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  1. An Overview on DIC for Survivors of Veterans The death of a veteran spouse often brings more unique situations to the surviving spouse then a non veteran's death. Both types of deaths are as equally devastating and there is a lot to do in spite of dealing with the grief. Many veterans here have already established a Death file . We have done SVR shows on this and there is discussion here at hadit as well on that. http://www.svr-radio.com/archives.html (May 5th and May 12th , 2010) This file is a good place for copies of the DD 214/215, info on SGLI Life Insurance and other insurance policies, passwords the veteran uses that the spouse might need for paying online bills, and certainly for their hadit password, after they expire. Also the Marriage license, birth certificates of the children, any divorce decree papers etc etc, VA award letters and SSA award letters, all should be in this special file .Many vets here already have the blank 21-534 form in their death files. I have a large death file that contains my bank info, insurance policies, my will and Health Care proxy, passwords and even photos of where my septic tank lid is, where the well is, and how to turn the main power to the house and the barn off and on, photos of how the TV, and component cables are attached, and even a photo of how I set up my garden hoses to the main water line. As a widow, it also contains my VA Deed to the same plot at the VA Cemetery where my husband is buried. Also my file contains my signed statement that I am an Organ Donor. An advocate friend of mine has literally written a book for his wife when he dies, along with the important documents I mentioned above. Sometimes our spouses really don't know how to shut off water mains right away if a pipe breaks or how to change a blown fuse.The deed to the home should be in the death file too as it is one of many documents a survivor has to get changed,when their spouse has died. If your spouse is an organ donor or has mentioned that in their wishes, if not formally recorded by their PCP or on their driver's license,or in their death file , the Organ Harvest people make that call within hours of death and the survivor needs to be prepared for it. Organ harvests involve an autopsy and this autopsy could end up being the most important evidence a survivor can have, regarding many DIC claims, as it will be far more detailed than the death certificate. Of course an autopsy almost always involves cremation.These are things we all need to consider in our lifetimes. And burial in a National Cemetery,for the surviving spouse, eventually ,means they need to know that if the deceased veteran has been cremated and rests in the Cremains section of the cemetery, then the spouse will need to be cremated too, to fit on top of the veteran's grave. Also the VA as well as SSA (if the veteran receives SSA or SSDI, )should be informed ASAP of the veteran's death. Often the coroner will ask the surviving spouse for any conditions that that veteran had in their lifetime that the coroner can not list as the immediate cause of death. If a service connected disability has contributed substantially to death, that should be put onto the death certificate by the coroner.Also the coroner will ask what medications the veteran was prescribed. A list of them should be put in the death file and updated as needed. Death certificates are usually ten dollars each or maybe a little more. You might need more then you think.Also the Probate Court in your county can help with the various forms needed eventually for Probate and this is often a job you can do yourself,if the veteran died intestate (without a will). When a Funeral Director is contacted , he/she will need the veteran's DD214, and any 215 if one was issued, and since they often prepare the Obit, you will want to think about what it should contain. I wrote my husband's Obituary myself.The funeral director checked it against his 214 and 215 and had it published verbatim. If your spouse is being buried in a National Cemetery, make sure the Funeral Director and the VA knows of your wishes for a Military funeral: http://www.cem.va.gov/military_funeral_honors.asp http://www.cem.va.gov/burial_benefits/ The link to burial benefits does not include this information for surviving spouses of deceased service connected veterans as to burial expense and plot allowances here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/burials/Burial.pdf DIC: Dependents and Indemnity Compensation The DIC application VA form 21-534 is here: http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/vba-21-534-are.pdf Although the form mentions if the veteran had ever filed a claim with the VA before,I suggest to note under Remarks, if there was a claim pending at time of death and the survivor should also fill out, sign, copy and attach (and refer to under Remarks) the Substitution form: It is explained here: You need to file the 534 and the Substitution form within one year after the veteran's death for any potential accrued benefits to be paid to you. The EZ 534 is here: http://www.veteransaidbenefit.org/forms/21-534EZ.pdf An Accrued benefits claim must be supported with evidence as well as the DIC claim and they are handled as two separate issues with the VA. Also I noticed that VA does not include the REPS application anymore along with the DIC app. REPS Restored Entitlement Program. My vet reps didnt even know what REPS was at all. It can involve a considerable amount of money. Here is the form that states which specific survivors are eligible for REPS: http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-8924-ARE.pdf After receipt of a DIC application the survivor will receive a VCAA letter that must include the Hupp decision. As Military.com states: "DIC is a monthly benefit paid to eligible survivors of the following: Military service member who died while on active duty, OR Veteran whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease, OR Veteran whose death resulted from a non service-related injury or disease, and who was receiving, or was entitled to receive, VA Compensation for service-connected disability that was rated as totally disabling for at least 10 years immediately before death, OR since the veteran's release from active duty and for at least five years immediately preceding death, OR for at least one year before death if the veteran was a former prisoner of war who died after September 30, 1999. “ http://www.military.com/benefits/survivor-benefits/dependency-and-indemnity-compensation.html DIC is also paid under a Section 1151 death, as explained below,with a more detailed description of each type of DIC here: 1.. Cause of Death “In order to establish service connection for the cause of a veteran's death, the evidence must show that a disability incurred in or aggravated by active service was the principal or contributory cause of death. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1310; 38 C.F.R. § 3.312(a). In order to constitute the principal cause of death the service-connected disability must be one of the immediate or underlying causes of death or be etiologically related to the cause of death. 38 C.F.R. § 3.312(b). In the case of contributory cause of death, it must be shown that a service- connected disability contributed substantially or materially to cause death. 38 C.F.R. § 3.312(c)(1). Service connection for the cause of a veteran's death may be demonstrated by showing that the veteran's death was caused by a disability for which service connection had been established at the time of death or for which service connection should have been established. Service connection means that the facts, shown by evidence, establish that a particular injury or disease resulting in disability was incurred in the line of duty in the active military service or, if pre-existing such service, was aggravated during service. See 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 1110, 1131; 38 C.F.R. § 3.303(a). Service connection generally requires evidence of a current disability with a relationship or connection to an injury or disease or some other manifestation of the disability during service. Boyer v. West, 210 F.3d 1351, 1353 (Fed. Cir. 2000); Mercado-Martinez v. West , 11 Vet. App. 415, 419 (1998) (citing Cuevas v. Principi, 3 Vet. App. 542, 548 (1992)). Where the determinative issue involves medical causation or a medical diagnosis, there must be competent evidence to the effect that the claim is plausible. Lay evidence can be competent and sufficient to establish a diagnosis of a condition when (1) a layperson is competent to identify the medical condition, (2) the layperson is reporting a contemporaneous medical diagnosis, or (3) lay testimony describing symptoms at the time supports a later diagnosis by a medical professional. Jandreau v. Nicholson, 492 F.3d 1372, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2007).” This means that either a primary cause of death is listed on the death certificate, as cause of death, or that a service connected condition is listed as a contributing cause of death. http://www.va.gov/vetapp10/files4/1039644.txt For example, a death certificate of a non - AO vet lists NSC heart disease as prime cause of death but with diabetes as a substantially contributing cause. If the diabetes has been service connected, the survivor should succeed with the DIC claim, although it might take an IMO if the veteran had not pursued the heart disease as secondary to the diabetes. DIC Under 38 USC 1318: Governing Laws and Regulations for 38 U.S.C.A. § 1318 Claim: “Under 38 U.S.C.A. § 1318, VA death benefits may be paid to a deceased Veteran's surviving spouse or children in the same manner as if the Veteran's death is service-connected, even though the Veteran died of non-service-connected causes, if the Veteran's death was not the result of his or her own willful misconduct and at the time of death, the Veteran was receiving, or was "entitled to receive," compensation for service-connected disability that (1) was continuously rated as totally disabling for the 10 years immediately preceding death, (2) was continuously rated as totally disabling for a period of not less than 5 years from the date of his discharge or release from active duty or (3) was continuously rated as totally disabling for a period of not less than one year immediately preceding death, and the Veteran was a former prisoner of war (POW) who died after September 30, 1999. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1318 (West 2002 & Supp. 2012); 38 C.F.R. § 3.22(a) (2012). The total rating may be schedular or may be a total disability rating based on unemployability (TDIU).” 38 C.F.R. § 3.22(c). “The term "entitled to receive" means that, at the time of death, the Veteran had filed a claim for disability compensation during his lifetime, and the Veteran had service-connected disability rated totally disabling by VA for the requisite time period, but was not receiving compensation due to six possible circumstances: (1) VA was paying the compensation to the Veteran's dependents; (2) VA was withholding the compensation under authority of 38 U.S.C. § 5314 to offset an indebtedness of the Veteran; (3) the Veteran had not waived retired or retirement pay in order to receive compensation; (4) VA was withholding payments under the provisions of 10 U.S.C. § 1174(h)(2); (5) VA was withholding payments because the Veteran's whereabouts was unknown, but the Veteran was otherwise entitled to continued payments based on a total service-connected disability rating; or (6) VA was withholding payments under 38 U.S.C. § 5308 but determines that benefits were payable under 38 U.S.C. § 5309.” 38 C.F.R. § 3.22(b)(3). In addition, the term "entitled to receive" can mean that the Veteran filed a claim for disability compensation during his lifetime and one of the following two circumstances is met: (1) the Veteran would have received total disability compensation at the time of death for a service-connected disability rated totally disabling for the period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section but for clear and unmistakable error (CUE) committed by VA in a decision on a claim filed during the Veteran's lifetime concerning the issues of service connection, disability evaluation, or effective date; or (2) additional evidence submitted to VA before or after the Veteran's death, consisting solely of service department records that existed at the time of a prior VA decision but were not previously considered by VA, provides a basis for reopening a claim finally decided during the Veteran's lifetime and for awarding a total service-connected disability rating retroactively in accordance with §§ 3.156(c) and 3.400(q)(2) of this part for the relevant period specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section. 38 C.F.R. § 3.22(b)(1) and (2). The Federal Circuit has ruled that § 1318 DIC claims are not subject to a "hypothetical entitlement" analysis. Rodriguez v. Peake, 511 F.3d 1147, 1156 (2008). See also Tarver v. Shinseki, 557 F.3d 1371, 1377 (Fed. Cir. 2009). In essence, under Rodriguez and Tarver, the amended regulation 38 C.F.R. § 3.22 does not have an impermissible retroactive effect, and it may be applied to bar DIC claims filed by survivors under the "hypothetical entitlement" theory, no matter when the § 1318 claim was filed. Simply put, there is no longer "hypothetical entitlement" to DIC benefits under any circumstance. Therefore, the state of the law is such that claims for DIC benefits under 38 U.S.C.A. § 1318 must be adjudicated with specific regard given to decisions made during the Veteran's lifetime and without consideration of hypothetical entitlement for benefits raised for the first time after a Veteran's death. See again Rodriguez v. Peake, 511 F.3d 1147 (2008). http://www.index.va.gov/search/va/view.jsp?FV=http://www.va.gov/vetapp13/Files3/1327019.txt DIC payable under Section 1151,38 USC: Title 38 U.S.C. 1151 Claims “Title 38 U.S.C. Section 1151 allows VA to pay compensation for death or disability "as if service-connected." Don't be confused with this subtle difference. The disability is not considered service-connected. Under Section 1151, benefits may be paid for: Injuries incurred or aggravated while receiving VA-sponsored medical treatment. Injuries incurred or aggravated while pursuing a course of vocational rehabilitation under 38 U.S.C. Chapter 31 or participating in compensated work therapy under 38 U.S.C. 1718. If eligibility is established under Section 1151, the disability is considered service-connected for payment purposes ONLY. Eligibility Requirements You must be a Veteran You must have a disabling condition that is the result of or has been aggravated due to VA sponsored medical treatment or training Evidence Requirements As a result of VA hospitalization, medical or surgical treatment, examination, or training, the evidence must show you have: An additional disability or disabilities, OR An aggravation of an existing injury or disease, AND The disability was: The direct result of VA fault such as carelessness, negligence, lack of proper skill, or error in judgment, OR Not a reasonably expected result or complication of the VA care or treatment OR The direct result of participation in a VA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment or compensated work therapy program. “ http://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/claims-special-1151.asp In the case of a surviving spouse, it should clearly be indicated on the 21-534 form that this is a claim for death of the veteran due to negligence, under Section 38 USC, 1151. This type of claim for VA negligence as the cause of the veteran's death will need probative medical documentation ,almost always in the form of a strong IMO, to support this type of DIC claim ,in order to provide a full medical rationale. FTCA claims can be filed simultaneously with claims under 1151 for DIC, but any favorable FTCA award will be offset to the DIC compensation payable, until the settlement amount from FTCA is recovered by the VA. DIC monthly amounts include that which is for any children under 18. Also there is more info on that here: http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/resources_comp03.asp In some cases parents of deceased veterans are eligible for DIC and that info is here: http://benefits.va.gov/BENEFITS/factsheets/survivors/parentsdic.pdf Eligibility Requirements; what is a surviving spouse for VA purposes: A surviving spouse may qualify for pension, compensation or dependency and dependency and indemnity compensation (DIC), if the marriage to the Veteran occurred before or during his service, or after his service if certain requirements are met. 38 U.S.C.A. § 1541; 38 C.F.R. § 3.54. Under the regulations, a "surviving spouse" is defined, in part, as a person of the opposite sex whose marriage to the Veteran meets the requirements of 38 C.F.R. § 3.1(j) and who was the spouse of the Veteran at the time of the Veteran's death. 38 C.F.R. § 3.50. VA defines a "marriage" as a marriage valid under the law of the place where the parties resided at the time of marriage or the laws of the place where the parties resided when the right to benefits accrued. 38 U.S.C.A. § 103©; 38 C.F.R. § 3.1(j). In jurisdictions where marriages other than by ceremony are recognized, marriage is established by the affidavits or certified statements of one or both of the parties to the marriage, if living, setting forth all of the facts and circumstances concerning the alleged marriage, such as the agreement between the parties at the beginning of their cohabitation, the period of cohabitation, places and dates of residences, and whether children were born as the result of the relationship. This evidence should be supplemented by affidavits or certified statements from two or more persons who know as the result of personal observation the reputed relationship which existed between the parties to the alleged marriage including the periods of cohabitation, places of residences, whether the parties held themselves out as married, and whether they were generally accepted as such in the communities in which they lived. Marriage may also be established by any other secondary evidence which reasonably supports a belief by the adjudicating activity that a valid marriage actually occurred. 38 C.F.R. § 3.205(a). In the absence of conflicting information, proof of marriage which meets the requirements of paragraph (a) of this section together with the claimant's certified statement concerning the date, place and circumstances of dissolution of any prior marriage may be accepted as establishing a valid marriage, provided that such facts, if they were to be corroborated by record evidence, would warrant acceptance of the marriage as valid. 38 C.F.R. § 3.205(b) A surviving spouse should always try to find a good vet rep to help with the DIC claim. Regardless of what the rep says they have sent in to the VA, the survivor should keep copies of everything , to include their filled out DIC form, and double check that VA has received everything they send. VA will not allow us survivors to use ebenefits but the ebenefit section ( # 5 I think on the phone pad), after you call 1-800-827-1000 will give you a status from a VA rep if you can hold on the line for a while. Office of Survivors Assistance VA...http://www.va.gov/survivors/ This office is an excellent resources for survivors who have questions that do not regard their DIC claims. For example there is info at this site on bereavment counselling available to survivors through the VA.They have a direct email addy as well at the site. Hadit has had superb discussions here in our DIC forum as to all of the nuances of the DIC benefit and advice to many, as each DIC claim can be either a very simple one or can be actually quite complex. Also Tbird has put an entire Survivors packet here: http://www.hadit.com/veterans_dependent_survivor_package/veterans_dependent_survivor_package.html Surviving spouses of veterans, even if they had been very involved in the spouse's VA issues, find there is a lot to the DIC process and will also learn that our motto here, Knowledge is Power, is what can sustain them and that knowledge can hopefully reverse any DIC denial they might get. If the survivor is age 60 or older, (age 50 if disabled)they can consider receiving an early SSA survivors benefit: http://www.ssa.gov/survivorplan/ifyou2.htm I only wish that some of the above information was available to me long ago when I was widowed of a veteran. Grief can stop us in our tracks and even cause us to put off filling out the many forms and sundry paperwork that the death of a spouse involves. I even had many flashbacks as I prepared this article,because ,when I was newly widowed , I was dealing with a pre -internet VA, whose web site holds a wealth of info now, yet I did have the VBM by NVLSP and that gave me good direction for my initial DIC claim. Also I advise to file for SC death under more than one theory if possible. If one theory fails, than perhaps the next one will succeed. That is good advice for any veteran claimant as well, to raise as many logical theories of entitlement ,as possible, to gain service connection. Meghp0405 has added this important advice: “Submit a VA FM 21-534ez for DIC claims. I've also submitted this form along with a VA FM 21-526ez, FDC. The response times that I've experienced using this process is around 90 days.. The DIC claims have been directed to the Milwaukee VARO. I've always submitted the applications right to that office instead of the local VARO. Saves some time.. hope this helps”
  2. This is a potential monetary award to any survivor of a deceased veteran who was also survived by any child or children who received SSA survivors Benefits as well as some children in their own right- as explained in the REPS regulation for any direcvtly service connected death-which could include many widows/widowers claims under the new AO presumptives. The REPS application is at the back of the DIC 21-534 application. "Incurred or aggravated prior to August 13,1981" certainly covers awards for SC deaths of Vietnam vets whose survivors might now fall under the new AO regulations. Under the provisions of section 156 of Public Law 97-377 and 38 C.F.R. § 3.812 (1992), a special allowance is payable to certain surviving spouses and children of individuals who died on active duty prior to August 13, 1981, or who died as a result of a service connected disability which was incurred or aggravated prior to August 13, 1981. This allowance, known as REPS benefits, was a replacement for certain social security benefits which were either reduced or terminated by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981. Pub. L. No. 97-33, § 2205, 95 Stat. 837 (l98l). Among those who are potentially eligible for REPS benefits are unmarried children of the veteran between the ages of 18 and 22 who are attending a post-secondary school on a full- time basis. Retroactive benefits, that is, benefits for a period of time prior to the date of the claim for such benefits, may only be paid under certain circumstances which are set forth in 38 C.F.R. § 3.812(f). With respect to any claim which is received more than one year after May 23, 1984, but within six months following the month in which the claimant first became eligible for special allowance payable under Section 156 of Public Law 97-377 (REPS), benefits shall be payable for all periods beginning on or after the first day of the month that the claimant first became eligible for this special allowance. See 58 Fed Reg. 34524-5 (l993). And here is a OGC pres Op generated since the above regs were written -that clarifies the retro period: http://www.hadit.com/VA_General_Counsel_Precedent_Opinions/p2002_action/displayglossarydetails/p2002_glossaryid/89
  3. I have somewhere in my personal files a contemporaneous "restricted report" of some hazing against me that involved forced sodomy. I never claimed it but I do have ratings for depression and anxiety at the most appropriate percentage. Is there a point in me ever claiming MST? I don't know if this is a Pandora's Box that I want to open. Opinions would be appreciated.
  4. After two long years, I just received a denial and the SOC from the VARO for service connected ptsd due to MST and I am absolutely sick about it. I really need help on where to turn now because I want to continue to fight this, but it seems like no matter what evidence I submit, service connection for PTSD due to MST is almost impossible to achieve. The SOC I received stated that "You have submitted copies of emails, letters, journals entries and documents from the Army indicating evidence of military sexual trauma. Based on all the evidence received, we have conceded that you did suffer from military sexual trauma during your military service. Treatment reports from VAMC/Outpatient Clinic show you have received treatment for PTSD symptoms and for major depressive disorder. VA examination dated on February 14, 2012, states you have a diagnosis of PTSD and dysthymia disorder. The examiner provides the opinion that she cannot say with confidence that your military sexual trauma experiences meet criteria A for PTSD. The examiner also states she cannot resolve that the issue of PTSD is a result of your military experience without resort to mere speculation. Service connection for PTSD remains denied. Although we conceded that you were exposed to traumatic events during your military service, to include military sexual trauma, we have not received any medical evidence that your PTSD is the result of your military sexual trauma. We have requested 2 different VA examinations, with 2 different examiners and both have been unable to provide a medical opinion that your PTSD is the result of your military sexual trauma. The treatment reports from the Outpatient clinic show you have received treatment for PTSD symptoms associated with your history of military sexual trauma. However, these reports do not provide a medical opinion and rationale that your PTDS is due to military sexual trauma, and the result of other trauma." My MH doctor specifically told me her medical notes were more vague due to my privacy, so If I asked her to write a medical opinion and rationale that my PTSD is due to MST, would this help? Should I go to a civilian MH doctor to gain another opinion? I was sent a Form 9 and must state why I think the VA decided my case incorrectly. Is it time for a lawyer? I didn't received much help from the VFW due to the VSOs lack of experience and uncomfortableness with MST. I am trying to find records from an outpatient base clinic in Hawaii which will show pregnancy test, STD test and other sickness from the timeframe of MST. It seems the VA wants to link PTSD to me witnessing molestation of daughter almost 15 years after MST instead of all that happened during active duty. Can anyone PLEASE advise me? I feel so hurt, betrayed and now even angry, especially that the VA conceded that I was exposed to MST during my military service. My original post on Hadit was under the PTSD Disorder Claim and was called PTSD/MST Denial as well, but this seems to be a more suitable area to post now.
  5. Hey all, First off, love this page it has been extremely helpful! Background: currently at 90% / 70-ptsd, 50-migraines, 10-iritis, 10-tinnitus, and I’m in the running for 100 at the moment. Current day: Was content at 90 but after all these years I have finally come out about my MST when I was in the infantry. Still working stuff out on that end as this is still fresh... Anyway, I submitted a claim for sleep apnea because of the MST. I submitted the following: picture of CPAP machine I use in my house, nexus statement from issuing doctor, Nexus statement from other doctor stating the sleep apnea is due to trauma from MST, copy of sleep study confirming I have sleep apnea from doctor listed above and buddy statements as well as the formal submission paperwork of my MST to three levels of my chain of command, NCO, O3, O5 etc... Wrap this all up with a successful expedited hardship approval and you now have me waiting for answers. Well today (a few moments prior to writing this) I found out I am getting a C&P exam for this...I almost feel like this is a slap in the face...I mean how am I to go up to that examiner and explain all this when I literally gave it all to them... Has anyone been in my shoes before??? Thank you all.
  6. Hello everyone. I've been searching this website and yukon website for my answers and I guess I just want to ask this question again because the answers I'm seeing are from 2011 or so and I want to make sure it's still valid for 2017. I got out of the service on medical discharge for fibromyalgia, MDD, and GAD in 2008. I was unable to tell anyone about my MST that happened prior to me developing Fibro (which I found out is usually connected to PTSD). Anyrate, since then I have talked to the VA Psychs for help and tried to "fix" myself and finally I opened up and told them about my MST and received a diagnosis of PTSD in 2013. Then in 2016 my VA Primary Care told me to reapply for benefits because she said they need to service connect me for my PTSD. I submitted my application, was honest and straight forward and very forthcoming even though I cried through my Comp and Pen exam. I have used Voc Rehab to change careers from Nuclear Electronics Technician to an Ultrasound Tech, and have worked as a tech from 2012-2014. After 2014 I quit working when my daughter was born, but also my fibromyalgia was flaring up so bad that it made it impossible to work anymore. I haven't worked since. Voc Rehab screwed up my award and didn't close out my case so I still have benefits left over and I was approved with a severe work handicap to use my benefits to go back to school after the birth of my second child. So here I was waiting for my disability decision and studying for the GRE to apply to a Nurse Practitioner Program helping women only because I have PTSD attacks with men. I was hoping that wouldn't be as hard on me as my Ultrasound position was. Then I get the decision stating that I am 100% P&T for PTSD, and 60% combined for fibromyalgia and hearing issues from the Navy, all service connected, and I'm getting SMC for Homebound criteria being met. I called the VA directly to find out if that meant that I wasn't allowed to work anymore. (I didn't plan on going to school until 2019, and not trying to work again until 2022.) The VA rep said that I WAS allowed to work and they may evaluated me in the future for my PTSD, and 'could' lower my rating, but that the rating wouldn't be lowered if I still met the criteria for 100% PTSD, it wouldn't have anything to do with whether or not I was working. The American Legion rep said I was allowed to work as well. But then when I read these forums it says I'm not allowed to work. I know already that Voc Rehab wouldn't pay for me to do the Nurse Practitioner schooling anymore because I was having difficulties trying to get them to approve it when I had a 50% rating, and now that I'm higher I know without a doubt they wouldn't allow it, so I understand I'm not going to be a Nurse Practitioner for Women's Health anymore. So I guess what I'm so upset about is accepting the fact that I can't work. I will have two children that I don't want to lose the education benefits for whatsoever, and everything else that's included with the 100% rating. No way in heck I want to lose that! It will sit easier with me if I get approved for SSDI. But that terrifies me too! I'm waiting for an appointment to apply in person because I'm scared I'll mess it up doing it online. So, confirmation: I cannot work if I don't want to risk losing any benefits, correct? And what are the do's and don'ts as far as what I should do in order to keep this disability rating for the next 19 years? I think that terrifies the most, screwing up and having my rating decreased. I know we are all stressed about this, please forgive me for this long post. And thank you all for your service and your advice. Peace and Love.
  7. OK, so went to my pc and created an instruction guide for uploading documents to eBenefits. How to upload documents to eBenefits Created 18 July 2014. Requirements: Scanner, pc and Microsoft Office software. Place document to be scanned face down on your flatbed scanner or scan feeder facedown. Select scan feature on the scanner software on your pc. Select monochrome text, unless you are scanning a photo- then select color photo option. This should automatically select the 200 x 200 dpi option on your scanner. This will scan the document as a jpeg file, which is one of the acceptable file formats that eBenefits will accept. Select save on the scanner software that is on your pc. Suggest you save to your desktop or some easily accessible file folder Hold your mouse over the selected icon for the scanned document, Right click to see options, choose open with MICROSOFT OFFICE. This will open as an M/S Office picture. Go to tool bar at top and open PICTURE option Scroll down to RESIZE. Click this option. Go to right side of screen and select custom width and height, the pc will automatically select 1024 x 768 pixels. Use this if just uploading one or two documents. Select OK. If uploading many pages, select preferred width and height from the options in # 12. Select WEB Large, 640 x 480 pixels then select OK. Then go to top, open file give this new document a name and save in a folder, either your desktop or create a new folder that is easily accessible. Note: when you save, it will display the default file name, change it to whatever you want and it will also display JPEG file interchange format. Then select OK. I hope this is not too confusing, but this works for me. Sorry if you are using an Apple device as no experience with them. I use M/S 10 and also have M/S 13 on my pc, and Brother MFCJ875DW scanner with a Brother HL 5370DW laser printer. Experienced persons may load say 10-12 documents in the top feed scanner and do same thing, but make sure you check each page and give it a name and number. Always make sure that the scanned item is legible. ONE LAST WORD, DO NOT TRUST EBENEFITS, ALWAYS SEND YOUR DOCUMENTS BY CERTIFIED MAIL AS WELLJ Vern, aka Hamster ManJ
  8. This is my first post in hadit, but I've been reading for nearly a year, thank you for your wisdom! I've faced a lot of criticism for having a non combat ptsd claim on a different site, so I'll briefly qualify my circumstances in order to get help. I was stationed in Germany, 1990-1992. During a field exercise, at night, while in uniform, there was a large explosion near my AO at the training area, it was a German civilian transport truck and a small passenger car that had wrecked and caught fire on the nearby autobahn. I along with several other soldiers rushed to the scene and rescued the driver of the truck, and tried unsuccessfully to pull out his passenger before it went up in flames. The passenger didn't make it, and I can't forget the scene and the hopelessness of standing by... Within a few weeks I started experiencing nightmares, anxiety, panic attacks. I was under the naive assumption that PTSD was only for combat veterans until about a year ago, when I was at the VA clinic in my town to see the mental health. The Psch diagnosed me with PTSD non combat, and encouraged me to file a claim. To digress, I was diagnosed bipolar at the VA in 2002 also with a previous history of suicide attempts a year and a half after discharge. I was discharged (ETS) honorably in 1996. First suicide attempt was 18 months after. I have many similar diagnosis of bipolar, one of "reaction psychosis", and a depression diagnosis all through VA and inpatient for bipolar/suicidal ideation. I was awarded SSDI in 2003. Having filled you in, here are my questions- Do these many diagnosis other than PTSD, after discharge, completely negate this new diagnosis of PTSD? Second question, I have had a heck of a time gathering proof of my stressor. So far I've submitted a German newspaper article and two eyewitness buddy statements, as well as two family statements and all my post discharge medical history. I've written to the JSRRC, they claim no record of my Signal Battalion in Germany was ever turned in. My brigade and battalion were inactivated in 2007. I have ran into dead ends in finding unit reports of the incident. Can anyone point me in the right direction as to where to search for S-3 reports or Staff Duty journals, so that I can send the VA further proof of my stressor? Thank you for reading my thread and for your help!
  9. I have been reading some of these blogs on MST and PTSD. I have a C & P exam on 8 July 2015. I have read some that are helpful and I am just a little nervous about this process. For one I am a Male and I disclosed it last year in July 2014. It was the hardest thing I have ever told anyone and was not completely comfortable telling my therapist either, but I had to do something because my mental state was deteriorating fast. I actually pushed the whole incedent out of my mind for along time telling myself it was no big deal. I could not tell anyone because I am a Guy this does not happen to men, so i silently suffered since 1995. I now have an exam. I have been diagnosed with PTSD due to MST and depression. I suffer from sleep distubances and night sweats. My wife tells me I scream in my sleep. I have gone to a couple MST groups and found them to be helpful. I still don't like to talk about it because I am supposed to be strong, but I have so much shame and guilt from it. I have constant anxiey and have panic attacks. I just worry about it and any guidence would be helpful.....
  10. Hello Hadit Helpers, I feel like I am stumbling around blind. I hope someone can help me see. I was service connected in 2011 severe anxiety due to mst and a bladder condition. I have not had gainful employment since ETSing in 2004. I was re-evaluated for an increase and received an overall 70 - 40 -10 but started being payed at 80% in 2016. In June of 2019 I applied for TDIU. I hit the make a decision now button on ebenefits, which was like shooting my own foot for lack of patience, not realizing that this meant the VA could not request any further info from me. In August I was denied, and obtained an attorney. The attorney took over and ebenefits is showing the privacy act starting on October 4th and my claim is now in the evidence gathering/decision making process. Estimated end date of April 2020, the attorney says 3 years, but I know there are new systems in place to make things move a little quicker. I am looking for any information that you all would have about what is actually happening. I don't know if this is a NOD or what. My case manager acts like I am a major pain and won't give me any info and I fear she has no idea what she is actually doing. =( I assume it is not an actual appeal yet, because my case manager said they would have to wait for my c-file before they would appeal on the next denial from the VA. I am so confused, If any of you experts could find the time to help me I would greatly appreciate it. I have always dealt with the VA on my own with no previous denials, but never fully understood what I was doing. I thought hiring an attorney would change this, but I still feel just as blind as before.
  11. I met with a VSO on Feb 8th 2019 and started my MST/PTSD claim. To be totally honest I am scared to death. The incidents happened during my Navy duty 88-89. I had hid it from everyone including my wife until this past December. I had went to a VSO to talk about other claims when it slipped out and I was offered help to form a claim. We filed an intent to claim in Dec 2018. She suggested I talk with my wife and make an appointment with my doctor. After sitting and having a very emotional talk with my wife and with her support I made an appointment with my personal doctor. I am very lucky to have a great doctor who sat with me and after many tears I was able to explain in detail what had happened. He diagnosed me with extreme anxiety mostly when dealing with other Males ( Authority Figures or when confronted), and PTSD/MST and prescribed an anxiety as needed. What we submitted: A two page statement from me ( Timeline form) A statement from my wife A statement from from my 20 yr old son detailing my issues with examples of my issues with male authority figures A Nexus statement from my Doctor saying he feels that my anxiety and PTSD is definitely caused by what happened while I served. The VSO said that it was the best written Nexus statement she has ever seen in her 10 years in doing Veteran claims. My Questions: After submitting a claim to the VSO how long before it shows up on ebenefits? Mine still shows as intent to file. The VSO says it has been submitted. What can I expect at my C & P exam? How can I prepare myself for the exam? This is what I dread/fear most. Is it ok if I post my journey? I also want to thank all the men and women who have submitted to the MST forum. I now know I am not alone. Being a male and reading that similar things has happened to other males and reading their journeys has prepared me to start my journey and start the healing process.
  12. My heart goes out to all of my fellow survivors of MST ... For me, I have found I can no longer suppress and manage the daily physical and emotional affects of the sexual assault that took place on December 25, 1985 while serving on active duty. In effort to find some help, relief and hopefully someday healing I am starting the uphill journey to deal with this and try to share some of the highlights of my battle. I will be the first to admit I have no idea what I am doing and can only hope that God the father.... will guide my feet day by day. First step locating documentation of the event. A few weeks ago I was able to locate the police dept. and requested a copy of the report. I received a copy of the 15 page report this past week and it makes me emotionally and physically sick just to look at the envelope it's in. I also tried to locate medical records over the years from prior mental health therapists and physicians that would have documented my history as it related to these events, but the practices were closed or my records were no longer available due to time. April I called the VA to inquire about mental health services for MST and hesitated to start the process because the MST would not be marked in my record for all my providers to see. This was a big hurdle mentally as I have always hid this event at all costs from my providers. I am sure this did not help my physicians treat me and fully understand my ongoing medical problems especially those in which are usually brought on by some big life event which I always adamantly denied when asked. May 2nd 2017, I submitted a "intent to file". May 4th 2017, I went to a VSO rep?? to asked questions about the process to file a claim related to MST. The rep was belittling, insulting, hurtful, rude and I walked out of that office with no more information and the psychological affects were pretty devastating. At the encouragement from my daughter to go straight to the patient advocate office and file a complaint....I did just that. I found myself have a total mental breakdown just trying to give the details of what just went down and was thankfully met with support and many reassurances that I would have a team of people helping moving forward and that person would be brought in...dealt with and re-trained. I will spare you all the details. My next step is hearing from the mental health dept. to set up an appt. to do some type of baseline evaluation of my symptoms etc. as it related to MST... I guess to get an official diagnosis on record and to get me the specific therapy I need started. I will likely opt for tele-therapy once I have a few sessions onsite at the VA. That's it for now
  13. Dear HadIt.Com; My daughter graduated from University of Maryland before she knew I was eligible for Chapter 35 benefits. She finished school in 2001. I wasn't awarded my Ch. 35 benefits until 2001/2002. She still owes substantial student loans that could be paid-down with the benefits if awarded. Can anyone tell me if she has a leg to stand on if she pursues the appeal process under these circumstances; "Please offer any, and all, help!" I have come across the following BVA decision which granted a claimant benefits after her graduation: Citation Nr: 0514702 Decision Date: 05/31/05 Archive Date: 06/08/05 DOCKET NO. 04 03-295A ) DATE ) ) On appeal from the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Buffalo, New York THE ISSUE Entitlement to an award of Dependents' Educational Assistance (DEA) under Chapter 35, Title 38, of the United States Code, for a period of enrollment at Concordia University beginning in September 1999. REPRESENTATION Appellant represented by: Disabled American Veterans ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD S. A. Mishalanie, Associate Counsel INTRODUCTION The veteran had active service from January 1967 to August 1969. The appellant is his daughter. This case comes to the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) from a December 2002 decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Buffalo, New York, which granted the appellant's claim for DEA benefits for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Concordia University and assigned an effective date of July 29, 2002. She appealed for an earlier effective date. Subsequently, in February 2003, the RO assigned an effective date of September 5, 2000. She continued to appeal, seeking DEA benefits from September 1999. FINDINGS OF FACT 1. The appellant is the veteran's daughter. 2. In September 2002, the RO notified the veteran that he had been granted a permanent and total disability evaluation, retroactively effective from July 1999. 3. The RO's grant established the appellant's basic eligibility for DEA benefits, also retroactively effective from July 1999. 4. In September 2002, the appellant filed an application for DEA benefits. In December 2002, the RO received an Enrollment Certification establishing that she pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree at Concordia University in Quebec, Canada, from September 1999 to May 2002. 5. In July 2003, VA informed the veteran that the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Concordia University had been approved for receipt of DEA benefits. CONCLUSION OF LAW The criteria are met for DEA benefits under the provisions of Chapter 35, Title 38, of the United States Code, for a period of enrollment at Concordia University beginning in September 1999. 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 3501(a)(1), 3510, 5113 (West 2002); 38 C.F.R. § 21.3021(a)(1) (2004). REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION Veterans Claims Assistance Act (VCAA) The VCAA, codified at 38 U.S.C.A. §§ 5100, 5102, 5103A, 5106, 5107, 5126 (West 2002), became effective on November 9, 2000. Implementing regulations were created, codified at 38 C.F.R. §§ 3.102, 3.156(a), 3.159 and 3.326 (2004). The VCAA and implementing regulations eliminated the requirement of submitting a well-grounded claim, and provide that VA will assist a claimant in obtaining evidence necessary to substantiate a claim, but is not required to provide assistance to a claimant if there is no reasonable possibility that such assistance would aid in substantiating the claim. The VCAA and implementing regulations also require VA to notify the claimant and the claimant's representative of any information, and any medical or lay evidence, not previously provided to the Secretary that is necessary to substantiate the claim. As part of the notice, VA is to specifically inform the claimant and the claimant's representative of which portion of the evidence is to be provided by the claimant and which part, if any, VA will attempt to obtain on behalf of the claimant. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5103(a) (West 2002); Charles v. Principi, 16 Vet. App. 370, 373-74 (2002); Quartuccio v. Principi, 16 Vet. App. 183, 186- 87 (2002). Since the Board is granting the appellant's claim, in full, there is no need to discuss whether there has been compliance with the VCAA because, even if there has not been, it is merely inconsequential. Cf. Bernard v. Brown, 4 Vet. App. 384 (1993). Factual Background In September 2002, the RO notified the veteran that it had granted his claim for a permanent and total disability rating based on individual unemployability (TDIU), retroactively effective from July 1999. The letter also notified him that DEA eligibility was also established from July 1999. A few weeks later, in September 2002, the appellant filed a claim for DEA benefits for courses taken at Concordia University located in Quebec, Canada. In December 2002, she submitted an Enrollment Certificate (VA Form 21-1999), confirming her attendance in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at Concordia University from September 1999 through May 2002. An e-mail in the claims file from Education Services to the RO indicates the approval date for the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at Concordia University had been changed to July 29, 2000. The email states, "the foreign approval guys weren't willing to go back further than that but this should help." A handwritten note on the email indicates that an award date of September 2000 was chosen for the appellant by the RO. The July 2003 statement of the case (SOC) indicates an approval request for the Bachelors of Fine Arts program at Concordia College was received on July 29, 2002. Therefore, the RO reasoned that DEA benefits were not payable before July 29, 2001, one year prior to the date of receipt of the approval request. See 38 C.F.R. § 21.4131(d)(iv) (2004). The RO further noted that the effective date of July 29, 2000 for course approval was erroneously assigned and, therefore, the appellant had erroneously received DEA benefits from September 2000 through May 2001. The RO stated, however, that those benefits would not have to be repaid since they were paid due to an administrative error on the part of VA. Governing Statutes and Regulations A child of a person who has a total disability permanent in nature resulting from a service-connected disability, or who died while a disability so evaluated was in existence is eligible for DEA benefits. 38 U.S.C.A. § 3501(a)(1) ( West 2002). With some limited exceptions, an eligible person is not entitled to an award of DEA benefits until she is 18 years old or completes secondary schooling, whichever occurs first. 38 U.S.C.A. 3511(a) (West 2002). Effective November 1, 2000, Congress amended the law governing, in pertinent part, effective dates for awards of DEA benefits. See Veterans Benefits and Health Care Improvement Act of 2000 (Act) Pub. L. No. 106-419, §113, 114 Stat. 1832 (2000) (codified at 38 U.S.C.A. § 5113 (West 2002)). Section 5113 applies to initial applications that are received on or after the date of enactment of the amendment, or which are pending with the Secretary of VA at that time. In this case, the appellant's application was received after the date of enactment, so this law applies to this appeal. See VAOGCPREC 7-2003 (Nov. 19, 2003). The law provides that, when determining the effective date of an award under Chapter 35 based on an original claim, the Secretary may consider the eligible individual's application as having been filed on the eligibility date of the individual if the eligibility date is more than one year before the date of the initial rating decision. 38 C.F.R. § 5113(B)(1) (West 2002). An individual is eligible if she submits to the Secretary an original application for educational assistance under Chapter 35 of this title within a year of the date that the Secretary makes the rating decision, claims such educational assistance for pursuit of an approved program of education during a period preceding the one-year period ending on the date on which the application was received, and would have been entitled to such assistance if the application had been submitted on the individual's eligibility date. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5113(:D(2) (West 2002). When, after considering all information and evidence of record, there is an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence as to any material issue, VA shall give the claimant the benefit of the doubt. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107( (West 2002). See also Dela Cruz v. Principi, 15 Vet. App. 143, 148-49 (2001) ("the VCAA simply restated what existed in section 5107 regarding the benefit-of-the-doubt doctrine"). Legal Analysis The appellant had already turned 18, completed her secondary schooling, and was enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Concordia University at the time the veteran's TDIU became effective in July 1999. So she first became eligible for receipt of DEA benefits in July 1999. 38 U.S.C.A. § 3501(a)(1)(A)(ii) (West 2002), 38 C.F.R. § 21.3041((2)(ii) (2004) (If the effective date of the permanent and total disability rating occurs after the child has reached 18, but before he or she has reached 26, the beginning date of eligibility will be the effective date of the rating or the date of notification to the veteran from who the child derives eligibility, whichever is more advantageous to the eligible child). Obviously, however, she was unaware that she was eligible for DEA benefits until the RO made its decision regarding her father's claim for a TDIU and notified him in September 2002. Within a matter of weeks after learning she was eligible, she filed her claim for DEA benefits. Before § 5113 was amended, the law only allowed an award of DEA benefits dating back one year prior to when the appellant filed her claim - which in this case would have been September 2001. This situation is one of the precise reasons Congress amended § 5113 - to correct an inherent unfairness that results when a claimant does not learn of her eligibility for DEA benefits until years later due to the administrative delay in processing the claim. Indeed, it was not her fault it took VA over 3 years to adjudicate and notify her father that he had been granted a permanent and total disability rating. So, as long as she meets all the requirements of the amended version of § 5113, she is entitled to an effective date for an award of DEA benefits that corresponds with her eligibility date. As explained further below, the Board finds that she does in fact meet all the requirements under § 5113. The appellant submitted her original application for DEA benefits within a year after the RO made its rating decision. In fact, she filed her application within a matter of weeks after her father was notified of DEA eligibility. The claim was for an approved program of education during a period preceding the one-year period ending on the date on which the application was received - meaning prior to September 2001. And finally, she would have been entitled to DEA benefits had she submitted such an application on her eligibility date (i.e., in July 1999). See 38 U.S.C.A. § 5113 (West 2002). The Board notes that the RO, in its SOC, reasoned that because the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Concordia University was not an approved program at the time the appellant became eligible for DEA benefits, she was not entitled to an effective date any earlier than the date course approval was requested. According to a July 2003 letter from the Director of Education Service to the veteran, programs of education at Concordia University were approved on a case-by-case basis - meaning approval was sought for each student separately. Concordia University had sought approval from VA for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program on behalf of another student in July 2002 and was granted such approval. In other words, the appellant was not in pursuit of an approved program of education prior to July 2002, because the Bachelor of Fine Arts program at Concordia University had not yet been approved in accordance with 38 C.F.R. § 21.4260 (2004). But such an interpretation of § 5113 thwarts the legislative intent behind the amendments to this statute and creates a catch-22 for eligible persons. Essentially, this interpretation would require an eligible child who had attended courses at a foreign university to have the ability to travel back in time and request course approval before she even knew she was eligible to receive DEA benefits. The Board disagrees with this interpretation. While it is true that Concordia University is a foreign institution requiring VA approval under 38 C.F.R. § 21.4260 for DEA benefits, it is clear this approval has been granted by VA for the Bachelor of Fine Arts program. And presumably if the appellant had filed her application and her request for course approval on her eligibility date, this program at Concordia University would have been approved at that time. The Board finds no reason to doubt otherwise. Given the foregoing, the Board concludes that the appellant is entitled to an award of DEA benefits under the provisions of Chapter 35, Title 38, United States Code for a period of enrollment at Concordia University beginning in September 1999. ORDER The claim for an award of DEA benefits under the provisions of Chapter 35, Title 38, of the United States Code, for a period of enrollment beginning on September 7, 1999 at Concordia University, is granted, subject to statutory and regulatory provisions governing the payment of monetary benefits. ____________________________________________ Keith W. Allen Veterans Law Judge, Board of Veterans' Appeals Department of Veterans Affairs ______________________________________________________________________________ Thank you, in advance for anyone out there with information that can help. ***"Sonny" E. T. English - Vietnam Veteran"***
  14. Sent: Wednesday, August 26, 2009 9:33 AM Subject: FW: Guam AO Award VA Appeals Court Agent Orange win for people who were on Guam. Pass along to anyone fighting VA for Guam benefits http://www.countyofkings.com/vetserve/Vete...0on%20Guam.html Citation Nr: 0527748 Decision Date: 10/13/05 Archive Date: 10/25/05 DOCKET NO. 02-11 819 ) On appeal from the Department of Veterans Affairs Regional Office in Boston, Massachusetts THE ISSUE Entitlement to service connection for diabetes mellitus secondary to herbicide exposure. REPRESENTATION Veteran represented by: Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services WITNESSES AT HEARING ON APPEAL The veteran and his brother ATTORNEY FOR THE BOARD L. J. N. Driever, Counsel INTRODUCTION The veteran had active service from December 1966 to December 1970, including in Guam from December 1966 to October 1968. This claim comes before the Board of Veterans' Appeals (Board) on appeal from a March 2002 rating decision of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Regional Office (RO) in Boston, Massachusetts. The veteran and his brother testified in support of this claim at a hearing held at the RO before the undersigned in May 2004. In September 2004, the Board remanded this claim to the RO via the Appeals Management Center in Washington, D.C. FINDINGS OF FACT 1. VA provided the veteran adequate notice and assistance with regard to his claim. 2. Diabetes mellitus is related to the veteran's active service. CONCLUSION OF LAW Diabetes mellitus was incurred in service. 38 U.S.C.A. 1110, 5102, 5103, 5103A (West 2002); 38 C.F.R. ?? 3.159, 3.303 (2004). REASONS AND BASES FOR FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION VA's Duties to Notify and Assist On November 9, 2000, the Veterans Claims Assistance Act of 2000 (VCAA), codified at 38 U.S.C.A. ?? 5100, 5102, 5103, 5103A, 5106, 5107, 5126 (West 2002), became law. Regulations implementing the VCAA were published at 66 Fed. Reg. 45,620, 45,630-32 (August 29, 2001) and codified at 38 C.F.R. ?? 3.102, 3.156(a), 3.159 and 3.326 (2004). The VCAA and its implementing regulations are applicable to this appeal. The VCAA and its implementing regulations provide that VA will assist a claimant in obtaining evidence necessary to substantiate a claim but is not required to provide assistance to a claimant if there is no reasonable possibility that such assistance would aid in substantiating the claim. They also require VA to notify the claimant and the claimant's representative, if any, of the information and medical or lay evidence not previously provided to the Secretary that is necessary to substantiate the claim. As part of the notice, VA is to specifically inform the claimant and the claimant's representative, if any, of which portion of the evidence is to be provided by the claimant and which portion of the evidence VA will attempt to obtain on behalf of the claimant. The United States Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims (Court) has mandated that VA ensure strict compliance with the provisions of the VCAA. See Quartuccio v. Principi, 16 Vet. App. 183 (2002). In this case, VA has strictly complied with the VCAA by providing the veteran adequate notice and assistance with regard to his claim. Regardless, given that the decision explained below represents a full grant of the benefit being sought on appeal, the Board's decision to proceed in adjudicating this claim does not prejudice the veteran in the disposition thereof. See Bernard v. Brown, 4 Vet. App. 384, 392-94 (1993). Analysis of Claim In multiple written statements submitted during the course of this appeal and during his personal hearing, the veteran alleged that he developed diabetes mellitus as a result of his exposure to herbicide agents while serving on active duty in Guam. His military occupational duties as an aircraft maintenance specialist allegedly required him to work in an air field, the perimeter of which was continuously brown due to herbicide spraying every three months. The veteran also alleges that he recalls seeing storage barrels at the edge of the base, which he now knows housed herbicides. Following discharge, Anderson Air Force base in Guam, where the veteran was stationed, underwent an environmental study, which showed a significant amount of dioxin contamination in the soil and prompted the federal government to order a clean up of the site. Service connection may be granted for disability resulting from disease or injury incurred in or aggravated by service. 38 U.S.C.A. ? 1110 (West 2002); 38 C.F.R. ? 3.303 (2004). Service connection may also be granted for any disease diagnosed after discharge when all of the evidence, including that pertinent to service, establishes that the disease was incurred in service. 38 C.F.R. ? 3.303(d). Subsequent manifestations of a chronic disease in service, however remote, are to be service connected, unless clearly attributable to intercurrent causes. For the showing of chronic disease in service there is required a combination of manifestations sufficient to identify the disease entity, and sufficient observation to establish chronicity at the time, as distinguished from merely isolated findings or diagnosis including the word "chronic." Continuity of symptomatology is required only where the condition noted during service is not, in fact, shown to be chronic or when the diagnosis of chronicity may be legitimately questioned. When the fact of chronicity in service is not adequately supported, then a showing of continuity after discharge is required to support the claim. 38 C.F.R. ? 3.303(b). In some circumstances, a disease associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents will be presumed to have been incurred in service even though there is no evidence of that disease during the period of service at issue. 38 U.S.C.A. ? 1116(a) (West 2002); 38 C.F.R. ?? 3.307(a)(6), 3.309(e) (2004). In this regard, a veteran who, during active military, naval, or air service, served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era shall be presumed to have been exposed during such service to a herbicide agent, unless there is affirmative evidence to establish that the veteran was not exposed to any such agent during that service. 38 U.S.C.A. ? 1116(a)(3). Diseases associated with such exposure include: chloracne or other acneform diseases consistent with chloracne; Type 2 diabetes (also known as Type II diabetes mellitus or adult-onset diabetes); Hodgkin's disease; multiple myeloma; non- Hodgkin's lymphoma; acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy; porphyria cutanea tarda; prostate cancer; respiratory cancers (cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea); and soft- tissue sarcomas (other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma, or mesothelioma). 38 C.F.R. ? 3.309(e) (2004); see also 38 U.S.C.A. ? 1116(f), as added by ? 201© of the Veterans Education and Benefits Expansion Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-103, 115 Stat. 976 (2001). These diseases shall have become manifest to a degree of 10 percent or more at any time after service, except that chloracne or other acneform disease consistent with chloracne, porphyria cutanea tarda, and acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy shall have become manifest to a degree of 10 percent or more within a year after the last date on which the veteran was exposed to an herbicide agent during active military, naval, or air service. 38 C.F.R. ? 3.307(a)(6)(ii). The last date on which such a veteran shall be presumed to have been exposed to an herbicide agent shall be the last date on which he or she served in the Republic of Vietnam during the Vietnam era. "Service in the Republic of Vietnam" includes service in the waters offshore and service in other locations if the conditions of service involved duty or visitation in the Republic of Vietnam. 38 C.F.R. ? 3.307(a)(6)(iii). The Secretary of Veterans Affairs has determined that there is no positive association between exposure to herbicides and any other condition for which the Secretary has not specifically determined that a presumption of service connection is warranted. See Notice, 59 Fed. Reg. 341, 346 (1994); see also 61 Fed. Reg. 41,442, 41,449 and 57,586, 57,589 (1996); 67 Fed. Reg. 42,600, 42,608 (2002). Notwithstanding the aforementioned provisions relating to presumptive service connection, which arose out of the Veteran's Dioxin and Radiation Exposure Compensation Standards Act, Pub. L. No. 98-542, ? 5, 98 Stat. 2,725, 2,727-29 (1984), and the Agent Orange Act of 1991, Pub. L. No. 102-4, ? 2, 105 Stat. 11 (1991), the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has determined that a claimant is not precluded from establishing service connection with proof of direct causation. Combee v. Brown, 34 F.3d 1039, 1042 (Fed. Cir. 1994); see also 38 C.F.R. ? 3.303(d). In order to prevail with regard to the issue of service connection on the merits, "there must be medical evidence of a current disability, see Rabideau v. Derwinski, 2 Vet. App. 141, 143 (1992); medical or, in certain circumstances, lay evidence of in-service incurrence or aggravation of a disease or injury; and medical evidence of a nexus between the claimed in-service disease or injury and the present disease or injury. See Caluza v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 498, 506 (1995), aff'd, 78 F.3d 604 (Fed. Cir. 1996). Except as otherwise provided by law, a claimant has the responsibility to present and support a claim for benefits under laws administered by the Secretary. The Secretary shall consider all information and lay and medical evidence of record in a case before the Secretary with respect to benefits under laws administered by the Secretary. When there is an approximate balance of positive and negative evidence regarding any issue material to the determination of a matter, the Secretary shall give the benefit of the doubt to the claimant. 38 U.S.C.A. ? 5107 (West 2002); see also Gilbert v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 49, 53 (1990). The veteran's service medical records reflect that, during service, the veteran did not report herbicide exposure. In addition, he did not receive treatment for and was not diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. His DD Form 214, DD Form 7 and Airmen Performance Reports dated in March 1968 and October 1968, however, confirm that he had active service from December 1966 to December 1970, including at Anderson Air Force base in Guam from December 1966 to October 1968. He has submitted copies of articles indicating that Agent Orange may have been stored and/or used on Guam from 1955 to the late 1960s, which is the time period during which the veteran served there. These articles also reflect that in the 1990s, the Environmental Protection Agency listed Anderson Air Force base as a toxic site with dioxin contaminated soil and ordered clean up of the site. Given this evidence, particularly, the articles reflecting the latter information, and the veteran's testimony, which is credible, the Board accepts that the veteran was exposed to herbicides during his active service in Guam. The veteran did not serve in Vietnam; therefore, he is not entitled to a presumption of service connection for his diabetes mellitus under the aforementioned law and regulations governing claims for service connection for disabilities resulting from herbicide exposure. As previously indicated, however, the veteran may be entitled to service connection for this disease on a direct basis if the evidence establishes that his diabetes mellitus is related to the herbicide exposure. Post-service medical evidence indicates that, since 1993, the veteran has received treatment for, and been diagnosed with, diabetes mellitus. One medical professional has addressed the question of whether this disease is related to such exposure. In June 2005, a VA examiner noted that the veteran had had the disease for 12 years, had no parental history of such a disease, and had served in Guam, primarily in an air field, which was often sprayed with chemicals. She diagnosed diabetes type 2 and opined that this disease was 50 to 100 percent more likely than not due to the veteran's exposure to herbicides between January 1968 and April 1970, when he served as a crew chief for the 99th bomb wing on the ground and tarmac. She explained that such exposure, rather than hereditary factors, better explained the cause of the disease given that the veteran's parents did not have diabetes. As the record stands, there is no competent medical evidence of record disassociating the veteran's diabetes mellitus from his in-service herbicide exposure or otherwise from his active service. Relying primarily on the VA examiner's opinion, the Board thus finds that diabetes mellitus is related to the veteran's service. Based on this finding, the Board concludes that diabetes mellitus was incurred in service. Inasmuch as the evidence supports the veteran's claim, that claim must be granted. ORDER Service connection for diabetes mellitus secondary to herbicide exposure is granted. "Keep on, Keepin' on" Dan Cedusky, Champaign IL "Colonel Dan" See my web site at: http://www.angelfire.com/il2/VeteranIssues/
  15. I recently did a new C&P for PTSD when I filed for I.U. He neglected to mark a lot of my symptoms. I am currently rated at 50% PTSD, was wondering if you think this keeps me a the same or warrants an increase. He did forget to mark my suicidal ideations and a few other symptoms though so I am worried I won't be rated correctly. 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: PTSD ICD Code: F43.10 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Panic Disorder ICD Code: F41.0 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #3: Major Depressive Disorder, Recurrent ICD Code: F33.1 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #4: No Axis II disorder b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the Mental Health Disorder (to include TBI): No response provided. 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? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A) If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate what portion of each symptom is attributable to each diagnosis and discuss whether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses: The PTSD is currently the more severe and responsible for the veteran's current level of impairment; the clinical depression and the Panic Disorder are certainly significant, however. The depression and Panic Disorder are seen as more likely than not caused by the chronic PTSD symptoms. It is difficult to ferret out the contribution of the three disorders due to the overlap of symptoms and variability of degree; at times any of the three disorders may be the more severe, but the PTSD is responsible for the current level of impairment. c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] 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 reduced reliability and productivity b. For the indicated level of occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by each mental disorder? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] No other mental disorder has been diagnosed If no, provide reason that it is not possible to differentiate what portion of the indicated level of occupational and social impairment is attributable to each diagnosis: The PTSD is currently the more severe and responsible for the veteran's current level of impairment; the clinical depression and the Panic Disorder are certainly significant, however. The depression and Panic Disorder are seen as more likely than not caused by the chronic PTSD symptoms. It is difficult to ferret out the contribution of the three disorders due to the overlap of symptoms and variability of degree; at times any of the three disorders may be the more severe, but the PTSD is responsible for the current level of impairment. c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate what portion of the occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by the TBI? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] No diagnosis of TBI SECTION II: ----------- Clinical Findings: ------------------ 1. Evidence Review ------------------ Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) [X] CPRS 2. Recent History (since prior exam) ------------------------------------ a. Relevant Social/Marital/Family history: Veteran received his previous PTSD C&P on Mar 2016. At that time he was living in an aparments. He still lives in but has moved to a different aprtment. He lives with a roommate. He is not in a relationship. The veteran is not employed. His typical day consists of going to school, "I have classes five days a week but "I only go two days a week because of panic attacks. When I'm home I sometimes lay in bed and cry or think about everything." He noted he does not sleep much at all. He said he only gets out for school; is roommate will cook and get most of the groceries. b. Relevant Occupational and Educational history: The veteran has not worked since he was discharged from the Air Force in 2016. He has applied for jobs and tried to do a work study but quit because of panic attacks; at times he will scream and hit his back pack. He started there in August and is taking 12 units. He is schedule to attend classes five days a week but rarely makes all five days. "I'm close to failing a couple of classes for attendance. c. Relevant Mental Health history, to include prescribed medications and family mental health: The veteran is current being followed by a staff psychologist every two weeks; he has being seeing her since August. He is also followed by a staff psychiatrist who prescribes: prazosin and Celexa. He has taken other medications. He said they help only a little bit. d. Relevant Legal and Behavioral history: Denied by the veteran. He did say he got into an altercation about two weeks ago at the gym when he through a dumbbell at the floor; he was kicked out. e. Relevant Substance abuse history: The veteran has not drank alcohol for over one years; he denied ever abusing it. He does not use illegal substances. f. Other, if any: No response provided. 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 symptom s 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). [X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of 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). [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). 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, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead the individual to blame himself/herself or others. [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. [X] Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others. 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. [X] Problems with concentration. [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] Anxiety [X] Panic attacks more than once a week [X] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recent events [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] Neglect of personal appearance and hygiene 5. Behavioral observations -------------------------- No unusual behaviors observed. 6. Other symptoms ----------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other mental disorders) that are not listed above? [X] Yes [ ] No If yes, describe: The veteran reports having suicidal thoughts 3-4 times a week but doesn't dwell on them. He said he would never attempt suicided because of his kids. 7. Competency ------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes [ ] No 8. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any: --------------------------------------------------- No remarks provided.
  16. Looking for some guidance. I served on active duty in the Navy from 87-90 overseas on a ship. My original plans when I enrolled was to do 20 years, Back in Dec of 2018 I met with and amazing Veterans Service Officer about a tinnitus claim which was approved. While there she had handed me a bunch papers about claims and one was on PTSD and MST. She was copying and I was reading the PTSD-MST document and it triggered a bunch of emotions where I started shacking and tearing up. The VSO walked in and noticed my state and asked me if I was ok. I tried to answer her but, couldn't she went and got a male VSO and a male nurse to come in. Once the nurse helped calmed me down the male VSO noticed the document I was reading and we talked for awhile about it and I briefly explained a little. He recommend that I file a DBA for PTSD-MST and recommended the following. I document everything I can remember about the events is causing my stressors: I wrote an eight page document in details about the events. Talk to my wife about what happened and have her write a document on what she sees and how it effects our relationship: After having an very hard emotional talk with her, she wrote a two page document. My 20 year old son also wrote a two page document on things he as seen, even though he only knows a little about what happened. Talk to my doctor about what happened: Made an appointment and discussed detail what happened and he diagnosed me with severe PTSD and anxiety placed on Xanax as needed. He wrote a Nexus letter and has sent it into the VA for me Now I explain a little about what when on when arriving on ship I was assigned to a steam generator room and assigned watch with two other sailors one was a 2nd Class Petty officer and the other a 3rd class. At the time we were doing 12 hour watches 12 on 12 off. The first few watches went well. We were getting ready to pull into Subic Bay Philippines for a few days before heading back to Japan. They both stated " We want you to come out and drink with us and then we can tag team a few girls". Now a little history alcoholism runs in my family and I don'y shy away from drinking I just know my limits. When we arrived in port I hung out with a few of my buddies instead. When we headed back to sea things went down hill. On my first watch back with them they yelled to me to come to the watch booth which was big enough for 2 chairs and a small table/chair between them the whole booth was maybe 4 feet by 6 feet with a center door and windows. When I went in I noticed they both had towels over their laps which wasn't unusual do to it being over 100 degrees in there. I was told to sit down and did then one of them stated we figured out why you didn't go out with use you must be gay and not like girls. I didn't get a chance to answer when they ripped the towels off and exposed themselves to me. I tried to leave but they held the door laughing. I was finally let out and was very shaken up. This happened many time the next few day the both continually exposed themselves to me. I would ask them to stop and would be ignored. I went to my Chief Petty officer and told him what was going and and got this remark back " Why you trying to get them in trouble they are just playing with you". I went to back to my watch and was cornered by them and verbally threatened to keep my mouth shut. With out going in two many details things escalated to the point where I wold come done to watch and they would be masturbating in the open I'd try to move away and they would chase me around. One time I was working in the bilge( bottom area of ship lots of stinky water and valves) under the floor of our work space crawling around attempting to fix a valve when I felt what I thought was water coming down on me upon looking up realized they were urinating on me. A lot more worse things happened. I was very depressed and felt helpless. I tho ought about suicide many time and even cut my wrist once when things were at its worst. Got scared and told everyone I fell and sliced it still have the scar. Other than my failed attempt to tell my Chief about it I never told a soul about it. I ask myself why didn't I fight back? Lets put it this way at the time I weighed about 125 lbs soaking wet and about 5'7". They both were about 170-180 and were both over 6 feet. I was working in a space alone with them at anytime they could injury me say I got hurt working it was my word against the 2 of them. Why has it taking so long for me to open up about this? I always thought that Sexual trauma only happened to woman. I was scared and embarrassed to admit he happened to me. How has this affected me. I have nightmares weekly. I have flashbacks. Something will trigger memories and I'll have panic attacks. I have intimacy issues. I have ED issues that started at an early age. I have issues in places where there may be Male Public Nudity ( Locker rooms, even public restrooms I'll use a stall ) Just because it triggers flashback of them and what they did. I have issues with Male authority figures. I have the tendency to back down from and conflicts even though and right. Fear retaliation And the big one still fear retaliation from them. Still fear after almost 30 years that exposing them and what happened they will find away to get me. Thank you to everyone who reads this. Now my questions: Is there anything else I should include to help my case? I'm aware that after my meeting with the VSO they will set me up with a DBA with someone from the VA. What can I expect from that meeting and how should I prepare for it? What about secondary PTSD symptoms what applies? After meeting with my personal doctor he actually interned at the VA center I going to. He suggested apply for ratings secondary to the PTSD rating for the following. Erectile dysfunction, hypertension. Do you feel that these are ok? Are there others that I should consider or be aware of?
  17. I've been a lurker on here for a little bit, I have been able to find most of my questions answered on here through a quick search, but I'm having trouble finding anything related to my current question. I had a partial grant last month from the BVA; two approvals, one increase, one denial, and two remands. I'm currently waiting on my RO in Muskogee, OK to promulgate my rating. They received my file on February 28th, 2017, and so far nothing has changed in ebenefits, and iris inquiries have left me with more questions than answers. I'm also in an expedited status due to extreme financial hardship. Is a case that's been flagged for hardship treated more expeditiously than a normal BVA grant? I ask because VLJ already stated that it should be treated in an expedited matter because it's an Appeal (everyone is expedited after BVA = no one is expedited, lol). I left a complaint on IRIS to my RO about how that the BVA has the FL 10-02 going over this exact circumstance and that I'm also flagged under hardship status. What else can I do from here? Running out of time...
  18. Hi there! Long time member here but been MIA for awhile. Life has been busy and I have been dealing with health issues. Long story short, I went through a battery of tests to find out what is wrong with me. I did an ANA-TITER test, and it was positive for an auto immune disease. Was referred to the RA doctor for further testing to see if I had lupus. The RA doctor did blood tests and determined I don't have lupus. We did additionally physical exam at the VA back in May and he determined I had Fibromyalgia and diagnosed me with it. We discussed that my Fibromyalgia co-exists with PTSD/MST and IBS. We also discussed that Fibromyalgia can be secondary to my already service-connected PTSD/MST or even maybe my IBS. I discussed this with my representative and we decided to file a claim for Fibromyalgia (non-service connected disability) to an already service-connected disability. Either PTSD/MST or IBS and we asked that they evaluate either causation or aggravation. We filed in July and I had my C&P exam in September. The examiner was asked by the rater to give his medical opinion as to the Fibro being secondary to my PTSD/MST. The rater did not ask if it was possible to be secondary to my IBS like we requested. The examiner did a C&P DBQ for Fibro and that was positive. I do have Fibro, that isn't the issue. The medical opinion is what was disturbing. I was with the examiner for less than 5 minutes. He stated he physically examined me when he did not and he seemed very unknowledgeable about Fibro/PTSD-MST/IBS as co-existing and determining either causation or aggravation. Of course the medical opinion stated, "less likely than not". I was floored, so I went to work for my claim. I contacted my RA doctor and we talked with my representative on the phone as well. By the end of the call he was confident enough to link my PTSD/MST as aggravation to my Fibromyalgia. He wrote a one/two paragraph letter on my behalf. We sent that to the rater. Then I spoke to my MH provider last week and she too wrote me a very good NEXUS letter. That was sent to the rater yesterday. Both my doctor's are at the VA and both stepped out on a limb for me. I am hoping their medical opinions outweigh the negative C&P medical opinion. I am attaching the C&P exams (redacted), the two medical opinions (redacted) - I am hoping I am successful because this will make me 100% scheduler. I am currently 94% overall rated. C&P _Redacted.pdf nexus 2_Redacted.pdf redacted.pdf redacted2.pdf
  19. C&P Exam PTSD:MST Eating Disorder.pdf ^^^^^^Well the attached report indicates to me a 10% PTSD rating. I am currently 30% and I do not understand how this happened but I might be in for a reduction. I thought the exam went well. I had a PTSD and Eating Disorder C&P. Regarding the occupational/social impairment she checked the one that resembles 10% and for "b" she marks YES and goes on to say my trauma impacts my occupational/social impairment. Look at the symptoms she notes: Anxiety; Panic Attacks more than once a week; Chronic sleep impairment; difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships She even stated in the exam that I was BDD (Body Dysmorphic Disorder) but her reports indicates while I have BDD characteristics I don't warrant the BDD rating. She states for the VA established diagnosis of SPECIFIED TRAUMA AND STRESSOR RELATED DISORDER, there is NO CHANGE in the diagnosis. At this time the claimant's condition is active. Does this Exam mean I am going to be reduced or would I fall under the below??? 3.344 Stabilization of disability evaluations. (a) Examination reports indicating improvement. Rating agencies will handle cases affected by change of medical findings or diagnosis, so as to produce the greatest degree of stability of disability evaluations consistent with the laws and Department of Veterans Affairs regulations governing disability compensation and pension. It is essential that the entire record of examinations and the medical-industrial history be reviewed to ascertain whether the recent examination is full and complete, including all special examinations indicated as a result of general examination and the entire case history. This applies to treatment of intercurrent diseases and exacerbations, including hospital reports, bedside examinations, examinations by designated physicians, and examinations in the absence of, or without taking full advantage of, laboratory facilities and the cooperation of specialists in related lines. Examinations less full and complete than those on which payments were authorized or continued will not be used as a basis of reduction. Ratings on account of diseases subject to temporary or episodic improvement, e.g., manic depressive or other psychotic reaction, epilepsy, psychoneurotic reaction, arteriosclerotic heart disease, bronchial asthma, gastric or duodenal ulcer, many skin diseases, etc., will not be reduced on any one examination, except in those instances where all the evidence of record clearly warrants the conclusion that sustained improvement has been demonstrated. Ratings on account of diseases which become comparatively symptom free (findings absent) after prolonged rest, e.g. residuals of phlebitis, arteriosclerotic heart disease, etc., will not be reduced on examinations reflecting the results of bed rest. Moreover, though material improvement in the physical or mental condition is clearly reflected the rating agency will consider whether the evidence makes it reasonably certain that the improvement will be maintained under the ordinary conditions of life. When syphilis of the central nervous system or alcoholic deterioration is diagnosed following a long prior history of psychosis, psychoneurosis, epilepsy, or the like, it is rarely possible to exclude persistence, in masked form, of the preceding innocently acquired manifestations. Rating boards encountering a change of diagnosis will exercise caution in the determination as to whether a change in diagnosis represents no more than a progression of an earlier diagnosis, an error in prior diagnosis or possibly a disease entity independent of the service-connected disability. When the new diagnosis reflects mental deficiency or personality disorder only, the possibility of only temporary remission of a super-imposed psychiatric disease will be borne in mind. (b) Doubtful cases. If doubt remains, after according due consideration to all the evidence developed by the several items discussed in paragraph (a) of this section, the rating agency will continue the rating in effect, citing the former diagnosis with the new diagnosis in parentheses, and following the appropriate code there will be added the reference “Rating continued pending reexamination ___ months from this date, §3.344.” The rating agency will determine on the basis of the facts in each individual case whether 18, 24 or 30 months will be allowed to elapse before the reexamination will be made. (c) Disabilities which are likely to improve. The provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section apply to ratings which have continued for long periods at the same level (5 years or more). They do not apply to disabilities which have not become stabilized and are likely to improve. Reexaminations disclosing improvement, physical or mental, in these disabilities will warrant reduction in rating.
  20. Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of PTSD DSM-5 criteria on today's eval? [X] Yes [ ] No 2. Current Diagnoses,1PTSD 2Panic Disorder 3Agorophobia 4Major Depressive Disorder b. Medical diagnoses relevant. obstructive sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, hypothyroidism. 3. Differential a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed? [X] Yes [ ] No 4. Occupational and social impairment [X] Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity b. For the indicated occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate which impairment is caused by each mental disorder? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not Applicable (N/A) Vet has multiple co-morbid psych dx and therefore cannot differentiate level of impairment due to each mental disorder due to overlap in symptoms. Does stressor meet Criterion diagnosis of PTSD)? [X] Yes [ ] No Is the stressor related to the Veteran's fear of hostile military terrorist activity? [X] Yes [ ] No Is the stressor related to personal assault, e.g. military sexual trauma? [X] Yes [ ] No Criterion A: Exposure to [X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s) Criterion B: Presence of [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). [X] Recurrent distressing dreams [X] Dissociative reactions [X] Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic [X] Marked physiological reactions to internal or externalcues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic Criterion Persistent avoidance of [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated traumatic event(s). [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, Criterion Negative alterations [X] Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others [X] Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event that lead the individual to blameherself others. [X] Persistent negative emotional state [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. [X] FeelingsofdetachmentEstrangement [X] Persistent inability positive emotions Criterion E: Marked alterations arousal [X] Irritable behavior angry outbursts [X] Hypervigilance. [X] Exaggerated startle response. [X] Problems with concentration. [X] Sleep disturbance Criterion F: [X] Duration disturbis more than month. Criterion G: [X] The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important Criterion H: [X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiologicaleffects of a substance Criterion I: Which stressor contributed to the Veteran's PTSD diagnosis?: X] Stressor #1 5. Symptoms [X] Depressed mood [X] Anxiety [X] Suspiciousness [X] Panic attacks more than once aweek [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Mild memory loss, such as forgetting names, directions or recentevents [X] Flattened affect [X] Impaired judgment [X] Disturbances of motivation a [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social [X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances,including worklike setting [X] Obsessional ritualsInterfereActivities [X] Neglect personalAppearance hygiene DSM 5 Diagnosis:PTSD-Panic d/o with agoraphobia-Generalized Anxiety D/o Vet meets the DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for PTSD as level of severity - severe. Relationship of mental disorders to each other Vet's MDD, recurrent,moderate is secondary to her PTSD.HerPanicDisorder, Agorophobia and FSAD are also secondary to her PTSD. It is my medical opinion that vet's MST stressor is as least as likely as not suppported by and consistent with the in service marker evidence. Her agorophobia preclude her from functioning satisfactorily in work environments.
  21. "During a live webcast on Oct. 16, VA's new Under Secretary for Benefits, Paul R. Lawrence, Ph.D. said that VA will begin reviewing tens of thousands of PTSD claims filed by veterans who suffered Military Sexual Trauma (MST). " https://www.military.com/militaryadvantage/2018/10/17/va-reexamining-military-sexual-trauma-claims.html Any veteran who has an MST claim or was rejected or low-balled on an MST claim should take note of the above. If you know a vet with this situation, please let them know. If you know a VSO, let them know. Hope it helps someone.
  22. OEF female vet here just starting the process of my PTSD/MST and Tinnitus claims. I'm gonna be really honest here : For many years I didn't file anything because I felt guilty filing claims next to soldiers missing limbs and suffering from TBI and other horrors. At the urging of a fellow friend and vet, I've started the process and have quickly gone from feeling guilty to becoming a total trainwreck. I met with a VSO last week and have slowly started working on my statement and I feel like a giant hole has been ripped open and everything is spilling over. It's affecting my job, my family, everything. I am having panic attacks and crying uncontrollably off and on. I really am shocked at what is coming out. I thought the two years of private therapy immediately after my deployment was enough. Did anyone else feel the same way? Please tell me that putting myself/family through this and reliving these traumas, coupled with the tedious maze of claim do's and don'ts is truly worth it? I think I may need to start counseling again to get through this. Thanks.
  23. I have a few questions that I hope this site can answer. Back in 2000 I joined the army national guard and was sent to AIT while there and living in the barracks we had what i guess is called hazing going on. I was the new guy who already had a unit patch, rank and a list of ribbons so i was already out of place in the barracks. At first stupid stuff like being called a FNG or a NUG and lifting my bunk off the ground while i was in it and slamming it to the ground, or a tossed bunk or my lock pooped and my locker tossed. Yes it pissed me off but nothing worth crying to the drill sergeants about. After a few weeks a couple of my class mates where standing around and laughing looking at pictures and one calls me over and ask me if i knew what Tea Bagging was i honestly had no clue and said making a cup of tea. Then the kids shows me a Polaroid picture of me asleep in my bunk and another male placing his private parts on my face. I was told that this had happened many times. I went down to the office and proceeded to inform our Senior drill sergeant/acting first sergeant who tell me he will look into it. I leave think of i reported shit is going to hit the fan. Instead the Senior Drill sergeant came upstairs into our bay and tells everyone to gather round. I was thinking her we go.. Instead he yells out that he understands some teas bagging on going on and that it was just gay to let another man put his bare nuts on your face and that he better not see any of that stuff going on. I was shocked and freaking out because I am not gay never was and never will be. After this i began getting threatened and call a blue falcon i was woken up one night to chem light being poured in my mouth and other night having actual pubic hair sprinkled over my face. Other times buckets of water would be thrown onto me in my bunk i was to hyper vigilant that if they could not get close enough to me to mess with me they would throw boots or other objects at me. I called and talked to my home unit PSNCO and told him what was going on and refereed me to contact our home SGM in charge of all training which i did. He told me to avoid them and he was making some calls. The next day i got called over to the base national Guard liaison SGM who proceeded to yell at me to suck it up and stop whining and that if i was such a xxxxx i never should have joined the Army. Again i reported it and WTF is going on. I left and called my home SGM and told him what had happened and he just said WTF and told me to keep my head down and avoid them at all cost that there was not much he could do from where he was. In the middle of all this i had slipped on some heavy ice and went down a flight of stairs and was on a profile and going through rehab for my knee and lower back. One mourning i got my Sick call slip signed before the battalion went on there run at 0400. The rule was no one is allowed up in the barracks during PT period which meant i had to go into the day room until my scheduled therapy time. I was the only on a profile at the time so it was just me. I screwed up and fell asleep and over slept (at this time i was barley sleeping so i crashed hard.) I woke up and saw the time was 0800 and freaked out ran up stairs changed uniforms and caught a cab to school. A few hours later one of our Drill Sergeants came and pulled me out of class and asked me why i missed my rehab appointment and i told him the truth. The next day at lunch time i was called into the office where the SR DS handed me a counseling statement and saying that i had forged a sick call slip to get out of PT. I said i never forged a slip and he said that i had filled out a slip and had them sign it and that i did not use the slip for it intended purpose and i was getting a AR15 i asked to see JAG and was told i would be taken within 3 days. 3 days went by and i asked one of the DS when i would be going to JAG and was told opps we forgot to schedule you. That afternoon i was called over to the SGM NGB Liaisons office again. Where he proceeded to yell at me for getting into trouble and pulled out another counseling statement and began writing that i had supposedly gotten 3 AR15's and that he was chaptering me out on a chapter 14. I said that i had not even received 1 yet that the only thing i got in trouble for i have not seen JAG for so 3 was impossible. At this point tons of yelling lots of curse words and a demand to shut the hell up and just sign the document i once again asked to see JAG and was told i would be scheduled. A few more days go by and i get called into the commanders office where he wants me to sign my chapter papers and i once again say i have not even seen JAG yet. He tells me it does not matter i am just being sent back to my unit with a Under Honorable Conditions and that as long as i do not get into any more trouble for 6 months it will convert to full Honorable. I get back to my unit and they place me on none reporting status and tell me to go to the VA for MH and to finish rehabbing my knee and back. I got turned away from the VA with them telling me that they had not received my medical files and that i did not have enough concurrent active duty time to qualify for services. I tell my unit and they hook me up with a civilian doc who ended up doing surgery on my knee less then a year later. During my recovery after surgery i get a letter in the mail that i was discharged from the National Guard and in the signature box just said soldier not available. I called my unit and they were just as shocked as i was and said that there was nothing they could do about it now. Years have gone by and i was diagnosed with severe anxiety and PTSD. This is the tricky part the Doctor who diagnosed me was a civilian i saw at his private practice but he also worked full time at a VA CBOC. I honestly tried to live in denial of what happend and began drinking and did some dumb things and that is all on me. I hit pretty low and began seeing a shrink who helped me quite drinking and helped me with some coping tools like caring a calendar around so i would stop forgetting stuff. About a year my counselor who was also a vet told me to apply to the VA for PTSD and i told him that i had tried back in 2002 and was denied because they could not locate any of my medical files or service files. I was told by a bunch of VFW guys that because i did not complete the training that i would never get approved anyway that i was technical never a soldier. MY counselor told me things have changed and to file again. So i did on my own we don't have and VSO's out where i live and they only come through once a month and they only alot 30 mins for you anyway. I am embarrassed that what happened to me did. I was supposed to be a soldier and stronger then that a defender to the weak how was i so weak that it happened to me. I chocked up my fear and filled out the 781 and sent it in. I submitted all my doctors and just last week got a letter in the mail telling me that what i wrote on my 781 was not enough they needed more. Also calling the 800 number they still can not find my medical file so that's a major problem. So i sit down a write out a 7 page explanation of before during and after and resubmit it. Can someone please tell me how this will work out and if denied then what. I was told that if they can not find proof they will not even give me a comp and penn appoint and just deny me. I do not know if i am strong enough to do a appeal and have to go tell my story in a court room... Can some please walk me through this process and help turn the crazy down in my brain a little bit please?
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