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Active duty son trying to get some advice on how to handle my dad’s VA claim. I appreciate any feedback and suggestions on how to proceed. My dad who is 78 years old is a Navy veteran of 23 years and served in Vietnam. He was stationed on the USS Kawishiwi (AO 146), which is a Navy ship on the VA’s “brown water” list (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp). My dad filed a VA Claim in 2003 for several diseases related to Agent Orange to include Type II diabetes, Heart Disease (had quadruple bypass, angioplasty, and splints done), Hypertension, various skin conditions, Gall Bladder and Liver conditions. The documentation that VA acknowledge receiving for this claim included his VA Form 21-526, VA Form 21-4142, Copy of his DD214, VA Form 21-22, and copies of medical records from MTF (Portsmouth Naval) and various civilian doctors. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the decision letter for this claim but I know he was denied the claim as these medical issues on his EBenefits “Disabilities” page have these medical issues being “Not Service Connected” My question is shouldn’t at least some of the issues be defaulted as “Service Connected” due to Agent Orange exposure as a “brown water” veteran? Most of the research I’ve done state that a Vietnam Veteran who have any of the diseases (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/) and can prove that they were in Vietnam as either “boots on the ground” or “brown water” should receive VA compensation. If this is the case why was my dad denied his claim? So again I’m looking for advice on how to proceed. 1. Do I file a new VA Claim for my dad’s diseases related to Agent Orange? 2. If I file a new VA Claim what will the date be for his benefits? Will it be the date of this new claim or can they revert back to the original claim date from 2003? 3. Should I not open a new claim and try to reopen the original 2003 claim? Note: My dad is already receiving 40% disability for hearing loss and tinnitus. I wish I could have been more on top of this for my dad but I haven’t lived in the same area as him for 18 years and its difficult trying to stay on top of things. I was home visiting for Thanksgiving and spent some time going through his documents and wanted to see what I can do. I’m now committed to working this through resolution. My dad is a hard worker who worked 2-3 jobs most of his life to support his family. I would love to see him get these benefits that he deserves.
NeverGiveUp posted a question in VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims Research ForumI am seeking help on what to do going forward. I retired from the AF in 1999 and recieved Service Connected disability for hearing tinnitus 10%, hiatal hernia gastroesphageal reflux disease 10%, gegenerative changes left knee 10%, degenerative changes right knee 10%, status post left acromioclavicular separation (shoulder) 20%. In April 2014 I apllied for an increase and requestioned evaluation that my conditions have worsened over 15 years. I have severe osteoarthritis in both my hips and am scheduled for surgery this coming Friday to do hip replacement on my left hip which is the source of constant pain and I have fallen several times in recent months. I have been seeing an othopedic doctor for 2 and a half years for that condition and not willing to have surgery until recently. I can hardly walk now and it has been awhile (2 years) since I could even put on my socks and shoes without the help of my wonderful wife who is a registered nurse and works for a different orthopedic doctor but none-the-less she is well versed in ortho medicine. The VA sent me to a QTC doctor who examined me and I wasn't very happy with his exam in which he stated there was no X-ray evidence of any osteoarthritis and when he told me to squat and lifet my legs in the exam I was unable to do those tasks and he reported to the VA I refused to do Range of Motion measurements. I receivedy reponse from the VA Yesterday and they denied any increase and also denied that my bilateral hip condition is secondary to my SC knees. I am quite certain my gait and pain from my knees has aggravated my hips over the 15 years since I was initially awarded bilateral knee degenerative. I have asked for a nexus letter from the surgeon who is going to do my surgery on Friday stating my knee condition has more likely than not aggravated my hip condition. I was told by my VSO we can submit additional information in response to my claim denial. My question or what I need help with is trying to determine if I should also get my wife to submit a nexus letter as a medical professional and close observer of my worsening condition over 15 years. How is it possible to prove my knees have aggravated my hip condition. Does the civilian doctor's letter change anything. I am usually an optimist and I won't give up and I would appreciate any advise anyone out there can provide to help me. I want to know if I will be eleigble for temporary disability since the VA has already denied my hip is not SC to my knees. How could they not be? By the way I wondered if I submitted pictures fo the kind of acitivity my military job as an aircraft crew chief maintenance mechanic would carry any weight. The job (22 years) of repetitive squatting, kneeling, climbing, bending, twisting on hard surfaces such as concrete, aircraft surfaces and pushing and pulling heavy ground equipment and carrying additional weight like tool boxes and test equipment didn't take it's toll on my hips whethre it began to show up as a problem about 4 years ago. I have also had four or five injections for my left hip and both knees over the past 4 years. Thanks you yoou all for your own sacrifices and service to our great nation. NEVER GIVE UP!
My father's claim was denied by the VA in a letter dated June 6, 2013. We received the denial paperwork on June 12, 2013. He died June 30, 2013. Because we were keeping vigil and he was progressing towards his death, there was no opportunity to send in appeal documents. Can we still appeal the denial to obtain accrual of benefits? If so, what form do we fill out. I read on this forum to fill out the 21-536, but I couldn't find on that form anything about accrual of benefits. Any assistance would be appreciated as I am trying to get these benefits now for my Mom as the surviving spouse of a veteran.