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Everything posted by Vync

  1. @GBArmy Congratulations! Having also had to appeal to get SC for GERD, I can tell you that I also had to appeal a lowball rating. The way they rate it is pretty open to interpretation. I had to spoon feed the VA and show them I had part of the symptoms noted during one doctors visit and the other parts during another visit, then both in a later visit. I also feel that the rating criteria for GERD is significantly lower than the impact it can have on you. The meds help make it somewhat manageable, but come with their own side effects. Plus, if you accidentally miss your morning dose, it can be very debilitating when the lava begins to rise.
  2. Same here. When I applied in 1995, the VA's web site really didn't exist and we had to trust our VSOs. I thought I was applying for medical compensation via continued medical care of injuries sustained while in the service. The copays and deductibles for medical treatment over five years was starting to add up. Years later when I finally won my BVA appeals, I was surprised to receive a check let alone anything monthly.
  3. @pacmanx1Yep, you almost have to have inside knowledge of how the metrics have been put together for some of the statistical layouts. As far as the AMA reviews taking less than a year, expect covid to factor into their math. @spirit_grtDid you request a hearing?
  4. @pacmanx1I agree. I chose the hearing option. The VA had numerous chances to read the evidence and apply the law properly. After repeated errors, I wanted to interactively discuss the issue instead of trusting them screw it up again. @pwrslmThank you very much for that link! It says 444 days for hearings. I went to https://www.timeanddate.com/date/dateadd.html and added 444 days to the date my BVA appeal was received and it looks like April 2022 or so for me.
  5. I am also curious about this too because I submitted an appeal at the beginning of this year. The appeals metrics found at https://www.benefits.va.gov/REPORTS/ama/ are pretty interesting to read I looked at the most recent report on the tab labeled "Part 2 A-H" to find that as of 9/30/2021 the number of appeals pending at BVA is 91,794 with an average number of days being 1,042.8. That calculates out to be about 2 years 11 months. I have read where other veterans appeals have been completed faster, but on the same tab/page it does show the number of staff working on them at each RO and not all of them are working as efficiently as others.
  6. Yep, the VA doesn't do a very good job of explaining why we have to go through the same exams not long after going through the exam.
  7. So sorry to hear about Buck's wife. They both have been in our prayers.
  8. @pacmanx1 That kind of decision makes me shake my head like I have done so many times in the past. Reminds me of "Friday filing". If they want to go home, they just intentionally misfile or state they cannot find what you know is there, just so they can go home on time. Of course, because everything occurs behind the magic veil, we cannot prove it. The VA's answer is to just send you to the end of the line so we can wait again. Makes me really miss the days when you could submit a request for reconsideration and it goes back for them to do it right without waiting months all over again.
  9. If you have a POA with an accredited VSO, contact them. They should be able to look in the system and get you a copy.
  10. Hey @Berta, The "unforseeable event" approach per Ollis v. Shulkin sounds very intriguing. Not to take away from the original post, but I am curious if the "unforseeable event" approach might be able to be applied elsewhere. For example, as part of an FTCA or to obtain SC or an increase... The VA cardiologists told me that they did not feel the migraine meds I was given would cause a heart attack was very rare due to the very low statistical chance. Sounds like an "unforseeable event" to me because nobody expected it to happen. I am now SC for the heart attack thanks to an "more likely than not" IMO by a non-VA specialist, so I am glad you recommended getting an IMO. My FTCA for it has been in the hopper since early April, but I have only received the usual form letter saying it has been received. A while back, I remember us talking about the possibility of getting separate benefits for 1151 when already SC for the same disability. Everyone I talked to at the VA and a couple of law offices said that if I am already SC for a condition then filing an 1151 for the same condition would be moot and not provide any additional benefits. Have you heard if it is possible to do this and if there have been any successes? Back to the original post, I helped a veteran a while back and his VA referred him to community care for back surgery. His surgical wound got infected and required more surgeries to clean it out. He is still suffering in a bad way. He is already SC for his back, but wonder if he might be able to file an 1151 under the Ollis v. Shulkin approach.
  11. Here's a link to the Treasury Department's page: https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/coronavirus/assistance-for-state-local-and-tribal-governments/homeowner-assistance-fund As info, it does not indicate if VA disability and/or Social Security/SSDI payments how factor into income.
  12. I'm with @broncoveton this. In my experience, an IMO may be needed depending on the circumstances. For an increase, generally you would just need medical evidence showing you worsened and meet the requirements for the next higher level of disability. Just keep in mind the VA may grant increases with a caveat stating your increased is considered temporary and will be re-examined in the future because you are expected to improve. If you are already P&T, TDIU, or meet certain criteria limiting future exams, the VA may just opt to increase w/o a future exam. Otherwise, if an IMO and/or your medical evidence or your provider states you are not expected to improve, the VA may opt against saying it is a temporary increase.
  13. Hey @bionoce, I personally have not had one, but I did find this information sheet on the VA's web site: https://www.va.gov/HEALTHPARTNERSHIPS/docs/SGBforPTSD_508.pdf The sheet says it may be an option for vets who meet certain requirements. I would recommend you ask your VA provider about it. If you end up getting it, please consider sharing your experience both short and long term. It might be helpful for others.
  14. @pacmanx1 I have been getting those opinion surveys over the past two years. For every one of mine, there is always one major flaw to them: It does not indicate the date and time of the call. In one case, I called Peggy three times in one day, but no other times during the month. One of the calls was with Gomer Pyle who didn't seem like they wanted to help, but the other two were extremely helpful. I got only one survey and had no idea which call might have triggered it. I report this to the VA every time via Peggy and WH VA Hotline, but to date it has not been fixed. Got another one like it a month ago.
  15. @broncovetI completely understand. But with the VA taking a more form-oriented approach over the past couple of years, I found it better to err on the side of caution. I am helping a Vietnam veteran who was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and Parkinson's like symptoms. He did the ITF after the new presumptive law went into effect. I had called Peggy to ask if they were processing them as presumptive and was told no. With my personal experiences on new and supplemental claims over the past couple of years, I realize that it is a gamble for them to actually get it right. Now that the VA announced they are now processing the new presumptives, he is filing the actual new claim. Didn't want him to file for it last year, go through the C&P red tape, get a denial only to file again after the laws changed and do it all over again. For veterans with high combined ratings, they may be less concerned about the VA getting the effective date right because new ratings of like 10% or so may not bump their combined rating up at all. This vet only has a 10% rating, so I did not want him taking chances on the amount of potential retro.
  16. Don't forget the extremely important "Intent to File" process. It is crucial to preserving a potential effective date while wading through VA red tape and attempting to collect medical records, buddy letters, and other correspondence before actually initiating a new claim, including survivors pension and DIC. https://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/general/intenttofile.pdf If filing a claim for increase, simply go through your medical evidence over the past 12 months and see if you can find proof that you qualify for the next higher level of disability. It's a good idea to do your homework on these up front, if possible, so you have hard evidence for them to verify. If your condition or the next higher level of disability is deemed temporary and expected to improve, I recommend you ask around or check with a VSO for advice before doing this.
  17. After getting SC, I had a claim hung up in the system for a year due to typical VA red tape. The VA sent me to a new exam to determine the current level of disability and perform a functional assessment. When I got my rating, it was staged. They gave me the level of disability at the time I was granted SC, but then increased it due to worsening severity that was recorded in the recent exam.
  18. @Buck52 I hope your wife has a successful recovery! Prayers!
  19. The VA used to give me three cleanings a year due to the kind of TMJ I have. Over the past few years it went to two, then one, then none when COVID hit. They approved me to get them done via community care at a nearby provider. Although the VA claims I am authorized for two per year, the actual referral only authorizes one. Go figure...
  20. It could be just a standard statement. I assume the VA requests any disability medical records which may be present with Social Security Administration, who they sends the VA a letter saying they have nothing.
  21. @broncovetoffers good advice. HLR is definitely more like a CUE, but you do not have all the extra restrictions of a CUE unless you submitted a CUE and then it was handled via supplemental or HLR. I actually won a CUE that was submitted as a supplemental, which was very surprising. HLR does tend to deliver a decision considerably faster, but I have had a 50/50 success/fail rate with HLRs. I attribute the failures to the reviewer being familiar with, but not necessarily an expert in VA laws/regs.
  22. I agree with @Fat. I did my homework first so I could be as confident as possible of success and I won two out of four HLR/DRO reviews. In each, I detailed the regulations, rating criteria, the evidence of record, and explained where the VA went wrong by failing to properly apply the laws and regs. One of the ones that was denied related to a life insurance waiver. The other was odd because the reviewer was in agreement with me over the phone, but the decision letter was a rubber stamp of the supplemental denial. Both are on appeal to the BVA.
  23. After my heart attack, but brain doesn't work the same. However, I looked up the regulation on double-dipping concurrent payments for spouses and found they are allowed. See both of these regulations: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/retrieveECFR?gp=1&SID=5f6d7adbb6a68e4712625f2c90e8610b&ty=HTML&h=L&mc=true&r=SECTION&n=se38.2.21_13023 https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?node=pt38.1.3&rgn=div5#se38.1.3_1707
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