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First Class Petty Officer
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About Draggin'

  • Rank
    E-5 Petty Officer 2nd Class

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  • Location
    Fort Worth Area

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  • Service Connected Disability
  • Branch of Service
  1. Draggin's Wife here again We were later told that we would only be evaluated if the nurse deemed it necessary. We had our annual visit from the nurse and everything went incredibly well, she even gave me an updated information packet...Then we get a phone call about 2 months later... Our caregiver coordinator explained that it was time for our annual reassessment with "the board" and the reason it took so long after our annual visit with our nurse was because they were waiting on some appointments for physical and occupational therapy to be completed. She asked me the general normal questions and then she asked me if there was anything I'd like to add. I told her I have to be here to take care of my veteran, that he can't drive himself around, etc etc. Then we waited. I called her back on the day the board met, and I found out that I went from a Tier 2 to being no longer eligible. It is happening to veterans with PTSD, amputees, TBI, you name it. People that truly need the program are being dropped from the program, a lot of people. I was told I could appeal and plan to do just that. Also, I was told that I will receive 3 months worth of payments to help me through the gap between paid caregiver and finding other employment. I know this is not soothing news. And for that I want to say...this sucks! My husband does not want me to go back to work, nor do I want to leave him alone after being his safe place/person and person that took care of his needs both emotional and physical. My being here with him has been tremendously helpful to him, and I feel as though the VA is taking that aspect of his wellness away. Anyway, that's my update....everyone hang in there. I'll update about my appeal when it happens.
  2. Draggin's wife here...I recently received some information about how the caregiver program was changing to a "rehabilitation program" for the veterans involved. I shrugged it off, until receiving a letter that went to all caregivers in the area (North Texas). The letter follows (in red): - Annual Clinical Reassessments are completed upon or around your anniversary of being in the Caregiver Support Program. The reassessments are completed by a board of interdisciplinary doctors including a Psychologist, Physical Medicine and Rehab Specialist, and a Medicine physician. We also reach out to you, your Veteran, and your Veteran’s VA treatment team directly to provide additional input. o Reassessment will result in one of the following: Your tier level can increase, stay the same, decrease, or transition of the program completely if your loved one has regained independence. - If your Veteran is receiving care by community providers (private sector), it is the responsibility of the Veteran and Caregiver to ensure that those records get to the VA system for scanning for purposes of oversight. o You may contact your loved one’s VA primary care clinic to determine how to get these records in for scanning. - This program is meant to be rehabilitative as opposed to a long standing benefit for Veterans who have the ability to recover. o Veterans in this program are required to engage in treatment plans working towards recovery. o Veterans in this program are required to see their VA treatment team ‘at a minimum’ of once per year. o For those Veterans who have the ability to regain their independence in functioning, it is likely that many of these Veterans will ultimately transition off of the program as they continue engaging in treatment. I have also spoken to a few veterans in my area that let me know that their caregiver benefits were taken away, as they no longer qualified. I am freaking out. My veteran cannot handle things if I have to go back to work!!! I spoke to my caregiver support coordinator and explained that my husband is now 100% P&T disabled due mainly to PTSD. She said to have his doctors document that they do no expect improvement in his condition. I wanted to give a heads up for any that may be coming across this situation and ask any advice of those that have already been through this sort of reassessment, as it's not the annual one done by the sweet nurses that come to your house. Thanks so much Draggin' and Draggin'sWife
  3. Since my post, I have figured out the following. If I may, a quote from BroncoVet's post in a different thread on these forums: "Unfortunately for Veterans, EVEN when the Regional Office FAILS to adjudicate a claim, that claim is assumed to be denied (in other words "deemed denied"), and the appeal period begins to run." So in my appeal (Form 9), if something wasn't discussed by the RO in the statement of case ( SOC ) , I just treated it as something that was denied. 31 is a LOT. This whole thing could have been organized better from the start, but my original VSO worded it all for us. I had not seen a doctor prior to applying, so it was all a big mess of symptoms. We have since combined some of the symptoms/problems into more encompassing issues. Such as fibromyalgia, etc. Not that I think they're more likely to award me for any of these disabilities, but they're probably more likely to actually READ the paperwork this way. The VA has scheduled me for 2 C&P exams since I sent in the Form 9 appeal. We'll see what happens from there. Hope this helped some of you. Draggin'
  4. Forgive me for my ignorance. Does the VA have any "plans" to take care of all veterans that need caregivers? Draggin'
  5. Your caregiver rep sounds like she needs to get with the program or she'll wrongly denying people over and over. I wonder if there's any way to deal with someone above her and bring her lack of knowledge to their attention. Draggin'
  6. My vote goes for the paranoid decision. Maybe I'm jaded, but it sounds typical. Although, they are continuing to move very quickly in our case. May 17, 2011-Application sent regular mail June 3, 2011-Called by Coordinator to let me know I need to see doctor for evaluation since I've barely seen him (I was informed the doctor only has 48 hours to do this) June 6, 2011-I see doctor and he fills out evaluation June 6, 2011-Caregiver coordinator speaks with caregiver and sends info to Easter Seals who is teamed up with VA to train caregivers June 8, 2011 (email) and June 10, 2011 (regular mail)-Receives caregiver training package from Easter Seals June 14, 2011-Caregiver completes training and turn it test portion (via email) June 16, 2011-Via email-Easter Seals has graded caregiver test, informs they are sending completion certificate to caregiver and coordinator. Also informed that both will be sent official certificate of completion in regular mail. Currently-awaiting call from coordinator, I guess, to set up home visit Draggin'
  7. I was pretty sure that was the case concerning VA disability and school. But I was sweatin for a second! Draggin'
  8. Yes considered full time. I took the minimum amount of courses I could take to be considered so. I had to do so for the full living stipend from the GI Bill. I did, although, try to take as many off campus/online classes as possible. I may be under the threshold for the year of 09 when it comes to earned income...my gross is at 11,034. http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032010/pov/new35_000.htm I am one person, with related child under 18, under the age of 65...says the level for 2009 is 11,161. This is good. What's bad is that I was a student, I'm assuming they'll fight me on this-even though that shouldn't matter??? Thanks Draggin'
  9. I'm not tripped up, so far I understand everything you all are saying. Draggin', LOL, I mean I, stopped working in August of 09 (became a student-used GI Bill to help support the family). My ability to work had suffered prior to that point, not sure if what I was bringing in between May 09 and August 09 would be considered more than "marginal employment". I would have to look up what I made and what the poverty threshold was from the Census Bureau at the time. I do know I had to switch jobs, as I couldn't take it where I was anymore and I couldn't take the long drive. But anyway. Not sure if I had more than a marginal employment for a couple more months if that would throw the whole date thing off or not. I had to do something to support my family. I do think that 70% is pretty big, especially considering it was the first stab at things. Thanks Draggin'
  10. Thank you both. I just wanted to verify this before taking the plunge. Concerning my cirucmstances/case-Getting 70% for PTSD wouldn't even change my overall rating. It was incredibly helpful to separate this from the other thread BTW. Avoided a lot of confusion. Thanks Draggin'
  11. My question is if you file for TDIU and at the same time are filing an appeal (appealing for an increase) and both are granted what happens? Does the date of TDIU award date replace the date of other awards? Do you loose that retro? Here's my specifics. On my first and only claim for disability I applied for numerous conditions and was awarded for some (physical conditions) and it was retroactive to May 09. It took the VA additional time to award my PTSD portion of this original claim, but I was paid retroactively to May 09 on this also. It was 50% on PTSD, which made it I am at 70% at this point. I still have time to file my NOD on the PTSD (yes this is how long they took). So let's say that I file my NOD (or appeal for increase if it gets to that point) on my PTSD claim and I apply for TDIU at the same time-in June 2011. Let's pretend they get my NOD/appeal for the PTSD and they say that it actually warrants a 70% rating rather than the 50% originally awarded (May 09) AND they also grant TDIU (applied for in June 2011). I realize that on the TDIU retro, I would only get retro backpay of the difference from the date of application of the TDIU (June 2011) . My question is what happens to the retro from the NOD/appeal? Would I get the retroactive backpay for the PTSD increase of 20% from May 2009-June 2011 (the date at which TDIU would have kicked in)? Also, I currently have my very first appeal in for the physical conditions from this first and only claim. (Yes I realize it will take years for these to run through the system). If the VA determines that my conditions do warrant a higher award than originally granted, I am counting on retro pay from May 09-whatever the present time may be. If I am awarded TDIU before those are granted, will I still get that retro pay on those increases from the appeal? I am concerned that TDIU will stop all retro pay from May 2009 on my appeals and that TDIU will change my retro pay date on everything to the date I applied for TDIU (June 2011). Missing out on retro for 2 years is a big deal. Thank you ahead of time for your help in this and I apologize for my confusion. Draggin'
  12. Thank you all for your help. I think I just got more confused. I realize that this is getting confusing because there are multiple questions from multiple situations. I'm going to start a new thread to ask my specific questions concerning TDIU. I do think that there are a lot of reasons why people are hesitant to file for TDIU. I just don't think it's understood very well, and the fact that many VSO's don't mention it only makes it worse. JMHO Draggin'
  13. USNDW I am so glad you have and shared a copy of that! It's been impossible to find since the VA took it down. Draggin'
  14. When you say everytime you ask for an increase, you lose your inital claim date, what did you mean? Were you talking about NODs and then appeals? Are you saying appeals asking for increases make you lose your date of original claim? So confused Draggin'
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