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Found 14 results

  1. Hello, I have more questions than I can find answers so I thought I would create a post to see if any of these can be answered? I apologize for the length. I have read, read, and read some more on this board for years and I very much appreciate any assistance that can be offered. I will also be donating to support this all-important forum once I can get through this snail-pace of a process! I separated from service almost 6 years ago after 14 years in. I am currently rated at 30% disabled as I received 10% each for tinnitus, hypertension and a metatarsal fracture that occurred in service. I also received 0% connection for chronic thoracic & lumbar strain due to morbid obesity (?!). This grant to service connection dates back to the day after I got out of the service. I am not "morbidly obese" and this really bothers me that they have this described as such. I mean, why would they service connect if it's due to being overweight?? Makes no sense to me. Are they inferring that they are taking responsibility for being so called "obese" as well? We all know that you get kicked out of service if you are outside the physical readiness/weight requirements ... very frustrating and even insulting. The C&P examiner told me that he didn't have time to evaluate everything I had claimed so he didn't even look at some of my claimed issues physically, but I was still denied by the VA regardless as no service connection for some of these unexamined claims. Anyways, the C&P doctor told me to basically push through my discomfort (discomfort was evident) when conducting the range of motion part of my back exam, and he even placed his hand on my back when telling me to push further. I did not know at the time that he was not looking out for my best interests...so my range of motion came back within normal limits. I feel that this was wrong on his part but I did not know at the time, and I am afraid if I did complain about this now that I could risk losing my service connection? My back is in very poor condition from the service. In fact, I was on light duty when I separated because of a back injury I sustained a few months prior to my separation. I do have copies of my STR's and I have numerous complaints of back pain throughout my many years in that nothing was done about as they were just complaints noted, and I do not have the STR from the back injury. I was sent to medical and they shot something into my back and I immediately felt relief but my back has not been the same ever since. My back issues are causing me an excessive amount of lost time at my current job. I just went to the VA at the end of last month as a walk-in because the pain was so much and they took x-rays and named FIVE things wrong with just my lower back. I am now waiting for the VA to send these x-rays to my civilian doctor to have a comprehensive MRI done at the local (non-VA) hospital and then I will go forward from there in deciding how to approach this. The VA doctor "just" said I have facet joint arthritis, but VA radiology noted five things wrong? My first question is how should I proceed with adding these conditions and/or getting an increase from 0%? Does anyone know what "chronic thoracic & lumbar strain" service connection covers? Is it just strains or does it encompass the whole lower and middle back and all associated conditions of these areas? My x-rays from the VA in August of this year report "superior plate wedging at T12, this is age-indeterminate and correlation with physical exam for symptoms of point tenderness would be beneficial (again, I was a walk-in at my local VA clinic that day and the doctor didn't have time to see me...). Multilevel anterior endplate spurring throughout the lumbar spine. Lower lumbar predominant facet anthropathy. Bony neural foraminal narrowing at L5-S1. Mild Vascular Calcification". This was all through x-rays so I am sure an MRI will show more...which I will have done soon. Should I even complain about this C&P doctor at this point almost 6 years later or would I risk losing the service connection? I need to know what they have on my back at the VA that caused the service connection, I do know this. I do not have a copy of the record of my back injury from right before I got out and I am thinking/hoping that they do, but I will not know until I get the C-File. I need my C-File (I know, I should have requested it long ago...I am learning). My main question is, can I request a copy of my C-File while I have an open appeal (on other first year out of service claims -- open since 11/2019) and I also just put in for two new claims at the beginning of this month that are moving fairly quickly. I have heard that requesting your C-File can cause delays and possibly affect open claims and appeals you have on-going...and I of course do not want to cause any kind of a delay. Since my separation I have only filed my initial first year claims and I filed appeal on some of those denials. I have waited all of these years and not done anything more because I was under the presumption that you cannot file any new claims until the appeal is processed and closed. I did though just file two new claims this month once I was informed that presumption was wrong. Lastly, does anyone have any recommendations in how I should proceed with all of these new back findings (and also what becomes of the MRI in a couple of weeks) with regard to my already service connected chronic thoracic & lumbar strain -- due to morbid obesity(!!). New and material evidence to reopen? New individual/separate claims? File for an increase in rating? Secondary's? Or, should I wait until I have my C-File to see what they are basing the back service connection off of? Also, shouldn't thoracic and lumbar be two different conditions/disabilities? Sorry this is an overwhelming amount of information; I am so overwhelmed and discouraged by this whole process...and pushing through constant pain to boot. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!
  2. Hello, Does anyone know if emails I sent to my wife (from my military email while active duty) and communication we had back and forth relating to my in-service health issues/injuries endured/symptoms and sleep issues I was experiencing count as evidence I can submit with my VA claims for disability? There are many emails going back many years while I was in the service. I just have very limited documentation in my service medical records as I only went to medical when I had no other choice so I thought to ask if these could help connect my claims to service? Thank you for any and all assistance. Brian
  3. Good morning everyone. I have a couple of questions I was hoping to get some advice on. #1. If my conditions are rated at "static" and I file for a totally different condition are all of my conditions reviewable even if they are listed as static? #2. If a condition of mine is static (knees) and I file for a secondary (say hip condition) are my knees reviewable also? #3. I have been treated for Glaucoma for about 6 years now due to pressures in my eyes running high (up to 50 at one point before I got treated by my private Dr). Even though no damage was done the Dr has me on nightly drops for the rest of my life to control my pressures. Note I have not been actually tagged with the label of having Glaucoma, but they are treating me now so it doesn't go full blown Glaucoma. While in the military during one of my eye exams the Dr noted in my record that I was a "Glaucoma suspect". Now, with that small entry and no more data from the military what is everyone's advice on filing a claim for this? I tried once and the VA denied it. As always, thank you all for the guidance here. This forum is awesome!
  4. I submitted for IU (50%+50%+10%+10%+10%=80%) a couple months ago. Going through the process, just finished C&P exams. Just after submitting the TDIU claim I submitted a new claim for service connection for Migraines. This claim was closed immediately by the VA and now the documents appear in the "IU" claim. Q1: Does this mean they are not going to process the Migraine claim? I did not have a C&P for migraines, just for those major contributors to the IU claim. Q2: IF (a big word) I do get IU, can I still submit/resubmit for migraines and one other diagnosis I just got that can b service connected very easily? I am shooting for IU because I cant work, however, would prefer 100% scheduler for security and maybe pick up a few bucks (more than the poverty level) doing temp gigs in IT. Thanks!!
  5. How do I proceed on filling a new claim for hip replacement(s)? Retired in 2010 BENEFIT SOUGHT: Background - NEW - Service connection for chronic bilateral primary osteoarthritis of hip with a complex labrum tear (Right side). Was diagnosed with chronic bilateral primary osteoarthritis of hip with a complex labrum tear (right side, with moderate right and severe left degenerative changes of the hip. Evidenced by bony proliferative changes and subchondral sclerosis. Right, lateral, femoral head neck junction subcortical cyst, 8 mm in size (Radiology Reports). Served 24 years and 1 month(DD Form 214)in my military occupational specialty as a Postal Specialist(8M00). The DoD 4525.6-M list the physical qualification to be selected and maintained into this occupational specialty.C5.3.2.7. state that the personal cannot have permanent physical restrictions prohibiting duty involving prolonged standing, walking, or lifting of weights up to 70 pounds (DOD 4525.6-M Extract). Due to the nature of my job, daily significant physical stress was placed upon my body staining my lower extremities. -Loading and unloading 20/40 foot mail trailers(bending, lifting, and stacking)containing mail pouches boxes as well as loose items without a conveyor belt. - Loading and unloading (bending, lifting, and stacking)commercial air craft cargo containers. Radiology Reports Starting in Nov 2015 - Sept 2018 - Shows a advance degeneration of the hip(s). Nov 2017 - MRI was performed , found complex tear of the anterosuperior labrum Dec 2017 - Hip Injection of Steroid. Treatments (Prior to hip replacement) Physical Therarpy Medications (Anti-Inflammatory, pain) Steroid Injection Total Hip Replacement was done in Oct 2018 and Jan 2019. A NEW - Service connection for chronic bilateral primary osteoarthritis of hip with a complex labrum tear (Right side) WAS NOT done due to the fact that I had the THR(s) done prior to obtaining all the documents needed to be filled. I do not have any thing listed on my VA Physical Examination on the Labrum tear and or for degenerative hip(s). I was only checked for ROM in the joints, no X-rays were done, other than for Lumbar tendonitist (which was not granted) Can I make a NEW CLAIM for the HIP Replacement(s)
  6. Hello All! My name is Cris, and I served 4 years active duty in the USCG as a BM3. I am here on the recommendation of a co-worker who has had a lot of success in his claim with the VA and he suggested I do the same, stating you need an airtight case. I am a 30 year old male who suffers from low back pain, which started towards my last 2 years in the CG. I was on small boats my entire career, was a Boarding Officer, Coxswain and Heavy Weather boat crewman. Daily, getting out of bed is rough, taking some time "to get the kinks out." I believe a lot of this has been caused by bouncing around in a small boat for 4 years wearing all of the equipment we were required to. I do not have much documentation of my injury when I was in, with it being attributed to 'wear and tear.' As I stated, my co-worker has had great success in these forums with his claim, and I am hoping to have the same. I have been seeing a chiropractor for some time now and seem to get little relief from it but nothing of significance. I am unsure of a few things... 1. I currently work as a career firefighter/ paramedic and my body has been put through the ringer, does this put me at a disadvantage with a claim? 2. Do I even have a case? even though they could chalk up my injury to my current job with no previous documentation? 3. Where would I even begin? Any and all help is wanted and appreciated! Thank you in advance and stay safe!
  7. here is the latest question. I got my decision letter for my ED claim and a copy of the DBQ. The attached award letter says in the writing at the bottom that I can possibly file for a voiding dysfunction by opening a new initial claim. The actual DBQ for ED has several errors in how he documented my answers to the Voiding Dysfunction section of the ED DBQ which is VA Form 21-0960J-2 There is another DBQ VBA-21-0960J-4-ARE for bladder issues. since the doc recorded my answers incorrectly should I NOD that DBQ to keep the earlier Effective Date? Or should I just file new claim as the letter says and write a statement describing what info he recorded incorrectly? Thanks. redacted decision page 0ct 2018 award letter copy for Voiding claim.pdf
  8. Hello everyone- I just discovered this site and am wondering if anyone could offer some guidance. While stationed in Sicily in 1979, I was in a head-on auto collision. Since Sigonella didn't have a hospital, I was medivac-ed to Naples where I had surgery for broken feet (with surgical screw) and broken knee. After a week, the nurse threatened me with a feeding tube if I didn't eat. I told her I couldn't open my jaws. They x-rayed and found both jaws broken. They didn't do ct scan or anything for my head injury. I was sent to Germany for my teeth to get wired. In 1991 a friend encouraged me to file a claim, which I did and was awarded 20% for ankle, 20% for knee and 0% for misaligned jaw. I didn't file a NOD or anything at the time. I also started having panic attacks in 1991 and agoraphobia (in my record) and subsequently had to quit my job in 1996. Since I lost my insurance, I haven't been to a doctor (except for a few minor things) in over 20 years. I've been reading a lot and see so many things I am eligible for file a claim for. Even things they put in their own c&p exam-- like TMJ and painful scars, etc. I have recently started going to the VA for medical and would like to make several claims. I have hep c from the blood transfusions in Naples, I just had a CT Scan and EEG (both with abnormalities) and I can not walk more than half a block without extreme pain in my feet, legs and hips. I have serious depression and rarely sleep or leave my home. I have much trouble with memory, cognition, etc., so it's hard for me to figure out where to begin. Any guidance or suggestions would help tremendously.
  9. I served in the military in 1996. During basic training I was injured. 1. I applied for disability due to the injury in 2000 and was denied then again in 2002. In 2002 I never received a letter stating the denial. I called several times and was told that I was denied. In 2016 I went back to apply because the back & neck injury that I received in the service is really server now. When I went to reapply the lady at the VA Hospital told me that I was NEVER denied. That I was just rated at 0%. She said that I should have been told whenever my condition got worse to apply for an increase. Since I never received a letter and I was told verbally by 2 different people that my case was denied can I appeal the decision that was made in 2002 or is the only recourse is to reapply. If I reapply can I get them to pay me back to when the condition got severely worse which is about 6 years ago? HELP, What should I do? I know I should not have waited this long but I also suffer from PTSD which causes me to limit my contact with people and because I had applied twice and was told both times that I was denied I did not have the strength to try again. If my condition had not gotten so bad that I can do nothing now I would never had gone back.
  10. I am waiting for determination of an original FDC. Can I start a new claim without jeopardizing the outcome and/or timeline of the original claim?
  11. Active duty son trying to get some advice on how to handle my dad’s VA claim. I appreciate any feedback and suggestions on how to proceed. My dad who is 78 years old is a Navy veteran of 23 years and served in Vietnam. He was stationed on the USS Kawishiwi (AO 146), which is a Navy ship on the VA’s “brown water” list (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/shiplist/list.asp). My dad filed a VA Claim in 2003 for several diseases related to Agent Orange to include Type II diabetes, Heart Disease (had quadruple bypass, angioplasty, and splints done), Hypertension, various skin conditions, Gall Bladder and Liver conditions. The documentation that VA acknowledge receiving for this claim included his VA Form 21-526, VA Form 21-4142, Copy of his DD214, VA Form 21-22, and copies of medical records from MTF (Portsmouth Naval) and various civilian doctors. Unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the decision letter for this claim but I know he was denied the claim as these medical issues on his EBenefits “Disabilities” page have these medical issues being “Not Service Connected” My question is shouldn’t at least some of the issues be defaulted as “Service Connected” due to Agent Orange exposure as a “brown water” veteran? Most of the research I’ve done state that a Vietnam Veteran who have any of the diseases (http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/agentorange/conditions/) and can prove that they were in Vietnam as either “boots on the ground” or “brown water” should receive VA compensation. If this is the case why was my dad denied his claim? So again I’m looking for advice on how to proceed. 1. Do I file a new VA Claim for my dad’s diseases related to Agent Orange? 2. If I file a new VA Claim what will the date be for his benefits? Will it be the date of this new claim or can they revert back to the original claim date from 2003? 3. Should I not open a new claim and try to reopen the original 2003 claim? Note: My dad is already receiving 40% disability for hearing loss and tinnitus. I wish I could have been more on top of this for my dad but I haven’t lived in the same area as him for 18 years and its difficult trying to stay on top of things. I was home visiting for Thanksgiving and spent some time going through his documents and wanted to see what I can do. I’m now committed to working this through resolution. My dad is a hard worker who worked 2-3 jobs most of his life to support his family. I would love to see him get these benefits that he deserves.
  12. Goal- 20% to 100% Schedular Hi, I'm brand new to the forum and brand new to the VA Claims process. My husband doesn't really understand all this paperwork stuff, so I'm basically doing all the work, so he just has to show up to the C&P exams. The backstory is this, hubby intended to make a career out the military. Unfortunately, only 2 years into his Navy service, he fell 50 feet down a shaft on an aircraft carrier. He suffered a pretty serious head injury and was lucky to be alive. Within 3 months, he started having grand mal seizures. Those are the big, nasty ones where really bad things can happen. He's stopped breathing and required CPR 3 times during grand mal seizures. So the Navy decides he can't be in service anymore and they medically discharge him with a $400 a month TDRL payment. Within a couple years, his info gets sent over to VA. They really put him through the wringer. He had to undergo multiple, scary medical tests, like a head MRI, EEG, Sleep Study, CAT scan and on and on. After all this, they decide they cannot figure out the cause of his seizures and give him a lowball rating of 20%. He doesn't know any better and is exhausted from dealing with all the medical appointments, so he just accepts the 20%. Well, that was 21 years ago. Over the years, he has had many seizures, both big ones and little ones, and has had to stay on medication since being discharged 21 years ago. Once a doctor tried to wean him off and he had multiple seizures immediately. We really didn't know he could request an increase or that he could file any new claims based on old injuries. One day 2 weeks ago, his mom asked why he's getting such a low amount from VA for such a serious chronic condition. And I said to myself, "Hmm, I wonder if anything's changed at VA in the last 20 years?" Behold the power of the Internet!!!! I did a quick Google search and found out soooo much information. #1 We can request an increase. #2 According to the VA rating table, based on his frequency he should be getting 80%, not 20% #3 We can even file a new claim for old Navy injuries that are affecting him now. I really don't understand why no one tells Vets about all this!!! I think the newer discharged Vets are getting the info when they are discharged, but it just didn't happen back in the old days. So, about 2 weeks ago I really started the intense Internet research into this. I called 2 VSO's. They both told me he should be on IU 100%. So I said what does he have to give up to get that? And they said, his job. Well, we have struggled over the years with him and employment. However, he finally has a job taking care of animals that is very therapeutic for him. He loves going to work at this particular job. Plus bad things happen when he has too much time on his hands! I believe he would go into a very deep depression if he had to give up his job. My goal is to have him keep his job (and therefore his sanity) AND get him to 100% Schedular. I am hoping the kind folks here on Hadit can help me out with that. The three things that I plan to pursue are: #1 Increase from 20% to 80% for seizures. #2 file new FDC claim for TBI. Based on the 50 foot fall 21 years ago, I believe that would establish service connection. He does not have a current diagnosis for TBI, but based on the ratings for it, he has symptoms that would put him at 70%. I think 20 years ago, TBI was not recognized like it is today. Back then, they just sewed up his head and once he woke up from the concussion, sent him home. #3 file new claim for Anxiety as Secondary to seizures or as part of TBI. Looking at the ratings for it, he looks to be about 30%. However, he has no formal diagnosis of Anxiety. So, what do ya'll think? Do we have a chance in hell? Is this worth getting on the "Crazy Train" of VA? If you were me, what steps would you take and in what order?
  13. Folks: I'm a 22 year Army Veteran who retired in 2004 in the Seattle area. I was injured (Back & Neck) in a Anti-Tank Accident in 1984 and late 1985 was involved in an explosion which injured me further in the military. I see a prominent pain specialist but suffer a lot from the pain. I serve in the First Gulf War. My claim went in on 6/30/2014 and is well documented. However, I did work through a VSO and started a informal claim fo the same contentions on 12/06/2013 and I was told that I "saved the date" for the FDC? VBS did not backdfate the claim but the VSO told me that any successful claims would be backdated for compencation? Frankly, I've always had good health insurance and I used that mainly when I retired so as not to burden the VA System by adding another body to it? Madigan Army Hospital was overwhelmed with soldiers coming back from the wars so I felt guilty and so I opted to go the civilian route. The claims set-up process was confusing based upon a lot of the mis-informaiton I received from the VSO? She is very nice but does not understand even the basics of the current system? I did a lot of reading and looking at/into Forums such as this. Frankly, this by far the best site out there to help someone filing a claim. Anyway, I was a Federal FOIA Officer so my claim was very detailed and evidence based. But I think I wasted a lot of time submitting my claim the way I did? For instance, I provided the VSO 2 Notebook Volumes -Service Entry to Retirement and Retirement to Current Time. I also did a nexus diagram which links it all together. Also, it they were colored coded and tabbed by symptoms and dated. I also provided several "buddy" statements as well as 14 DBQ's. The head of the CP Clinic said it was the most detailed package that he ever saw? However, I learned later that the books were just broken up and the records scanned by contractors into the new VBS electronic system? When I asked the VSO about scanning it myself into ebenefits to speed up the process she said "no". One convern -a lot of my records are handwritten by Army Doctors and I hope they can be read by the adjudicators in the new system? Anyway, I was given an estimated completion of 18 months to complete even thought it's an FDC? Absolutely all of my records are contained within the package. Also, I thought by doing the extra work that it would speed up my claim? I'm currently at 30 days and in the "review" process...does anyone have new tips beyond being "patient"? I did read that I should make an appointment with the VA Regional Office and review what has been loaded into the electronic system by VA?
  14. I have two claims on appeal and need to file a new claim. Can anyone tell me if this would be a detriment to my current appeal?? I don't want to have to wait forever how long my appeal could take to file this....it's not really for me but for my wife, I want to file for AA for her. I heard but don't know if it is true that if I file they will stop my proceedings on my appeal and send my file back to the RO where I would file the new claim...any truth to that...seems logical. Thanks for any help here...
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