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  1. My question is about De Novo Review and how the DRO reviews the evidence. In my DRO hearing I raised the several questions about the Denial of Compensation. Question 1) I addressed the DRO in asking how the VA could change the diagnosis from "Bilateral Patellofemoral Syndrome" to "Osteoarthritis"? Clearly I was Discharged with "Bilateral Patellofemoral Syndrome" under VA Code 5003-5099 Hearing Me: they're basing on traumatic arthritis...okay. I'm not 20 years old no more [sic]... patellofemoral syndrome has progressed from that on up and on up until now we've got an end result of osteoarthritis. DRO: Mm-hmm Me: So, the medical exam... everything's pointing... saying, well, we're denying you for the patellofemoral, but we're gonna give you arthritis. DRO: No, that's not... that's not the case. Me: Well, that's... DRO: (Inaudible)... Me: ...what it says right here. DRO: ...you're essentially service-connected for your knee condition, whether...you know...it's...it may be called different things, but essentially that is what you're service-connected for...is your knee condition. We can't...we don't...we can't evaluate it by splicing out different diagnoses or your...you know...involving your knee. We evaluate based on...like...what we discussed earlier...you know...your range of motion...instability...that kind of thing. Power of Attorney: They're saying that your patellofemoral syndrome has progressed to the point where there's osteoarthritis at this point and that's... that's what you have right now. Me: That's what I got right now... Power of Attorney: Right Me: ...but they're still not warranting...they're...they were denying the patellofemoral. Power of Attorney: Mmm. They're just saying it's...it's not patellofemoral... Me: Yeah. Power of Attorney: ...anymore it's...it's arthritis now. Me: Well, that's the word they used...they denied it. Power of Attorney: Oh, well, they shouldn't have said that. DRO: Yeah, and I'm...I'm not sure that that was a... you know...a completely accurate description in there, but... Me: Well, because...I mean... DRO: All right, do you have anything else? And then the DRO closes out by stating that this Appeal is only about the related evaluation of the knee condition. And if I wanted a earlier effective date I would have to file a Claim for it. My question is if it is a Review of Claim then why is the DRO only going to look at the evaluation and not the complete claim? I mean he is suppose to be bi-partisan and look at all evidence objectively. Should the DRO of looked at the whole Claim because it was a Reopened Claim ?
  2. I recently received my initial denial of my sleep apnea claim. I plan on appealing the decision but I need advise o how to proceed because i did all the work myself for my claim. (30% asthma, 10% hiatal hernia, GERD deferred, Hamstring strain deferred). Should I hire a lawyer, VSO, or just get an IMO? Any referrals of lawyers? I live in NYC.
  3. Hey I'm new to the forum and really need help trying to understand what my last C&P means for my rating.. I have been waiting on this since 2010 on appeal and finally got a C&P after remand to RO. Can anyone tell me what possible rating I might receive Semper Fi. Neck (Cervical Spine) Conditions Disability Benefits Questionnaire Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P Examination Request? [X] Yes [ ] No Evidence Comments: BOARD REMAND 1. Diagnosis ------------ Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with a cervical spine (neck) condition? [X] Yes [ ] No Cervical Spine Common Diagnoses: No diagnosis provided. Diagnosis #1: CERVICO-OCCIPITAL NEURALGIA ICD code: == Date of diagnosis: 9/28/2015 Diagnosis #2: CERVICAL RADICULOPATHY WITH BULGING DISC ICD code: == Date of diagnosis: 2016 Diagnosis #3: MECHANICAL CERVICAL PAIN SYNDROME ICD code: == Date of diagnosis: 4/29/2015 If there are additional diagnoses that pertain to cervical spine (neck) conditions, list using above format: CERVICAL VERTEBRAE(NECK MUSCLE SPASM), DATE OF DIAGNOSIS, 6/25/1996. CERVICAL HERNIATED AND BULGING DISC, MUSCLE SPASM, AND CORD CONTUSION WITH COMPRESSION MYELOMALACIA, 8/14/12 CERVICAL SPONDYLOSIS AND DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE, 9/25/2014. On today's C&P examination, 11/21/17, Veteran reports several incidents in 1992-1995 of blunt trauma including carrying 50 caliber machine gun barrels and ammunition. Involved in ground defensive tactic also known as "Bull in the Ring" in which the marine is in full gear and is potentially tackled by several marines. Following this , Veteran incurred concussion-1992 or 1993). Also went to Bethesda for back school(approx. week). Currently, Veteran reports daily neck pain. Denies neck surgery. Denies no recent physical therapy. Uses Flexeril, Ibuprofen, Oxycodone, and Tens unit for pain relief. Last treated by chiropractor in 2016(Tampa Bay, Florida). b. Dominant hand: [ ] Right [ ] Left [X] Ambidextrous c. Does the Veteran report flare-ups of the cervical spine (neck)? [ ] Yes [X] No d. Does the Veteran report having any functional loss or functional impairment of the cervical spine (neck) (regardless of repetitive use)? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, document the Veteran's description of functional loss or functional impairment in his or her own words: Can't do much of any type of physical activity, that's really limited. Obviously a hindrance, job related stuff. Multiple days off from work(pain, stiffness). Can't do lawn activities. Can't wash dishes. Can't play with your kids like you want to. Sleeping is impossible-Sometimes you have to sleep sitting up in a chair. 3. Range of motion (ROM) and functional limitations --------------------------------------------------- a. Initial range of motion [ ] All Normal [X] Abnormal or outside of normal range [ ] Unable to test (please explain) [ ] Not indicated (please explain) Forward Flexion (0-45): 0 to 46 degrees Extension (0-45): 0 to 15 degrees Right Lateral Flexion (0-45): 0 to 23 degrees Left Lateral Flexion (0-45): 0 to 14 degrees Right Lateral Rotation (0-80): 0 to 48 degrees Left Lateral Rotation (0-80): 0 to 44 degrees If abnormal, does the range of motion itself contribute to a functional loss? [X] Yes, (please explain) [ ] No If yes, please explain: Limited bending. Description of pain (select best response): Pain noted on examination and causes functional loss If noted on examination, which ROM exhibited pain (select all that apply)? Forward flexion, Extension, Right lateral flexion, Left lateral flexion, Right lateral rotation, Left lateral rotation Is there evidence of pain with weight bearing? [X] Yes [ ] No Is there objective evidence of localized tenderness or pain on palpation of the joint or associated soft tissue of the cervical spine (neck)? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe including location, severity and relationship to condition(s): Tenderness on palpation of the cervical spine. b. Observed repetitive use Is the Veteran able to perform repetitive use testing with at least three repetitions? [ ] Yes [X] No If no, please provide reason: Unable to perform due to severe pain. c. Repeated use over time Is the Veteran being examined immediately after repetitive use over time? [ ] Yes [X] No If the examination is not being conducted immediately after repetitive use over time: [ ] The examination is medically consistent with the Veteran?s statements describing functional loss with repetitive use over time. [ ] The examination is medically inconsistent with the Veteran?s statements describing functional loss with repetitive use over time. Please explain. [X] The examination is neither medically consistent nor inconsistent with the Veteran?s statements describing functional loss with repetitive use over time. Does pain, weakness, fatigability or incoordination significantly limit functional ability with repeated use over a period of time? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Unable to say w/o mere speculation If unable to say w/o mere speculation, please explain: This examiner is unable to opine and would otherwise be speculating to state whether pain, weakness, fatigability, or incoordination could significantly limit functional ability during flare-ups, or when the joint is used repeatedly over a period of time. Therefore this examiner cannot describe any such additional limitation due to pain, weakness, fatigability or incoordination. Furthermore, such opinion is also not feasible to give degrees of additional ROM loss due to "pain on use or during flare-ups" without speculation. d. Flare-ups Not applicable e. Guarding and muscle spasm Does the Veteran have guarding, or muscle spasm of the cervical spine? [X] Yes [ ] No Muscle spasm [X] None [ ] Resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour [ ] Not resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour [ ] Unable to evaluate, describe below: Guarding [ ] None [ ] Resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour [X] Not resulting in abnormal gait or abnormal spinal contour [ ] Unable to evaluate, describe below: f. Additional factors contributing to disability In addition to those addressed above, are there additional contributing factors of disability? Please select all that apply and describe: Less movement than normal due to ankylosis, adhesions, etc. Please describe: Decreased ROM. 4. Muscle strength testing -------------------------- a. Rate strength according to the following scale: 0/5 No muscle movement 1/5 Palpable or visible muscle contraction, but no joint movement 2/5 Active movement with gravity eliminated 3/5 Active movement against gravity 4/5 Active movement against some resistance 5/5 Normal strength Elbow flexion: Right: [X] 5/5 [ ] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Left: [X] 5/5 [ ] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Elbow extension Right: [X] 5/5 [ ] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Left: [X] 5/5 [ ] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Wrist flexion: Right: [ ] 5/5 [X] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Left: [ ] 5/5 [X] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Wrist extension: Right: [ ] 5/5 [X] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Left: [ ] 5/5 [X] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Finger Flexion: Right: [ ] 5/5 [X] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Left: [ ] 5/5 [X] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Finger Abduction Right: [ ] 5/5 [X] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 Left: [ ] 5/5 [X] 4/5 [ ] 3/5 [ ] 2/5 [ ] 1/5 [ ] 0/5 b. Does the Veteran have muscle atrophy? [X] Yes [ ] No If muscle atrophy is present, indicate location: Upper Arm Provide measurements in centimeters of normal side and atrophied side, measured at maximum muscle bulk: Normal side: 37.5 cm. Atrophied side: 36 cm. 5. Reflex exam -------------- Rate deep tendon reflexes (DTRs) according to the following scale: 0 Absent 1+ Hypoactive 2+ Normal 3+ Hyperactive without clonus 4+ Hyperactive with clonus Biceps: Right: [ ] 0 [ ] 1+ [X] 2+ [ ] 3+ [ ] 4+ Left: [ ] 0 [ ] 1+ [X] 2+ [ ] 3+ [ ] 4+ Triceps: Right: [ ] 0 [ ] 1+ [X] 2+ [ ] 3+ [ ] 4+ Left: [ ] 0 [ ] 1+ [X] 2+ [ ] 3+ [ ] 4+ Brachioradialis: Right: [ ] 0 [ ] 1+ [X] 2+ [ ] 3+ [ ] 4+ Left: [ ] 0 [ ] 1+ [X] 2+ [ ] 3+ [ ] 4+ 6. Sensory exam --------------- Provide results for sensation to light touch (dermatomes) testing: Shoulder area (C5): Right: [ ] Normal [X] Decreased [ ] Absent Left: [ ] Normal [X] Decreased [ ] Absent Inner/outer forearm (C6/T1): Right: [ ] Normal [X] Decreased [ ] Absent Left: [ ] Normal [X] Decreased [ ] Absent Hand/fingers (C6-8): Right: [ ] Normal [X] Decreased [ ] Absent Left: [ ] Normal [X] Decreased [ ] Absent 7. Radiculopathy ----------------- Does the Veteran have radicular pain or any other signs or symptoms due to radiculopathy? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, complete the following section: a. Indicate location and severity of symptoms (check all that apply): Constant pain (may be excruciating at times) Right upper extremity: [ ] None [ ] Mild [X] Moderate [ ] Severe Left upper extremity: [ ] None [ ] Mild [X] Moderate [ ] Severe Intermittent pain (usually dull) Right upper extremity: [X] None [ ] Mild [ ] Moderate [ ] Severe Left upper extremity: [X] None [ ] Mild [ ] Moderate [ ] Severe Paresthesias and/or dysesthesias Right upper extremity: [ ] None [ ] Mild [X] Moderate [ ] Severe Left upper extremity: [ ] None [ ] Mild [X] Moderate [ ] Severe Numbness Right upper extremity: [ ] None [ ] Mild [X] Moderate [ ] Severe Left upper extremity: [ ] None [ ] Mild [X] Moderate [ ] Severe b. Does the Veteran have any other signs or symptoms of radiculopathy? [ ] Yes [X] No c. Indicate nerve roots involved: (check all that apply) [X] Involvement of C8/T1 nerve roots (lower radicular group) If checked, indicate: [ ] Right [ ] Left [X] Both d. Indicate severity of radiculopathy and side affected: Right: [ ] Not affected [ ] Mild [X] Moderate [ ] Severe Left: [ ] Not affected [ ] Mild [X] Moderate [ ] Severe 8. Ankylosis ------------ Is there ankylosis of the spine? [ ] Yes [X] No 9. Other neurologic abnormalities --------------------------------- Does the Veteran have any other neurologic abnormalities related to a cervical spine (neck) condition (such as bowel or bladder problems due to cervical myelopathy)? [ ] Yes [X] No 10. Intervertebral disc syndrome (IVDS) and episodes requiring bed rest ----------------------------------------------------------------------- a. Does the Veteran have IVDS of the cervical spine? [X] Yes [ ] No b. If yes to question 10a above, has the Veteran had any episodes of acute signs and symptoms due to IVDS that required bed rest prescribed by a physician and treatment by a physician in the past 12 months? [ ] Yes [X] No 11. Assistive devices --------------------- a. Does the Veteran use any assistive device(s) as a normal mode of locomotion, although occasional locomotion by other methods may be possible? [ ] Yes [X] No b. If the Veteran uses any assistive devices, specify the condition and identify the assistive device used for each condition: No response provided. 12. Remaining effective function of the extremities ---------------------------------------------------- Due to a cervical spine (neck) condition, is there functional impairment of an extremity such that no effective function remains other than that which would be equally well served by an amputation with prosthesis? (Functions of the upper extremity include grasping, manipulation, etc.; functions of the lower extremity include balance and propulsion, etc.) [ ] Yes, functioning is so diminished that amputation with prosthesis would equally serve the Veteran. [X] No 13. Other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs, symptoms and scars ----------------------------------------------------------------------- a. Does the Veteran have any other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs or symptoms related to any conditions listed in the Diagnosis Section above? [ ] Yes [X] No b. Does the Veteran have any scars (surgical or otherwise) related to any conditions or to the treatment of any conditions listed in the Diagnosis Section above? [ ] Yes [X] No c. Comments, if any: No response provided. 14. Diagnostic testing ---------------------- a. Have imaging studies of the cervical spine been performed and are the results available? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, is arthritis (degenerative joint disease) documented? [X] Yes [ ] No b. Does the Veteran have a vertebral fracture with loss of 50 percent or more of height? [ ] Yes [X] No c. Are there any other significant diagnostic test findings and/or results? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, provide type of test or procedure, date and results (brief summary): 9/25/2014,MRI Cervical spine:Visibility of the central canal of the cord at the C5 level with diameter of 2mm, not considered to reflect significant syringohydromyelia and not associated with mass or abnormal enhancement. Spondylosis and degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine. Right-sided predominant disc osteophyte complex at C6-7 causes mild right central canal and moderate right neural foraminal stenosis at this level. No other central canal stenosis with milder areas of neural foraminal encroachment detailed above. C2-3:Focal shallow central to right paracentral disc protrusion. No central canal or neural foraminal stenosis. C3-4:Mild generalized disc bulge. Mild right than left neural foraminal stenosis with central canal patent. C6-7:Mild generalized disc bulge with more focal disc osteophyte complex in the right paracentral, right subarticular, and right lateral stations. C7-T1:Negative for disc herniation. 8/14/2012, MRI Cervical spine:Herniated disk C3/4, C5/6, and C6/7 levels. Bulging disk C2/3 and C4/5 levels. Diffuse spondylitic changes. Straightened alignment suggesting muscle spasm. Focal area of cord contusion or compression myelomalacia at C5 level. 15. Functional impact ---------------------- Does the Veteran's cervical spine (neck) condition impact on his or her ability to work? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe the impact of each of the Veteran's cervical spine (neck) conditions, providing one or more examples: Veteran is capable of limited lifting, carrying, and bending. 16. Remarks, if any: -------------------- NOTE:Veteran performed neck flexion repeition which reduced ROM to 32deg. Unable to perform any further repetition for other ROM maneuvers. ************************************************************************* Additional exam request information: For any joint condition, examiners should test the contralateral joint, unless medically contraindicated, and the examiner should address pain on both passive and active motion, and on both weightbearing and non- weightbearing. In addition to the questions on the DBQ, please respond to the following questions: 1. Is there evidence of pain on passive range of motion testing? YES 2. Is there evidence of pain when the joint is used in non-weight bearing? YES **************************************************************************** Medical Opinion Disability Benefits Questionnaire Name of patient/Veteran: ACE and Evidence Review ----------------------- Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this document: [X] In-person examination Evidence Review --------------- Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) [X] CPRS Evidence Comments: BOARD REMAND MEDICAL OPINION SUMMARY ----------------------- RESTATEMENT OF REQUESTED OPINION: a. Opinion from general remarks: (a) Please state all diagnoses as to the Veteran's cervical spine, and address all diagnoses already of record: herniated disk and bulging disk of the cervical spine and spondylitic changes, muscle spasm and contusion/compression, spondylosis and degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, mechanical cervical pain syndrome and radiculopathy. (b) Please provide an opinion as to whether it is at least as likely as not (a 50 percent or greater probability) that any diagnosed cervical spine disability was caused by or etiologically related to active duty. Please specifically address the back injuries and complaints of back pain noted in the STRs. (c) Please specifically address the Veteran's lay statements that he has suffered cervical spine pain since service, and that in service he suffered injury to his neck while carrying heavy equipment and continuous wear of duty gear. (d) Please address the conflicting evidence of record and offer a clarifying opinion, notably the February 2013 VA examination positing a negative nexus, and the April 2016 private opinion positing a positive nexus. b. Indicate type of exam for which opinion has been requested: NECK TYPE OF MEDICAL OPINION PROVIDED: [ MEDICAL OPINION FOR DIRECT SERVICE CONNECTION ] a. The condition claimed was at least as likely as not (50% or greater probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed in-service injury, event or illness. c. Rationale: Upon review of all available medical evidence, including eVBMS, virtual VA, and Board Remand, the following pertinent information is obtained and reported in 'Evidence Comments': Prior VA Examination, 6/25/96, reports Mr. served in the Marine Corps. he was inducted in 1990 and received separation with an honorable discharge in 1996. Medical History-In 1992, he had onset of pain in the neck area diagnosed at Quantico. Xrays were negative. Impression was muscle spasm and stress. Enlistment RME/RMH for national guard, 4/13/98, reported no neck problems and normal exam of the spine. Miami VAMC, Outpatient clinic, 5/6/2005:Assessment is chronic neck and low back pain-Will get plain films and MRI, does not want any meds. 2/28/2013, VA examination opines "Unable to find SMR evidence of significant neck injury or complaint in service. No evidence to support chronicity of problem for over 10 years post-discharge." THIS OPINION IS GIVEN LOW WEIGHT BECAUSE IT IS NEITHER SUPPORTED NOR CONSISTENT WITH THE RECORDS IN FILE THAT SHOW COMPLAINTS OF NECK PAIN INDICATING A CHRONIC CONDITION. 4/29/15, DBQ neck was completed providing a diagnosis of mechanical cervical pain syndrome and radiculopathy. As received 4/8/16, VA physician, , states that the Veteran suffers from cervico-occipital neuralgia and cervical radiculopathy with bulging disc "are as likely as not a direct result of blunt trauma received during the patient's military career. His conditions are a severe occupational impairment to the veteran and has been exacerbated by many years of continuous wear of duty gear related to his profession." On today's C&P examination, 11/21/17, Veteran is a credible historian and reports several incidents in 1992-1995 of blunt trauma, involving ground defensive tactic also known as "Bull in the Ring" in which the marine is in full gear and is potentially tackled by several marines. Following this , Veteran incurred concussion-1992 or 1993). Veteran also reported chronic neck pain during service was due to carrying 50 caliber machine gun barrels and ammunition. He also went to Bethesda for back school(approx. week). In summary, the Veteran has been under chronic medical care for neck pain first reported during service(6/25/96) and the condition has progressed from cervical muscle spasm to mechanical cervical pain syndrome and radiculopathy, cervical herniated and bulging disc with muscle spasm, cord contusion/compression myelomalacia, cervical spondylosis and degenerative disc disease, cervico-occipital neuralgia, and cervical radiculopathy with bulging disc. A nexus has been established. Therefore, it is at least as likely as not that the claimed condition has direct service connection.
  4. Hello! I've been silent in the background for awhile now sifting through all the information while I put together my Fully Developed Claim. This site is absolutely amazing and I'm extremely grateful for everyone's wealth of knowledge they have shared to help veterans. I've recently run into a problem hopefully someone can give me advice on. I started my FDC Oct 9th 2016 and it was set to expire 2017. About a week before the expiration I had a doctor give me new medical information to add to my claim. He told me to send a fax requesting a 90 day extension for the new medical information. However, I am a single father with a 1yr old, bouncing around to houses who will let us stay with them. It just so happened this week I was to send the fax my car was in the shop from a wreck, in addition I had no access to a fax machine, it was also Columbus day, the weekend etc.... anyways, I was able to send a fax on the 9th but my claim is no longer showing on ebenifits. Guys I'm really stressing about this. Just like everyone else this is super important and I was very much depending on having that date for the back pay. How can I get the original date of my claim back? What should I do???
  5. I'm working on preparing my brief to the CAVC on my appeal having received the Record Before the Agency (RBA). Searching for the initial EENT consult in the RBA now. Have it in a CD sent to me by the VA Records Management Center earlier. Does anyone know the date of "liberalization" of tinnitus allowing the rating of 10% for noise induced loss instead of only as secondary to a TBI? Is there a reference? Docket 17-2990 The following is in the RBA. 1) RBA Pages 4255 & 4254; The Rating Decision of 2-25-76, RO did not do investigation of injuries medically, only for “in line of duty” determination. a) CUE: RBA page 4365 dated 4/5/65; 4/4/65. “Patient took exam to operate a forklift and was noted to have a moderate hearing deficit. Please see and evaluate.” 4/5/65, “tinnitus ® ear & vertigo.” (tinnitus subsequent to exposure to 5” naval gunnery practice in the battle dressing station under the gun mount during the USS Sperry AS-12 gunnery practice during my tour on that ship aggravating a pre service mild hearing deficit with an incident of losing most of hearing for a period of 3 days not recorded or complained about on the record as an HN E3 when told it would come back.) b) RBA page 4309, Audiogram at Guam Memorial Hospital dated 7/31/75 noting “poor speech discrimination both ears.” But without noting the claim of tinnitus which is at least partially contributing to that. And the AOJ, given the EENT consult of 4/5/65 above and the other earlier Audiograms failed to send the examination back for a clarification on whether the tinnitus had subsided or was omitted from the report. c) RBA page 476, Audiology consult dated June 18, 2013. Please include the audiology report and notes on tinnitus and word discrimination. d) RBA page 3106, Rating Decision date 1/22/92: i) “F. Service medical records show complaints of recurrent tinnitus in April 1965 and January 1968. The audiometrics done on current VA examination show average pure tone thresholds as 48 in the right ear and 63 in the left ear, with speech recognition as 88 percent and 76 percent respectively. Also shown is periodic bilateral tinnitus.” ii) D. Service connection is warranted for a separate diagnosis Of tinnitus at a compensable level with application of 38 CFR 3.114 (A). iii) 2016 38 CFR 3.114(a) “…or a liberalizing VA issue approved by the Secretary or by the Secretary's direction, the effective date of such award or increase shall be fixed in accordance with the facts found, but shall not be earlier than the effective date of the act or administrative issue.” iv) 1974 38 CFR § 3.114 Change of law or Veterans Administration issue. (1) (a) Effective date of awards. Where pension, compensation, or dependency and indemnity compensation is awarded or increased pursuant to a liberalizing law or a liberalizing Veterans Administration issue, approved by the Administrator or by his direction, the effective date of such award or increase shall be fixed in accordance with the facts found, but shall not be earlier than the effective date of the act or administrative Issue. v) 1974 38 CFR 4.84(b) 6260 Tinnitus ---------------------- 0 (See diagnostic codes 8045 and 8046.) vi) 1974 38 CFR 4.124(a) 8045 Brain disease due to trauma Purely neurological disabilities, such as hemiplegia, epileptiform seizures, facial' nerve paralysis, etc., following trauma to the brain, will be rated under the diagnostic codes specifically dealing with such disabilities, with citation of a hyphenated diagnostic code (e.g., 8045-8207). Purely subjective complaints, such as headache, dizziness, insomnia, tinnitus, etc., recognized as symptomatic of brain trauma, will be rated 10 percent and no more under diagnostic code 9304. This 10 percent rating will not be combined with any other rating for a disability due to brain trauma. Ratings in excess of 10 percent for brain disease due to trauma under diagnostic code 9304 are not assignable in the absence of a diagnosis of chronic brain syndrome associated with brain trauma. vii) RBA page 844, Periods of steady tone were greater in Japan because of the constant additional background noise but still the 20 per day of the steady high-pitched tone seems a bit exaggerated. Probably something lost in the translation to the Audiologist. However, even with the translation, this is the clearest and best history of my tinnitus reported in the record. viii) RBA pages 3149 & 3150, Audiogram dated 8/21/91, recording tinnitus but inaccurately. My tinnitus has been constant with the bird chirping, with an intermittent steady high-pitched tone that more grossly interferes with hearing especially in a circumstance like an audiogram, since it first appeared in late 1964 during my tour on the USS Sperry AS-12 following gunnery practice and a temporary hearing deficit of everyone sounding like they were down in a well which off the record, after the practice, by a physician I was told would go away in a day or two. As an HN E-3, at the time, all I was concerned about was getting my hearing back which I did except for the tinnitus interference which wasn’t too severe except when trying to intently listen to soft sounds when it becomes a high pitched steady tone. So, it is intermittent in nature of interference. Otherwise it is like a soft background noise unless competing with soft sounds. This is the way I always describe it, but it has never been recorded in the long version except on RBA 844. ix) RBA page 3202, Claim on my behalf by representative with no mention of tinnitus. Given that it was granted on the review of the record under 38 CFR 3.114(a) it should have been dated from Mar 18, 1976 per the 1976 38 CFR 4.85b and the cited, in the 1/22/92 Rating Decision, 38 CFR 3.114(a). x) RBA pages 3484 & 3485 Audiological Case History, dated 5/24/88, recording tinnitus but with errors. Not “since taking Elavil” as the record shows. Worse since taking Elavil. And not intermittent as stated above except for the difference in tone. It is there when I wake up and when I go to sleep and probably keeps me from dreaming most of the time. And it has been like that since the 1963 or 1964 USS Sperry AS-12 gunnery practice. xi) RBA pages 3955 & 3956, Audiology Case History dated 5/14/85, also reporting tinnitus but erroneously. Is the reporting of “intermittent” because that is the usual? Where did the “2 episodes come from” Perhaps 2 episodes of the change in tone to a high-pitched tone. Should be mild constant with intermittent severe. xii) RBA pages 3965 & 3966, Audiology Case History dated 7/14/83 recording tinnitus moderate with errors as above. xiii) RBA pages 3987 & 3988. Audiology Case History dated 12/13/83, tinnitus reported, correctly as not in ears, incorrectly as periodic and just in morning (louder when first awakening). Appears to include both high pitched and “birds” (high pitched; “birds.”) xiv) RBA pages 4328 & 4329, Audiogram dated 22 Jan 67, Audiologist did not fill out history on back. Similar Beltone reports back was not copied. xv) RBA page 4462, Rating Decision dated June 25, 2015; “We determined that the following condition was not related to your military service, so service connection couldn't be granted: Medical Description Tinnitus” This goes to the authenticity of the June 25, 2015 Rating Decision and its sloppiness. e) Several audiograms listing tinnitus in boxes provided on VA and Military audiogram report forms are not included in the record. Some but not all are on the CD provided to me dated 02/15/2017.
  6. I had filed a claim that was denied based that it was not service connected. However, I found 3 places in my medical records that show otherwise. I am already past my appeal cut off date. I am going to put it in again. If they approve it this timee will they go back to the original start date, or is there some other paperwork for that? Thanks in advance.
  7. Hello all. Want to first thank everyone for helping. The information we have received from you all has been incredibly helpful. My dearest husband just received his award letter and the representative forgot to add in two of his disabilities related to his back into the overall rating. He has been recieving these two benefits for several years now and neither of them were mentioned or addressed in his award letter. It simply looks like the VA rep. made a mistake. What should we do and how long does it take to fix a mistake like this? Any ideas?
  8. After the denial of my PTSD claim, I received a poorly written canned form letter, hap haphazardly pointing to all the reasons for the denial. Some of the reasons were used several times in the same letter, as if it had but cut and pasted from some master document of denial reasons. The letter contained numerous errors, eg; No sudden request duty assignment change, lay statements from family, service members, deterioration on work performance, behavioral changes, excessive leave, changes in your performance without explanation ...bla bla bla. Well, that's total BS, I provided detailed statements from my wife, father, mother, daughters and the Lt. Colonel of the unit I was assigned to during the assault, all detailing deterioration my work performance, behavioral changes, I provided documentation that I applied had for and was rejected a transfer to another unit, and also applied for and was approved for terminal leave. However, the letter did clearly state, "VA evidence shows a medical diagnosis of of PTSD, pursuant to the criteria in DSM-V." Anyway, I thought it may be helpful to get a hold of my C-File regarding the claim to review what was actually considered rather than what the denial form letter stated. I thought by doing so, this would allow me to better address those points and any other incorrect information in the original decision that could potentially be used in developing my appeal. I submitted the FOIA request about ten months ago, and it remains in the collection evidence stage with a completion estimated date of over a year. Interestingly, Ebenefits lists; "Requested Documents are Past Due". After contacting "Peggy, this is not actually the case and they were not missing anything regarding my FOIA request. Is it normal for this FOIA request process take so long? Thank you
  9. so my question is about time frame of appeal status. i understand that you have 1 year from decision to file a NOD. Please follow chronology: Nov. 2009 STRs are found after 5 years and initial grant of SC Awarded. February 2010 Boston Varo gets letter that Vet no longer lives at address on file please send to San Diego VARO. March 2010 San Diego VARO sets up a C + P for increase of the New Awarded SC. September 2010 Decision mailed and vet replied/sent NOD. December 2010 San Diego VARO sends letter saying that because of records recent found they are going to do an in house dro. Aug 2011 denied. Aug 2011 vet sends another nod with new and material evidence. Feb 2012 Varo sends denial again and says they are denying a reopend claim.... no mention of my appeal status may 2012 Vet asks for clarification and sends another nod. may 2013 Varo sends denial of reopend claim again and no mention of it being on appeal. Sept 2013 Form 9 is Signed and off to the BVA Aug 2017 BVA decision. so, was i always in appeal status or ?
  10. I filed a NOD for being granted 0% for a foot condition on 3/07/2017 and opted to not have a disposition instead I provided medical evidence. I provided this evidence and was required to have a C&P exam. I went to this exam on 07/21/2017 and the doctor went through the DBQ. Today I check eBenifits to see that my appeal went from Appeal received to Appeal Pending - Statement of the Case (SOC) "VA has received your Form 9 and will begin completing final actions regarding your appeal before it is sent to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals." and I have now have an open claim that gives the status of Pending decision approval. I know SOCs are not always the best thing to get, am I getting denied again?
  11. Hello I filed for IU in 2014 and it was denied I received the SOC which stated they denied me due to form 21-8940 and the examiner stated my condition had gotten worse but on the DBQ for occupational and social impairment section checked off the symptoms of someone that would only be rated at 30%. I am rated at 70% for MDD. I wrote to the RO that the DBQ was inadequate and should not be used to rate my claim. I submitted the form 8940 & a doctor's note from my treating doctor stating my condition was at least likely due to my unemployability & other supporting evidence from employers. My question is I submitted the Form 9 before I gathered all of this evidence and it is still at the RO and they are reviewing the evidence. When I called the 800# for the status they said the status of the Form 9 was in Prep for decision phase/Ready to rate. Is this information correct? Does that mean that they are making a decision on the appeal? Or the IU claim? I'm kind of confused at this point.
  12. Hi everyone, I have two questions: I`m receiving a 20% compensation for hypertensive vascular disease (1) Recently received another decision by the VA and am curious about the wording of the decision in the last paragraph. What We Decided We made the following decision(s)........ We reviewed the evidence received and determined your service-connected condition(s) hasn't`t/haven`t increased in severity sufficiently to warrant a higher evaluation." NOTE: If you wish to claim service connection for an eye condition as secondary to your hypertension, please submit a claim on a standard form." I was wondering if the rating was trying to hint to a compensable eye injury that i could claim? (2) On another C&P, the NP filled out the DBQ and answered the question: 3. Renal dysfunction b. Does the Veteran have any signs or symptoms due to renal dysfunction? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, check all that apply: [X] Proteinuria (albuminuria) [X] Constant c. Does the Veteran have hypertension and/or heart disease due to renal dysfunction or caused by any kidney condition? [ ] Yes [X] No In my VA treatment records there is evidence of 20% disability for hypertensive vascular disease, left ventricular hypertrophy, "Hypertension with nephropathy - poorly controlled." Am I interpreting the question incorrectly ( c. Does the Veteran have hypertension and/or heart disease due to renal dysfunction or caused by any kidney condition?) to mean: Is there other renal dysfunctions caused by CKD? And should the NP have checked "YES" to that question? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
  13. In July 2016, I filed for a disability claim. I have been out for over 20 years, it was not until I was refinancing my home last summer that I was told that I could still apply for disability compensation for my shoulder. So I waited over 20 years to make a claim. My military medical records show that I had a major shoulder surgery while on active duty. In October 2016, my claim was denied based on no service condition and not chronic. Prior to the denial, I was never offered an C&P exam. I timely appealed in January 2017. My appeal included a medical record to demonstrate the current disability and I requested a C&P exam. Today (June 2017 - about five months since my appeal was filed), ebenefits states that the status of my claim is "preparing for a decision." I know, that means I should get something in the mail soon enough, but the curiosity in me wants to know sooner versus later. Based on everything I have read on the boards, five months is too quick for any decision to be made by the VA appeals/DRO. (If it matters, I am in Phoenix). My question is a procedural question: If a C&P is ordered, would it be preparing for a decision before the actual exam? Does preparing for a decision automatically mean that the DRO/Appeal has been denied? Or does preparing for a decision reflect that a C&P is ordered? Follow up: If a C&P is ordered, does it stay in DRO or go back to regular claims track (which are supposed to be quicker?). Finally, how long after preparing for decision should I receive some notice from the VA? Can I call the VA and will they tell me what the status is?
  14. I have been reading here for a very long time and posted a few times as well. My question is I thought the BVA was the last step of my appeal. As many of you know I was wrong. Now here is where I (think) I am. BVA approved my claim I received a letter stating that fact. The BVA returned my claim to my state RO. Now the best I can tell is the RO has completed the rating and dating portion. Can someone tell me where is the next "approval" step takes place. I have an attorney and have been advised things are going well. Over ten years and I should have built some patents right? Oh no not me I recall every day of this, what ever it is, has taken. Each birthday, Christmas, New Years day, Thanksgiving day, and all of it. The fact that the day would be better if I could have closure with this issue. The money has nothing to do with it any more. I am use to being with out so much it matters not. Never thought I would have gotten to this point of numbness. I came here today to thank all of you here. The name of "here" has changed of coarse, but not the minded patriots that have formed an invaluable asset for people like myself. I came here many times just to gain hope when it was looking very dark.. So thank you all for your support over the years. I hope to be able to put my VA claim issue to rest. I may return here from time to time I hope so. One day maybe what I have been through will help someone. Again you the core of this asset thankyou is all I can say. sorry if I have rambled here. Bitter sweet comes to mind when I think I no longer will need what is so gracefully dispensed here for those of use in need. I almost forgot. Where has my claim gone? I have to do this. How long will it take before I get my final award? sorry lol Humbly yours
  15. My appeal to the veterans court in Washington DC has recently been assigned to a panel for a decision. It was initially assigned to a judge now it's been ordered to a panel? What does this mean for my case? Will this now be much longer of a wait? Is it a good sign or a bad sign? Any insight would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Joe
  16. Ok folks, In the midst of researching attorneys to replace my VSO, I got a call from the VSO who was working/not working on my claims. He wanted to get a few more details to work up his Form 646. After a week of speaking back and forth with him, he came to the conclusion that the VA had not reviewed several medical reports, including some of my active duty USAF medical records. (If the VSO would have woke up years ago, and saw that, maybe I would not have had to scream from the mountain tops for the past few years.) I know that it has been my fault all along though for keeping the VSO there. Meanwhile, I get a call from the Houston VARO, who wants to discuss a couple of my FOIA requests for the curriculum vitae of the C&P nurse practitioner and family practice doctor (who from a Google search is actually a Family Practice guy who specializes in collagen and beauty cream treatments in Florida.) They also wanted to discuss my FOIA request for the complete bloodwork lab results and x-ray reports from my last QTC C&P examination (with the collagen guy). The thing they wanted to "discuss" is that they can't seem to obtain the curriculum vitae for either medical practitioner, one from Veterans Evaluation Services and the other the QTC Collagen King. They also wanted to discuss that they can't seem to find the bloodwork lab results, nor the x-rays (and x-ray report), which were all done at the same QTC location near Fort Polk, Louisiana at the same time as the C&P, even though "some of the information" is actually described in the C&P report, which was half completed, with no "rationale" filled in, and excerpts of my time in the Army, although I have never served in the Army, and have always been USAF riff raff. Meanwhile, my VSO guy calls back and says that he will send me my Form 646, and recommended a DRO hearing, and that I request one in writing, so I did. I'm also still kicking myself for still riding this VSO wave, when I should have pulled the ripcord and hired an attorney early on as about 90% of you recommended (and I'm still looking into it). I send one to Janesville in writing. I wait. I wait. I wait. Then I take a chance and call the Houston VARO back and request an update on everything. They tell me they will call me back. I wait. I wait. Then, they do call back and let me know they are still having trouble retrieving records, but that they received my request for a DRO hearing, and that they will forward the request on, warning me that it could be a year or more, and that they are still having hearings from requests from cases filed in 2008. I tell them that I filed mine in 2010, but I'll keep riding the wave. While this is happening, I get a letter from the VA stating that they have addressed one outstanding NOD regarding my dependents, siding with me. So I go back to waiting on the DRO Hearing notice. I wait. I wait. I wait. Then I call back. They say that the hearing request has been submitted, but cautioned that the wait time is still tremendous, and that if I wanted to, I could let them know that I would waive the hearing, and they would get me back on track for the BVA certification, which is still forever away also. I thought it over for about 5 seconds, and said no, I think I'll stand by my DRO hearing request. They seemed disappointed, and once again cautioned it could take months to years. I said it's already been like six and a half, so let the dice keep rolling. We parted ways with them saying that they would let "them" know that I still wanted a hearing, and that I could call back in a few months to check out the status of the request. I said thanks, and they gave me the usual sigh and "Thank you for your service." Such a tender moment. Then three....yes, THREE days later, I get a letter from the VA stating that a VA DRO Hearing has been scheduled for June 6th. I called the MIA VSO to ask him about the hearing, and to see what I needed. He was surprised, pulled me up on the computer, and acknowledged that he saw it too, still surprised, and advised that I need to wear a tie and show up an hour early to visit with him. I plan to be there, and will bring my medical records (hopefully orderly), and see what happens. Any advice on what to do? What not to do? What a ride! Mark
  17. Hello, I am rated 70% for Major Depression Disorder. I filed for IU and was denied. I filed an appeal and chose a BVA hearing. I was recently sent a letter for a C&P exam. LOL....sorry a little ADD also lost my thought and forgot to return to finish the question. I did go to the exam they used it to deny me even though the examiner said my symptoms had worsened. I am currently in appeal. Thanks for the input:)
  18. My appeal to have my OSA service connected rating back dated to my original claim was completed in December. I've waited for the letter, but nothing. Just today I noticed that my effective date for the service connection on the OSA has actually been changed to 2004. I'm still waiting for the letter, but does that mean I'll receive back pay? I filed my initial claim two months after leaving active duty in 2004. The VA denied service connection because they did not have all of the information. I re-submitted for the OSA service connection, which they agreed was service connected but the effective date was 2014. I filed the appeal/NOD back in 2015 and it just now finished. Old effective date was 2014. New effective date is 2004. Will I get retro pay?
  19. I recently submitted a claim, 09/28/16, for IBS (presumptive to Gulf WAR) and dysthymic disorder. Had C&P exam on 11/16/16 and EBenifits shows Claim Complete on 12/24/16. Received BBE on 01/02/17 only addressing dysthymic disorder (Denied, not SC). There was no mention of IBS and it does not show up at all in my Ebenefits. I should note that C&P exam results clearly note my IBS and referenced my Gulf War Service. Called 1-800 # on 01/02/17 and was informed information on IBS was mailed on 12/21/16 and had to wait 10 days to request copy. Called 1800# yesterday and the woman informed me that I was given incorrect information about the IBS decision being mailed on 12/21/16. She then went into what I will describe as a more technical mode, informing me that she was a VA employee authorized to give and receive claim info. something along those lines. She told me I would have to file an appeal to have it looked at again ( I have no decision to appeal). She then informed me that my best bet would be to file the IBS claim again but this time as secondary to my currently rated GERD. She stressed this strongly and would not answer any of my questions, stating it was my choice to appeal or re=file as secondary. It appeard she was trying to help me out by stressing the Secondary method, but she was very vague and suggested it was the consensus among who she was conversing while I was on hold that I undertake the Secondary path. My questions are does anyone know what occured here? Why was I not notified of a decision either way on IBS? I thought IBS was Presumptive! Is Secondary the best path?
  20. ok so.... little more news about docket #s so when you file your form9 not your nod date not your claim date... its the date you file your form9 for appeal at bva.. not your dro , the bva. then it starts time. i dont mean to sound this way but so much he said she said on here.... the date you sign the form 9 and it is put through the checklists is the day you get a docket. this docket is not disclosed to you the veteran because you probably have an issue with it. thats another point but,.,,, so if you have a few different appeals going and your newest appeal has yet to get a formal form9 then the bva mysteriously is allowed to give you a docket year of the last one. no matter if the others are older... if they roll all into one then you get the last date. some might say who have royalty payments... well its because they are contentions close to each other...FALSE .... EARS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ANKLES...... HANDS HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH ERECTIONS....... ANYWAY..... GET IN ON THE DISAGREEMENTS OF THE DOCKET RULES AND FIGHT.... ITS ABOUT US BUT ALSO THE ONES TO COME.....
  21. MAYBE CUE?

    I GOT AN INTERESTING ONE. SO A RECENT FOIA RESPONSE SHOWS A QTC EXAM REQUEST WRITTEN BY THE SAN DIEGO RO. IN THIS LETTER TO THE DR. IT STATES THIS.... PLEASE EVALUATE THIS BILATERAL HIP CONDITION FOR AGGRAVATION OF A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION. THIS BILATERAL HIP CONDITION IS CLEARLY A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION. THE QTC COMES BACK AND SAYS " THIS IS NOT A PRE-EXISTING CONDITION. THERE IS NO PROOF OR MEDICAL EVIDENCE, OPINION SHOWING ANYTHING REGARDING THE OTHER HIP ONLY THE PRE SERVICE CONDITION OF THE ONE HIP" IVE ALWAYS WRITTEN ABOUT THIS IN MY NODS...
  22. i see a lot of things on line regarding time frame. most start with the word NOD,,,, well im trying to get a real conversation on time frame. im not asking about returns to bva or when your appeal started,, i know that info.... MY QUESTION IS,,, ONCE YOU MET THE JUDGE IN DC AND DISCUSSED YOUR CASE AND HE SAID THATS THAT,, NOW WAIT FOR MY DECISION,,,,,, HOW LONG IS NORMAL..... HOW LONG IS NORMAL TO WAIT FOR A JUDGE TO MAKE A DECISION ON A CASE HE HAS PRECIDED OVER?
  23. I received my VA disability claim decisions (one service-connected at 0% and the rest denied). In review, of VA's "breakdown " of making their decision on my denied disabilities, I noticed two disabilities had the following remarks: "Service treatment records show that _______ manifested while in the service." I mentioned these conditions based on my VA and private medical records, but was surprised, that it was mentioned in my service records. I "combed" through my service treatment records but cannot find such entries. One of my questions, where in my service records did they find these existing conditions? I am going to appeal, but can I as a Veteran, have access to the VA's examiners decisions or can they reveal where these conditions are located in my service records?
  24. Greetings all, This is my first post after looking for similar situations. My C&P exam for spine issues was in June and it seemed favorable until an addendum was made this month which turned everything around. They denied my claim for aggravated spine issues and had inaccurate information stating my condition didn't progress until after service. Is the best way to go about this by filing an appeal or by making a new claim for low back pain?
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