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Found 17 results

  1. Folks: I'm so thankful for the advice that I've received via the many experts from this board when I first filed my VA Claim. I learned a lot and the best thing I learned was that no one is going to care more about your claim than you do. At first, I was misguided and I relied on a VSO that was not really engaged, did not really care and seemed to only to want to "submit" the claim to get it on her books? But it was people like Berta, Asknod and several others of you that educated me to produce a solid claim that ended up at 90%. Anyway, now the second phase of my claim is to appeal 3 of the contentions, (Broken Big Toe, Broken Pinkle Finger and Severe Dry Inflammation-Blepharitis Eyes-as a result of injuries in service) that they did not originally service connect. Anyway, I filled out and sent in the form I9 with new evidence and asked for a DeNovo Review and a hearing. So, for about 4 months the appealed contentions were listed on ebenefits and I kept watching for a status update? Then, all of the sudden on ebenefits the general appeal continued to be listed but then the 3 contentions and their verbiage disappeared? So, I called the 1800 number and they said that a decision had already been made and I would be getting a from the VA within 6 - 9 months? I said, I thought at least that I was going to get a "personal hearing" to further support and defend my claim? Anyway, as I look at the ratings, the only change that I can see now that they have service connected my right foot - big toe trauma at 0% and that's it? Frankly, I guess my lesson learned now is that I should have just spent the extra money for brand new exams on all three contentions? Otherwise, it now look like I may have just wasted my time? I know that a new exam is considered the "gold standard" to challenge a claim but I felt as if I had enough solid evidence to get me over the top--but maybe not? 1. Anyway, my question is does the VA still owe me the DRO Hearing and/or can they just cancel it? 2. Can I still send my claim to the Appeals Board or is it considered resolved because a decision was already made? Good Luck and God Speed...
  2. Vets: I appears that the VA is proposing legislation that would require a Vet to first prove an incident occurred in service before a C & P Exam can be granted? I guess this would save the VA a pile of money from limiting CP exams and increasing the evidence standards. But, I can't help from thinking that trying to get the claims service connected would be much more difficult? I know that the American Legion, MOAA and the other Veterans Advocacy Groups are proving position papers today and there is congressional testimony starting today at 2:15 PM EST Today. From what I have seen so far during the testimony today, most don't support the change in the current legislation anyway. Rootbeer22
  3. Vets: I appears that the VA is proposing legislation that would require a Vet to prove an incident occurred in service first before a C & P Exam can be granted? I guess this would save the VA a pile of money from limiting CP exams but I can't help from thinking that trying to get the claims service connected would be much more difficult. I know that the MOAA and the other Veterans Advocacy Groups are providing position papers to congress VA Oversight Committees today and there is congressional testimony starting today at around 2:15 PM EST Today to review the proposed policies. Who knows, maybe congress will reject it? Rootbeer22
  4. Vets: Overall, I've had a bit of a frustrating journey as I've tried to ensure that the residual effects from an in service Tank Main Gun explosion early in my Army Tanker Career would at least be recorded and the effects on my body and mind be noted officially-in case I deteriorate more as I age. Back then they just did not have the TBI protocols that we have now over the last 2 wars. I've just turned 55 and have headaches, memory and cognitive issues that I've had every sense the explosion in the mid 1980's. Over the years, I've set up cleaver systems with notes and recording mechanisms so I can still function and cope with my daily activities. My son once said, "Dad, you have "notes" to tell you where your notes are at"? Over the years my memory has had very subtle changes. I've gotten to the point were I put everything in the car I need for work during the weekend, so I don't forget it Monday morning and forget these things like my ID Badge. I put notes next the coffee pot each evening before I go to bed, so I can check off what needs to be done. Anyway, I waited to file for TBI after my primary disability claim because I am terribly claustrophobic and that malady actually began right after the explosion. Actually, my rater commented about it on my A8 letter. However, the Anxiety of getting into and MRI and being completely covered in the "tube" is overwhelming for me. I did find an open MRI for my back and spine (only one like it in WA State) but failed the first time due to hyperventilating and the second time was so heavily sedated that I almost passed out? Over the years, I've cancelled numerous MRI's for various military related injuries because I could not get into the machine. I really doubt I could do it again? One theory is that the part of my brain that triggers those types of responses, may have been damaged during the explosion? I'm being treated now by the VA for the claustrophobia. Frankly, there's more to the story as I saw the aftermath of a soldier that was crushed by a tank and I can't get the image and experience out of my mind, even after all of these years. Anyway, to make a long story short, I was finally first sent into see a Psychiatrist for an interview and testing. After about an hour, he said that he could not make a decision by himself and that I needed more extensive testing by others. So, a week later, I took a CP Exam/Physical for my headaches, took a another hearing test (third one this year) and saw a psychologist to discuss my personnel relationships. The headache doc said that my records have covered the headache for years and they were mentioned on my retirement physical so he said they should have had enough evidence already? The psychologist said that my memory and cognitive issues are very pronounced as well. Anyway, lately, I've been reading the Hadit.Com TBI Forum to see how other Vets have been treated over the years with TBI and a lot of it seems a 50/50 proposition for the outcomes and each case is just so different that it's hard to predict any particular outcome? Like I told the Psychiatrist during my first interview, I knew that there were a lot of risks joining the Army and especially being on and around dangerous combat equipment (and can live with that) that is designed to kill and injure both friend and foe alike. However, if I deteriorate, I'd like for it to be recognized so I can be treated. No one in my family has ever had any of these issues before , and it is most likely to be service related then not. But that decision will be made by other folks that are more familiar with the process whom are in authority. Either way, I'll report back and let you all know the final outcome....
  5. Folks: I'm currently in the wait mode now for the outcome of my TBI and Headaches Exams. Frankly, without my wife pushing for years to get treated for my headaches, memory loss and claustrophobia issues, I would not have made the claim in the first place because of the "hassle" on Hadit.com that I've read about. I also did not want to talk to anyone about my issues because I did not want people to think less of me and my abilities? At first I tried to talk to someone at the VA to make an appointment at my local VA Hospital and get assessed for TBI and related issues. But, I pretty much got the run around at the start. Then a Vet friend said based upon the evidence in my service records that I should just to make a claim, then at least I would be send for a CP exam at some point and get movement? The exams were very intrusive which is something that I totally understand, but I'm not sure that I would do it over again given a choice? I realized now that I did not want to re-live the experiences that I had, so I suppressed them for many many years. Then my claustrophobia got so bad over the last few years that I knew I need help and I relented to see a doctor. At least 7 times over the years, I started to get into and MRi machine and cancelled at the last moment due to the effects of the claustrohphobia.The headache CP exam was really odd because the doctor when thru the DBQ questions but made me raise my arms and touch my point fingers to my nose which hurt. In an earlier CP exam for my shoulders I complained about the examiner making me push my shoulders upon beyond the point of pain and they did it once again. I know that if one complains, it may hurt the outcome of a claim, even if the vet is correct to do so. Sure, with enough pain meds you can endure a lot of extra pain and push way past the point of pain on any ROM measurement. Then as we were finished walking at the door, the Doctor said, something about rating me around 10% for my "cluster headaches" and concussion syndrome" and I've never had an examiner do that before which was very odd? I said, I just wanted to ensure that the records to be straight in my case, especially if I needed more treatment in the future. Consequently, I have an apt later today to discuss my claustrophobia. Anyway, my lesson learned is despite the outcome of the TBI assessment and headaches, etc. Frankly, I should have not let my pride get in the way and should have addressed it earlier during my career. That said, we were always taught in the Army to be mentally and physically to be tough and not show or share your pain with others. I do know that these things can become an issue for future jobs and opportunities in the service so I tried to avoid talking about these issues as best I could. Overall, I think I'll hear something in the next couple of months but I'm not very optimistic about the outcome from what I saw in the process... Rootbeer22
  6. Folks I recently learned that I was going to have to do a bunch of new exams just after I got my claim adjudicated at 80%. Today I called the VA because I have not heard anything for about 3 weeks about the exams. Anyway, the VA rep was very nice and said that they were all cancelled except for one. The one was for my right shoulder that was missed during the other regular CP exams. I had a previous exam with my shoulder that was done without regard to my pain and the ROM and the same nurse is now under investigation for bias now. After I complained, I was advised by a senior VA Doctor to write a statement of support for what happened to me and send it in with my claim. Anyway, the VA rep said that the VA is sending me a letter and are in prep for notification. The only thing on tap is my claim for TBI that I filed after my first claim and they never even sent me in for an exam and that may be it? Recently, they denied 6 of 7 deferred claims so I think they are just cleaning house to finish the second part of my claim. I recently had an ear test that was done improperly as well. 2 weeks later I had an exam and the ENT found the ear damage but the VA doc did not. Not sure what zips going on? Rootbeer22
  7. Folks: I've come to trust this forum and that's why I'm asking this question? A few days ago I got a new letter form the VA and it says to "Evaluate my "current" level of Disability"? Interestingly, my claim was just adjudicated to 80% last March and a all of my other claims were denied except one low ball for Cardiac Hypertensive Disease 10% which kept the percentage at 80%? Following, that decision, I put in for TBI that I had waited on for sometime. Also, I'll be 55 in January 2016 and I'm wondering if they want to try and lower my ratings before that point? Originally, I was scheduled for a re-evaluation in Sept 2017 which seemed reasonable but these new dates seem soon? I know that they can reorder this kind of thing at anytime. Also, I told some of you about my recent QTC experience were I went in for another ear explosion residual exam -and the QTC Dr said it "looked good to her" and denied SC... Well, then a month later I had one of my constant right ear infections & pain episodes,. and instead of going into a basic care clinic, I went to see a prominent ENT Dr. who said he could easily see the ear damage and inter ear scarring? The previous QTC doc spent about 4 minutes with me and the new ENT spent 45 minutes and was thorough and of course found something. So, has anyone recently had a similar experience or received a letter like this? Why would they want to do the exams over again? Thanks Rootbeer22
  8. Folks" Just got a letter form the VA saying that they are scheduling an exam with a contractor to determine my "current" level of disability? My claim was just adjudicated about 5 months ago and was set at 80%? Originally in the claim it said that I was due for a reevaluation during the end of 2017? This seems odd to me since I went thru 2 years of exams to get to were I'm at now. Has anyone received such a letter and if so, what the issue with this type of thing?
  9. Folks: Recently, the first part of my FDC claim was resolved in my favor 80% overall, and on the second part, almost all of the deferred contentions were denied summarily except for 1 Cardiac that was lowballed with missing information. Anyway, I was involved in a well documented & traumatic explosion in my Army career (the VA's words) and have suffered with right ear pain and infections for years. Both ear drums were confirmed blown out, a concussion and occasionally my right ear still bleeds. Fortunately, part of my claim is that I was service connected for bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus, in part validating the effects of the same explosion. Frankly, I was an Army Tanker so I was exposed to a lot of noise. Anyway, 30 days after my first FDC claim was decided this year, I was sent in for another CP exam for hearing and a right ear examination for residuals of the explosion. So, when I went to the Dr. Office, there were 12 others vets squeezed into a small office with no receptionist--because the Dr. is also the receptionist. There were medical files scattered all over and piled up everywhere and with very little real organization? Anyway, I still felt confident going into the CP Exam because my service medical records prove the explosion as well as my ongoing symptoms. So, when she finally saw me after almost 2 hours of waiting, she said, "I'm not really sure why you are here anyway? She said, Oh, Well, I guess I'll just do another hearing test? I said, "no, I just had one a couple of month;s ago." and have had 2 others recently--so what is the point? I said, "my claim is for right "ear damage and residuals of the Tank explosion". But, she still made me do the hearing test that just reconfirmed all of the other hearing tests outcomes? So, I then handed her the pre-examination sheet that showed what I go thru with 4-6 ear inflections a year and the ear medications that I take on a regular basis. We'll, she put me on the table, peeked and then touched my right ear drum and I almost launched off of the table to the ceiling due to the pain? She said, "besides, your significant ear pain, it looks good to me and no problems here, " which took a total of 5 minutes after almost a 2 hour wait? I said "Dr, I would not be here unless there was a problem, pain and infections and that's why I made this claim in the first place". Anyway, later, my service connection was denied which really surprised me for all of the ear pain suffering that I had been thru over the years and especially with my solid medical records, evidence and the symptoms? Anyway, it's been months and I did some research and found one of the best rated civilian ENT doctors in the Seattle Area to give me a second opinion. I did not tell the 2nd doctor about the first exam because I wanted it unbiased. So, I went in today and the 2nd Dr. and his staff did a very thorough professional examination for almost an hour total (nurse 15 minutes & ENT Dr. just about 45) (versus 5 minutes for the contractor). Anyway, immediately he said, "your right ear -- has significant scarring, pressure problems, inner ear damage and 2 other issues that are easily visible"? He also said, I don't want to upset you but you may loose most of the hearing in your right ear eventually from what I am seeing now? Well, I was "floored" by this because this is exactly what is happening to Veterans as we go out and get these "so called Contractor C&P Exams" that are not done, professionally, accurately or properly? This was amazing to me again as I had a very similar experience for my Contractor CP Cardiac Exam recently that I got lowballed on. The QTC cardiac CP exam results said that "I" denied chest pain, angina, fatigue and weakness. We'll, all of that was on the Cardiac pre-exam sheet anyway-- so that just the opposite of what really happened and is now contained within my C-File. Of course, now these are part of my NOD and the IME/IMO Exams that I'm working on, but I wanted to share what is becoming a huge disappointment across the country for me and many of us Vets. Frankly, in the end, I'll probably get most of this sorted out anyway after a lot of money, time and effort but it's a real shame that we cannot rely on something as important as a CP exam that should be done correctly, accurately and professionally.....Rootbeer22
  10. Folks: Today I did a sort of "after action" review of my FDC claim. By trade, I'm a business and management analyst that looks at organizational processes and procedures. So, I figure that I would analyze part of the results of my initial FDC claims results and then the deferred contentions that followed and became the phase II - up of my claim. Anyway, Originally, I did 13 DBQ's at a VA facility to speed up my claim but the nurse who did them, did not follow the VA Exam Manual properly? In particular, she did not follow the procedures correctly to the ROM Measurements and guesstimated about half of them without a measuring device? So, I complained and was able to take two of the most important exams over? As a matter of fact, the rater later commented that there was a big difference between the DBQ and the second CP Exam with a doctor doing the examination? Of course, the second time, a measuring device was used and the point of pain was considered--as it should have been originally. Frankly, I'm not sure I would have done the DBQ's again now based upon the bias that I saw with that nurse? She essentially told me when we first met that she was too busy to do the DBQ's and that her boss was making her do them due to a new policy? She also made a point to let me know that older vets coming into the system just now, were taking up resources? So, I think that clouded her measurements and my particular readings during the exams? I still got most of the sc for the initial contentions but most of them were in the 10% range and I'll have to go for increases via the NOD Process. Anyway what I learned today, concerning my deferred part of my claims, was that most of the evidence that is "supposedly missing" was on/in my handwritten smrs anyway that the VBA already has? On the deferred claims, I only went 1 for 7 and knew something was wrong then? So, when the A8 says, "no record of "groin injury" in service", but it was right their black & white in the records, then I guess handwritten records don't go thru the word search parameters of the VBMS system very well? The good news is that I found it (the missing evidence), easily but the bad news is that the rater did not, so it's going to be a couple of more years before I see the results or a service connection now for these contentions? When I first reviewed the VBMS and how it works, I knew that from the Desert Storm Generation back, that hand \written records are going to be a major problem to contend with in terms of claims accuracy and getting the correct results. Frankly, unless the records are typewritten, there's a very good chance that they may just be overlooked and not considered at all --like mine this time? Unfortunately, my current civilian PCP does all of his notes handwritten and not one can hardly read them, but he's a great doctor? Take Care..Rootbeer22
  11. Folks: During my second phase (deferred contentions phase) of my first FDC claim, the rater only service connected me for 1 0f 7 contentions? Most of those denied contentions are going to be challenged with new IME/IMOs anyway. However, the rater also advised me to submit a contention for TBI due to a Tank Main Gun Round explosion I was involved during my Army career. I did not apply for the TBI during the FDC because I did not want it to complicate my claim further at the start. So, I need to know the best way to submit the new contention given the changes in the VA disability system? So, is it best now to submit a new contention thru "ebenefits" electronically or via the hard copy forms that VA designates now specifically for that purpose? I would think electronic would be best but have heard that Vets has had trouble submitting claims via "ebenefits" and I'm concerned about that? Frankly, it's only one contention and currently I have only one other deferred contention for my right shoulder that is being worked by VBA now but no CP exam scheduled as of yet? I suspect VBA, will consolidate the two contentions together. Besides, now that the FDC Program has expired, there's no other benefit "like extra retro" that would be advantageous to submit now anyway besides just getting the date established? So, I would appreciate your advice....Thanks...Rootbeer22
  12. Folks: I was earlier rated 0% for Hypertension and 0% for ED during the first part of my claim. Then last week after my Cardiac CP results (deferred claim) finally came in, I was finally rated 10% SC (low balled) for Hypertensive Heart Disease which is a catch all for a lot of heart stuff? Anyway, can anyone tell me what it takes to get 10% of higher for Erectile Dysfunction? I did get SMC -K for loss of a creative organ so is that how VBA generally takes care of ED ratings? The other issue is that I was injured and in a Tank Accident which was service connected for my back which resulted in a spinal fusion/decompression surgery. However, I learned that there's a scientific study that shows a high correlation to decompression surgery and ED. Also, I also take multiple HBP medicines to try and keep my HBP down...
  13. Folks: I just got notified my result of round 2 of my claim was finished and I saw the results on Ebenefits. Anyway this round, only 1 of 7 contentions was service connected (others denied) which was one 10% SC for Hypertensive Heart Disease as a secondary to Hypertension. My initial claim of 80% has remained at 80% because the extra 10% was not enough to move the ratings up. But, I intend to challenge most the denials anyway with new IMO/IMEs from Dr Ellis over the next few months with my NOD. I'm not getting much traction with claims associated with the explosion that I was in so I contacted a group from MIT that is doing some of this type of work for the Army to see if they would help. Although I'm disappointed that my ratings did not increase and I was denied some of my contentions, I know that this is how this process generally works and Vets have to be very patient of the overall process. I also, need to look at secondaries and if someone could point me to any posts of how to file for secondaries I would be very grateful....thanks and godspeed...Rootbeer22..
  14. Folks: I've had Hypertension Issues since my early days in Kuwait and was hospitalized there for several days for a kidney stone and kidney issues. Recently, I was service connected at 0% for hypertension. Anyway, much later, I ended up with 3 large marble sized cysts on my Kidney's. Anyway, so, around 1998, when I was still active in the Army, I started having chest pains that would not go away. So, they gave me an heart echocardiogram back then and found some heart valve regurgitation problems. As a result, from that time on, I've had chest pains and carried around nitro to relieve the angina. Anyway, 30 days ago, I had another echocardiogram for my disability claim but they were done by the contractor QTC. Anyway, I've been having more issues over the last couple of days and wanted to know if anyone knows the best way to access that echocardiogram from a VA QTC contractor? Overall, l know the test costs around 3-4 K , so I was glad that the VA did the test mainly so I can get a status of how I am doing now and if my heart valve is Ok or getting worse? Anyway, I've been really tired and fatigued and figure it's just the sleep apnea getting the best of me? Frankly, I know it could take almost a year to get the QTC results...so does anyone know the best way to get these results for medical reasons despite being for CP exams? I would prefer that my Non VA-PcP get the results first , mainly because he knows my cardiac conditions better than anyone else at the VA? I've tried to avoid having the VA treat me because they are so busy now...but if it's my only option, then I could be seen by them as a last resort--to see the echocardiogram ----maybe? So, does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing and know what's the best way to get a contractor completed QTC echocardiogram that was done 30 days ago....Specifically for a CP Exam? Thanks in advance....rootbeer22
  15. Folks: Thanks again for everyone that helped me with my recent FDC Claim. Frankly, without many of your advice, I would not have had such a solid outcome of 80%. Currently, I've read everything very carefully in the claim decision letter and I'm moving towards the second stage now of my claim and am working on the NOD for areas that I disagreed with. I appreciate the fact that the decision letter spells out exactly what a Vet needs to have to go to the next level with almost any given contention? Anyway, I know that I have to spell out the disagreements in writing, support with facts or new evidence, use the regulations and then ask/specify for what I should get in terms of a percentage for any given contention? I had a few contentions were sc and I was rated 0% and figure that those areas give me the best shot at success. It also looks as if they missed a lot of my evidence in these contentions and I feel that I can provide a good arguments for increases. I also, know that I should get this NOD completed in a timely manner and many vets miss the window.... Anyway, are there any very other basic, NOD facts, procedures, tips and/or tidbits that I should know about how to write the NOD before I start the process? Are there any good examples or templates to use...? Thanks in advance...rootbeer22...
  16. Folks: I'm know that we have Vets on hadit.com that have addressed this before and I could use your expertise. Anyway, I could use some advice how to proceed in terms of the best approach. Had a CP Exam this year in which the VA doctor said that my cervical neck injury was a result of my traumatic Tank Accident in service, but that the condition was a natural progression of the disease? He is a local part time contractor PA and not a regular VA Doctor that did the exam. He wrote on the CP that he concededs that the neck injury happened as a result of action in service and the smr's are clear to this point. However, even when he concedes in service, in the same statement he then says, "that it is "less likely" service connected because of the natural progression of the disease which seems counter-intuitive to me? I also have screws and steel rods in my back as a result of the same accident and there are hundreds of pages of smr evidence for my back and neck injuries. Frankly, there's not many professions where Tanks are used besides the Army anyway so that's the only place that it could happend and that's in the military. Also, the doctor recorded that my ROM measurements were very low, meaning I have very limited movement and hence a lot if damage to my neck. Anyway, is this something that can be challeged via a NOD, DRO Review or even maybe and IMO or IME? What's a good strategy to address this.... Thanks in advance for your responses.....
  17. Folks: I just saw the update on my ebenefits today, that it went from "Gathering of Evidence" to "Prep for a Decision" and it looks like they are still moving it along under the FDC Program for me? Also, we'll see if the 13 DBQ's that I submitted originally, will actually make a difference for me in the process? Interestingly, I've been reporting based upon the VBA Monday Workload Reports to this forum that Disability Claims outcomes are moving along very rapidly now for completion to reduce the backlog for FY 15? It has been reported as a "leadership goal" in the news over the last couple of years? I was thinking that I would hear something by the end of the summer on my claim so this is a bit of a surprise now? Originally, my claim completion date went from 15 to 37 months and now it looks like it is going to be quicker? I feel like I put in a good disability claims package despite some incorrect information from my VSO, but the real $64.00 question will be if "all" of my SMR records made it to get digitised into the new VBMS System and if the raters will see "all" of that SMR evidence that was provided? I submitted and then cancelled 2 FOIAs to obtain my C-File because the whole process went to a standstill while the FOIA requests were in? Then as soon as I cancelled the FOIAs, the process started moving again? A major concern for me is that a large percentage of my SMRs are handwritten and this could be a disadvantage for me and other "older" vets? The rationale is that if a rater has a time crunch, then they will use the documents that are the easiest to read rather than the handwritten ones that may have critical eveidence? I also, provided supporting documents during the CP examinations again, so I provided it a second time as well. Like most Vets, I'm a bit nervous now because I don't want to end up with doing years of NODs, CUEs, and Appeals so I hope it works this first time out of the gate? That said, I've had the wonderful benefit of learning from this hadit.com forum and it's amazing contributors over the last 1.5 years and would have probably submitted my original claim a bit differently -given what I've learned now? So, at least at this point, I know, I have a lot of options if things don't go my way for my claim? But, I remain optomistic that things will work out in the "end"...I just don't really know what the "end" looks like?
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