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  1. Thanks guys, I called the VARO toll free number the other day and had this curious conversation with the associate there. I was told that my C-file has been at my local VAMC since my C&P examination in '05. He also told me that I would not be able to get a copy, or even view my records at the VAMC because they are not authorized to do so. I questioned him by asking, "If they're my records, why wouldn't I be able to view them there?" He responded by saying the records belong to the VARO and not the hospital. That's pretty odd, I thought that the records were mine, and that the VARO was just the custodian of those records! Since then, I have received information from the SSA that because of the delay of their request from the VA that I would now be scheduled for an appoinment for a pysch exam by the SSA! The associate from the SSA also stated that they always have difficulty dealing with the VA when it comes to requests for medical records. I honestly don't want to have to go through two more examinations, I have a C&P for increase this monday, and I haven't received an appointment from the SSA yet. I'll see if I can get some of the records from ROI and I'll try to fax them to the SSA. I've also contacted my representatives local office and I plan on going through him to complete my request for a copy of my c-file should all else fail.
  2. I have a C&P exam this comin monday, I have no problems going in there a requesting an increase for my SC PTSD! I don't think about the possibility of 'winning the lottery' given a successful outcome! I think about the bills I'll be able to pay back, the utilities I'll be able to have restored because of the extra money I might receive. I'm in the process of CUEing a denial from 1995 for SC PTSD, I think about the time after the denial, when I went to the VA for treatment, how a nurse asked me if I had ever filed a claim with the VA, and when I told her I had been denied she immediately responded, "Yeah, The VA always denies PTSD claims the first time around!" I think about how gratifying it will be to have the VA for once bend over and take it ...... (you know what I mean!) I think about how different my life now would be if I had been receiving any compensation since the mid 90s! How I wouldn't have a miserable credit rating right now. How I might've been able to build some equity by having bought a house. How after a decade of going it alone, I would've had the money to pay for my own education. I think about how my PTSD has sabotaged any meaningful relationship I've been in. How the guys I served with have families, homes, careers, etc. While I still have difficulty explaining to prospective employers why my work history averages out to about a job every 8 months! Or having to explain why I was fired from several jobs because I had assaulted coworkers. Would my wanting to buy a new vehicle (at an insulting interest rate!) not be justified because my current automobile has 200,000+ miles on it? Sure, if I ever received the retro I deserved for my service connected disability, there would probably be some impulsive purchases I would make, having just received a great amount of "life changing money", but who in the hell are you to go around telling others how to spend or justify what they purchase with money they have EARNED!
  3. Hey All, Here's a real peach, I requested a copy of my c-file in August 2005, still haven't received it, nor have I received anything saying they are in the process of copying it. I filed for SSDI nearly five months age and I called the SSA to see how far along they are in deciding my claim with them, and I was informed that they were just waiting on some medical information that they've requested TWICE from the VA!?!?! I have an upcoming C&P exam to determine if I rate a higher percentage for PTSD, but I can't really wait for the VA to take their sweet-*ssed time to send the key information that SSA needs to decide my claim... the bills are piling up and the collectors are calling daily! I tried to contact the VFW Department Service Officer, but I don't expect too much from them either. I'm starting to think that I should get in touch with a Congress-person or the Governer to help put a boot up the VA's b*tt! Any sugestions? Sincerely, Gerald
  4. Thanks Rick, I did have a sleep study done that was paid for by the VA. It was my therapist that recommended the sleep study be done because so many of the meds that he prescribed were losing their efficacy after a short period of time. At on point I was taking 5 seperate meds a night and was still haviing difficulty sleeping/ falling asleep. The sleep study results were a diagnosis of moderate sleep apnea with a severe REM component; I did't have any REM sleep until 2/3rds of the study was done. I forget how many episodes of apnea I had, but they were numerous. I'm not overweight, I don't drink or smoke. I do have an appointment next week with the VA physician to go over the results of the study (the sleep center recommended CPAP therapy) and I'll ask him to give me a statement saying that it's related to PTSD. My question still is this, is the citation from 38CFR3.310 "Proximate Results, Secondary Conditions" the correct one to use when filinf the claim?
  5. I'm assuming that the sleep apnea is secondary to the PTSD, from the little research I've done on it (I was just recently diagnosed) it would appear that way. Plus it was the VA that recommended the sleep study to find out if I did have sleep apnea because none of the fistful of medications I was taking for sleep were working.
  6. Hey all, Just a quick question about which Citation I should use for sleep apnea secondary to PTSD (50%)... The closest thing I could find was 38CFR3.310 "Proximate Results, Secondary Conditions", is this the regulation I should cite with my claim? Thanks, Gerald
  7. Martin, First of all, Welcome Home! I know it may not feel that way right now but at least you've found a community that appreciates your service. I'm sort of in the same boat with you right now, except that my 'work' is actually going to school; I should've graduated in the Spring of '04, but with the PTSD, it's been an uphill struggle. I would recommend that you look into the Soldier's and Sailor's Relief Act, it may have something to do with the amount of leave time you should've gotten when you returned. (Yes you should've received ample amount of time to decompress, without penalty.) It also says a lot about promotions you may have been entitled to while on active duty. A lot of people here will tell you that you should be award a certain percent compensation with your GAF of 45, I'm not saying they're wrong, but I wouldn't expect them (VA) to give you the highest amount on your first decision. (Although I sincerely hope they do) Be prepared for a lot of paper work and file a Notice of Disagreement (NOD) with anything they give you. My first GAF score was 41 and my first decision was for SC PTSD at 30%! I filed NOD and got 50%, and I'm appealing that decision too! Best of luck, our thoughts are with you and your family, Gerald
  8. Hey Cav, Well my diagnosis was for PTSD and depression, the GAF scores vary, when I first went to the VA I had a gaf of 41, later on during treatment I was rated at 45, 55, & 50. The VA assigned an 'overall' gaf of 55 in my SOC. I was more recently treated within the past two months, and my gaf was 45 when I first went in. Just an aside, do you or anyone else ever noticed/ had the VA assign different therapists for treatment? I feel like they're just bouncing me around from one to another.
  9. Hi all, Just got back from the VA where I had a follow-up appointment with the Nurse Practitioner about a recent sleep study. The results stated that I have Moderate Symptoms of Sleep Apnea which affect the onset of REM sleep/ sleep disturbances. The study concluded moderate obstructive sleep apnea, with a severe REM associated component. CPAP therapy was recommended. I currently have a 50% rating for PTSD, would the results of this study serve to increase the current rating? Should I file a separate claim? What would you all recommend? Sincerely, Gerald
  10. Ok, I just verified this under 38 USC, Part IV, Chapter 51, Sub II, para (i), and it looks like it pretty much answers my question.... I'm pretty much entitled to one year retro from the re-open date of the disallowed claim because this is the latest date under the criterion. I guess the only chance to get anything earlier than that would be an issue of semantics..... specifically whether or not you could consider the DD-215 a "correction" of my miltary records or actually an "updated" version of my records because the award was granted after I seperated from the service. I realize that this is probably be a moot point, but if Bill Clinton could argue the definition of the word "the" who knows! I'm joking of course! I guess one year retro is better than nothing, but at least I still may have the CUE on the VAMC outpatient records back to '95! Thanks Jstacy and all, Gerald
  11. John, The CAR is specific to the Navy/Marine Corps, it has no associated award and was instituted in 1969, but to answer your question, every Marine I've ever met that served in Desert Storm received one, which isn't suprising because of the Marines being the smallest branch of the uniformed services. I doubt that they handed them out arbitrarily though, because I know for a fact that the people I've talked to all had some type of combat service there. I would also add that it probably isn't as prestigious as the CIB, but like the CIB, the VA considers it to be evidence of a combat stressor. So maybe persuing your CIB may not be merely for your own pride, jmho. As a matter of fact the Army has instituted two badges for non-infantry combat, one is the Combat Medics Badge, and the other is the Combat (something-or other badge); they include some very specific critierion for qualification as well. I mean I was in Afghanistan foe a year, experienced numerous rocket and mortar attacks on the base, but I don't qualify for it. Gerald
  12. Woops, I guess I was off by a few years on the Duty to Assist issue, thanks for squaring me away Berta. I guess I'll have to wait for my c-file to make some logical conclusionsions. I remember when I first registered with the Lyons VAMC that I was asked if I was in combat, I replied yes. But as I mentioned I had no proof of that, not until I received my 215 in '03 at least. I understand that the Bell v Derwinski decision specifically states VA medical records being under constructive notice, whethethat might include proof of military service records (e.g. DD-214) fall under that category. I mean you have to provide them before you become eligable for treatment, right? My 214 does contain the South West Asia campaign medal (x3), as well as the Kuwaiti Liberation Medals (KLM) as well as unit citation awards, but I guess it would be a bit of a pipe-dream to expect the VA to maybe connect the dots and even consider that the veteran might have more awards not mentioned on his 214. Just a kookie thought, but I'm wondering if making the argument that the end of the campaign date is still TBD???? Well, just like I said before, I'll have to wait to get my c-file until I can verify my thoughts on the matter... Thanks again, Gerald
  13. Thanks Berta and Vike, I tend to agree with Berta on the constructive notice rulin of Bell. I believe it may be applicable. I did have a C&P exam in '95, however the VA claimed that I was a no-show for the appointment, that's why I'm still waiting for my c-file (over a year now) to ensure that I'm not mistaken.... it's been so long ago that I cannot remember. However, if I did miss the exam I most surely re-scheduled within a years time! I think that the issue of 'Not Well Grounded' may have something to do with this as well... from what I understand, it was somewhere around that time that the VA had to drop the well grounded claim and replace it with the 'Duty to Assist' policy. The outpatient records were from the VAMC, so I believe they are covered by constructive notice... I'll have to check out the Harris v Derwinski issue... I just remember back in '95 when I got the denial letter, that I felt like they just did a shoddy job with my claim... a few months afterwards when I returned to the Lyons VAMC for treatment for PTSD. I was talking to the nurse who mentioned that from here observation, that my symptoms would be compensable. When She asked me if I had applied for disability, I said, "I did, but they denied them." This was her response verbatum, "Oh, they always deny PTSD claims the first time around." Needless to say I became so disenchanted with the whole system that I stopped persuing it until I came back from Afghanistan in '03. (I'm a retread from the Marine Corps with a 9 year break in service, then Re-upped with the National Guard in '01) Anyway, thanks for the input, and as always I appreciate all the feedback. Gerald
  14. Hello all, I have a question regarding my claim and military awards. I am currently appealing a denial of a 1995 claim for PTSD. I reopened the claim in 2003, and I sent the VA a copy of my DD-215. The reason being that I was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon for my service during the Gulf war. The award date was actually after I seperated in January of 1992, therefore the award didn't appear on my 214... (it actually wasn't an omission, it just hadn't been awarded yet) I received the 215 in after I returned from Afghanistan in 2003. So here's my question. Because the award is considered evidence of a combat stressor, would the 'constructive notice' ruling apply to the failure of the VA to consider this award as evidence? Therefore a CUE commited by the VA? There is a direct connection between my combat experiences and PTSD. The other CUE I am persuing is because I believe, in the 1995 decision, the VA did not consider my outpatient records that include my diagnosis for PTSD. I appreciate the feedback. Gerald
  15. Thanks for the insight Berta, I think I may try to go directly through Lyons and East Orange, however; I now live in Arizona so I might wait and see if I get anything pertinent with my c-file (whenever that gets here....) Am I right when you said that your husband's files from the SSA had all the info? I just recently applied for SSDI, will I have access to the records they obtain as well (even though most, if not all of it will come from the VA)? None of the records are from the Vet Center until recently. I was seen there for a few sessions and then they reffered me back to the VA for some reason or another. Hopefully I'll start getting some more records to substantiate my claim. Until then I must thank you all for the helpful advice. Sincerely, Gerald
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