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broncovet

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Everything posted by broncovet

  1. I will start, with some general information about RAMP. You may, or may not get a letter from VA asking you to opt in to RAMP. You can still opt in anyway, by completing this form: https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/docs/appeals-RAMP-Opt-in-form.pdf and sending it to the address on the form. Currently, you have to make a choice: 1. Higher level review. Use this option if you dont have new evidence, but think the decision maker erred on your claim. 2. Supplemental claim lane. Use this option if you have new "relevant" evidence. I personally opted into RAMP about a week ago, after procrastinating a while. Why did I do this: My claim was from 2015. I checked on vets.gov and there are more than 148,000 Claims ahead of me AFTER waiting 3 years. And, my claim has "not" been certified to the Board, so that is another 773 MORE days, according to the BVA chairmans report, here: For 2017: https://www.bva.va.gov/Chairman_Annual_Rpts.asp This means if I stay in legacy appeals (and dont opt into RAMP), that I estimate it will take 5 or six MORE YEARS. Waiting "another" 5 years is unacceptable to me in any circumstances. So, I opted into ramp against the advice of my attorney. Why? Because I have a reasonable chance of getting my appeal done in 125 days, that the VA promises. The attorneys always say, "there are too many unknowns in RAMP". Well there are at least 5 unknowns in legacy appeals: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022. I would rather get denied in 2018 (so I can appeal ) than to wait until 2023, or later, and still maybe not get my benefits and still have to appeal.
  2. broncovet

    VACO shake up

    Yes, it seems to be a move in the right direction, but one thing is troubling: Apparently O Rourke, according to the article, lied to congress. For that, he is made an "advisor" to VA? Why would the VA want a known liar on its advisory panel?
  3. Yes, you can file to reopen due to new and material evidence, 38 cfr 3.156. There is a regulation for just that. You posted, I dont think you understand that you can appeal either SC, disability percentage, or effective date. You would be appealing the disability percentage, by reopening new and material evidence 3.156. I think maybe you are worried that, if you appeal, the VA can take away what you have. The VA and the VSO's LOOOVE it whn you think that way. They want you to be "afraid" of filing for an increase out of fear of a reduction instead. Remeber this acronym: F alse E xpectations A ppearing Real This is what fear is, precisely. The VA can reduce you, yes, if you imporve. And, they can take away benefits if you are a fraud. But they are not gonna take away your benefits because you forgot to send in another doc report that documents additional symptoms.
  4. broncovet

    Employment

    Did your doctor state you "are unable to maintain SGE due to sc conditions?" This is usually what is required, tho someone pointed out that Vets sometimes get benefits to which they are not eligible, as well as the all too familair being denied benefits they deserve. I dont want to sound alarms, but unless you have "overcome" your disabilities and have been able to go to work, you may be at risk for a cue error unless a doctor did, indeed make such a statement. Two famous people who were awarded 100 percent and went back to work are Tammy Duckworth and Max Cleland. The schedule of rating disabilites makes it clear that it means the "average" person would not be able to overcome their disabilities and go back to work, thus exceptional ones may do just that. My opinion is, that if you are working OR CAN work, then you may have to give up TDIU. TDIU is not designed for workers. Social Security also has a "path to employment" for disabled workers. I think Social security gives you a year or so, before they take your social security. VA has something similar. You have to send in a form every year, when you are tdiu, to continue. You certify if, or how much you worked in the last 12 months. If you dont send in that form, your benefits are subject to be taken away. If you lied on the form, that is a no, no. Dont do that. If you are able to work, even part time, then tell them how much you worked, and when. Further, I dont suggest, "pushing the envelope". In other words, work as much as you can, tell VA, and let the chips fall where they may. Dont do stuff like work only 4 months of the year to stay under the povertyl level so you can collect tdiu, when you could work more. The VA has ways of finding out stuff like this, and you dont want to go there. Play it honest, fair and square, or not at all. Its okay to maximize your benefits....but not by lying about your disabilities. Please understand, IM NOT ACCUSING YOU OF LYING. I have no idea of the severity of your disabiliities. Im simply suggesting dont make the mistake of exaggerating your disabilities to collect benefits, including, but not limited to tdiu. Instead, sleep well at night by telling the truth and accurate reporting.
  5. 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.
  6. Yes, they can "lower" (reduce) your rating, but its difficult for them, depending upon how long you have been rated. They have to send you a letter proposing the reduction and you can request a hearing to dispute the proposed reduction. Unless yours is a temporary rating, or you have been rated less than 5 years, you have protections, explained here: § 3.344 Stabilization of disability evaluations. (a)Examination reports indicating improvement. Rating agencies will handle cases affected by change of medical findings or diagnosis, so as to produce the greatest degree of stability of disability evaluations consistent with the laws and Department of Veterans Affairs regulations governing disability compensation and pension. It is essential that the entire record of examinations and the medical-industrial history be reviewed to ascertain whether the recent examination is full and complete, including all special examinations indicated as a result of general examination and the entire case history. This applies to treatment of intercurrent diseases and exacerbations, including hospital reports, bedside examinations, examinations by designated physicians, and examinations in the absence of, or without taking full advantage of, laboratory facilities and the cooperation of specialists in related lines. Examinations less full and complete than those on which payments were authorized or continued will not be used as a basis of reduction. Ratings on account of diseases subject to temporary or episodic improvement, e.g., manic depressive or other psychotic reaction, epilepsy, psychoneurotic reaction, arteriosclerotic heart disease, bronchial asthma, gastric or duodenal ulcer, many skin diseases, etc., will not be reduced on any one examination, except in those instances where all the evidence of record clearly warrants the conclusion that sustained improvement has been demonstrated. Ratings on account of diseases which become comparatively symptom free (findings absent) after prolonged rest, e.g. residuals of phlebitis, arteriosclerotic heart disease, etc., will not be reduced on examinations reflecting the results of bed rest. Moreover, though material improvement in the physical or mental condition is clearly reflected the rating agency will consider whether the evidence makes it reasonably certain that the improvement will be maintained under the ordinary conditions of life. When syphilis of the central nervous system or alcoholic deterioration is diagnosed following a long prior history of psychosis, psychoneurosis, epilepsy, or the like, it is rarely possible to exclude persistence, in masked form, of the preceding innocently acquired manifestations. Rating boards encountering a change of diagnosis will exercise caution in the determination as to whether a change in diagnosis represents no more than a progression of an earlier diagnosis, an error in prior diagnosis or possibly a disease entity independent of theservice-connected disability. When the new diagnosis reflects mental deficiency or personality disorder only, the possibility of only temporary remission of a super-imposed psychiatric disease will be borne in mind. (b)Doubtful cases. If doubt remains, after according due consideration to all the evidence developed by the several items discussed in paragraph (a) of this section, the rating agency will continue the rating in effect, citing the former diagnosis with the new diagnosis in parentheses, and following the appropriate code there will be added the reference “Rating continued pending reexamination ___ months from this date, § 3.344.” The rating agency will determine on the basis of the facts in each individual case whether 18, 24 or 30 months will be allowed to elapse before the reexamination will be made. (c)Disabilities which are likely to improve. The provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section apply to ratings which have continued for long periods at the same level (5 years or more). They do not apply to disabilities which have not become stabilized and are likely to improve. Reexaminations disclosing improvement, physical or mental, in these disabilities will warrant reduction in rating.
  7. broncovet

    Hearing

    I agree with Hamslice. The doctor saying he will "re evaluate" is not the same as saying you are getting a VA benefit re evaluation exam. The doctor is "treating" your symptoms. Trying to get you better. The VA is evaluating your disability percentages, trying to get you worse. The VA is prohibited from reducing your disability percentage unless you have "actual improvement". I doubt that your hearing has gotten better. But you would be the best one to answer that. Instead of worrying about a VA reduction for hearing loss in a 70 year old hard of hearing Vet, you should focus your worry on something more realistic, such as your house getting sucked up by a sinkhole, or getting struck by lightening. Or, maybe, getting shot by a shooter next time you go to a pizza parlor, or visit a school. If you, by chance, do encounter an armed shooter, I hope one or more of your friends took the CCW classes, and is packing their weapon so they can shoot back. It would be a tragedy if a crazed shooter was the only one armed. We certainly need more citizens with weapons so that , when people go crazy and start shooting, they can get shot back at quickly. The sooner the better. The crazy shooters dont seem to be breaking into Marine Corp or Army Infantry barracks, at least, not without someone shooting back. They prefer unarmed children to shoot at, who dont shoot back. This needs to change, by having more armed citizens, not fewer armed citizens. I do agree, the discrepency between tests is troubling, but it sounds like you have explained that with your tinnitus, and it does not sound like you have any "actual improvement" in hearing loss since your rating.
  8. You gave us very little information. Apparerntly, this disorder is rated upon the severity, and we have no idea how severe yours is. You also did not mention when your decision was, or if you appealed it. If you gave more information, we could better advise you. Ratings for eyes, follows: 4.79 Schedule of ratings - eye. Diseases of the Eye Rating 6000 Choroidopathy, including uveitis, iritis, cyclitis, and choroiditis. 6001 Keratopathy. 6002 Scleritis. 6006 Retinopathy or maculopathy. 6007 Intraocular hemorrhage. 6008 Detachment of retina. 6009 Unhealed eye injury. General Rating Formula for Diagnostic Codes 6000 through 6009 Evaluate on the basis of either visual impairment due to the particular condition or on incapacitating episodes, whichever results in a higher evaluation. With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 6 weeks during the past 12 months 60 With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 4 weeks, but less than 6 weeks, during the past 12 months 40 With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 2 weeks, but less than 4 weeks, during the past 12 months 20 With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 1 week, but less than 2 weeks, during the past 12 months 10 Note: For VA purposes, an incapacitating episode is a period of acute symptoms severe enough to require prescribed bed rest and treatment by a physician or other healthcare provider. 6010 Tuberculosis of eye: Active 100 Inactive: Evaluate under § 4.88c or § 4.89 of this part, whichever is appropriate. 6011 Retinal scars, atrophy, or irregularities: Localized scars, atrophy, or irregularities of the retina, unilateral or bilateral, that are centrally located and that result in an irregular, duplicated, enlarged, or diminished image 10 Alternatively, evaluate based on visual impairment due to retinal scars, atrophy, or irregularities, if this would result in a higher evaluation. 6012 Angle-closure glaucoma: Evaluate on the basis of either visual impairment due to angle-closure glaucoma or incapacitating episodes, whichever results in a higher evaluation. With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 6 weeks during the past 12 months 60 With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 4 weeks, but less than 6 weeks, during the past 12 months 40 With incapacitating episodes having a total duration of at least 2 weeks, but less than 4 weeks, during the past 12 months 20 Minimum evaluation if continuous medication is required 10 Note: For VA purposes, an incapacitating episode is a period of acute symptoms severe enough to require prescribed bed rest and treatment by a physician or other healthcare provider. 6013 Open-angle glaucoma: Evaluate based on visual impairment due to open-angle glaucoma. Minimum evaluation if continuous medication is required 10 6014 Malignant neoplasms (eyeball only): Malignant neoplasm of the eyeball that requires therapy that is comparable to that used for systemic malignancies, i.e., systemic chemotherapy, X-ray therapy more extensive than to the area of the eye, or surgery more extensive than enucleation 100 Note: Continue the 100-percent rating beyond the cessation of any surgical, X-ray, antineoplastic chemotherapy or other therapeutic procedure. Six months after discontinuance of such treatment, the appropriate disability rating will be determined by mandatory VA examination. Any change in evaluation based upon that or any subsequent examination will be subject to the provisions of § 3.105(e) of this chapter. If there has been no local recurrence or metastasis, evaluate based on residuals. Malignant neoplasm of the eyeball that does not require therapy comparable to that for systemic malignancies: Separately evaluate visual impairment and nonvisual impairment, e.g., disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800), and combine the evaluations. 6015 Benign neoplasms (of eyeball and adnexa): Separately evaluate visual impairment and nonvisual impairment, e.g., disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800), and combine the evaluations. 6016 Nystagmus, central 10 6017 Trachomatous conjunctivitis: Active: Evaluate based on visual impairment, minimum 30 Inactive: Evaluate based on residuals, such as visual impairment and disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800). 6018 Chronic conjunctivitis (nontrachomatous): Active (with objective findings, such as red, thick conjunctivae, mucous secretion, etc.) 10 Inactive: Evaluate based on residuals, such as visual impairment and disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800). 6019 Ptosis, unilateral or bilateral: Evaluate based on visual impairment or, in the absence of visual impairment, on disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800). 6020 Ectropion: Bilateral 20 Unilateral 10 6021 Entropion: Bilateral 20 Unilateral 10 6022 Lagophthalmos: Bilateral 20 Unilateral 10 6023 Loss of eyebrows, complete, unilateral or bilateral 10 6024 Loss of eyelashes, complete, unilateral or bilateral 10 6025 Disorders of the lacrimal apparatus (epiphora, dacryocystitis, etc.): Bilateral 20 Unilateral 10 6026 Optic neuropathy: Evaluate based on visual impairment. 6027 Cataract of any type: Preoperative: Evaluate based on visual impairment. Postoperative: If a replacement lens is present (pseudophakia), evaluate based on visual impairment. If there is no replacement lens, evaluate based on aphakia. 6029 Aphakia or dislocation of crystalline lens: Evaluate based on visual impairment, and elevate the resulting level of visual impairment one step. Minimum (unilateral or bilateral) 30 6030 Paralysis of accommodation (due to neuropathy of the Oculomotor Nerve (cranial nerve III)). 20 6032 Loss of eyelids, partial or complete: Separately evaluate both visual impairment due to eyelid loss and nonvisual impairment, e.g., disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800), and combine the evaluations. 6034 Pterygium: Evaluate based on visual impairment, disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800), conjunctivitis (diagnostic code 6018), etc., depending on the particular findings. 6035 Keratoconus: Evaluate based on impairment of visual acuity. 6036 Status post corneal transplant: Evaluate based on visual impairment. Minimum, if there is pain, photophobia, and glare sensitivity 10 6037 Pinguecula: Evaluate based on disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800). Impairment of Central Visual Acuity 6061 Anatomical loss of both eyes 1 100 6062 No more than light perception in both eyes 1 100 6063 Anatomical loss of one eye: 1 In the other eye 5/200 (1.5/60) 100 In the other eye 10/200 (3/60) 90 In the other eye 15/200 (4.5/60) 80 In the other eye 20/200 (6/60) 70 In the other eye 20/100 (6/30) 60 In the other eye 20/70 (6/21) 60 In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 50 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 40 6064 No more than light perception in one eye: 1 In the other eye 5/200 (1.5/60) 100 In the other eye 10/200 (3/60) 90 In the other eye 15/200 (4.5/60) 80 In the other eye 20/200 (6/60) 70 In the other eye 20/100 (6/30) 60 In the other eye 20/70 (6/21) 50 In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 40 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 30 6065 Vision in one eye 5/200 (1.5/60): In the other eye 5/200 (1.5/60) 1100 In the other eye 10/200 (3/60) 90 In the other eye 15/200 (4.5/60) 80 In the other eye 20/200 (6/60) 70 In the other eye 20/100 (6/30) 60 In the other eye 20/70 (6/21) 50 In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 40 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 30 6066 Visual acuity in one eye 10/200 (3/60) or better: Vision in one eye 10/200 (3/60): In the other eye 10/200 (3/60) 90 In the other eye 15/200 (4.5/60) 80 In the other eye 20/200 (6/60) 70 In the other eye 20/100 (6/30) 60 In the other eye 20/70 (6/21) 50 In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 40 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 30 Vision in one eye 15/200 (4.5/60): In the other eye 15/200 (4.5/60) 80 In the other eye 20/200 (6/60) 70 In the other eye 20/100 (6/30) 60 In the other eye 20/70 (6/21) 40 In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 30 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 20 Vision in one eye 20/200 (6/60): In the other eye 20/200 (6/60) 70 In the other eye 20/100 (6/30) 60 In the other eye 20/70 (6/21) 40 In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 30 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 20 Vision in one eye 20/100 (6/30): In the other eye 20/100 (6/30) 50 In the other eye 20/70 (6/21) 30 In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 20 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 10 Vision in one eye 20/70 (6/21): In the other eye 20/70 (6/21) 30 In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 20 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 10 Vision in one eye 20/50 (6/15): In the other eye 20/50 (6/15) 10 In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 10 Vision in one eye 20/40 (6/12): In the other eye 20/40 (6/12) 0 1 Review for entitlement to special monthly compensation under 38 CFR 3.350. Ratings for Impairment of Visual Fields Rating 6080 Visual field defects: Homonymous hemianopsia 30 Loss of temporal half of visual field: Bilateral 30 Unilateral 10 Or evaluate each affected eye as 20/70 (6/21) Loss of nasal half of visual field: Bilateral 10 Unilateral 10 Or evaluate each affected eye as 20/50 (6/15) Loss of inferior half of visual field: Bilateral 30 Unilateral 10 Or evaluate each affected eye as 20/70 (6/21) Loss of superior half of visual field: Bilateral 10 Unilateral 10 Or evaluate each affected eye as 20/50 (6/15) Concentric contraction of visual field: With remaining field of 5 degrees: 1 Bilateral 100 Unilateral 30 Or evaluate each affected eye as 5/200 (1.5/60) With remaining field of 6 to 15 degrees: Bilateral 70 Unilateral 20 Or evaluate each affected eye as 20/200 (6/60) With remaining field of 16 to 30 degrees: Bilateral 50 Unilateral 10 Or evaluate each affected eye as 20/100 (6/30) With remaining field of 31 to 45 degrees: Bilateral 30 Unilateral 10 Or evaluate each affected eye as 20/70 (6/21) With remaining field of 46 to 60 degrees: Bilateral 10 Unilateral 10 Or evaluate each affected eye as 20/50 (6/15) 6081 Scotoma, unilateral: Minimum, with scotoma affecting at least one-quarter of the visual field (quadrantanopsia) or with centrally located scotoma of any size 10 Alternatively, evaluate based on visual impairment due to scotoma, if that would result in a higher evaluation 1 Review for entitlement to special monthly compensation under 38 CFR 3.350. Ratings for Impairment of Muscle Function Degree of diplopia Equivalent visual acuity 6090 Diplopia (double vision): (a) Central 20 degrees 5/200 (1.5/60) (b) 21 degrees to 30 degrees (1) Down 15/200 (4.5/60) (2) Lateral 20/100 (6/30) (3) Up 20/70 (6/21) (c) 31 degrees to 40 degrees (1) Down 20/200 (6/60) (2) Lateral 20/70 (6/21) (3) Up 20/40 (6/12) Note: In accordance with 38 CFR 4.31 , diplopia that is occasional or that is correctable with spectacles is evaluated at 0 percent. 6091 Symblepharon: Evaluate based on visual impairment, lagophthalmos (diagnostic code 6022), disfigurement (diagnostic code 7800), etc., depending on the particular f
  9. I think you are asking about a possible effective date, if awarded. We really can not determine that without reviewing your file. However, I suggest you apply and file a nod disputing the effective date, if awarded at an incorrect effective date. Sadly, tho, its rare when you can get an effective date earlier than when you applied, and it takes special circumstances, such as a Nehmer class Vet (Vietnam) or if you applied within a year of service. Its still possible tho, you have an informal claim, and we wont know that unless your records are reviewed.
  10. Mike, I have no idea if your attorneys ignored this, or maybe they just did not tell you, and DID have your back. You should find out in a few months or so. This attorney no longer represents me, as I "won" a remand at cavc, got most of my attorney fees paid by EAJA. Then, the remand decision happened and I "won" but was not satisfied with the effective date of that board decision. Julie Glover elected not to repesent me (again), so I hired Chris Attig, instead, since I was again, at the cavc level. I have now been represented by 3 attorneys, tho not by choice. One, the NVLSP, 2 Julie Glover, and 3, Chris ATTIG. My experience has been that attorneys do very little or no "hand holding". They are not our counselors, they dont write us long emails detailing a rebuttal to our newest entitlement theory we sent them. While we may not think so, they dont make all that much money. I think Julie billed EAJA for about 30 hours of attorney time. That was not near enough. My cfile was at least 1500 pages long. JUst to read that, if you can read a page in 2 minutes, is 50 hours. (Its a very fast reader to read a page in 2 minutes) This is not to prepare a brief, not to do anything..just read my file. So, she had to have done a lot of work and not get paid for it. Lots of it. I dont know about you, but I dont like working and not getting paid...for all my hours. (Whatever the hourly rate is) You probably also wanted to get paid for all your hours worked when you worked by the hour. So, I did/do not get a lot of handholding and they dont send me a letter then discuss ramp on the phone for an hour. No. They simply just do what they think is best. I dont blame them. I dont call every Veteran and explain every thing to them either. I tell them to go to hadit, read all they can, if their question is not answered I will try to get to their question, but others might instead. Im glad others answer questions. VA law is not all that lucrative. At least one attorney I met "no longer does Vets benefits". Why? Well would you like to work for a man and then "maybe" get paid 5 years later? Its no wonder so few want to do Vets law. Anyway, Chris Attig is also extremely busy and does not return every call and answer every time I ask him if he thinks this or that will fly. I read his brief he filed for me, and it was very very good, and he described my claim way better than I could. So did Julie. I suggest you "hang in there"..with RAMP, you will likely know something maybe by the end of this year. I am glad at least one attorney recommends RAMP, as most dont like it. You will like it also, if you get some retro, even if you still have to appeal effective dates or whatever. Anything is better than waiting 5 more years on an appeal in my opinion.
  11. broncovet

    Claimed Denied

    Welcome to the "group" of about 85 percent of Veterans who are denied on their first time claim! (Only about 15 percent of first time claimants are awarded benefits). Is it fair? No. What to do about it? TWO words: Appeal and persistence. Those work when other stuff, like quitting, fails. Most of us who have been awarded benefits have been denied multiple times. I think I counted 12 denials in the since 2002, when I first applied. However, I have been awarded 100 percent and am now appealing the effective date, and Im close to done. What should you do? File a NOD disputing these denials. Order your cfile, and make sure you have all 3 Caluza elements. Get those, if you dont have them documented.
  12. Like the rest of us, you will just have to wait for the decision, and not rely upon ebenefits or our estimates. Howver, based on being an optimist, congratulations!
  13. Maybe. You know your symptoms better than I do, and you can look up the schedular rating criteria for each, and compare your symptoms (only those which are documented in your cfile!!) with the criteria. However, I did not read in your post where your doctors said the magic words. Without these magic words, none of this means anything. The magic words are : (drum roll): Either: A. Your (current diagnosis) is "at least as likely as not" due to (in service event or aggravation). OR B. Your (CURRENT DIAGNOSOS) IS secondary to (an already service connected condition). If your doc does not say the "magic words", then SC is a no go. The magic words are known as the Caluza element trio, and are required for service connection. Many a Vet, and many a VSO, has overlooked the basics of Caluza and wound up with a denial. However, people who read hadit, are not often fooled by this, because I repeatedly tell people to mind your Caluza's or get denied.
  14. You posted: A C and P isnt given every time. It wont be given if there is a) already medical evidence to support service connection b) OR it also wont be given if a c and p exam wont change the outcome. If you are lacking an "in service event", for example, a c and p exam wont provide that. YES, waiting drives us crazy. This is why I recently opted into RAMP, even tho my attorney advised against it. He said, "there are too many unknowns" in RAMP. Well, IMHO, the BIGGEST issue is WHEN. A legacy appeal to the BVA is taking about 6 years now. At least. I checked and my 2015 appeal hasnt yet been certified to the board (which takes 773 days, according the the BVA chairmans report), and there are over 140,000 Vets ahead of me in line..that is after I have already waited 3 years. Given that it will take me another 4 or 5 MORE years, this is totally unacceptable to me in every way. Even a denial is better, because I can appeal a denial and, at least, not be stuck in a VA "delay mud hole" for 7 years with legacy appeals.
  15. There are 2 ways to become TDIU: 4.16a and 4.16b. Multiple years ago, I asked a former rater on another website about referral to extra schedular consideration (4.16b), when the Veteran does not meet the "percentage requirements" yet is still unemployable. He said that (4.16b) was very rare, and frankly to forget it, that it would not happen. I did not listen to him, and persued 4.16b (extraschedular) tdiu anyway. Sure enough, the VARO, and VACO denied. However, last year, I was awarded Extraschedular TDIU, (4.16b), which resulted in about 2 years of retro, but only after I persisted with several rounds of appeals, including trips to the CAVC. Im so glad I did not listen to this former VA employee (rater) and filed anyway, who bragged about how much experience he had with x number of years of experience even training other raters. Bottom line: File for TDIU as well as an increase in your other disabilities. Given that you have evidence your doc already said you are unable to maintain SGE, you should eventually win as long as you apply, and persist until you do win.
  16. broncovet

    Hearing

    The doctor you spoke with is unlikely an audiologist, and may not understand how VA rates hearing loss. If you study the hearing loss rating table, like I have, you need to understand that SPEECH DISCRIMINATION is actually more important to your VA rating than is your decibel loss. There is actually a good reason for this, once you understand what speech discrimination really is. When someone says the word "spoon" our brain coverts this into an image of a common eating utensil. If one spoke the word spoon in a language we did not understand, say Chinese, our brain might "hear" the word, but be unable to bridge the gap to the common eating utensil, and not understand. As we age, and especially with hearing loss, the brain tires of trying to convert letters into images, that is, a spoon into something we understand and know well. This is called speech discrimination, and it measures how much our brain is failing at converting the words we hear into something meaningful. I could say spoon in Chinese several times, and you would not likely understand what I am talking about. In a similar way, people with low speech discrimation lose their ability to convert words they hear into something meaningful. Your doctor may/may not know about speech discrimination scores and their affect on people with hearing loss. Likely he does not know, unless he has been trained in audiology. Bottom line: Dont worry about a possible reduction. Do, however, consider a private hearing test, as buck says, with speech discrimination, if you want to eliminate doubt. Its unlikely your hearing has improved, its more likely your doc does not understand audiology and or the hearing loss schedule of ratings. I have had exactly "ONE" doctor out of about 40 or so VA docs who really understood how hearing loss affects your life. The other 39 had no clue. This doctor is legally blind, and has actually done research on "sensory deprivation". Science now knows that (but VA does not like to admit) how sensory deprivation causes depression. Its easy to see, because we have put many prisoners in the "cooler"..where there is no one else in the cell, sometimes very little light, and almost no sounds. It drives humans crazy fairly quickly to be deprived on sensory stimulation. The inabilty to hear, also, drives us crazy and causes us to be depressed. I see this, now that my doctor explained it to me. I also know ( a little) how to prevent my hearing loss from driving me even crazier. There ARE things you can do.
  17. Dont wait, take the initiative and send in the form for TDIU yourself. You can print it off from here, or ask your VSO to print it for you, if you dont have a printer. Sorry I missed this earlier. Each month you delay sending in the form could cost you the difference between 100 percent and 90 percent, which is a large amount, NOT 10 percent like one would think. Even better, your kids could get Chapter 35 earlier, which could be a big deal for them especially if they start school in the fall. https://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/vba-21-8940-are.pdf
  18. Did the board decision specify an effective date? I think Congratulations are in order, the board has apparently awarded you benefits. I think you are probably numb, and not even beleiveing what you read. I have done that.
  19. It sounds like you are seeking TDIU, and wanting to know if your work situation is a "protected environment", as far as "what VA will do". Of course, we can not say for sure "what VA will do", that is, will they consider you in a "protected environment" for TDIU purposes or not. However, (if I understand your question correctly, and that would not be the first time I wasnt getting it) its pretty rare when VA grants TDIU to someone who is working. Perhaps more importantly that whether you are in a protected enviornment, is do you meet "the rest" of the criteria. Did a doctor say you are "unable to work due to your SC condition(s)"? If not, you then you probably dont meet the criteria for TDIU anyway. If a doctor did say this, does he know you are working? Did he approve of you working in this "protected environment". All this said, I can see how this would all make sense. You have intermittent migraines which sometimes takes you out of the workplace, but you apparently have a job flexible enough to accomodate that. Normally, "protected environment" is some sort of family business where they offer a disabled Vet a "job" which keeps him busy, and keeps him from getting bored, but he really would not be able to perform the job outside of the family business. In other words, the family is essentially donating to him all or some portion of his salary.
  20. Of course, that choice is up to you. For the most part, I have not gotten insurance, and, when I get sick, I go to the VA. If you do go to an emergency room other than VA, be sure to follow their rules. https://www.va.gov/COMMUNITYCARE/programs/veterans/emergency_care.asp More recently, however, I got 65 and decided to get Medicare Part B (medicare advantage plan) also. Its about 124 bucks or so per month. I get the insurance, even with VA, because I dont "have" to go to VA if I think their care is inferior. I go to a private doc who accepts my medicare advantage, humana. However, so far I have been on humana about 8 months and have yet to see a private care doc. I may do so in the very near future, tho. Some VEts think the VAMC is the best thing since sliced bread. Others wont set foot inside a VAMC. And, every where in between. You basically need to decide which is more important: 1. The money for insurance. Private insurance for self employed could get very expensive. 1000 per month, or more. Get a quote if you like. 2. The flexibility of not "having" to go to the VAMC, but to any private doc that accepts your insurance. For me, it was about money. I wasnt spending 1000 per month, I just went to the VA when I got sick. But, 124 per month is more affordable and I decided I think its worth that, tho its possible I may drop humana medicare part b, if I find its not worth it.
  21. You posted, I was confused, because in your earlier post, you had posted you had "never seen a doctor", and had no diagnosis. The advice we give can not be any better than the accuracy of your posted information. However, now that we got it straightened out you "do" have a diagnosis, you could file on the hip impingment and arthritis, if you think these conditions are related to service. It does not matter, too much, whether You think they are related to service, and it does not matter if I think they are or are not related to service. What matters is does your doctor think they are related to an event in service, or were aggravated in service. I suggest you simply ask your doctor. I did . I asked my doctor if she thought my arthritits of the knee was related to a knee fracture in service.
  22. I think most of us here have been through denials. Alex says about 85% of first time claimants are denied. This is consistent with what has happened to me. If a bird does his duty on your head, its probably not your fault. But, dont let the bird build a nest in your hair, as then it would be your fault. You cant control your circumstances, but you can control what your response is. You will simply have to appeal, pretty much, like everyone else. Ebenefits could well be wrong.
  23. broncovet

    Hello Everyone...

    Welcome to hadit. Veterans on hadit are very diverse. Some love to tell stories from the military, yet others do not want to talk about it. Feel free to share your stories. I dont tell too many stories, in part, because some may think its bragging. It may be, but here goes, anyway. I made rank very quickly in the Navy. This had a lot to do with that I have always done well on tests, and the test to make rank were no exception. I think that may have to do with my father. He told me I was smart, and I beleived him. I was probably about 20 years old when I made E5..which is a supervisory rank where I worked. The boss came to me and explained. (He was a civilian..we worked with civilians and military together, and they made it ultra clear we were to obey Ken Metz, he was the big boss. Well Ken came to me one day and told me that I was being promoted to shift supervisor, but he also told me he did not think I was ready. I asked, "Why not?" "Because you are a kid." Now, I know he was right, but back then, "20 year olds" dont want to be thought of as children. So, consistent with my fathers training, I asked what I needed to do, to do well at (this new supervisory) position. He responed that I should know "what is right" by now, and the whole procedure. Having been an assistant supervisor, I knew what had to be done. He says I would be on the midnite shift, and that he wont be there to watch over me, that he just wanted "stuff done correctly when I get there at 6 am". I said, "OK". So, through my shift, I went around and checked to make sure the work was being done correctly. I checked and double checked. One super important job was the paychecks for the whole base, which I printed off twice a month. My name was early on the alphabet, so I simply checked my paycheck to see if it was correct, as I knew pretty much how much it was supposed to be. Well, one day I printed paychecks, and I could tell mine was wrong. Very wrong. Off by 60 percent. So, I called the programmer at 3 am, and told him what I saw. He said, "yes, that is bad. We have to fix that. Go get the printout and sit down and we will go over it together. The programmer and I figured out that a keypuncher had punched the FICA taxes one digit in the wrong place, so that 60 percent were deducted for taxes instead of 6 percent. He had me "remake" the card, with everything one digit to the right, and re run the job. It was correct, and I printed the paychecks. A few days later, Ken called me into his office. He said, "Have you ever been in a room of people where 30 of them are in your office, all mad because their checks were not on time?" "No, Sir, I have not." I responded. "Well, I have, and I can tell you its NOT fun". " The other day, I found out you noticed an error in the paychecks, and corrected it, with help from the programmer, and ran those out on time and correct. Is that right? " I can not tell you how grateful I am that you were conscientious and did this. I was wrong about you not being able to handle the job. Beleive me, if you need something from me, you ASK. I knew he meant it. After that, I pretty much got anything I wanted..including a whole week off TAD just to play in a chess tournament. After I got home and out of the service, I noticed he awarded me the "good conduct" medal. Any credit for this, I have to give my father. He taught me to do jobs THOROUGHLY. He said that if you dont have time to do it right the first time, WHEN will you have time to do it over? Yes, its bragging, a bit, but my dd214 says I have been awarded the "Good Conduct" medal. I dont think that "hurt a bit" when I sought benefits.
  24. broncovet

    Hearing

    As (almost) always, I agree with Berta, but will add my 2 cents. IF the VA has called you in for a C and P exam, then dont miss it under any circumstances. Its pretty much an automatic denial if you fail to show for a c and p exam, or in your case, the VA will likely initiate a proposed reduction if you were called to a c and p reduction exam. SAFEST BET: Go to a private audiologist and ask for a hearing test, and keep the results. Compare those results with exam 1, and exam 2, to see which it more closely approximates. Many/most audiologists will not charge for a hearing test. After you get a private hearing test, you can look at the results and then decide whether or not to send this evidence to VA. Its not required we send every doc exam to VA, in fact, the VA can only look at exams where we release the results to them by signing a release form. If your new exam approximates the 80 percent exam, or is worse, then send that new evidence to VA if you like. If the new exam is more in line with the 0 percent, then I would not stir up a hornets nest sending that in.
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