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  1. My apologies as I'm sure this question has probably been asked before in some way or fashion. Over the years, I have been diagnosed by my VA mental health providers as having "recurrent major depression", "depressive disorder", "major depression, single episode", "insomnia", and "chronic insomnia", depending on, I suppose, the writer. of each particular note. The question I have is this: all of these diagnoses have been from VA mental health providers, so I would assume that depression and insomnia have been established. IF I apply for benefits, will they still schedule a C&P exam to determine if I have depression/insomnia? Thanks!
  2. Hello all, I have had an appeal going since 2009 and seen multiple providers from LHI and submitted many many pages of evidence. My claims advisor at the American Legion says I have a huge file full of information and been to the BVA twice( remanded both times for development) and the CAVC who remanded case back to VA for development (Bergmann and Moore law firm) once. Long story short, I was filing for a service connection for mental health aggravation to include TDIU. I received another SSOC and I am including it here. I just cannot continue to fight this anymore. I'm angry they don't see it my way but I have no more evidence. I have been told my many other veterans that I made the GIANT MISTAKE by ever telling the VA I drank ( granted a waiver to enter military after seeing military psychologist to review alcoholism and lithium prescription for mental health treatment) and that I suffered child abuse. I have been sober now 11 years and my life is greatly improved in that regard but I cannot keep being the only one who thinks what I saw/did/experienced during my time in service didn't aggravate things. I am not a combat veteran but I served during the Gulf War period, did 33 rotations at Fort Irwin as a scout team member and was in Korea for a year also as a scout. I gave 7 buddy letters, statements from my mom, my wife, and my brother and have been seen at the VA monthly for mental health since 2007. I am diagnosed by the VA with depression (unspecified), anxiety, substance abuse in remission, paranoid personality disorder. I take a cocktail of pills prescribed by the VA for the same amount of time. Below is the latest RO response the BVA remand and it is currently with a judge being decided according to VA.GOV: ISSUE: 1. Service connection for a psychiatric disorder. 2. Total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU). 3. Pertinent laws and regulations. EVIDENCE: ● Memorandum granting extended VR&E benefits, dated April 21, 2016 ● VA examination, Minneapolis VAMC, dated May 11, 2016 ● VA letter, dated August 31, 2016 ● Academic transcripts, received October 7, 2016 ● VA examination, Minneapolis VAMC, dated November 14, 2016 ● LHI contractor examination, dated September 5, 2019 ● Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) Decision, dated October 6, 2021 ● LHI contractor medical opinion, dated November 5, 2021 ● LHI contractor examination, dated November 11, 2021 ● VA treatment records, Minneapolis HCS, from October 9, 2009 to December 2, 2021 ADJUDICATIVE ACTIONS: 10/06/2021 The appeal was remanded by the Board of Veterans' Appeals for additional examination consideration. 11/04/2021 The appeal was remanded by the Board of Veterans' Appeals for LHI examination contractor. 11/11/2021 The appeal was remanded by the Board of Veterans' Appeals for LHI examination contractor DECISION: 1. Service connection for a psychiatric disorder is denied. 2. Total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU) is denied. 3. Pertinent laws and regulations. REASONS AND BASES: 1. The Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) Decision, dated October 6, 2021, remanded this issue for additional examination consideration. We asked the examiner to review the evidence of record and determine if your depression and/or anxiety disorder are at least as likely as not related to an in-service personal assault that includes military sexual trauma. The examiner provided a negative opinion with the following rationale: "Previous examiners have outlined in lengthy detail rationales for why the Veteran's current mental health diagnoses are not related to service. The information contained in the statement he wrote in 2021 was taken into consideration in the 2019 MH C&P report and Medical Opinion. Two separate examiners who saw the Veteran in person have opined that the Veteran's current MH diagnoses were neither started in service nor exacerbated/aggravated by service." We also asked the examiner to review the evidence of record and determined if your depression and/or anxiety disorder are at least as likely as not caused or aggravated by your service connected left shoulder or tinnitus. The examiner provided a negative opinion for both scenarios, with the following rationale: "According to a note dated 08/24/2011, Veteran's stresses were identified as school stress, recent break up with girlfriend, homelessness, financial strain and son with ADHD. All these stresses do not relate to the Veteran's military service. Current stresses were not identified in the 2020 evaluation. Therefore, there is no evidence in the record to connect the current MH diagnoses with service connected conditions." There is no medical evidence on file that would rebut the examiner's opinions. Service connection for a psychiatric disorder is denied as the evidence fails to show a disability that was incurred in or caused by military service, nor does the evidence show a disability that was caused or aggravated by your service connected left shoulder or tinnitus. (38 CFR 3.303, 48 CFR 3.304, 38 CFR 3.310) 2. The Board of Veterans' Appeals (BVA) Decision, dated October 6, 2021, remanded this issue as it is inextricably intertwined with the evaluation of your left shoulder and the potential service connection of a mental disorder. Upon appellate review, service connection was not established for a mental disorder; therefore, consideration is only given to the effects of your other service connected disabilities. You were originally denied entitlement to individual unemployability because you did not meet the schedular requirements for entitlement, nor were your disabilities severe enough to warrant extra schedular consideration. You meet the schedular requirements for entitlement to TDIU from September 22, 2011, the major disabilities being the neuropathy in your left arm and the chronic left shoulder strain. Your last occupation was in maintenance and you also received some training commercial building engineering. Before being employed in maintenance, you worked as a building engineer. You received college courses from Rasmussen College from January 5, 2015 until September 14, 2016. This was a part of the Vocational Rehabilitation and Education (VR&E) program through VA. Recent examination of your left shoulder shows that you are limited to occupations that do not require heavy or overhead lifting. This disability does not affect sedentary employment. VA contract examination, dated September 5, 2019, shows that your neuropathy imposes similar restrictions on overhead activities. There is no information on restriction for sedentary activities. There is no medical evidence of record supporting the contention that your remaining service connected disabilities, including your status post open reduction internal fixation left distal fibula/tibia fracture, tinnitus, right knee strain, left lower extremity scar, and left index finger crush injury, prevent you from securing an maintaining substantially gainful employment. Entitlement to TDIU is denied as the evidence of record fails to establish that your service connected disabilities prevent substantially gainful work in a sedentary occupation. (38 CFR Any thoughts or opinions are welcomed
  3. Hello all, I've been trying to figure out a way to a rating increased to 60% so I can receive SMC-S. I'm already rated 100% P&T, hence the need for one disability to be rated at 60%. I've been looking through my ratings and I think my best bet is to try to get my 30% rating for insomnia disorder with bruxism increased to 70%. Of course, my insomnia has worsened a lot since I received a 30% rating for it in 2014 and I have extensive medical records showing how bad it's gotten. I even take Provigil now for excessive daytime sleepiness. I know there is not a specific rating criteria for insomnia so the VA rates it analogous to mental disorders. I have also been diagnosed with anxiety and major depressive disorders as well and tried and failed on many antidepressants. I'm not service connected for this but I could probably I could probably get this on a secondary basis. I'm looking for advice on the best way to attack this. Should I just ask for an increase in my in my insomnia rating? Should I try to get service connected for anxiety and major depressive disorder? Should I apply for both and just let the VA combine them? Any thoughts?
  4. Hi All, USAF retiree here, 24 years. Retired in 2004. I've tried to get rated for depression a couple times but shot down and due to the depression I give up. Trying again though as I'm now on some better meds. Hoping I can find some good advice and assistance here. Thanks and God bless you all
  5. Brand new here. I'm posting because I'm so confused and unsure if I'm doing the right stuff, or if I should be doing it at all. I'm hoping to find answers on how to file a claim for GAD/Major depression. Here's my story. 1996-2000 high school captain of soccer and baseball teams. Captain of Snare Drum line in marching band. 2000 - enlist in USMC, squad leader in boot camp, meritoriously promoted to PFC at graduation. 2001 - Class leader in A school 2002 - PCS to Japan (Iwakuni) volunteer for secondary school, awarded Microminiature soldering credentials. Perform extra duties and awarded Meritorious Mast for going above and beyond. Compete in meritorious board for Cpl, and win. 2002 cont. While celebrating the win (but not yet actually promoted) engage in arm wrestling match, and lose, terribly. Suffer spiral fracture which requires evacuation to naval hospital for surgery - internal fixation (plate and 8 screws). Require months of rehab, and continuous wear of mechanical brace and continued light duty for months. Ok, this is where things get hairy. 2002 cont. PCS back stateside (NY) while still wearing mechanical brace and on light duty. Within 1 week of reporting, promotion ceremony is held. I had to be promoted while wearing a brace and a sling, no "pinning" of rank and no "earning" of blood stripe. From this point on, I'm pretty much viewed as a punk, and a melingerer. I stop volunteering for extra duties or assignments, motivation drops, etc. 2003 - Drink heavily. Merry an awful woman who is into drugs. 2004 - pop on piss test. Before NJP, I make Sergeant due to previous meritorious promotions and excellent pro/con, rifle, PFT scores. This infuriates most Marines in my squadron, and further solidifies my reputation as a shitbird, because I am a piss-popped mellinger who made Sergeant before most people. 2004 cont. NJPed, busted down to Cpl. Result of NJP is that I will not be discharged, based on demonstration of excellent performance earlier in service, but will not be allowed to re-enlist. During a PT session I fall and get a class III AC joint separation, which again requires light duty and use of a sling. Anyone who didn't think I was a melingerer before, starts thinking/calling me one now. 2005 - EAS. 2005 - Civilian diagnosed with everything from ADHD, to GAD, to MDD, to bipolar. Various medications do not improve mental performance or fatigue. 2013 - buddy talks me in to visiting VA for disability due to arm. Awarded 30%, feel like I don't deserve it because of NJP. 2019 - visit VA mental health clinic, diagnosed with GAD and MDD. Therapist suggests sleep study. Just got results. I have mild sleep apnea. I have decided to file a claim for GAD/MDD and sleep apnea. I have buddy statements on the official VA forms from Marines who served with me from boot camp through Japan stating I was a stellar Marine. I have statements from Marines who served with me in NY stating I was not at all stellar, and performed poorly. I have statements from civilian coworkers stating I had performance issues, was fired from a job, and was on the chopping block at another. I have medical records from Naval hospitals for all my injuries. So, from other service members, does it sound like I have any chance at a case? How should I file? I have an appointment with my previous Psych. Nurse Practitioner in 2 months from now, to request a nexus letter. I don't know if she will write one, but based on our prior treatment session discussions, I believe she agrees my GAD and MDD or related to my service. Where do I go from here? Should I even be filing a case at all?
  6. I applied for 100% unemployability on my own after my VSO did nothing to help with the process back in February 2021. I received my decision this month stating that I was denied and was also reduced from 70% to 50% for PTSD and depression. They removed anxiety and alcohol use. When I was asked questions during my C&P they kept asking me what happened within the last year, not what happened since the date of injury, which was 2013. I'm not sure how to approach this issue any further. I want to appeal but I want my entire case looked at because I feel that I've been unjustly reviewed. What should I do for 100% UI?
  7. Forgive me if this has been asked previously. I am trying to navigate the site and did not find anything searching for it. I am currently service connected at 50 percent for depression, listed as MDD and Anxiety. Had a heart attack last year. STEMI. CAD diagnosis. In discussing lifestyle changes, I was asked what my stress level was as far as job, home life, leisure, prior health, etc. Stress is high and depression is thick and real. Was told that the depression and anxiety COULD be a contributing factor and Id want to be as stress free as possible. Applied for secondary heart attack, due to depression and anxiety with VA. had C&P exam. Saw doctor (contractor, QCV or something) for five minutes in which he said nothing to me. looked at computer screen, typed some things up, and excused me. Was later denied..."It is less likely than not that the veteran has a diagnosis of CAD with MI requiring stent placement that was proximately due to to MDD, anxiety, or OCD. There is no medical evidence that MDD, anxiety, or OCD cause CAD". There are numerous studies performed by the VA, Mayo, and universities and agencies worldwide that connect CAD with depression as a cause and a symptom. Several rulings have already stated as much. I have requested the records from the C&P ( a month or more ago) and have yet to receive them. Deadline for appeal is coming up quickly. This new system sucks. I used to just go to the regional office in Lincoln and theyd let me walk out with any copies I needed. Question, Is it worth appealing on the grounds I have listed in this paragraph? And is there a way to get a doctor to look at my records on my own and see if they agree that its AT LEAST AS LIKELY that the two area linked?
  8. Hello, I am currently rated at 70% for PTSD and have a gambling addiction due to my anxiety and depression and gambling numbs my emotions but is having a heavy toll on my family and life. I have blocked myself at casinos but online casinos are very easy to access I want to stop gambling and wanted to see if the VA offers this type of support? Also, does the VA give ratings on gambling addiction? I really want to stop but am so depressed. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  9. Hello everyone. I am already service-connected for my knees but lately I‘ve been having suicidal ideations due to chronic knee pain. My VA Progress Notes state my chronic knee pain contributes to my depression. Some comments left by the VA psychiatrist: - Currently, his chronic knee pain has flared up significantly and this has contributed to recent worsening of his mood. - He notes increased depression this past month because of increased knee pain. States that it has been making him more depressed and irritable. He hasn't been able to sleep well because he wakes up from pain. - Over the weekend had suicidal ideation activated by knee pain. I just want to know if this is good enough for secondary service-connection or if I need more evidence. Also, I do not wish chronic pain on anyone. My provider scheduled an ortho referral at the end of November. I am also scheduled for CBT to deal with the chronic knee pain. Thank you.
  10. Hello Vets Its been 5 years since I filed my appeal. I am still at 10% sc and I am asking for a rate increase and or TDIU. Since my initial decision my back issues have gotten so much worse. Constant pain in low back with muscle spasms. and now I have neck issuses causing my Right arm to go numb during sleep and throughout day. Opinions on my outcome Anyone have similar problems or can relate to my story. I'm on SSD for 5 yrs as well. One month after I was granted VA comp at 10% I was awarded SS disability unable to work.
  11. I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea through the VA. I filed for compensation so I already know it’s going to get denied. After it’s denied, I need to know exactly how to do the supplemental claim for it. I’m already getting benefits for Insomnia which the underlining is Depression and Anxiety. So after the Sleep Apnea is denied, do I just make an appointment with my Sleep Apnea doctor and say, “Hello sir I’m just curious. I’ve been diagnosed with Insomnia which the underlining factors are depression and anxiety. Can you tell me what caused my Sleep Apnea?” Then hopefully he’ll say depression can cause it, Then I’ll say, ok I’ll go with that. Depression caused my Sleep Apnea. Thank you so much sir that’s all I needed. Everything that is said is recorded in my record anyway. Then from there I’ll file a supplemental claim and say the Sleep Apnea was caused from my depression. Right or is there another way?
  12. What is depressive disorder (SCT 59212011)? I found that code in my healthevet record. Also I requested a hard copy of my medical record and part of it was blank. It was pertaining to a psychiatric admission back in 2011 it's part of my HealtheVet is also blank. I think at one time I had access to the information because I have a stack of papers from back then in a file somewhere.
  13. I was scheduled for a C and P exam recently and this is what happened and what I submitted to the VA asking to be placed in my file also. Have you seen this before and does anyone have any clue as to why a doc would act this way? Does this make sense? I have no idea what the outcome will be yet. The claim is in preparation for decision now. On 6/28/2019 I showed up to an appointment with xxxxxxxxxxx in Horn Lake, MS for a VA requested C and P exam for what I was advised to be Anxiety and depression that was setup through VES contracting. Upon entering the room the doctor advised that I was there for a C and P exam for anxiety and depression and explained that the reason they do these exams sometimes is to be sure veterans are not lying about their claims. This struck me as an odd way to begin an exam and then the Dr. proceeded to look over my C-File and advised that it appeared that I had someone else's records that had served from somewhere around 1958 to 1964 and asked if that was me. I of course stated no. I was not even born yet. She then went on to say that sometimes these files are put in our veterans records by the VA accidentally. I asked if that is what they base my claim on and she stated that there were disagreements in my file about dates by raters and that this file was causing confusion. She stated that she would let them know that they should remove it. After the appointment I called the VA and spoke to an operator that stated that the record mentioned above was never in my file and she had no idea what the doctor was talking about. As the appointment continued it seemed as if the Dr. was continuing to try to discredit anything wrong with me by asking if I thought I had biological depression and could have had it all my life. I advised her that I had a great childhood and after joining the service I started noticing my anxiety and depression becoming worse. The doctor also advised that I must have made my previous boss mad and that is why I was fired which should have nothing to do with why I am at a anxiety and depression C and P exam 2 years later than the termination. The doctor also asked if I was mad because I was released from the military when I stated that to my knowledge I was released from the service due to sleep apnea, anxiety and depression. I stated life goes on. Which it does. We are soldiers and we learn to keep going no matter how much it hurts emotionally or physically, or at least we try even though appointments like this one remind me that evidently, possibly not everyone has our best interest at heart. I miss the people I served with as an M1A1 Tanker. I miss serving and I love my country even though my body is worn because of it. I do not regret serving by any means. I feel as though this exam was more of an inquisition and have had more anxiety due to the unsettling nature of the exam since it unfortunately. Thank you for taking the time to read this if you do. I just wanted someone to hear my side. I am attaching the C and P request also to this letter so that you will have their information also.
  14. Hello fellow veterans. I had an experience over years- each Spring, feel a lot better after the much worse Winter. A chronic, physical, neurological, pain condition means the normal forces of life get multiplied or muted. This year, worst Winter, but Spring brought a good day- so I went out, Motrin augmented, and used tractor to fix dirt road that was like a moonscape of potholes. People came out along the stretch. Some angered, some wondering, some wanting to talk, and one person offered 600 for gravel in front of their place. While placing the gravel (showing where to dump it) someone else wanted gravel next door on the road- I saw to it. Soon, 10,000 dollars of gravel spread over a mile- and all I had to do was show people the gravel was appropriate for their investment, the results were obvious. So, eventually, over a month passed, 60 truckloads (30 trips) and the road was done. Some complained, others angry, others reassuring, others with critical useful information (how to make the road). I went home when someone took a tractor and dug up the gravel in a sort of angry move. When I went home, wondered how I worked for a month plus past the much worse pain, pain from Motrin harming kidneys, yet when I got home, was unwilling to do laundry, clean house, vacuum, Spring cleaning... I thought hard. The answer? The Placebo Effect. No, I took no sugar pills- but when one goes to be tested with a sugar pill it is always a PERSON saying the pill helped. A PERSON that one meets up with to see the results.. It is the PERSON not the PILL that makes a significant percentage feel their symptoms improve temporarily. So, I realized, this year the Spring improvement was augmented by leaving the home- Nature always guides with discomfort if doing the wrong thing, pleasure if doing the right thing- moving back towards being near others- mean, angry, helpful, reassuring, no matter- just be near the (if you will) herd. Disability isolates, insulates, makes one away from others, more so with time. I avoid getting help from family- over decades it just hurts em to see it. I avoid the VA because they very, very, often do more harm than good if not extremely vigilant. Disability alters sleep-wake time. It makes people get introverted. It makes ordinary pleasures- eating at a restaurant- unpleasant. Makes having a mate problematic (in a few senses). But aside from all this, merely being NEAR OTHERS in a physical, not just online way (I am pretty much a spider on the web, dispensing solutions wherever inspired, since the days of Compuserve, Netscape, and Prodigy). I can explain how this probably works. In each persons gut (mouth to tail) there are microbes, bacteria like, much or most of your body weight is not you. This means much of what makes a human operate or inoperable is the microbes NOT suffering from your disability- but from isolation from OTHER HUMANS and their microbiome. Just being near a person (not necessarily that close!) means your microbiome matches up with other peoples- and a silent equalizing happens. This explains why pain is so depressing, why depression is so isolating, and why isolating is so pandemic to the disabled. This explains how the Placebo Effect works. This explains why young people join terrorist groups- and how to fix it- get a non terror group for them to join. This explains in part why people laugh more, louder, at jokes if in a room of people This explains how people suspend disbelief much more in a theater than alone watching a show Altogether, a solution offered for those in misery and won't even let that word (and others) pop to the surface of their awareness is to just get near other people. Try this... Go to a grocery store or similar venue. Walk slow, be fairly dressed, not unkempt. Shop. When you see someone with another person, just walk up real discreet and comment on their purchase. See how they light up? Do it again. And again. Maybe crack a joke. Now, go to the checkstand. Pay for what you bought. When the checker (forced) says ...would you like to donate your money or change to ... you say ...Nah, I am trying to quit... or tell them another joke (Do these GMO free eggs come with free HBO?) When you leave, look how you feel- do you feel better mentally despite the possible pain from ambulating about? Seems plain we vets should try to meet up with other, very near, vets for a bite to eat, a pizza party, a regularly recurring thing. Something like a 12 step group without the ...stuff that has creeped into that movement over decades... Maybe call it a Half Step movement? At Ease? Ah. Not good at naming things. Let me know if this resonates with you. Try to please Nature by getting near others even if you usually wait to feel better to get out- instead, feel better by meeting up, even hold a meet at your place if practical. Hot dogs and a loaf of bread and ketchup probably is enough. Consider the reward from being selfless. If you want a smile, see this video and if you identify with its meme about pain and being trapped. Notice the hero is not alone. Spidey
  15. Hello everyone and thank you for accepting me in to the forum. Last year I filed a new claim for Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression. For the past 3 years, I have been seeing a civilian psychiatrist for my anxiety and depression. She had already diagnosed me with GAD and Major Depression, and I have been on anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, and sleep medication. I was on differing types of the same medications since coming out of the service, but it wasn't until about 3 years ago, that I admitted to myself that I needed mental help, and that is when I started seeing my civilian psychiatrist, and that is when I first heard of GAD and Major Depression, when she said she had diagnosed me with them. It was at her suggestion, that I file a claim with the VA for GAD and Major Depression. She said she very much felt like my conditions were associated with my time in the service. When it was finally time to have my C&P exam, I was interviewed by a VA psychologist. I told her about my civilian psychiatrist, and her diagnosis for me, and the medications she had me on. I also talked to her about my time in the service, me being overseas in the Gulf War, and me being in a humanitarian mission in Ecuador. I told her about my friend who was with me during basic training. And how he was shot and killed right in front of me, in a horrible accident, during one of our live ammunition training exercises. I told her how all this had affected me from those moments on, all the way until now. At the end of our meeting, she told me that she felt like my condition was more PTSD, rather than Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression. At the time I didn't think anything of what she said; that is until I was sent my denial letter. In my denial, it stated that my 2 claims for GAD and Major Depression, was changed to GAD (to include PTSD) and Major Depression (to include PTSD). So the VA psychiatrist did what she said she would. She essentially changed what I had claimed, and added (to include PTSD) on each of my 2 claims. So, for the basis of PTSD, there has to be a proven stressor. The VA used what I had talked to the psychiatrist about the death of my friend during boot camp, as my stressor. The VA said they searched records during the time I was at boot camp, and found no incidents related to what I was saying. So, because the VA psychiatrist took it upon herself, to change my claimed conditions from GAD and Major Depression, to GAD (to include PTSD) and Major Depression (to include PTSD), now it was up to me to prove a stressor, because with claims associated with PTSD, you must prove your stressor. I knew from talking to other Army buddies of mine, how difficult it could be sometimes to find old records of deaths. The death of my friend during boot camp happened in 1962 at Ft. Jackson, SC. My civilian psychiatrist never suggested to me that I had PTSD. She always said it was Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Major Depression. If I had wanted to file a claim for PTSD, I would have done so. But I knew how difficult it would be for the VA to search for and find any record of the death of my friend at boot camp. So I filed GAD and Major Depression, because I was told those claims did not require a specific stressor (exact time, place, person, etc). I was told that GAD and Major Depression, could be claims based on your entire military career, with everything you've done and everything you've experienced, all amounting to intense anxiety and depression. So that is why I claimed GAD and Major Depression, over that of PTSD. But because the VA psychiatrist took it upon herself to change my 2 claimed conditions, and added the words (to include PTSD) to each of my claimed conditions, it was not just GAD and Major Depression any longer; it includes PTSD, which requires a specific and provable stressor. I had a stressor, and very specific one - the death of my friend during live ammunition exercises during our time at Ft. Jackson, SC boot camp in the summer of 1962. But the VA said neither they nor the JSRRC could find any record of that taking place. If my 2 claims had remained what they were suppose to be, simply GAD and simply Major Depression, I do not think I would have been denied. But because the VA psychiatrist added PTSD to each of my conditions, the VA asked for my stressor, the VA and JSRRC said they could find no record of my stressor, so my claims were denied. I believe I would have been approved if not for the VA psychiatrist adding PTSD to my 2 claimed conditions. So with all that said (and I apologize for the length of it), is there any hope for me, if I appeal my denial? And do any of you know how I would go about appealing it? Would I simply say to the VA that I disagree with the VA psychiatrist adding PTSD to my 2 claims, when I never claimed PTSD myself?; that that was her decision entirely. I have had a VA Disability Representative for the past couple of years, but he was utterly useless. He never answered my calls or emails. He basically never helped me at all. I did most all myself over eBenefits. But now, since I've had this recent denial, I have considered hiring a VA Disability Law Firm to take my case. I've spoken with 2 so far. They both told me I had a very strong case and that I could win. But they also said they couldn't take my case because of their huge client load. I think it was simply that they could probably win my case, but there wouldn't have been much in the line of backpay, so they wouldn't have gotten much compensation for their work for me. So I guess I will continue searching for other VA Disability Lawyers, or I may have to appeal my denied claim myself over eBenefits. Could any of you, please help me with this? I have read many questions on here regarding GAD and Major Depression, but I haven't come across one yet, where they filed a claim for GAD and Major Depression, and then the VA psychiatrist during the C&P exam, decided to change the claim (to include PTSD), thereby changing the criteria for acceptance, by now making me prove a specific stressor, instead of it she had just left my 2 claimed conditions alone, without including PTSD to them, then no specific stressor was required - it would simply go by your overall experiences while in service. I am a 20 year Veteran by the way, with most of my time served in the National Guard. But I was activated numerous times during my 20 years, including during the Gulf War. It isn't my fault that the death of my friend during boot camp, isn't something the VA or JSRRC can locate in records. If the VA psychiatrist had just left my 2 claimed conditions alone, instead of tacking on (to include PTSD), then the VA wouldn't have even had to search for a specific incident, they would have just based my conditions on my overall military experiences. Thank you for any help, assistance, or advice you might be able to give. Donald
  16. Please, welcome new VET2VET podcast episode: https://youtu.be/waV5t0HPtbM Today we are joined by Thomas Wendel, DAV National area supervisor for West Cost Region. Thomas E. Wendel served in the U. S. Marine Corps from 1983 until 1997. Since 1999, Tom has worked assisting veterans in processing various entitlement claims on the local, state and federal levels; first in Clare County as a county service officer and then when he came to work for the Disabled American Veterans in 2000. In 2008 he was promoted to the position of supervisor of the DAV Service Office in Detroit and later he was promoted to the position of supervisor of the DAV National area for West Cost Region. DAV is America’s largest, most effective veterans service organizations dedicated to the needs of those injured, ill or wounded in service. We have more than 1,300 Chapters in communities nationwide to help make sure veterans from all generations and their families get the benefits and support they deserve. Today, nearly 1.3 million veterans belong to DAV, and we encourage you to add your voice to the cause. Our programs and free services help all veterans get the health, disability and financial benefits they earned. Take advantage of our benefits claims assistance, medical transportation and employment resources. Your local DAV Chapter is a great way to connect with fellow veterans in your area. ★ JOIN US IN OUR COMMITMENT TO YOU AND OUR FELLOW VETERANS ★ ▶ facebook.com/VETOVET2 ▶ itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/vet2vet/id1077206523?mt=2 ▶ twitter.com/VETOVET2 ▶ youtube.com/c/VETOVET2 ▶ plus.google.com/u/0/+VETOVET2 ▶ goo.gl/app/playmusic?ibi=com.google.PlayMusic&isi=691797987&ius=googleplaymusic&link=https://play.google.com/music/m/Iiqawbuzg7eviiyqm6xz7kju62m?t%3DVET2VET ▶ feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:198832065/sounds.rss ▶ soundcloud.com/vet2vet ▶ stitcher.com/s?fid=80842&refid=stpr ★ LIMITED LIABILITY CLAUSE ★ THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE THROUGH THE VET2VET MAY INCLUDE INACCURACIES OR ERRORS. CHANGES ARE PERIODICALLY ADDED TO THE INFORMATION HEREIN. VET2VET MAY MAKE IMPROVEMENTS AND/OR CHANGES OF THE CONTENT AT ANY TIME. ADVICE RECEIVED VIA VET2VET SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON FOR PERSONAL, MEDICAL, LEGAL OR FINANCIAL DECISIONS AND YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN APPROPRIATE PROFESSIONAL FOR SPECIFIC ADVICE TAILORED TO YOUR SITUATION. IF YOU ARE DISSATISFIED WITH ANY PORTION OF VET2VET, YOUR SOLE AND EXCLUSIVE REMEDY IS TO DISCONTINUE CONSULTING VET2VET.
  17. Good Day All Just a question: I am presently rated at 80%, and was recently by my outside PSYCH doctor with Depression Disorder and Anxiety Disorder and was wondering how this would affect my overall 80% disability rating?
  18. Seems the VA can on occasion consider obesity merely as a "symptom"* and perhaps even the type of symptom that the VA alleges is caused by the Veteran's own willful misconduct of overeating or being inactive so it can deny the claim. However, since the American Medical Association ( AMA ) recently in June of 2013 has officially declared that "obesity is a disease", might that allow disabled veterans whose service connected condition(s) led to excessive weight gain to now find more success claiming obesity as a ratable secondary medical condition or a disease aggravated by the Veteran's service connected condition(s)? *"Obesity Service connection is not warranted for obesity. Claiming service connection for obesity amounts to claiming service connection for a symptom, rather than for an underlying disease or injury which may have caused the symptom. In this respect, obesity, in and of itself, is not a disability for which service connection may be granted. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) has defined "injury" as "damage inflicted on the body by an external force." See Terry v. Principi, 340 F.3d 1378, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2003), citing Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary 901 (29th Ed. 2000). Thus, obesity caused by overeating or lack of exercise is the result of the veteran's own behavior, and as such is not an "injury" as defined for VA purposes. See Terry v. Principi, 340 F.3d 1378, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (defining "injury" as "damage inflicted on the body by an external force"). The Federal Circuit also defined "disease" as "any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of a part, organ, or system of the body." Terry, 340 F.3d at 1384, citing Dorland's at 511. Obesity that is not due to an underlying pathology cannot be considered to be due to "disease," defined as "any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of a part, organ or system of the body." Id. The body's normal storage of calories for future use represents the body working at what it is designed to do. It is well settled that symptoms alone, without a finding of an underlying disorder, cannot be service-connected. See Sanchez-Benitez v. Principi, 259 F.3d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2001)." - from a BVA 2009 Decision ---and--- "Obesity or being overweight, a particularity of body type, alone, is not considered a disability for which service connection may be granted. See generally 38 C.F.R. Part 4 (VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities) (2009) (does not contemplate a separate disability rating for obesity). Rather, applicable VA regulations use the term "disability" to refer to the average impairment in earning capacity resulting from diseases or injuries encountered as a result of or incident to military service. Allen v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 439, 448 (1995); Hunt v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 292, 296 (1991); 38 C.F.R. § 4.1 (2009). The question is thus whether the current obesity is a disability-i.e. a condition causing impairment in earning capacity. In this case, there is no such evidence. The veteran has not asserted that obesity causes impairment of earning capacity; instead he asserts that his obesity has caused other disabilities to manifest. There is also no other evidence that the claimed obesity is a disability. Inasmuch as the Veteran does not have a disability manifested by obesity and obesity is not a disease or disability for which service connection may be granted, the Board concludes that obesity was not incurred in or aggravated by service and may not be presumed to have been so incurred. This claim is not in relative equipoise; therefore, the Veteran may not be afforded the benefit of the doubt in the resolution thereof. Rather, as a preponderance of the evidence is against the claim, it must be denied. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107(b) (West 2002)" - from a 2010 BVA Decision But didn't the VA as early as 2006 already characterize obesity as a disease? "Obesity is a complex and chronic disease that develops from an interaction between the individual’s genotype and the environment." - http://www.healthquality.va.gov/obesity/obe06_final1.pdf "The AMA's decision essentially makes diagnosis and treatment of obesity a physician's professional obligation." - Los Angeles Times http://www.today.com/health/obesity-disease-doctors-group-says-6C10371394
  19. Hadit community, I've found many of the information provided by individuals here very helpful. I feel optimistic about future claims for chronic sinusitis, which has had a significant impact on my daily life. In regards to other possible claims, I curious to hear the opinion of some of you seasoned veterans that have been through the claims process. My concern is in regards to a potential depression claim. First, i'll add that I'm a reservist, which may be more difficult to prove connection. I currently don't have any "documented" event, but I feel that an event that happened contributed, in part, to my depression. I was at training and I was in a toxic vehicle, with poor leadership. I had a crew member who, during gunnery, kicked me in the head repeatedly. Nothing was documented, but I did approach my PL about the issue and he noted that if I felt that it was harassing behavior, and I desired to do something, he would act. I soldiered on, and the physical contact didn't continue. I'll note that at the time, my significant other had a legitimate fear that her ex-husband was going to kill her. I feel that this was the major source of stress, which put me on edge. I was formally diagnosed with depression three months later and have struggled with it for four years. My question is, do you hadit'ers feel that I should pursue a claim? Thanks!
  20. I am SC 70 for anxiety. Can I file a claim for depression secondary to my sc lower back issues? Thanks for the help.
  21. I was discharged from the military December of 2004 due to multiple convalescent for Right Knee issues (4 Knee Surgery's). I am Service Connected for Right Knee Medial Meniscal Tear with Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome and Degenerative Arthritis that has been getting worse over time. Due to the nature of the pain, I am submitting a (Secondary) claim for Depression due to Chronic Pain. Any advise on what I should do before/after submittal to support my claim? Example: Should I see a Counselor about my Depression First or wait for the VA C&P Exam? Thanks in Advance!
  22. I am still active duty. Having a number of mental health issues due to my health (heart arrhythmia) and the results of an IG Investigation. No charges but substantiated claims and my next rank that I was selected for was removed. My record now has me as a FTS (fail to select - basically passed over) and I have put in to retire (27 Yrs, 1 mo). I am seeing a military shrink and military therapist, each weekly and have been doing so for the past 6 weeks. Lots of paper in my record and a variety of diagnosis - PTSD, MDD, but mainly anxiety disorder. Question: Should I ask to have more psychological testing completed and get that in my record. I am think the MMPI-2 test (567 question so it is not little test). I would think that would help establish more firmly the service connection nexus and give a stronger diagnosis. It couldn't hurt right?
  23. I separated from active duty service in the Air Force with in 2010 and had undiagnosed non-combat military connected PTSD with alcohol use in remission (According to my VA disability paperwork which puts me at 50% for ptsd.) This was granted the beginning of last year. I recently put in to have my discharge upgraded to honorable from general and have yet to hear back from them. (E-benefits say maybe I'll hear about it early February 2018.) There were a few selfmedicated incidents with alcohol that happened while I was active duty that resulted in going into a civilian rehabilitation facility, a perscription to an antidepressant, and a lot of suicidal ideation I recently admitted in my paperwork to the review board that I was afraid to admit to my command because they would do things like write someone up for a sunburn (destruction of government property), or purposefully keep spouses apart by writing one up for something they didn't do and keep them from going during their significant others' PCS (because someone else did it to them for five years and "they turned out fine"(There was no way to prove otherwise.)). I was recently reading about medical retirement from the military. It's a little confusing. I was wondering if there was a way to submit for reconsideration and medically retire from the military after separation?
  24. 2010 - Discharge 40% memory problems, status post head injury 30% Major depressive disorder with history of Insomnia 2011 added seizure disorder to memory problems, status post head injury. (remained at 40%) 2012 I had a diagnosis of seizures because they showed up on two sleep studies and one EEG. I did not have a "frequency" to report because they were nocturnal seizures. They added seizures 10% only because I was prescribed medication for seizures. 2015 had a C&P for possible PTSD. PTSD denied and they basically increased my Major Depressive Disorder to 70% but dropped off the memory problems, post status head injury. They explained that they combined them. What is your thoughts on me being able to challenge this now that it is years later? I really thought that my depression had increased to 70% and TBI remained at 40%. It reads that way on ebenefits and my 90% rating did not change.
  25. I received my C&P over the weekend. My exam was nearly three hours and I think the report is accurate and fair and represents how things are. I was as honest as I could be with the examiner and despite being nervous to the point of an anxiety attack about it the day before calmed down a bit and was OK during the visit. The doctor did a good job asking questions and made me feel at ease which is saying something. The report ended up being 18 pages which surprised me. I had PMd the results to a handful of people here on HADIT and a couple recommended I post it for more input. I was hesitant to do so but decided my desire for more information is more important than my paranoia of posting it. I'd really like to get the opinions of some senior HADIT posters like Berta and others. I'm thinking this is a good C&P for my claim but would like a more seasoned opinion than my own completely inexperienced one. I've posted the opinion and rationale below. . Thank you. JW. ___________________________________ 5. Symptoms For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses: [X] Depressed mood [X] Anxiety [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recent events [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Suicidal ideation REQUESTED OPINION: Based on information from the clinical interview, review of records (C-file and VA medical records), and psychological assessment measures, It is my opinion that the veteran meets DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for (1) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) due to childhood sexual trauma with delayed onset, and (2) Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Recurrent, with Mood-Congruent Psychotic Features secondary to PTSD. While his PTSD and MDD were less likely than not to have been caused by an in-service stressor, both conditions were more likely than not incurred in service (i.e., delayed onset with clinically significant symptom presentation beginning while on active duty). PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT / OBJECTIVE TESTING: Objective psychological assessment measures administered: -- Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI): valid profile without any evidence to suggest inattention, inconsistency, or negative/positive impression management; primary code type - DEP/ARD (97T/85T) * Summary/interpretation of results: Briefly, the veteran's responses on the PAI were suggestive of significant tension, unhappiness, and pessimism, with various stressors (past and/or present) contributing to low mood and self-esteem. Individuals with similar profiles often see themselves as ineffectual and powerless to change the direction of their lives and feel uncertain about goals, priorities, and what the future may hold. In addition to depression, the veteran endorsed significant distress on measures of suicidal thoughts, traumatic stress, and social discomfort or detachment. His profile was most consistent with major depression, and while some traumatic stress concerns were indicated, he did not endorse the full range of concerns typically seen among individuals with PTSD. RATIONALE FOR OPINION: 1. The veteran's symptoms meet DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD due to childhood sexual trauma. The veteran's history of childhood sexual abuse is well-documented across multiple sources and during the current evaluation, he endorsed the full range of trauma-related symptoms meeting criteria for a diagnosis of PTSD. He was first diagnosed with PTSD while on active duty in xxxx by a DOD psychiatrist and mental health records (private and VA) dating back to xxxx also show that multiple mental Health providers have diagnosed and treated PTSD. Although the veteran experienced some symptoms immediately following the assault (bed wetting, night terrors), these symptoms largely resolved by the time he was in middle school due to reported "traumatic amnesia." His only residual symptoms throughout the remainder of middle school and high school were associated with a chronic mistrust of others and related social detachment. His enlistment exam was silent for any relevant concerns, as were STRs from the time of his enlistment in xxxx until the first disclosure of the assault and associated symptoms in xxxx and xxxx. Thus, there is no evidence to suggest that the veteran was experiencing clinically significant symptoms of PTSD prior to his enlistment and thus the question of aggravation is moot. Records clearly document onset of symptoms while the veteran was on active duty and indicate chronic trauma-related symptoms and impairments since then. 2. The veteran's current mental health symptoms also meet DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Recurrent, with Mood-Congruent Psychotic Features, secondary to underlying PTSD. His current depressive symptoms are a continuation of those first diagnosed in service as Dysthymic Disorder, and the veteran has been treated for MDD by multiple mental health providers (private and VA) since at least xxxx. As indicated above (Rationale #1), there is no evidence to suggest Clinically significant symptoms of depression prior to military service, and he was first diagnosed with a depressive disorder while psychiatrically hospitalized in service (xxxx). Subsequent records indicate chronic problems with depression since his discharge from active duty. 3. The veteran's history is suggestive of some underlying Personality features which are likely contributing to some of his on-going concerns (e.g., schizoid and avoidant features). Although he was diagnosed with a personality disorder in service, there is insufficient evidence to warrant a personality disorder diagnosis at present, as some of his on-going symptoms can be attributed to underlying PTSD (e.g., mistrust of others, social/interpersonal detachment, avoidance of intimate relationships). 4. The veteran showed no signs of significant exaggeration/feigning or minimization of mental health symptoms on objective testing, during the interview, or when comparing his self-report to the evidence in the record. As such, information from this evaluation is believed to be an accurate reflection of the veteran's current mental health concerns and relevant background.
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