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Found 1,906 results

  1. My father is 100% TDIU and may be headed to a nursing home. I belive he would be going to a State of Michigan Veterans facility. How will this affect his VA disability income? Does the nursing get this money? What about my mother's portion as a depended...will she continue to receive a portion of his disability payment? Thanks ...Trick
  2. I was recently increased from 60% to 70% disability compensation. 60% for DMII includes secondary conditions. I know that that is the criteria for application for TDIU. My DAV SO has sent in the form 21-4138 SSOC to request TDIU. I'm not sure if we did the right thing. I haven't had a real job for two years but I do have income from the position I hold in our local Township government. It pays $1,000.00 per month. I have been elected to this position for ten years. No one else wants the job, it's very stressfull. I would like to quit but the money it pays keeps me and the wife in our house. Poverty threshold as near as I can figure is $860.00 per month so I am $140.00 too much. My SO says that I am not gainfully employed so it might go thru. The Catch 22 is we can't live without the $1,000.00 income per month and we can not survive on 70% disability alone. Any input will be appreciated. THANKS! Terry Sturgis
  3. Does anyone have any info on the Stay proceedings order by the CAVC on July 19,2005 re: Friedsam V Nicjolson? Basically this widow took the VA to task on the unfairness of Chap 35- I suggest that when you are declared P & T by VA -have your kids apply for Chap 35 immediately even if they are still minors! Chap 35 regs are a crock!!!!! As a widow my Chap 35 were ten years limiting- I received the Chap 35 award letter in late 1997 and felt I had until late 2007 to complete my education. But widows are limited to 10 years after death- so in my case or in the case of Ms Friedman above (who the VA took NINE years to grant her DIC) the veteran's dependent children were too told (over 26) to be eligible for DEA (Chap 35) I have read numerous BVA cases re Chap 35 as a friend of mine with new retro award of 100% P & T finds that it isnt covering the years he had to pay for college for 3 kids while he waited fr a proper VA decision. This is a crock- I thought just widows and surviving children were being screwed but the VA is clearly denying Chap 35 to many dependents whose valid argument to the VA is how can one apply for Chap 35 when they have no eligibility? The VA regs suggest that a dependent (whether they know if they will ever be eligible or not) has to apply for DEA even if years before the P & T is awarded! I say, using that VA logic that any vet with an SC disability below 30 % should apply for TDIU-even before the medical evidence warrants it! As well as have their kids apply for Chap 35. Of course that wont fly- so why should this- I was sent two DEA applications with my award letter- stating Rod was 100% P & T back to 1991. I got the letter in late 1997. The ten year delimiting date was not based on when I learned of my eligibility but on his date of death, Oct 14, 1994. Well they cut off my Chap 35 in Dec 2004 and I have continued to pay my tuition myself and I think I Nodded the letter but need to duble check that today- as when my present claim succeeds I expect another delimiting date-which I better get! After I graduate next spring I am enrolling into another degree program- this is one big crock- here I find out many Chap 35ers aside from being survivors who get snookered are being denied too- The CAVC order is two part- There is a stay for 10 days following the Per Curiam (dated July 19th 2005) Also the "parties" Friedsam and Nicholson should try to reach a "Mutually agreeable resolution of the case pursuant to 38 USC 5113 (:P or any other means- where would to public's right to know provide the published resolution? It is Sept 14 and I find nothing at CAVC yet on this- maybe it is a secret so other vets and claimants cannot take advantage of it? I guess I will have to contact the attorney representing this widow at CAVC (if she has one) I am pretty thrilled that a widow has taken them on over how unfair Chap 35 is to all of you- Say your child has excellent grades in high school but you cannot afford to send them to college. Say after they struggle to get through college with your help, you get 100% P & T with a retro date that occurred during their college time-and the Chap 35 app- for your dependents- The VA MIGHT pay them one year retro tops if that-if they are still in school. Wouldnt the VA have a responsibility to send every veterans dependent a Chap 35 application with each initial grant no matter if it is 10% and even not P & T? The VA's position seems to be that only if prior application is made can retro be paid- so they should send the application to every veteran's dependent -even if they are 3 years old! I am really ticked at this whole situation- and I am still ticked at the errors that VA Education dept made on my educational claim as well as my kids claim- which they fixed real fast-the errors occurred because they cant read. Sorry for long gripe- ANY info at all regarding this Stay on 03-1432 Friedsam will be greatly appreciated. The BVA in 2003 actually stated that she should have filed DEA applications with her DIC claim! That is outrageous. The BVA cannot make up a new reg! ;)
  4. Today (01-28-2005) ... I received a letter (dated 12-29-2005) ... from the regional DVA and it was titled: ..... "DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS BENEFITS INCREASED" ..... Well, it did show an increase in monthly payment bennies ... HOWEVER ... Below that statement and continuing on the back of the 1 page letter it also stated: That there are nine (9) things that the DVA will be "cross checking" on disabled veterans in reference to their status. Most were common sense .. but number 3 said ... That the DVA will be checking with SSA for those that are on TDIU & paid at 100% rate ... to see if any are receiving "substancial earned income". Now, I don't go crazy over this ... but, this is the first time that I can remember the DVA sending this kind of info to me. I guess that this is a DVA SOP letter ?? ... Magoo ... aka ... Bill ... B)
  5. A Vet that I have been helping today reciieved a letter, with a form for him to fill,for unemployability. He only went to one C&P,an that for Hearing loss. So what is this all abot???
  6. First, before I start this whole thing I'd like to say that today in a decision dated 29 December 2006, in a claim started 15 Nov 2002, I finally received a 100% Permanent evaluation for my spinal chord injury. While I was previously had a combined rating 90% TDIU P&T, It gives me a great feeling of satisfaction to finally see a 100% rating for my initial injury. At this point with the one rating of 100%, I am over the magical 160%, so with some study I think that a claim for housebound might be appropriate. We’ll see, like I said I have to study CFR 38 and see what really is the criteria. In the past 4 years that’s one of the most important lessons I have learned. While a great many people on this board have a large amount of knowledge, I ALWAYS go back to the CFR 38 myself. Each time I discover something I didn’t know, but since the thing reads like an instruction sheet on how to program your VCR it can be a challenge. I've learned a great deal in the last few years about how the VA works and almost as importantly WHY they put a claimant thru some of the procedures they do. Specifically I have learned about back injuries and the VA rating/determination process. Now...we all know that the VA is going to lose your records numerous times (4 for me), and you will have to patiently explain the same disorder and symptoms each visit to the VA since they change doctors more often than I change toilet paper rolls, but...the claims process...if handled by a competent rater actually makes some sense, and the tests they require to establish injury are no different than that which a civilian Neurosurgeon would normally require prior to making a competent diagnosis. The First hallmark test for the VA in any back injury, or really even in any muscle/bone claim is a simple X-Ray. This may be done with flexion or extension of the joint to see how everything is lined up. In the case of a back, the doctor is looking for irregular spacing and either a twisting of the vertebra (like twisting a towel...the vertebra twist often in some patients) or a large curvature of the spine either inward or outward. Of course the curvature is Scoliosis, and the twisting is (forgive my spelling) Spondilothysis...sorry me and medical terms don’t spell well together. Ok so a simple X-Ray will show obvious problems like these...if they don’t and the patient still has symptology consistent with a back or spine injury the next Hallmark test is an MRI. Now, the thing about MRI's and back injuries is that they are not consistent. A person with what appears to be a completely normal MRI can have MAJOR problems/symptoms while someone with a terrible MRI complains of no problems whatsoever. Yet the VA insists on using this as THE hallmark examination to establish injury for several reasons. The alternative, a Myleogram is very invasive and costs quite a bit more. The civilian sector uses the MRI as ITS hallmark, most Orthopedic or Neurologists relying upon them to show whether there actually is some problems. My first treating Neurologist was a civilian (I was on Tricare-Remote), and that’s exactly the path he followed. Now, since I told him I wanted a conservative treatment plan, with surgery as a matter of last choice I entered into the whole physical therapy, steroid injection regime. I note this because in most cases that I have discussed with VA patients, that is normally the course the VA follows. It just makes money sense, as well as trying all the least invasive techniques first. Often, if the treatment still fails to provide relief the next thing a VA doctor or Civilian practitioner will do is order an EMG. Now this is a test which examines both the nerve function as well as the sensory aspects. Basically they first shock you…literally they stick a taser like deal against your skin and put a lead at another point and BAM, they jolt you. Then they insert a needle at the top of the nerve area (in different locations) and then place another a certain distance along the nerve path. Heres the deal…that kinda hurts, and if its testing both limbs it can go on for quit a bit. Its not as bad as a spinal steroid shot, but worse than a normal shot, and its repeated and the Doctors all seem to dig around quit a bit. The positive thing about an EMG is that its almost certain to show something if there is an impingement of the spinal chord, or even more serious things such as Multiple Sclerosis. It’s a definite “case maker”, if the test corroborates your symptoms and complaints, the VA claims raters can and will rate you based upon the symptoms shown and the results of an EMG. Nothing is perfect but a patient cannot “fake” an EMG. So it’s a very conclusive test for the VA for rating purposes. It is because of the nature an “objective” nature of the test, that almost anyone claiming Radiculapathy, or Neuropathy (shooting pain down a limb, or constant pain and numbness as well as possible tingling in the feet or hands, or partial or complete paralysis of a motor function) will get it ordered by the rater. A rater looks at both the subjective material, such as the patients statements i.e. descriptions of numbness or loss of feeling, loss of control or inability to move the feet or hand in a certain fashion. The doctors physical evaluation considering the range of motion with and without pain, as well as the other physical tests which can be open to interpretation. The rater then looks at the objective test, such as absent or diminished deep tendon reflex’s like ankle jerk or knee jerk etc. This is a significant symptom because it cannot be “faked”, either the doctor hits your knee and it kicks, or he pounds all day (I had one try for almost 4 minutes) and it doesn’t. Other “objective” tests which cannot be skewed are the EMG, and MRIs and Myleogram. The myleogram is probably the very last test the VA doctor will recommend, and the rating board wouldn’t normally require it because it is very invasive. They inject a small amount of dye into the spinal cavity. All I have to say is that I have had 5 of these and they hurt…a lot. They are VERY good a showing or comparing the function of different nerves. On a myleogram, the nerves actually glow and can be seen because of the dye. The left and right nerves mirror each other so if the nerves corresponding to your complaint and symptoms is darker than the one opposite it, well that pretty conclusive that something is going on. Again, a rater would normally NEVER ask for this test as its expensive, invasive, and still open to interpretation. By far, for the claims that I have dealt with, mine and others, the VA’s most ordered test for rating purposes is the EMG. It invasive but normally well tolerated. Its inexpensive when compared to an MRI or a Myleogram as well. Plus its very objective when compared to the other tests, and properly administered and evaluated. Even the best sometimes fail though, so if you’ve had an MRI and an EMG and have seen nothing to explain your pain, maybe a Myleogram is in order. A rater takes all this into consideration when rating a decision so some things you might want to do even prior to submitting the claim is to ask for an EMG test. Also you might want to consider going off some meds prior to taking it. There is a danger here and a person should at least read up on what might happen if they just suddenly stop taking a medication. Yet these very medications can often disguise the symptoms you are experiencing. I know, it’s a catch-22. I just know that I taper off my neurontin and my pain meds prior to taking any exam….please note I said taper. This does not include meds for other disorders like you heart etc. Jeez don’t go having a heart attack because I said this. JUST the meds that are for the illness or injury you are claiming. Even than consult a private physician or look up the drug an see what discontinuing it might cause. Now some people will say that by stating this I am telling people to lie, and that is simply NOT the case. However you are being rated upon your injury and if the medications you are taking “soften” the side-effects of your injury, it would seem obvious that you’d want the Doctor to be able to see the whole picture, as well as the rater. That’s only fair. Please again, be careful if you do decide to taper off a med prior to taking some test like the EMG. Going off a medication drastically can have some wicked and possibly life threatening consequences. Just make sure you can go off the med, then taper it off. Once the test is completed you can continue it again, slowly at first obviously for the same reasons as not quitting all at once. Again…I AM NOT TELLING ANYONE TO LIE. I just believe that if I am to be tested and rated for a condition, the VA and rater need to see how the condition affects my normal funcionality, without any pain meds etc. OK…that’s it for this installment. Next I am going to talk about filing for the adaptive vehicle grant and the adaptive housing grant. These are two little known programs that mean big money to a qualifying veteran. (I just had them pay $11K on my new vehicle) Bob Smith
  7. I received a call from the aide at my congressman's office this a.m. saying that the only thing holding up the final rating of my claim was the VA 21-4192 from my last in employer (Fedex) in 2001. I had requested that my claim (filed) in May 2005 be given a financial hardship waiver back in the beginning of Oct 2005, and the Seattle VARO sat on it til a week ago Monday when I called Rep Jay Inslee's office and sent ANOTHER copy of the disconnect notice for my electricty. Does this sound like I might finally get my TDIU ?
  8. Dear Vets, Thanks for being there. Plan to help others when I prove myself capable. Am in Oregon. PVA is POA. I been working on this for about 25 years now. Largely successful, ie, about 95 percent disabled all together, HNP is under Code 5293. Depression under "dysthimia". Got TDIU VA granted all back to 1993. Have spinal cord disease from injection of metrizamide inservice, 1980. Also the Military docs operated, 1980, 1981, on the wrong disc twice, admitted it in writing once. The right disc to date has never been operated upon, and according to VA in 1996, is inoperable due to the spinal cord disease arachnoiditis. The nerves in my cauda equina (spinal cord root) are stuck together very much like a wiring loom in a car after a wire fire- you cannot dissect it apart without making it worse. I can see it myself on a MRI, was recently shown by out-of-country-neurology-professor. Unmistakable. The effects on CSF and Brain are poorly understood, but I could tell you some things I KNOW and EXPERIENCE that would BOTH enlighten mankind AND scare you to death- but that is beside the point because unprovable and impertinent. I really dont think the VA is "out to work me over" anymore- I suspect if my face were mangled like the spinal cord roots are, the VA dos and admin quickly would figure out my face is mangled. They just can't spend the time to comprehend what the VA doctors (finally) describe and documented. If they cannot see it, they can hardly comprehend it, then rate it. I do not envy their job. VA generally ignores significance of arachnoiditis, despite: Neuro Bowel, Bladder, Creative, sensation loss benefits granted due to same arachnoiditis and unoperated, inoperable, HNP. TDIU was finally granted back to 1993 in about 1998. The fact is things got so terrible in 1986-1993 (some VA medical documentation to support this) that I was homeless, starving, all during the time the VA had me in Chapter 31 Vocational Rehab. (1986-1993)(off and on)(unsuccessfully, according to VR&C VR people) Each time I was in Voc Rehab (incidentally?)(hardly any evidence in VA file) the sitting and walking to class brought me to a point I could not walk, stand, sit, so I kept falling AND failing out. Depression was what actually got me- give me enough time and a chair (for a walker) I will and did get to class somehow. No documentation of this last. Depression secondary to chronic pain granted to 50 percent, backdated to 1993. Prior to 1993, I was supposedly ""10 percent disabled overall"" The Voc Rehab file reads so impersonal and non-specific, ie, "Vet out of money, dropping out of school" or "Vet uninterested in continuing rehab..... pain ruining his life" or "legal matters prevent participation (arrested for vagrancy, homelessness, trespassing)(when homeless because unable to work,starving (as documented by VA) dizzy with malnutrition (as documented by VA) fearful, begging for help with physical problem (as documented by VA) (etc)(going over the edge, crying, picking at skin with pain and mental-problems, ie, pain, (as documented by VA) (all during 1996-1993) stuff happens!) I want so much to be clear, but it is very difficult to ... explain how bad things got in 1996-1993. Some pertinent medical records supporting, more than described in previous ranting paragraph. Never considered before by VA, I think, but MOST docs in C-file. I truly understand why (franklin or lincoln) said "anyone who represents themselves has a fool for a client". I like to think I am intelligent, have way with words, but I..try so hard...to summarize what where when why, and the law, but I cannot. It ends up this gigantic ramble (like this post to "you all" likely will become). That is why I am here. I humbly ask for any advice, clarity, or even how to intelligently formulate an argument in writing using the info here. I keep getting confused by all the detail, how CUE affects the informal claim for IU, for example, and how one VARO, in contact with another VARO, can keep the claim, send it all to some other vet, etc, etc., how one can be considered "serious employment handicap" and yet one is still without proof one has a "serious employment handicap" (but wait! theres more!)(lil joke there) The current issue, again remanded from BVA, is "earlier effective date for TDIU earlier than 1993" The instructions mention extraschedular rating, not sure what that signifies (know what it means though). It boggles my mind AMC (part of VA, evidently) says "we have no evidence to support your claim, send it" when they have the claim file I am pulling most records out of. Thoughts? Problem: My Brain not fat enough. No one can come and research all the documents I have. My (already submitted) argument is this: "If a veteran with a 10 percent RATING was admitted into Chapter 31 Vocational Rehab, only because he has a severe employment handicap, (with Service Connected roots) is this not evidence the veteran has a severe employment handicap, and if yes, is this not evidence worth considering towards an earlier effective date for TDIU? Extra info: Two VAROs involved. While one errantly sent all notices, decisions, appointments, to the wrong address (as evidenced in C-file) (1996) the other (closer) VARO (Boise) decided I had a "serious (or Severe) (cannot find which word for sure) employment handicap". The VARO Boise by law MUST find a "serious or severe employment handicap (based on Service connected disabilities) in order to allow participation in Chapter 31 vocational rehabilitation if a person has a RATED "10 percent disability S/C". I did join the PVA. I think they are great, honest, candid, but they say admantly "we do not have your claim file, its in Washington DC. We cannot write your argument, only you (the vet) know what your argument is" "Don't bring us your copy of the claim file, we have lots of other vets to also serve" The truth, fellow veterans, is: I spoke with the good people there four times before I remembered to tell them this was all in remand. Apparently this puts a whole new spin on the case, so I am unable to make myself clear. Why? Maybe because Metrizamide (what the military injected into spinal cord) causes delerium (confusion) and I am too confusing to deal with. The FDA removed Metrizamide from use for this reason, AND people who get arachnoiditis are those who get the permanent delerium. I cannot imagine trying to put this across to VA, they hardly get the difference between "old age arachnoiditis" and arachnoiditis a 20 year old gets and is seen days afterwards in surgery. I truly understand the PVA, and VA rating people's problem. I also know I am > < this close... to being totally done, after 25 years, of fighting the VA, and I can turn away and look away and start living my life as a free man. Very hopeful about that! Oh, and get medical treatment again! thats the main goal here! The local VA clinic re-writes (out of ignorance, NOT malice) what my medical situation is- apparently cannot be bothered to spend many hours catching up with reality, good enough to say "sub chronic back problem" (and then a milder description, then milder, then the doc ASKS me why I am there for minor problem- WHILE prescribing buttload opiates. Can you understand I am very very frightened of doctors, especially VA??? That last is what drives me, otherwise I would have given this up in the 90's How about a smile? Here is something, a true (swear to God) punch line that needs no explanation other than I was getting analyzed for neurogenic bladder at VA Portland and reported something totally new to the nurse: "No air just came out of your penis, Mr Smith!" I am VERY interested in any legal aspects you may find noteworthy. Helpful if you state how sure you are of what you say. If nothing else, what I REALLY hope from this forum, is A CONCISE SUMMARY OF WHAT YOU FIND IN THIS POST. I know the VA personnell are not gods, I must make it clear, simple, exact, quote the attached evidence (50 pages VA docs here, ready to submit) and be simple enough for an 8 year old to understand. This is well beyond me. Thanks in advance for any help you all might have. Advice to all vets: Dont Take Opiates unless you have a year or less to live. Opiates are the opiate of the dying. Dont be dying unless you have to God Bless America. Semper Fi. Never, Never, give up. Die before Dishonor. Let the next guy know what got/ killed you. {who would know it'd be about discharged soldiers when we sang "first to fight for rights and freedom?"}
  9. Dear Vets, Thanks for being there. Plan to help others when I prove myself capable. Am in Oregon. PVA is POA. I been working on this for about 25 years now. Largely successful, ie, about 95 percent disabled all together, HNP is under Code 5293. Depression under "dysthimia". Got TDIU VA granted all back to 1993. Have spinal cord disease from injection of metrizamide inservice, 1980. Also the Military docs operated, 1980, 1981, on the wrong disc twice, admitted it in writing once. The right disc to date has never been operated upon, and according to VA in 1996, is inoperable due to the spinal cord disease arachnoiditis. The nerves in my cauda equina (spinal cord root) are stuck together very much like a wiring loom in a car after a wire fire- you cannot dissect it apart without making it worse. I can see it myself on a MRI, was recently shown by out-of-country-neurology-professor. Unmistakable. The effects on CSF and Brain are poorly understood, but I could tell you some things I KNOW and EXPERIENCE that would BOTH enlighten mankind AND scare you to death- but that is beside the point because unprovable and impertinent. I really dont think the VA is "out to work me over" anymore- I suspect if my face were mangled like the spinal cord roots are, the VA dos and admin quickly would figure out my face is mangled. They just can't spend the time to comprehend what the VA doctors (finally) describe and documented. If they cannot see it, they can hardly comprehend it, then rate it. I do not envy their job. VA generally ignores significance of arachnoiditis, despite: Neuro Bowel, Bladder, Creative, sensation loss benefits granted due to same arachnoiditis and unoperated, inoperable, HNP. TDIU was finally granted back to 1993 in about 1998. The fact is things got so terrible in 1986-1993 (some VA medical documentation to support this) that I was homeless, starving, all during the time the VA had me in Chapter 31 Vocational Rehab. (1986-1993)(off and on)(unsuccessfully, according to VR&C VR people) Each time I was in Voc Rehab (incidentally?)(hardly any evidence in VA file) the sitting and walking to class brought me to a point I could not walk, stand, sit, so I kept falling AND failing out. Depression was what actually got me- give me enough time and a chair (for a walker) I will and did get to class somehow. No documentation of this last. Depression secondary to chronic pain granted to 50 percent, backdated to 1993. Prior to 1993, I was supposedly ""10 percent disabled overall"" The Voc Rehab file reads so impersonal and non-specific, ie, "Vet out of money, dropping out of school" or "Vet uninterested in continuing rehab..... pain ruining his life" or "legal matters prevent participation (arrested for vagrancy, homelessness, trespassing)(when homeless because unable to work,starving (as documented by VA) dizzy with malnutrition (as documented by VA) fearful, begging for help with physical problem (as documented by VA) (etc)(going over the edge, crying, picking at skin with pain and mental-problems, ie, pain, (as documented by VA) (all during 1996-1993) stuff happens!) I want so much to be clear, but it is very difficult to ... explain how bad things got in 1996-1993. Some pertinent medical records supporting, more than described in previous ranting paragraph. Never considered before by VA, I think, but MOST docs in C-file. I truly understand why (franklin or lincoln) said "anyone who represents themselves has a fool for a client". I like to think I am intelligent, have way with words, but I..try so hard...to summarize what where when why, and the law, but I cannot. It ends up this gigantic ramble (like this post to "you all" likely will become). That is why I am here. I humbly ask for any advice, clarity, or even how to intelligently formulate an argument in writing using the info here. I keep getting confused by all the detail, how CUE affects the informal claim for IU, for example, and how one VARO, in contact with another VARO, can keep the claim, send it all to some other vet, etc, etc., how one can be considered "serious employment handicap" and yet one is still without proof one has a "serious employment handicap" (but wait! theres more!)(lil joke there) The current issue, again remanded from BVA, is "earlier effective date for TDIU earlier than 1993" The instructions mention extraschedular rating, not sure what that signifies (know what it means though). It boggles my mind AMC (part of VA, evidently) says "we have no evidence to support your claim, send it" when they have the claim file I am pulling most records out of. Thoughts? Problem: My Brain not fat enough. No one can come and research all the documents I have. My (already submitted) argument is this: "If a veteran with a 10 percent RATING was admitted into Chapter 31 Vocational Rehab, only because he has a severe employment handicap, (with Service Connected roots) is this not evidence the veteran has a severe employment handicap, and if yes, is this not evidence worth considering towards an earlier effective date for TDIU? Extra info: Two VAROs involved. While one errantly sent all notices, decisions, appointments, to the wrong address (as evidenced in C-file) (1996) the other (closer) VARO (Boise) decided I had a "serious (or Severe) (cannot find which word for sure) employment handicap". The VARO Boise by law MUST find a "serious or severe employment handicap (based on Service connected disabilities) in order to allow participation in Chapter 31 vocational rehabilitation if a person has a RATED "10 percent disability S/C". I did join the PVA. I think they are great, honest, candid, but they say admantly "we do not have your claim file, its in Washington DC. We cannot write your argument, only you (the vet) know what your argument is" "Don't bring us your copy of the claim file, we have lots of other vets to also serve" The truth, fellow veterans, is: I spoke with the good people there four times before I remembered to tell them this was all in remand. Apparently this puts a whole new spin on the case, so I am unable to make myself clear. Why? Maybe because Metrizamide (what the military injected into spinal cord) causes delerium (confusion) and I am too confusing to deal with. The FDA removed Metrizamide from use for this reason, AND people who get arachnoiditis are those who get the permanent delerium. I cannot imagine trying to put this across to VA, they hardly get the difference between "old age arachnoiditis" and arachnoiditis a 20 year old gets and is seen days afterwards in surgery. I truly understand the PVA, and VA rating people's problem. I also know I am > < this close... to being totally done, after 25 years, of fighting the VA, and I can turn away and look away and start living my life as a free man. Very hopeful about that! Oh, and get medical treatment again! thats the main goal here! The local VA clinic re-writes (out of ignorance, NOT malice) what my medical situation is- apparently cannot be bothered to spend many hours catching up with reality, good enough to say "sub chronic back problem" (and then a milder description, then milder, then the doc ASKS me why I am there for minor problem- WHILE prescribing buttload opiates. Can you understand I am very very frightened of doctors, especially VA??? That last is what drives me, otherwise I would have given this up in the 90's How about a smile? Here is something, a true (swear to God) punch line that needs no explanation other than I was getting analyzed for neurogenic bladder at VA Portland and reported something totally new to the nurse: "No air just came out of your penis, Mr Smith!" I am VERY interested in any legal aspects you may find noteworthy. Helpful if you state how sure you are of what you say. If nothing else, what I REALLY hope from this forum, is A CONCISE SUMMARY OF WHAT YOU FIND IN THIS POST. I know the VA personnell are not gods, I must make it clear, simple, exact, quote the attached evidence (50 pages VA docs here, ready to submit) and be simple enough for an 8 year old to understand. This is well beyond me. Thanks in advance for any help you all might have. Advice to all vets: Dont Take Opiates unless you have a year or less to live. Opiates are the opiate of the dying. Dont be dying unless you have to God Bless America. Semper Fi. Never, Never, give up. Die before Dishonor. Let the next guy know what got/ killed you. {who would know it'd be about discharged soldiers when we sang "first to fight for rights and freedom?"}
  10. <H1 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">GAO</H1> United States General Accounting Office Report to the Ranking Minority Member Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, U.S. Senate <H2 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">September 1987</H2><H4 style=MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt 1in; TEXT-INDENT: 0.5in">VETERANS’</H4>BENEFITS Improving the Integrity of VA’s Unemployability <H5 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt 1in">Compensation</H5>Program <H3 style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">GAO/HRD-87-62</H3> {At page 11} “Rating board members told us that after the {VA} central office began its continuing review, it routinely denied rating boards’ proposals for unemployability awards, and, therefore, the rating boards became less willing to propose new unemployability awards. VA headquarters officials in the Compensation and Pension Service questioned whether their tightening of procedures may have gone too far in reducing the number of new unemployability awards. Veterans service organization representatives said that because of the central office review, the attitude of rating boards now is deny the unemployability benefit and to look for ways to disqualify veterans from getting the award.”
  11. Hello All I went to the VA clinic today and got some new informaiton about my claim. I was 10% filed a NOD and was sent a SOC for 80% with a TDIU form. Well I am still waiting for a responce. I still do not have an award letter. However in the admissioin area they did a "HINQ" They said this is the offical record. I am rated unemployable, news to me, in this system. But where is shows Check Amount it has $1277.00 Vet married Vet= No spouse or not eligible. The rep said I don't get anything for m spouse because he isn't disabled and there are no kids. Is this correct? I thought it was strange since they had me bring in my marriage licence. Any idea how ong it takes for me to get confirmation from the VARO/DRO? SE
  12. Non-Service Connected Disability Pension l. Benefit Description Non-Service Connected Disability Pension is a Department of Veterans Affairs benefits program that provides financial support to wartime veterans having limited income. The amount VA will pay you under this program depends on the type and amount of income you and your family members receive from other sources. Payments are made to you to bring your total annual income, including other retirement and Social Security income, to an established support level. Countable income may be reduced by unreimbursed medical expenses. II. Eligibility Generally, you must have 90 days or more of service of which at least 1 day must have occurred during a period of war, and you must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. You must have a disability(ies) that VA evaluates as permanent and total. For VA pension purposes, permanent and total means it is not likely that you will be able to maintain a substantially gainful job. Unemployability and age are factors also considered in VA's eligibility decision. III. How to Apply Obtain a copy of VA Form 21-526, Veteran's Application for Compensation or Pension, from the Veterans Benefits Administration forms web site. Fill in the required information and mail the form to the VA Regional Office (Microsoft Word Doc) that serves your area. The following supporting evidence and/or documents should be submitted with your application (If any of the evidence is not immediately available, send in the application anyway. The date VA receives your application is important to you, if VA grants your claim. VA benefits payments usually will begin from that date regardless of when the claim is approved.): Medical Records - Medical records to provide a diagnosis and prognosis of your current medical condition and to substantiate any and all treatment by private doctors and hospitals. Dependency Documents - Original or copies of birth and marriage certificates and copies of divorce/death record terminating your prior and those of your spouse. Military Discharge/DD Form 214 - (Copy 4 - Member Copy) Those applicants who have a copy of their DD-214 are encouraged to provide a copy with their claim to expedite processing. Otherwise, VA will attempt to obtain verification from the service department. Copies of missing DD Forms 214 may be obtained from the National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, MO through the NARA web site. IV. Other Related Benefits Health Care Benefits Vocational Training Burial Benefits Prosthetic Devices Additional information on these benefits may be obtained from the Federal Benefits Manual for Veterans and Dependents. A copy of this publication may be downloaded from the VA Home Page. You will need a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader to read and print the document. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Contact your local VA Regional Office for additional assistance by dialing our toll-free number 1-800-827-1000. Or, you may e-mail the Regional Office that serves your area through the Veterans Benefits Administration e-mail contacts page. This page was last updated 7/28/99. WS
  13. I saw my Vet Center counselor today. He told me that he and my VA Psych. had spoken about me. Part of it was about changeing my meds (they may be borrowing Marlon Perkins tranq gun) and part seemed like a genuine concern on both their parts that I get out of the post office. We discussed it as time permitted, and he told me to schedule with my SO and have him file for TDIU. I talked with him about the process as I understand it, that you apply for OPM retirement from USPS while working, then SS and TDIU when OPM has retired you. He says that they can initiate the process while I'm working. It sounds like he would be in my corner, for what it's worth. I am scared of not having security for my family, he understands, but is if possible, less optimistic about my "life", physical/mental condition and the odds on my making my last 8 years, 6 months, 4 days - as well as what would be left of me at that point. Having been recently bumped to 90%, I can now make more money by collecting AND working at USPS. BUT I DON'T CARE! I want out!! We aren't yet accustomed to the new pay rate and probably wouldn't lose much anyway. My family is my top concern, I don't want to fail them, but personally, I would certainly sacrifice more than what it appears we would to get out ASAP! I am primarily puzzled about his IU statement. Has anyone ever heard of a process by which you initiate consideration for IU while still working? It would be nice, as insecure as I am. From the VA standpoint, I could see an advantage to being started the day after your final day on the job, no earlier effective date, no back pay. Is he mistaken? Am I just too anxious to believe what I want to? Gary
  14. Hey hadit family, It has been a week since I received my award letter. I owe you all thanks for helping me get along with my paperwork. I truly could not have done it without my Family here at hadit.com! I have calmed down from the relief of getting such a quick award. Now I need your help! Did I really get a good deal? Should I let a sleeping dog lay? I was previously service connected for: • 30% Migraine Headaches • 20% Right Foot Injury Received an award letter for additional service connected disabilities from VARO dated November 7, 2005: • 50% Depression, Secondary to Migraines, (Sleep also claimed, is caused by depression not medication) • 50% Migraine Headaches (Added 20%) • 10% Arthritis, Right Hip • TDIU • Chapter 35 What I additionally, and initially asked for on the disability claim: • Extra-Schedular Rating of 100% for my Migraine Headaches Currently, my Total Combined Rating is 80%, TDIU, P/T. The only thing I am thinking about appealing on is the lack of acknowledgement of my request for an Extra-Schedular Rating. I have for the last 22 years, been experienced extreme migraines. I have 3 to 6 migraines per week. I made a log of 14 months of headaches in early 1994 and presented it to the VA. My current logbook is only 7 months long; however, it shows that my headaches are getting worse. During the last 7 months, I have suffered through 65% of the total hours with a migraine. I have had 17 jobs in the last 22 years due to these headaches. I feel that my headaches do rate an Extra-Schedular Rating of 100%. I have presented the VA with all of this: • IMO’s and VA Doc’s agreed • C&P’s and my IMO’s statements agree • Migraine Headache Logbook with 7 months of data • Lay testimony of 11 people I have known for 35+ years • Letters from prior employers • 22 years of IMO’s and VA medical records Give me your advice on this please!!!! What should I do? What would you do?? Some other questions, please…… Question: If I appeal can the VA come back with a lower award? Question: As I am now (80%, TDIU, P/T), can I get an ID to get on Base? Question: The closest VAMC is 2 hours away. Can I receive treatment closer to where I live? If so, how?
  15. ;) I received a SOC dated 11-1-05 from the DRO. It said Decision increased from 10% to 80%. As I said in the other post, there was much information attached about my rights to appeal to BVA and to file a form 9 within 60 days. There was also a TDIU form attached with a "note" stating that if I signed it would be considered "quickly." Yesterday I call the 800# and am told that I never accepted the SOC and that I needed to do something. What was not answered. Is this 800# BS or is there a step I MISSED? I went to the VARO the day after I received the letter and did file the tdiu form with supporting docs. I had the same job for 15 years and was terminated after exausting all sick leave and benefits after becoming too ill to work. The DRO had to know this since the court record was in my c-file about not being able to keep job longer to keep benefits and the 2001 SSDI award letter. (yes all about the same 1 s/c condition) Is there a step I missed? If I did how long to I have to correct it? My treating private docs and one VA doc are writing letters on my behalf to errors in the SOC. I thought I might need them just incase they decline my TDIU. You all said be ready for anything from the VA, including a deline on a perfect claim. So Berta I have my ammo but still don't know where the enemy is hiding. There are never any names on these letters. Will the DRO process the TDIU since he/she has my file "on their desk" or is it just like any new claim. Running out of time SE
  16. I do not understand fully what is going on with the IU situation. Is it true that if I am 80% P/T IU that I may lose my IU benifits when I turn 65? Thanks in advance for any insite on this issue...Liz
  17. Thanks to Everyone Bert, Jim, Lady T for all the answers to all the questions. I got paid for someting because there was a VA deposit this morning and I got the insurance letter Monday. Now what percetage its for is a mystery. But for now I am happy that something has been back paid. Looks like it is about 80%. I guess the TDIU is still pending. Again thanks for all the answers to the dumb questions. Lady T thanks for all of your support. Your are phenomenal woman. Your donation is on its way. SE ;)
  18. I received my written decision today, 12 months from the date that I asked for an increase in my service connected disability. My RO is in Waco, Texas, yet I receive treatment at the VAMC in Big Spring, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico. At all levels of care within the VA, they all have been fantastic to work with, professional in all ways and in some situations more considerate to my needs than my private Doctors. My old award is dated July 1, 1993 and it reads like this: • 30% for Migraine Headaches • 10% for Fibular Sesamoiditis My new award is dated October 26, 2005 and it reads like this: • Service connection for depression (also claimed as sleeplessness) is granted with evaluation of 50 from February 9, 2005. • Service connection for right hip disability is granted with an evaluation of 10 percent effective November 1, 2004. • Evaluation of migraine headaches, which is currently 30 percent disabling, is increased to 50 percent effective November 1, 2004. • Evaluation of residuals, fibular sesamoiditis, right foot, which is currently 10 percent disabling, is increased to 20% effective November 1, 2004. • Entitlement to individual unemployability is granted effective February 9, 2005. • Basic eligibility to dependents’ Educational Assistance is established from February 9, 2005. My combined rating is now 80% with TDIU, P&T! I am so happy with this decision. My backpay will be deposited into my account on the 15th. My wife feels better and now we actually see a future ahead of us and we are looking forward to a nice Christmas. Thanks to all of you have answered my questions in the past and in the future. You are the heart and soul of HADIT, without you I may not have ever found the answers to my many questions. Q: Am I considered 100% P/T?
  19. I've had osteo in the ankle joint and foot for over 30 years. Intermittently it flairs up pretty bad and I go on a run of antibiotics ( Ceftin for the last few years), debreeding, etc.. The ortho docs have changed the antbiotics over the years as new ones come out that work better than the old ones - or depending on the bug that shows up during cultures. The Ceftin seems to be getting less and less effective. The next flair up the docs want me to go into the hospital for a debreed and scrape and to get the antibiotics by IV. Anybody else have the bug and what treatment do you use during flair ups??? Although I'm TDIU I only get 10% for the osteo. Riverman
  20. I called the main 100# at the VA and they told me that my paperwork for my request for increase was done and was just waiting for a signature. They of course could not tell me what had or had not been approved. I learned here that your VSO will know the decision before it is mailed to me. He told me that I got TDIU, as I was claiming. He also told me that is if nothing changes before the final signature is obtained. MY QUESTION: How many of you talked to your VSO about your case then receive the letter with something different?
  21. Tuesday, November 1, 2005 Military Update: Veterans’ disability panel to avoid debating genetics By Tom Philpott, Special to Stars and Stripes Pacific edition, Thursday, October 27, 2005 The Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission unanimously has voted that a veteran’s genetic makeup, which might show predisposition to certain illnesses before entering service, is not a reasonable topic for the commission to study in its review of “service connection” and disability payments. During an Oct. 14 public hearing in Washington, the commission also rejected, on a 10-1 vote, a proposal to study whether veterans’ disability benefits should be reduced at some “normal” retirement age to reflect the typical income drop of most American workers as they retire. The two votes came as commissioners shaped research questions they want answered by staff or through contracted studies to be conducted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science and by the Center for Naval Analyses over the next year or more. “If you cannot determine at time of entry into service what the genetic makeup of the potential serviceman is, how can you, when the serviceman leaves in two years, three years or 20 years, base disability benefits on the genetic issue?” asked retired Army Lt. Gen. James T. Scott, commission chairman, in summing up the panel’s decision not to delve into genetics. Some critics contend that the veterans’ disability compensation system is overly generous because it assumes that any disease or ailment that surfaces while a service member is on active duty is “service-connected” and, therefore, compensable, even if family history is suspected to be a factor. “We’re not going there,” said Commissioner Rick Surratt, a Vietnam combat veteran and deputy legislative director for Disabled American Veterans, after the vote, which he agreed was significant for veterans. The IOM says it needs 15 months to apply its medical expertise, which the commissioners concede they lack, to review and analyze the Schedule for Rating Disabilities used by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Defense for setting disability compensation levels. The IOM will judge how well the rating schedule reflects current medical understanding of the link between impairment and disability; advances in technology and treatments for disabilities; gains in function realized through vocational rehabilitation, environmental adaptations or other special-purpose benefits. The IOM also will review possible weaknesses in the rating schedule that require “additional disability designations such as Individual Unemployability” in order to compensate veterans adequately. Congress chartered the 13-member commission to conduct a comprehensive review of federal disability benefits for veterans and their survivors. Lawmakers set a tentative deadline for the commission to deliver a final report to the president and Congress within 17 months of its first meeting, which was held May 16 this year. But Ray Wilburn, the commission’s executive director, said that a final report might be delayed at least a year, until fall 2007, to allow the IOM and CNA time to complete their studies, integrate their work and inform commissioners. The CNA will study the appropriateness of current compensation levels for veterans, tapping various data sources and fresh surveys. It also will analyze the effectiveness of the rating schedule in meeting the original intent of Congress that compensation be sufficient to replace “average impairment in earning capacity resulting from such injuries in civil occupations.” Given the law’s emphasis on earning capacity, Commissioner John H. Grady, an actuary with Mellon Financial Corp. in Dallas, included among research questions for the CNA this: Would disability benefits be more appropriate if the level of payment was higher before some normal ‘retirement age’ and lower thereafter? On a motion from Surratt that the research question be dropped, Grady defended it, saying the commission needs at least to consider whether disability benefits should follow earnings and income patterns of civilian occupations, which routinely fall as they retire. Surratt argued that disabled veterans don’t have normal working careers. Some cannot build a nest egg for their retirement years like able-bodied counterparts. Also, he said, a veteran who becomes a double amputee from fighting in Iraq won’t grow his limbs back in retirement. The disability is permanent and continues to affect quality of life. Surratt’s motion to strike such research was approved, with only Grady dissenting among 11 commissioners present. Another commissioner, Marine Corps Major Gen. James E. Livingston, a Medal of Honor recipient, challenged draft guidance that CNA study the issue of “disabilities that occur as part of genetics” in reviewing standards for defining ailments as service connected. Livingston said recruits who clear entrance physicals are presumed to be fit for duty, and that presumption shouldn’t be altered even if advances in genetics now can show that veterans were predisposed to certain illnesses. The entire panel, on a voice vote, agreed to strike the genetics question. Chairman Scott, in an interview afterward, said the commission isn’t abandoning its responsibility to weigh other issues regarding the definition of “service-connected” disabilities. He pointed to research still planned into whether age should be a factor in determining entitlement to service-connected compensation, whether the “benefit-of-the-doubt rule,” which guides raters to favor the veteran in deciding close calls on service connection, should be changed, and whether service connection on a “secondary” or an “aggravation” basis should be redefined. But Scott also said he also agreed with a concern expressed by Commissioner Joe Wynn that final recommendations reflect the opinions of commissioners and not be driven by “subject matter experts” at IOM or CNA. To comment, write Military Update, P.O. Box 231111, Centreville, VA 20120-1111, e-mail milupdate@aol.com or visit www.militaryupdate.com. © 2003 Stars and Stripes. All Rights Reserved.
  22. Hi all Rickb 26 here.... Just keeping you updated. Won my reopened claim on hearing loss 0% and tinnitus 10% after a long time. While this doesn't change my monthly payment (90% TDIU May 1999) it was the principle of the matter that kept me going.. Once again this proves just becaue your already TDIU or 100% doesn't mean you have to go away if you have a valid claim.... I filed these claims in May 2005. So this was a real quick decision by VA standards. This was approved with out a C/P exam, they just excepted the records from VA med center in temple texas. Thanks Waco Regionl Office. Still pending a decison on COPD secondary to Asthma, claim submitted in May 2005, had C/P exam in Sept 2005 so expect an answer any time now. C/P doctor was a recently retired Army Major, told me based on my active medical records and my present condition that he was going to write this up indicating a serious disability... so I expect to win this claim as well. Not posting often because don't care for format on here but I do check in to read alot.
  23. undefined I received a letter Friday from The Department of Defense. The letter stated that I was receiving a good conduct medal a meritoutous unit citation, and the Vietnam Campaign medal W/2 bronze service stars. This is hard to beleive after 38 years. The DOD updated my DD 214 to reflect the changes, unbelievable. Jim Lane TDIU T&P
  24. U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs Site Map | Text-Only Email Address: Email Version: HTML Text 412 Russell Senate Office Building Washington D.C. 20510 Republican Staff (202) 224-9126 Democratic Staff (202) 224-2074 Home » Newsroom and Photos » Press Releases EXPLOSIVE GROWTH OF DISABLED VETERANS DEEMED UNEMPLOYABLE, TO BE EXAMINED THURSDAY Whether you're an employer or a veteran seeking employment, check out HireVetsFirst.gov October 25, 2005 Contact: Jeff Schrade (202)224-9093 (Washington, DC) On Thursday, October 27, the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold an oversight hearing titled: "The Rising Number of Disabled Veterans Deemed Unemployable: Is the System Failing? A closer look at VA’s individual unemployability benefit." The hearing will begin at 2 p.m. in room 418 of the Russell Senate Office Building. It will be webcast live and archived on the committee’s website (see Current Hearings), and may also be audiocast – during the hearing only – on C-SPAN’s hearings website, located at http://www.capitolhearings.org. Earlier this year the Veterans’ Disability Benefits Commission held its own review of the IU system and members were told that approximately 200,000 veterans with disability ratings of 60 percent to 90 percent are now deemed unemployable, but paid as if they are 100 percent disabled. Between 1999 through 2004, the number of individual unemployability (IU) grants more than doubled. "With today’s modern technologies, individuals with disabilities have more opportunities than ever to become productive members of society, and I want to hear what VA is doing to make sure these opportunities are made available to our disabled veterans. When our veterans joined the armed services, they wanted to be ‘all they could be’ and as they return from service to their country with injuries, we need to make sure they have the opportunity to be ‘all they can be’ by empowering them with employment and the ability for financial growth," said Chairman Larry Craig. PANEL I The Honorable Daniel L. Cooper, Under Secretary for Benefits, Department of Veterans Affairs - accompanied by – Renee Szybala, Director, VA Compensation and Pension Service – Judith Caden, Director, VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services Director PANEL II Cynthia Bascetta, Director, Education, Workforce and Income Security, Government Accountability Office Rick Surratt, Deputy National Legislative Director, Disabled American Veterans ##### <<September 2005 October 2005 25th - EXPLOSIVE GROWTH OF DISABLED VETERANS DEEMED UNEMPLOYABLE, TO BE EXAMINED THURSDAY 20th - VA OFFICIALS PLEDGE "INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY" REORGANIZATION TO THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS' AFFAIRS 19th - 16 YEAR OLD LIVING IN GERMANY GETS U.S. SENATE PAGE POSITION THROUGH CHAIRMAN LARRY CRAIG 18th - VA’S INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY TO BE HEARING FOCUS THURSDAY 12th - NEW MOBILE MRI MACHINE WILL AID VETERANS AND SERVICE PERSONNEL IN SOUTHWEST IDAHO 5th - SENATE VOTES TO AWARD CONGRESSIONAL GOLD MEDAL TO THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN 3rd - SEN. CRAIG’S BILL SEEKS TO PRESERVE DIGNITY OF ARLINGTON AND OTHER NATIONAL CEMETERIES 3rd - U.S. SENATE HONORS VA EMPLOYEES FOR HURRICANE EFFORTS About the CommitteeLegislationNewsroom and PhotosHearingsIssuesPublicationsLinksContact the Veterans' Affairs Committee Home Text-Only Version Site Map Privacy Policy
  25. A friend just told me that he recently submitted a new claim while he had a claim at the BVA. I told him I thought that it might hang up his BVA claim. He is already at 70% going for his TDIU. Any thoughts?
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