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  1. Dear Veterans, I just received another denial letter from the VA for my Left Knee and Sleep Apnea service connection. I'm currently working with a VA Claims Specialist in Long Island, New York to help me with the claims process. He has told me we will have to file a Notice of Disagreement / De Novo Review for the Left Knee and Sleep Apnea. He also advised me this process could take up to 1-2 years. This is unfortunate and I want to make sure the VA has everything they need to give me the proper decision. I've attached pictures of my original claims from July 2013, and the decisions I've received for Sleep Apnea and my Left Knee condition in May 2016. I originally submitted my Left Knee claim right before I got out in July 2013 and I was denied. I dislocated my Left Knee cap in 2012 while in service. Since 2013 my knee has gotten worse, I've attended many months of physical therapy and I recently had surgery in March 2016. My knee is now worse after the surgery, I'm unable to run and I'm still in physical therapy. All of this is coming out of pocket because the wait times were too long for physical therapy at the VA Hospital, and I didn't trust the VA with surgery. I was unable to submit the surgery to the VA because I received surgery after I submitted. I've submitted two (2) lay statements, a physical therapy report, and VA examination which was requested by the VA. The VA examination explained that I couldn't stand up for more then 15 mins without pain and that my knee would lock up making it difficult to walk. I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea in October 2013, just 3 months after I got out in July 2013. I submitted the claim a few months after because I wasn't sure about the claims process. I've submitted two (2) lay statements from Marines I deployed, lived and served with. I also have the doctors report from the VA hospital sleep study. With all this evidence I was still denied the claim. When I spoke to the VA rep on the phone they told me they didn't have my lay statements, however, the VA Claims Specialist I'm working with said this wouldn't matter because I was diagnosed within a year of discharge. I'm currently 50% with Anxiety and Depression and I have a special purpose claim for Erectile Dysfunction. Furthermore, the Left Knee claim is coming up as (New) on eBenefits even though I originally submitted in July 2013. Once I receive a decision will they back date the claim to July 2013 or from when the new claim was submitted? I appreciate all the help and suggestions you can offer. Semper Fi
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