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Found 12 results

  1. 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
  2. Denial...really? The veteran's use of opiates, cannabis, and alcohol began prior to service, thus current/recent use/abuse is not caused by an in-service related event. Given the veteran's consistent diagnosis and treatment of PTSD, and the frequency of relapse of substance use, it is as least as likely as not that his substance use (to include opioid use disorder) is aggravated beyond its natural progression by his PTSD symptoms. Per 3/15/2017 initial PTSD exam the veteran was diagnosed with PTSD, alcohol use disorder, cannabis use disorder, and opioid use disorder, all of which were in early remission. The 3/15/2017 medical opinion, the examiner opined that the veteran's opioid use disorder, and substance use in general, was made worse by his MST. The 6/20/2017 review PTSD examination indicates that symptoms present at that time were due to PTSD and not substance use as he had been abstinent from drug use with the exception of his opioid maintenance therapy. The veteran is service connected for the combination of PTSD and substance use disorders however per 11/20/2017 medical opinion regarding unemployability, the examiner noted that the veteran was service-connected only for PTSD and not substance use which is incorrect. Per rating decisions 3/27/2017 and 10/11/2017, the veteran was service connected for "PTSD with secondary alcohol use disorder, cannabis use disorder, and opioid use disorder." They are separate disorders, and not all symptoms are present all of the time. The examiner commented specifically on the veteran's PTSD symptoms and separated the veteran's substance abuse disorder symptoms. The veteran's substance use predated his military service, thus it was not caused by his reported assault. It was, however, likely aggravated by the residuals of his assault as described in treatment notes which indicate that with worsening PTSD symptoms, the veteran has reported relapsing on substances, particularly heroin.
  3. I had infant asthma with all signs and symptoms of asthma gone by the time I was 9 or 10 years old. On my pre-enlistment questionnaire, I marked I that I had had asthma (question says do you have or have you had) I had it as a kid and it was gone. I enlisted in the Navy in 1979 and based upon all the research I have been able to find, with any history of asthma, I don't think I should have been allowed to enlist. I have my service records and they are silent of any respiratory testing to enlist. The best I understand is they accepted me with a presumption of soundness. I had not had any sort asthma symptoms for at least 8-10 years prior to service. During rigorous running and physical training in boot camp, I had an asthma attack and had to go to the dispensary. I filed a claim recently for service connection for asthma because it was aggravated in service and I was treated for an attack in service. I also have a 40% rating for a knee condition and have not been able to do much to be active over the years. At my most recent yearly VA physical, my cholesterol and weight were both going up so I figured I needed to do something to get some exercise. Swimming laps is something suggested to me so I tried that and after about 20 minutes of laps I had to quit because I was having asthma breathing problems. I told my VA doctor who treated me with a daily inhaler and a rescue inhaler. Both have helped improve symptoms. The VA denied my claim for asthma saying it was preexisting. I had been asthma free for almost a decade prior to service. If regulations at the time I enlisted say I should have been disqualified for service, but they let me in with a presumption of soundness, what steps do I take in my appeal? My mother has written a lay statement of the chronology of my childhood asthma and when symptoms were gone. How do I show aggravation v exacerbation? What should a doctors IMO say? Thank you.
  4. Good news, I filed three CUEs and now have three C&P exams. Great news, it's with the VES and not the VA. The best news, I've seen one of these VES Doctors before and he rated the disability exactly correct! My question is, since I was given the C&Ps for the three disabilities that I filed the CUEs against, does this mean that the VA is agreeing that they made a CUE? I understand the exams still have to happen for the rating portion, but does this mean the bureaucratic part of the VA agrees there was a mistake? Logic tells me "yes, why would they schedule an exam if they were just going to deny the CUE." However, this is the VA and logic is hard for them. Last night I was going through my records to get them ready for the C&Ps. While I was doing this, I found another CUE that if accepted will net me another 10% back to 2005. Go through your records, DBQs, and Rating Decision letters, you might have CUEs just waiting to be found! Thank you, Stephens
  5. Are there any other Veterans on here that were at the Pentagon 9/11-9/30 for search and rescue/recovery? I was denied PTSD in 2005 (VA said it wasn't service connected), I appealed it, but never received a letter that the appeal was denied, at that point I said f-it and gave up on the VA. I created an ebenefits account recently (December 2015) and it says that appeal decision (denied) was made in March 2006. I am still having issues. I am reopening the claim for PTSD. I have the VA ROI from 2005 that shows all the VA Psychologist and LCSW notes on file chronic PTSD and GAF:40. I was going to that VA clinic 2004-2006. went back in 2009 to get prescription for nightmares and flashbacks. shit is still not going away.
  6. Im trying to figure out today why I was denied last time today. I will be talking to the woman in charge again who said my condition isn't severe because I can drive myself. When I applied in June was I was denied since then I have an appeal decided which granted me Permanent and total for my TBI which was just raised to 100% scheduler. What more would I need to show this program to help me and my family my recent C&P my wife explained how she has to be the one to use the GPS or we get lost?I was denied for the caregiver program.
  7. 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.
  8. Dear Veterans, I just received another denial letter from the VA for my Left Knee and Sleep Apnea service connection. I'm currently working with a VA Claims Specialist in Long Island, New York to help me with the claims process. He has told me we will have to file a Notice of Disagreement / De Novo Review for the Left Knee and Sleep Apnea. He also advised me this process could take up to 1-2 years. This is unfortunate and I want to make sure the VA has everything they need to give me the proper decision. I've attached pictures of my original claims from July 2013, and the decisions I've received for Sleep Apnea and my Left Knee condition in May 2016. I originally submitted my Left Knee claim right before I got out in July 2013 and I was denied. I dislocated my Left Knee cap in 2012 while in service. Since 2013 my knee has gotten worse, I've attended many months of physical therapy and I recently had surgery in March 2016. My knee is now worse after the surgery, I'm unable to run and I'm still in physical therapy. All of this is coming out of pocket because the wait times were too long for physical therapy at the VA Hospital, and I didn't trust the VA with surgery. I was unable to submit the surgery to the VA because I received surgery after I submitted. I've submitted two (2) lay statements, a physical therapy report, and VA examination which was requested by the VA. The VA examination explained that I couldn't stand up for more then 15 mins without pain and that my knee would lock up making it difficult to walk. I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea in October 2013, just 3 months after I got out in July 2013. I submitted the claim a few months after because I wasn't sure about the claims process. I've submitted two (2) lay statements from Marines I deployed, lived and served with. I also have the doctors report from the VA hospital sleep study. With all this evidence I was still denied the claim. When I spoke to the VA rep on the phone they told me they didn't have my lay statements, however, the VA Claims Specialist I'm working with said this wouldn't matter because I was diagnosed within a year of discharge. I'm currently 50% with Anxiety and Depression and I have a special purpose claim for Erectile Dysfunction. Furthermore, the Left Knee claim is coming up as (New) on eBenefits even though I originally submitted in July 2013. Once I receive a decision will they back date the claim to July 2013 or from when the new claim was submitted? I appreciate all the help and suggestions you can offer. Semper Fi
  9. So the VA completed my claim and increased my compensation. There is one problem, there are many conditions that disappeared from the original claim that are all over my service records. Also received retro, but not nearly what I have calculated. Any ideas? Increased from 20% --> 50%. Many things were rated as non-service connected even though they are clearly indicated in my records and the initial injuries happened on Active Duty. I'm just trying to wrap my head around this all.
  10. Hello, I have a question regarding the claim I just filed and am hoping I can get some help. A little background on myself I was a EOD tech in the active duty army from 03-08 and I then joined the army reserves from 09-11. During my time in active duty I never went to sick call or discussed any issues I may have had due to fearing my removal from the EOD community, I did not start seeking assistance for my issues until 2010 through the va. I filed for ptsd and brain damage which i was awarded 70% for ptsd and 0% for brain damage. I do not have any issues with their determination as I feel this does accurately portray my moods and habits for the past few years. I also filed for lower back pain, right knee problems, sleep apnea and tinittus, all of which were denied due to the va determining they were not service connected. I completed multiple MRI's for my back, which I have arthritis and bone spurs as well as degenerate disk disease all of which cause constant pain in my back. I was told by my doctor could have been caused from my time in the army. I also completed a MRI for my knee which I have yet to receive an explanation on why I am having knee pain. I completed the sleep study and was advised I do have sleep apnea. I have also been receiving sleeping pills to help me go to sleep from the va since 2010 as it takes me a few hours to go to sleep. Due to my exposures to explosions as a EOD tech I would have assumed tinittus was a gimme. Although I did not seek medical attention for these issues when I was in active duty I did start receiving treatment for them in 2010, while I was still in the reserves. When I submitted my claim all I had on me was my dd214 from active duty and a few documents from my personal doctor outside the va but the documents did not connect my back issues to the army, I also did not have any information for my reserve time. My va representative at the time told me not to worry about it, the va would pull all files including the dd214 (not sure if same form) for my time in the reserves. What I am concerned about is that maybe the va did not pull my reserve information and are basing the denial on my active duty time only. I am not sure if I want to appeal as I do not want my ptsd rating to drop yet I feel they incorrectly denied my other claims. What should I do? Any info would be greatly appreciated!!
  11. Hi all! Thank you for your service! Husband was just rated at 0% for TBI, this is service connected but No compensation? He was also denied completely on his Epilepsy & shoulder dislocation. He was in Special ops, maybe his records were classified, which is why they couldnt compensate or put the two together, because they could not access records? I am not sure how he can be rated service connected but 0%? TBI can later cause epilepsy, and clearly this happened to him. What do we do? We are trying to obtain his records that are now archived at ST. LOUIS, MO. and planning to get an atty. Anyone been through this? Since they do recognize the TBI, do you think the appeal process may be easier? Anyone w/ any input is much appreciated. THANK YOU ALL !
  12. Hello all. I retired from the Army this past February. I've been following this forum since I received my initial compensation letter from the VA in July. I've learned a lot here, but I'd like to throw out a few questions, as well as post a letter for your review. I've been rated at 60%. (30% post hysterectomy, 30% PTSD, 10% right hip tendonitis, 10% thoracic spondylosis with scoliosis, and 10% tinnitus.) I also was SC at 0% for ten other conditions. The VA denied SC for eight more conditions. I do not feel I need to appeal every condition denied, but I would like to appeal some of them, specifically the ones related to my chronic skin condition. Here are my questions: 1. How can the VA deny SC, when conditions are clearly diagnosed many times in my active duty medical record? Shouldn't I, at least, be given SC on these conditions with 0%? 2. I sent in a huge amount of my active duty military medical records (2 copier paper boxes full), with all diagnosed conditions highlighted. Does the case worker not even review these records? 3. The VA claimed they did not have the SS#s of my two daughters and could only pay me with one dependent (husband). So I immediately sent in a 21-4138 upon receipt of my rating decision, to include the missing SS#s and also to request reconsideration for one of the denied conditions (Coccydynia). The reason for the reconsideration on this particular condition, is because it was denied based on "The evidence does not show an event, disease or injury in service."... "Your service treatment records do not contain complaints, treatment, or diagnosis for this condition". The VA obviously missed this or it was not included in the evidence. I had a two page report from my active duty records that clearly diagnoses the injury, so I asked for reconsideration and attached a copy of the report. Was this the right thing to do? 4. I am considering appealing a chronic skin condition. The doctors throughout the years could never agree on a single diagnosis. It was called eczema, atopic dermatitis, neurodermatitis, contact dermatits, and simply rash. The VA denied all of those stated conditions, saying "The evidence does not show a current diagnosed disability." "While your service records reflect complaints, treatment or a diagnosis similar to that claimed, the medical evidence supports the conclusion that a persistent disability was not present in service." These skin outbreaks were documented at least 30 times in my active duty medical record. One other diagnosis for this skin condition was papular urticaria. The VA has deferred a decision on the papular urticara. The letter stated that they would be sending me to an additional C&P exam, but I never received an appointment time/place. On ebenefits, it says my claim is back in evaluation of evidence, so I'm assuming they are not going to send me to another exam after all. Should I go ahead and file an appeal on the conditions denied and have my doctor write a letter explaining that all the different diagnoses are referring to the same skin condition or should I wait for a decision on the one deferred condition? (I am having an outbreak now and am scheduled to see my PCP on Monday, at the time of my first C&P I was not having an outbreak, so the doctor had nothing to evaluate.) 5. The other thing I'd like to appeal is my rating for PTSD. They rated me at 30%, but I clearly meet the criteria for a 50% rating. Would I get a letter from my current therapist to support this? She is a licensed social worker and specializes in PTSD and EMDR treatment. What documentation should be included to support and help me win an appeal? Sorry this was so long of a post. I hope some of you seasoned posters with lots of experience can give me some good answers on my specific issues. I dread the future fight with the VA, but I'm betting this forum will be an encouragment to keep going. Thanks in advance.
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