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First Class Petty Officer
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acesup last won the day on January 27

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About acesup

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    E-5 Petty Officer 2nd Class

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  • Service Connected Disability
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    Air Force
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  1. UPDATE: I called the VAMC in Shreveport, talked to someone in the dental clinic, she told me to call the business office. I did, and the young lady there said if I would bring my BVA Decision Letter, she will try to get me approved for dental care. It's about a 125-mile round trip, so I guess I'll invest the time and gas to see if it works.
  2. Thanks, Buck52, I've talked with Peggy and also just got a response from IRIS. Both say pretty much the same thing: "It appears a decision has been made on a portion of your appeal. At this time, our records indicate the decision is currently being reviewed and processed at your regional office. No other action is needed from you at this time. However, if further information is needed you will receive notification by mail. We are sorry that we are unable to give you a timeframe for this final stage in the appeals process. We appreciate your continued patience. " I have two minor remands that should not be holding up the granted 100% TDIU and SMC (s). It's one of those things that might be done this evening, or next week, or next month, or next year, whenever the VA gets it done. It's EXPEDITIOUS! LOL I'm waiting to hear from the VAMC Billing Office now, that's who the Dental office said to call. It is just somewhat painful now, but I think it is going to get worse before it gets better.
  3. Congrats to you, air1. Hope you don't have to wait as long as some of us! It's been 6.5 months since they granted my TDIU, I'm still waiting. It sounds like yours is moving MUCH faster, though.
  4. Thanks, I really didn't think they'd spring for a dental emergency such as this, it isn't like a medical emergency situation. I will call them tomorrow and try the letter, I'll never know unless I ask.
  5. I'm not sure if anyone will have the answers to this post, but I'll ask anyhow... BVA granted me 100% TDIU back on Aug. 7 of last year, retro to 2009. I have the BVA Decision Letter, but the new rating has not yet been put into effect. I just had a tooth fall apart an hour ago. It will need a crown at best, or maybe even an implant. (My civilian dentist saw it coming and told me what was going to happen when he repaired it awhile back.) Even with my insurance, I'm looking at up to $1,000 or more out of my pocket to repair it. My questions are: 1. Should the VA dentist over in Shreveport let me make an appointment and fix my tooth, with no proof of 100% except my BVA Decision Letter? 2. If I have it done by my civilian dentist, will VA reimburse me for it when my new 100% rating goes into effect? 3. If they will reimburse it, will they also reimburse other dental expenses back to my retro Effective Date of 2009?
  6. Nyree, Yes, you will have to apply for VA VR&E. You can do it online through the eBaenefits site. Do you have a VSO? If so, talk to him/her about setting up an evaluation. You are correct that your psych's opinion is great for the 70% level, which means impaired ability to work. Nobody here can say whether or not you might be granted TDIU, but based on that opinion, you're facing an uphill battle. Of course, if you're not reasonably certain you're unemployable due to your service connected disabilities, applying for TDIU is probably not advisable. Requesting TDIU is treated as a request for review of all of your service connected issues, so it may result in a new round of C&P exams. And, not to try to scare you, but be advised that reevaluation of disabilities can sometimes result in reductions. Bottom line is that if you're convinced that you are unemployable as a result of your SC conditions, go for what is owed to you. Seek out and submit evidence to help your claim. And although you may not have to wait for a long time, prepare yourself for a lengthy journey through the appeals process.
  7. The opinion isn't bad, but it isn't as strong as you'd probably like it to be to support your claim of unemployability. The opinion definitely says your ability to work is impacted by your depression, but it never quite says you're unemployable. That doesn't mean you won't be granted TDIU, but you could enhance your chances if you'll apply for a VR&E evaluation and, if they say you're unemployable, get an "Infeasible for employment" letter from them. Other evidence you can get might also help. Are you on SSDI, or have you applied for it? Do you have a psych professional who will write an opinion that explains why you're not employable? Even with good evidence, it can take some time and some appeals to prevail, but if you're unemployable, stick to your guns, and try to supply the best evidence you can to help your claim to be granted! Best of luck. It took me 9 years of appeals to finally get TDIU. If it gets difficult, do not surrender.
  8. It basically means putting your decision into effect. That includes figuring up whatever ratings and financial actions involved in initiating your new awards.
  9. Just checking in to report the latest action on my claim; here's what's apparently happening... __________________________________"NOTHING"_______________________________________.! Next Thursday will be 6 months to the day since the ruling. On August 7, 2018, BVA granted me TDIU and SMC (s) retro to 2009. There are two minor remands that have no effect whatsoever on the TDIU and SMC. As of today, l still am currently at my old rating of 70%. I did get a BVA Decision Letter back in August, but I'm hearing nothing from the VARO or ARC that are supposed to be promulgating my claim. Checked with Peggy again last week, I honestly don't know why they employ people to answer those phones and not be of any assistance. VA could save a lot of cash if they'd simply say "No claims information will be given today, please shut up and go away". I've refrained from calling the White House Hotline, figuring that I'll just be wasting time, but maybe I'll call it next week. I'm not doing without anything, but nevertheless, I guess my patience is starting to wear thin. End of rant, I feel better already.
  10. I'm sure someone more familiar with the RAMP process will chime in, but assuming that you can submit evidence at all, (and I'm pretty sure you can, at this point) by all means you can and should address the secondary and even aggravation aspects of service connection as well as direct connection. The C&P examiner and rater actually should have addressed all three "prongs" of service connection from whatever you have submitted, but I can tell you that in my case, it apparently didn't happen. The BVA pointed that out repeatedly in granting most of my appeal, stating repeatedly that the C&P examiners and rater(s) "failed to address the aggravation prong of secondary service connection". If you have something that specifically supports any of these three "prongs", you definitely want them to have it. It is my understanding that it is not supposed to hurt your claim even if you try to claim the same condition on all three prongs. The person(s) deciding your claim or appeal is supposed to be looking for a way to grant your claim. The evidence may be too weak for them to grant "direct", but they will then re-examine the issue from the other two aspects. Hopefully the opinions you want to submit explain the rationale behind the suggested nexus (I'd imagine they do, but just be sure.) Just saying they believe the OSA is caused or aggravated by your other issues isn't good enough, there need to be explanations of why and how there's a link. I'm pretty sure Dr. Anaise's opinion and evidence will cover that nicely, it sounds like he knows what the process needs. Good luck getting whatever rating you deserve!
  11. If you apply for VA Voc Rehab, and they say that you are considered "infeasible" for employment, you can/should request that the VR counselor issue a letter to that effect. It is good evidence to support a claim for TDIU, (as long as the reason for infeasibility can be attributed to your service-connected disability).
  12. BVA granted me TDIU and SMC (s) on 8/7/18. I did receive a letter from BVA the next week, but that's it. They remanded two minor issues that will have no effect on what I will be paid. Even if they deny those two things, I'll still be 100% TDIU and SMC (s). I did receive a letter from BVA the next week, but that's it. Once they sent it back to the VARO or ARC, it's been crickets. Peggy told me that they're supposed to complete the remands, then send everything back to the BVA. I told her that actually, they're supposed to begin paying the new ratings while they deal with the remand separately. She just said "Okay, thank you for sharing that information with me. Is there anything else I can help you with today?" I must be getting better, instead of chewing her out, I just said "No" and ended the call.
  13. Sounds like some excellent advice, it is great to see a VSR here helping us to better understand the process! Thank you!
  14. Spine ratings themselves are pretty much based solely on Range of Motion measurements. However, if you have nerve pain (radiculopathy) radiating from your service-connected spinal disability, you may have a strong case to be granted secondary or aggravation service connection for it. Have you asked your doctor and/or Physical Therapist their opinions? Assuming that DDD in your C-spine segment is what you're currently rated for, it would just be a matter of getting medical confirmation, preferably from a doctor, (even better if a specialist), that a) you have radiculopathies and b) they are "due to", "more likely than not likely", or "at least as likely or not" caused or aggravated by your service-connected disability.
  15. asknod, I understand that you have handled CUE claims, and are much more experienced with them than I claim to be, but I believe I can prove that the VSR failed to properly apply existing law when (s)he arbitrarily dismissed my claim. 1) Regarding "re-interpreting the facts"; It is my contention that the evidence proves that the facts were never interpreted at all. I don't have a disagreement with how any evidence was weighed; the record supports my assertion that in 1974, the evidence was neither weighed nor denied. I claimed "nervous condition". The VSR stated "your nervous condition is not a disability under the law...". My case to prove CUE will rest primarily on the fact that the rater failed to apply existing law because (s)he erred in believing that "nervous condition" was not a valid, compensable disability. I can prove that for over 60 years, "nervous condition" has been a commonly-used label (in countless VA claims including BVA cases) for mental health conditions including depression. 2) Regardless of the Personality Disorder label, my STRs and my 1974 separation physical absolutely show the diagnosis of "depression" as well as nervousness, sleep disorder, and tension headaches. Had these records been properly examined, there should have been a claim considered/weighed, and then a decision made. (Now, I also have later evidence which ties my active duty depression to my current diagnosis). It is fact that, had the evidence been weighed (in 1974), and a decision made on "nervous condition" or mental health disability, a basis for a finding of CUE would not exist. But, from my point of view with my evidence, for all practical purposes this issue should be considered an unadjudicated claim with no decision rendered. 3. Further, (I have recently requested another copy of my C-file so I can peruse it once again) I have not located any document that indicated I had any right to appeal the 1974 decision. The "Decision Letter" certainly made no reference to a right to disagree. While I'm aware that failure to comply with the VCAA "duty to assist" is not a valid basis for a CUE finding, I have found cases where failure of the VA to inform a claimant of "right to appeal" has been used to support a CUE claim. Additionally, it is my theory that a court will agree that in the VA's dismissal of a claimed condition by stating it was "not a disability under the law", the VA was clearly stating that there was neither a legal right to claim OR appeal said condition. I once sued a certain automaker under a "lemon law", and observed as several attorneys along with a judge, spent hours haggling over a minor "either/or" statement in the applicable statute. Any wino on a street corner, and most folks with at least a third grade education, could have clearly understood the statement in the statute, but 40+ years' worth of college degrees could not come to agreement of what it meant. They argued, held sidebars, took a recess, held more sidebars, and still couldn't get it right. I almost got in deep trouble for contempt of court. I was in total contempt of those overpaid jackasses. The judge finally said he'd rule on it the next day. He did. Incorrectly. But, he was the judge, and HIS interpretation was the one that mattered. IMHO, this is a good example of why courts, and appeals courts, exist. There's no computer that some VA clerk can shove my complaint into, then proclaim that a perfect verdict has been reached. I'm going to make somebody take the time to read it thoroughly, and issue an actual decision. Right or wrong, they will have to adjudicate it, and if I'm denied, they will be forced to explain why, then allow me to decide whether to appeal... Well, unless that same VSR still works there, he may just say "Your complaint of a CUE isn't one we can legally consider, because I say so". So, again, I will proceed with this, not to oppose any decision that was "weighed", but to point out that the original 1974 claim was erroneously dismissed by a VSR who failed to properly apply the law.
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