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acesup last won the day on April 20

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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. The OP doesn't mention ongoing treatment. Are you seeing a mental health professional, whether private or VA, for your PTSD? What does this professional say about your condition, and if it is worsening? That opinion (and those records) will be important. If you're not getting treatment, you may want to start, regardless of any claim for increase.
  2. To satisfy the requirements of Medicare and my private insurance, my civilian doctor had to provide a "Certificate of Medical Necessity (CMN)". I think any doctor (and their staff) will know what a CMN is. I would also think any doctor who would "recommend" a C-PAP would supply a CMN if you ask for it. Good luck with your claim.
  3. After having TDIU and SMC (s) granted at BVA on August 7 of last year, It took 9 months and a day before I saw any change. Anyone expecting something to happen in 2 or 3 months after a BVA grant is very likely in for a big letdown. It MAY happen that soon, but odds are you're looking at 6 to 12 months, unless your case is flashed for hardship, old age, or an impending terminal health situation. I hope nobody has to wait that long, but there are some folks who have waited over a year. Not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but just don't let your expectations break you. Hang in there, it will be a great day for you when the eagle finally shits into your bank accounts.
  4. The fee is only withheld from the retro pay IF it is 20% or less, AND there's a signed (by veteran and attorney) "Fee Agreement" on file with the VA Office of General Counsel. If you signed an agreement to pay 33%, that's what you owe, and the VA won't get involved, unless they're made aware of a your disagreement with the fee. If you don't believe the fee is fair, you have to serve notice of that to the attorney, and then file a protest with the VA OGC telling them what you are challenging, and you must also supply evidence that you've notified the attorney of your disagreement with the fee. Unless you do that, there's no basis for the VA to review the fee, and they won't. IF your appeal was decided in your favor before you ever signed with the attorney, I don't think you would owe the attorney. This should be pretty simple to figure out; there's a date on your Decision Letter, and there's a date on your Fee Agreement and/or other paperwork you would have signed for representation. If the date you were granted your appeal is prior to the date the attorney agreed to represent you, I don't think you would owe any of that money to anyone; if this is what happened, you definitely should challenge it. Otherwise, as far as whether a 33% fee is "excessive"; the VA considers a fee in excess of 33-1/3% "unreasonable". If you signed up to pay 33%, and then got an award, and then decided it was excessive, you likely have no recourse but to pay it. Without knowing any of the specifics of your appeal and grants, it does sound like your attorney, through the Case Manager, is proactive and looking out for your interests, if they're pursuing TDIU for you, and they might even be doing a great job. Nothing else matters much, does it? Here are some relevant links: https://www.va.gov/ogc/accreditation.asp https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=7c8f90d08160838eff7394bf01103d9e&mc=true&node=se38.1.14_1636&rgn=div8
  5. Thanks for the replies! After fighting the VA for so long, I'm just tired of fighting. It's funny how the mind can sometimes settle things by nothing more than the passage of time. With that said, I think I'm just going to not send the draft letters I wrote complaining about this. I knew what I was signing when I inked that Fee Agreement, and there is nothing for me to be unhappy about. I think I'm learning how to relax, and I like it.
  6. Thanks, Berta. The RO sent a letter with excerpts from that regulation that you posted. In all fairness, since I did win, I expect they will say that no matter how I feel about the attorney, the bottom line is that I won. I'm not going to get too bent out of shape about it. All along, I did figure on the attorney getting 20%, and I knew it would be a lot of cash.
  7. I don't feel the attorney fee was excessive, I do feel the attorney's effort was sub-par. I won't go into detail here, but I have my reasons for feeling this way. I am informing this lawyer that I plan ask the OGC to perform a review, and why I feel that way. I expect I'll get a minor apology and the OGC will approve the 20%, and that will be the end of it. Whatever the OGC decides, I won't protest any further. I do hope that by getting some attention, maybe this firm will be a bit more straightforward with/attentive to the next veteran. I would like to think that if I had lost at BVA, this person would have come through with representation to the CAVC, but I guess I'll never know, and I'm glad I didn't have to depend on such a wild card. If I had to do it over again, I'd still retain an attorney, but I'd be pickier. I simply went along with a recommendation from my first attorney, who started out as a blustering lion, but then had a meltdown and quit handling veterans' appeals (because she couldn't stand dealing with, if I recall her exact phrasing, "a den of vipers and demons"). All in all, it didn't cost money out of my pocket, and all's well that ends well. So far, it's ending quite nicely.
  8. Back on August 7 of last year, the BVA granted me TDIU and SMC (s) back to 2009. So, last week on the 13th, (9 months and 6 days after that BVA Decision) I received a dozen deposits into my bank accounts, 9+ years of retro. Now, it was my understanding that Attorney Fees of 20% would be owed up to the date of the BVA grant, which would be August 7, and that all money after that date was entirely mine. However, the VA also withheld 20% from those last 9 months. That means the attorney will get an extra $3,600+ from me because it took over 9 months for the RO to implement my new rating. Is this a mistake? Here's what the M21 says, which seems to me that nothing should be withheld after August 1: c. The Period to Use for Calculating Past- Due Benefits Past-due benefits are calculated from the effective date of the award to the date of the decision awarding benefits, not the date of the notification letter not the last day of the month in which the decision awarding benefits was made. See VAOPGCPREC 18-95 and 38 CFR 14.636(h)(3) regarding definition of past due benefits Am I misunderstanding this? If there is an error, do I just call Peggy, or contact Office of General Counsel who is technically holding the money now? FWIW, I already felt the Attorney Fee is excessive (I may not gain anything doing this, but I have my reasons for protesting it), and was preparing to ask the OGC to review it for reasonableness.
  9. It is also a good idea to have the Nexus doctor review your medical records, including your Service Treatment Records, and state in the letter that (s)he has done so. Hope it goes well for you!
  10. It's not a good situation. I know there must be a few good attorneys out there who probably will handle a BVA appeal, but to anyone looking for representation, proceed with caution! There are people who will sign on as your POA, get you to sign a Fee Agreement, then they'll do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING except put it in a file cabinet. They'll hope someday YOU win YOUR appeal, so THEY cash in on 20% of YOUR award, when they don't deserve much of anything. In other words, they're just like ambulance chasers and other parasites. I couldn't find a trustworthy VSO in my area to handle my claims back in 2007/2009. I called the DAV, of which I'm a life member since 1974, and was supposedly assigned a DAV, I think from Dallas. She never contacted me, so one day, after months, I had the audacity to contact her office and ask for a call back. Well, she may not have had time to discuss my claim, but she found a few minutes to bitch at me for calling and told me how busy she was, blah-blah-blah, so, I decided no VSO would be preferable to a lousy one that wasn't interested in my claim. I voided the POA, there was no way that person would represent me. In 2010, I was denied on all counts. I had read some glowing reports about how NOVA attorneys were available to stand up for vets and deal with VA appeals, and thought that was the way to go, so I contacted a few, then went an hour down the road to meet with one. My first NOVA attorney, who I signed up with in 2011, was great, very confident and reassuring, a real fireball, and I thought she was the answer to my claims. For some time, she was pushing for a DRO review, and talking strategy with me, and I was so impressed. Then, one day she just got sick of dealing with the VA, so in 2014 she suddenly resigned from ALL veterans' appeals. She sent me a letter complaining about having to deal with the pit of vipers and demons at the VA. I think she truly was going to be a great counselor if needed, she was definitely the pro-active type, but she just kept losing cases and got burned out, I guess. Too bad for her, because shortly after she quit I got a DRO grant that would have netted her about $9,000. The VA actually sent her that money, but she sent it back, so they paid it to me. I didn't have trouble finding another NOVA attorney to take my case; the first attorney highly recommended another female NOVA attorney to me, and I signed a contract. Looking back now, I really think she did virtually nothing to earn the approximately 40 grand she'll soon be collecting from my 9+ years of retro. She never met with me, not even once. Our communications were by email. The extent of her dealings with the VA was about once a year, she'd send a letter asking the status of my appeal. Oh, and once, she printed some Internet article about depression and mailed it in to the RO (but I had already gotten SC for depression before I ever hired her). I kept convincing myself that when it got to a BVA hearing, she'd show her worth. Then, one day I found out there was no hearing, she had not even requested one! So, last July and August, the BVA just looked at my stuff and granted virtually all of it, including DVT/PE, neck disability and upper extremity neuropathies, OSA, and most importantly, TDIU and SMC (s). All of this was based on evidence I had amassed and submitted to them; IMEs, nexus letters with supporting medical evidence, buddy letters, etc. I won't do a lot of complaining, I got myself into that mess, and I probably won't vehemently protest her payment, but I will say this: I see a lot of criticism of VSOs, and it is probably mostly deserved. But there needs to be some way to vet a NOVA attorney, because I'm here to tell you that membership in NOVA is apparently not much more than a license to steal. And I won't publish the attorney's name, because I don't want to get sued. Let's just say she wouldn't want to use me as a reference. When VA gets around to figuring the attorney's cut, maybe I will contact the Office of General Counsel to file a protest. I don't expect any results, but I think I do want the lawyer to know how I feel about letting her take me for such a huge chunk of cash. And I also hope to find a way to let veterans know not to make the same mistake I did. I've dealt with lawyers before, so what was I thinking? My bad.
  11. So, I woke up this morning and poured a cup of mud, and thought I should check eBennies. I am now OFFICIALLY 100% TDIU and SMC (s) Permanent and Total! Actually, I am also 100% combined even if they took away the TDIU, because I have two 60%, two 50%, two 20%, and four 10% ratings. They actually low-balled me on a couple of issues, but I won't waste anybody's time appealing, that would be pointless! A million thanks to all of the folks here on hadit who helped with information and moral support over the last nearly 10 years! Through these forums, I learned what evidence I needed to support my claim and appeal. I will be forever grateful. The Effective Date of October 28, 2009 is incorrect. I have ample evidence in my C-file that I asked for some of this, including TDIU, in May of 2007. (I was a Shreddergate victim, my claim that I filed in Houston got "disappeared"). Is there any good reason why I shouldn't file for E.E.D.? Also, I now will finish preparations to file a CUE for Major Depressive Disorder to go back to 1974.
  12. If I'm not badly mistaken, your first payment at this new rating should be effective last week on May 1. VA Comp doesn't pay for a partial month, so you won't get paid anything for March. So, if they didn't pay you at the new rate last week, they apparently owe you one month, April. Congrats on your new rating.
  13. Excerpt from the VASRD The Respiratory System, 4.96 "(a) Rating coexisting respiratory conditions. Ratings under diagnostic codes 6600 through 6817 and 6822 through 6847 will not be combined with each other. Where there is lung or pleural involvement, ratings under diagnostic codes 6819 and 6820 will not be combined with each other or with diagnostic codes 6600 through 6817 or 6822 through 6847. A single rating will be assigned under the diagnostic code which reflects the predominant disability with elevation to the next higher evaluation where the severity of the overall disability warrants such elevation." That's about as clear as mud. I don't know if it means they each get a rating, or they don't. I think the diagnostic code for PE will be 6817, and OSA is 6847. So 6817 and 6847 "will not be combined with each other"? Does that mean they ARE rated separately or NOT? Hell, I don't have a clue, the wording is deceptive, IMHO. This will apply to me too, so I'm very curious. I was just granted DVT/PE and OSA by BVA back in August, but they haven't promulgated it yet, so I don't know how they're handled together. My PE should, in my opinion, get 60%; the OSA, 50%. I also believe I should get a separate rating for DVT under VASRD Diseases of the Arteries and Veins 4.104-14 diagnostic code 7121 for Post-phlebitic syndrome. Did you also have DVT? If and when I get my ratings someday, and/or if I can find any applicable info, I'll post here. Good luck!
  14. Congrats to you and your husband, Kelly! Sounds like it is rolling right along now, thatnk goodness, it was time!
  15. I emailed that address yesterday to inquire about my claim, as I've not heard anything since the Aug. 7, 2018 BVA decision that granted me TDIU and SMC. I think the response is encouraging! I hope this reply means that the two minor remands (SC for migraines and sciatica) are resolved, and that I'll soon be hearing about getting paid at the new level. It may take a while to get the retro from 2009, but that will be OK, I don't have big plans for spending it. Good morning Mr.xxxxxx Thank you for your inquiry. Currently, your ARC-Remand w/ BVA Grant is pending 254 days at Lincoln Regional Office (RO). A rating decision is complete, but, according to VBMS, needs rating board attention. On March 15th, 2019, Appeals Management Office (AMO) transferred ownership to Lincoln RO. I have forwarded your inquiry to Lincoln RO and requested their office respond directly to your inquiry. Thank you for your service. Have a great day.
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