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Berta last won the day on August 29

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About Berta

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    Beautiful hills of NY andwidow of  2 vets, 2 HD each and mother of USAF vet-my daughter, 7 years Top Secret Intel
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  1. Am I Wasting My Time?

    To add ( I am stll having trouble with the posting feature) we need to know exactly when your husband was in Vietnam. I briefly went over this link and realized that Seabees were in Vietnam early on, before and then after the spraying of the AO. His dates of in country service would be critical to a DMII AO claim. http://home.earthlink.net/~larrydev2/vncbs/seabeesinvietnam.htm
  2. Conflict yes or no

    VYNC is correct and often a SSDI award can help with a TDIU claim. If the SSDI award is solely for a SC condition, or solely for a claimed SC disability, the VA, with proof of the service nexus, will consider the SSDI award ( because that involves an independent medical opinion) . Also a favorable SSDI award ( which might take less time that a VA TDIU award) that is fairly current, might provoke a favorable additional year of SC for the TDIU or 100%.) depending on when the SSDI was filed and when the VA claim was filed---- I will try to find those regulations here. Personal example. My husband had 30% SC for PTSD since 1983 and then had a Section 1151 major stroke.1992 He filed SSDI for both disabilities . SSA award solely for the 1151 NSC stroke. They never mentioned his PTSD. I found a SSDI regulation stating they must consider all disabiities the claimant has listed. We filed for reonsideration. 3 months later his new SSDI award came. Solely for PTSD with a very favorable EED.1991 and more SSA retro. His PTSD 30% upgrade claim was still in progress and we sent the VARO the SSDI new award letter. About 6 months later he died with no decisions yet on his VA PTSD claim. I became the claimant. VA awarded 100% SC for PTSD posthumously( the upgrade claim was filed in 1994, ,the SSDI PTSD award came in early 1993, and they correctly determined the date of entitlement arose with the 1991 SSDI PTSD date for PTSD- the last day he ever worked.I certainly had sent them significant evidence, that stood on it's own, from his VA medical records, in case they didn't consider the SSDI properly- but they did.
  3. Am I Wasting My Time?

    You said the paperwork is in the mail ( I assume you mean the formal 21-534 DIC form). " I also sent a copy of his DD214 that states "served in Vietnam. Do you think this will suffice?" Many DD 214's contain decorations and medals that reveal that the veteran served during the war but not where they served. They also contain overseas duty periods but I have never seen the words "served in Vietnam" on a DD 214. I have my husband's DD 214 in front of me.It shows in Block 22, that he had oversease service and it gives the dates.It shows the Vietnam Service Medal but that alone does not prove Boots on Ground-Vietnam. His DD 215 , plus the Vietnam Campaign Ribbon on his DD 214 reveals decorations/awards of Vietnam service. The DD 214 also shows his unit designation at Quantico, under his last command when he was discharged- 1968-But which had changed , when he became part of 1stMARDIV ,Vietnam,Ambhibious Tracktor battalion.65-55 RollingThunder , Ops Starlight. My point is that your husband's DD 214 might not reveal his Vietnam service at all-just overseas service. His awards and decorations might but might not reveal Vietnam in country service I dont doubt at all that he was there but after 30 plus years dealing with Vietnam vets, I know the VA will need more proof of his service unless his DD 214 has decorations from the Vietnamese Gov and/or it might have ( as on my husband's DD 215, )the Presidental Unit Citation which I am sure many SeaBee Units received. This is why I suggested : "You might want to explain exactly where his unit was in Vietnam." Can you give us the dates and place of his Vietnam service and any unit designations? Since he had never filed a claim before, the VA will need to know this info as well. Va will attempt to verify his service via JSRRC but I think it is always best if a claimant does that themselves. Perhaps with that info I can find a unit history to narrow down his time and place in Vietnam. Do you have his Service Medical Records and his Service Personnel file? If not you might well need to obtain this information from the National Archives. VAwill need, as I recall, a raised seal copy of your marriage license, and probably need a raised seal copy of the death certificate,which I what I assume you sent to them. The VSM....Vietnam Service Medal From Nov 1991- 2002, the M21 ( VA's guidelines on claims) indicated that receipt of the VSM was enough to proof boots on ground allowing some Navy veterans who served in the 7th Fleet, with no Boots on Ground -to be awarded compensation for AO disability. I knew one of those vets either from hadit or another vet site I was at....over 20 years ago. The provision in M21-1 was rescinded a few years later and he got a proposed reduction letter from VA because he had not proven boots on ground. (and they had never asked, under the older M21 version regarding the VSM, that had provided his initial AO SC award.) As a 100% P & T vet at that point with 2 childrens of college age ( eligible for Chapter 35 educational benefits ) he was devastated.But he was willing to do anything to overcome the proposed reduction. Long story -and during one of our many conversations ( I was always trying to draw him out as to possibly stepping onto Vietnam soil-he suddenly remembered something---and I suddenly exclaimed Yippee! One boot on ground will do it. (that is all he remembered- having one foot on Vetnamese soil as he helped an ARVN officer into a small boat to take him back to the main ship.)The M21 rescinded passage did not account for American vessels in Vietnamese tributaries at that time. I asked him if he could possibly prove the ARVN incident, and with a LOT of leg work ,he did ! There is more to this story but -with his proof of one foot on Vietnam's soil, the VA canceled a hearing he had requested and immediately continued his 100 P & T comp due to AO. My long point is that DD 214s ( I have read probably hundreds of them) tell only one small part of the story of a veteran's service.When my husband was discharged, the Marines were all herded into a big room in Quantico and asked to write down the deorations and awards they had received. This was how they were preparing the DD 214s in those days, sometimes. He said most of them didnt have a clue on their awards, and just wanted to get the 'hell' out of there, and he only knew of the NDSM , Expert Rifle Badge, Good Conduct Medal and the VSM but they put the VCM on the 214 too. VCM Vietnam Campaign Medal. A few months before he died he applied for a DD 215 because scuttlebutt at Quantico was that their unit had received the PUC but he had no proof of that. It was on his DD 215, along with a small package of the ribbons and some decorations and it stated other Vietnamese decorations/medals he had won.With a PTSD claim in process for a higher rating of his SC 30%, we sent VA a copy of the DD 215. I dont think that impacted at all on his 100% P & T SC PTSD posthumous Award, but at least the VA had the corrections in the DD 215. I feel any vet who believes their 214 is wrong should file for a correction of it.The DD 149 form for that is here at hadit somewhere. If the DD 215 reveals awards or medals from the Vietnamese Gov, the DOD will probably send you a nice letter along with the American decorations, ribbons, etc, telling you to purchase the Vietnamese medals at a BX, or PX or on line. When my daughter graduated from BT, USAF, Lackland ,Texas , she took me to the BX and I had all the paperwork I needed as proof for the Vietnamese Medals, and my legal paperwork as the surviving spouse, and the letter from DOD as to buying these medals, that my husband received, but they never even asked for proof .
  4. Am I Wasting My Time?

    Did you consider any of the advice here you received in 2015? Did you at that time file a claim? The BVA decision I put into the older posts ,although it was specific to the deceased veteran, held a VHA opinion that granted the widow DIC for squamous cell cancer of the tongue,due to her husband’s exposure to Agent Orange.with a full medical rationale, that this disability fell under the respiratory disease criteria of the Agent Orange presumptives. I certainly raised the 1151 issue regarding the MRSA ,as well, and had a link to two MRSA awards of compensation under 1151. In the older posts. I believe four of us members here advised to file the claim. The reason I ask, is that, if you have never filed a claim yet for DIC, and if the VA awards the DIC, the retro DIC will only go back to the date of the formal claim that was filed. You might want to explain exactly where his unit was in Vietnam. The Seabees did a lot of work in Vietnam, but I fear the VA might only see USN, not find his ship on the AO Ship's list, and deny because they didnt have enough info as to Boots on Ground. His ship might be on the AO ships list, however, and that updated list is here under a search. Those ships have been considered by the VA to have been exposed to AO and any sailor who was on them during the war, was exposed to Agent Orange as well-whether they stepped on Vietnamese soil or not. Seabees ,in the construction battalions ,were all on Vietnamese soil. http://www.tpub.com/seabee/1-3.htm
  5. Am I Wasting My Time?

    You should definitely apply for DIC, to cover everything on the Death Certificate. They should award under the DMII,unless the squamous cell cancer was a STS cancer, under the AO presumptives. And Yes there is a chance of the CVA getting onto the presumptive list. If he had no VA medical records, and just private ones, VA wil want a copy of them, but they should still award under DMII or the cancer. My husband was a VA patient and I was awarded AO DIC for DMII contributing to his death.... not on the death certificate and never diagnosed and treated by the VA... I dont think you will have any problems with the DIC.
  6. When I Die

    Gee I forgot one important one thing----- When the spouse turns 65, if she isnt 65 yet, she will need to apply for Medicare Part A & B, in order to maintain the CHAMPVA. I have CHAMPVA(which is GREAT!) as well as I used Chapter 35 to finish my degree.(Fabulous benefit as well).
  7. When I Die

    For CHAMPVA, that should continue after your dependents after your death, and once you have ten continuous years in at P & T, the spouse should have no problem getting DIC as well, regardless of what you die from. If a vet has a 100% rating (Total) but no Permanent designation ( "P") the VA will consider upon their death that the SC was Permanent because it lasted their lifetime. Death makes everything Permanent. But if the primary cause of death was not a SC disability, and if the secondary cause of death as a contributing factor, were not service connected in the veteran's lifetime, and the 100% Total SC rating was less than 10 years,the surviving spouse will have to prove SC death. I remind all that you need to make sure the spouse is PC literate, and they should come here after you die, because we have a lot of info on survivor's benefits. If any vet has a claim pending at their death, the surviving spouse must file for Substitution as claimant and file for accrued benefits along with the DIC app, and get that done within one year after death. A successful DIC award will be made back to the date of death, that way, otherwise, if th DIC form is filed 2-3 years later or even one month after the year of death has passed, any retro will only go back to the date of the claim, if filed within that first year after, the VA will award DIC,if granted, back to the veteran's month of death. There are No accrued benefits payable if the accrued claim is filed after that first year passes by-unless they fall under the Nehmer 2010 Court Order. We have done radio shows on death files here, and I have posted info that should be in them.... because when death comes, it pays to have this stuff easily accessible to the spouse. The first thing in the death file, along with DD214/215 etc, death cert, etc, should be our web site hyperlink and with your hadit password the spouse can come here or register to get his/her own password. You are way too young to die but I sure commend any veteran for thinking ahead like this.
  8. I found this link at hadit that explains the Choice Program: https://www.va.gov/opa/choiceact/documents/Choice-Program-Fact-Sheet-Final.pdf Hopefully if someone here has used it, I hope they chime in. I found this about the Mileage benefit https://www.va.gov/healthbenefits/resources/publications/IB10-621_beneficiary_travel_faq.pdf Being a civilian myself , I have no idea how these programs work but veterans here would know.
  9. GREAT Advice ArNG11!!!!! I posted this statement here a few times over the years and used it in my last 1-9, as it was recommended to do that in the VBM by NVLSP. The VARO had not sent me a valid and legal VCAA letter. My so -called vet reps to include their state director would not support my request to the RO for a valid VCAA letter. The BVA agreed with me but said the violation was moot because my evidence overcame the VCAA violation. You are sure right as well that one must carefully word their appeal. I had filed for AO direct SC death but the disability had never been diagnosed or treated by the VA. I had already won DIC under Section 1151 for wrongful death so the RO did not want to re-open my claim. I fought them until they did, knowing the BVA would get it. The BVA did. There is no Honor in knowing the VA killed my husband ( Section 1151 DIC) There is plenty of Honor knowing he died due to malpractice of DMII , IHD, CVA, and HBP and the AO DMII claim and AO IHD claim resulted in 2 theories of direct SC death on top of the other 1151 issues. I had to spend quite some time in 2003 to word the claim carefully so that it could not be construed to be an additional 1151 claim. You made an excellent point. We Must carefully word our claims and our appeals. And even explain the evidence step by step, sometimes, like they are 10 years old. "I take exception to and preserve for appeal ALL errors the VARO may have made or the Board hereafter might could make in deciding this appeal. This includes all legal errors, all factual errors, failure to follow M21-1,all due process errors and any failures to discharge the duty to assist as violation of basic VA laws and regulations within 38 USCS and 38 CFR." Source Veterans Benefits Manual ( 2003 Edition, NVLSP National Veterans Legal Services Program)
  10. This concerns me... "I wanted so bad the VA to do a reconsideration but I guess that's going to take a LONG-LONG time STILL". As all can see by the many posts, many here tried to advise here on BCMR, DRB stuff and we still dont know the results of that. I think Dan means he filed a reconsideration of a negative Character of Discharge decision by the VARO. If a NOD was filed timely ( within the first year after the denial), and if you are still dealing with Buffalo Dan, they take a LONG time dealing with reconsiderations, as I well know. I just read a BVA decision whereby the vet , who had a OTH, did succeed in getting service connection.But he had gone through the DRB or BMCR process first. Can you scan and attach here the denial of the COD decision? (cover your C file # and name etc prior to scanning it) I dont think you have ever attached any VA results of your claims.It is the exact words of the decisions that can help us to help you. I only filed for a reconsideration once. (My SMC CUE claim) And I also filed the NOD ,but within days of the NOD deadline, as VA sent me a lot of rhetoric, which appeared for a while they were working on the reconsideration claim. I realised at some point they were just trying to piss away my NOD deadline. No way Jose on that! The SMC CUE claim, filed in 2003, was awarded in 2012, because luckily it went to a different VARO, due to Nehmer, and that VARO ,unlike Buffalo VARO, could read. At one point during the NOD time period they tried to make up a regulation in order to deny, which did not work, and also they said it was with a "specialist" who understood CUE claims. I still think their 'specialist' was the guy who filled their paper cup deispenser at the RO water cooler. By time the claim was set for a BVA transfer no specialist had looked at the claim.But I kept a watcvhful eye on this claim because I knew it was solid and that the BVA would award it.Still, it was filed prior to my AO IHD death claim and contingent on a proper rating of that claim, so I wrote to the Nehmer VARO asking them to adjudicate the CUE properly and they did. (I am saying this wrong it was not only a SMC CUE filed in 2003 but also a IHD CUE claim filed in 2004) Was your NOD filed within one year of their denial? Do you use ebenefits or have you called Peggy lately for a status?( Peggy- VA 1-800-827-1000) You have to keep on Buffalo, as to following the status of anything you have there.And I always, for every claim I had at this RO, made sure I had a postage receipt of any evidence I mailed, and then I checked to make sure they got it.I assume you raised a good reason, such as sending them additional evidence, to support the reconsideration request. Maybe they denied because of any results from DRB or BCMR but we don't know what those results were. I had a problem locally with a wife of a Desert Storm vet who thought he was "service connected" ,and told people he was,but he had no service connected rating at all. She thought because he was a Lt.Colonel and a Retiree , who served in a war zone, that alone meant he was "service connected." She didnt understand that service connection is a legal and medical determination that must come from the VA if a formal claim is made on disability (ies). He had never filed a VA claim at all.
  11. Can you scan and attach the denial here, as to why they denied and the evidence list they used? Cover your C file # and name prior to scanning it.
  12. Did you post this question in a different forum too ? I answered that post this AM here: https://community.hadit.com/topic/70605-service-connected-asthma30-submitting-claim-for-severe-sleep-apnea/#gsc.tab=0
  13. There is some medical association of asthma causing sleep apnea: http://www.webmd.com/asthma/news/20150113/asthma-tied-to-higher-risk-of-sleep-apnea In this BVA case ,the BVA found that the veteran’s steroid treatments for service connected asthma, had caused the sleep apnea: ORDER Entitlement to service connection for sleep apnea, to include as secondary to service connected asthma is granted. https://www.va.gov/vetapp17/files4/1724056.txt and "ORDER Service connection for obstructive sleep apnea, as secondary to service-connected asthma, is granted." https://www.va.gov/vetapp17/files3/1717887.txt But there are many BVA claims for the same thing that were denied, such as: https://www.va.gov/vetapp17/files1/1704552.txt Did the DBQ doctor provide any nexus statement as to the OSA being secondary to the SC asthma? I think if you get an IME that gives a full medical rationale for the OSA, being tied into the Asthma,as cause, this would be a very valid claim. But IMEs can be costly and you might get a C & P examiner who certainly would understand the link, such as in the asthma treatment of steroid situation above, but I think you would need much more evidence of unemployability due to SC to succeed in the TDIU claim. If you are treated for the asthma with steroids, any abstracts or medical info from a good internet site might bolster the claim without any IME. The BVA decision site has many claims for OSA ,some as related to SC Asthma.Under searches there you might find what evidence you would need, if a C & P doc does not link the OSA as a seondary condition. Did you specifically claim the OSA as a secondary condition due to the asthma? It is not impossible to go from 30% to TDIU or 100% , I was able to do that regarding my husband's PTSD rating, but the medical evidence I had was quite significant and compelling. https://www.index.va.gov/search/va/bva.jsp There are many OSA claims there some , that can be searched as OSA secondary to asthma. The initial BVA case reveals that steroids had caused a weight gain in the veteran which VA will sometimes blame on the veteran ,so they can deny the OSA that way...due to weight gain...
  14. agent orange sprayed on Alaska Pipeline-Ft. Wainwright

    I also found email from a lawyer who contacted me via hadit many years ago, to see if I could help with his first CAVC case, which involved proving exposure to Agent Orange.(Alaska-repaired Bird Dogs ) He wrote: "Wow! Thank you for this update. My involvement with the vet that led me to connect with you back in 2009 ended several years ago, following my pro bono involvement and the grant of remand. I tried to keep in touch and assist him in the process following remand. Even helped ghost write a couple letters to move his remanded claim off of dormancy. But, I never heard the final result. I still wonder what became of him and his claim His claim was not as clear or direct in terms of exposure as this ruling you forwarded on the post-war C-123s. My claimant's matter was aircraft related, but his claim was that certain 0-1 "Bird Dog" planes he worked on in Alaska, that had been sent there for repairs, had been used in herbicide spraying operations. The VA maintained that the 0-1 was only used as a forward air control spotter plane, and that they had never found any evidence or record of the 0-1 being used in Vietnam for AO or other herbicide spraying. They in fact maintained that the 0-1 could not have been used for spraying, but I did find actual manufacturer manuals and related literature that showed that the aircraft did in fact have an optional configuration for spraying. But, never could find any evidence or anecdote of one being actually used in Vietnam for spraying. In fact, every 0-1 vet I could find said, to a man, they'd never heard of or seen an 0-1 used for spraying. It is encouraging however to finally see the acknowledgement, as noted in this ruling you sent me, that exposure could and did come from a lot more paths and methods of exposure than first hand. Thanks again. Kudos to you and all those who continue to press for what is right for these vets. -- Randy Holliday" I wonder after all these years, if the veteran succeeded on remand and was awarded at the regional level.If so, we will never know. However the point I have made is clear here as well.... I was a student pilot and knew this plane the lawyer's client referred to ,was as small as the ones I took flying lessons in Pipers or cessna 152s and could not possibly hold AO spraying equipment and containers of AO. You definitely need to prove that the helicopters he worked on were used in Vietnam to spray AO or, by the fact they were on ground and in air - Vietnam as well for refueling,so that , as Wes Carter proved, the helicopter (and it's pilots) were exposed to AO from a contaminated aircraft.
  15. agent orange sprayed on Alaska Pipeline-Ft. Wainwright

    The only contact info I found for Wes Carter was here: http://veteranveritas.com/?p=910 That info is probably out of date by now. I mentioned him but cannot forget James Cripps (hadit Member) first AO CONUS vet, and Kurt Priessman, (hadit member), first AO Thailand vet, and the Thailand VA directive is solely due to his work. These vets above were willing to do all of the leg work needed to get their exposures to AO confirmed by the VA, and their work has helped many others. Their results should be very encouraging for anyone attempting to do what has not been done before....and Kurt and James have posts here as well as their radio shows have been archived and accessible via the Radio blog links. They did the 'impossible'. I too was told some of my claims were 'impossible". They were not impossible, they just took LOTS of leg work-as the above veterans were willing to do without getting discouraged. In December 2016 you posted at hadit that you feared the claim would be denied. With a very strong independent medical opinion from a doctor with some expertise in Agent Orange, they,the IMO doc, might be able to state, with medical abstracts and treatises, and his complete medical files, that there is no other know etiology you husband had , for his disabilities, other than for his Agent Orange exposure. Still, that could be costly and the claim would still need proof that he worked on helicopters that had been exposed to AO in Vietnam, and might have even held the spraying equipment. Have you attempted to find the Units in Vietnam they were sent to Alaska from? .