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Common Veterans Affairs Disabilities: Tinnitus - Hearing loss - PTSD - Post-traumatic stress disorder - Lumbosacral or cervical strain - Scars - Limitation of flexion, knee - Diabetes mellitus - Paralysis of the sciatic nerve - Limitation of motion of the ankle - Degenerative arthritis of the spine - TBI - Traumatic Brain Injury

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Vync

Master Chief Petty Officer
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Vync last won the day on December 12

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About Vync

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    E-9 Master Chief Petty Officer
  • Birthday October 15

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  • Military Rank
    E-4
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    Ft.Living Room, AL
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    Family, fishing, movies, video games, gardening, hot rods, computer programming, electronics, music

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
    100%
  • Branch of Service
    Army

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  1. Glad to help! If I knew in 1995 what I learned here on Hadit from 2008 forward, I would have had a higher initial rating. Using a VSO can be very helpful if you have no idea how the VA works, but in the end it is ultimately the veteran's responsibility. I think a lot of us ended up with problems like this initially.
  2. Good info. It sounds like anti-veteran employees who have been there for a while trying to sneak a turd sandwich into the fridge.
  3. It depends on when you received the decision. The decision letters include documents explaining your right to file an appeal (i.e. file a Notice of Disagreement, or a NOD) and the amount of time to do so (I believe it is still a year). We refer to this time period as the "NOD Clock". If you are still within the NOD clock time period, you can file a NOD, which would preserve your effective date. However, if the NOD clock has expired, you would have to file a new claim which would, in effect, reopen your old claim. With shotgun claims (claims for a lot of disabilities), the VA may tend to approve some and deny others. It is important to understand how the VA may incorrectly deny some claims which should have been approved. Service connection (SC) typically requires three things: 1. Event/injury in service 2. Current diagnosis 3. Doc opinion/nexus connecting #1 and #2 (they can't say "possibly" or "probably", not good enough) There is also a concept called presumptive SC, which tends to be based on being in a certain place at a certain time. A good example is Vietnam veterans getting sick due to agent orange or Gulf War veterans and unexplained illnesses. #3 (above) is handled a bit differently than direct SC. Additionally, there is secondary SC. Let's hypothetically say you fell off a tank and injured your back and now have severe sciatia in both legs. You file for SC for your back and it gets awarded. The VA is "supposed" to explore any potential secondary disabilities (but this doesn't always happen). It's like the old song, "the hip bone is connected to the thigh bone." The sciatica (nerve problems) may be able to be SC as secondary to your back. For secondary claims, #1 (above) would be replaced with an existing SC disability. You can file an initial claim which includes secondary claims, but to win any of the secondary claims, you would need to also win the initial SC claim. I would recommend you do a couple of things starting with your decision letter. 1. Compare the disabilities they awarded with the rating criteria and your evidence (service treatment records and C&P exam results) to ensure they actually rated them correctly. The VA has had a bad habit of lowballing initial claims. Veterans are just happy they won something that they don't follow through and make sure the VA didn't lowball them. I had a claim where the VARO misread a ROM measurement, but once corrected one of my ratings was increased. Ensuring you were rated correctly could result in increases you your existing ratings. See the link below. VA Rating Criteria: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div5;node=38:1.0.1.1.5 2. For any denials, carefully read the explanation they provided. It likely will tie back to missing #1, #2, or #3 (above). Keep in mind that presumptive and secondary SC may apply depending on your situation. If you have #1, #2, and #3, but they missed it, you might be able to get SC. I say "might" because the concept of pyramiding may apply, which means that a condition might overlap with an existing disability. 3. If your SC disabilities qualify for the bilateral factor, ensure they calculated it correctly. This typically applies to paired extremities. Sometimes the VA doesn't correctly factor it in. Lots of info about it here on Hadit. 4. Don't forget SMC-K. In some cases, a SC disability or medication used to treat it can cause problems in the reproductive department. It things no longer work they way they used to, you can file for SMC-K. It's about $100 extra per month, but does not count towards your combined rating. 5. If unable to work due to your SC disabilities, consider exploring Individual Unemployability and/or SSDI. Lots of info about it here on Hadit. I hope this helps!
  4. Sometimes other medication can cause daytime sleepiness...
  5. I was not familiar about RAMP until I read your post and looked it up. If you have had problems with your VARO screwing things up, RAMP might be a tempting option. Please keep in mind that regardless of going through the VARO or the BVA, appeals sometimes can take years. With the NOD being about 19 or 20 months old, it might be worth waiting a bit longer at the VARO level. They might get it right. And if they don't, then the BVA will still be an appeal option.
  6. DBQ used by the examiner

    I have a feeling the rater will end up seeing the results of your exam. Changes are periodically made to exams and sections do get moved around. A while back, I dug through my records to check the results of some old C&P examinations from the mid/late 1990's. Back then, the instructions and questions were on one document and the results on another. What made it even more crazy was the fact that the results forms were in my C-file, but the questions were not. Imagine looking at an exam result which read like this, "D. 10 mm".
  7. Because you are seeing the status change, at least you know someone has done something. I would consider that a good thing. Please do not let the status bouncing around discourage you. Good luck!
  8. DBQ used by the examiner

    Welcome to Hadit! Officially, C&P examiners are supposed to use the most current versions, but it would not be surprising to learn that their systems might not be up to date. Sections may get changed around between releases, but it is more important to take a look at the content within those sections and compare them to the rating criteria. This can help ensure you have been rated correctly. I hope this helps!
  9. I don't think the VA admitted CUE yet. Apparently, your request was plausible enough to require exams, which can be a good thing!
  10. @Grumpbox Glad to help! When I filed my first claims in 1995, the system was a lot worse than it is today. Thank goodness for sites like Hadit and the Internet...
  11. @Grumpbox From what you explained, you should be covered by the 5 year stabilization rule. Keep in mind that the VA can still request C&P exams, but if they ended up proposing a rating reduction, they would still have to meet all the requirements set forth in the 5 year rule. I agree with Broncovet's advice, but realize that it is natural to worry until the decision letter arrives in the mail. Even if the VA continues your current ratings, it is still worth the time to double-check and make sure the VA got it right. The VA overlooked one of my ratings which clearly qualified for a higher percentage, so I politely let them know their error. Good luck!
  12. MKAH, Well, I was hoping you would be able to get better news, but it is a start! I have lightly explored what it would take to file for SSDI, but am far from an expert on it. A lot of others here know much more about it than I do. It might be worth notifying them of your meniere's diagnosis. I did have some vertigo while I was in the service which began after botched wisdom teeth removal surgery. They didn't realize it, but my jaw ended up being permanently dislocated. The condyle (top of TMJ jawbone) is out of place. Recovery from the surgery was a nightmare. The oral surgeons just did a panorex x-ray and said they found nothing. When I filed for TMJ, they eventually did an arthrogram which proved it. The VA audiologist said it can happen and sometimes cause parts of the middle/inner ear to get damaged. Mostly, it is tinnitus and migraines, but makes me more at risk for vertigo, car sickness, and nausea.
  13. Have you checked this out yet? The Veterans Transportation Service might be an option to help you get to and from appointments at the VA or non-VA authorized providers. https://www.va.gov/HEALTHBENEFITS/vtp It sounds like you are unable to work. It might be worth also exploring TDIU and/or SSDI. If your Menier's is SC, you might be able to get a 100% rating for it. Your profile mentions being SC for bilateral hearing loss, so if you suffer from vertigo and cerebellar gait issues more than once a week, you may qualify.
  14. Before determining if you need to worry about a rating reduction, the best place to check is the award letter and the rating criteria. Some ratings may have been considered temporary because your condition is expected to improve. These are typically stated in the award letter to let you know an exam will happen in the future. That is why it is a good idea to thoroughly read award letters and additional documentation that came with it. Regarding medication and reductions, this precedent case plays a big role: Jones v. Shinseki, 26 Vet. App. 56, 61 (2012) held that where effects of medication are not contemplated by the rating criteria, the effects of the medication on the disorder may not be considered. Basically, check the rating criteria to see if medications are part of it. If they are, then medication may apply. The asthma ratings are, in my opinion, the best examples which factor in medication use to meet higher level ratings. Aside from breathing tests, a veteran may go from 30% to 60% if their asthma was treated with injected/swallowed steroids 3+ times in 12 months. If an increase is granted solely by medication use, it may be considered temporary, expected to improve, and a future exam scheduled. If the veteran does not continue to meet the requirements, they VA likely will usually propose to reduce it. The MH ratings also briefly mention medication, but only at the 10% level. If the veteran meets and maintains the requirement for a rating higher than 10%, then reduction based on improvement due to medication should not apply. §4.130 Schedule of ratings—Mental disorders 10% Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or symptoms controlled by continuous medication. After maintaining a rating for 5+ years, "3.344 Stabilization of disability evaluations" will also apply. After 5 years, the rating is considered stable. Reduction proposals should not happen unless VA meets pretty stiff requirements to prove materially sustained improvement to mandate reduction to a lower percentage. The idea is to prevent reductions based off of incomplete or one-off doctor's visits. However, the VA is known to make mistakes and propose reductions in error. Additionally, some criteria include explicit 0% ratings.
  15. Additionally, I believe urgent care centers (i.e. better equipped doc-in-a-box) do not count as emergency rooms either
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