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Found 42 results

  1. Hello, My husband and I had a few questions about the Individual Unemployability and the decision process. He has SC PTSD 70% VA disability rating. And he just called his claim on October 25th. They are now requesting a VA Form 21-4192. I know the VA requires the form to be sent out even if the veteran has not worked in 5 years. My husband does fall into that category. He has not working full-time position since he was in the army and was discharged in the year of 2014. Due to his condition he's had to work odd jobs like mowing lawns, etc. However he has had two 1099 jobs that never averaged more than 20 hours a week. And he had to quit that job due to his PTSD triggers. He got this job shortly after his discharge in 2014. We indeed know he is eligible for IU with his 70% service connected PTSD. A VA rep told us we did not have to include those odd jobs or the 1099 position which it was not full time. Would like any kind of insight on what the VA requires for employment history. My next question is regarding IU benefit payments and current VA disability benefit payments. Are they two separate payments? all the sources that I have been able to find say monthly payment is alittle over $2900. Is that additional to the VA disability payment he already receives? And one last question. Are c&p exams always required for IU claims? We haven't been notified that he needs to have one yet. Thank you for taking the time to read my long-winded questions. Any insight would be great!
  2. Hi all. I am new here and if i put this in the wrong section please help me get it to the right one. My main question, and i have dozens on several topics, is about TDIU/IU and its effects after a review by C&P at 5 year mark. Primarily do I have to accept an 'inferred" TDIU claim decision? As I understand it the RO can make this determination without my applying for TDIU, and there are some long term problems with being rated TDIU verses 100% Schedule. Here are the salient details. 1) I am currently homeless, living in my car 2) I have advanced education some of which is paid by VR&E some by student loans. 3) The School and VR&E made decisions that denied me the most important classes in the degree I was seeking. I was forced to take second best or get kicked out of VR&E according to my case manager. I took out 100K in student loans to offset the lack of those particular classes/certifications and got an MBA. It is not helping me re-enter the workforce. 4). I have a long gap in work because of my PTSD and then 5 years in school. Trying to get employment with that huge gap and the lack of the specifics classes I was denied, is proving to be a barrier I am unable to overcome. 5) Two days ago I had a C&P review at QTC (outside contractor) and Doc indicated that my condition and the current situation has me a millimeter from being, in his words "toast' in terms of being functional and able to work. 6) SSVF has made a similar determination to the above review. 7) VR&E has reopened my claim and is considering allowing me to get that additional training but I have to stabilize living situation first among several other requirements. 8 ) I am a vet who has fought the VA for 25 years just to get treatment, which finally started in 2013. They literally denied I was in the military, that the events actually took place, that I had applied, that I had a "real" problem, and a dozen other bogus statements over the years. 9) I am currently rated as SC 70% PTSD, w/chronic anxiety, chronic depressive condition, and 3 or more other related things, 10% tinnitus, 10) I have never applied for ratings increase or attempted to challenge what the docs said to the ratings board. 11) I learned last year that my claim for bilateral hearing loss had been denied because they only looked at the records from one of my enlistments, but did say the tinnitus was SC. 12) I have sleep apnea with VA CPAP issued but cannot "document" it started around the same time as my other stuff. 13) The meds they gave me, a huge collection of dangerous drugs, caused excessive skin conditions that have not healed even though I stopped taking their meds (which were of no help anyway). Now the complicated part to explain without going on for pages. The doctor told me what he was going to write in his report to the raters. He claimed that I can expect to know in 5 weeks what the increase in my rating will become. I don't know how true that is but it is what he said is the "normal" time frame his company is experiencing for the vets they evaluate. He informed me that the VA gives them a list of 7 sentences with which they must use to define each diagnosis and then provide their supporting narratives. These sentences are in the DBQ's. Essentially he stated that for each of my conditions not specifically rated, i.e. chronic depression, chronic anxiety, etc. I am between 30% and 70% on each of them. AT a minimum my PTSD alone has worsened and should (his words) bump up significantly from 70%. To be clear he stated that they were NOT supposed to put out what they think the raters will decide but he said the way he was writing the report his patients usually fall in that category when they are like me. Using the VA Disability Calculator, I end up at a minimum bump to 80%. All other scenarios take me to 96% or 97% with the exception of them just choosing to NOT increase my rating, which is always a possibility. There is a significant likelihood that the VR&E will institute an "inferred TDUI" claim which seems to be in their purview. They do this by denying my VR&E and stating the reason as TDIU and the RO will process that whether I want it or not. The other way to get TDIU or IU is to apply for it, which I have not done and did not know before now that I could. I also found out recently that a change in the Dept of Ed, originally started by the Obama administration but Congress would not vote on, has been now passed and the Trump administration is taking credit for the change. That change automates a process for Veterans who are 100% SC via Schedule or through TDIU or IU to get their student loans forgiven. The VA and the Dept of Ed and Social Security are sharing information and if you are rated at 100% they will actually notify you and you only have to sign a form, or you can start the process yourself. There is a problem with this though. If you are 100% through Schedule, then you are good to go. You can make as much money as you want and your loans are still forgiven. IF however you get the forgiveness based on TDIU or IU then you can only earn Federal Level Poverty line income, no more. In this scenario the Dept of Ed says that if your TDIU resolves you will be on the hook for those loans again. If on TDIU you earn more than Fed Level Poverty line you have to pay back any income over the poverty level that you received as a benefit. The change also makes it so the IRS does not treat the loan forgiveness as taxable income, which is a huge change. Of course in both cases you can never get another Fed Student loan, without agreeing to paying back the old loans. So my problem is understanding what I might do about avoiding getting an "inferred TDIU" rating if my latest evaluation does not get bumped to 100% Schedule. I plan on working and the idea of only being able to legally earn 13K a year poverty level income does not work for me. Until this exam I had not even considered asking for a review to increase my percentage, so getting 100% or any increase is pretty much a bonus that I had not looked for. I just don't want to screw myself by not knowing how to avoid the VA doing what it wants instead of what is best for me in the long run Thanks in advance for any help
  3. PTSD) Disability Benefits Questionnaire Name of patient/Veteran: Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P Examination Request? [X] Yes [ ] No SECTION I: ---------- 1. Diagnostic Summary --------------------- Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with PTSD? [X] Yes [ ] No ICD Code: F43.10 2. Current Diagnoses -------------------- a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Antisocial personality disorder ICD Code: F60.2 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Opioid use disorder ICD Code: F11.20 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #3: PTSD ICD Code: F43.10 b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the Mental Health Disorder (to include TBI): Deferred to medical 3. Differentiation of symptoms ------------------------------ a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed? [X] Yes [ ] No b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to each diagnosis? [X] Yes [ ] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A) If yes, list which symptoms are attributable to each diagnosis and discuss whether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses: Antisocial personality disorder is responsible for contentious interpersonal relationships including threats, aggression, assault; failure to accept responsibility; violation of social norms and law; impulsive decisions and behaviors; and affective instability. In the symptom list below antisocial personality disorder is responsible for impaired judgment, disturbance of motivation and mood, difficulty establishing and maintaining effective social/work relationships, difficulty adapting to stressful circumstances, and impaired impulse control. Opioid use disorder has been in institutional remission June 2018, and is not at this time contributing to the symptom picture. Substance use is well known to have deleterious effects on mood, cognition, and behavior. When active, however, these symptoms likely take a predominant role. PTSD is responsible for the remaining symptoms below, which include depressed mood, chronic sleep impairment, and flat affect. c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not shown in records reviewed 4. Occupational and social impairment ------------------------------------- a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of occupational and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check only one) [X] Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks, although generally functioning satisfactorily, with normal routine behavior, self-care and conversation b. For the indicated occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate which impairment is caused by each mental disorder? [X] Yes [ ] No [ ] Not Applicable (N/A) If yes, list which occupational and social impairment is attributable to each diagnosis: As noted above regarding symptoms, Antisocial personality disorder is primary and PTSD is secondary. c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate which occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by the TBI? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not Applicable (N/A) SECTION II: ----------- Clinical Findings: ------------------ 1. Evidence Review ------------------ Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder [X] CPRS 2. Recent History (since prior exam) ------------------------------------ a. Relevant social/marital/family history: The veteran last completed a PTSD review DBQ 06/20/17, and he reported that since that exam he has moved from Columbus to Marysville. The veteran currently is in residential programming at Chillicothe VA, hoping for placement in the DOM. The veteran denied his family situation since last exam. Socially, the veteran said he is getting along well with other residents here. His girlfriend and mother visited him here. He said he is made some acquaintances in the programming as well as a couple friends. b. Relevant occupational and educational history: The veteran denied changes in education since last exam. He has completed a GED and some college, and has a license to work with fuel and chemicals for shipping. The veteran denied employment since May 2017. He worked in landscaping prior and occasionally for his mother after that. His mother's business is sales of retail and bank machines. He said his mother arranged his hours to suit him. c. Relevant mental health history, to include prescribed medications and family mental health: The veteran denied pre-military and military mental health treatment. Specifically, he denied a history of hospitalization, suicide attempt, outpatient therapy, and prescription of psychotropic medications prior to about 2001. CPRS and VBMS were reviewed with the following relevant mental health entries. 06/20/17: PTSD review DBQ. MSE: Mood and affect depressed, otherwise normal. Examiner opined significant impairment. 06/14/18: Medical certificate. The veteran requested admission due to depression, suicidal ideation, overdose attempt on Seroquel and alcohol last evening, and hearing voices telling him to kill himself every day. UDS was positive for oxycodone, Suboxone, and cannabinoids. DX: Cocaine dependence; alcohol abuse; cannabis dependence; opioid dependence; PTSD. 06/19/18: Medical certificate. Veteran seen for change in programming. MSE: Normal except for dysphoric affect. d. Relevant legal and behavioral histor y: The veteran denied arrest since last exam, however, he has 3 years and 3 months left on parole. As a juvenile, the veteran was arrested for trespassing, DUI, domestic dispute. He denied being remanded to juvenile detention. During military, the veteran was arrested for underage consumption. He also received NJPs for being late to work (up to 10 hours), possession of pornography, disrespect to a commanding officer, and drinking while on duty. After service, the veteran has been arrested for domestic violence 2, aggravated robbery 3, and theft. He served 10 years in ODRC. While in prison, the veteran reported that he ran the inmate "store" providing drugs, contraband items, and running gambling schemes. He received over 50 tickets for institutional rules violations while in prison. He was released in September 2016. e. Relevant substance abuse history: The veteran reported that historically he has rarely used alcohol, perhaps 1-2 times per month and none since June 2018. The veteran denied use of illicit drugs since June 2018. In the period immediately prior he primarily used narcotics and heroin. f. Other, if any: Nothing further. 3. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria --------------------------- Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, are from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). The stressful event can be due to combat, personal trauma, other life threatening situations (non- combat related stressors). Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criterion A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other things should be noted under #6 - "Other symptoms". Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury, c) sexual violence, in one or more of the following ways: [X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s) Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred: [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). [X] Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s). Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following: [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., "I am bad,: "No one can be trusted,: "The world is completely dangerous,: "My whole nervous system is permanently ruined"). [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Hypervigilance. [X] Exaggerated startle response. [X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep). Criterion F: [X] The duration of the symptoms described above in Criteria B, C, and D are more than 1 month. Criterion G: [X] The PTSD symptoms described above cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Criterion H: [X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical condition. 4. Symptoms ----------- For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses: [X] Depressed mood [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Flattened affect [X] Impaired judgment [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work or a worklike setting [X] Impaired impulse control, such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence 5. Behavioral observations -------------------------- The veteran presented as guarded. We were able to establish adequate rapport through time. He initiated conversation and elaborated on topics, often to highlight the frequency and severity of symptoms. He was easily re-directed, however. He was cooperative in that he answered all questions asked. The veteran's mood was neutral and stable. His affect was mildly flat and mildly irritable, with limited mobility in range and intensity. The veteran seldom smiled and laughed, and seldom responded to humor. He was not tearful. There was no hopelessness and helplessness evident in his comments. There was no objective evidence of facial flushing, vigilance, arousal, tremor, perspiration, or muscle tension. Speech, thought processes, orientation, attention, and memory all were within expectations. Psychomotor was remarkable for bouncing a leg. Given vocabulary, and educational, employment, and military history, I estimate his IQ in the average range. The veteran denied recent changes in sleep, noting he experiences nightmares about 70% of the time. He appeared alert and rested and did not report functional loss due to sleep problems. He said his appetite is unchanged with some weight increase with abstinence from drugs. Thought content was negative for objective signs of psychosis and the veteran denied same. He also denied suicidal and homicidal ideation, but added "They call it passive SI. I'm getting better at telling people about it." Given several opportunities, the veteran reported current symptoms of: Nightmares; not liking to think about the military event; staying away from crowds; inability to interact with people; increased stress with work; blaming himself for the event happening; being aware of his surroundings; isolating from others; not sleeping well; drug use. The veteran reported abilities indicating that he retains considerable cognitive capacity (physical capacity is not assessed here). When home, he enjoys gardening, growing roses, and mowing his sisters grass. He told that he can drive independently. The veteran said he can perform personal care independently. The veteran told that he can use a calendar, clock, calculator, telephone, and computer. He reported that he can manage money, appointments, and medications, as well as shop and pay bills. For enjoyment he watches TV on his laptop, works out, watches OSU football, and does some light reading. He had good social skills on exam. Socially, the veteran said he is getting along well with other residents here. His girlfriend and mother visited him here. He said he is made some acquaintances in the programming as well as a couple friends. 6. Other symptoms ----------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other mental disorders) that are not listed above? [ ] Yes [X] No 7. Competency ------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes [ ] No 8. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any: --------------------------------------------------- ****This forensic report is a legal document intended for the sole use of VBA in determining the veteran's eligibility for compensation and pension. This examination is very different from other psychological examinations, such as for treatment, with considerably different criteria and, thus, often with considerably different diagnoses and outcomes. As such, great caution is needed in interpreting this information and use of this report outside its intended purpose by VHA personnel, VSO, and/or the veteran is STRONGLY discouraged. This examination does not constitute a rating decision. Rating decisions are made solely by the Regional Office after all available data have been reviewed and verified. Note that "The examiner should not express an opinion regarding the merits of any claim or the percentage evaluation that should be assigned for a disability. Determination of service connection and disability ratings for VA benefits is exclusively a function of VBA" (VHA Directive 1046). Thus, any questions or concerns regarding rating decisions should be directed to the Regional Office or an Appeals Board.**** The veteran was seen today for this PTSD Review exam. I verbally provided the usual informed consent regarding: this being a VBA assessment, not treatment; the report becomes a legal document; the forensic role of VBA; the potential outcomes of a review exam; and limits to confidentiality. A written copy of Informed Consent was offered. Throughout the interview the veteran inserted nearly every symptom of PTSD listed in the DSM 5. He noted often that these symptoms are severe and prevent him from interacting with people and working with others. This was not particularly consistent with mental status and functional data. Some patterns of thought developed throughout the interview, such as when the veteran noted that when people try to enforce rules or consequences for his behavior he makes threats and blames them for causing him to use substances. He noted that all his criminal behavior and drug use is due to the military assault, even though he also reported that alcohol and drug use began at an early age, as did arrest. For example, the veteran said that the traumatic event in service caused and or heightened his drug use in response, but he also commented that "I figured out when I was younger that using drugs and alcohol makes problems like that go away." The veteran noted that he was found to have steroids in his jacket while at Bay Pines. He subsequently was discharged from the program. He then interpreted that as "people make me fail. That (being discharged from Bay Pines) put me in a bad place and made me attempt suicide. They deny my individual unemployability because they say I'll get better with treatment, then the treatment kicks me out and I'm worse now." This behavior and thinking is quite consistent with personality disorder. The veteran was diagnosed with PTSD in prior C&P exams, the diagnosis has been carried forward by treatment providers, and by his report continues with sufficient symptoms for the diagnosis. Thus the diagnosis of PTSD continues, as likely as not due to events in military service. Antisocial personality disorder was present well before military service, so it is less likely as not caused by military events, and there is no evidence that this disorder was exaggerated by military events. Also, alcohol and illicit drug use clearly was present prior to enrollment in military, so it is less likely as not caused by military service. There is no evidence that the veteran's substance use was due to events in military service nor has it progressed beyond the normal course for this disorder. Put another way, even if the military event had not occurred it is likely that the resulting pattern of substance use would have been present. Moreover, while there is some equivalence in the literature about the direction of causality when both mental disorder and substance use are present, DSM 5 does not acknowledge any substance use disorder as "due to mental illness," yet there are numerous "substance-induced" mental disorders. INDIVIDUAL UNEMPLOYABILITY The veteran retains considerable residual mental function (physical limitations, if any, are not assessed nor considered here). The veteran can perform personal care independently. He has a driver's license and drives independently. The veteran can use a calendar, clock, calculator, telephone, and computer. He can manage money, appointments, and medications, as well as pay bills. There is no mental disorder that prevents him from attending to, learning, and persisting to complete simple and complex tasks. There is no cognitive dysfunction that would prevent same. His performance on mental status in attention, concentration, memory, abstraction, and thought processes were within expectations for age. The veteran reported limited socialization. Yet, he dated, married, and maintains a current relationship (after divorcing). He maintains some contact with family. Moreover, the veteran was a quite bright, capable, pleasant, cooperative gentleman on exam, and his social skills here were excellent. He reported isolating at home, not liking to be around people, and having difficult relationships through time. The veteran is not a member of any clubs/organizations. Indeed, personality disorder is predictive of contentious interpersonal relationships and the affective instability and impulsive decisionmaking/behavior of the personality disorder may interfere with motivation and concentration.
  4. Hello All, I have a question that i have asked several times and never really get a straight answer... (maybe there isn't one) I was rated 80% disabled and 70% of that is for PTSD/MST w/ MDD, Anxiety, Opioid use disorder, Alcohol use disorder and Stimulant use disorder, 30% right ankle and 10% Tinnitus and was later granted Individual Unemployability by the VA. I must give credit where credit is due and say that VA was very good with my claims and I am grateful that I was fortunate enough to get a rater that gave a crap about disabled veterans. I am now curious if anyone has any knowledge concerning if or when my IU could possibly become Total and Permanent. I'm sure its different for many people but i have been told some strange things concerning this. I did hear some valid statements like because i am 43 y/o they won't even consider making it permanent until i'm 55. I hear that PTSD for mental disorders will never become permanent because you may someday be cured... I could go on and on of things i have come across but i'm sure there is someone looking at these forums that will possibly have some first hand knowledge. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Respectfully, Chris P
  5. Yes, in some cases you can. I can’t work if I’m getting Unemployability, right? No, in fact, unemployability does not always mean that a veteran is not working. The key, however, is that all income earned from employment must be at or below the poverty level, or from a job that is considered to be “sheltered”. These types of … Continue reading
  6. I'm service connected for bilateral severe O.A hips 10%,secondary lumbar sprine,10% left and right knee 10%.My case was remanded back to R.O for further development for my increase for hips O.A and to set C&P for my throat claim. My question is if granted increase rate for my hips and granted service connection for throat would I have to file for I.U or will they simply grant it if my ratings me the criteria.
  7. Trapperx6

    IU and SSDI

    I was just rated 70% for PTSD bringing my total disability to 90%. I have worked very part-time as a bus driver but have been let go due to the meds I'm on and my PTSD. I am planning on applying for IU and SSDI. Is there one I should be applying for first or can they be applied for at the same time? Any thoughts and comments are very much appreciated!
  8. History, Going on for over 12+ years since left the militray .First raiting 50% Went for increase this was from my DBQ C&P .. Thoughts all? See below Is this 70 (most would say 70). could it sway 100%? If you think 100% do you believe sched or temp? I did not apply for IU but I am told they have to consider it anyways. The doctor also used some verbage that was interesting It is not possible to differentiate what portion of each symptom is attributable to each diagnosis because all of the veteran'schronic PTSD and bipolar symptoms have been chronic, progressive, biologically and behaviorally interactive, and thesymptoms are concurrent and overlapping. The veteran’s alcohol abuse is in remission but was a result of maladaptive copingand dealing with the PTSD an bipolar symptoms.Per DSM-5 Individuals with PTSD are 80% more likely than those without PTSD to have symptoms that meet diagnosticcriteria for at least one other mental disorder (e.g. depressive, bipolar, anxiety, or substance use disorders) (p 280)It is not possible to differentiate what portion of the impairment is attributable to each diagnosis because all of the veteran'schronic PTSD and bipolar symptoms have been chronic, progressive, biologically and behaviorally interactive, and the symptomsare concurrent and overlapping. The veteran’s alcohol abuse is in remission but was a result of maladaptive coping and dealingwith the PTSD an bipolar symptoms. [X] Occupational and social impairment with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinkingand/or mood. 3. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, are from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). The stressful event can be due to combat, personal trauma, other life threatening situations (non-combat related stressors.) Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criteria A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other things should be noted under #6 – “Other symptoms”. Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury, c) sexual violation, in one or more of the following ways: [X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s) Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event(s) as they occurred to others Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend; cases of actual or threatened death must have been violent or accidental; or, experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event(s) (e.g., first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse); this does not apply to exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless this exposure is work related No criterion in this section met. Page 6 of 8 Contractor: VES Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred: [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). [X] Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s). Dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks) in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event(s) were recurring. (Such reactions may occur on a continuum, with the most extreme expression being a complete loss of awareness of present surroundings.) [X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s). Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s). No criterion in this section met. Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following: [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). No criterion in this section met. Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event(s) (typically due to dissociative amnesia and not to other factors such as head injury, alcohol, or drugs). Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,:” “No one can be trusted,:” “The world is completely dangerous,:” “My whole nervous system is permanently ruined”). Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead to the individual to blame himself/herself or others. [X] Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame). [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. [X] Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others. Persistent inability to experience positive emotions (e.g., inability to experience happiness, satisfaction, or loving feelings.) No criterion in this section met. Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation) typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects. Reckless or self-destructive behavior. [X] Hypervigilance. Exaggerated startle response. [X] Problems with concentration. [X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep). No criterion in this section met. Criterion F: [X] Duration of the disturbance (Criteria B, C, D and E) is more than 1 month. Veteran does not meet full criteria for PTSD Criterion G: [X] The PTSD symptoms described above cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. The PTSD symptoms described above do NOT cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Veteran does not meet full criteria for PTSD Criterion H: For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses [X] Depressed mood [X] Anxiety [X] Suspiciousness [X] Panic attacks that occur weekly or less often Panic attacks more than once a week Near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recent events Impairment of short and long term memory, for example, retention of only highly learned material, while forgetting to complete tasks Memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name Flattened affect Circumstantial, circumlocutory or stereotyped speech Speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant Difficulty in understanding complex commands [X] Impaired judgment Impaired abstract thinking Gross impairment in thought processes or communication [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work or a work like setting Inability to establish and maintain effective relationships Suicidal ideation Obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities [X] Impaired impulse control, such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence Spatial disorientation Persistent delusions or hallucinations Grossly inappropriate behavior Persistent danger of hurting self or others [X] Neglect of personal appearance and hygiene [X] Intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living, including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene Disorientation to time or place IF YOU HAVE PROVIDED ANY ADDITIONAL DIAGNOSES, OR IF THE ESTABLISHEDDIAGNOSIS HAS CHANGED IN ANY WAY, PLEASE SELECT AT LEAST ONE FROM THEFOLLOWING:A. THERE IS NO CHANGE IN THE SERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS AND NOADDITIONAL DIAGNOSES HAVE BEEN RENDERED.B. THE NEW DIAGNOSIS IS A CORRECTION OF THE PREVIOUS DIAGNOSIS.C. THERE IS A WORSENING OF THE VETERAN’S SYMPTOMS HOWEVER NO CHANGETO THE SERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS AND NO ADDITIONAL DIAGNOSES HAVE BEENRENDERED.D. ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS WERE FOUND WHICH ARE DIRECTLY DUE TO ORRELATED TO THE SERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS (I.E. A PROGRESSION).E. ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS WERE FOUND WHICH ARE UNRELATED TO THESERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS (I.E. A NEW AND SEPARATE CONDITION).***FOR OPTION E, PLEASE SPECIFY WHICH OF THE VETERAN’S SYMPTOMS AND/ORFINDINGS CORRESPOND WITH EACH DIAGNOSIS, IF FEASIBLE.***F. THE SERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS HAS RESOLVED. Answer Question 1: C. There is a worsening of the veterans symptoms however no change to the service connected diagnosisD. Additional diagnosis is alcohol use disorder in partial remission which is a new and separate conditionbut is related to the service connected conditionsAdditional Question 2: FOR OPTIONS OTHER THAN A AND C PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR MEDICAL RATIONALE. Answer Question 2: D. It is related as alcohol use disorder is often secondary to his PTSD and bipolar disorder and is currentlyin remission but was a result of maladaptive coping with his symptoms in the past and he still hasoccasional relapses./ THE VETERAN’S ESTABLISHED DIAGNOSIS IS POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDERWITH BIPOLAR DISORDER .IF YOU HAVE PROVIDED ANY ADDITIONAL DIAGNOSES, OR IF THE ESTABLISHEDDIAGNOSIS HAS CHANGED IN ANY WAY, PLEASE SELECT AT LEAST ONE FROM THEFOLLOWING:A. THERE IS NO CHANGE IN THE SERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS AND NOADDITIONAL DIAGNOSES HAVE BEEN RENDERED.B. THE NEW DIAGNOSIS IS A CORRECTION OF THE PREVIOUS DIAGNOSIS.C. THERE IS A WORSENING OF THE VETERAN’S SYMPTOMS HOWEVER NO CHANGETO THE SERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS AND NO ADDITIONAL DIAGNOSES HAVE BEENRENDERED.D. ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS WERE FOUND WHICH ARE DIRECTLY DUE TO ORRELATED TO THE SERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS (I.E. A PROGRESSION).E. ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS WERE FOUND WHICH ARE UNRELATED TO THESERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS (I.E. A NEW AND SEPARATE CONDITION).***FOR OPTION E, PLEASE SPECIFY WHICH OF THE VETERAN’S SYMPTOMS AND/ORFINDINGS CORRESPOND WITH EACH DIAGNOSIS, IF FEASIBLE.***F. THE SERVICE CONNECTED DIAGNOSIS HAS RESOLVED.Answer Question 1: C. There is a worsening of the veterans symptoms however no change to the service connected diagnosisD. Additional diagnosis is alcohol use disorder in partial remission which is a new and separate conditionbut is related to the service connected conditionsAdditional Question 2: FOR OPTIONS OTHER THAN A AND C PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR MEDICAL RATIONALE.Answer Question 2: D. It is related as alcohol use disorder is often secondary to his PTSD and bipolar disorder and is currentlyin remission but was a result of maladaptive coping with his symptoms in the past and he still hasoccasional relapses.
  9. Hello, I had an earlier BVA decision where I was granted an increase in my rating. In the decision they did not rate my IU because they said I did not perfect the appeal or something like that. I was denied IU by the regional office while by claim was on appeal at the BVA and according to the fast letter if this happens the IU claim is supposed to become part of the pending appeal in DC. Therefore they should have taken in consideration my IU claim as well as my disability claim that they rated even though they didn't have the perfected appeal or the form 9 for IU. So I am thinking of asking for a Motion for Reconsideration for this issue and would like to know if there is a certain format for these types of letters or do I just include the laws that were not followed and the evidence? I tried searching for a letter but was not able to find one. If anyone knows any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance:)
  10. Hello I filed for IU in 2014 and it was denied I received the SOC which stated they denied me due to form 21-8940 and the examiner stated my condition had gotten worse but on the DBQ for occupational and social impairment section checked off the symptoms of someone that would only be rated at 30%. I am rated at 70% for MDD. I wrote to the RO that the DBQ was inadequate and should not be used to rate my claim. I submitted the form 8940 & a doctor's note from my treating doctor stating my condition was at least likely due to my unemployability & other supporting evidence from employers. My question is I submitted the Form 9 before I gathered all of this evidence and it is still at the RO and they are reviewing the evidence. When I called the 800# for the status they said the status of the Form 9 was in Prep for decision phase/Ready to rate. Is this information correct? Does that mean that they are making a decision on the appeal? Or the IU claim? I'm kind of confused at this point.
  11. abnrgr88

    SMC-L, S ??

    I am 100% IU and 90% over all. Starting a new post as per Broncovet's recommendation. (1) First, my back rating just went up from 10% to 20%. This was due to thoracolumbar spine degeneration, disc bulging, partial compression fractures T4, 5,and 8. CFR 4.40, 4.45 and 4.59. This was just given June 1st 2017. I am now scheduled for T2 to L2 titanium boron rod fusion next week July 20th 2017. Kyphosis range 50 to 70 degrees. My question, what is available and how do i file for SMC....L,S...? (2) Second, from multiple previous arthroscopic surgeries on my knee I was given a 0% rating for scar. Is this a reconsideration claim of its own> Or to include when submitting separate claim for back surgery? (3) Third, I am now rated 50% for depression/anxiety and don't see this improving only worsening. Severe panic attacks including chest pain & shortness of breath have substantially worsened since claim and happen almost daily to the point of "do I go to ER or not" with no cardiac or lung issues found. Passed stress test last week, was told heart & lungs are healthy. I have been trying to control as best as possible but once a panic attack sets in it is rough. This is a newer thing for me, never dealt with this in my life. Been through a ton of stress over the past year due to VA claim problems, how to take care of my wife & son, frustrating job loss from service connected disabilities & 2 failed knee surgeries through VA had to be corrected a third time by non-VA ortho. Very concerned about panic attacks post back surgery, lying in hospital bed with 12+ inch incision and stitches. P.S. This is not my primary issue, just a side note. Not sure what or how to further address damage (minor crack) VA chiropractor caused to my back during a regular adjustment where he was too forceful - documented by VA radiology & primary doctor, submitted to VA regional. To clarify, back rating increase from 10 to 20% was for service connected back issues, this was not mentioned in their response. Basically no one is being held accountable for this. Has anyone experienced something similar? Does anyone have any advice on the first three? I trust this site through your experiences. It has contributed to my claim being where it is now, meaning 100% TDIU and 90% schedular. Sua sponte RLTW
  12. i moved about 10 months ago from the western new york area where i went to the bath and buffalo VAMC system. i am now in the Tennessee valley system with the Nashville VAMC as my overseeing hospital. where do i send my annual IU form to show i have not been working? i have not received a form from them for it and i have as of yet to receive a form for my clothing allowance so i printed them both off and filled them out. i assume the clothing allowance form goes to the physical therapy brace and prosthetic shop but i have no clue who to give the IU form to :)
  13. just got 100% IU. Jumped outta too many aircraft and choppers...fast rope incl. im having major back surgery next month opening from T2-L2 with rod and fusion. they just increased back from 10-20%, before any knowledge of all of this. My questions are this A). can i collect state unemployment insurance along with 100% IU? B). Should i wait to file for SSDI until after back surgery? C). when should i file for SMC-S Housebound? Thanks for the help and concern.....RLTW
  14. For example: a veteran with PTSD works for a family friend’s business. The family friend provides the veteran with an office and duties that afford limited interaction with other people. The veteran’s salary pays his bills, and is over the current poverty threshold. Because the veteran’s job has been tailored to his individual needs (limited interaction with other people), his job is considered to be sheltered, and therefore falls under “marginal employment.” The VA cannot consider this job as being substantially gainful employment, and must not use it against him in determining IU. https://www.hillandponton.com/unemployability-iu-guide/ Marginal employment shall not be considered substantially gainful employment. Marginal employment generally shall be deemed to exist when a veteran's earned annual income does not exceed the amount established by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, as the poverty threshold for one person. Significantly, however, marginal employment may also be held to exist, on a facts found basis, based on employment in a protected environment such as a family business or sheltered workshop even when earned income exceeds the poverty threshold. Consideration shall be given to all claims as to the nature of the employment and the reason for the termination. 38 C.F.R. § 4.16(a).
  15. Hello. I was 90% I got fired from my job because issues related from my mental illness. I applied for IU and got it (permanent). Well my work (union) caught wind that I'm a disabled veteran and asked me if I want to come back. Since I've been at home I began to feel worse. Long story short i feel it would be in my benefit mentally and financially to return to work. Question is.....I know I will no longer receive 100% but if I return to work will I lose everything or will I go back to original 90% ? Thank you very much.
  16. A few months ago my service connected hearing loss was increased from; 10% tinnitus 20% Bi-Lat hearing loss 30% total to 10% tinnitus 50% Bi-Lat hearing loss 60% total While I do not meet the single disability percent to apply normally needed to apply for IU, I do see a "Special Consideration" which I believe applies in my case" http://benefits.va.gov/benefits/factsheets/serviceconnected/iu.pdf Below is my letter asking for my increase. I was wondering if anyone could give me some feedback on the content in order to determine of I should even bother to apply for UI ? BTW, I will be 57 years old on December 1st, of that matters? Thanks in advance, Mark *********** 3/17/2016 Department of Veterans Affairs I am respectfully requesting consideration for an increase in my current Service Connected Bilateral Hearing Loss rating based on VA Autonomic re-evaluation dated 2/16/16, performed by XXX Snyder, MS, Audiology which included Maryland CNC word recognition testing, conducted at the VA Audiology Clinic, 760 XXXX Avenue, XXX Ca. 96001 (530) XXX-8830. History: I am currently rated at 20% Service Connected Bilateral Hearing Loss and 10% Service Connected Bilateral Tinnitus, dated 3/8/2011. The details and evaluation of that service connection are documented in my VA file number XXX XX XXXX. Continued and ongoing issues: Based on my ongoing occupational, Retail Store Manager and non-occupational hearing problems, which include but not limited to; Understanding and or comprehending spoken words Understanding and or comprehending telephone, conference call conversation and intercom announcements Understanding and or comprehending MIS helpdesk, police and other government or municipal telephone conversations. Understanding and or comprehending streaming television, computer, radio or other electronically produced broadcasts. Communicating in moderate to noisy environments, including retail store operations. Communicating with a group of individuals, including retail store operations, staff meetings and training. Communicating using retail store, company provided two way radio handsets. My service connected hearing problems, severely limits my ability to applicably react to audible occupational signals from: Building alarm, emergency warning and other electronic security systems Fire and Loss prevention alarm / notification systems Point of Sale alarm / notifications and alert systems Point of Sale scanners; Symbol DS9808, Motorola LS2208, Inventory management scanner; Symbol MC3100 EAS Loss prevention entry/exit scanners Refrigeration / Freezer malfunction notification systems Environmental systems (heating/cooling) notification systems Energy management systems NOVAR notification systems Freight delivery truck, backup warning notification systems My service connected hearing problems have resulted in: My inability to efficiently communicate with friends, acquaintances, family, customers, vendors, subordinate employees, peers and supervisors. Frequent outsourcing or shifting of my normal and personally assigned managerial functions that require high amounts of communication, to my subordinate managers. Personal, occupational and social withdrawal due to reduced access to services and difficulties communicating with others. Experiencing significant emotional problems caused by a drop in my self-esteem and professional confidence. Exacerbation of my VA diagnosed PTSD, that I am currently being treated for at the VA XXX VA Behavioral Health Department. Recent VA recommendations and action by XXX Snyder, MS, Audiology: Since my recent VA Autonomic re-evaluation which included Maryland CNC word recognition testing, dated 2/16/16, I have been issued and subsequently fitted with updated VA issued hearing instruments: PHONAK AUDEO V90-13 RIC to replace my previous hearing instruments: AUDEO SPICE SMART IX UZ RIC. I have also been issued and fitted with a Remote Control, ComPilot II and Remote Microphone in order to specifically assist with my occupational communication problems. Mr. XXX Snyder explained to me that the new hearing instruments will provide a longer usable service life for my substantial and difficult to manage hearing loss. ***************** Below is the actual examine results: 1. Objective Findings --------------------- a. Puretone thresholds in decibels (air conduction): RIGHT EAR +==============================================================+ | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========+ | 500 | 1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 6000 | 8000 | Avg Hz | | Hz* | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | (B-E)**| |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========| | 30 | 50 | 75 | 85 | 95 | 105+ | 100+ | 76 | +=======================================================================+ LEFT EAR +==============================================================+ | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========+ | 500 | 1000 | 2000 | 3000 | 4000 | 6000 | 8000 | Avg Hz | | Hz* | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | Hz | (B-E)**| |========+========+========+========+========+========+========+========| | 35 | 50 | 70 | 80 | 85 | 105+ | 100+ | 71 | +=======================================================================+ * The puretone threshold at 500 Hz is not used in determining the evaluation but is used in determining whether or not a ratable hearing loss exists. ** The average of B, C, D, and E. *** CNT - Could Not Test b. Were there one or more frequency(ies) that could not be tested: No c. Validity of puretone test results: Test results are valid for rating purposes. d. Speech Discrimination Score (Maryland CNC word list): +=======================+ | RIGHT EAR | 56% | Thank you, Mark Nicholson
  17. Hey all, I might soon be facing a particular situation that I'm unsure how to handle. I am currently rated at 80% for a knee condition and PTSD. However, I am getting paid at the 100% IU rate. I went through Voc. Rehab, finished college, and now I am looking for work. A bit nervous about the whole thing, I have considered taking on a year-long volunteer position so I can slowly adjust to a normal workplace environment. This job will not be as demanding as one in my field, meaning there won't be as much pressure. I would be dedicating around 35 hours a week, roughly. I feel that if I dive head first into my field of study, things might get overwhelming pretty quick, causing a breakdown, or even worse. I want responsibilities, but I think I need to approach things carefully, or risk worsening my condition/situation. This volunteer position pays a stipend for living expenses, and that's it. The amount is around $12,500, I believe (before taxes). How will this affect my IU claim? This amount seems to be right on the borderline of being considered "too much" to be on IU. The federal poverty wage is a little less than 12k. So, I'm at a loss on how I should approach this. Would this position be considered substantially gainful employment? Should I report anything if I do get the job? Where do I stand? Any help would be appreciated, as per usual. Semper Fi, MarineLCpl
  18. I just recently received a decision that I would go from 90% to100% P&T. My VSO recommended that I now apply for IU because there would be an increase in compensation, if granted. My question is this...If I file for IU and get it, would there, indeed, be an increase in compensation? Are there any risks involved, I.e., would the VA reopen my case and reconsider my award, possibly moving it down? Are there any other risks? Incidentally, I filed for IU way back, along with other things. In the award letters I subsequently received, the VA said "Consideration of IU is moot at this time." In the last two letters, there was no mention of IU at all. Any guidance would be appreciated.
  19. Hello, I am 60% service-connected with my largest percentage being in the mental health area. I applied for IU and had a few questions about the process and my chances of approval. I was recently approved for Social Security Disability retroacted from my onset date of April 2011. There findings were solely based of my VA medical records. I was also recently deemed unfit to continue with vocational rehabilitation, because of the problems with my illnesses and learning disabilities. My vocational rehabilitation counselor has written a letter of insolvency that was sent to the VA. Given the fact I was approved for SSD based off my VA records and can't complete vocational rehabilitation, are my chances pretty favorable for IU? Also, does anybody know what the C & P's are like with an IU claim. I would greatly appreciate any advice, help and guidance anyone can provide me. Thank you! Steve
  20. I am helping a fellow veteran who is already receiving SSDI because he cannot work. His ratings are 50% + 30% + 20% = 70% combined. Would he be able to file for IU or extraschedular IU?
  21. Hello, I'm a new member but have been a frequent visitor to all of the great info on here. I have been curious mainly due to haring a dozen different answers to this question. My question is this, If a veteran who is 80% scheduler with 100% IU P&T is awarded 100% scheduler would the IU then fall away? Would the veteran just be 100%? I have a friend who is in this situation currently and he is bored out of his mind and wanted to at least try to work or go to school. He understands that there is already a system to do so should he choose to but has heard a lot of horror stories of the VA reducing his benefit just for attempting to do so (a bait and switch if you will) Question 2) He would like to at a minimum like to finish school in essence to be a role model for his kids. If he is 100% IU would he still be eligible to use Voc Rehab even with no intent to return to full time employment? Thank you in advance for your time and answers. Semper Fi
  22. Fellow Vets, happy new year Total 70% (seeking IU) 10% bilaterals of (right and left) upper and (right and left) lower diabetic neuropathies 20% diabetes 30% ptsd with depression (prescribed meds not permitted while driving Postal vehicle) 10% tinnitus; 0% hearing Was a letter carrier 17 years, out 5 years now, no work Please be the judge of this statements by the C&P doc "He can do moderate work with his diabetes." "He would however have difficulty using his fine motor skills, including touch sensations; has hand weakness." Rater denied me stating I had not shown I was not unemployable...... Currently seeing a veteran rep and have prepared a NOD. Any thoughts...
  23. VA says they made a clear and unmistakable error in awarding me individual unemployability in 2012. My combined rating is 70% and my award letter from 2012 rated me permanent and total. I received a letter that my claim fell under a special review and the CUE was discovered. The letter doesn't say what the CUE is. I met the criteria when I applied and also got SMC K. Why would an IU rated P/T get pulled for a special review?
  24. SemperAye

    IU Retro Questions

    Sooo...back in Febuary of 2015 I filed for IU along with an increase. At the time of filing I did not yet qualify for IU without extra scheduler consideration, however I had been fired from my job December of 2014 for schedual adherance issues related to heath issues (ie my panic disorder). I was working at home for an online company and I was not able to get them to fill out the 21-4192 because they outsourced the filling out of all documents for the company. Folowing advice on these forums, I filled out the form myself along with a printout of my paystubs, screen shot proof of disaplinary action against me for schedual aderance due to "health reasons," screen shot of terminated date, and emails from my employer, signed it "employer refused to sign." My question is would the VA pay me retro from the date of my proof of becoming unemployable (21-4192 and evidence), or will they use the date that I filed for IU even though I did not qualify for it because I was under 70% pending an increase, or will they use the date that I was approved for the increase to 70%, or will they use the date of my C&P where the doctor says I am unemployable? They have schedualed my C&P for this up-comming October 2015...8 months since I filed, and 10 months since I was last able to work. I do plan on bringing this evidence along with me to my C&P this time. Any tips would be appreciated. Thank you!
  25. 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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