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Everything posted by Testvet

  1. yes the lawyer only makes statements of fact and they know how to document your statements so they do not get twisted by the regional office, I spent 7 years fighting the RO on my own and the VSOs in the early years, but I let my mouth and e mail keep me in trouble once the lawyer took over the mess was settled in less than 2 years and everything was SC that needed to be in order to protect my wife for DIC and Champva. The lawyer took all the stress off of me and my wife and life got better, since then we did file and A&A claim which we handled ourselves and was granted taking me to SMC L I am not sure if I should be M or not but I don't care at this point, it's not about money it is about protection of my spouse. I would recommend a certified VA practice lawyer to anyone, I do not recommend one of these large groups that use paralegals and practice under the one certified lawyer that will never see your claim, deal with a real veterans lawyer
  2. there are no "little mistakes" every statement put on paper is a "fact" with the VARO as long as they want it to be, if the veteran provides it, then it was obviously skewed in the veterans favor so all self serving statements are considered to be "lies", they tend to give the same weight to statements from family members and friends, they want evidence from "professionals" so they will ignore facts as long as they have a C&P exam done by a nurse practioner signed off by a physician who never saw you to fall back to when they write the denial letter. One of the VA Nurse Practioners who did that similar thing to me back in 2004, ran into me after I won my BVA Appeal in June 2009 on the IHD issue sho opined about in 2004, and the doctor who did another C&P on cardiac issues which led to another denial, we found out later thru the state medical license board that he was a radiologist and the VARO took his statements over 2 board certified cardiologists who wrote IMOs in my favor, the BVA judge took a short look at the fiasco and granted my cardiac issues. I started my claims with a "heart problems" claim in Dec 2002 by Dec 2003 I was mad at the DAV SO who was handling my claim by failibg to file the PTSD issue in July when I gave him the paperwork I had just got denying the "heart problems" I told him I wanted to appeal the denial, well he said he would do those two things, well at Xmas we were in Augusta and I went by the VA to see him about my claim, he was gone for Xmas but his secretary pully my file and all the paperwork from July was just tossed in there upside down and nothing had been done, I took my papers told her I was I firing the DAV as my rep and left mad as hell, with the help of people here I filed my own claim thru the Regional Office before the end of the month to secure Dec 2003 for an effective date. His errors cost us over 18,000 dollars. It took me 2 years before I got to 100% for PTSD, first 50% in Apr 2005 I filed the NOD the next day the evidence in my records justified at least a 70% TDIU award if not the 100% in Jan 2006 we had a DRO meeting in April 2006 they granted 100% P&T for PTSD and again denied the heart problems. I was happy but my heart problems were going to kill me so I needed that SC to ensure my wife would keep her CHAMPVA and DIC. We filed another appeal on the heart issues but we had gotten more info here, so we added the hypertension and how the PTSD aggravated the heart problems etc so bottom line is we kept the issue alive until the VA changed the rules and allowed vets to use lawyers for appeals to BVA. I found a lawyer thru Larry Scott at VA Watchdog when I was still writing columns for him around that time. She took my case pro bono since my denials and appeals had predated the lawyer agreements with VA, she could not let us pay her, but she still took it because she could see that we were getting shafted. It took her less than 18 months to get new C&Ps and appeals to DRO and then on to BVA, she paid for a new IME which we feel helped tip the scales as we saw that doctor face to face, instead of a records review. He also showed how stress elevates bad cholesterol which led to the CA and how it took years to develop but the stress started from the PTSD stressors while I was in service. Bottom line is with perseverance we won and evidence. Sometimes you have to show the "small mistake" doesn't affect the end product.
  3. Sorry for this I know it is not on topic but I just noticed a change in my status on the side menu. and it will probably take T Bird or Carlie or Pete or someone to answer it, when was I changed to an Elder status? Two things come to mind, I am getting old, I have been here what 11 years now? I am grateful for the honor of being named an elder, I have been so beat down by my cardiac problems and I Have been going down the long roll out on one of the largest roller coasters ever built since April 2011 and the past year has left me close to bedridden around the clock the only time I leave the house is for doctor appts and trips to the ER I left my house 11 times last year 7 ER trips all put me in ICU in ranges from7 days to 21 days and 4 doctor appts, tommorrow I go to Augusta for my shrink, but I have gone from 155 in April 2013 when I was last discharged to 190 yesterday, so 35 pounds is to much weight to be keeping on since I am not putting on muscle or fat, it's all liquid and my stomach is swollen and extended, I expect them to put me back in ICU and drain about 25-30 pounds off my lungs again like they did last year. Hopefully it will work and I can make it to 59 next year, say a prayer for me, I like spending their money, it's my way of getting even with them for treating me like a piece of garbage from Dec 2002 when I filed my claim and it continues today they are vdragging their feet on the home grant to make my home accessible for my power chairs, and other devices I need to live comfortably. We think part of it is they do not want to grant the mortgage insurance, why, we would be happy to pay for it due to my SC issues I can't buy mortgage insurance from any private companies.
  4. you are going up and down as fast as a yo-yo, meds do not work that fast, you need to stay home for a few weeks not a few days, you are AC/DC it takes most of us months to get the right meds and dosage levels and you seem to think in a day or two you should be "fixed" because you are are getting a different pill with 80 milligrams etc, it does NOT work that way some of these drugs can take weeks before they get to an effective level in your system, and you can be arrested for driving under the influence just like drunk driving if they impair your driving ability, it is dangerous for you and others for you be be behind the wheel until you know if you can safely drive or not, not out cruising the block looking for a fight. moving out of LA is not going to help you, you sound like you can find trouble in Death Valley in August, I left southern California in 1985 and I am sure it is not any better now, but in your case I just don't think moving is going to help you, you are just plain looking for trouble with or without drugs There is no "cure" for PTSD all you can expect is learning ways to help you cope, if you don't want that they can't force you to where you go is up to you not the VA
  5. I agree in these type of cases it is best to use VA attornies that know how to properly file these claims, the rules for allowable assets etc can be confusing and most VSOs do not know the rules,the aid and attendence for elderly in assisted living or nursing homes can make the difference between a decent place or a dump, I am all in favor of decent places they deserve it. I hope I can be like my parents and live in my home until it is time to go, I know I have turned my wife into a full time care nurse but she says she wants it this way, and she takes better care of me than and nursing home would, she has aches and pains we are all getting older, but she will turn 61 and I just turned 58, and I don't have many months left, if any years. I am looking at a trip to ICU very soon to have fluid drained from my lungs, I have gone from 165 pounds in April to 190 pounds yesterday and it's all fluid retention thanks for getting them the right help to many people seem to ignore their parents as they get older
  6. normally if you are on a medication for a service connected issue the veteran will normally receive at the minimum a 10% award for that condition, you may need to ask for a re-evaluation on that issue, you have nothing to lose if they are not compensating you now. If a doctor added the medication after you processed the initial claim and was granted the 0%, then you need to go back to your VSO that has your POA or file your own claim
  7. ok you have retired from a state position. What is your rating now and what are you asking the VA to do as far as your rating and compensation? Did your doctors tell you that it was medically necessary for you to leave work due to your SC medical conditions? You have saving I hope as this will still take a year or more for an award letter on these issues if that early. There is nothing fast about rate increases. Now you need to make sure the medical evidence supports the out come you are looking for, without that evidence spelling it out for them you could easily wind up on the appeal train to BVA. SSD can take anywhere from 5 months to 2 or 3 years if you are denied and have to ask for a hearing with an ALJ which frankly about 70% of the SSD claims end up do not get a lawyer until they have approved it at a local level and are sending it to the ALJ then get get an attorney is my 2 cents each area is different for average times for hearings some states is a year some 18 months, 24 months, 30 months and the longest I have heard is 36 months, it doesn't matter they all pay back pay but going months with checks coming in sucks. Find some cheap hobbies to keep you busy, e benefits and the 1-800 number will just drive you crazy and it does not speed them up I was lucky my SSD I filed in Oct 2002 it was approved in April 2003 effective my last day of work in Jun 2002, my PTSD was approved in May 2005 at 50% I filed the appeal the next day in person, a year later and another C&P exam mt PTSD was properly rated at 100% P&T and they still denied my CAD issues. I appealed those issues to BVA, it was not approved until April 2009 with award letter and money in June 2009 back to Dec 2003. Now I leave the VARO alone and get great medical treatment from the VAMC or the Fee basis office pays the bills for the emergency care I need and they put my pacemaker/defib 3 lead device in at a private hospital by a private cardiologist
  8. Philip it is known that Gagetown was used for AO and it is where Canada conducted similar experiments as Edgewood Arsenal and Porton Downs, England about ten years ago the Canadian government authorized a one time payment of 24,000 dollars for Canadian soldiers who were at Gagetown from the mid 60s until about 1980. It is also documented that many National Guard units from the North east region trained at Gagetown from NY, Maine, NH, etc they will be need to prove the unit went to Gagetown to train during that time period, but I have not seen anyone get SC yet from the US for exposure at Gagetown.
  9. No that C&P exam definately is in FAVOR of your PTSD being SC and the other issues are there but should not prevent the PTSD from being SC and at a 50% rate or higher to start stay in treatment if your PTSD symptoms keeps you from working or if you worsen you will be in a better position to ask for TDIU or an increase down the road I seldom had a GAF over 40 from when I started treatment in Jan 2003 and when I first got rated in Feb 2005 they granted me 50% I filed a NOD based on the rating was to low based on my treating shrinks records and statements that it was his opinion that my SC PTSD alone was enough for him to consider me permanently and totally disabled and that I would never recover enough to return to work. He puts that same statement in my records every Feb since 2004 after a DRO hearing in Jan 2006 they granted me 100% P&T back to my original file date my cardiac issues were granted SC secondary to my PTSD I have had 11 heart attacks, 3 failed stents and a failed triple bypass and was diagnosed with end stage CHF in April 2011 with an ejection fraction of 10% and they implanted a defib/pacemaker in Sep 2011, I am now rated at SMC L with the aide and attendance added in. settle down and learn patience and wait for your award letter there is nothing more you can do at this point you can't react until they give you something in writing to react about it and know what you need to do, the letter will explain facts and that is all you can deal with then good luck
  10. by the time he is done with the AO related issues he will probably be SMC S depending on how bad his heart related issues are EF is a closer and more accurate measure of damage rather than METS if he has a recent heart cath that is the best way to determine damage my last one was April 2011 and it showed a 10% EF and had to have a defib/pacemaker installed they can't argue with the heart cath all other tests are like horse shoes they get close but they aren't any more than getting close
  11. SSI back payments get paid in installments, SSD is normally paid all at once and the lawyer gets the max payout so do not count on getting more checks than the first one look at the amount, do rough math 3 years at 2,000 close to 75,000 take out lawyer fees high 60,000 to you, if it is coming in payouts the check will come in about 15-19,000 to you so you should be able to tell quickly when you see the amount, but the award letter should spell it out for you. Save some for rainy days, unless you hit the lottery you will not see a large check again, spend wisely congrats
  12. actually most civilian docs have trouble writing hydrocodone narcotics also, the DEA is cracking down all over the country and they are hard pushed over drugs, and most docs are like other people they don't need the govt up their backside, you might not have it easier getting pills from them even if you are paying the bills. I hear from what you are saying though, I gave up my license when I started the hydrocodone a decade ago, but they will not operate on the 3 herniated disks due to my heart disease, and something has to give, so I take pain pills to survive the day, my wife drives me everywhere, I have been lucky, in ten years I have had 2 periods where I had problems getting it refilled, and it was normally when they changed me to a new Primary care doc.
  13. as long as you stayed in treatment and got your meds, but if you took the check and quit treatment altogether and now are thinking about filing for an increase do you have current medical evidence that you are worse off today than you were when they granted your claim. Without treatment records it will be hard to get increased checks are not a cure like Philip I have been in treatment a long time, ever since I told my primary care doc to refer me to mental health back in Dec 2002 she made an appt for Jan 2003 and I started to see a shrink and have been seeing the same one ever since, his treatment records were the best evidence I ever had for my claim without them I doubt I would have been granted 50% and I appealed the next day and a year later they granted me 100% back to original filing date Dec 2003 (I had a bad VSO that lost my initial claim for PTSD in May 2003 after the PTSD team made the diagnosis) I quit using a VSO then and handled my own paperwork after that with my wife's help until we could hire lawyers for appeals to BVA in June 2007 If you file to open your claim then they can look at all SC conditions and re-evaluate them. If you went to a private therapist thats fine you just need medical evidence
  14. are you an in country Vietnam veteran not just era but served in Vietnam? Shinseki made IHD a presumptive for Agent Orange a couple of years ago, basically CAD coronary artery disease and IHD are the same issue, CHF usually is secondary to CAD, I was diagnosed with end stage congestive heart failure in April 2011 with an ejection fraction of 10% in April 2011 and they put a ICD/Defib in Sep 2011 and was an now SMC L with aid and attendance, they did it in steps 100% for PTSD in Dec 2003, SMC S for CAD in June 2009 after a 7 year BVA appeal then in Dec 2011 I filed for the ICD/Defib and aid and attendance and they took me to SMC L. you need for your doctors to spell out the links and how they feel it is all service connected
  15. I have both conditions but I was diagnosed with CAD first and the CHF is a progressive condition that gets worse as time passes you need to get the CAD SC as related to AO then get the CHF becomes a symptom of the CAD, normally with CHF the docs want to implant a ICD/defib have they discussed this with you? The VA approved a FEE basis doc to put my unit in and now they read and follow the unit at the VAMC good luck getting your records straight
  16. you should be able to use everything on base except the hospital and you can NOT fly Space A but everything else should be open to your and any dependents you have, you need to check what benefits your state offers disabled veterans, some have college programs for children of 100% vets, some have great tax benefits on homes and cars, just all sorts of things, free fishing or hunting licences , the P&T award is a huge jump and be grateful that was awarded now, many vets have to wait years to get their VARO to grant the P&T award. Remember this will most likely be the last large check you will ever see again, unless you hit the lottery etc, their will be rainy days, family members and friends will have all sorts of reasons why they really need money and lay guilt trips on you, learn quick to say NO otherwise you will soon be broke and no one will ever pay you back How much did they help you while you were dealing with the VA and had no income? Take care of you first, you owe no one anything you owe yourself some happiness., congrats stay in treatment and hopefully you won't have to deal with the VARO anymore just the VAMC side of it think of this as finally getting the government to keep their side of the agreement we made when we enlisted, if we were killed or injured they would care for us or our families, the sad part is no one ever warned us of the new war we would be fighting after surviving the active duty portion, to make them keep their side of the bargain, and no amount of money will make us "whole" again we can't go back to the day before we entered service, our lives were forever changed by military service, the compensation check is supposed to allow us to support our familly's, pain and suffering,, lost wages etc for me the only good part of this fight with the VA has been meeting the fine veterans here at Hadit where we all seem to have the same problem, getting the VA to read our files properly and grant the proper awards, instead of ignoring us and hoping we will just quit and go away, most of the veterans here have already been in the claim side of the VA and have been short changed or denied despite the evidence being there in the files.
  17. this was old on Nov 2012 I hope the guy got his audits and all the back pay he was due.....
  18. were any of your combat tours done before in a previous enlistment, even though you have 14 years every time you re-enlisted you were given an honorable discharge to -re-enlist with a DD 214 issued to show service and awards and time etc, your only bad service was in the last re-up. Yes you accept you deserved the bad discharge but that still does not negate the prior years of GOOD service, PTSD as we all know can and may not surface right away and if it is from any of his good time he might still be entitled to benefits. Need someone smarter than I to ask though.
  19. my fight with the VA for heart disease and TIA's and strokes took from Dec 2002 until June 2009 with the help of a lawyer to get my heart SC mind you I went from a stroke in April 1992 within a year of discharge from Desert Storm a roto rooter in Feb 94, triple bypass in 97 in Oct 2002 the VA did a heart cath and told me to put in for SSD and VA if it was SC my bypass failed and my ejection fraction was less than 30% SSD was approved in Apr 2003 with effective date of Dec 2002 since I quit working due to CHF in June 2002 I got an attorney in June 2007 when the law was changed and she knew what she was doing and within 2 years I got 60% for CAD. in Apr 2011,. I had a major heart attack the doctor told my wife I had a very low chance of leaving the hospital alive, I did and was transferred to MUSC in Charleston for a work up for a VLAD device or other options, heart and lung transplant, NO, VLAD, NO, heart transplant NO, another bypass NO, medications only and I was diagnosed with end stage congestive heart failure supposedly with six - 12 months.. In June the docs put me on oxygen 24/7 and I was now using a wheelchair and not leaving the house except for VA appointments or admissions to ER for bouts with CHF, I spent from Thanksgiving 2012 to Apr 2013 in and out of ICU having fluids drained off my lungs and IV lasix to take fluids off my legs and other places. I have been lucky this summer my last ICU was in Apr 13. We have learned better home care of lasix and a BIPAP machine to take off the carbon dioxide from the blood since my lungs are not doing it properly on their own. The docs put in a CRT pacemaker/defib since my EF was 15 as of Apr 2011. I made it thru this because I was found disabled by SS and the VA rated me in 2006 at 100% for PTSD otherwise we would have been in serious financial trouble. yes they denied then they gave a low ball rating for PTSD in 2005 at 50% and kept denying heart issues, the VA gives you nothing but stress and thinking you have found a new way to skin that cat will leave you hurting you need a rep or a lawyer and let them handle the stress, the money will come when the evidence is right and seen by the right people until then you are the one going to pay health wise for it, you are not bothering anyone at the VA and they are not missing a meal let alone anything else they need their paychecks for.
  20. I am sure it is a military wide problem but like anything else numbers LARGE numbers get attention and the Army being so large is naturally going to save more money by the hundreds or thousands caught in their nets, then I imagine the Marines and the other services a lot less just based on size the next decade is going to get ugly also. The days of professional military is going to change I just doubt it is going to be for the better and again the future will place a lot more dependence on the guard and reserves. without money to train they truly will be cannon fodder.
  21. didn't the Army promise to stop this behavior about 2006? I believe that episode started at Fort Carson with a SGT POGUE and vets that had been to combat were supposed to get a chapter 61 retirement if they had PTSD so bad they could not be sent back to full duty, to prevent this type of discharge by the Army to start with, the Generals were realizing how bad it was to treat an all volunteer force like this, to keep sending them back over and over again, and then just dispose of them and the families with no benefits or help. But we are now back to the bean counters and cutting costs no matter what, and the Army will be cut to levels worse than that between WW2 and the Korean war, Congress will tell the President he has the best force in the world but it will go untrained, no funds for fuel, ammo, or training exercises, and pray that unmanned aircraft will be enough to control the bad guys of the world and they can fly them off of aircraft carriers, because the F22s and F18s will be too expensive to put in the air talk about meat cleavers, no benefits and no promotions the military is going to get real ugly and I hate to see what they have planned for the VA
  22. I thought if a veteran went to a vet center that the visits there were free of charge and the only thing they had to pay for was meds that could be issued by the VAMC. The only thing to be seen at a vet center is that the vet has to be a combat veteran or served during a war period, peace time soldiers can not use the vet centers. Or an I wrong in that thinking?
  23. it will have a lot to do with how bad is your PTSD and is that the only thing SSA looked at to grant SSD, if your PTSD rating is 30% and you have numerous 10% and 20% issues which combine to your 60% you will have a hard time regardless to get TDIU the raters will not stretch the awards that far. Seldom does the SSA grant SSD on a 50% or less PTSD award, there are normally numerous other medical issues and many of them are not SC and the VA will NOT compensate you for those, you have not provided anough information for anyone to give you a rational discussion on merits of YOUR TDIU claim being granted or denied.
  24. the lawyer that handled my file turned out to be a friend, she saw how bad they had screwed me over she did the case, pro bono, which you think would have been the end of our relationship, oh no, last year when it did not look like I was going to make it out of the ICU due to a really bad bout with congestive heart failure, she did a livining trust so my wife had the last words on my health care she refused to take payment and then she did our wills free of charge, her group wanted us to pay, and she told them to forget it, she did it out of the kindness of her heart. Some of these lawyers are really great people not all of them are money sucking ticks.
  25. since you appear to have already admitted having it in high school, you might try and show how your military service aggravated the existing condition. Your comments about your mothers mental condition do not exactly back up your case that you were in good health, then or now. They will more than likely use your statements about your mother to show hereditary linkage and continue to deny SC, but then it seems that you know this,no one here can tell you a way to defraud the VA and hopefully no one would.
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