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About chriscond

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    E-3 Seaman

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  • Service Connected Disability
  1. Spoke with my VSO from the DAV. They said I should have filed secondary SC for my jaw and TBI years ago. They are my neighbor and even said "I specifically remember you talking about doing exposure therapy in public before that happened to you" so that's a good nexus statement. Anyways, they said their boss said my DBQ was very good and thorough and they will be filing it as a Decision Ready Claim this coming week. I will update this post with details as they come in. They said the DRC is such a new way to file a claim that it will be interesting to see if it's really 30 days until a Decision. We shall see.
  2. Wow, my mom is an angel! Upon your advice to get my SSA records I asked her if she happened to have them. She has the initial award letter and 5 pages from the ALJ with notes and diagnosis' from 3 different Psychiatrists and Psychologists I saw during that process. All said Anxiety disorder and Depressive disorder that were considered personality disorders by the military. Since I'm already service connected (the first c&p examiner i saw didn't agree with personality disorder) that's fine. I'm going to copy the award letter and then a copy of all of the pages from the ALJ awarding me for anxiety and depression linking to my time in the Army. That should save some time so the VA doesn't even have to ask for them. Gotta be proactive with these things I'm learning. I feel like I actually got screwed with the 50% rating All along. The SSA doctor's put my GAF at 40, first C&P examiner put me at 38. I was disabled by SSA during my first C&P. Now my GAF is 32. I guess we will see what happens. Should I file this as an FDC or Decision Ready Claim?
  3. Thank you for all of the replies! The VA is aware that I have SSDI. They actually used the records from my SSDI claim to help make the service connection. In fact, the only reason I knew to apply for VA disability is because Social Security specifically told me to. I guess I could go to the SSA office and ask for a copy of my award letter that shows the reasons I receive it. I'm thinking the DBQ, my letter and almost a years worth of weekly progress notes should be enough. Regardless, you are all right in that having the SSDI award letter and the diagnosis/reason I'm receiving SSDI would be an added beneficial factor.
  4. Since I will be sending in my request for increase this week along with all of my records, DBQ, results of the MMCI-III examination, I decided to write a letter to the rater. I started this a couple of months ago and have been working on it when I have the energy to do so. I wrote about the Jaw/TBI/TMJ issues in it today. I didn't directly ask for a New claim for Secondary service connection but I figured mentioning the surrounding details would give them something to render future (if any) decisions upon.-------Dear Sir or Madam,Below is a Basis of Reasoning for Rating Increase:I have been rated at 50% since August 2010 for Anxiety Disorder. I applied for increased rating in 2013 and had a C&P exam in 2014 and the decision was to maintain 50%. I filed a DRO review because I still believed my service connected disability had increased. I had a subsequent C&P exam in early 2016 and the decision was to maintain my current rating at 50%. At that point I decided not to pursue it further because I felt that the decision was based on sound reasoning (although I did disagree with the last C&P examiners report, I was too mentally drained to argue against it or fight it at the next level).Since that time my mental health has invariably gotten worse. I had a comprehensive mental health examination done in August 2017 and the results were that I have suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and severe Anxiety and Panic disorder. The Licened Mental Health Provider that I see once weekly now believes I suffer from Bipolar II disorder superimposed upon the Anxiety/Major Depressive Disorder/Panic Disorder. Regardless of diagnosis and labels put forth, this is my life and the far reaching limitations caused by my disability are what ultimately matter.Extreme weight changes due to appetite shifts, extremely diminished sexual desire, groggy and spaced out during the day, not sleeping for 2 to 3 days at a time, isolation from family and everyone else by being alone majority of the time, then getting irritable beyond belief about trivial things. So now on top of being anxious and depressed almost continuously I have to deal with the aforementioned issues. On top of that, in June of 2016 while doing exposure therapy in a public setting at the suggestion of my Psychologist at the time, something I did not want to do and had to be talked into it by my girlfriend because I was adamant on going home, I was physically assaulted. Due to that assault I suffered a TBI and massive facial trauma. I received surgery at the Seattle VA and now have permanent titanium plates and screws inserted into my lower jaw and had my mouth wired shut for six weeks. Since that incident i have chronic pain, jaw stiffness, clicking and popping and an inability to open my mouth too wide. That event and the residuals thereof have greatly hindered any progress in therapy which led to feelings of hopelessness, being hostile and suspicious of people, irritability and isolation and feeling more anxious and depressed than before.Both my VA provider and private mental health provider have stated at this time I am unable to pursue work due to service connected disabilities, namely: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder although otherwise characterized as Bipolar II disorder. I realize that all mental health ratings are covered under one scope and the degree of disability is determined by the relevant symptomology.Therefore, based on the VA's own statutes and criterion I believe the mental health records will support my contentions for an increased rating. My private mental health provider has filled out a DBQ and printed records, of which were noted and signed under review of a Doctorate level Psychologist. On top of that the comprehensive 4 hour Mental Health Evaluation performed by said Psychologist (Dr. T****) is included.As I feel this is a Decision Ready Claim, I do hope this will bypass a C&P exam but I will attend one if scheduled. I seek the maximum benefit allowed by law. Thank you for your time.US Army Veteran (my name)
  5. Hmm.. No, I havent but it did cross my mind. I didn't think it would be a legitimate thing to claim though. I mean yes, I have major anxiety and I was doing 'exposure therapy" when it happened but I would feel kind of bad to make that a claim. Though I do have chronic pain and permanent jaw clicking and popping now. I'm just grateful the VA paid for the surgery. Do you think that it would be something that they would reasonably service connect?
  6. It's a private provider but paid for by the VA. I'm also seen by a VA provider who says basically the same thing in her notes. The denial I received was in 2016 but it stemmed from seeking an increase in 2013. Since that time I suffered a brutal assault (jaw fractures on both sides, had to have titanium plates and screws put into my face and I was wired shut for 6 weeks). That all happened because I was trying to do exposure therapy like my providers wanted me to..Diagnosed TBI from that. Since then things have gone down hill emotionally. I'm well beyond the 12 month appeal cutoff date. In fact, the denial in 2016 was a denial by a DRO from an original denial in 2014. My next step would have been to take it to an ALJ. Yeah I was thinking they'd probably schedule for a C&P anyway, was just hoping they wouldn't. Well, bring it on I guess. Thanks for your help.
  7. I have an intent to file with the VA that was initiated in August 2017. I initiated that after I took some psychological exam tests at a Psychologists office (MMPI i believe) and it showed severe limitations (i already knew that but the VA wanted it done so whatever) due to anxiety/depression, etc. The DBQ was done by my personal provider. The date of the DBQ is February 20th 2018. My VSO told me if I could get my own provider to fill the DBQ out with a copy of all of my records they would send it in as a Decision Ready Claim and hopefully get a decision one way or the other within the next couple months. I'll be giving that to her (VSO) within the week when I see her next. I don't know where my Award letter and previous denial for increase are at the moment. I do remember the denial saying that I was staying at 50% and while there were a "couple" of criteria from the 70% met, the preponderance of the record more approximarted 50%.
  8. Im currently service connected at 50% for panic with anxiety and depression. This is for an increased rating. I'm not working right now and receive SSDI. I applied for an increase in 2016 and was kept at 50%. I didn't pursue it further because I felt like their reasoning was sound. This time I know things have gotten worse and will appeal it to the full extent necessary. Any thoughts would be helpful. ----------------Axis 1: Panic Disorder, Bipolar II disorderAxis 2: NoneAxis 3: Chronic Pain due to facial traumaAxis 4: Problems in realtionshipsAxis 5: 32Occupational and Social Impairment:Occupational and social impairment with deficincies in most areasSymptoms:The ones that were checked are Depressed Mood, Anxiety. Suspiciousness, Panic Attacks more than once a week, Impaired Judgment, Disturbances of motivation and mood, Difficulty establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships. difficulty adapting to stressful circumstances including work or its setting, suicidal ideation, persistent danger of hurting self or others, neglect of personal appearance and hygiene, intermittent ability to perform activities of daily living, including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene.The notes were very thorough throughout the DBQ as well. In the remarks section there is a lot of writing but basically says that I'm currently unable to show stabilization in mood, frequently depressed with avoidance of family friends and self care. Instability due to panic affect ability to participate at times in public events and pursuing work due to high levels of agitation and panic when overwhelmed. Periods of SI with one SA. Self harm, Impulsiveness, Lack of emotional regulation leads to weekly and at times daily conflict with partner and others.
  9. This exam happened on 2/25/16 (last thursday). Already service connected at 50% for Anxiety Disorder. Brief facts: It was an appeal because I was denied increase in 2014 and remained at 50%. My VA treating physician has said I cannot work in her records and I am on SSDI since 2010. Got into my appointment and the first thing the Doc said was "So from what I gather from your records, you have a lifelong history of anxiety..." I responded "No...." He reads over the notes and says "It says here you enjoyed being alone, solitude, and things of that nature growing up"...I said "Yes, that's true...I am introverted by nature. But I also had friends, played sports, had jobs throughout high school and was on the honor roll." He left it at that and then started asking me about why I joined the Army and when the anxiety started and why it happened (which is weird since i'm service connected already. Is that a pretty typical question? On the QTC exam notice it said under "Opinion: No" and under "Med records: Yes"...so he should have known that.) As we got further along into it I could tell he didn't read any of the VA records because he was asking me about my living situation and had no clue I had a girlfriend and 2 kids with 1 on the way. After that he basically wanted to know what my days are like...I told him...he asked if I was drinking alcohol or doing drugs and I said "No" and I expected him to go into it more since I have a history of alcohol abuse and sobriety then relapses...but he just stopped me and said "sounds like its in remission"....he asked me if i had any outstanding legal issues...I said no..but I have had legal issues before...he paused for a second and told me I could tell him about those if I wanted...Lmao Then he basically said "Okay we're done"....I was kinda shocked so I just brought up some other stuff. At the very end of it (after he said we were done")he stated "Also, I noticed you broke your hand in service by punching a wall. Was that to get out of doing your job?" I said "No"...then it just kind of ended with him giving me a summary of what he interpreted my statements to be and asked me if I agreed with his general assessment....he was pretty accurate so it kind of just ended. The whole "lifelong anxiety" and "did you punch the wall to get out of doing your job" questions were kind of bizarre to me. I had no history of treatment or diagnosis of anxiety before service. I broke my hand on the wall because I was pissed off at my situation and that was what led to my Commander telling me to go to mental health...and even then that doesn't really have anything to do with my anxiety disorder. Am I just being another anxious vet who is freaking out over nothing based on an exam? I told him after service I got a job and only worked for a week because of the same "issues". I was never diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder blatantly in service so I didn't know what was going on with me for a year or two. I just thought I was broken or useless. I was originally diagnosed with a "personality disorder" and processed out of the Army. I'm kind of pissed off at MYSELF because the questions were so broad and encompassing that I answered in general terms. I didn't even mention that I've lost 60 pounds in the last year from lack of appetite and being worried about medication side effects of weight gain. Didn't mention that I burn myself with cigarattes to ground myself or try to snap out of it. He didn't even ask about my panic attack frequency/duration/etc. He seemed "fine" with just saying that in general I stayed by myself because I can't handle external stimulus and that I don't have a good relationship with my children and their mother even though we live together.
  10. So my friend was in the Army and discharged after going AWOL. It has been 5 years since his discharge and he has now been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and is currently receiving SSDI. He is wondering what his chances of getting service connected for this are? His SMR's do not have any type of diagnosis... the only evidence of incurring a mental health problem is the fact that he went AWOL.
  11. Am I Qualified?

    Right, that's also a problem. They never treated me for Anxiety or Depression in the service. All of my medical records say 'Personality Disorder and Adjustment Disorder' because that's their way of blowing veterans off. It wasn't until after the service (about a year and 4 months after) that the Psychiatrist diagnosed me with Depression and Anxiety. I have since being seeing a doctor every month and been put on medication. I talked to the C&P examiner and he said the military diagnosis was bogus and agreed that they just did it to keep me from getting benefits. Well, I'll update this whenever I get the decision. The process seems to be moving fairly quickly so far...I sent in the benefits application on August 26th and had the C&P exam on September 14th. Hopefully the rest of the process runs smoothly but I won't hold my breath
  12. Am I Qualified?

    I spent all day reading through the forums yesterday and it raised a question. I keep seeing that you have to find a way to 'Service Connect' your disability.... How are you supposed to be able to Service Connect an Anxiety Disorder and Depression? I didn't have anything traumatic happen to me while I was enlisted, it was just the daily grind that resulted in a mental snap. I was in good health when I joined and had no history of mental health issues. I had jobs before the military, but since I've been discharged I haven't worked at all (March of 2008) so it is pretty obvious where the problem stems from...I dunno, I'm sort of getting anxious about it now.
  13. Am I Qualified?

    Thank you all for replying! I would have never even tried to get it because I was told that it would be a waste of time when I got out. When I was with the examiner he initially did write that I had a personality disorder because he read off the descriptions and I agreed, but then he read off Social Phobia which is an Axis 1 disorder and I agreed with that too...and then I said 'I don't understand, the Avoidant Personality Disorder has the same exact description as Social Phobia so which one is it?' and he stopped, looked at me, and said 'You know what, you're exactly right. I never would have noticed that. I'm going to delete the personality disorder diagnosis and tell them I cannot confirm it'. I was pretty taken aback that he was so helpful because I've heard horror stories about C&P exams. To answer your questions though, I received an Honorable Discharge.
  14. Here's my issue.. I was discharged with the ever dreaded 'Personality disorder' DX in March of 08 and was informed that I was not eligible for Service Connection. I applied for SSDI in September of 2009 and was recently approved for Generalized Anxiety, Major Depression, and OCD. SSDI informed me that I should immediately apply for VA benefits because I most likely did qualify. Well, I followed their advice and just today had my C&P exam with someone from QTC. He asked me a lot of questions about my time in service, and about life before the service, etc. I explained that I have always been 'shy and introverted' but it was not until after service that I became unable to keep a job at all. He diagnosed me with Anxiety, Major Depression, OCD and Social Phobia AND then wrote that he cannot confirm the military Psychiatrists diagnosis of Personality Disorder because Social Phobia fit the description even more. I believe he also wrote that my time in service likely caused or aggravated my current problems. How much weight to the examiners give such a report?