Over the years, this has caused me to gain weight, and my metabolism to change. I am not looking for any monetary gain from these claims. All I need is at least a 0% rating for each, in case one or the other should kill me, ensuring that my dependents would keep their DIC and DEA. I watched my father die this past December from cirrhosis that was caused by fatty liver disease. He lasted about a year and a half from the time he was diagnosed until he passed. We know that he had dealt with it undiagnosed and untreated for many years prior to that, though. I am lucky, because the VA constantly checks my lipids and liver panel due to the narcotics that I have to take. My AST/ALT have been off some in the past, but came back within limits on their own. My triglycerides have been constantly high at about 300, and my cholesterol was high as well. Statins keep the cholesterol in check, but nothing helped the tri's. They spiked to 780 last fall and my PC doc put me on fenofibrate. When rechecked last December, the tri's were back down to 300 but my AST/ALT and billirubin were higher than they had ever been. That was followed by a ultrasound which confirmed fatty liver disease. I don't plan on checking out any time soon, but after losing my own father and my wife's father within the last year, I know that such things can't be predicted. My wife has complained about my snoring, and telling me that I stop breathing in my sleep for a couple of years. When staying overnight at my parents' house to help care for my dad in his final days, my brother and all of dad's home health nurses expressed concerns about it, too. I finally had a sleep study last month and confirmed the severe OSA. I just got my CPAP a few days ago, and I hope it starts helping pretty soon. I still have severe insomnia, but with Ambien and Sertraline, I am able to get some sleep now. But, even with the CPAP, I still wake up feeling like I haven't slept at all. I know this condition can cause all kinds of cardio conditions, and my blood pressure has crept up to borderline high in the last year. Anybody that knows me here, knows that I don't just file one claim. I shotgun them. On my last round of claims, where I went from 20% to 90%, I won all but to issues. I appealed both, and lost the hip issue. On the GERD issue, I likely would have won it, but the rater wanted me to have a EGD. My PC doc and I decided that it wasn't worth going through the EGD for no gain, since I had already been granted TDIU P&T, so I dropped that claim. Since then the issue has gotten much worse. It was so bad from Thanksgiving 2013 through last summer that I lost 38 pounds because I could not eat. I ended up having the EGD done for that reason and found out that my stomach does not empty as quickly as it is supposed to. I never received a firm diagnosis, but it can easily be tied to long term use of narcotics (specifically hydrocodone) for my SC'd IVDS. I am considering submitting new evidence and reopening this claim if I do a claim for the liver and OSA. I am also considering reopening the claim for my left hip, which has been diagnosed with bursitis. I have had several cortisone injections over the last few years for it, and I am positive that I could get a "at least as likely as not" statement from my PC doc relating it to a change of gait due to my SC'd IVDS. Also, I tripped over my right foot (I have a foot drop), in 2008 and landed on my right palm, with my arm outstretched. This jammed my shoulder pretty good, and I sought treatment from my PC doc. I have had problems with it since, and have been diagnosed with shoulder impingement syndrome. I am pretty sure I could get a statement from my doc on this as well. I am rated at 10% for sciatica, which I am thinking of asking for a increase since I now have a foot drop (I have to wear a AFO), and have some muscle atrophy. I am rated at 30% for a mood disorder. That has gotten worse, and is well documented. I also received the additional diagnosis of PTSD last year. I am considering asking for a increase in this rating as well. I would gain nothing monetarily, but this could conceivably raise me to a combined schedular rating of 100%. All I am looking for is added cushion, should the VA decide to attempt lowering one of my other ratings, allowing me to preserve my TDIU rating. I know the rule of thumb is to not poke the hornet's nest once you are P&T. If the liver disease weren't basically a eventual death sentence, and the OSA didn't have the potential to cause life threatening conditions, I would not even consider this. So what do you guys and gals think? Should I go down this rabbit hole or let sleeping dogs lie?
  3. My father in law passed away yesterday and the family wants to bury him at Ft. Sam Houston. Anybody know how long it takes from the time the scheduling people recieve his dd214 to the actual burial? We only have a limited time to be in Texas and are trying to figure out the logistics. Thanks in advance.
  4. I would IRIS or call the VARO and explain what you need to them. The Nashville VARO was very accomodating when we purchased our house two years ago, but I was already P&T. You could also call the VA Home Loan folks in Atlanta. They were very helpful when we went through the process as well. Good luck. It's a demanding proecess, but it's worth it.
  5. Yes, ChampVA will pay for your dependants. You are still liable for 25% of the allowable charge until your deductible is met, though. If you drop your existing insurance, you would have to rely on the VA system. You could probably drop your dependants from your existing insurance, and just use ChampVA for them, while you kept it for yourself. That would lower the cost of the premiums and allow you to obtain medical care within the system that you are used to. If you are also getting Social Security disability, then you are eligible for Medicare (after the first year). They have several plans to choose from, and one of them may be less expensive that keeping your current insurance, and you would still be able to get care outside of the VA system. Again, all of this is subject to change when the US Supreme Court announces its ruling on Obamacare.
  6. Permanent and total written in a rating decision, along with a dollar bill, will get you a cup of coffee. In other words, no, it is not really permanent until the rating has been in effect for 20 years. If you are concerned about losing your current insurance forever, I would not drop it. I agree, though, that you should look into picking up ChampVA as a secondary insurance for your dependents. It isn't the best insurance we've ever had, but there is no monthly premium and the administrators have always been pleasant and helpful. You may want to wait and see what the Supreme Court does in regards to Obamacare, also. If they uphold all or part of it, pretty much everything will change. Some say for the better, others say for the worse. We'll just have to wait and see which holds true.
  7. Depending on what the C&P report says (supposing they actually did one) I'm 100% with PR on this. Take this SMR, highlite it, circle it, underline it, and mail it to them with a big fat CUE claim. Also send their own rating criteria back to them with the 30% criteria highlited and tell them to learn how to read.
  8. What they are saying is that your allergies are only present when the substance that you are allergic to is present. Therefore, if you are allergic to dogs, but the C&P examiner doesn't have a service animal sitting beside him, or dog residue all over his office, you exhibit no symptoms. If you exhibit no symptoms, then there is nothing to rate. SInce you are allergic to certain foods, it is a given that you will stay away from those foods, which again means you exhibit no symptoms. The Allegra/Claratin Rx's lead me to believe you have seasonal allergies as well. A very large number of the population has this, and the symptoms go away one the stimuli has finished blooming (aka "transitory"), therefore they will not rate it. Now, if you have a deviated septum from a broken nose while you were on active duty, or as a secondary to a service connected disability (say from a fall), and that condition caused the rhinitis, then it would be much more possible to get it rated. Sorry.
  9. Still gathering and reviewing evidence and going back over all the regs, etc. to decide on filing new claims. Not in a huge hurry to make a decision on that. I started thinking about the ILP again, and wondering if it could help me. I spent several years in the VR&E program years ago, and earned a degree through them. Now that I can't work, though, I am wondering if they still help with things to keep a P&T vet's mind occupied. I am a gunsmithing hobbyist, and would like the program to pay for some correspondence courses in that field. I have read that they no longer will help vets with things such as this, but I would not be asking for the equipment to set up shop with. I already have most of it anyway. All I would ask for is the take at home courses. There is no way I could sit in a classroom, or even take a time structured online course any more. I never know if I'm going to be able to even get out of the bed or move from the recliner on a day to day basis. The amount of constant pain and the meds to keep it all in check have done a number on my mind, and I'm thinking that having to concentrate on a subject would help with this. It would also further my knowledge on one of the few things I enjoy and help to keep me busy on days that I'm able. I've heard that they will buy IVDS vets things like mattresses and remodel bathrooms, etc. I just bought a Serta IComfort a couple of months ago (figures) for $2000. It has helped some. Wish I had known then that I could have possibly got the VA to spring for it. I have also used the HISA grant to remodel a bathtub into a walk in shower at our old house. It is my understanding that this can only be used once, though. I can't think of anything else that could be done to my home to make it easier for me. I've read some true horror stories on here last night regarding the ILP. Pete, TEAC and some other have been put through the ringer it seems. You guys think it is worth my time to apply, or just forget it as they won't do what it is that I am asking for?
  10. I am in agreement with Carlie (as usual). Yes, they can rate based solely on the new medical evidence on record, if they bother to actually request that information from the VARO. If the medical evidence resides outside of the VA system, it is up to the vet to get that information to the VARO, via signed release of information forms, and my preferred method of gathering those records yourself and then sending them in along with the request for increase. The usual scenario would be for the VARO to request a updated C&P, however. How long this can take depends on a few factors, such as how many other claims are in line ahead of you, and how many new claims from one of the "priority" groups are filed after your request. As was already said, this is also geographically dependent, too. If Dago, it can take a long time. In Nashville or Waco maybe in just a few months. I also agree that you have to have this evidence of symptoms in written form, from a doctor with a psychiatric/psychology specialty. It's not enough for you alone to think that you have these symptoms for the higher rating, or even for a nurse practitioner, physician's assistant, or a general practioner to have stated so in your medical records. The only way your medical records from a treating physician or IMO will outweigh the VAMC C&P examiner's is if their credentials are equal to, or greater than the examiner's. You should go over the rating criteria and the Mental Health C&P Exam Quide several times. If you don't know what either of those is saying, Google the phrase in question. You have to have a knowledge on the material greater than that of the rater, and as equal to the examiner as you can. This way you can tell the examiner exactly what is going on with you, and nothing will be lost in medical translastion, as often happens. Good luck! Mental Health C&P Exam Worksheet: http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/benefits/exams/disexm37.pdf Criteria for rating mental disabilities: http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=29f9b18a74de457da30287fab936b31b&rgn=div8&view=text&node=38:
  11. Thanks don. It was inspiring to me to find all that stuff back then. If I can manage to make myself feel better I will dig and find more of that info. I'm glad they were able to get your GERD somewhat straightened out. Nice to hear from you Betty. Thanks for the well wishes. I understand about dropping out of the game once you've won. I was a bit deflated at first, then the meds started making my memory uncooperative, and then I had words with some people I shouldn't have. I try to keep the mood disorder and its anger in check, but it wins every once in a while.
  12. Thanks for the info. I think yours is worse than mine is and you've dealt with it a little longer than I have. One thing I've learned healthwise over the years is that it can ALWAYS get worse. We have to keep reminding ourselves of this.
  13. I haven't had heartburn since it first started. Mine is actual reflux, where the stomach acid comes all the way up your throat. When I am having a espisode, usually at night, it's like being on the verge of vomiting without ever feeling nauseas. You don't have the queasy feeling, or the cold sweats. You just feel the acid in your throat and it causes your diaphragm muscle to spasm, which causes intense, deep chest pain that mimicks a heart attack. You can almost always tell the difference, though, because there is never any referred jaw or shoulder pain accompanying it.
  14. They don't do imaging during a C&P on a established spine condition because it would serve no purpose. Like you said, the rating criteria is based upon range of motion, ankylosing, and incapacitating episodes only. A MRI showing numerous problems at multiple levels wouldn't make any difference on the rating percentage. However, if each time you had to miss work due to the back pain, you would go to the VA ER and get it documented, and request a work excuse for missing a couple days of work, that would constitute a incapacitating episode. Also, the rater does have lattitude to increase the rating on a extra-schedular basis for the veteran's pain and quality of life, but they rarely ever do. You are right, though, working as a letter carrier and being able to walk 10 miles almost every day will hurt your claim, even if they don't admit that, and even though it has absolutely nothing to do with either the diagnosis or the rating criteria. I am detecting a degree of "pissed offness" in your post. That comes with the territory, and is completely normal. Have you ever talked to anyone in the mental health clinic at the VAMC? There is a condition called "mood disorder due to a general medical condition" that goes hand in hand with long term chronic pain. It's that edginess that makes us spineys go off the deep end at the drop of a hat all the time. You may want to look into it, and maybe get a anti-anxiety Rx. PS...it's a rateable condition. Hang tough, brother. You'll learn their language and get the rating you deserve in time.
  15. Carlie: Have food journaled several times. We have found several things that make it worse, namely caffeine, citrus, onions, garlicy foods (italian), and spicy (mexican) foods. I do my best to stay away from all of these, but because I can't sleep much I need regular coffee and/or a Red Bull some days. I love citrusy fruit, italian food, mexican food and onions, but I try to eat them very sparingly. I have my bed elevated, and when I actually sleep I use two high end, thick pillows. Sometimes I have to try to sleep sitting upright in a recliner. That actually makes it easier on my back as well. I was diagnosed with GERD in 1997, and started taking Omeprazole 20mg once a day then. That worked for a while, but eventually I ended up having to go to the 40mg dose. In 2007 I had to go to 40mg twice a day, and a few months ago we added Pantaprazole 20mg twice a day on top of that. In addition to this, I end up taking OTC acid reducers, eat Rolaids like candy, and go through a regular sized bottle of Pepto Bismal almost every week. Believe me, I know how serious it is. My brother has it as well, and his has already turned into Barrett's Esophagus. Mine is probably there, too, but I haven't let them scope me yet. They wanted to scope me for a C&P during a DRO review in 2008, but since that is a invasive procedure that is in no way necessary for a diagnosis (much less a dx that has been in existence for a decade), or for the rating criteria, I told them to pound sand and withdrew the claim. In my mind, at the time, I didn't see a need for the rating, because I was already TDIU P&T, and having the procedure would not help me medically. If they request one this time I will do it, if I haven't already had it done on the medical side. I need to get it SC'd before it turns into cancer and kills me.
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