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About Gena

  • Rank
    E-3 Seaman
  • Birthday 11/26/1963

Previous Fields

  • Service Connected Disability
  • Branch of Service
    Air Force
  1. Thanks for the reply Wings and sorry for the delay. I'm preparing to move back overseas, so don't have a lot of computer time these days. At that time in 2007, VA did have my fathers address in Arkansas as not so much a permanent address, but a place to mail things stateside. When they mailed the notification of C&P exams to his address, I was able to call directly to the rating officer at the regional office in Little Rock (the good ole days) to discuss the matter. The ratings officer clearly understood that I was permanently living in St. Petersburg Russia and yet made no offer to schedule exams for me overseas or pay for travel back to the US. She simply told me that I had one year to get back or my claim would be pulled and I would have to re-file. In my previous post, I wrote that I had to pull up stakes at the 10 month point and move back, but that statement doesn't do justice to the difficult position VA put me in in forcing me to return. At the time I had to return, I had a four month old son who had to travel back with me. The US consulate graciously granted a tourist visa to his mother, so she travelled with us, but had to return after a few weeks. The travel expenses to and from will have been significant, however it's the family hardships that have been the real downside to this. Not to mention the fact that the 24 hour trip from Russia to the US traumatized my little boy as he screamed the entire way. Needless to say we the parents were equally traumatized by that horrific trip. I dread the flight back, but he's 2 1/2 now, so hopefully it'll be better.
  2. Pete: ok, I didn't know that about editing and will try to type a little more carefully. It's just that I was able to edit my first post, then the option went away, thus the confusion. Wings: I'm with you, ready to raise hell and getting more enfuriated the more I read about other veterans being offered exams overseas. Why did they not even offer me something overseas instead of just threatening to pull my claim? Even trips to Germany would have been way preferable. Adding to the frustration has been that the C&P exams that I was forced to return for have been complete jokes. Did veteran show? Did veteran have pulse? They in no way added anything to the information already in my medical records. Any advice on what hell to raise and with whom? I guess I'll contact an attorney.
  3. For whatever reason, I don't seem to have an edit option anymore. Sorry for some typos in the original post.
  4. Hello Vets, I'd like to get the opinion of folks here who have experience with or knowledge of he overseas C&P process. Here's what happened to me: I retired in 2007 and armed with the knowledge from my retirement/seperation briefings went to excruciating lengths to make sure that my medical records were accurate and thorough regarding everything that I was claiming disability for. When submitted my disability claim, I clearly asked the VA rep taking my claim if anything would be needed from me as I was moving overseas. The lady looked over my claim and medical records and told me that everything was there and that nothing more would be needed to process my claim. So, I moved overseas (St. Petersburg, Russia) and no sooner did I get there, lease an apartment for a year and start a school when I received a letter from VA stating that I had to report for C&P exams. I called and did not offer to schedule exams locally for me, but instead told me that I had one year to get back to the US (at my own expense) and report for C&P exams or my claim would be pulled. After ten months there, I was basically forced to stop everything and come back to the US. I've now been back for two years specifically to deal with VA and waiting as partial ratings decision trickle out and more C&P exams have been required. I feel that I've waited long enough here and I'm moving back in a few weeks. However, as a couple of items are still in the rating process, I have no doubt that as soon as I get back, another C&P letter will come. My questions are: Did VA have the right to put my claim on hold for 10 months and force me to return to the US rather than offer to arrange C&P exams overseas? And, should I be afraid to move back overseas knowing that another C&P exam will likely be scheduled and I'm probably going to get the same threats of my claim being pulled?
  5. Sorry folks, but nobody is anywhere near the mark on this. I know all about the usefullness of the CPAP and have adapted as best I can to using one. I get on average 4-5 hours per night. What I was interested to know: does anybody have their CPAP data monitored by VA? And, does VA have a minimum numbers of hours that they like to see you using it? Some providers consider 20 hours per week (4x5) compliant and other providers 42-56 hours. If a person is logging 30 hours per week with their CPAP, does VA consider that compliant or not or do they care? The question can even be genericized to: what is a veteran's obligation to follow a treatment plan be it pills, orthopedic devices, or a CPAP machine? I dsagree with Pete992 that VA can do whatever it wants. There are regs and a veteran can demand they follow the regs even if it takes an attorney to enforce it. I just can't find anything on what the regs are for CPAP usage.
  6. Hi Berta and thanks for the reply. VA has ignored my claim on this issue for over two years now. They've only recently acknowledged my claim and are asking me what exactly I'm claiming. So, I don't have a SOC or even a rating decision yet. I took the advice pf Pete and dug into the regs to be specific about what I'm asking. Unfortunately my digging didn't turn up much. There is no way to rate a skull disfigurement other than addressing the skin covering the area. I ended up using the exact reg that you listed. Unfortunately, I can only try for one of the characteristics of disfigurement: "Underlying soft tissue missing in an area exceeding six square inches". It seems a bit unfair to me that VA is so constrained to the regs with seemingly no liberty to rate something unusual. Well, I've tried to shoehorn it into an existing reg which may or may not yield 10%. Either way, it's a bit dissatisfying.
  7. Nothing I've seen from DAV could allow me to dispute your knucklehead description, John. My DAV rep even had the word "trainee" in his title and as far I know used that the entire 20 months that he represented me. It makes you wonder how many actually graduate from trainee. I sometimes felt like it was just a cop out for him to say "I dunno."
  8. Yep Pete, I hear you and know it would be best if I could it 8 hours per night. Every night I put mine on it's because of that same logic, sleeping and breathing are important and I'd like to live for a while yet. And even so, there come's a point every night I get enough of it. Eating healthy and exercising regular are pretty important also, but as much as I try I can't seem to make those stick either. If only doing the right things for our bodies were easy...
  9. Hello All, I was diagnosed with severe sleep apnea and provided a CPAP while on active duty in 2007. I retired later that year and VA granted the 50%. I'm still using the CPAP I was given over three years ago on AD. VA has never asked anything about my CPAP equipment or checked for usage compliance. I would like to say that I have a love-hate relationship with my CPAP, but its mostly hate. I start the night with it on most nights and usually tear it off at some point in the night. I've read that non-compliance with CPAP use is somewhere between 29 and 83% and that a large percentage of the machines end up sitting in a closet collecting dust. I use mine, but there is no way I can tolerate it for 6-8 hours per night. Mine rarely stays on more than 3-4 hours. Now, I have a pulminary C&P exam coming up and they've asked that I bring my CPAP machine. I assume that they will check the usage rates and mine are well below the 6-8 hours that I think they like to see. I don't know what to expect from this: slap on the hands, rate reduction or if they really don't care. Has anybody had their CPAP usage checked by VA? What's VA's stance on "non-compliance" with CPAP, can they reduce your rating of your not logging 6-8 hours per night with it?
  10. Definately not offended Pete, just confused. It seems that skull disfigurations are not common enough to have their own category in the ratings schedules. For that reason, VA doesn't seem to know what to do with it and I don't know what to specifically ask for. Am I out of luck in a case like this?
  11. Thanks All! I started my SSDI application today and wrote my letter to VA revoking DAVs appointment. I also found out that since Jun, 2007, we are allowed to hire an attorney after a NOD has been filed, so I've contacted one and he's reviewing my case. I agree that there's way more help and info here at hadit than DAV will ever give you. Vync: You sure hit the nail on the head. I was amazing at the trivia they dug out of my file to support denial while ignoring anything important. I don't even know how or why that trivia is in my file. They must have a recorder running in the waiting areas :-)
  12. jbasser, prior to enlisting DAVs help, I researched VA attornies and called a good in Washington DC. At that time, the attorney told me that they couldn't help me until I had went through the appeal process and my appeal had been denied. I am appealing the rating on my foot injuries, but am told that it will be another year or two before it reaches the board. Regarding the TDIU denial, I filed a NOD and I guess I am waiting for a DRO review now, but as I understand it, I haven't even started the actual appeal process for that. Have I been misinformed? Can VA attornies help you before the appeal board?
  13. Kelly: I did represent myself for the first year plus. I had direct contacts at the Little Rock regional office, however all of that abruptly changed in Dec 2008. All of my numbers to the regional office were then forwarded to the national 1-800 voice system hell. I was told that the regional offices were no longer going to communicate directly with veterans and that I needed to get a representative. I chose DAV because they're physically in the VA building at Little Rock. I figured "How hard can it be to walk down the hall and talk to somebody?" Boy, was I wrong. I do intend to "fire" DAV this week. I assume I undo it with the same form I that I originally used to select them. Are people that represent themselves now just calling the 1-800 number? Pete: I've kicked around applying for Social Security but to date haven't. I'm not quite 50 yet and heard that under 50 is an almost automatic denial. I know, you get a lawyer and appeal. I guess I just haven't been ready to start a second war yet.
  14. Thanks for the welcome, but on the right track? Wow, if I'm on the right track, I pity those on the wrong track. VA obviously has no clue how to rate my skull problem and has sent me a letter asking me how to rate it and I have absolutely no idea how to respond. At this point I'd be happy if somebody would just point me to the track.
  15. Hello All, I was recently denied TDIU after waiting almost two years for a decision. I had both feet operated on while on active duty and am left with chronic foot pain and the inability to stand for long periods or walk very far. My current treatment plan by my VA doc has me on twice daily pain meds for the chronic pain, so I can get around and take care of the basic things. The foot problems were my primary reason for the TDIU claim. The reasons for their denial are so comical, that I have to post them here. Their reasons for denial section was about two paragraghs and stated that 1. I have an education., 2. I watch baseball and am able to cook for my two year-old son. and 3. At some point in one my VA exams I stated that I was disappointed in my Air Force career that projects I worked on were cancelled several times due to funding cuts. Therefore, they can't find me unemployable at this time. Nowhere in their reasons were my foot problems or my treatment plan even mentioned. I've seen some incompetent things come out of VA, but this takes the cake by a long-shot. As angry as this makes me, I can't help but also find it funny. I never would have guessed that the ability to watch baseball makes me employable. Now if I can only find somebody to pay me for that! And yes, before somebody replies that I should tell my rep, I already have. My DAV rep, as always, could care less. He doesn't take calls, return calls and if by some miracle I actually do get to speak to him, his only interest is getting me off the phone as soon as possiblle. In this case he told me that I could file a disagreement if I wanted (as if I didn't already know that.) Has anybody actually had a good experience with DAV?