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broncovet last won the day on January 23

broncovet had the most liked content!

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About broncovet

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    E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer

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  1. "Ebenefits" isnt a process. Yes, you can apply online, through ebenefits, and, if you are lucky, you may be able to check the status through ebenefits. Most Vets advocates agree that ebenefits is unreliable. While it can be useful, I just dont count on ebenefits. I suggest that even if you apply online through ebenefits, go ahead and submit a paper copy and mail it to the evidence intake center, Certified Mail Return Receipt requested. I can not tell you how many times Vets have applied either online or mailed in to VA and they lost that claim. Yes, VA lost my claims, too. Tatoo this on your arm, if necessary to remember it:
  2. It sounds like you are getting it together. Just a few suggestions: 1. You need to decide on a representative, or to "go it alone". Both have advantages and disadvantages. A VSO wont "cost" you anything, but THERE are hidden costs. For example, your VSO "could" give you advice which costs you money, such as delaying filing, not appealing, or not going for an increase. If the advice is suspicious, then post it to hadit where there are members with 10 plus years experience. I am one of them. 2. Do keep on trying to get those lost records, BUT, they dont "always" make a difference. Focus on the basic "Caluza triangle" of a) Current diagnosis b) in service event or aggravation and c) nexus or medical link between your current diagnosis and the in service event. You dont have to have each time you were treated in the military to document your conditions. 3. If you have little or no income, then consider also filing for pension. Its easier to get than compensation and, if my VSO would have suggested I apply for pension at the same time as compensation, then I would not have lost my home, as the pension would have been enough to get by while I was fighting VA for compensation. 4. Like this or not, VA insists that only their own docs can diagnose PTSD (for VA comp purposes). Outside docs can diagnose and treat almost anything, but VA wants your PTSD diagnosed by a VA doc. If you have a PTSD diagnosis by a VA doc, then you have "leg 1" of the Caluza triangle, which is required for service connections. You will also need a "stressor" (in service event that caused your PTSD. PTSD can be caused by stuff outside of the military, of course, so you need documentation of your stressor, whether it be PTSD or MST) So, for example, if you were a victim of MST at Ft. Bragg, but you did not report it, its gonna be difficult for you to get SC for MST. 5. Documentation is everything. If it isnt documented, it never happened according to VA.
  3. The smart way to do this is to go ahead and apply for an increase AND TDIU, and let VA decide which. (It shouldnt matter too much if you are rated 100 percent or TDIU in many cases. Of course, as I explained, file a nod if the decision (as I understand your post) WAS IN May 2017. You have to May, 2018 to file a nod, so "get er done".
  4. This is the schedule of ratings for Meniere's syndrome, it sounds like you may have been lowballed if you are "unable to work" due to sc condition(s): If you have been lowballed you should either: 1. Appeal if your decision was within a year or 2. Apply for an increase if its been over a year. In some cases, you may be able to allege CUE if VA did not comply with the rating criteria, above, and you have it documented.
  5. Good advice from Gastone. You are in a better position to know how long you would live, much better than we are. You also know your finances better than we do. Currently, you can collect full social security disability and VA compensation. So, why would you want to take retirement, when you could (almost certainly) get SS disability since you have already established you meet the defination of disabled for the VA.
  6. Mr.

    Well, the VA wouldnt "calculate an IMO" into the claim. The main purpose of an IMO/IME is to establish a nexus, that is, to establish that the condition of depression is "at least as likely as not" due to an event in service. However, beyond the Caluza triangle, an IMO/IME could also be used to: 1. Demonstrate symptoms that were not fully documented with VA, 2. Possibly, it could be used for an earlier effective date. That is, if a doctor opined you were depressed (based upon your records) at an earlier date than VA says, it may help.
  7. I have said this before: As far as benefits go, you need these 3 things for service connection: 1. Current diagnosis 2. In service event or aggravation 3. Nexus, or docs opinion which links 1 and 2 above. This should be in a format, "its at least as likely as not that the Veterans (condition) was related to xy event in military service. If you served during wartime, and you have almost no income, you can also apply for VA pension. Now, as far as your health issues, I dont always recommend going to VA docs exclusively. For example, they rarely, if ever prescribe "alternative" medicine. I read where the year was about 1980's when the number of annual "alternative medicine" visits exceeded those by MD's. "Alternative medicine" is things like chiropracter, accupuncture (accupressure), aroma therapy, nutrition therapy (sometimes called food therapy), magnetic therapy, holostic medicine, herbs, and more. I say if the MD route has not worked for you, then you should consider other alternative therapies. I really think there are times where the pills doc give us do more harm than good. I think that some of them also deplete things like calcium.
  8. That is why hadit works so well...no one knows it all. Well, except for Berta...
  9. Thank you for correcting me, Vync. SMC K is obviously not the "only" way to get compensation in this regard.
  10. How to get C&P Exam results

    Excellent question. Perhaps someone "in the LA area" can answer better than I can, but I will say how it is here: There are 2 types of C and P exams, those done by VA and those done by a contractor, such as QTC: 1. Contractor: Since the VA paid for your c and p exam, they "may" not want that released to you as this can be used to help you obtain benefits. However, I simply suggest you request the same. I think VA will release it, especially if you have already received your decision. They dont seem to always want to release C and P exams quickly as that gives you time to get an IMO/IME, and VA does not want to increase your chances of an award, they want to deny as much as they can, regardles of what some ex VA employees on another site may tell you. 2. If VA did it, then just go to your VAMC's "release of information", sign a consent form, then you may be able to walk out the door with a copy. My VAMC hands you up to about 40 pages of your medical records right away, but if you want all of your lengthy records, you have to wait until they are mailed to you.
  11. As many may know, Congress has passed new legislation which essentially requires VA to cut down on appeal backlog. This plan is known as "RAMP". Currently, only Veterans who ARE INVITED by VA can elect to go with RAMP. Im not sure it will do much good to write to VA and tell them you want RAMP, tho its POSSIBLE that VA may grant this request. A well known law firm has published some credible, and valuable information on RAMP. If offered a chance to "RAMP" through a VA letter, its probably a good idea to: 1. Just do it and go for RAMP. 2. At least read the following before declining ramp, and discuss this with your representative. https://cck-law.com/news/news-cck-live-revisiting-ramp/ MY summary: UNLESS you have a compelling reason, opt "in" for RAMP. CCK says you should not do RAMP if any of these would harm your claim: However, veterans should fully consider that participating in RAMP means: not being able to appeal to the Board until at least February 2019. not being able to take their claim directly to the Board of Veterans Appeals. never going back to the legacy appeals process.
  12. I would humbly suggest its "probably" not the case that your lawyer is "delaying the case" so that the retro is larger. While I have heard that before, it simply hardly ever happens for several reasons: 1. Your attorney would rather get paid "today" than "next year". There is actually a formula which calculates the time value of money, where money today is always worth more than money tommorrow. There is never any interest, so there isnt a financial reason to suggest the attorney would get more by waiting. Of course, you could get more months of retro, but at 0 percent interest, the attorney is better off getting another client rather than delaying your claim to get more money. 2. Attorney's have to have the VA/or the courts approve their payment, and they watch stuff like that. 3. In addition to it not making any sense for the lawyer to delay, most lawyers rely upon their clients for referrals to build their business, and this would be counter productive. 4. Most attorney's who represent Vets (at least the Nova ones) do so because of ethics, not in spite of ethics. If "money" is an attorney's only motivation, Veterans law is a very poor choice as this area of law is not lucrative. I spoke with an attorney who "quit" doing Veterans law because he was as frustrated as we are with VA taking years to be paid. When we are repeatedly frustrated by VA, we are looking for someone to blame. While this is almost always the VA ineptness/corruption fault, it is also sometimes the Vets fault or his VSO. For example the VSO does not always check to ensure there is a valid nexus, and its futile to contine a claim without solving the nexus problem. While this can often be fixed with a IMO/IME, the unwary Vet may not be aware that he needs the IMO, as his nexus is insufficient or missing altogether. If you have an experienced Vets law attorney, he or she is aware of the critical need for a valid nexus, and will "get after it", if necessary, so that both the Vet and the attorney can be paid. While you did not indicate the level of appeals you are in, at the CAVC level, the EAJA almost always pays most or all of the VEts attorney fees. The CAVC judge will be able to know if the attorney is dragging his feet to increase the retro. When I hired an attorney last year, my attorney specifically suggested we delay this as long as possible, and for a very good reason, which is in my best interest. You see, I have already been awarded the benefit, and we are seeking an earlier effective date. So, waiting six months or a year wont increase his pay or my number of months. However, the new program "RAMP" is a very big deal. I read where 65% of the Vets on RAMP are awarded benefits. That is more than double the "non ramp". The VA is transitioning to all the VEts going on RAMP, but are doing a limited number each year in order to test and refine the program. My attorney is not in a hurry as hundreds or thousands more Vets become eligible for ramp each month, and this increases my chances of a "win". Basically, the way I understand RAMP is that the VA admits you have been delayed "too long" and they try to "settle" as fast and as many as possible. All this RAMP stuff may not make sense, but it makes perfect sense to me. I have been trying to get my benefits since 2002, and I can see that my odds greatly increase each month as more Vets are selected to participate in RAMP each month. You can only do RAMP if INVITED TO DO SO BY VA. Neither the VEt nor the attorney can elect "RAMP". Ramp is an acronym for the new legislation where congress mandated VA reduce the appeal backlog, and VA is under tremendous pressure to do just that. This credible, well known law firm explains RAMP: https://cck-law.com/news/news-cck-live-revisiting-ramp/ https://cck-law.com/news/ramp-rapid-appeals-modernization-program/ In a nutshell, if my claim is still in appeals in Feb. 2019, I will go into ramp, and may go before that.
  13. I agree with Vync who took the time to give a great explanation. It will likely boil down to a doctor's opinion as to whether or not it is "at least as likely as not" that your condition(s) are related to xy event in military service. The "loss of use" of a reproductive organ (caused by military service) is SMC K, which is about $105 per month. Its somewhat explained here: https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/3.350 In part,
  14. The person who performed the VARO hearing is almost certainly not a medical professional, and his opinon is insufficeint to award/deny benefits as far as medical evidence, he must cite a medical professional's opinion, instead. Effective dates are a complex area of VA law, and it often takes an attorney to win them, but its almost always worth the effort. VA's GS9's are rarely allowed to award six figure retros. Instead, they just deny and it eventually takes a judge to award them.
  15. Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs, where you have to fight the VA for everything, and them fight them again to keep it, sometimes. Due to the length of time, an attorney's help may be indicated.