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Master Chief Petty Officer
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Vync last won the day on July 21

Vync had the most liked content!

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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
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    Ft.Living Room, AL
  • Interests
    Family, fishing, movies, video games, gardening, hot rods, computer programming, electronics, music

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  • Service Connected Disability
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  1. I've been though a situation like this, but first there is something very important here. The VA sent you a letter proposing reduction of your rating. You only have like 30 or 60 days to get back to them (check the letter) to contest this. Whatever you do, don't let that timeframe lapse. If you do, the reduction will go into effect and you'll have to take the NOD/appeal route to fight it. It's easier to contest it before the window expires, but you'll need to do some work. Look for avenues to challenge the C&P. Did the NP use a goinometer (protractor) to measure your ROM? If not, then you could qualify for an inadequate exam. Some CRNP's are really good at what they do, but the VA uses them to help address the claims backlog. The key word here is "weight". An MD carries more weight than a NP. A neurologist or orthopedic doc is a specialist and carries more weight than an MD. The part about her not even looking at you makes me smack my own head. You could probably challenge it on those grounds alone. You can try to ask for a specialist who has and knows how to use a goinometer. Additionally, look up the effects of the medication you take. Gabapentin can help with the nerve pain, which can allow you to move more than normal. Flare ups are important. If you have any medical evidence showing limited ROM during a flare up, make sure the VA is aware of it. Those are supposed to be key factors. With back pain, you may not be in agony at all times, but when you are it is supposed to count toward your limitations. Look up the rating criteria for 40% and become familiar with the rating criteria and ROM tiers. Look up the DBQ so you are familiar with what they are supposed to perform the exam. How long has your 40% been in effect? If it is less than five years, then they can propose to reduce based on an exam. If it has been more than five years, they have to be able to show sustained improvement, which tends to mean more than one exam. If you hurt when you move on a certain axis, tell them when the pain begins. Painful motion is considered limited motion. Keep in mind that if you do get another C&P, they the 40% spine ratings are based on the ROM limitation. There is a chance you could still be reduced though, but perhaps not as bad. You could always file for an increase when it gets worse. Havind SSDI approved is a plus. Request consideration for extraschedular IU if your SC disabilities are responsible for being on SSDI. It's worth a shot.
  2. If the VA finds two requests for the same claim, they will just close the latter one out. When I was filing a dependency claim, I mailed off the paper forms. The next week I learned that they take forever. I called the 1-800 number and they told me to file it via ebenefits. I did that and it was completed in just a couple of weeks. I then sent in a letter asking them to cancel the claim I mailed in because it was duplicate. They took care of it. You can file an informal claim via ebenefits or the 1-800 number. Just let them know what you are claiming and you will have a year to submit evidence. However, there are some other routes like the fully developed claim program that can produce much faster results. In the end, keep in mind that you are the only person responsible for your claim. The VSO's can help, but sometimes reality happens.
  3. Was the 3/7/91 treatment record from while being in the military or part of a C&P exam (for another disability)?
  4. Direct deposit is a wonderful thing. Regarding your dependency claim, I recommend submitting it via ebenefits, not regular mail. The online submission seems to get completed way before the mailed ones. The Rating Decision (i.e. BBE or big brown envelope) should be following in the mail soon. That will break down each rated disability and how they came to the rating. I recommend you read it carefully to make sure they didn't screw up. I also advise veterans to compare the findings on their C&P exams to the rating criteria to ensure the VA did in fact rate the condition correctly. Here is the link to the VA rating criteria: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?rgn=div5;node=38: P&T/TDIU does come with some additional benefits, such as Chapter 35 dependent educational benefits and CHAMPVA health insurance for dependents only (which is really great). Thanks for the tip about the medical transcription vocation. Sounds like no fun at all. If you remain unemployable, another option to research is SSDI (social security disability). Keep tabs on your disabilities in case they get worse over the years. You may be able to file an increase if they meet the rating criteria for the next higher % level. Going from 90% to 100% is possible, but it is an uphill climb due to the way the VA calculates 90%. I plugged in your 70/30/20/10 into the Hadit rating calculator and it came back with 84.88%, which I assume rounded up to 85% then up to 90%. If you ever consider going for 100% schedular (combined ratings alone), you would need some significant additional ratings unless you entertain IU. https://www.hadit.com/disability-calculator
  5. For me it took five years on appeal to get SC and another 12 years to reach 100% P&T. More proof that things go downhill over time. I'm not confined to a chair, but my cane sure does come in handy. I liked this part of Ben Krause's entry: Last week I visited my PCP doc at the VA and brought test results from outside of the VA. She then turns to me and urges me to pick treatment at the VA or at my private doc, not both because it is difficult to keep up with it. I referred her to the VA Patient Bill of Rights which says we have the right to choose our provider. And then I indicated that I brought in records for review so she is not in the dark. That's the VA for you...
  6. Congratulations! I would not be too worried. Keep in mind that the VA is having trouble keeping up with the claims they currently have and are not typically likely to bring veterans back in just for the fun of it. When you get the packet in the mail, carefully read it. Sometimes the VA may indicate a disability "is expected to improve", which means they will call you back in for re-exam in the future. Sometimes they may straight up indicate you will have an examination in the future. If your effective date goes back 5+ years, those disabilities will be considered stabilized. This means that the VA would have to show sustained improvement in order to propose reduction. Permanent and Total is an enhanced classification for 100% rated veterans. The panic attacks appear to have been part of your insomnia rating. However, a MH claim might be plausible. It's not unusual for veterans to have anxiety or depression due to their SC disabilities. If you are not currently employed, consider researching Individual Unemployability due to your 70% rating. If you win, they will bump you up to 100%. TDIU might be in the future if your condition is not expected to improve. It's basically the same thing as P&T, except you can't work.
  7. Congratulations! I agree with @broncovet Personally, I can admit that migraines can indeed be debilitating. If it was me, I would let the VA continue and render a decision on the deferred disabilities.
  8. I can speak for the GERD exam. At my exam, they did they usual physical examination, looked at my throat and listened to my stomach. Then they sent me for labs. First, they did a blood test to determine if I had a heliobacter pylori infection. It's a known cause for GERD. When the results got back, mine was negative, so they sent me for an upper GI. My exam was about 9 years ago, so I recommend you take a look at the DBQ to get an idea of what they should be checking. I linked the DBQ's below: https://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/dbq_ListByDBQFormName.asp 21-0960G-1 Esophageal Conditions (Including GERD, Hiatal Hernia and Other Esophageal Disorders) 21-0960M-6 Foot Conditions, Including Flatfoot (Pes Planus)
  9. Vync

    P&T Awarded

  10. Vync

    SMC ?

    @Buck52 brought up something often overlooked: loss of use. If your SC disabilities, or the side effects of medications used to treat them, cause an additional disability, you can file a claim for it. One example is ED. If you are diagnosed with ED and feel it is related to your SC disabilities and treating medications, it might be worth it to file a claim. If you win, it will be a separate SMC-K award, which is a little over $100 per month.
  11. Good luck on your claim! That is also some good info.
  12. Vync

    C&P exam for back condition

    After maintaining your percentage for five years, the VA is supposed to consider it stabilized. This means the VA is not supposed to reduce the rating unless there is sustained improvement, not necessarily from a single exam. § 3.344 Stabilization of disability evaluations is worth reading. Additionally, the information below must also be followed. These are often overlooked by most examiners regarding flare ups. Painful motion is deemed limited motion. If your max ROM is different from ROM where pain begins, they VA is supposed to take the latter measurement and use it to determine the rating. I recommend you get the C&P results and compare the findings against the VA's current rating criteria for the spine (below). This should give you an idea of what to expect. If the VA comes back with a proposal to reduce, carefully look at the C&P results, rating criteria, and your medical records. If you can show there has not been any sustained improvement, that would be great. If you visited non-VA doctors, be sure those records are provided to the VA along with a release of information authorization form. §4.71a Schedule of ratings—musculoskeletal system
  13. It makes sense, but you'll probably need to get a strong nexus from a spine specialist. It might be worth digging through your medical records to locate any visits to the med shed for neck issues during that time. Every time I see soldiers in the news, it seems they have added more and more gadgets and gear to the kevlar. In my opinion, our neck vertebrae are small and likely were not intended to be load bearing for much weight aside from our head.

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