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Found 62 results

  1. Last year I submitted a claim for depression, anxiety, asthma, and migraines. At that point I had been out of the service for four years - but all 4 of those diagnoses were made BY THE VA two months after my discharge (Except for one, which I'll ask you all about in a second). I've also been receiving medications for these conditions from the VA hospital continuously since being diagnosed. I was diagnosed with all four of those in October 2010, I was discharged August 2010. I submitted the claim in April 2014, because I didn't know I even could... Anyway, I had a C&P Exam for Depression/Anxiety (which was service connected and rated at 50%) and a C&P Exam for migraines August 2014. They did not do a C&P for asthma. Why? Because they denied it from the start. Why did they deny it? Because apparently I was not diagnosed with asthma - but "shortness of breath." At that point (and now this point) I have been on albuterol - the universal yellow inhaler everyone knows is for asthma - and Asmanex, which has asthma in it's name... for four years - now five years. They also denied my migraines (for which I have also been on medication for the last 5 years), stating that while I am diagnosed with them - they do not believe my time in Iraq caused or exacerbated them, but that migraines just get worse with age. I wrote a very long Notice of Disagreement. I probably spent more time on that than I did most of my college papers. In it, I show in detail how I was diagnosed with "shortness of breath" and prescribed medication for asthma, which I require daily (the story gets better later). The doctor who diagnosed me with "shortness of breath" in 2010 no longer works at the VA, and my last VA primary care doctor will not (and legally can't) go back and retroactively change her diagnosis to asthma. I also attached several scientific papers from peer-reviewed journals linking respiratory issues like asthma to several things I was exposed to in Iraq - Burn pits, sand storms, diesel fumes, etc. I obviously didn't have it before I joined the service - asthma is an automatic disqualifier. Here is the analogy I used in my NOD: "It looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and I've been taking medication for a duck for five years... but my file calls it a bird. It's a duck. I have asthma." I did the same for migraines - attaching several medical journal articles linking things I was exposed to in Iraq to new or worsening migraines. I have no doubt that the DRO will grant the migraines service connection. With a doctor saying yes I have then, but it's a normal part of growing up, and scientific articles saying being in Iraq causes migraines, I believe the "benefit of the doubt" rule applies here. Anyway, my main concern is with the asthma. I still do not have a formal diagnosis of asthma - but am still diagnosed with "Shortness of Breath." I turned in my NOD last month, on March 4th. I was then told that my second primary care doctor had left the VA and I was being assigned to a new one, who I will have my first exam with on March 5. Without getting into too much detail about how rude she was - she told me that my asthma was all in my head, that I don't have it, and took me off of the inhalers - and deleted "Shortness of Breath" from my file. All within 5 minutes of meeting me. She also deleted depression and alcohol abuse, which Mental Health wasn't very happy with and promptly restored. I ran out of my inhalers two weeks later. And lo and behold, I had an asthma attack so bad that I went to the VA Emergency Room, where the doctor took one look at my file and said "Why on earth did she take you off your inhalers?!" She then gave me several steroid treatments, re-added Shortness of Breath back to my chart, and re-prescribed my inhalers. I went back 4 days later for a follow up and she could still hear wheezing in my lungs. The ER doc said "It's clearly not in your head, it's in your lungs... I don't know what [that doctor] was thinking." She could not diagnose me with asthma (it requires a chest xray and PFT) - but in my chart called it an asthmatic attack. My DRO Review is not yet scheduled. But my VSO (the VFW) said that having one doctor stop my medications, and then having an attack, and then being put back on them, was the best thing that could have happened for my case. Going in with only evidence of being diagnosed 5 years ago and being on medications for it that entire time is a strong case... But going in there having been diagnosed and on medications for 5 years, stopping the medications and having an attack, and then being put back on them is even stronger. My main concern is that I still do not have an official "Asthma" diagnosis. After doing some looking around on the internet, I found that the VA has granted service-connection for "shortness of breath, to include as due to an undiagnosed illness." - http://www.va.gov/vetapp06/files5/0635447.txt So here's a list of questions I have for you all... Could the DRO still service-connect asthma without an official diagnosis? Could he alter the service-connection naming? For example... Can the DRO look at my file, records, and evidence, and say something to the effect of "I can't service-connect your asthma... but I can service-connect your shortness of breath at blah blah percent." Can the DRO say "You don't have asthma, but you do clearly have shortness of breath. I can't do anything about that though, file a new claim for Shortness of Breath.. you'll likely get it." - which will take years I'm sure. I also have the general questions, like how long will it take before I get my DRO Review, it was submitted almost two months ago now - and I live in Wyoming... so they aren't really swamped with claims. Do you have any questions or suggestions regarding my claim? I don't think I can go back and change my claim from asthma to shortness of breath without starting the entire process over again...
  2. Just looking for some help. VA sent me back a letter and ask if wanted a DRO review and selected yes....so when will I hear something from them concerning that and how long will the process be.
  3. A little background before I get started. I filed for compensation for my lower back condition back in 2009 and was subsequently denied. Then I applied again with new evidence and was denied again because the VA stated that my condition was not service connected and no evidence was in my SMR. I was awarded other service connected disabilities and others denied. Anyway, I appealed the denial of service connection for my back and requested a DRO to review my case. I went to my hearing in April of this year and was approved for service connection at 10%. She stated that she is not sure why they denied my claim because all of the evidence showed that I was clearly service connected. Keep in mind that I brought my own SMR to prove this during my hearing. This just tells me that they did not request it back in 2009 or review what I sent to them. So I disagree with the percentage I was rated by the DRO and I think it should be much higher. I am filing for TDIU for my migraines rated at 50% and my lower back. Should I file the NOD and the TDIU at the same time? Also do I file the NOD and request a DRO to review it again or file the NOD and ask for BVA review? Please help. Also I think that there could be a CUE for the effective date for my initial denial for my back. Not sure what to do next.
  4. My husband received the form asking if he wants to be heard by a DRO Review Officer or traditional appeal. From my research it seems he should opt for the DRO but there is no option on the form for formal or informal. Should this be written in or just check DRO and that's all? Is one better than the other? Also, they sent the NOD back saying it wasn't signed. We could have sworn it was but will sign and return as requested. For the date signed, should he use the date of the NOD or the date actually signed (today.) Thanks Kate
  5. I am wondering what is the best option, IME or an IMO, for wading through the VA's appellate process after a NOD has been filed? Would it be wiser to go with a good quality IME examiner first, or just do an IMO with a records review, and then wait for the VA to decide to order any additional C&P's? Part of me thinks that by going through a C&P process with DBQ's in obtaining an IME might be a time saver. Thoughts or advice? Mark
  6. Hi, I am a new member of HadIt. I've watched anonymously for years. I have an old claim that has been plodding through the system since 2008. There are 12 issues I am pursuing. In July, 2013 I had a face to face with a DRO. In September, 2013 (2 months later) I received a SOC from the DRO for one issue (entitlement date for depression/anxiety) that denied that claim. I subsequently filed a Form 9 for that issue. I have checked and double checked the SOC and it is only for the one issue. No mention of the other 11. I have not received a SOC for the other 11 issues. E-benefits shows that everything is awaiting processing for the VBA. I submitted an IRIS. I also called the 1-800 number and spoke to someone there. I also emailed the Director of Benefits at my VSO (co-located at the Regional Office with the DRO). The IRIS, the 1-800 number and the Director of Benefits are all saying that a Form 9 has been received for everything and that my file is awaiting processing for the VBA. I have been waiting a year thinking I was waiting for a SOC and decision on the other 11 issues. I thought maybe the DRO thought the effective date was perhaps clear-cut in her mind and so she quickly denied it while everything else needed a more thorough review. Is it possible I am still waiting for a DRO decision and SOC for the other 11 issues? Or is IRIS, the 1-800 number and the Director of Benefits from the VSO all correct in that my file is awaiting transfer to the VBA? I feel jipped if the DRO only reviewed and decided on one issue and then passed me off, ignoring the other 11 issues, and now my claim is moving to the VBA. Is there any chance the DRO may still be reviewing/deciding the other 11 issues and when the DRO is complete it will process to the VBA? Thanks, j-a-g
  7. Hello, Thanks you all for great help and advice so far in our adventure with the VA. I am helping my father with most of the grunt work for this process and he is represented by the American Legion. The backstory: Claim filed in 2005. Finally awarded in 2012 @ 50%, but they failed to infer the claim for TDIU, even though he has been on SSD since 2003, and the VA mentioned SSD with service connected symptoms in his VA award letter. His doctor letters also declare him permanently disabled from working (VA doctor). He filed a NOD 2013 stating that his claim should have been inferred automatically for TDIU (including back pay) and that his rating should have been higher and considered permanent due to the evidence they were already aware of. Where we're at: We received a letter this week from the VA notifying us that they received the NOD and that our appeal is for entitlement to service connection for anxiety, nos and depression, nos (claimed as PTSD). It states that we have a choice between" traditional appeal process" or DRO. Here is the problem. We are not appealing entitlement to service connection! (Why would we NOT want service connection?) We are arguing that our claim should have been inferred for TDIU since he has not worked since 2003, has been on SSD since 2003 and the VA has acknowledged SSD for "anxiety and depression" in the award for disability which was in fact granted for "anxiety and depression". By two questions are: 1. Why are they claiming we're appealing our service connection when its already been granted? 2. We want to argue that we should have been inferred for TDIU in our original award. Should we pursue the DRO or "traditional appeal process" route? Thank you all so much. I'm sorry I went inactive on my last post, but we are again in the process of moving as indicated in that post. More information about this case can be found here:
  8. i got called by my vso today that i was awarded my DRO NOD from 60% to 100% P&T woo hooo. Now i had 8 contentions but MH went from 50 to 100 and she said the others will be in a soc. Winston Salem is my office How long will i have to wait for Ebennies to show the AB* letter and most importantly will My monthly pay change for this month comming june 1 2014 to the 100 rate or do i have to wait for that as well. My vro said i will recieve Retro back to 2011 when filed but my Army pay was 1789 and va waiver was 1400 so i know they pay the army back will that hold up recieving my new monthly amount. not to worried about the retro right now just the new monthly. Thank you. this is ebenie Details about your BVA Appeal received on no date Local VA Office of Jurisdiction: Winston-Salem, NC Power of Attorney: A - American Legion Current Progress: no data Current Progress Description: Timeline of Your Appeal Date of Progress Progress Progress Office 06/13/2011 Local VA Office Decision RO 08/16/2011 Notice of Disagreement (NOD) RO 09/16/2011 Appeal Pending RO 05/14/2014 Statement of the Case (SOC) RO
  9. Greetings all: while doing some research I came accross this CRS report. You may find it handy due to the footnotes that cite the CFR, M21, other reports and VA publications ect. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42609.pdf Best regards,
  10. Hi all, I think that I have stuck my foot in it.....while my claim was under administrative review I sent in 7 more years of medical reports to prove continuity of symptomatology and to ask for reconsideration. Well, it was showing in ebenefits that they receive my medical records after I notified them that I disagreed with the VA examiner's medical opinion. I find out today that they are mailing me a form to request either a DRO review or a Traditional review. I am in way above my head!! I have found a VSO not too far from me and he sounds like a good representative. I am afraid that if the keep denying me because I don't have an IMO to dispute theirs, I might not have a fighting chance!! I would love some advice about what to expect or what to do from here. Thanks in advance Shyne
  11. Greetigs all: The VA has me scratching my head on this one. After 2 years 2 months into a DRO with the issues of Urinary dysfunction (increased urinary Frequency) and restrictive lung disease (Sleep Apnea and Kyphoscoliosis). The VA has sent me a VCAA letter that only addresses the Urinary issue. I already responded to a VCAA letter on both issues prior to the initial decision. I oinly thought a VCAA letter would be completed during an appeal as a correction action if one was not initially done. Since they didn't include the respiratory condition, is that a possible indicator that they have all the evidence necessary for a grant for that? I have kyphoscoliosis (in thoracic spine SC with a Bone condition and arthritis for 24years) and enlarged right ventricle if they SC it it would rate at 100% due to the elarged right ventricle. I guess the alternative explanation would be that they thought they needed to do a VCAA letter and as usual did it bassaackwards? Does this mean anything or is it just another indication of the inconsistancy?
  12. I recieved a call from my regional office and they said that there was a mistake with some paperwork that was sent because of residual problems with TBI was not addressed with my DRO Review and they also wanted to call to make sure I knew. Yesterday I got my statement of case letting me know what conditions were not Service Connected and a small paragraph stating my ptsd is now service connected along with fractures of both arms etc. I went to Ebenefits and I looked at my verification letter and I was blown away.... Service connected at 70%! (minus the 40% for headaches, shouldure, tinnitus recieving). Plus I think I have about 20 months of Retro comming my way! I just got the official breakdown 50% Ptsd 0% Tbi 30% Headaches 10% Tinnitus 10% Sholdure Dislocation 0% Right Fractured Elbow 0% Right Fractured Wrist 0% Right Fractured Little Finger 0% Left Fractured Wrist 0% Skin condition I have been living off of the cheapest food possible (even going to pantrys and soup kitchens) and feel like I have been living under a rock for the last 2 years with bills piling up etc. Thank God for the DRO Review. Two of the things that I think helped is I would send several News articles or military documents (AFI policies etc) off to the va every couple of weeks, and I would send every 3 months a status and progress check request while I was waiting for the DRO Review. Thank you everyone for your thoughts and guidence! A BIG THUMBS UP TO HADIT.COM!!!
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