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About chriscond

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  • Service Connected Disability

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  1. Claim closed today. Checked my AB8 VA Benefit Information Summary of benefit information You have one or more service-connected disabilities: Yes Your combined service-connected evaluation is: 70% Your current monthly award amount is: $3249.51 The effective date of the last change to your current award was: December 01, 2017 You are being paid at the 100 percent rate because you are unemployable due to your service-connected disabilities: Yes You are considered to be totally and permanently disabled due solely to your service-connected disabilities: Yes The effective date of when you became totally and permanently disabled due to your service-connected disabilities: August 22, 2017 I can't believe it! 2 months to go from 50 to 70% then less than 3 weeks to go from 70% to 100% P&T. I feel so blessed.
  2. Yikes. Don't know if it's a good or bad thing but my claim for TDIU is flying. I was awarded an increase to 70% from 50% on May 21st. The VA sent me the TDIU forms to fill out because they inferred the claim due to the VA Doc doing my C&P exam said "it is believed he would be unable to adapt to a full time job" and "his ability to maintain employment is severely impaired". Sent the TDIU forms in earlier this month. The last 4-5 days it has been going back and forth between Preparation for Decision and Pending Decision Approval. Signed onto e-benefits this morning and it's in Preparation for Notification. Is it being worked so fast (less than 3 weeks) a bad sign??
  3. Oh, sorry for the confusion. Since I started this thread I was increased to 70% (as most of you suggested). The VA inferred TDIU and invited me to submit the proper forms to continue with that. I didn't want to but I eventually gave in and did it. So, recap, I was increased to 70% from 50% and I have filled out and submitted the TDIU forms. Yes, I get SSDI solely for my S/C disabilities. Yes the VA is aware that I am on SSDI. Thank you all for the helpful responses!!
  4. did you get a decision yet? I got my official rating and backpay about 10 days ago. It was a relief. In the decision they sent me the IU forms to fill out, my claim is still open on e-benefits and "gathering evidence" because they're wanting me to turn those in since they Inferred IU automatically (that must be a good sign?) I got online, looked up the forms, typed all the information in and gave the TDIU forms to my VSO yesterday. Should be sent in this week. It's nice because I'm not going to stress about the outcome. If it gets denied that's fine, even though I don't think it will. I've seen the VA doesn't make it a practice to Infer IU later to deny it, in fact they're told NOT to do that. Guess we shall see.
  5. It's still in Pending Decision Approval. So it's 15 days "past due" of the estimated completion date. Some positive news is I got a letter from the DAV (my VSO) and it said this: "The DAV has reviewed the most recent VA decision concerning your claim for benefits. Evaluation of (my disabilities), currently rated at 50%, is increased to 70% effective August 22, 2017. The VA is inferring Individual Unemployability and has deferred a decision on this potential entitlement".Confused on what that last sentence means. What does them inferring then deferring IU mean?
  6. Claim is now in Pending Decision Approval and estimated completion is today to May 1st. Looks like it's coming to a close. Thank God!
  7. As of this morning my claim has moved to Prep for Decision and the estimated completion date changed from 5/20-7/6/18 to 4/30-5/10/18. Looks like things are moving relatively fast at this stage. Man, ive been a MESS the last month dealing with this. I've only showered and brushed my teeth once since my exam 3 weeks ago. I know it isnt healthy to focus so much attention on the claims process but that's easier said than done. Even my 2 best friends have been super worried about me and checking on me every few days. One of them is also a vet with 70% PTSD and he said "man you were out of touch with reality for awhile I was getting worried that you were getting permanently worse". Ive had a few sleepless nights (its 3:20 AM now, woke up wide awake after 3 hours of sleep) but I feel like emotionally I am through the hard part. I can literally feel the "heaviness" of the depression and anxiety lifting off of me somewhat. I will update this thread as soon as I hear anything new. Thanks for reading.
  8. Them focusing on your childhood is pretty common (that happened to me at 1 or 2 psych exams). I was just direct with them and ended up being service connected. One exam I had, the Psychologist literally STARTED the exam with this statement "So I see you've had anxiety your entire life"...I was kind of shocked and said "No...." lol. I had told the first examiner I saw was an introvert and had anxiety before tests, oral reports, asking girls out, job interviews etc and I think they tried to use that against me. Even when anyone with half a brain knows those are all normal AND appropriate responses. Do you have evidence in your service treatment records that show a disability during service? If you were accepted into the military and nothing was marked on your entry examination regarding mental health problems then it's a pretty hard thing for the VA to prove it was pre-existing. Even if you flat out said "I had anxiety growing up" but there's no record or diagnosis of treatment prior to service then they would still have to concede service connection or at the very least aggravation. Good luck and keep us updated.
  9. Berta, that is VERY kind of you. But honestly I don't even know where that paperwork is (i've done quite a few moves since then). I don't think they did a CUE though. SSDI based my award off of SMR's and the VA based my service connection off of SMR'S and a c&p exam (and a separate independent medical opinion after that). I guess both of them just had different perspectives. Although I do believe they low-balled me with the 50% rating because the VA examiner basically put I was really bad off and gave me a GAF of 38 (when they still used those). I will try to find the paperwork sometime because now I am interested in what exactly it says. Can I request a full copy of my C-File from the VA directly? Say I went to the RO and asked for it in person, could it be something they could give me instantly? What's absolutely shocking to me is I even got SSDI when I did. I've seen so many Veterans talking about how hard of a process it is and waiting years and years to be approved and I was some 23 year old kid who got it after less than a year. It's insane to me because I've gotten WAY worse in a lot of regards since then and I was still considered totally disabled at that stage. I'm grateful beyond belief. If the VA low-balls me (70%) then I will pay to get some IMO's and DBQ's done by multiple Mental Health professionals. Oh, and I forgot to say this earlier, the VA actually already sent me the TDIU paperwork after I sent in my claim in (I assume it's because I attached a DBQ done by my private provider who said there is no way I could work). I'll be quite frank, I will not fill out that paper work. I took one look at it and instantly got overwhelmed. I also have absolutely no desire to fill it out. I feel that if they think I'm only 70% disabled then that's what I'll get paid as. At least until I do eventually get 100% P&T (It's really only a matter of time. I hate to sound pessimistic, but I don't think I'm going to get better. My mental health providers don't seem to think so either). I probably sound silly for refusing to fill out those forms but it's just something I'm not willing to do. I don't care about the money enough to deal with it I guess.
  10. Just to clarify some things, since a few of the responses have mentioned it. I am already receiving SSDI based SOLELY on my S/C anxiety/depressive disorder. I've been receiving SSDI since 2010. Actually got SSDI before I was ever rated by the VA, in fact, before I even applied for VA compensation. SSA advised me to apply with the VA (shocking right) and that's the only reason I did. I wasn't even aware that you could get paid for disabilities that happened in or were aggravated by the military at that point. The VA is aware of my SSDI award. I guess I'm just hoping they will rate me 100% because I truly do believe that it warrants it. I know what I "feel and believe" don't matter at all but just saying. I've been messed up for a long time (over 10 years) with no improvement, just getting worse and that's with weekly therapy, 4 different medications, etc. My VA provider told me she is so out of options that she might have to resort to Electro-Convulsive-Therapy because my anxiety and depression is "Treatment refractory" whatever that means. With all that said, I'm guessing they will rate me at 70% which I will be grateful for. Everything does help, especially being relatively young (32) with 3 children at a young age (6, 4, 2). It sucks so bad not being able to work and provide for them. There's a lot of guilt with associated with that, especially as they're getting older and are noticing I'm not like other Dads. Especially my 6 year old daughter, she has said "you're a bad daddy! you never do anything fun with us. you always stay home in your room." Pretty insightful for a 6 year old but it's hurtful lol. On top of that my girlfriend is super tired of it. It's like pulling teeth getting me to drive to the grocery store or any other type of thing that involves me being out of the house. It's very hard when a productive and accomplished day to me means I took a shower, brushed my teeth, changed my clothes and went somewhere for 20 minutes. It compounds the guilt and worthlessness when I DO those things and I get told "thank you so much!" and they mean it. Getting thanked for doing something so normal and routine is sickening. Sorry for the long diatribe, my therapist hasn't been able to see me the last 2 weeks so I'm venting lol.
  11. Thanks for the reply guys. I had a C&P done by my Prviate provider and they checked a few of the boxes in the 100% category and put a GAF of 32 (i know they dont use those anymore). She also said I wouldn't be able to pursue work. From what I gathered from the VAs doctor report is that I wouldn't be able to work either. I re-read it today and him staying "he would be unable to adapt to mild stress in a work environment" seems like a pretty big statement to make. I agree with the 70% increase at the minimum with maybe a slight chance of 100% (if they base it on the DBQ's AND my treatment notes). I'll have to respond back when I get a decision. Hopefully it's sometime this month.
  12. Yeah, the details he messed up seem minor but still pertinent. Oh and he said he interviewed me for 61 minutes but my mom timed it and it was no longer than 25 minutes. Thanks for the reply.
  13. I'm currently rated at 50% for Anxiety Disorder NOS. I have a few issues with some of the things he wrote because some were flat out wrong, but I don't know if I should fuss about it. Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P Examination Request? [X] Yes [ ] No SECTION I: ---------- 1. Diagnosis ------------ a. Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with a mental disorder(s)? [X] Yes [ ] No ICD code: F41 If the Veteran currently has one or more mental disorders that conform to DSM-5 criteria, provide all diagnoses: Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Generalized Anxiety Disorder ICD code: F41 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Major Depressivve Disorder ICD code: F33 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #3: Panic Disorder ICD code: F41 b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the Mental Health Disorder (to include TBI): Per Veteran, Headaches 2. Differentiation of symptoms ------------------------------ a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed? [X] Yes [ ] No b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to each diagnosis? [X] Yes [ ] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A) If yes, list which symptoms are attributable to each diagnosis and discuss whether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses: The Veteran's anxiety is secondary to Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Depression and feelings of guilt are secondary to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). Panic Attacks are secondary to Panic Disorder. Symptoms of low energy, low concentration, low motivation, low sex drive, irritability and insomnia are secondary to both GAD and MDD. c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not shown in records reviewed 3. Occupational and social impairment ------------------------------------- a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of occupational and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check only one) [X] Occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking and/or mood b. For the indicated level of occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by each mental disorder? [X] Yes [ ] No [ ] No other mental disorder has been diagnosed If yes, list which portion of the indicated level of occupational and social impairment is attributable to each diagnosis: GAD and MDD both appear to have a significant impact in his level of dysfunction. They are both complex, overlapping in symptoms and interactive in nature. c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by the TBI? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] No diagnosis of TBI SECTION II: ----------- Clinical Findings: ------------------ 1. Evidence Review ------------------ Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA)2. History ---------- a. Relevant Social/Marital/Family history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The Veteran currently lives in Silverdale, Washington, with his partner of seven years and her their children. He stated that his relationship with her was, "Rocky...I'm just hard to deal with. She's told me multiple times that she wants to leave." He stated that he'd remained emotionally connected to his children. He has two friends who he has rare contact with. He spends his time reading, listening to music, watching tv and on the internet. He explained that he often spent time alone in his room because he was anxious and felt disconnected from others. He denied having problems with activities of daily living. b. Relevant Occupational and Educational history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The Veteran is currently unemployed. He most recently worked for one week in 2009 as a sterile processing tech. He struggled with anxiety, panic attacks and depression which led to him leaving the position. He said, "I can become violent sometimes." He hadn't been employed since then. He said, "My mental health provider recommended me to take care of myself." c. Relevant Mental Health history, to include prescribed medications and family mental health (pre-military, military, and post-military): The Veteran has been in mental health treatment at the VA in Seattle since 2013. He's currently prescribed prozac, clonazepam, lithium and hydroxyzine. He said he'd been diagnosed with GAD, MDD and Panic Disorder. He was previously in mental health treatment at the Front Street Clinic in Poulsbo, Washington. d. Relevant Legal and Behavioral history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The Veteran reported that he'd been convicted of a misdemeanor in 2013 after pushing a police officer. No other history of legal issues were reported. e. Relevant Substance abuse history (pre-military, military, and post-military): The Veteran reported that he most recently consumed alcohol in February 2013. He said he abused alcohol "off and on" since 2008. He's been in substance abuse treatment in Silverdale, Washington, "for almost one year." He meets criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder. f. Other, if any: No response provided. 3. Symptoms ----------- For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses: [X] Depressed mood [X] Anxiety [X] Suspiciousness [X] Panic attacks more than once a week [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Impairment of short- and long-term memory, for example, retention of only highly learned material, while forgetting to complete tasks [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work or a worklike setting [X] Inability to establish and maintain effective relationships 4. Behavioral observations -------------------------- See Remarks below. 5. Other symptoms ----------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to mental disorders that are not listed above? [ ] Yes [X] No 6. Competency ------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes [ ] No 7. Remarks (including any testing results), if any: --------------------------------------------------- Clinical Examination: The Veteran was interviewed for approximately 61 minutes to obtain a psychosocial history, assess clinical symptoms, and evaluate quality of life and functional status. The examiner Psy.D., is a Washington state licensed clinical psychologist who is privileged at the VAMC, Puget Sound, to perform Mental Disorders, PTSD and cognitive screening C&P exams. Limits of confidentiality for this assessment were reviewed. It was explained that the resulting report, which includes a review of medical records, would be sent to regional office for determination of benefits. The Veteran did not express any concerns about this. Additionally, the Veteran was informed that if he/she presented as a danger to him/herself or others or reported that elders or children were being harmed, confidentiality would be breached. Clinical Measures: The Veteran completed psychological evaluations to assess for the presence of anxiety and mood disorders. Specifically, the Veteran completed self-report measures to for PTSD (PCL-5), depression (PHQ-9), and alcohol use (Audit-C). The PTSD Symptom Scale Interview (PSSI) was completed as a structured interview for PTSD and further assessment of other anxiety disorders and depression was completed as well. RESULTS OF DIAGNOSTIC INSTRUMENTS: The Veteran scored 58/80 on the PCL-5, indicating significant symptoms of PTSD (below 38 indicates subclinical symptoms of PTSD). He scored 18/27 on the PHQ-9 (indicating moderately severe depressive symptoms). PHQ-9 scores from 5-9 represent mild depression, 10-14 moderate, 15-19 moderately severe, and 20 or above severe (Kroenke, Spitzer, & Williams, 2001). The Veteran score 12/40 on the AUDIT-C, indicating alcohol use appears to be a concern for the Veteran at this time. MENTAL STATUS APPEARANCE AND BEHAVIOR: The Veteran drove to the evaluation with his partner. Presented as cordial. Was casually dressed and well-groomed. Eye contact was good. Hygiene and dress were adequate and appropriate on all accounts. Level of activity was normal. Veteran was cooperative and talkative during the interview process. ORIENTATION AND CONSCIOUSNESS: The Veteran appeared fully oriented to time, place, person, purpose. MEMORY LOSS OR IMPAIRMENT: The Veteran did not display any obvious signs of memory problems across the interview, as evidenced by his ability to track questions and produce response from immediate, short term, long term and episodic memory. SPEECH: Speech was normal in volume and pace; verbalizations were relevant, logical, well-organized, and coherent. Veteran could articulate thoughts. At times, the Veteran was off-topic due to heightened emotions. THOUGHT PROCESS AND CONTENT: There was no significant impairment in organization of thinking or communication; thinking was goal-directed and focused. FUND OF KNOWLEDGE AND COGNITIVE FUNCTIONING: At least average intellectual abilities, as evidenced by the Veteran's use of language, fund of knowledge and academic achievement. MOOD: Mood appeared to be anxious and irritable. AFFECT: The Veteran presented with an expansive affect which was appropriate in nature. MOTIVATION AND ENERGY: Motivation for improvement is good. IMPULSE CONTROL: No impairment based on behavior during the evaluation. PSYCHOSIS: Veteran denied hallucinations and prominent delusions and did not present with any obvious signs of psychosis across the interview. ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING AND SELF-CARE: Based on the Veteran's report, he performs most basic activities of daily living, including meeting basic requirements for nutrition, shelter, and hygiene and grooming. He denied experiencing any notable problems with ADLs. DIAGNOSTIC FORMULATION The Veteran experiences persistent anxiety in response to a wide range of issues in his life. He discussed that "little things" often trigger his anxiety. He often spends time in isolation while he feels disconnected from others. He struggles with low attention, low energy, insomnia and low motivation on a regular basis. He's depressed on a daily basis. He experiences panic attacks multiple times per week. He also reported low sex drive and a fluctuating appetite. Stressors were identified as, "Chores, my family, being around people." He meets criteria for Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder. RISK ASSESSMENT At the time of the evaluation, the Veteran denied feeling hopelessness or experiencing suicidal ideation. He reported experiencing passive thoughts of suicide several days per week. On occasion, he experiences more intense thoughts of harming himself, although he denied having a plan. DISCUSSION In summary, this is a 32-year-old male Veteran who presents for evaluation of Mental Disorder. After carefully reviewing the Veteran's electronic medical records, psychometric data, and interviewing the Veteran, it is my opinion that the Veteran meets DSM-V criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Major Deprssive Disorder and Panic Disorder. It's believed that his current psychiatric symptoms are a continuation of the mental disorder that had been diagnosed in the past. The Veteran's psychiatric symptoms include persistent anxiety, depression,irritability, feeling emotionally empty, feeling distant from others, lacking drive and motivation, panic attacks, disturbance in sleep and a low sex drive. These issues appear to have a moderate to severe impact in his ability to work a full-time job. He often isolates while he has minimal trust in others. He's likely to have difficulties working with co-workers, while agitation is easily triggered. More severe symptoms, compared to a few years ago, were noted as irritability, scattered thinking and panic attacks. It's believed that he's unable to adapt to mild stress in a work environment. For the purpose of this evaluation, the severity of the impairment is believed to be best classified as, "Occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking and/or mood." The Veteran is competent for VA purposes. He is capable of managing his benefit payments and financial affairs in his own best interest. ------ My issues with his report: Should I leave it alone or request it to be fixed?He said I told him my most recent alcohol use was in February 2013. No, I specifically said February of this year. Then he said I have been in alcohol treatment for 1 year currently, NO, i was in alcohol treatment in 2013. So he got those mixed up.He said I drove to the appointment with my partner. NO-I specifically told him my mom drove me to the appointment because I cannot handle driving long distances.Stuff about the hygiene and ADL's-NO, I specifically told him I sometimes do not want to eat or get out of bed. I also told him my girlfriend keeps track of when I shower because I'm not able to gauge how frequently I do it and she told me I've showered 3-4 times in the last 6-8 weeks.That's about it that I can tell from first read through...I dunno how big of a deal those things are but still.To me, at first glance, looks like he is saying that I couldn't work a full time job and probably not even a part time job. Or maybe I'm reading it wrong. I'll wait for some of you guys to chime in.
  14. Little update: DRC claim filed March 6th, VA received it March 15th. Yesterday ebenefits said Prep for Decision in the morning and then by the afternoon was back in Review of Evidence. Estimated completion date is 4/1-4/15 of this year for whatever that's worth! I was shocked when I saw it in Prep for Decision though. Lol it was too good to be true. EDIT: now in Gathering of Evidence and they scheduled an exam. Guess the DBQ and Neuropsych test results weren't enough. Estimated Completion Date is now middle of July. So much for the DRC.
  15. 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.
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