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Found 9 results

  1. I filed a claim for Sleep Apnea secondary to my PTSD, which is service connected. I have been diagnosed from the VA as having sleep apnea, and given a CPAP to wear at night. I used Carpenter Chartered Law Firm to do the claim, but got this denial letter (attached is an excerpt). In it, it says "In the absence of other major risk factors such as obesity it would be reasonable to attribute OSA to PTSD as this is considered a risk factor for OSA from uptodate.com". My thought is that if both obesity and PTSD are considered risk factors, shouldn't it be a 50% chance that it could be either obesity or PTSD, and go to the veteran's favor? And doesn't that mean that attributing OSA to obesity is just as speculative as attributing it to my PTSD? I had Carpenter Chartered start an appeal, so I am hopeful to get it approved.
  2. I submitted a claim to service connect my diabetes mellitus II because my doctor never diagnosed my diabetes. I found out I was diabetic when I went to an urgent care and they did lab work and found my blood glucose over 400, A1c 13.4. I was transported to a local hospital by ambulance and spent 2 days in ICU and another day on the regular floor. I was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidosis with acute kidney injury on May 19, 2019. I found note in my medical records where it said I was prediabetic on 9 Apr 2018, I don't remember ever having a conversation with my doctor telling me I was prediabetic. My A1c was 6.0 and blood glucose was 143. My A1c was never checked again in that whole year and I had blood glucose readings on 6/25/2018 (103), 10/10/2018 (186) and 3/20/2019 (285), I didn't know about these elevated numbers until I looked thru my records when I was filing my claim. My doctor never contacted me about them. I now know I was getting sick when I had the 285 reading. I had diabetes at this point. Let me also mention I had other risk factors: obesity, family history, age, race, inactive lifestyle, high blood pressure and high cholesterol all of which is documented in my records. She also has been my doctor for over 2 years at that point. I sent her a secure message complaining I was losing weight and feeling dizzy, unsteady on my feet, pins/needles in my feet. She sent a message back saying it probably was because I was a picky eater (I told her this before) and that I was taking topiramate for headaches. My claim keeps getting denied. Is this a winnable claim?
  3. Hello, My claim is being denied over and over again since 2009 and the VA states it is due to my OTH Discharge . Here is a rundown of the claim, Bars to benefits per the VA: 1. AWOL more than 180 days 2. Acceptance of OTH discharge in-lieu of General Court Martial. VA states no records indicate insanity at time of offense, nor compelling circumstances. I recently was made aware my mental health records from Fort Bragg do exist but for 12 years I was told they don't. Someone eventually informed me after countless calls that they do exist and cannot be released to me because of the sensitive information within and might me attempt suicide? I filled the supplemental claim October 28, 2019 with 4 "buddy statements", gave specific locations of these "clinical inpatient records from Fort Bragg", listed my current mental health treatment records from 2012 to 2019 and I am now seeing a VA psychiatrist at the mental health clinic in Tampa, FL 2019 to 2020. VA closed the supplemental claim Novemeber 20, 2019 after 23 days. Called and requested a informal hearing via telephone with ST. Petersburg Florida RO, called 800-827-1000 and a represenative filled out VA Form 27-0820 on my behalf. Mysteriously the same supplemental claim "reopened" on VA.GOV Website and after speaking with a "Assistant Coach" as the man claimed he literally said my claim had no hope and to just give up cause your service is dishonorable. VA closed supplemental claim again December 13, 2019. Fast forward to February 2020 and behold my long awaited clinical inpatient records from Fort Bragg arrive, My period of treatment was from August 1998 to February 1999, the records I got covered only November 1998 to February 1999. I was excited because I finally had the silver bullet and my records proved I had 9 different diagnoses, 52 days in the WOMAC Psych ward at Fort Bragg. Plus I was awaiting for a bed at medical holdover for a Physical Evaluation Board to wrap up my medical discharge. Filed Supplemental claim March 10, 2020 with a clear and concise case that I was insane at the time of offense and 13 days later on March 23, 2020 claim closed again but here is the kicker they once again reopened the October 28, 2019 claim and as of yesterday March 31, 2020 they closed it again. After speaking with a VSO who called on my behalf to inquire the reason, and no surprise it was the character of my service and once again they denied me even though I provided a legal brief that I learned how to write so they could understand every statue and regulation that applies to my claim. Lastly, here is one more point I applied for a VA home Loan certificate and was denied which I knew I would be but wanted the character of service determination and I got the letter stating my character of service is sufficient for VA purposes, so go figure? If anyone can please help me here I would greatly appreciate it, I am exhausted from staying up every night reading statues and VA regulations, I am about at the end of my rope. Sincerely, yours Frankie I.
  4. Hello Hadit Helpers, I feel like I am stumbling around blind. I hope someone can help me see. I was service connected in 2011 severe anxiety due to mst and a bladder condition. I have not had gainful employment since ETSing in 2004. I was re-evaluated for an increase and received an overall 70 - 40 -10 but started being payed at 80% in 2016. In June of 2019 I applied for TDIU. I hit the make a decision now button on ebenefits, which was like shooting my own foot for lack of patience, not realizing that this meant the VA could not request any further info from me. In August I was denied, and obtained an attorney. The attorney took over and ebenefits is showing the privacy act starting on October 4th and my claim is now in the evidence gathering/decision making process. Estimated end date of April 2020, the attorney says 3 years, but I know there are new systems in place to make things move a little quicker. I am looking for any information that you all would have about what is actually happening. I don't know if this is a NOD or what. My case manager acts like I am a major pain and won't give me any info and I fear she has no idea what she is actually doing. =( I assume it is not an actual appeal yet, because my case manager said they would have to wait for my c-file before they would appeal on the next denial from the VA. I am so confused, If any of you experts could find the time to help me I would greatly appreciate it. I have always dealt with the VA on my own with no previous denials, but never fully understood what I was doing. I thought hiring an attorney would change this, but I still feel just as blind as before.
  5. I filed a claim in october of 2018 for ptsd and TDIU, long story short I tried to do everything myself and didn't have the proper diagnosis so I was service connected for anxiety based on having a medical marijuana card diagnosis for anxiety but the rating was 30% and I much worse off then that. So I obtained a referral from the va to a fancy psychiatrist from the university of north florida's behavior health department and was diagnosed with ptsd, bi polar 1 and panic disorder. I used this new medical evidence as my supplemental claim evidence and filed it April 16, 2019 after receiving my letter March 20, 2019. My claim is now at Pending Decision Approval with an estimated completion date of july 2, 2019 which is super fast from all I have read. My question is, Am I going to be awarded tdiu with the evidence I submitted if they adjust me up to 70% which I think it will . Or if they award 70% for ptsd on this new supplemental claim will i have to re-apply for tdiu again? Or would that all be considered in the final review of the entire claim? Thanks for any help. 1-22 1BCT 4th I.D. "Regulars by God"
  6. 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
  7. I've been having issues for years but didn't even realize for a long time they were related to my time in service (88-92). I just pushed the feelings down deep inside and avoided thinking about it. When I finally went to a civilian Dr for my depression back in 2003/2004 I was put on every drug available but nothing worked for long. When I lost my job and went back to school to get an associates degree I had to find a way to continue treatment so i started going to the VA. Problem is while I would sometimes be honest with my Dr about how I was feeling, other times I would deny currently suffering. I didn't want to appear weak, especially if it was a woman treating me. I know that my fault, partly because of how I was raised and partly due to my time in the Marines. Depending on who saw me, their DX differed. My primary care Dr and a social worker suspected PTSD, but the Psychiatrists DX was MDD and SAD. Finally after I graduated college and started a new job I lost the ability to cope and had trouble concentrating and handling the stress. I was let go and spiraled out of control. For the past 3 years now I havn't worked and I only leave my house every couple weeks to buy groceries late at night or to visit my Dr at the VA (if I don't end up canceling or missing my appt due to feeling sick at the thought of leaving the house). I finally decided to apply for compensation as my family who has been supporting me has reached their financial limit. I hoped for the best as I now know I really have a horrible problem and need help to survive and not end up under a bridge somewhere. I will post the C & P examiners exam results now and hope someone can find something to help me with my next step. Also he references several other mental health evaluations. I will post those as replys to myself as this is going to be a LONG post. I will only be editing out my and the examiners name, everything else I will leave in. I know now I can't get help if I leave out information. Thank you for any advice in advance. Semper Fi Initial Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Disability Benefits Questionnaire SECTION I: ---------- 1. Diagnostic Summary --------------------- Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD that conforms to DSM-5 criteria based on today's evaluation? [ ] Yes [X] No If no diagnosis of PTSD, check all that apply: [X] Veteran's symptoms do not meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD under DSM-5 criteria [X] Veteran has another Mental Disorder diagnosis. Continue to complete this Questionnaire and/or the Eating Disorder Questionnaire: 2. Current Diagnoses -------------------- a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Major Depressive Disorder ICD code: F33.1 Comments, if any: Less likely than not due to, caused by, or incurred during military service. Military records indicate no treatment for this condition and discharge physical exam indicated no mental health problems. The veteran did not have any mental health treatment until many years after military service. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Social Anxiety Disorder ICD code: F40.10 Comments, if any: Less likely than not due to, caused by, or incurred during military service. Military records indicate no treatment for this condition and discharge physical exam indicated no mental health problems. The veteran did not have any mental health treatment until many years after military service. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #3: Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) ICD code: F90.0 Comments, if any: Less likely than not due to, caused by, or incurred during military service. Military records indicate no treatment for this condition and discharge physical exam indicated no mental health problems. The veteran did not have any mental health treatment until many years after military service. Furthermore, ADHD, by its very definition and nature, begins in childhood, and his not caused by any external events. b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the Mental Health Disorder (to include TBI): GERD, history of headaches, history of neck pain 3. Differentiation of symptoms ------------------------------ a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed? [X] Yes [ ] No b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to each diagnosis? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A) If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate what portion of each symptom is attributable to each diagnosis and discuss whether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses: Due to symptom overlap and multidirectional interactions among the disorders. c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not shown in records reviewed 4. Occupational and social impairment ------------------------------------- a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of occupational and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check only one) [X] Occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking and/or mood b. For the indicated level of occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by each mental disorder? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] No other mental disorder has been diagnosed If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate what portion of the indicated level of occupational and social impairment is attributable to each diagnosis: Due to symptom overlap and multidirectional interactions among the disorders. c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by the TBI? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] No diagnosis of TBI SECTION II: ----------- Clinical Findings: ------------------ 1. Evidence Review ------------------ Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) [X] CPRS [X] Other (please identify other evidence reviewed): The vet brought a copy of his recent Statement in support of claim which was on his smart phone screen. This examiner reviewed that. It had not been submitted yet to the Regional office. The veteran also brought in a wooden plaque with a Marine Corps Meritorious Mast award on it dated 12/14/1989 indicating that he was involved in capturing an intruder on their base in the Philippines as part of their patrol. 2. History ---------- a. Relevant Social/Marital/Family history (pre-military, military, and post-military): This veteran has had a number of past mental health evaluations here at the VA. Please see the 12/16/2011 psychology evaluation, the 4/272012 psychiatry intake, and the 10/17/2016 psychology mental health treatment plan for details of his history. The veteran is 47 and is divorced since 2001 (past records noted above suggest this seems to have had little to do with his mental health issues). His last relationship ended in 2012 he reported today that she apparently had another man already lined up, as she was dating him just a couple days after they broke up. He reported no current/recent relationship. He reported he really has not been getting out much at all - says he does not like himself and reported he worries others will judge and talk about him. He says he is watchful and on guard for others' negative evaluations. He resides alone, with his small dog. Mother and brother are 2 hours away in XXXXXXX. He has little contact, avoiding her alot and her possible questions about his job hunt. He used to play some online gaming and still does, but only occasionally. No groups, clubs, organizations or church. No close individual friends. He reported no other recreation/leisure. He says he sleeps on the couch since his relationship breakup about 5 years ago, as the bed reminds him of her. He says his sleep schedule is widely varied and he will do alot of daytime sleeping, watches some TV. He only rarely goes to the store and does so late at night so as to avoid other people and their perceived judgement. He reports he has had little motivation to attend to household tasks and becomes easily overwhelmed and thus avoids or procrastinates. As a result, he reports there are many empty grocery bags laying around, and he simply piles the mail on the kitchen table. Part of that may also be due to avoiding what might be in the mail. He reports he keeps phone ringer off so as to avoid contact from the bill collectors. He says he owes $50,000 in school loans and years ago put $20,000 of his girlfriend's school loans on his credit card and cannot pay fully. It seems his attempt at coping is through avoidance, which then adds to the problems he has. MILITARY: The veteran enlisted into the Marine Corps and served August 1988 to August 1992. He rose to an E4 rank and had an honorable discharge. He served time both in the Philippines and in the Persian Gulf during the Desert storm/desert shield.. His MOS was mortars. His statement in support of claim seen on his cell phone screen today listed two events, one of which he reported occurred in the Philippines in May 1990. He says he and his girlfriend at the time work in the marketplace and then went to a bar down the street. Not too long afterwards, he and others in the bar found out that two airman had been shot in the market area where he had been not long before. This examiner notes that while this could be an upsetting or shocking bit of information to find out, the veteran did not experience any actual trauma. He did not witness the shooting and was not even aware of it until being told shortly after it occurred. The second incident he reported was from February 1991 in Kuwait and reported that they took small arms fire at one point and also took enemy mortar fire and they were in a mortar battle. He felt the enemy mortars were getting closer, as close as 50 yards away, until the enemy position was neutralized. This event would meet DSM?five trauma criteria for PTSD. Other VA notes also refer to the veteran being next to a man who almost committed suicide, but a sergeant apparently prevented it. This would also not meet trauma criteria as nothing actually happened. There was no trauma witnessed, and the veteran himself was not in significant threat. The veteran today said he really wanted to have a career in the USMC, but also noted that the reason he actually got out was due to a Reduction In Force at that time. b. Relevant Occupational and Educational history (pre-military, military, and post-military): This veteran has had a number of past mental health evaluations here at the VA. Please see the 12/16/2011 psychology evaluation, the 4/272012 psychiatry intake, and the 10/17/2016 psychology mental health treatment plan for details of his history. Vet reported today that he has had mental health treatment in the private sector starting about 2003/2004 regarding ADHD and was placed on Adderal as well as a number of antidepressants. He started here at the VAMC in 2011, dealing with issues of ADHD, Depression and Anxiety (particularly Social Anxiety). He has seen psychiatry, psychology and social work at various times since then, up until the preseent. He also had Neuropsychological testing on 10/14/2011 regarding an ADHD eval. Psychiatry records indicate medication has not been all that effective regarding his depression and social anxiety. He currently is treated with Adderal for ADHD and recently was (re)started on escitalopram. He has also been in and out of psychotherapy for the above conditions. This examiner notes that the previous evaluations noted above assessed for PTSD but indicated he did not meet criteria. Those evaluations also indicated that the veteran's depression condition really worsened in recent years following the breakup of his long-term relationship about five or six years ago, though a little bit before that there was some increased depression. Furthermore, those evaluations also indicate the veteran has felt that he always has tended to be rather anxious and depressed with low self-esteem. The records indicate a history of a very strict and harsh, verbally abusive, father as well as a history of being bullied in school, though did not get any mental health services. Curiously, VA social work notes from more recent times such as 5/18/2017, seem to describe the social anxiety as being caused by or started in the military, related to harsh treatment by a corporal. This is not likely accurate given the previous treatment notes described in the first paragraph above that indicate a long history of this type of feeling even in his youth, as well as more recent onset/worsening of symptoms just a few years ago following the relationship breakup. d. Relevant Legal and Behavioral history (pre-military, military, and post-military): This veteran has had a number of past mental health evaluations here at the VA. Please see the 12/16/2011 psychology evaluation, the 4/272012 psychiatry intake, and the 10/17/2016 psychology mental health treatment plan for details of his history. None e. Relevant Substance abuse history (pre-military, military, and post-military): This veteran has had a number of past mental health evaluations here at the VA. Please see the 12/16/2011 psychology evaluation, the 4/272012 psychiatry intake, and the 10/17/2016 psychology mental health treatment plan for details of his history. None. f. Other, if any: n/a 3. Stressors ------------ Describe one or more specific stressor event(s) the Veteran considers traumatic (may be pre-military, military, or post-military): a. Stressor #1: Small arms fire and mortar battle in Gulf War Does this stressor meet Criterion A (i.e., is it adequate to support the diagnosis of PTSD)? [X] Yes [ ] No Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military or terrorist activity? [X] Yes [ ] No Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma? [ ] Yes [X] No 4. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria --------------------------- Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis. Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criterion A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other things should be noted under #7 - Other symptoms. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, referred to as Criterion A-H, are from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury, c) sexual violence, in one or more of the following ways: [X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s) [X] Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event(s) as they occurred to others Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred: [X] No criterion in this section met. Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following: [X] No criterion in this section met. Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] No criterion in this section met. Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] No criterion in this section met. Criterion F: [X] No criterion in this section met. Criterion G: [X] No criterion in this section met. Criterion H: [X] No criterion in this section met. Criterion I: Which stressor(s) contributed to the Veteran's PTSD diagnosis?: No response provided. 5. Symptoms ----------- For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses: [X] Depressed mood [X] Anxiety [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work or a worklike setting 6. Behavioral Observations -------------------------- The veteran's affect was broad, though mood appeared dysphoric and anxious. He was quite talkative and animated at times. He was polite and cooperative. Eye contact and behavior were normal. 7. Other symptoms ----------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other mental disorders) that are not listed above? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe: The veteran has a history of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), inattentive type. Please see the DSM?five as well as the neuropsychological testing from 10/14/2011 for details of such symptoms. 8. Competency ------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes [ ] No 9. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any -------------------------------------------------- The exam request form states/asks: "Exams on this request: DBQ INITIAL PTSD ** Status of request: Pending, reported to MAS -------------------------------------------------------------------------- ------ DBQ PSYCH PTSD Initial _________________________________________________________________________ The following contentions need to be examined: PTSD Active duty service dates: Branch: Marine Corps EOD: 08/02/1988 RAD: 08/01/1992 DBQ PSYCH PTSD Initial: Please review the Veteran's electronic folder in VBMS and state that it was reviewed in your report. MEDICAL OPINION REQUEST TYPE OF MEDICAL OPINION REQUESTED: Direct service connection OPINION: Direct service connection Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of (a) PTSD that is at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) incurred in or caused by (the) Combat Action Ribbon during service? Rationale must be provided in the appropriate section. Your review is not limited to the evidence identified on this request form, or tabbed in the claims folder. If an examination or additional testing is required, obtain them prior to rendering your opinion. POTENTIALLY RELEVANT EVIDENCE: NOTE: Your (examiner) review of the record is NOT restricted to the evidence listed below. This list is provided in an effort to assist the examiner in locating potentially relevant evidence. Tab A (DD Form 214 in VBMS): TAB A- CAR COMBAT ACTION RIBBON IN DESERT STORM AND DESERT SHIELD dated 06/27/2017 If more than one mental disorder is diagnosed please comment on their relationship to one another and, if possible, please state which symptoms are attributed to each disorder. If your examination determines that the Veteran does not have diagnosis of PTSD and you diagnose another mental disorder, please provide an opinion as to whether it is at least as likely as not that the Veteran's diagnosed mental disorder is a result of an in-service stressor related event." ------????????? As noted above, this veteran does not appear to meet criteria for PTSD, lacking sufficient number, frequency, and severity of symptoms to warrant such a diagnosis. The veteran does have depression and anxiety (mainly social anxiety) and ADHD conditions described above, though it is this examiner's opinion that they are less likely due to, caused by, or incurred during military service for the reasons noted above. Today, the veteran denied any delusions or hallucinations. There are no panic attacks and no OCD. He denied any suicidal or homicidal ideation. He says that he knows if he were ever to kill himself, it would hurt his mother significantly and he would did not want to do that. He does report frequently being in a low, sad and depressed mood. He reported crying spells, decreased hope, low self-esteem, feeling easily overwhelmed, feeling "stuck" and self critical. He described feeling depressed over various regrets he has in his life. He also reported a lot of anxiety. Some of this is regarding his current life situation including financial difficulties, though a lot also appears to be related to socially related anxiety feelings. He feels others judge and evaluate him in a negative manner. He feels he just does not measure up and worries when others are looking at him, that they are thinking negative thoughts or critical thoughts about him. This also creates not only emotional anxiety, but also physical symptoms such as nausea. Regarding PTSD issues, the veteran says he has sometimes dreamt that he is in the US Marine Corps but is out of shape. He reported no recent issues with any actual trauma related nightmares. He also says he has negatively dreamed recently about his most recent ex-girlfriend (from five years ago). The veteran did not describe upsetting intrusive trauma memories nor severe distress at any particular cues. The veteran does not appear to actually meet criteria for HYPERvigilance. He seemed to deny his issues with anxiety around people have to do with actual fear for his physical safety. This avoidance of people and public has to do more with worrying about their judging him. He reports when driving he is aware of other cars and where people are around him, though this does not appear to be related to trauma or represent any PTSD. The veteran seems to describe having no real set sleep schedule and he will go to sleep at widely varying times. He says he has some difficulty falling asleep but once he is asleep, he will sleep for as long as 12-16 hours. This may be related to his nonservice related anxiety/depression condition and his negative coping strategy of avoidance. NOTE: VA may request additional medical information, including additional examinations if necessary to complete VA's review of the Veteran's application. XXXXXXXXX XXXXXX, PhD Clinical Psychologist
  8. In June 2013 I was awarded SC Agent Orange IHD and PTSD claims with SMC (k) deferred. About a week before the $ hit the bank and the award letter, I had received a telephone call from a gentleman who I believe was the rater telling me that my claim was about to be finalized and was there anything I wanted to add. He told me what the %s and effective dates were going to be as well as the award of SMC (S) based on 100% + 60%. I agreed with the %s but not the IHD effective date, but he and several hadit members convinced me that I was wrong. This young man was polite professional, and appeared willing to spend as much time as necessary to resolve any outstanding issues I might have. Several months later, I received notice of a C&P exam for the deferred claim. I made the appointment, but when the C&P examiner saw that I had filed a FTCA claim 7 years earlier, she conferred with the C&P administrator and the two of them decided that they would "get in trouble with the RO for conducting a C&P exam with a possible "conflict of interest" involved. The day ended with denial of "temporary lodging" denied" and "travel pay" for 750 mile round trip denied because a C&P was not actually performed. I was informed that another exam at a different location would be arranged and I would be notified. Several weeks passed and I received a telephone call informing me that a new C&P was being arranged at a location that would require a 1300 mile round trip. I informed the caller that an unreimbursed 1300 mile trip would impose a major financial hardship on me and my family; and asked if a closer location couldn't be arranged. She informed me that she would check and get back to me. I heard nothing for several months. In June 2015, I received notice that the deferred claim had been denied because I had failed to appear for the 2nd C&P. The denial was dated January 9, 2015 but not received until early June 2015. Since all my VA calls are logged, recorded, transcribed and translated into Spanish, I was able to reach the "rater" immediately. He could not explain the use of the ancient address used for the C&P notice nor the delay between the actual denial and receipt of the denial award letter. However, he insisted on sending me a copy of 2nd C&P notice and the USPS "Return to sender" stamped envelope, which he did. As you can tell, I was really impressed with this guy's attitude and professionalism. It was real refreshing! So now as it sits, everything but the 2nd C&P notice was sent to the correct address (hasn't changed in 15 years!) and the denial was based solely on failure to appear. Well friends, what's my next step? File a NOD and get in line in the rapidly expanding "Appeals" backlog; IRIS a complaint and ask for a reconsideration; call Sen. McCain's office, or just say "Screw it" and wait for the next life? I was going to write to Allison, but that route is now gone with her resignation. Very interested in any suggestions! Semper Fi
  9. Just received letter from VARO denying claim for "Increased Compensation Based on Unemployability". The letter states: Did not submit VA-Form 21-8940 as evidence not received. I am very confused as I submitted the form via certified letter on 04/11/2012; I have the signed receipt of Varo receiving it. I submitted the form immediately after a DRO Hearing held a few days after the hearing. My question is? Are multiple (VA Form 21-8940) forms supposed to be submitted for claim process? If that is the case then I am in the dark. I thought one form to be sufficient for TDIU claim process. During hearing in April 2012 and upon reviewing evidence at hand RO recommended I go with TDIU claim due to PTSD condition and service connected injuries. My VSO thought her recommendation to be a good idea, so we filled out Form 21-8940 and submitted it. Since then everything is in disarray; I have been through additional C&P exams, 6 in total or should I say12 since C&P have been for PTSD and for service connected injuries. If additional forms for TDIU were to be submitted then I was ignorant of it. If that is the case then now I'm back to square one. Opinions regarding this issue are welcomed. Thanks. Jim
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