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  1. As the topic title suggests, that is the latest status of my claim. I applied in Dec. 2008 for various claims, was denied for all except 0% for a skin condition and I appealed the most important one, that of Ankylosing Spondylitis which they said was not service connected. It goes back to my service from 1977 to 1985, and was quite difficult to make the nexus. Around December of 2012 I won the appeal, and was awarded 30% for AS. And the skin condition claim was remanded back by VBA. Then in April 2013 I was awarded various percentages for the skin conditions, 50%, 10%, 10% and 2 at 0%. So I was then 70% combined. I then opened a new claim for IU, I have been unemployed since 2002 due to the AS. I was approved SSDI specifically for the AS, and also have a small amount each month from a LTD claim, all going back to 2002. My thought was that now I was 70% combined, with at least one at 40%, barely squeaking into what I considered to be eligible. Around 8 months into the latest claim (February 2014), I was notified of this current status since AS being the cause of my unemployment was not the 40% rating, only 30%. I considered this rather postive, but now my research here and other places indicates to me that approval of such claims are almost non-existent, i.e. IU via extra schedular. I had what appeared to be a very positive C&P exam in December 2013, and the VA has absolutely everything they need, such as all the Social Security information, and LTD records, and I receive ongoing treatment for AS up to and including just having started Humira. And I also had open heart surgery at the VA hospital in October 2013, which probably has nothing to do with this claim, just mentioning it. So what does anyone think? Am I right in concluding this is a nearly impossible claim to win? It has been about 6 weeks since it was forwarded, does anyone have a sense of how long that step might take? And finally, if approved what should the retro date be? I think there is a case to suggest it should go back to December 2008, since until the appeal was settled I was unable to make the IU claim. Thanks anyone!
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