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justrluk last won the day on June 13 2014

justrluk had the most liked content!

About justrluk

  • Birthday 12/08/1964

Profile Information

  • Location
    Central Georgia
  • Interests
    My family, gardening, cooking, Sci-fi, techno-geek, gaming.

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
  • Branch of Service
    Air Force
  • Hobby
    Taking care of my family, home and self.

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  1. You need to change your rank or your branch of service.


  2. Bronc, I posted in another's post, but added my 2008 request for EED on my P&T rating. Currently dated 2015 (date of the C&P), but felt it should have been 2008 (date of the claim that was granted). Shows closed on eBenefits, and no change in date. At what point do I get a lawyer?? Now I'm confused and frustrated all over again!!
  3. So, I had an appeal sitting since 2008 (request for EED). I sent in my form and now the appeal shows closed on eBenefits. No change in the date of the issue granted, though and no back-pay. Waiting to see what actually happened, if anything. I'll post when I see/hear something.
  4. So sorry to hear about TB - the ads on TV aren't there for nothing. Also, regardless of who prescribed your Humira, the fact that it works on both diseases (one in the same, really) should be what counts. Have you stopped taking the Humira due to the TB?
  5. I have psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis. It took several years for the VA to recognize the PsA and the level of acute symptoms. When were you diagnosed? Did you have any symptoms while on active duty? Also, when did you notice the start of psoriasis outbreaks? Mine were relatively close together, and PsA was rated separately from psoriasis. I thought this was odd, but either way was happy with the rating. I ended up having to provide the documents that linked PsA directly to psoriasis (believe me, I thought this was stupid). The C&P doc also documented the comorbidity of psoriasis and PsA. I am also on Humira and Leflunomide. I had a serious infection (perforated colon) and had to stop taking humira for a year. I took pictures of what happened to my skin and joints when not taking it. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, though. It took several years an a complaint to the VA Secretary's office, but finally had the condition rated correctly during a severe flare-up. It took several years, but has been worth it. I would suggest going to WebMD or other reliable healthcare site and finding the research that supports the link between the two diseases. Also, if you were symptomatic before being rated for psoriasis, I would claim the PsA as having been missed by the C&P doc. Then, you need to document your symptoms (which joints, bilateral?, etc.) and take pictures of flares. I don't know about you, but I still have flare-ups that require steroids even with Humira (bi-weekly) and Leflunomide (daily).
  6. First, I'm so sorry you experienced this. No one should ever have to witness what you experienced. The sense of helplessness you experienced is normal for those normally in a position to defend and help those that can't do for themselves. CBT is designed to help you re-map your thinking by thinking about what you are thinking and feeling. You are attempting to replace unsupported conclusions with fact-based reasoning. It's not an easy task. My suggestion: remember your wife loves you. You control your thoughts and reactions, so start doing it. She deserves the best 'you' you can offer. You need to remember that she's on your side, but not obligated to help you deal with your issues. That's what the professional psychs are there for. What she might be open to: you explaining how your feeling and that you know your reactions aren't rational, but that you're trying to fix them. Realize that if you don't fix your reactions, you risk losing your wife. If you think you have issues now, try to imagine her not wanting to deal with you and leaving. Would you want to implode your life? Probably not. Again, remember she's trying to understand but can never really understand what you're going through because/unless she's had a similar experience. Have empathy for her - when she talks, listen - really listen - to what she's saying, without looking for hidden meaning. More than likely she's not attacking you but frustrated that she can't help you. I would not focus on working through the issues, not so much on the diagnosis. If the medication isn't working, ask for something else. It took me several tries with different meds to find a combination of two that work. Take care of the home-front - make it a priority. Let her know you've made it a priority. It may take a while to stop reliving the events, but they will subside with time. You have to replace them with positive events (thus the CBT). Follow the process for CBT - keep a thought journal and work it every day. Write in a personal journal, then review it when the strong feelings have passed. I'm just letting you know what works for me. Whatever you do, don't give up on yourself or your wife. Remember how you feel about her when things are good when you're feeling bad. It will help.
  7. Could be because of a number of factors. If someone had priority placement (displaced employee, returning from overseas assignment, etc.) they have first right of refusal. Vets with preference still tend to make the list, but you never get to make a selection when a priority one or two hits the list as a match for the position. Were you referred? If so, you should have gotten a letter or email. You can also contact the hiring agency and ask about the status. Also, USAjobs will link you to the application manager. You can check your status there. As a point of reference, I had a new position created in my office (Oct 2015). I received a list by Feb 2016. A priority two candidate was matched through priority placement and I was not able to select anyone. People on the list were automatically notified that they were not selected. Then, the guy backed out. Now, I have to get the list back, plus review the other 30+ applicants that were never on the first list. Here it is mid-May, and I still don't have a list to make the selection. No one's fault, but the process can take time. Contact the POC on the announcement and ask them (him/her) for status.
  8. I'm on the same med. Just be careful: your (and my) skin may be clear, but read the warnings. I spent last year in and out of the hospital because I wasn't producing white blood cells and perforated my colon = really bad scene. Also, I developed breathing problems after starting Humira over a decade ago. Never smoked, but developed asthma. Just be aware (as I am sure you are) of the warnings that come with Humira. Right now, the VA is going to re-evaluate the drug for me as the best option. It has worked to slow the disease (psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis) but at a cost. Also, even if they propose a decrease in rating, you should appeal. Your reasoning above is correct. Unfortunately, you have to re-educate people on what your psoriasis looks like without the medication (take photos when/if you have a flare-up).
  9. I spent a lot of time fighting with the VA about my rating for psoriasis. Even though I take biologics, because they were prescribed by the rheumatologist and not the dermatologist, they said the rule didn't apply to psoriasis, but to psoriatic arthritis. You have to go down the road of taking photos of break-outs, things effected when you have flare-ups (e.g., can't go swimming, can't do 'things' with my spouse, etc...) and a journal of the days/weeks/months these happen. I've also had the VA stop my biologics for various reasons and I documented what happened as a result. Also, don't forget to file a clothing allowance for the damage to clothing the use of topical treatments creates.
  10. I know this is an old topic, but I am wondering what the results have been for those that have had bathrooms modified due to service-connected conditions? I have severe bouts of arthritis and the only real help at times is soaking for long periods in a tub of hot water. The problem is, when I'm in bad shape I can't get in and out of a tub very easily and the water isn't deep enough to cover me (I'm not a very large person, mind you). I also have real trouble opening door knobs, milk bottles, etc. Can anyone offer their experiences with asking the VA for help? Thanks!
  11. In several ways, I'm in the same boat. I was medically retired, but see no retirement income. The offset of VA comp takes care of that. I'm still repaying my disability severance received from the AF, which if I knew it would only be a loan, I would have hired a lawyer to help keep me in the service as long as possible. Water under the bridge at this point. In the process, I went bankrupt paying medical bills until the VA started taking care of the biggest medical issues. I paid all creditors and got to keep my 11-year-old vehicle. Most of the compensation I got from the VA covered housing and food and clothing. My pay- 3/4 of it - went to pay creditors. After several years of paying things off, several conditions got worse and I was increased to 100% schedular. I was working for the government as a disabled vet, so at least I had some health insurance, dental, etc. Never had any dental or family benefits from the VA until recently. Then, after an eight-year (or so) appeal, I was awarded P&T. At least now my kids can get an education and my wife has something more than a bare-bones insurance payout if I pass. Even while working, I spent most of last year in the hospital with several surgeries. I could not have planned for this, but at least with the VA I was covered. I took leave without pay and lost a lot of income and am paying back insurance, etc. just to keep up. My point is this: we all have our own circumstances, how we got where we are and what our lives mean to us. I agree: I'd rather at least try to work as long as I am able than not. However, I learned in the last year that things don't always work out the way you think they will. While sitting in the hospital, the only real comfort in all of it was knowing my kids would get an education and my wife would be able to survive on the death benefits. The way I see it, at least I didn't loose my family over all this mess. I've been real close to death a few too many times in the last year to don't take any of this for granted. I'll tell you what I was told when I first entered the VA system (by my PC doc): are you prepared for the day you can no longer work? John and many others here have had to face that issue and I'm sure would choose to work as much as they could. Just my thoughts - I think working is great but I've had to come to grips with not being able to work - it wasn't pretty. You may have touched that 'third rail' without knowing it. Last thoughts: be prepared for the day you can no longer work. It wasn't a goal for me, but a brick wall I hit most of last year. I was prepared financially (only because of VA benefits), but not emotionally.
  12. Just for clarification: your overall percentage is 100% and you have confirmation of Chapter 35 benefits and no further examinations scheduled? If so, working is up to you. If you are TDIU (v. P&T), your rating suggests you are 100% *and/due to* inability to work. So, if 100% P&T, yes you can work. Not P&T (should show on your commissary letter or in a decision if you are), you can work if 100% schedular (total using VA math). 100% due to TDIU, work has limitations.
  13. Contact the service secretary office and raise a fuss. You should have been copied on all actions, and had a chance to appeal the decision while you were in service. If you disagreed with the findings or percentage (like the VA), there is an appeal process = due process.
  14. This is a topic near and dear to me. I've been hired through the program and have hired others with preference. From the inside, you tend to get a really long list. Most on the list for the most recent fill action I worked (as the hiring official) had veterans preference. Only two on the referral list did not. Of those on the list, most had some experience for the position I was hiring. Some were so far off, I couldn't tell how the SEU put them on the list. The only thing preference does is give you a position on the list. Once there, your resume has to carry you to the finish. Also, if you would like me to look at your resume I would be happy to help. Some put things on a resume that are their previous position descriptions. This is not evidence that a person did what I might need them to do! If interviews are conducted, you will most likely be offered a structured interview. Everyone gets the same questions and the same time in which to respond. Think *evidence* (much like the VA!) when answering. I could go on, but need to press with other work. Like I said, I would be happy to look at and provide feedback on your federal resume. In short: it needs to be exhaustive of the evidence (time, numbers, frequency, etc.) that you did the things the hiring official is seeking in the USAJobs announcement.
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