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Everything posted by Berta

  1. You need to acquire a VSO who can also see those records and where they are, and the VSO can help obtain them- " All I have are his hospital records. Except for one hospital that has closed." You need to get copies of his VA medical records, in addition to any hospital records, maybe that is what the VSO was looking at "And his military records."You need his complete SMRs and his 201 Personnel file. Is he still actively getting VA medical care? Google NARA to get whatever military records he does not have. Use the DD 149 - in my husband's case the DD215 brought him more decorations, awards, than he thought he had. This is the form he can use for his VA medical records. .https://www.va.gov/vaforms/medical/pdf/vha-10-5345a-fill.pdf This is what he needs for his C file copy: https://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/VA3288.pdf Also he needs to advise VA of any private medical records or obtain them himself by requesting them from the private doctors. If no one holds his POA , he will have to sign these forms. He is probably misdiagnosed with schizophrenia from doctors who do not understand PTSD-therefore he is probably on the wrong meds, and the meds are making him forgetful. I really don't know and I hope you try to get a VSO ASAP because they can see things on their PC contact to VA that we can',t see .
  2. I suggest you send a copy of that along with the DD 149 and also check the list of Bronze Star recipients above....all names might not be on the list, but if his name is on it, that too should be copied and sent along with the DD 149 form and also send copies to the VA ,when you re open his claim....for PTSD. I completely agree with Brokensoldier. I was a VA vet center volunteer in the early 1980s when the VA began to recognize that PTSD was Real. Many Vietnam vets were misdiagnosed prior to 1983, with other MH issues, that VA would not service connect , and they actually had full blown PTSD from the war.Some even got bad paper discharges, that could be upgraded years after the fact, because they had manifestations of PTSD in service. The Vet Center vets voted me in to be in their weekly PTSD Combat Rap group. My life changed Forever and I married one of those combat vets.My daughter became a Vietnamese linquist.((USAF INTEL) and went to Vietnam twice ( TS Classified).His service is honored EVERY DAY by me. You said: " The VSO said not to go the PTSD route, because he would have to talk about the service. He doesn't do that. He has been heavily medicated since 1980. " I Have known many combat vets who were very reluctant-at first- to talk about their service. Some never did ,even to the VA. My own husband, USMC Vietnam, showed me a year long stressor list he had to do before he was put into the PTSD inhouse program.He already had a 30% SC rating due to one main stressor, that had been verified ,and he told me, (this list took him a week to prepare- he was so stressed by doing the list, dates, deaths etc, ) that there were things he could never tell me or the VA about. I heard that from many Vietnam vets. 1965-66 Vietnam.Hell on Earth. He is why I am here. But my long point is that the Bronze Star Certificate/award above is Wonderful but it does not reveal a "stressor",which he will need to talk about , so that VA can verify it. Most Vietnam combat vets had multiple stressors but they need to tell VA of the one (s) most able to be proven. I took a friend of mine to the Vet Center once. We spoke to the team leader. I knew what his DD 214 said and what he had been through. He would not talk at all about Vietnam ,except to me, and refused to come to the Rap group. PTSD was ruining his life and his stressors could have been verified, plus he had a GSW from Vietnam but it was not on his DD 214. There was nothing more I could do for him. Your family member will need to tell VA of a stressor, in Vietnam, that can be verified...unless---- does he have the CIB or CAR on his DD 214?
  3. To add, what other decorations or awards are on his DD 214? What branch was he in and what was his MOS in Vietnam? The older denial does state that he was in combat-Vietnam.
  4. "He was awarded the Bronze Star.. It isn't in his records. I sent it in with him claim." GBArmy is correct, You need to file a DD149- the new address for the DD 149 is in this thread: https://community.hadit.com/topic/66899-awards-medals-success-dd149-dd215/ The form is here: https://arba.army.pentagon.mil/documents/DDForm149.pdf Just put Not Applicable in the 'Injustice' part. All Bronze Star recipients are listed either here: https://valor.militarytimes.com/award/7 or here: http://www.americanwarlibrary.com/personnel/bronze.htm If his name is not there, hopeful the DD 149 will correct the list--- There are 2 types of Bronze Star I believe---- Has he ever shared what he received it for?
  5. When did he get this denial? I don't see the evidence list but the VA did indicate they did not reveal any service nexus regarding the schizophrenia. Whether VA put the SMRs on the Evidence or not , they might have simply breezed through them.. He can request his SMRs via NARA again - but they might still be at the VARO , if you have filed a timely NOD. Years ago I requested my dead husband;s SMRs and 201 Personnel file, from the USMC and from the US Navy. I got all of the Navy records a few months later but the letter with them said his USMC SMRs were at the Buffalo RO (where they were supposed to be as I had accrued claims in progress there.) NARA https://www.archives.gov/veterans They ( the SMRs) would be critical to this claim. Does he recall any MH issues that were documented in his SMRs by any medical person while he was in service? or put on his Discharge Certificate?
  6. Oddly enough this was the last OGC Pres Op published in 2019 and there are none so far in 2020. The General Counsel's Office has been greatly affected by the Covid situation- like many parts of VA Central. I was going to post this today but realized I already did when it was published. It concerns me that we have not had many Blue Water AO vets here.....or even their survivors. But if they fall into HR 299, ( have AO presumptive disability and ship's logs verify they were in 10 Mile limit, during the war ), their claims would be easy for VA to handle. I hope.
  7. Buck, there are so many reasons for a denial that I do hope the poster will attach the redacted decision. It might be missing one or more of the Caluza elements. I wanted to add as well....neither a VSO, vet rep, or lawyer can perform a miracle. On the other hand, many if not most of us here, have done better with our claims, by representing ourselves. The past vet reps I had did not have a clue. I was at the VAMC one day and could hardly believe what I heard my vet rep tell a PTSD veteran. Luckily I saw the vet later going to his car and I gave him the best advice he could get-I knew that would make his PTSD claim succeed. Here is Caluza : 1. current diagnosis 2. In service event or aggravation. 3. Nexus. From Broncovet's many posts on this basic VA regulation. The nexus factor means the 'link' to an inservice event, documented illness, or accident in service. I do not feel that many vet reps fully explain that to claimants. Caluza cannot be repeated enough and I appreciate that Broncovet brings it up often. But a denial can be based on far more things than just Caluza- we just dont know until we see the decision.
  8. VietnamVetFam- Since the claim was denied twice, you will need New and Relevant Evidence to reopen the claim. The VA, within the past decisions, stated why the claim was denied. Have you been able to overcome that denial by obtaining what they said they still needed? Can you scan and attach here their last denial? (Cover C file # and name prior to scanning it.) Do you have the veteran's complete SMRS, In service Personnel file, and copy of their C file?
  9. Case Number:20-3907 Docketed: 06/05/2020 Luis Negron-Ortiz v. Robert L. Wilkie Appeal From: Department of Veteran Affairs Fee Status: dfh "On June 5, 2020, the petitioner, Luis Negron-Ortiz, through counsel filed a petition for extraordinary relief in the form of a writ of mandamus compelling the Secretary to take immediate action to implement a December 6, 2019, Board of Veterans' Appeals decision that granted a disability rating of 20% for right and left lower extremity diabetic peripheral neuropathy and a 70% disability rating for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), both throughout the claim period, and a total disability rating based on individual unemployability from January 1, 2009; and remanded the issue of entitlement to an effective date for PTSD earlier than May 30, 1997. Petition at 1-2, 8; Appendix at 9-18. The Secretary responded to the petition on June 18, 2020, and asserted that a VA regional office issued a rating decision on June 15, 2020, implementing the awards. Secretary's Response at 2-4. Later the same day, the petitioner filed an unopposed motion to voluntarily dismiss the petition. Motion at 1. Accordingly, it is ORDERED that the petitioner's June 18, 2020, motion is granted. It is further ORDERED that the petitioner's June 5, 2020, petition for extraordinary relief in the form of a writ of mandamus is DISMISSED." https://efiling.uscourts.cavc.gov/cmecf/servlet/TransportRoom?servlet=CaseSummary.jsp&caseNum=20-3907&incOrigDkt=Y&incDktEntries=Y Maybe the petitioner sent a copy of this writ to the VARO---I cannot tell if that caused the RO to act swiftly on his claim or not- and I assume he still has an EED claim still open. Very unusual to see this type of situation.The veteran, upon receipt of the award ( this also was a hardship case) correctly filed the Motion to dismiss the Writ.
  10. "VA rolls out simplified travel reimbursement system for Veterans, beneficiaries WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is rolling out a new system in July for Veterans and eligible beneficiaries to submit and track transportation reimbursement claims using VA’s secure web-based portal, Access VA. The Beneficiary Travel Self-Service System (BTSSS), which is accessible 24/7, 365 days a year, will simplify how eligible Veterans and beneficiaries claim mileage reimbursement for travel to and from both VA health care or VA authorized non-VA health care service locations. “VA is working diligently to find new ways to innovate and simplify how we serve Veterans and their beneficiaries,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “Streamlining the Beneficiary Travel Self-Service System will help our Veterans get their travel reimbursements more securely and efficiently.” BTSSS enables Veterans and caregivers to submit claims for reimbursement of costs from a personally owned vehicle, common carrier, meals and/or lodging, and other travel related expenses such as tolls, parking and luggage. The national implementation across Veterans Integrated Service Networks (VISN) will run in phases through November. The first phase will start in July and includes VA Salt Lake City Health Care System, Kansas City VA Medical Center, Bay Pines VA Health Care System, Bay Pines, FL and Minneapolis VA Health Care System. The implementation will continue in phases beginning on the following dates: September 8: VISN’s 1, 9, 12, 17, 21, 22 October 5: VISN’s 2, 6, 10, 15, 20 November 2: VISN’s 4, 5, 7, 8, 16, 19, 23 As BTSSS goes live, the use of kiosks will be discontinued however, in person claims and hard-copy submissions are still available. For more information on BTSSS and eligibility, visit the VA Travel Pay Reimbursement webpage." https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5478 Additional info: https://www.va.gov/health-care/get-reimbursed-for-travel-pay/ ###
  11. This is Outstanding News Peaches- and your post will encourage so many others...... You NEVER Gave up! I commend you!!!!!! Well Done!
  12. I see my post yesterday did not go through-??? This is exactly what HRL is for- to find legal errors , and any other errors, before the decision is finalized. Asking for HRL review, and/or filing CUE on a recent decision, if successful- will take YEARS off the claims. I see many cases at the BVA that never should have been there----on remand for what the RO should have done in the first place. A CUE on the RO decision might have changed that picture significantly for some of those veterans. I am glad you took that "route" too. CUE should never be viewed at as a "last resort'- it should be the first thing in a decision ,that the claimant seeks.I say "claimant" because many VSOs and reps and even lawyers who rep vets do not really know what CUE is- in my opinion. And even if a lawyer or agent saw a CUE in recent denial, they might never raise the issue to the veteran because they wont make much money unless the vet goes to the BVA. CUE is explained in the CUE forum ad finitum.....I think they are the easiest claims of all, in most cases.Particularly when the decision is recent ( within the one year NOD period) They should be filed ASAP on any recent decision that you believe contains CUE.
  13. Hill and Ponton agree with that- https://www.hillandponton.com/va-disability-benefits-what-happens-to-my-claim-if-i-am-wrong-about-my-diagnosis/ In part: The Court noted in the case of Clemons v. Shinseki that most veterans applying for disability compensation are not medical experts. As a layperson, a veteran’s diagnosis of his or her condition would not be accepted as evidence that the condition exists. Why then, would the VA be allowed to hold the veteran to that diagnosis in terms of limiting his or her claim? Instead, a veteran is considered to be competent to provide testimony as to what symptoms he or she observes and experiences, but not to assign a diagnosis to those symptoms. The VA, then, in considering a veteran’s claim, may not limit the claim to the diagnosis listed by the veteran in his or her claim form but must consider the symptoms described by the veteran and the medical evidence provided which relates to those symptoms. As stated by the Clemons court, “the fact that the [veteran] may be wrong about the nature of his condition does not relieve the [VA] of [its] duty to properly adjudicate the claim.” It should be clarified that there is, in fact, a requirement in almost every case that the veteran have some diagnosed disability in order to receive disability compensation. [See our post on Gulf War-related illnesses to find an exception to that rule]. So a veteran can be wrong about the proper diagnosis and still receive compensation, but if the VA finds that the veteran cannot be diagnosed with ANY condition, no compensation will be paid. Tweet Pi Sha When VA benefits are being discussed, we are generally referring to VA disability compensation benefits. However, you may be entitled to some of the other benefits offered through the VA…"""" VA Disability Benefits - Back to Basics We often blog about the intricate details of specific issues in VA law, so I wanted to take a moment to take us back to the basics of VA disability…" (article by)Shannon Brewer, Senior Attorney Hill And Ponton
  14. So far it seem that Clemons is the best case law I could find. Ingram has a lot of good info on CUE claims. https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/817166/ingram-v-nicholson/ A long read but very detailed.
  15. WONDERFUL!!!! That is exactly what a VA HLR person should do,and it even helps if the claimant files CUE as soon as they get a decision that they feel is legally wrong, andthey should also ask for HRL review. That saves some vets who do have clear and unmistakable errors in their recent decisions, not to have to go the LONG BVA route.
  16. PS, if this procedure for getting your VA records has changed, please correct me somebody...... As within the scanned letter above, the VA is supposed to process FOIAs for veteran's records ,under the Privacy Act without the veteran asking them to do that - FOIAS take more time then Privacy Act requests .
  17. I have made a point here dozens of times------ FOIA is for any lawyer you have gained POA with, so they can get your C file. Just use The Privacy Act 5, USC, 552 to request your records or better yet use this form, as I mentioned in this thread before: https://www.va.gov/vaforms/va/pdf/va3288.pdf Send it to the RO who holds your C file. A C file has limited info , your SMRs may or may not be in it and can be obtained via NARA. Your VA medical records can be obtained via a request to the VAMC that has them. I think they -the local VAMC - gave me a small form to sign to get my husband's VA medical records. I think had to prove I was his surviving spouse- but the VAMC knew that already.I was already a VA claimant . Under the Privacy Act the VA MUST release to you what is yours- The lawyers need to use FOIA if they need your records,if they represent you. Covid has messed up a lot at VA, and at everywhere else- and VA Central still has a limited crew as far as I know.
  18. https://www.va.gov/vetapp14/Files1/1410073.txt This case has citations to include Clemons that might help here- it will take me time to review the case and citations. Basically it states this: "The appellant initially asserted that he had an ulcer related to his service, but more recently he expanded his claim to additionally include diagnoses of diverticulosis and GERD, so this claim has been recharacterized more generally as for a digestive disorder. The U. S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court/CAVC) has held that the scope of a claim for a disability includes any disability that reasonably may be encompassed by the claimant's description of the claim, reported symptoms, and the other information of record. Clemons v. Shinseki, 23 Vet. App. 1, 5-6 (2009); see also Brokowski v. Shinseki, 23 Vet. App. 79, 85 (2009) (A claimant's identification of the benefit sought does not require any technical precision), citing Ingram v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 232, 256-57 (2007) (It is the pro se claimant who knows what symptoms he is experiencing and that are causing him disability); see, too, Robinson v. Nicholson, 21 Vet. App. 545, 552 (2008) (The Board is required to consider all issues raised either by the claimant or the evidence of record). Clemons concerned VA's failure to consider a claim of entitlement to benefits for a disorder other than the one specifically claimed, even though it shared the symptomatology for which the Veteran was benefits. The Clemons Court found that, where a Veteran's claim identifies a condition, without more, it cannot be a claim limited only to that diagnosis, rather must be considered a claim for any disability that reasonably may be encompassed by the evidence of record. The Clemons Court indicated that, when a claimant makes a claim, he is seeking benefits for symptoms regardless of how those symptoms are diagnosed or labeled. The claims of entitlement to service connection for an acquired psychiatric disorder and alcohol dependence, however, require further development before being decided on appeal, so the Board is remanding these claims to the RO via the Appeals Management Center (AMC) in Washington, DC. Whereas the Board, instead, is going ahead and deciding the remaining claims for a digestive disorder and back disorder." Ingram V Nicholson is 34 pages long- https://www.courtlistener.com/opinion/817166/ingram-v-nicholson/ It will take me time to read this and the other citation in the above BVA citation. Did the VARO ever " re characterize" your initial claimed disability to fibromyalgia.
  19. I will try again to find proof of this: "I am very interested in the statement that you said about a veteran not knowing medical terminology and when a veteran files a claim, VA has a duty to assist the veteran" Without knowing what the older decision said, and since you had a successful CUE already, I would file BOTH CUE and a 38 CFR 3.156 claim, on the same form adding the evidence for each of those claims. Just separate them with a line after the first claim __________________________________________________ We are never prevented from filing a claim with more than one theory of entitlement. I did it myself on my very first DIC application. I succeeded on the initial theory ,1151 DIC due to wrongful death. 1998. I succeeded in a re open of the direct SC death claim filed in 1995, in 2009.AO DMII, than direct SC death for AO IHD in 2015 ( i think it was) and have an additional claim pending for service connected death contributed to by AO HBP. As you already know Pacman, the VA will need a copy of the decision you are filing these claims on. This is a very good piece of evidence.-, but did the examiner give a solid rationale for that? "the C & P exam notes where it does state that my effective date should be 2000 and not 2007." The only FAST WAY ( and it sure can be fast) is when a claimant files a successful CUE right away, on a VARO decision they have just received. Or better yet, if they ask for HL Review and the HRL calls a CUE on the decision before it is finalized and sent to the veteran. It is part of the HL reviewer job to do that. But I feel that is our job as well, to seek CUE in any recent decision any of you get.
  20. I agree GBArmy- Veterans White House Hot Line 1-855-948-2311
  21. In Part: "The "Forgotten Vietnam Veterans Act" would expand wartime benefits to veterans who served in the Vietnam War but have so far been ineligible for assistance because of a disagreement between the Pentagon and VA on when exactly the war happened. The Defense Department currently recognizes the Vietnam War era as Nov. 1, 1955 to May 15, 1975. But VA says the Vietnam War era is Feb. 28, 1961 to May 7, 1975, making any veterans who served in the conflict prior to 1961 ineligible for wartime benefits at VA such as pensions and health care." https://wben.radio.com/articles/radiocom/senators-bill-expands-va-benefits-to-more-vietnam-veterans It is a nice idea but I don't understand how it could work. The Bill does mention the same question I have with it- that if a vet joined the Mil at age 18 and went to Vietnam , Dec 1955---at age 20-he would be 86 by now and maybe be dead as well. Most spouses of these vets might also be dead, and even if alive, what type of a claim could they file? If the vet had no claim pending at death , then no accrued claim can be filed and besuides the accrued claim would have had to be filed within the first year after their death Who is going to find these vets above who are still alive ( or find their spouses if there is any potential at all for DIC? There is possible per the article that 10 of them died in Vietnam) I can just imagine the problems these vets would have, would they need buddy letters but their buddies mght all be dead? Would they even be able to get their SMRs etc,after 60 year s have passed??? They probably could but ,if they dont use a PC they would have to find someone who does, who can help them with their claims. And sometimes it is difficult to even get a vet rep who actually knows what they are doing. These are not Nehmer Vets ,unless they were in Vietnam after 1961 AO started to be used, so no provisions for next of kin if both the vet and spouse are dead. Ir is a noble idea to honor the veterans who fall under the Pre Vietnam War datelines, ad served in Vietnam ,but I am exasperated to realize no one thought of them sooner- when they could have really used VA health care and possibly had even received compensation. The President of VVA ( Vietnam Veterans of America) stated in the article: “This legislation, when enacted into law, will make right an historic wrong,” said John Rowan, national president and CEO of VVA. I agree but this probably won't cost VA much in compensation or DIC, or even in a Wartime Pension claim for any of them or their survivors. Why didn't the VVA push for this sooner???? I bet many of these vets or their surviving spouses already get SSA and that can completely affect a Wartime pension rate- and the only way to reduce their income is with proof of medical bills they paid, but maybe Medicare paid many of those bills.
  22. I went to your profile to read some ofyour past posts under different topics. One says: " the person conducting the call agreed and also pointed out evidence that was over looked and not written in the denials. My question is about what was said afterwards. "I'm going to channel this claim to the right place and you may or may not have someone call you or need another exam not sure how they are doing things now, during places being closed up." Does this mean they made a mistake and need to correct it? Does this mean another C&P exam for sleep apnea? Has anyone ever experienced the HLR phone call with the caller saying what was said to me? What does this mean to you???" HRL is supposed to seek CUE before a decision is mailed to the veteran. ( I had input into the M21-1MR regulation on this, per Secretary Shulkin's office call to me as I had made two solid arguments for two changes to M21-1mr that are here under a search. The former Secretary had actually read my letter to him.The other change extends the NOD deadline if a Reconsideration Request is filed.I had personal experiences I relayed to the Secretary that helped him determine the changes they had to make,.as my experiences have been reflected many times here and elsewhere ,in other claimant's situations. You said the VA caller said this: (they) "also pointed out evidence that was over looked and not written in the denials. My question is about what was said a" etc etc ---- The VA called a CUE on themselves from what I seem to think happened because if the VA ( to include any C & P doctor) overlooks probative evidence , they should have considered and it causes a detrimental outcome, to the vet, th VA will try to rectify the mistake. It happened to me more then once. A C & P doctor gave a posthumous exam to my dead husband.The claim was denied based on a horrific statement the doctor made- with NO substantiation at all for it. Years ago things were different. I called the C & P doctor up, only to find out the RO did not give him the critical 6 page autopsy they had,which I had sent to them many times. The Buffalo VA did not try to get a better opinion from him, by giving him the autopsy and he told me ( he was very upset at what they withheld from him) his opinion would had been radically different. At last you are getting what hopefully will be a 'better' opinion from the same doctor.Because the VA is aware they did have what they needed, but "overlooked it" as the VA caller said to you. The VARO did this to me a well when I filed a FTCA case. They sent the OGC everything but the Critical autopsy. I called the VACO cardio doc and she was very upset to learn her initial opinion was entirely faulty because the VA had withheld from the OGC, and from her ( VA's Top Cardio doctor)the critical autopsy. This crap does not happen in a vacuum. I feel it is deliberate attempts, by some but not all raters etc, to prevent some of us from getting anything close to Duty to Assist....and Benefit of Doubt. I won FTCA at the OGC , and was still fighting them at Buffalo RO, for the 1151 DIC claim, and they-Buffalo- even denied my 1151 claim again after I settled with OGC for wrongful death .. I called the OGC up and then, within one month, the RO reversed and awarded the 1151DIC , using the same Evidence they had denied with- the OGC wrongful death settlement. OGC contacted them and that forced them to read the settlement.(death by VA) and they were forced to consider the autopsy. That award letter is a nightmare to read. VA had made "multiple deviations" in a usual standard of care and "all of those deviations hastened the veterans death." Two of the deviations were on AO disabilities.
  23. GBArmy is correct. These are difficult claims to succeed in. I am sure you have studied JP 4 , benezene and other forms of fuels you might have used in service. As GBArmy said -you will need a very strong IMO/IME - the proper format for these independent medical opinions is in our IMO forum here, and the doctor must state how the Specific fuel(s) you were exposed to, as likely as not caused your Diabetes ( with a full medical rationale, and medicals abstracts to bolster their opinion.)
  24. After reading this past post you made , I feel my CUE post might not help at all Broncovet is right! "Today I received the decision letter. 50% granted for sleep apnea, effective 1/04/2020 for a payment effective date of 2/01/2020. Now the only thing left to answer is "how" I can request earlier effective date. To summarize: I missed the appeals window of the 2016 denial. The IMO was the only new evidence submitted with the supplemental claim. The IMO used the same evidence to concur with the C&P examiner's opinion. Is there another avenue besides CUE to request the earlier effective date? What is the exact wording of their decision above, as to the January 4 2020 EED they gave you? "I missed the appeals window of the 2016 denial." You might have to re open that 2016 denied claim....as Broncovet said above...he is right----- Did they deny in the 2016 decision because they did not have the IMOs yet? I think the EED they gave you on the new decision is correct as they said it was the date of the claim you filed. I will try to find your other past posts but with the post above I found it clarified a lot to me. And I am still not sure I have interpreted your issue correctly.
  25. "Since I am within the appeals period of the supplemental claim, I'm thinking the easiest path may be to request HLR in order to ask them to CUE themselves on the 2016 decision. Is that possible? I'm just trying to avoid CUE if I can, since it's mainly a "last resort" type of measure." When vets post their decisions here, CUE is the First thing I seek and I do not view CUE as the last resort if it can be the First result. Have you scanned and attached the decision here anywhere? to include the Evidence List? You said: "Why would the rater place his/her opinion over the VA's own doctor? Shouldn't the benefit of the doubt have gone to me?" The rater CANNOT go against a valid VA opinion.The raters are not doctors. Something is definitely wrong here- but without seeing the actual decision, we really dont have a clue what went wrong. You said: "I have a hard time with the fact that I had to pay an outside doctor just to agree with the C&P exam doctor." That is something I sure have never seen before. We often have to pay for an IMO/IME that REBUTTS the C & P examiner's opinion.
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