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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
I have to say I don’t really have a question YET, but I wanted to share my story as It makes for an interesting read. Feel free to comment… In 1987 I was medically discharged from the Army for Subluxing Bicep tendon Bilateral. I went to the VA and they agreed and issued 10% rating for each shoulder. In 1993 I had a C&P Exam and I was all better so they say and reduced it to 0% in each shoulder. Now keep in mind nothing was on the internet because it didn’t exist and I was young and uninformed so it never occurred to me to get my medical exams. I knew something was still wrong as I lived with shoulder problems since then. Lets fast forward to 2013 when my shoulders were beginning to get worse with the right shoulder leading the way I decided to see a VSO and he opened a claim for my right shoulder. I went to the c&P Exam and the PA found it was Subluxing bicep tendon, he also mentioned that he was looking at my records on his system and said my last exam was 1993, a few months later I received a decision that said they found right shoulder impingement syndrome and shoulder instability and rated each at 20% and left the original Subluxing Bicep Tendon at 0%. The VSO also filled out paperwork for me to get a copy of all my C&P Exams. As time passed I received some of the C&P Exams but not the one from 1993 so I requested it gain by the exact year and received a phone call from a lady saying she cannot find one from that year and she even looked in the boxes in the basement. Going forward about a year or so later my left shoulder began to worsen so I went to a different VSO and they filled out a claim for the left shoulder. After the C&P Exam I went back to the VSO and they printed me off a copy of the exam and opinion and while I was there I mentioned that the VA has misplaced an exam I had from 1993 and after a few clicks on their system they said here it is and they printed off a copy and also mentioned that I shouldn’t tell anyone as they are not supposed to do that. So after reviewing the new exam it said I had rotator cuff tears, shoulder instability, impingement syndrome and guarding all movement of both shoulders. I also reviewed the exam from 1993 and it said they didn’t find subluxing bicep tendon but they did find significant rotator cuff grinding and impingement syndrome of both shoulders right worse the left. I also read the opinion from the recent left shoulder exam and it said it was less likey connected because there is no known mechanism that would put what I have now with what I was discharged for. So like you have to do with all exams I began typing up by corrections to the exam and I also noted that the significant rotator cuff grating and impingement was first diagnosed in 1993 and it was the VA’s responsibility to request at that time whether it was service connected and since it wasn’t done then we have to say that there is a 50/50 chance that the Dr. would have said it was since we cant go back and ask him now and I sent it in. So a few months later I get a decision that says its not service connected and didn’t say way and it didn’t recited any laws or anything like that so I file a NOD while getting the NOD ready I did a search on the internet about Subluxing bicep tendon and rotator cuff tears and found a lot of information connecting the two so I printed off one and also got a Doctor of Physical Therapy to review my records including the 1993 exam and she wrote a very detailed opinion on the connection between the two with a conclusion of its more likely than not directly connected and I sent it all in with the nod requesting a DRO . Fast forward a year or so and I get a call from the VA to schedule another C&P Exam and I could see where this is going so I pick the same place knowing I would get the same examiner. After the exam I download a copy of it and wouldn’t you know I no longer have torn rotator cuff and I am not guarding all movement along with many other things that have disappeared from the last exam and to top it all off they asked the NP who’s certification and specialty is family practice to opine on a statement from a Dr. who’s specialty is the musculoskeletal system which of course she keeps saying throughout her opinion that I was first diagnosed with impingement syndrome in 2015 when it is actually 1993 so now I have to again write and state that they need to change that date to the correct one which is 1993. I can’t believe that people will go through so much effort to not acknowledge a date the changes everything. Its tooo funny and sad at the same time. What’s really funny is that somehow they found the connection in 2014 but can’t seem to find it now.