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Hi all, As some may have read elsewhere I just got a 100% SC for PTSD rating from my 8/16/2018 C&P review. At this minute I am waiting for my Big Brown Envelope and battling Ebenefits web site in hope to see my AB8 letter updated. Its the weekend and their outage calendar says they will be down all the way through Tuesday. On monday I go to the American Legion and hopefully my new AB8 will be visible in the VBMS On to student loans. I have them and so do many veterans who are disabled. There seem to be some oddities and word games in the way Nelnet phrases things and I think vets should be aware of this and we can maybe track outcomes of people on here who do apply. more down below. Until recently getting your student loans discharged was a) a pain in the neck and b) would likely result in an IRS tax hit which considered the forgiven amount to be income. Sucks to discharge 100K and get a 50K tax penalty but that is what the old law laid out B is no longer a problem, veterans who get their student loans discharged will no longer be hit with that penalty. This is effective with the 2018 tax law. A is yet to be seen. The new process, handled by Nelnet for the Dept of Ed, gets to interface with the VA and if a vet is 100% SC or TDIU they can discharge their loans. Under the outlined process on their website https://www.disabilitydischarge.com/ The VA sends Nelnet notification that a vet is TDIU or 100% and they send you a letter and a form saying you are eligible and what you have to do. Vets don't have to supply any more info, according to the site, because the VA has provided it. You can also initiate the process yourself if you did not get a letter or you have just been rated, etc. A blank form is attached here but there is an online form generator on the site that will partially fill in the blanks for you and then you download and sign. You will have to supply your AB8 and possibly other documentation depending on which sections of the form you fill out. . The wording oddities: On the site where they describe who is eligible and in the monitoring section there are oddities. The good news is that they have clarified that if a Veteran is TDIU they are not subject to monitoring the way people apply based on SSI or other programs are. The VA says if you are on TDIU you can only earn poverty level income but there is no clearly designated way they would know if you are working and I am guessing the VA does not have the staff to monitor everyones tax returns. With the Student loan discharge, Nelnet is allowed to monitor you electronically and physically to see if you are working and then find out if you are making more than poverty wages. I will say again according to the site VETS who are TDIU are not subject to monitoring. However it is not clear that if you don't have the specific TDIU designation but are 100% SC that you will not be monitored. More research is needed. This is part of the wording oddities. On the site and in the FAQ they say: " – If you are a veteran and we have received information from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) indicating that you have a service-connected disability (or disabilities) that is 100% disabling or that you are totally disabled based on an individual unemployability rating we will contact you and explain how you may apply for a TPD discharge, but you will not need to provide documentation of your VA determination. " That word, or, indicates that a TDIU designation is not needed. meaning if you are 100% scheduler you should qualify. but in section 5 of the attached blank application it says: 2) you are a veteran who has been determined by the VA to be unemployable due to a service-connected disability. Except for certain individuals who have received SSA notices of award for SSDI or SSI benefits, or for certain veterans, a disability determination by another federal or state agency does not establish your eligibility for a discharge of your loan(s) and/or TEACH Grant service obligation due to a total and permanent disability. That phrasing might be important as it explicitly uses the word unemployable which connotes TDIU. Not all 100% scheduler vets will have any statement in their file that says they are unemployable. and even the FAQ might be read to that both halves of the "or" statement actually mean the same thing. Legalese is somethings that F'd up. If anyone has started the process in 2018 it would be great to hear what your experience is with them and the process. blank student load discharge application based on va.pdf
All, few days ago I was awarded 90% being paid at 100% TDIU. Ebenefits says not P & T. I have 3 questions if someone could help me. My DAV rep was let go and now I have nobody to ask question about my claim. When I applied for TDIU she wrote increase for rating for my Lumbar DDD and PTSD which was 40 & 70% respectively. I have another 30% with both knees and tinnitus. Total rating of 90%. left and right knee is bilateral and radiculopathy is bilateral of left and right leg (not sure how those 4 ratings of 10% each are calculated)? Additionally, I was just diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep apnea and now using CPAP. I have a scar I never sought claim for which is in my medical records. I have high BP... rashes etc... never claimed that happened right after returning from Iraq. Unfortunately, I did not file or seek documentation. Question 1: My TDIU C & P was specific to determine employability which was stated in her notes. She also stated I had a separate and Comorbid diagnosis of MDD. Does that separate diagnosis effect my rating? Can MDD also be filed secondary to low back pain? is there anything I should do as far as claims for 100% SC based of this diagnosis? Question 2: Sleep apnea as 2nd to PTSD or aggrevated as a nexus for claiming sleep apnea even though I have been out 10 years. I have had it last five years before leaving army but never even heard of sleep apnea until recently. Yes, I have gained weight but PTSD dr in c & p stated my weight gain was because of my PTSD/MDD (I posted symptoms below). My question is: Should I file a claim Sleep apnea secondary to PTSD? I see some people said nexus should state PTSD and Sleep Apnea aggravated each other ???? I do not know what to do on this. any help would appreciated... question 3. I do not know how to add up the ratings. If I filed for Sleep apnea secondary to PTSD would that 50% rating take me over 100% sc threshold? I have scar for 10% that I could file that I never did. I know that is petty.... but they did cut out about 7 inches of meat out of my upper back.... left huge crater and scar. Question 4: Do I qualify for 100% SC P & T ? I was told the reason I did not receive 100% sc P & T when I filed for TdIU is because I did not state that in my claim. That I should have stated request for increase and 100% SC P & T rating instead of just TDIU. Really sorry for the long book.. I just do not know where to go and get answers to these questions. Everyone on here seems so knowedgable!!!!! I need your help!!! thanks you Current Diagnoses ------------------------------ If the Veteran currently has one or more mental disorders that conform to DSM-5 criteria, provide all diagnoses: a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Posttraumatic Stress Disorder ICD Code: F43.10 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Major Depressive Disorder ICD Code: F33.9 b. Medical problems relevant to the understanding or management of the mental health disorder(s): Physical health problems that he described as affecting his day-to-day functioning or requiring the use of daily medication or medical devices include back pain and sleep apnea. Just got a CPAP yesterday. Please see his medical records for additional information about his physical health conditions. 3. 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? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A) If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate what portion of each symptom is attributable to each diagnosis and discuss whether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses: These conditions can co-occur, and there is some overlap in their symptoms and associated features, which precludes attribution of certain specific difficulties to one condition or another without resorting to speculation. Consequently, these conditions cannot be fully differentiated from each other. 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? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A) If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate what portion of the indicated level of occupational and social impairment is attributable to each diagnosis: As these conditions cannot be fully differentiated from each other, their associated functional impairments cannot be differentiated without resorting to speculation. He has a service connection for PTSD, with a current rating of 70%. This examination was focused on his functioning since the previous examination on 4/xx/2017, although information regarding prior history was reviewed and obtained where relevant to the issues in question. Please see the report of the previous examination for relevant prior history. The present examination was based on a face-to-face interview with the Veteran and review of records as indicated above. Except where otherwise indicated, historical information presented above is taken from the interview. Results of the examination indicate that the Veteran's difficulties are consistent with current diagnostic criteria for PTSD. They also indicate that he experiences symptoms supporting a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) at this time. These are considered to be separate, comorbid conditions which share some symptoms and a common etiology. Due to the overlap in symptoms and associated features of these disorders, it can at times be difficult to determine--and clinicians may reasonably differ regarding--whether the clinical picture might be better accounted for by a single diagnosis or by multiple diagnoses. Results of the examination indicate that as a result of his mental health conditions, he is experiencing significant impairments in a number of domains, including occupational functioning. As he is no longer working, his occupational functioning is inferred from his past work history, from his current social functioning, and from the nature and severity of his current symptomatology. He has not held paid employment since February 2016, when he lost his job due to irritability and angry outbursts. He indicated a previous history of work-related difficulties due to anxiety and panic. Taken together with fatigue, problems with attention and concentration, forgetfulness, intrusive thoughts, hypervigilance, discomfort in interpersonal interactions, and a propensity for social withdrawal and avoidance as a means of coping with stress, these difficulties would significantly limit his ability to secure and maintain gainful employment. He would likely experience challenges in adjusting successfully to a work environment due to difficulty establishing and maintaining effective work relationships, as well as to reduced reliability, productivity, efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness in attending work and fulfilling job responsibilities. --------------------------- 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] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recent events [X] Impairment of short- and long-term memory, for example, retention of only highly learned material, while forgetting to complete tasks [X] Flattened affect [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 Other Symptoms --------------------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD and other mental disorders that are not listed above? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe: [X] Irritable or angry mood [X] Loss of interest or pleasure in activities [X] Appetite disturbance [X] Weight disturbance [X] Fatigue or loss of energy [X] Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions [X] Feelings of worthlessness or guilt [X] Emotional numbing and detachment [X] Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event(s) as they occurred to others [X] Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend; cases of actual or threatened death must have been violent or accidental; or, experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic events(s) (e.g., first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse); this does not apply to exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless this exposure is work related. Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred: [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). [X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s). [X] Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s). Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following: [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., "I am bad,: "No one can be trusted,: "The world is completely dangerous,: "My whole nervous system is permanently ruined"). [X] Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead the individual to blame himself/herself or others. [X] Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame). [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. [X] Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others. Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation) typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects. [X] Hypervigilance. [X] Problems with concentration. [X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep). Criterion F: [X] Duration of the symptoms described above in Criteria B, C, D, and E is more than 1 month. Criterion G: [X] The symptoms described above cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Criterion H: [X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical condition.