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Good evening all. I can't seem to find a convincing answer on the topic. I receive my rating a few months ago and strongly disagree with some of the decisions. I was on Ebenifits and it appears that i could appeal the process on the site. However, i'm not sure if this is the same process as filing an NOD. Can someone please help clarify the difference..... Thank you
BFR posted a question in Veterans Compensation Benefits Claims ResearchGreetings all! First, I wish to thank everyone who participates in these forums, especially those who give so much time in moderating them. You are a blessing to all of us. My question may have been asked before, but I'm not able to locate the threads, so forgive me if it's redundant. I'll put the actual question up front and supporting information after to save your time in case the answer would be the same regardless of the situation. The Question: Given what I think is my timeline (<10 years) should I submit the new evidence? I understand that i may delay the VA's next ruling. However, what bothers me is the effective date; if I submit new evidence *now* instead of waiting for a ruling in a year or two will the effective date of the new rating be today or be backdated to the original NOD (December 2012)? Current situation: Both reps I've worked with over the years have encouraged me to apply for C&T, but I've refused. I will work until I cannot do so any longer, but I feel the symptoms increase and there's something inside of me that tells me that I have less than 10 years left. Eventually I'll have to consider their advice, but as long as I can contribute I WILL. I will work until I cannot. History: I have a rating from VA that started at 10% and has increased to 80% over the years. As a 19D recon scout I was in combat in Desert Storm (and other places) and filed for the "presumptive" conditions of IBS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and Fibromyalgia (FM) two years ago when Congress changed the law about them. Another presumptive is "skin conditions." I have a 0% for eczema from 1992, but since then have developed two types of skin cancer. I'm currently on a chemo routine to reduce them. My current rep filed a NOD requesting the denovo process in December of 2012 because I believed my IMO was quite specific (my rep gave me very clear guidelines and examples of "va speak," and my doctor followed them exactly), and I believe that for at least for the CFS and maybe the FM CUE applies. You know the deal--the typical VA lowball for the opening round. I have a wife and a 9-year-old daughter, and I earn a decent living. The wife has a part-time job but they depend on me as the primary breadwinner. We live modest lives, and are able to put away a small bit into savings each month. It could be more, but we tithe to our church and will continue to do so.
I wanted to get some thoughts on how I should approach my disagreement with the VA's decision on my rating. I filed 10/2010 for TDIU. I received a rating decision in 04/2012 and my TDIU was deferred. All ratings below are all service connected. In my rating decision for both my neck and lower back were lowered, because of the C&P doctor statement from my exam in 11/2010. My lower back was lowered from 40% to 20%, because C&P examiner said I had a forward flexion of 60 degrees, but he did not even do a ROM exam! Also, in 03/2010 my Neurosurgeon did a ROM exam a said I was limited to 10 degrees due to increased pain! Again, C&P examiner said that he did a ROM and I performed all movements and he stated "Physical examined revealed no objective evidence of painful motion, spasms, or weakness". I'm in constant pain and have a lot of spasms, especially when being put through a ROM exam, and my sciatic nerve is damaged and causes weakness in my right leg! All documented in my medical file. I am also on strong pain medication! My neurosurgeon also stated in his notes that my condition will only deteriorate and get worse. The VA has all this documentation as well. Same exact scenario happened with my neck. No ROM exam, but C&P examiner put same BS as above and said I had a forward flexion of 35 degrees and it lowered my neck from 20% to 10%. So, last week I saw a physical therapist at the VA who performed a ROM exam with a goniometer by request from my PCP. He measured each movement 3 times. Relevant measurements were on average, Lumbar Flexion 11 degrees, and cervical flexion 29 degrees. According to the CFR 38 part 4.71a my lumbar should have stayed at 40% as well as my neck at 20%. I'm not sure what to do from here. I saw my VSO and he showed me my TDIU claim has not even been looked at since a rating decision was made in April. Plus, he thought it was unusual for a claim to be this old and complex that there was only 6 notes in the system on my claim. Should I file a notice of disagreement now and add this new ROM as new evidence and ask why the ROM performed by my neurosurgeon in 03/2010 was overruled by the C&P examiner? What other proof due I need that shows that the C&P examiner lied or to discredit him? Does anyone have a good format for a Notice Of Disagreement letter? Any help, info, & opinions is always appreciated! Thanks, SSGmajik