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  1. below is my personal statement for my hearing loss. i beleive this might be a CUE and have outlined in my statement why i belive that. if anyone has any input on this i greatly appreciate your help! please if you have any follow up questions regarding my denials etc let me know tahnks again in advance PERSONAL STATEMENT: I started having these symptoms after the IED explosion I was involved in while serving in Iraq, which I suffered a mTBI (please refer to the provided personal statement regarding the event). Before the event, I was a good student in school, usually getting A’-B’s, and never presented or was diagnosed with any attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder [ADHD], language impairment, and learning disabilities. None of the other symptoms misunderstanding or difficulty “hearing” movies, songs, etc. presented them selves until 2008, after the event. During my tour in Iraq (9/2017 -4/2018), I was also exposed to a fuel known as JP8. We used multi-fuel vehicles during our convoy missions, and JP8 was the primary fuel we used. I was exposed to JP8 at least 3 times a week (as many as 5x) during this period for missions that lasted from 8-12 hours depending on the trip. Fueling was done before and after each mission which could be as long as an hour of waiting and fueling before the mission and sometimes as long as 2 hours after a mission; exposure to JP8 fumes during this period as well as the exhaust during the missions. On long missions that required return of the same convoy we came with, we also would fuel before the return trip. The symptoms I have are listed below: · difficulty understanding or following conversations with competing background noise · problems understanding dialogue on tv or in movies (often requiring use of closed captioning) · struggle to understand or make sense of song lyrics (misinterpreting whole phrases and cannot hear the correct phrase even after being told what the actual lyrics; i.e. “Wild Thoughts” by Rhianna(thinking the chorus that contains the same name as the song is saying “When I'm with you, all I get is why-thos”) and “Got Whatever It Is” by Zac Brown Band (thinking the chorus that contains the same name as the song is saying ”she goggle pennants” and the phrase “you got whatever it is” is saying “gobble gebble goo”) · confusion of names of people with who I have had long relationships with close alternatives names that are not correct (i.e. Diana and Deanna, Sidney and Cindy, Micaiah and Mikala) · strain to locate direction of sounds, in silence and with background noise · difficulty following conversations that are rapid fire or fast speakers · Frequent requests for repetitions, saying “what” and “huh” frequently · Misunderstanding for sarcasm or other tone and sentence cadence that give clues to speaker’s intent, which result in Inconsistent or inappropriate responses · sounds like listening to through water · difficulty understand children (while others around me understand them and help me with grasping what is being said) · feeling exhausted from listening The symptoms I have experienced do not equate to an organic hearing loss (outer or middle ear or hearing loss at the level of the cochlea or auditory nerve) that can be detected by standardized puretone audiometry frequency and speech discrimination testing I have had done in the past. All my hearing tests done by the VA and from my outside audiologist reflect normal organic hearing along with undamaged structures in my ears. This lead me to seek out another explanation for the auditory problems I have been suffering with that eventually pointed to CAPD. The VA has provided information and studies that have linked blast injuries to CAPD. JP8 was also linked in the disorder (please see below links to VA websites provided information). With these clear connections, my exposure and injuries, my symptoms and the clear diagnosis by a licensed audiologist the obvious link to service is distinct. I also have been reporting these problems since 2008 when I first filed a claim for hearing loss. I described these symptoms to the VA audiologist at that time with no mention of CAPD as a possibility. A normal standardized puretone audiometry frequency and speech discrimination hearing test was done that showed no discernable hearing loss and my claim was denied. I again put forth a claim in January 2019, saw the VA audiologist, described the symptoms above and the result was a normal standardized puretone audiometry frequency and speech discrimination hearing test was done that showed no discernable hearing loss and my claim was denied again. This is a “Clear And Unmistakable Error” by the VA in their “duty to assist” me as the veteran in my claim of hearing problems. Regardless of how and what label is used to file a claim, the claim should be evaluated by the symptoms reported by a veteran, and if further testing or examinations are needed, it is the duty of the VA to provide these. The correct facts were therefore not before the adjudicator, resulting in a denial of claims based on the facts provided to the adjudicator at the time of review. This is not an argument or disagreement with how the facts were weighed or to correct and an earlier diagnosis to CAPD, but rather the fact that the VA failed to assist me as the veteran to have the correct examination/testing based on my reported symptoms during the C&P (Compensation and Pension) examinations and hearing testing and get those results before the adjudicator is an undebatable error. If the correct facts would have been provided, a clear service connection for CAPD would have been given in 2008. -§3.159 Department of Veterans Affairs assistance in developing claims(c)(4) *****UPDATE**** DID NOT FILE CUE BASED ON DTA. PLEASE READ THREAD TO SEE BERTA EXPLANATION ON WHY THIS IS NOT VALID! BUT MAYBE CUE FOR OTHER REASONS. STILL PENDING AS OF 4/17/2020
  2. I originally filed a claim for bilateral hearing loss for both my left and right ear, but 2 years ago was only awarded Service Connection for my Left Ear, but only at 0%. The VA said that it was at 0% due to my Right Ear being at normal hearing at the time of my hearing test. But I just now filed a claim for an increase in my Left Ear hearing loss. I went for another C&P hearing exam. I told the Hearing Doctor that now my Right Ear was getting bad too and could she test me for hearing loss in my right ear this time. When the test was all over she told me that I did have some Right Ear hearing loss this time, but it was no where near as bad as my Left Ear. So I left there thinking I would be awarded something for my Right Ear now that the Hearing Test showed Right Ear hearing loss. But on Ebenefits it still shows Not Service Connected. How can you have your left ear service connected for hearing loss and not your right ear, if you were exposed to an explosion? It doesn't make any sense. That was the whole reason they service connected my Left Ear to begin with. Now that the hearing exam shows hearing loss in my Right Ear, the VA gives the excuse that my Right Ear hearing loss isn't Service Connected, because whenever they originally tested my Ears 2 years ago for my original claim the hearing exam didn't show any Right Ear hearing loss. But everyone knows that Hearing Loss can occur many years after the fact. My Dad served in Vietnam and was exposed to explosions on a daily basis, but he didn't show any immediate signs of hearing loss for decades. It wasn't until the last few years that we've noticed his hearing getting worse, and so now he filed a VA claim and was awarded for Hearing Loss and that was from back in 1969. So Hearing Loss doesn't have to happen overnight. Just because I didn't have it 2 years ago, but I now do, doesn't mean it isn't being caused from the same explosions from whenever I was in the service and what caused my Left Ear hearing loss. Has anyone else been through anything like this before? Any suggestions as to what I might be able to do to help? Thanks.
  3. I'll try to be brief. Va claim filed April 2019 for sleep disturbances, jaw condition, scar in mouth, painful scar. In June my scar was rated 0% and pain 10%. Jaw condition was deferred and sleep disturbances ignored. In July I filed somatic symptom disorder and mood condition secondary to all my denied disabilities and current ones. I received a letter saying I did this incorrect and ebenefits updated accordingly deleting the claims. Then in August I filed somatic symptom disorder and mood condition secondary to jaw condition and scar pain. I also filed hearing loss primary. Ebenefits updated accurately showing what i claimed. In October I get a call from the regional office wanting to clarify what I was trying to claim. They then attached my somatic symptom disorder and mood condition to my sleep disturbances claim. The person told me I would retain my original effective date of the April claim. I attended c and p for jaw condition and hearing loss. I submitted a dbq from a board certified psychologist. The October called said I had plenty of information to get it rated. I looked at ebenefits December 14th and have now been rated 20% combined due to my scar pain and TMJ. Claim CLOSED. I called VA 1800 number and they tell me the somatic symptom disorder and mood condition, as well as hearing loss are attached as secondary to tinnitus which is pending appeal (and nothing else). What I did from there this week was submit a 21-4138 explaining I claimed those secondary to tmj and scar pain, not tinnitus. Also hearing loss as primary. I then called the VA and they took a statement to send to the regional office. Has anyone had experience with this and should I be worried? Will I still retain my effective date with my original claim?
  4. Hey all i recently put in a claim to reopen a prior decision on bilateral hearing loss and one with dizzines. VA tested but C&P doc only looked at first enlistment. said hearing loss is there but not service connected and did not give a percentage of what that hearing loss is. The hospital itself has ordered me to take a new hearing test but that is not until december 2018 VA deferred claim on dizziness and order new c&p and hearing test the hearing test is on the 13th of November 2018 and C&P is on the14th at QTC facilities. The question I have is should I bring my copies of military STR's concerning hearing test. Original claim was denied had this finding [X] Sensorineural hearing loss (in the frequency range of 500-4000 Hz)* ICD code: 389.11 and this write up 3. Etiology If present, is the Veteran's hearing loss at least as likely as not (50% probability or greater) caused by or a result of an event in military service? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Rationale (Provide rationale for either a yes or no answer): 1.RME dated XX/XX/XX (at induction) documents hearing within normal limits bilaterally. 2.RME dated XX/XX/XX (at separation) documents hearing within normal limits bilaterally. 3. Comparison of induction and separation exams indicate no significant change in hearing sensitivity and documentation of an OSHA-defined STS during military service CANNOT be established from this audiometric data. 4. The documentation of hearing within normal limits at induction, documentation of hearing within normal limits at separation, and the lack of documentation of an OSHA-defined STS during military service indicate that it is NOT at least as likely as not (50/50 probability) that veteran's current hearing loss is related to his military service Items 1 and 2 only refer to my first enlistment and what she called my "separation is actually marked as a re-enlistment physical. Item 3 there is an OSHA STS in the records she did not look at. The award letter used the same language denying my claim to (at least) service connection but probably 0%. The decision letter on reopening the claim should arrive by Monday the 12th and I plan on filing an appeal/nod on their denial of service connection based on them not looking at all the files and tests. AS it pertains to this newest C& P and hearing test, I want to make sure that this time they look at all the records to demonstrate that the hearing loss occurred in service particularly if they suspect Meniures (sp?) disease is causing my vertigo and dizziness. So will bringing my hearing test records and the first C&P to the tests at QTC help or hurt me? Thanks
  5. I am new to all of this so I just have a quick question that maybe someone can explain to me. I went to the VA last year and received a 10% rating for tinnitus and )% rating but that it was service connected for hearing. After my 3rd hearing test I was given a set of hearing aids because they deemed that certain frequencies and speech I could not hear. I did an appeal for the 0% hearing loss cause makes no sense to me that there is enough to rate hearing aids but not within specs for a 10% rating. Does this make sense to anyone?
  6. I'm trying to figure out what this means regarding loss of use of foot. VA definition, "Will be held to exist when no effective function remains other than that which would be equally well served by an amputation stump at the site of election below elbow or knee with use of a suitable prosthetic appliance. The determination will be made on the basis of the actual remaining function of the hand or foot, whether the acts of grasping, manipulation, etc., in the case of the hand, or of balance and propulsion, etc., in the case of the foot, could be accomplished equally well by an amputation stump with prosthesis." Because of my COPD my rapid depletion of oxygen requires me to use walkers, wheelchairs or other devices for me to move from place to place. I am 100% service connected for COPD, 30% for PTSD, 10% for hearing loss. I require oxygen 24/7. I still deplete oxygen rapidly when using a walker but not in the wheelchair. I want to apply for an Automotive or Adaptive equipment grant. Does this functionally mean that I have loss of use of a foot or both?
  7. I just had two C&P exams this morning and am trying to keep a positive mindset, but the glass looks half empty to me. Maybe someone else can offer some insight on my situation. Since April, I have been rated at 60%; 50% for PTSD and 10% for tinnitus. The claims process for those went pretty smoothly, really, and I was awarded my disability ratings in very short time. I have since then filed three additional claims. My intent to file was back in April, but I submitted the claims on July 25. These three claims are for hypertension secondary to PTSD, sleep apnea secondary to PTSD and for hearing loss. Today I had my C&P exams for the hearing loss and hypertension. I have heard nothing about scheduling a C&P for the sleep apnea. My first exam this morning was for hypertension. I was diagnosed with hypertension, by a private doctor, about 4 years ago and have been on medication since then and am currently being treated by the VA for my hypertension. My hypertension isn't very severe, but it is outside of normal parameters and has been this way consistently for quite a few years. Even though I wasn't officially diagnosed until 2013, I have (and submitted) evidence of prior medical records that show high blood pressure readings well before my actual diagnosis. I don't think I meet the criteria for anything more than a 0% rating, but that's all I really want, or need. I believe I have bradycardia (abnormally low pulse), as a result of my high blood pressure. My blood pressure has always fluctuated and spiked in relation to my PTSD symptoms, so I certainly think the PTSD aggravates my blood pressure, but I don't feel good about my C&P exam from this morning. The doctor was one of the weirdest people I've come across at the VA, so it was hard to get a good read on him. All he did was take my blood pressure 3, or maybe 4, times, all from my right arm, while I was seated. He wanted to know when I was first diagnosed and how many times they had taken my blood pressure during the visit in which I was diagnosed. I told him it was in 2013 and, although I didn't recall how many times they took a blood pressure reading, I did remember how high it was when I was diagnosed. I tried to discuss the evidence I had submitted to support my having actually had high blood pressure before my 2013 diagnosis, but he shut me down. He said anything that I sent in with my claim wasn't his concern. All he was doing was "checking the boxes" on my blood pressure exam and someone else would look at everything that was submitted. This doesn't make sense to me. Isn't the purpose of the C&P exam to look at the evidence, as well render an opinion? I have already been diagnosed with hypertension and am receiving treatment. I'm guessing my blood pressure readings from the C&P exam are within normal parameters...that's what the medication is for. I don't understand the point of putting me through this dog and pony show, but I certainly didn't walk out of there feeling good about it. Next, I had my audiology exam for my hearing loss claim. I just had a audiology exam a little less than 2 months ago from a VA contractor and was subsequently issued hearing aids from the VA about a month ago. As I mentioned earlier, I already receive compensation for tinnitus, so part of me feels like the VA has already conceded that I had sufficient noise exposure in-service to cause damage, but I have also heard of people winning on tinnitus and losing on hearing loss. Since I had just recently had an audiology exam, I was only given an abbreviated C&P exam for my hearing. The audiologist stated that the contractor had not "submitted a full report", or something to that effect, so she only needed to do a partial test today. She asked me a little about my in-service noise exposure, as well as about my civilian occupations. It was over pretty quickly. I didn't feel quite as bad, or confused about that one as the hypertension C&P, but both of them seemed rushed and indifferent. When I got home, I logged in to eBenefits to check on something unrelated and decided to look at my claim status. It had gone from Gathering Evidence to Preparation for Decision, since the last time I had checked on it. How could it be in Preparation for Decision? Mind you, I just had two C&P exams a couple of hours before. There is no way those reports had been sent in and considered already, so it had to have moved to Preparation for Decision a day, or more ago. Since I have not been scheduled for a C&P exam for my SA secondary to PTSD, I suspect now that they don't plan to give me an exam for the sleep apnea. The fact that they'd already moved my claim to Preparation for Decision before my exams leaves me with the impression that my claims are doomed to denial. Realistically, both the hypertension and hearing loss should each be rated at 0%, so that won't get me an increase in disability pay anyway, but a positive decision on the SA would. I also need the 0% ones, though, because of their relationship to other problems I have. I'm a little confused by all of this and am certainly not feeling hopeful about my prospects at this point. Am I jumping to conclusion prematurely, or am I making a reasonable conclusion that things aren't going my way? It's been less than 30 days since my claims were filed and it's already been moved to Preparation for Decision before my C&P exams. I don't know what that means, but it doesn't seem good.
  8. Hello, My name is John, I served in the Marine Corps from 90-94 and I am getting ready to start my process with the VA. I have a good job with insurance benefits but have some issues. I have been dealing with stomach issues (?), I have pain on my left side that keeps me from sleeping, my spleen is enlarged 3 times its normal size and liver is not working properly. I have been seeing Gastroenterologist and a Oncologist for this but they have no answers. I am hopping maybe seeing a VA Dr will help. I also have Urinary Incontinence; I have been incontinent for the last 9 years. My Dr prescribes catheters but they hurt like hell and our insurance wont pay for my diapers. My last issue is hearing loss; I have constant ringing in both ears and have been told that I have noted hearing loss in both. Hope I can get some assistance through them. Stay safe, John
  9. I filed my first claim and recently received va decision. 10% awarded for tinnitus, sleep apnea denied, wrist tenosynovitis denied, and hearing loss denied. I have county VSO but I know they are very busy and want to put paperwork in good order before I file the NOD with them. I was only given audio exam from VA but no other exam. I retired from the Air National Guard and have twenty years of service. The service history is convoluted but I have all the records involved 3 DD214's (Active Duty Army and Air Force), Title 10 orders for (Air Guard), and NGB22 (Air Guard and Army Guard). My career was Infantry to start and Flightline Avionics for the latter part. I have my Air Force medical records. What I don't have is my Army medical records covering Active Duty Army (including initial entrance exam) and Army National Guard. Somehow Army records never crossed over into the Air Force but I located (after many requests) the records in MO and have requested 8 months ago. The recently confirmed that received the request but said it would be about 2 more months...I was not able to provide any Army medial records with my initial claim. I have request my C-file last week by fax and certified mail so hopefully I will receive soon. Just wondering what else I should be doing while I wait for those records to show up. Sleep apnea: The denial letter stating the sleep study date was wrong, I had it 10 years previous to the date they mentioned. So I figure I would point that out first thing. Also believe I will have evidence in Army medical records to back up the claim but there is the waiting game. Wrist Tenosynovitis: For this I have complaints on webHA and civilian medical records but it was aggravated by fall from helicopter. Stupidly I did not file an incident report, wrist hurt but also was embarrassed and just want to "shrug it off". I did have witness and maybe I could get lay statements....but this was also preexisting condition, but also aggravated by regular flightline work. Hearing Loss: I was told that I that I have left ear hearing loss but i didn't show service connection. I remember being told by Army medical on exam that I had hearing loss related to gunfire and that "I would want to keep these records.". I was very young at the time and was ignored it but now those are the records in MO that I am waiting on. I was also recently diagnosed with severe and recurring depression and prescribed medication and have long history of diagnosed sleep disorder and medication. I don't know weather to purse these as separate claims or as part of sleep apnea, which are symptoms. I do qualify for both gulf war exam and burn pit registry exam due to Kuwait deployment I and am wondering what the difference between those two are and if they are worth pursuing? I had throat surgery for diverticulum and diagnosed with barretts esophagus that could be related as well as forest fires in Idaho (Army) as well as fires during LA riots (Army Guard) and breathed in massive amounts of dust driving personal carrier in Mohave desert during 4 Ft. Irwin rotations. Once all my C-file and Army medical records show up I was considering going to the Ellis Clinic for exam and report to file with NOD...I figure I could fly out and pay for exam less than $1000 and was wondering if anybody else thought it was worth it? Sorry, that is a lot info to throw out there but I'm trying to figure my way through this claim process and would just appreciate any advice form the community. Thanks!
  10. First post... I read some posts recommending Dr. Nash to do an opinion letter. For just a medical opinion letter for hearing loss/tinnitus appeal... any other recommendations on who to contact. THANKS.
  11. I had my C&P exams done and was awarded 30% for a foot/ankle injury sustained while at drill. I ended up in the ER because of it and to be honest with what I had read previously expected to be service connected, I just didn't know to what extent. However I also had an audiology exam and was denied service connection because even though there is hearing loss apparently it isn't enough in each of the categories. I've had multiple PHA exams done that show "asymmetrical hearing loss" and now had an audiology exam at the VA and it even shows hearing loss in almost every frequency range with a 94% speech recognition pattern. I guess my question is this, can I appeal it and is it likely to be successful? I've got ringing in my ears constantly and its not getting any better. I constantly have to ask people to repeat themselves. I'm at a loss as to what to do. I'm thankful that I established a service connection for the musculoskeletal exam, but am frustrated with the audiology part. Thank you
  12. My dad had a heart attack at an "exhibition jump" with the National Guard Reserve; to which family were invited, and a picnic was held. He had been told about two years ago he was ineligible for disability compensation due to his reserve status, so he didn't apply. Now, a person at DAV thinks he is, and has helped us with a Fully Developed Claim application. It seemed that the DAV person expected us to send in his work unread without going over it, but I strongly advised against it, after having read posts here. My mother then advocated delaying filing until more research could be done. Now, we have been advised by a DAV person it will be better for our application if it were filed within a week; and it has been about two weeks since our intent to file was filed. The circumstances of his injury are this: My dad was at this "exhibition jump," but the jump was into a river. He claims that water jumps were necessary for paratrooper training; and it was his first. I take it this is inactive duty, although I take it this does mean he was active at the event. He relates that when he hit the water, there was a significant undertow taking him off course, and he was exhausted trying to reel the parachute in. A boat engaged for the jump eventually picked him up. We didn't know when to expect him to join us at the picnic, so we waited a while, and then got some food and sat down at a table. He joined us shortly; but when he sat down, he didn't have food, and he complained of a sensation like a huge pressure on his chest. A doctor happened to be nearby, and affirmed that he thought it might be a heart attack, as I was suspecting. A helicopter carried him to a military hospital as per regulations, even though they had no cardiologist on staff. I could see that his EKG was very erratic. They could offer no treatment, other than an EKG and a saline drip. After he stabilized somewhat, they moved him to a city hospital where he received clotbusting drugs. Over a decade after that attack, he complained of pain in his chest while jogging. We urged him to go to a doctor. He was admitted to the city hospital, and ultimately received a dual coronary artery bypass graft as well as a pacemaker. After one of these two cardiac events, a doctor estimated he had a 50% loss of heart muscle due to ischemia (cell death due to oxygen starvation). It is now more than a decade since this second event. After his initial heart attack, he quit the Guard Reserve, out of concern for his heart. Some time before the second event, the open heart surgery, he reduced his civilian employment to part-time; but he did so at age 65, and doesn't feel he his heart attack was involved in this decreased employment. That being said, doctors who have read his EKG's all indicate them as abnormal, again, we remember being told of substantial heart muscle damage. I have a number of questions raised by this process: First and foremost, what moves can we make to file a stronger application? This site has reams of information, but I am trying to do other things in my life after helping him with his application process for some time. It is hard for me to have the time to do homework. He was under the mistaken impression that this site had mostly posts from one person, and hasn't utilized the forum for the first of the two weeks I imagined he would do research here. We seem to be OK on the nexus part; as we have a notarized statement from his jump safety official, myself and his wife; but it is unclear as to just how related his heart surgery years later is. What's the best way to approach this question? It seems likely to be related, IMHO. Do you believe that delaying his application by much more than another week will hurt his application? We supposedly have a year since filing an intent to file. It has been about two weeks since filing an intent to file. Should he have an examination for employability? We do know that he had curtailed his employment on heart concerns. Should this be a VA person? Should it be a private doctor, and if so, what kind? What form might we file regarding this? I realize this would be a separate examination from his formal VA examination. Where do I find out what criteria they use to determine percentage disability in cases of cardiac arrest as a duty-related injury? We have a friend whom the same DAV employee helped, and they were able to collect back disability resulting in a substantial lump sum. He and mom have had a lean time of it, and their savings has shrunk. One of the forms the VA sent us explains how intent to file protects us as to the start of disability, for a year. Do we need to do anything special to ask for back disability? I've read here that hearing loss can be a factor in disability. He has substantial hearing loss at some frequencies in one ear according to a test, which he attributes to firing rifles. He has difficulty understanding some things that seem to be clearly said, even repeatedly; where other times he seems to hear fine. He can't document exactly when it happened. His back was damaged by a trailer hitch while in the service, but he doesn't have documentation for that either. Should this factor into our claim? TIA for any and all help you guys would care to pass along.
  13. I have a hearing loss claim on appeal. Attorney suggested we drop that claim as the compensation will likely be 0%. My idea is hearing loss progressively worsens over time and at some point will require hearing assistance medical devices as I age. As that happens, I could submit new claims for an increase. Personally I think it is worth fighting for.
  14. I am currently rated at 40% combined and have filed for both TBI and Tinnitus (ringing in ears) three times and have been denied three times. The VA neuro tech that saw me during C&P exam stated that my getting knocked out after falling down a stairwell on a ship was not serious enough to constitute a TBI, but maybe a mild concussion, and that I show no cognitive issues now. I also have Tinnitus in both ears, and VA denied me; yet after the denial, they sent me to a VA contracted audiologist who determined that I needed hearing aids for hearing loss (minimal at certain ranges) and Tinnitus. I now wear hearing aids with Tinnitus maskers, and the VA says that it is not service connected; yet they paid for the devices....makes no sense to me. Well my wife would disagree. I have issues sleeping, memory issues, become argumentative about not remembering and just flat out do not act the way I did in my younger days. Now I admit that some of this may be my own issue, but I truly believe that the TBI has something to do with the memory and sleep issues. Being argumentative is a bi-product of the memory and I get pissed because I cant remember things. My long term memory is not bad, but my short term is getting worse all the time. My question is: What avenues do I have, other than filing a 4th appeal and being denied? I know I have a TBI: I can prove it occurred in service (in my medical records) and I have cognitive effects to this day. Any advice is appreciated.
  15. I registered my intent to file a claim for hearing loss, but now I'm wondering if there's really any point. I was just granted 60% disability, so the VA should provide the majority of my health care at no cost now, right? I read somewhere that if your rating gets you free health care, that includes free hearing aids, regardless of whether or not you are rated for hearing loss. It's my understanding that there is no financial compensation for hearing loss, anyway. If you win your claim, they just give you the hearing aids for free. So, now I'm wondering if there's really any point in filing a claim for hearing loss. If it's true that I can get hearing aids for free anyway, what benefit is there from investing the time and energy in trying to win a claim? If there is some other benefit to it, I"m willing to go to the trouble, but if not, then my energy is better spent working on other claims which need to be dealt with. Can anyone clarify my thinking on this, or offer some advice?
  16. I am currently rated as 60% disabled by the DVA. The DVA webpage(s) show that based on my current disability rating I am in priority group one. Does this mean that I will not incur any costs if I become an inpatient at a VA Hospital? As an example - say I need surgery for a torn meniscus, my cumulative rating is based on an assigned 20% disability rating (foe hearing loss) after I retired and was recently revised to a 60% disability rating in August of 2016. I am employed and have been described by the doctors and other medical professionals (that I have been seen by) as a highly functioning individual and that I compartmentalize my PSTD, which causes me embarrassment.
  17. I am currently rated as being 60% disabled, a combination of tinniutus and hearing loss, from the Artilllery, you see! :-) I have documentation of depression and want to pursue an increase in my compensation, but I am leery of VA downgrades, etc. I am 73 and draw retirement SS. Thanks for any help. Semper Fi!
  18. I am currently rated for severe/chronic migraines which have been diagnosed by ENT and Neuro as also being vestibular migraines. (which is a symptom of migraines and not a separate diagnosis) I applied for tinnutis secondary to migraines as well as peripheral vestibular disorder. This would be very similar to Menieres, without the progressively hearing loss but with debilitating migraines with bouts of vertigo and dizziness as well as ear fullness, balance issues and tinnitus. I was shocked to see that in myhealthyvet an audiologist had been sent my records and determined that it is not service connected and there is not evidence to show that. The audiologist I saw at my local VA had a full understanding of vestibular disorders and the impact they have on balance as well as tinnitus,etc. I know this is only 10% but it is clearly a symptom of migraines that have a vestibular component. I have an additional secondary claim open for the peripheral vestibular disorder portion (the ear/balance/vertigo) which I am concerned the most about because it has a major impact on my life as well as the incredibly high fall risk category I am now it because it is so bad. Any advice on how to proceed?
  19. I'm new to this so excuse me if Im doing something wrong. I served 62 to 65 and did not know until 30 or so years later I had Hep C and the only place I could of gotten it was form the place where we all got our shots before we were indoctrinated and most were bleeding and now one knew anything about it. I have tried to get all records from that day but would not comply, saying they had no records. I found out years later the buddy I joined up with also had the same hep c but unfortunately he passed but not from hep c but from cancer. I filed 2 claims and was allowed my hearing loss a couple of years later which is around 60% BUT the other on hep c was denied. My appeal has been out there at least five years and nothing yet and really dont know what else I can do. I have been through many trials to get rid of this hep c and going through it with a lot of problems and pain and finally 3 years ago I was given new medicine and now I'm free of hep c BUT now I'm told I have cirrhosis of the liver, so I guess this will get to me sooner then later. I thought you would probably have some suggestions for me and I'm hoping someone will answer. The last time I spoke with someone from the main office was about 2 years ago and they said I would have to wait. Anybody have any Idea's? Thanks SALVO
  20. Well got the BBE and got 70% PTSD, 40% Fibromyalgia, Denied hearing loss, Denied Tinnitus. Also got some backpay but it was without my dependents so maybe after that goes through I will get the rest. Thanks to everyone that helped. I will need to continue to fight them on the tinnitus because the examiner had an agenda it looked like to me. Had all the evidence of combat action badge, iraq service, MOS that was considered medium-high for sound, etc. Seems like it would have been a slam dunk but you never know when an examiner will just say it is not service connected and the Rating officer just rolls with that. But anyway it has started out pretty good so cant complain. First intent to file was on 1-18-16 Filed first claim 8-21-16 PTSD, hearing loss, tinnitus 10-6-16 second intent to file 12-4-16 Claim for fibromyalgia (had to wait for diagnosis so a second claim was needed) 1-29-17 Ebenefits went to preparation for decision 2-2-17 Ebenefits went to pending decision approval 2-3-17 Ebenefits went to Decision letter sent and under disability my 70%Ptsd and 40% Fibro showed up for 80% combined rating 2-7-17 BBE arrived and direct deposit of retroactive backpay ( for a single person) Thanks again
  21. I went before a social security judge a month ago and I just got the letter from the judge today. I am now considered disabled by the US Government!!!!! Im getting back pay of $2300 a month times 26 months. I think thats 58k or so but 6k will be going to my lawyer. As far as I know there is no tax so I should get a check for around 50k. Ive been unemployed for three years and struggling to scrap by so this is truly a God send!!!!! Ironically the same exact issues that get me 70% from the VA got me a Disabled decision from the Social Security Administration. The VA rates me... 50% hearing loss 10% tinitus 10% left shoulder 10% right shoulder 10% right wrist For a total of 70% I really cannot believe this!!!!!!!!!! I feel truly blessed!!!! I was devastated a year ago when I paid Dr. Bash 9k to do IMEs and the VA still kept me at 70%. My lawyer says his letter is what got me considered disabled!!!!! So it ended up working out for me. Thank you Dr. Bash!!!!!!!! 70% from the VA plus the Social Security disibility monthly money combined is more than I ever would have gotten from being 100% from the VA. I get 1650 from the VA and 2300 from Social security Disibility. 3950 a month tax free!!!!!!!!!!! I can finally rest.....
  22. 1970-74 weighed 130 in and 134 out, I had 4 yrs USAF Jet Engine Mechanic experience – much exposure to JP4, Jet Exhaust, PD-680 degreaser, carbon soot, noise, etc. I don’t have much medical information in my service records package, but I do have several pages of upper respiratory sickness, sore throats and earaches from one USAF base. None of my other medical records from other bases were in my service file. While in-service I married for the 1st time, we lived off base and thanks to my wife I was pretty good at getting to work on time. She would complain that I kept her up half the night with my snoring and would go back to bed after I would leave. She also described the loud outbursts and would try to put a pillow over my head to muffle the sounds – eventually she even bought some earplugs. The marriage didn’t last very long and we divorced in less than a year. After the divorce I moved back into the barracks, I was always tired and difficult to wake up and often fall back asleep. I eventually received an Article 15 for repeatedly being late for rollcall, and a reduction in pay scale for several months. Prior to entering service I had lived with my older sister Kathy and her husband. I did not exhibit the typical SA symptoms, I snored and I physically did not fit the profile. They told me I it got much worse after I got out and that I sometimes scared them when I would quiet down and suddenly let out a loud gasping/snoring sound… which sometimes woke me up too. I remarried in 85 and this was the first time I was told I may have sleep apnea. My wife Laura has a medical background and told my doctor what goes on at night and he made arrangements for me to have a sleep study done. It was confirmed and I received my first CPAP machine and have been using one ever since. My weight then was 203lbs. In 2006 I had this mysterious bout of ITP, of which I was hospitalized and transfused with platelets for several days. Aftercare was 6 months of prednisone, many needle sticks, bone marrow aspiration and finally tapering off they prednisone for 3 more months. In 2010 I had several significantly blocked arteries and underwent CABG dbl bypass at the San Francisco VAMC. During the surgery the urologist came out of the OR and ask my wife if I had any known bladder problems, which I didn’t, but their concern was that I was passing blood through my urine. He advised to follow up with urology once I recover and have it worked up. I had a cystoscopy and everything looked fine. In 2012 I put in a claim for IHD 60%, DMII 10%, MMD 70%, ED $125, Hearing Loss 0% and Tinnitus 10%, I was awarded, using VA funny math it was 90% scheduler with 100% compensation for TDIU plus SMC. At one of my recent psych visit I confided in something I never told anybody, not my wife, nor friends (not that I have many, quite the loner) or anyone else. Back in my last year of service I was sexually assaulted by another male, I was so ashamed I stuffed it for 40 yrs, but it just came out. I have been in several PTSD clinics and they helped me to realize I was a victim, that my assailant was a perpetrator, purposefully got me drunk and assaulted me in my sleep. Dec 2013 my wife gets annoyed with the VA doctors because they are all ignoring that some of my blood work always come back a little under the lower range so they blow it off. Via her pushing I get a Hem/Onc consult and it is discovered that I have an Ultra Rare illness called Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria (PNH), is a rare acquired (not hereditary), life-threatening disease of the blood. The disease is characterized by destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia), blood clots (thrombosis), and impaired bone marrow function (not making enough of the three blood components). It is closely associated with AA & MDS, all are bone marrow failures diseases. Benzene is known to be a toxic chemical which causes bone marrow failure illnesses. My illness is stable so it is in watch & wait state. I’m followed by Hem/Onc once a month to evaluate blood labs and I was prescribed Folic Acid for now. Jan 2016 it is discovered that I have L/carotid artery blockage at 80%, and R/carotid at 60%. I am supposed to have CEA on the left one but first wanted to consult with a well-known PNH specialist in New York NYU to discuss risks of thrombosis. He wants me on an intravenous medication call eculizumab (Soliris tm $$$,$$$ per year) prior to surgery for the carotid artery. Part of his workup for new patients is to check for venial clots with a Head MRI, Abdomen MRI and Lower extremity Doppler studies. No clots found, but I apparently had a chronic lacunar infarct of the left caudate head (stroke) that apparently was asymptomatic. The report also indicated that Scattered areas of white matter signal abnormality in a configuration most suggestive of chronic small vessel ischemic disease. Not sure what that means but it sounds interesting… Now here are my questions: Should I leave well enough alone with my TDIU award or file some additional claims? PTSD due to MST or should I file for increase in MMD PNH due to toxic chemical exposure (Agent Orange, PD680, Carotid artery due to IHD Chronic small vessel ischemic disease in the brain due to IHD Exacerbated my non-SC Sleep Apnea due to PTSD (central & OSA) previous reports only show OSA I am revisiting this since I saw the post on this site that the VA doctors can no longer hide behind not filling out a DBQ because they were told not to. I’m sure I’ll still need to get IMO for the non-SC items.
  23. In late July, 2016, I reapplied for PTSD and hearing loss/tinnitus. I was approved for 50% PTSD in late September, 2016 after a grueling 20 year fight with the VA. Why is the VA so many faceted toward us veterans? Not going to go into that here... But I was turned down AGAIN for hearing loss even though the VA gave me hearing aids in 2010, and falsified results of a new hearing test in 2013 (by doing just the "point my finger in the air" when I heard a tone, with my back turned and simple headphones on my head) when attempting to replace my hearing aids which were stolen with almost $13,000 of my personal property that was in my truck in 2012. They threw out the tinnitus claim several times, and only recently when the VA miraculously approved my PTSD but still expectedly denied my hearing loss AGAIN, the VA REOPENED MY TINNITUS CASE. It is at a level that it interferes with daily life and causes added stress that causes the VA to prescribe me a mouthguard in 2010 to stop me from grinding my teeth in my sleep. What would be my next steps. The notifications and decisions all came in September 2017. I will post other questions that are separate. "All things are possible to him that believes." Mark 9:23
  24. I was turned down for ssd a year ago and then again 6 months ago during the reconsideration phase. My conditions are... Hearing loss Vertigo Pain in shoulders, knees, right wrist Depression due to hearing loss A week ago I had the final phase which was a face to face with a ssd judge. The hearing took around an hour and when it was completed I felt that I was 80 or 90% likely to have won social decurity disibility benifits. I told my lawyer my guess of aprox. 85% and she said its much higher. She then told me 99.9% I won!!!!!! She said shes done hundreds of these and theres absolutely no doubt that I won. Ill believe it when I actually get my letter but it definitly feels like celebration time to me.
  25. Hi, I've been reading these boards off and on for a while, but just recently registered. I'm a Navy vet, served 4 years on active duty from 1988-1992 and was in the Gulf War (Desert Shield/Storm). Did some reserve time, as well, but was never activated or deployed as a reservist. Until July 2016, I had never set foot in a VA facility, or sought any type of help/attention from them. In retrospect, I probably shouldn't have waited 25 years, but I guess that was the result of a combination of factors. So, in November, I submitted a eClaim (or whatever it's called) for PTSD. I believe I've suffered from it since right after we returned from the Persian Gulf, but I suppose it could be some other anxiety issue. Either way, that's when it all began. I submitted my DD-215 with my claim, which shows that I was awarded a CAR. It only took me about 15 years of trying to get my DD-214 corrected before I was finally successful. Until I got my DD-215 earlier in 2016, my discharge record did not show my CAR. I had understood that with a Combat Action Ribbon, you are not required to submit a narrative about stressors, but when I filed the claim online, it made me write about the stressors anyway, before I could even get to the part where it asked me about combat related awards. I don't know if that matters, but I thought receiving a CAR would presume certain things to the benefit of the veteran in these cases. I had my first Primary Care visit with the VA in October (only took them 3 months to see me). She referred me Mental Health, because I told her I thought I suffered from PTSD. That visit happened in November, but it was with an intern...not a real psychiatrist/psychologist. I ended up seeing that intern three times in October/November, but there was never an actual Dr. present. The intern ignored about half of what I told her, but seemed very interested in my depression. Her notes from the first visit said something like: Major Depressive Disorder, Moderate, Recurring & R/O Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The notes from the subsequent visits just mentioned my depression. She was a friendly young lady, but seemed clueless and I definitely left each visit with a sense that she really enjoying "practicing" on me. In late November, I finally had my first visit with a real psychiatrist. It took until half way through December for her notes to show up on the myHealtheVet site, but in her assessment notes she lists both depression and PTSD. I don't know where any of that leaves me really, but I submitted the claim as an FDC, though I feel like it's probably far from being fully developed. I just did it all myself, without a VSO, or anything. Maybe that was a bad idea. Right now, I'm just kind of half-way working for myself after leaving my job of 11 years, with it's good salary and benefits. That was also probably a bad idea, but I didn't feel like I could handle the stress much longer and felt like I was honestly on the verge of a nervous breakdown. When I filed the PTSD claim, it said it would March at the earliest before I should expect a decision. A few weeks ago, I added a claim for my tinnitus, not realizing that it would just get added to the PTSD claim and, so, now the early side of the estimated decision date is late April. There are other issues I would like to claim, as well, (sleep apnea, hearing loss) but now I'm thinking I should just wait until they rule on the PTSD, or it will just prolong everything. The reality is, the PTSD is the main aggravating factor in my life right now, but I suspect that the way I'm going about this is not really doing anything for my chances of having my disability claim granted. Just this week, I went to my first group session at the VA for "coping skills". I feel like I'm botching my chances of a favorable decision, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what to do and moving ahead in any kind of focused or organized way. Part of me thinks it's pointless, really, but at 48 years old, starting over and supporting my family does not get any easier. Even if it's a long shot, I figure I need to try to get some compensation. I'm really not doing much for our financial situation, as it now stands.
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