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Found 5,797 results

  1. Hi, I have recently started the claims process with the VA (I filed an informal claim on 04-Sept-2013 I see a private therapist and have a current diagnosis of PTSD, Bipolar II, poly substance abuse. My therapist agrees with me that my disorders are SC I've taken the initiative already to get copies of my DD214 as well as my private medical records. Currently I'm trying to track down my records from when I was placed on a 72 hr hold in a psych ward in 2000. My prescribing Psychologist, who puts in time at the practice I go to, is also a VA doc. I guess my question is this. If my therapist tells me that they have diagnosed me with the above disorders does that mean that my Psychologist (the VA doc) had to have signed off on the diagnosis and if so does this mean that I should have an easier time with the VA? I'm also concerned that I may have to track down treatment records from the Army (I assume those would be in my DD214?) Where would I look for any SMR's that I may need? I also wonder if maybe I should try and track down any relevant records from my old Unit to show things such as an Article 15 and any evaluations done that would show the onset of my conditions. Also if anybody could advise me of what else I should be doing at this early stage to present an effective claim please feel free to advise me. Thank you in advance for any and all help Jason
  2. Long story short I filed for ptsd in 2004 and was denied in 2005. The doc that did my C&P stated I had a personality disorder and a she gave me a GAF of 38 even though I was working everyday in Corp enviroment for 6 years prior to the C&P lol . I filed again in 2012 for PTSD after getting a DX by two private docs stating I have ptsd. The VA stood by its findings again in 2014 stating I had a personality disorder. The VA basically stated due to the fact that I got into a fight with another Marine when I was a private and I got a divorce two years later I must have had a personality disorder prior to me entering the service.The really nutty thing is the doc that stated I had a personality disorder in 2005 said I had a normal childhood with no history of abuse of any kind (confused yet?) I was discharged honorably on top of it all. I saw combat in Desert Storm as a grunt I have a documented stressor I have been on meds since 2005 (private doctors) In 2014 I was granted 30% IBS 10% arthritis right knee and 0% left knee. Recently my VA mental health doc stated I have MDD he stated verbally to me that I didn't and never have had personality disorder. I asked him to state that in the med records and he will not although he is treating me for MDD and anxiety. It seems to me the guy knows I have PTSD but doesn't want to state it in my records as it would contradict the other doc DX of personality disorder. I will never be treated for ptsd so the chance of me getting better are zero. How do I get these guys to wake the hell up and do the right thing?
  3. Seems the VA can on occasion consider obesity merely as a "symptom"* and perhaps even the type of symptom that the VA alleges is caused by the Veteran's own willful misconduct of overeating or being inactive so it can deny the claim. However, since the American Medical Association ( AMA ) recently in June of 2013 has officially declared that "obesity is a disease", might that allow disabled veterans whose service connected condition(s) led to excessive weight gain to now find more success claiming obesity as a ratable secondary medical condition or a disease aggravated by the Veteran's service connected condition(s)? *"Obesity Service connection is not warranted for obesity. Claiming service connection for obesity amounts to claiming service connection for a symptom, rather than for an underlying disease or injury which may have caused the symptom. In this respect, obesity, in and of itself, is not a disability for which service connection may be granted. The United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Federal Circuit) has defined "injury" as "damage inflicted on the body by an external force." See Terry v. Principi, 340 F.3d 1378, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2003), citing Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary 901 (29th Ed. 2000). Thus, obesity caused by overeating or lack of exercise is the result of the veteran's own behavior, and as such is not an "injury" as defined for VA purposes. See Terry v. Principi, 340 F.3d 1378, 1384 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (defining "injury" as "damage inflicted on the body by an external force"). The Federal Circuit also defined "disease" as "any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of a part, organ, or system of the body." Terry, 340 F.3d at 1384, citing Dorland's at 511. Obesity that is not due to an underlying pathology cannot be considered to be due to "disease," defined as "any deviation from or interruption of the normal structure or function of a part, organ or system of the body." Id. The body's normal storage of calories for future use represents the body working at what it is designed to do. It is well settled that symptoms alone, without a finding of an underlying disorder, cannot be service-connected. See Sanchez-Benitez v. Principi, 259 F.3d 1356 (Fed. Cir. 2001)." - from a BVA 2009 Decision ---and--- "Obesity or being overweight, a particularity of body type, alone, is not considered a disability for which service connection may be granted. See generally 38 C.F.R. Part 4 (VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities) (2009) (does not contemplate a separate disability rating for obesity). Rather, applicable VA regulations use the term "disability" to refer to the average impairment in earning capacity resulting from diseases or injuries encountered as a result of or incident to military service. Allen v. Brown, 7 Vet. App. 439, 448 (1995); Hunt v. Derwinski, 1 Vet. App. 292, 296 (1991); 38 C.F.R. § 4.1 (2009). The question is thus whether the current obesity is a disability-i.e. a condition causing impairment in earning capacity. In this case, there is no such evidence. The veteran has not asserted that obesity causes impairment of earning capacity; instead he asserts that his obesity has caused other disabilities to manifest. There is also no other evidence that the claimed obesity is a disability. Inasmuch as the Veteran does not have a disability manifested by obesity and obesity is not a disease or disability for which service connection may be granted, the Board concludes that obesity was not incurred in or aggravated by service and may not be presumed to have been so incurred. This claim is not in relative equipoise; therefore, the Veteran may not be afforded the benefit of the doubt in the resolution thereof. Rather, as a preponderance of the evidence is against the claim, it must be denied. 38 U.S.C.A. § 5107(b) (West 2002)" - from a 2010 BVA Decision But didn't the VA as early as 2006 already characterize obesity as a disease? "Obesity is a complex and chronic disease that develops from an interaction between the individual’s genotype and the environment." - http://www.healthquality.va.gov/obesity/obe06_final1.pdf "The AMA's decision essentially makes diagnosis and treatment of obesity a physician's professional obligation." - Los Angeles Times http://www.today.com/health/obesity-disease-doctors-group-says-6C10371394
  4. Hey all just want to share what I think of is good news, even though I still have to sit and wait. On 8//16/2018 I had a C&P review for my PTSD which was 70% with 10% Tinnitus rating. I was initially rated in 2013 and I had made no requests for adjustments. VA just mandated this C&P. Today, 8/24/2018 ebenefits was up and down all day so I could not really read anything on my statuses until 6 pm PST. I went in and I am, according to ebenefits, at 100% and in the letters I see my rating is P&T. I am over the moon. This RO must be the rocket docket or the QTC doc really wrote a solid case for the bump. or both. Either way I am now in the "watch the mailbox" phase since I won't believe it until i either get paid or the packet arrives. Thanks for all the input from everyone on other posts and my rambling questions.
  5. crazyhorse3022

    Smc (T) For Tbi

    Recently had my va psychiatrist fill out for 21-2680. For aid and attendance. He stated I required help shopping n preparing meals. Also help with med management. And help from girlfriend to help manage funds. Said I'm housebound 2 days a week. Main issues tbi ptsd, depression, migraines, scalp scarring from gunshot wound to head and alcoholism in remission for 16 months. I also take lorazpam daily. I hope they award it. I really need it. I'm already paid at 100% for tdiu which is permanent n total. I have an actual 90 % rating. Any insight if I'll stand a chance for aid n attendance for tbi.
  6. Greetings. Got good help here before, back for more! Got my rating for ptsd last year at 50%. Wasnt happy with it for a wide variety of reasons. Anyways, left it alone for a while until i logged onto my ebenefits, and found they listed my ptsd as "noncombat" related. Problem is everything stemmed from my involvement with the iraqi invasion (oif1). I told docs this through c&p process, had outside evidence and support. After this discovery, i met with my VSO and explaind my discontent and confusion why i was rated noncombat. She tells me that i need to have a CIB or CAB on my record. I told her that i was Artillery, and you dont get a CIB unless you are infantry. As for the CAB, it came out in 2005, and i ETSd in 2004, after serving in iraq in 2003. Thataward didnt even exist. She tells me its a grey area and that being rated noncombat vs combat doesnt effect anything. Is this true? Why does it bother me so much? I would assume that benefits vary for combat to noncombat. How do i go about correcting this?
  7. I am currently rated at 50% for PTSD and just had my C&P exam for an increase. Below is my current C&P results. Also I suffer from Major Depression and Erectile Dysfunction due to my medication. Could these two items be filed as secondary since the examiner did not list them in my C&P exam.Any input would be appreciated on to what my outcome may be. Thank you SECTION I: ---------- 1. Diagnostic Summary --------------------- Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with PTSD? [X] Yes[ ] No 2. Current Diagnoses -------------------- a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: PTSD, moderate to severe, chronic Comments, if any: The trauamtic event was learning that a close friend of his killed two older female civilians. PTSD also causes secondary panic attacks 2-3 times per week. 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? [ ] Yes[X] No 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[ ] No[X] No other mental disorder has been diagnosed 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 ------------------ In order to provide an accurate medical opinion, the Veteran's claims folder must be reviewed. a. Medical record review: ------------------------- Was the Veteran's VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) reviewed? [X] Yes[ ] No Was the Veteran's VA claims file (hard copy paper C-file) reviewed? [ ] Yes[X] No If no, check all records reviewed: [ ] Military service treatment records [ ] Military service personnel records [ ] Military enlistment examination [ ] Military separation examination [ ] Military post-deployment questionnaire [ ] Department of Defense Form 214 Separation Documents [ ] Veterans Health Administration medical records (VA treatment records) [X] Civilian medical records [ ] Interviews with collateral witnesses (family and others who have known the Veteran before and after military service) [ ] No records were reviewed [ ] Other: b. Was pertinent information from collateral sources reviewed? [X] Yes[ ] No If yes, describe: On 11/25/2014, Dr. XXX conducted a C&P Initial Evaluation for PTSD and diagnosed the veteran with PTSD with panic attacks. 2. Recent History (since prior exam) ------------------------------------ a. Relevant Social/Marital/Family history: Mr. XX is currently married to his wife of 10 years. He describes the quality of his current marriage as, "loving - but my wife puts up with me." He reports his irritability and anger can stress his wife. He adopted his wife's 14 year old daughter. He reports he has no friends of his own, but he reports he is friendly with many of his wife's friends. He tends to avoid crowds and group social activities. He is quite close with his parents. His main hobby is drumming and working on computers. Overall his social support is limited. He reports that the primary effect of his psychiatric symptoms on his social relationships are tension and distance caused by irritability, rage (including yelling, swearing, and very occasional violence towards inanimate objects - like punching a hole in the door), withdrawal, and emotional numbing. b. Relevant Occupational and Educational history: Mr. XXX highest level of education is some college. He served in the Airforce. He is currently employed as a cyber security analyst at XXX a telecommunications company called XXX. He has worked at XXX since 2011. In 2012, he was written up for "going off on a customer." He reports he works from home or calls in sick 4-5 days a month due to feeling stressed. He reports during times of stress he impulsively loses his temper when talking with customers or makes careless mistakes. He is a lead, and he has five other analysists who report to him. c. Relevant Mental Health history, to include prescribed medications and family mental health: Mr. XXX denied history of psychiatric hospitalization, receiving out-patient therapy, receiving any type of psychopharmacological treatment, or prior suicide attempts. He has been referred to a psychiatrist by his PCP but he is not currently engaged in therapy. He receives medication management from his private PCP, and he is currently maintained on a regimen of Zoloft, hydroxyzine, prazosin and diazepam. d. Relevant Legal and Behavioral history: No arrests. Received an article 15 in the military after he learned of the murders. e. Relevant Substance abuse history: No response provided. 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 symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criteria A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other things should be noted under #6 - "Other symptoms". Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury, c) sexual violation, in one or more of the following ways: [X] Witnessing, in person, the traumatic event(s) as they occurred to others [X] Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend; cases of actual or threatened death must have been violent or accidental; or, experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic events(s) (e.g., first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse); this does not apply to exposure through electronic media, television, movies, or pictures, unless this exposure is work related. Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred: [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). [X] Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s). Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following: [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). [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 and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., "I am bad,: "No one can be trusted,: "The world is completely dangerous,: "My whole nervous system is permanently ruined"). [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. [X] Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others. [X] Persistent inability to experience positive emotions (e.g., inability to experience happiness, satisfaction, or loving feelings.) 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] Hypervigilance. [X] Exaggerated startle response. [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] Anxiety [X] Panic attacks more than once a week [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships 5. Behavioral Observations: --------------------------- Mr. XXX was casually dressed, and was cooperative throughout the examination. His speech was fluent. His psychomotor behavior was appropriate. His affect was constricted and his mood was anxious. His insight was intact. Thought process was linear, goal directed, and future oriented. No reported hallucinations or delusions. No reported homicidal or suicidal ideation. 6. Other symptoms ----------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other mental disorders) that are not listed above? [ ] Yes[X] No 7. Competency ------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes[ ] No 8. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any: --------------------------------------------------- Veteran's PTSD and panic attacks currently cause moderate socio-occupational impairment.
  8. Good Morning Hadit members, I have been reading the forum for a while now and would like to thank all the members for helping out with the many questions and concerns veterans have when it comes to disability claims, I recently put in a claim for an increase in my PTSD rating on 03/14/18 (Currently rated 80% combined - 70% PTSD, 10% tinnitus, 10% lower back, 10% GERD) due to the severity of my PTSD symptoms and how it is keeping me from maintaining substantial gainful employment. I left my job on 03/12/18 and was put on FMLA leave by my employer, on the FMLA form filled out by my VA psychiatrist it states that my condition is ongoing and that I am unable to work due to my symptoms, My employer requested a return date was needed for the FMLA leave to be approved and my psychiatrist wrote a second letter stating I will return to work on 06/15/18 pending improvement in my mental health condition. I completed a C & P exam on 04/20/18, checked ebenefits the following day and the status to my claim was updated to preparation for decision. On 04/23/18 I receive a call from the VA regional office from the VSR or rater working on my claim, she asked me if I am going to return back to work and I tell her no because I cant due to my PTSD, she tells me that my C & P results do not meet a 100% increase but that she will grant me individual unemployability as soon as I submit VA-form 21-8940. I filled out and submitted the form yesterday and my claims status has been updated to pending decision approval with an estimated completion date of 04/19/18 - 05/05/18. Im fairly surprised by how fast my claim has moved and hope that every other veteran is experiencing the same quickness with their claims, I was more surprised by the phone call from the regional office, at this point it sounds like I will be granted a 100% IU or TDIU rating but I'm still skeptical until I received my letter, I receive my bachelors in psychology in 2016 while enrolled in the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment program and earn over the SGA level but my symptoms for PTSD have gotten more severe causing me to not be able to work. I appreciate anyones input and thank you for taking time to read my post.
  9. Hi all. I am new here and if i put this in the wrong section please help me get it to the right one. My main question, and i have dozens on several topics, is about TDIU/IU and its effects after a review by C&P at 5 year mark. Primarily do I have to accept an 'inferred" TDIU claim decision? As I understand it the RO can make this determination without my applying for TDIU, and there are some long term problems with being rated TDIU verses 100% Schedule. Here are the salient details. 1) I am currently homeless, living in my car 2) I have advanced education some of which is paid by VR&E some by student loans. 3) The School and VR&E made decisions that denied me the most important classes in the degree I was seeking. I was forced to take second best or get kicked out of VR&E according to my case manager. I took out 100K in student loans to offset the lack of those particular classes/certifications and got an MBA. It is not helping me re-enter the workforce. 4). I have a long gap in work because of my PTSD and then 5 years in school. Trying to get employment with that huge gap and the lack of the specifics classes I was denied, is proving to be a barrier I am unable to overcome. 5) Two days ago I had a C&P review at QTC (outside contractor) and Doc indicated that my condition and the current situation has me a millimeter from being, in his words "toast' in terms of being functional and able to work. 6) SSVF has made a similar determination to the above review. 7) VR&E has reopened my claim and is considering allowing me to get that additional training but I have to stabilize living situation first among several other requirements. 8 ) I am a vet who has fought the VA for 25 years just to get treatment, which finally started in 2013. They literally denied I was in the military, that the events actually took place, that I had applied, that I had a "real" problem, and a dozen other bogus statements over the years. 9) I am currently rated as SC 70% PTSD, w/chronic anxiety, chronic depressive condition, and 3 or more other related things, 10% tinnitus, 10) I have never applied for ratings increase or attempted to challenge what the docs said to the ratings board. 11) I learned last year that my claim for bilateral hearing loss had been denied because they only looked at the records from one of my enlistments, but did say the tinnitus was SC. 12) I have sleep apnea with VA CPAP issued but cannot "document" it started around the same time as my other stuff. 13) The meds they gave me, a huge collection of dangerous drugs, caused excessive skin conditions that have not healed even though I stopped taking their meds (which were of no help anyway). Now the complicated part to explain without going on for pages. The doctor told me what he was going to write in his report to the raters. He claimed that I can expect to know in 5 weeks what the increase in my rating will become. I don't know how true that is but it is what he said is the "normal" time frame his company is experiencing for the vets they evaluate. He informed me that the VA gives them a list of 7 sentences with which they must use to define each diagnosis and then provide their supporting narratives. These sentences are in the DBQ's. Essentially he stated that for each of my conditions not specifically rated, i.e. chronic depression, chronic anxiety, etc. I am between 30% and 70% on each of them. AT a minimum my PTSD alone has worsened and should (his words) bump up significantly from 70%. To be clear he stated that they were NOT supposed to put out what they think the raters will decide but he said the way he was writing the report his patients usually fall in that category when they are like me. Using the VA Disability Calculator, I end up at a minimum bump to 80%. All other scenarios take me to 96% or 97% with the exception of them just choosing to NOT increase my rating, which is always a possibility. There is a significant likelihood that the VR&E will institute an "inferred TDUI" claim which seems to be in their purview. They do this by denying my VR&E and stating the reason as TDIU and the RO will process that whether I want it or not. The other way to get TDIU or IU is to apply for it, which I have not done and did not know before now that I could. I also found out recently that a change in the Dept of Ed, originally started by the Obama administration but Congress would not vote on, has been now passed and the Trump administration is taking credit for the change. That change automates a process for Veterans who are 100% SC via Schedule or through TDIU or IU to get their student loans forgiven. The VA and the Dept of Ed and Social Security are sharing information and if you are rated at 100% they will actually notify you and you only have to sign a form, or you can start the process yourself. There is a problem with this though. If you are 100% through Schedule, then you are good to go. You can make as much money as you want and your loans are still forgiven. IF however you get the forgiveness based on TDIU or IU then you can only earn Federal Level Poverty line income, no more. In this scenario the Dept of Ed says that if your TDIU resolves you will be on the hook for those loans again. If on TDIU you earn more than Fed Level Poverty line you have to pay back any income over the poverty level that you received as a benefit. The change also makes it so the IRS does not treat the loan forgiveness as taxable income, which is a huge change. Of course in both cases you can never get another Fed Student loan, without agreeing to paying back the old loans. So my problem is understanding what I might do about avoiding getting an "inferred TDIU" rating if my latest evaluation does not get bumped to 100% Schedule. I plan on working and the idea of only being able to legally earn 13K a year poverty level income does not work for me. Until this exam I had not even considered asking for a review to increase my percentage, so getting 100% or any increase is pretty much a bonus that I had not looked for. I just don't want to screw myself by not knowing how to avoid the VA doing what it wants instead of what is best for me in the long run Thanks in advance for any help
  10. Hi all, So I've just gone through an Inpatient PTSD Program at the VA Hospital in Lyons, NJ. Had a panic attack at work on August 3rd of this year and was admitted into a 2 week stabilization period on August 4th - started the PTSD program on August 23rd going from the VA Hospital in East Orange to the Lyons Campus. I was finally discharged on Oct. 7th. I had a follow up appointment with an outpatient psych (in a VAMC) and he made the determination for me to return to work on Nov. 5th. So...if we tally that all up it comes out to 93 days (hospitalization and convalescence combined). This total time was all due to my SC for PTSD of which I am rated at 50% for. Can someone please tell me what kind of temporary 100% disability I can look forward to? Will it cover the 4 months (Aug - Nov)? I have a claim in for it , and this might be a dumb question, but, does the claim take forever like other claims do? I hand delivered my certificate of completion from the program to my regional office in Newark and work with the Military Order of the Purple Heart (VSO) for claim support - anything else I can do? Plus, I have an increase claim in for PTSD. I've heard so many stories from other vets on what kind of increase I can expect - some have said I'm headed for 100 and others have said I'm probably just gonna get 70% - can anyone clearly advise on this? I would love to share more of this story: returning home, getting my initial award, struggling with but finally getting some employment and then having severe issues with that employment due to PTSD, being hospitalized and pursuing an inpatient program...maybe we can get some chatter going on this topic. I know some of the vets I went into the program with looked very confused when I mentioned the temp 100%. This is a tragedy. But that's why vets help vets. This is my first post so, hopefully, I put it in right. Thanks for those who have made this site possible. I've obviously grown tired of waiting and being unclear as to what I should get for a benefit, but, haven't we all? Hope to hear from anyone soon - thanks.
  11. kate7772

    Who decides amounts of DIC?

    I'm just wondering who decides on the amount of DIC? Is it the Sec. of VA or some governing body? Been doing a lot of thinking lately. My husband is 100% P&T. If he should die and it is due to his disability or he makes it to the 10 year mark, I will get approx. $1257. It will be impossible for me to make it on that amount which scares me to death. His disability goes back to 2011 officially but I am sure it was long before that. Because of that fact, it was difficult to impossible for me to pursue my own career. I was always watching him and sometimes even working for the same company so I would be able to help him and keep an eye on him and his PTSD symptoms. At the time, we did not know what was causing his problems so did not file for disability. Through a lot of investigation and others mentioning things to us, we finally understood what for so many years was not understandable to us. I'm sure there are so many others that are dealing with these same issues. Since I did not have my own career and his was sporadic through the years, we are grateful for the disability compensation that was finally awarded. But, in the event of his death, the future is so scary. I really feel widows and widowers should be entitled to continue to receive the full disability upon the veteran's death, especially older survivors. So, who decides these issues. Who would need to be lobbied? Thanks, Kate
  12. if in world war 2 a civilian woman lost her life trying to help a soldier by working in an armament factory.? if in Vietnam a man gets off the plane and shot? if in iraq war never seen combat but died exploding ordinance? if an 17 year old goes to meps and signs up takes oath dies with recruiter in car wreck home? if an 19 year old joins during war time but breaks his spine in boot camp ? who is and who isnt a vet folks? not the definition cus the definition is they all are im looking for your true feelings.... i still feel completely they all are!
  13. VA received my RAMP appeal on March 13 and still no answer after 142 days. Is this unusual? Any STATS out there on how long some of them go over? Peggy gives me different answers every time I call in beginning with very few go over the 125 to at 135 days if you don't get a letter in 30 days call us back. Nothing worthy on vets.gov My VSO is clueless and gives me only what I get myself. What is the point of RAMP if there is no real deadline at all, not even a few days over?
  14. Had a C&P last month for mental health for increase for depression(30%) and new claim for Ptsd, MST, and have on appeal for TBI. Well, I can't see the C&P because it was done by VES. I was told by my VA rep. that I was diagnose with all four and that it doesn't matter about my stressor because I am already service connect for depression. I know Va only pay for one mental illness, so my question is will VA take all four inconsideration, when rating my claim.
  15. Hello, I have a rating decision for PTSD 70%,IBS 30% and Tinnitus 10% the rating decision was 6/23/2015 and the va decision has effective date of 10/29/2013(FDC),I was moved from TDRL to PDRL at 70% due to Combat related PTSD. My question is when the VA revaluates me,which shows scheduled for June/2020 as per VA letter ,will the rating be considered stable from the effective date or from the decision date? Does the DBQ the DOD did to move me to PDRL stating my PTSD is stable and not likely to improve have any weight on the VA reevaluation? I currently see VA Psychiatrist monthly and have since before being rated Other ratings: 50% SA(secondary to PTSD) 30% Pes Cavus (bilateral feet) 10% Lumbar DDD 10% Radicuapthy (secondary to Lumbar) Thank you for any information.
  16. I am writing this for my husband, a 20 year Veteran who is rated at 100% disability for PTSD. He can no longer think straight to put thoughts into words without my help. This is just one of his problems. He can no longer remember to take his meds, go to doctors appointments, cook for himself etc, etc, without me. I have had to basically end my working career at 57 years old to care for him. My question is, does anyone know how to get aid and attendance compensation? I am now his full time caregiver and he cannot be left alone. What is the process for this? Someone told me about this the other day when we went to the VA but really did not have further info on it. How much can the compensation be? Will it be enough if I have to hire someone to sit with him while I work part-time? Thank you for ANY info, I am at a loss here!
  17. I've had IBS symptoms for years, and finally started complaining to my VA primary care about 4 years ago. I was embarrassed and ashamed and it took me a long time to even admit that I really had a problem and it wasn't just tummy-trouble. It actually took my daughter pointing out that I had 'tummy-trouble' every single day! Anyway, the VA sent me for tests for parasites, infections, a CT scan and a MRI plus I had a colonoscopy... all done by outside providers due to the distance from our rural area to the VAMC. All my PC would said in my records was "Impression: IBS". She gave me script for a common med. I kept coming back and she said I had to go to the Gastro guy at the VAMC. I said nope, not going to go sit in a crowded room full of guys to let a strange guy look at me. Meanwhile, Id also gone to my private primary care doc and she referred me to a female specialist who diagnosed IBS and said that it was extremely common that a person with PTSD would have stomach issues. She's tried me on a number of different prescriptions, none have worked well, but she's really trying to help. She did a DBQ for me and I submitted that with my claim (IBS as secondary to PTSD). I have a Comp & Pen this week and I'm extremely anxious about it (is anyone ever not anxious?). I'm afraid that I'll be manhandled by a stranger; that I'll have to drop my britches and ... I don't know. Will they want me to demonstrate my problem? In some ways that sounds like a funny joke, but I"m scared. Are they going to want to measure my hemmorhoids? Also, should I bring the drugs my private gastroenterologist has me taking? One of them is a controlled substance (something with atropine in it, for when the cramping is just too much). I'm worried they'll think I'm an addict or something, especially with the way the VA is all crazy about the painkiller situation :( Who can tell me what to expect, and what I can hopefully not expect?
  18. willidx4

    Sorta Vindicated

    I was diagnosed with a personality disorder in 2005 during a C&P exam (GAF 42), and again in 2012 during a c&p (GAF51) I was diagnosed with Major Depression and Anxiety by my VA Psychiatrist in late 2013. After almost two years of medication he decided that I might have PTSD and sent me to a VA Psychologist (who he said had a lot of experience dealing with Vets with PTSD). After two visits and some diagnostic testing the Psychologist stated in the notes of myhealthvet that I met the criteria for PTSD chronic and would be treating me for PTSD. I have been diagnosed by three different private Psychiatrist since 2005, and treated for PTSD at a VET center and the VA ignored all of those diagnoses. I was diagnosed with PTSD by the VA Psychologist on 8/6/2015 I was given an C&P today (8/11/2015) lets see if the VA believes there own diagnosis.
  19. Hello all, Let me start by saying thank you in advance for any help or information provided. Quick backstory: The first time I filed was in May of 2012(I lived in El Paso, Tx at the time), it was for PTSD, bursitis in hips, carpal tunnel, and a slew of other joint problems, however life happened and I missed a C&P exam that I was unaware of and the claim was denied at the beginning of 2013. I understand that this is my fault, but I did learn that the VA found nothing in my army records to justify a claim for any of the physical problems. The second time I filed was in Feb of 2015(I lived in Tacoma, Wa at the time), it was for PTSD. I had a C&P thru QTC at the beginning of APR 2015 and attended, however during the C&P the doc diagnosed me with major depression and anxiety rather than PTSD. Also during that C&P I was made aware that the dates for one of my deployments was incorrect and did not match the stressors I had listed and thus he did not recommend a service connection and I was denied at the end of APR 2015. It should also be noted that I received no diagnosis or treatment prior to during the claim process(I still had no idea how the VA worked and was under the impression that I needed to be service connected.) Of note on this claim I attempted to use a VSO thru DAV, however when I went to the office I was given booklet titled "Federal Benefits for Veterans Dependents and Survivors" and the representative highlighted the address of the vet center near me and the ebenefits website instructing me that I needed to file the claim there. In JAN 2018 after a low point I finally went to the American Lake VA office to see what treatment was available to me. This is when I discovered I qualified for no copay visits and partial copay of medication. I went through the intake exam at the behavioral health clinic there and have been in individual counseling sessions almost weekly as well as attending a few of the group counseling programs offered. I have also been put on various medications to combat the anxiety, depression, and insomnia. Since starting the sessions I have been diagnosed with chronic severe PTSD, chronic severe MDD, chronic severe anxiety, and chronic severe insomnia. My third and current claim I put in on 02/27/2018(I live on Joint Base Lewis-McChoord, WA). It is for PTSD, MDD, anxiety, insomnia, as well as an application for TDIU. I listed the MDD, anxiety, and insomnia as secondary to the PTSD. I included my DoD service records and my DoD payment records to show that the dates of the deployment on my DD214 were incorrect. I uploaded my medical records from the VA American Lake office just in case there was going to be any issues for them to obtain them, they were reviewed and accepted on 04/04/2018. I had the C&P in MAR 2018, while there the doc said he was recommending all issues be service connected. I filled out the 21-4192 Request for Employment Info on 04/25/2018 the best that I was able and added an attachment to it explaining that my last employment was over 8 years ago and the reasons why I haven't been employed. On 05/03/2018 I submitted a 5103 Claim Decision Request. Other Info: In FEB 2018 I requested my military medical records, when I received them the only document there was the medical exam from MEPS, the one you do prior to joining. However while in service I was treated for bursitis over a period of two years(physical therapy and medication) I had the occasional trip to sick call, and at one point had an in grown toenail removed. I filed my current claim as a new claim, however they reopened my 2015 claim instead. My ETS was in FEB 2007 after being extended 7 months due to deployment. I spent my entire time in the military at Fort Hood, TX as part of the 4th Infantry Division(the division has since relocated to Fort Carson, CO) Questions: Q. Is there a way to obtain the medical records that are missing from my file so that I am able to claim the bursitis and joint issues? Q. I am planning to move from JBLM, WA to somewhere in Iowa(Wife's decision) at the end of AUG 2018. This will change my regional office. Will it effect my claim and what do I need to do to ensure my claim doesn't disappear? Q. Will them reopening my older claim instead of accepting a new one have any effect, beneficial or not? Q. Should I request my C-File now or wait until the claim is complete? Q. Does contacting the 800 number or using IRIS to check claim status affect my claim in any way? (I'm curious where it's at because it has passed the estimated date, and the last date it seems anything was done is 04/04/2018 when they reviewed medical records.) Thanks you again for any info or suggestions able to be given. T
  20. Hello, I appreciate all the valuable information in here and would like to share my journey hoping for some advice along the way. I am looking for information that would be useful for a claim I am submitting for a non combat stressor for PTSD. I was active duty in the Marine Corps from 2002-2006, my first duty station after boot camp and infantry training was at the Marine Barracks in Washington, DC. In 2004 myself and a few others were trained to retrieve the transfer cases of fallen service members from Dover, DE. While removing the transfer cases we would place them in trucks and after the last service member was removed we would escort the truck to the mortuary on base to remove bag from transfer case. From 2004-2005 I made countless trips to Dover and had seen my share of bodies inside the mortuary that stick with me to this day. We were never awarded any type of after action de-brief or outlet to speak of what we were doing. It was just like any other situation were we were told to show zero emotion which was considered "good bearing". Those images and the experience stick with me to this day. I self medicated for the longest time, had reoccurring nightmares of images, had terrible sleep, isolated myself from family and friends and had work suffer. A close family member sent me an article stating that from 2004-2009 parts of service members were not properly matched up with the body and sent to a landfill in Virginia. This pushed me over emotionally because the whole point of us being in Dover was to do a dignified transfer and send the body home with honor to the family. I finally sought out medical treatment in 2016 and was diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety from a private psychiatrist and I am in counseling through the VA with a Mental Health professional psychologist. Being that this is a non-combat stressor, I have written my stressor statement that goes into great detail and have 2 buddy statements from fellow Marines I was with. I do not have any orders or mortuary affairs MOS putting me at Dover because there were none to give. We received word for our Dover detail in morning formation. My question is-will these buddy statements suffice when submitting my claim? I have also been diagnosed with central and mixed sleep apnea and would like to know if I can file a claim secondary to the PTSD. I have DBQ's for both PTSD and Sleep apnea filled out by medical doctors. Any advice from you is greatly appreciated! Thank you for taking time to read. Daniel_Red
  21. PTSD) Disability Benefits Questionnaire Name of patient/Veteran: Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P Examination Request? [X] Yes [ ] No SECTION I: ---------- 1. Diagnostic Summary --------------------- Does the Veteran now have or has he/she ever been diagnosed with PTSD? [X] Yes [ ] No ICD Code: F43.10 2. Current Diagnoses -------------------- a. Mental Disorder Diagnosis #1: Antisocial personality disorder ICD Code: F60.2 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #2: Opioid use disorder ICD Code: F11.20 Mental Disorder Diagnosis #3: PTSD ICD Code: F43.10 b. Medical diagnoses relevant to the understanding or management of the Mental Health Disorder (to include TBI): Deferred to medical 3. Differentiation of symptoms ------------------------------ a. Does the Veteran have more than one mental disorder diagnosed? [X] Yes [ ] No b. Is it possible to differentiate what symptom(s) is/are attributable to each diagnosis? [X] Yes [ ] No [ ] Not applicable (N/A) If yes, list which symptoms are attributable to each diagnosis and discuss whether there is any clinical association between these diagnoses: Antisocial personality disorder is responsible for contentious interpersonal relationships including threats, aggression, assault; failure to accept responsibility; violation of social norms and law; impulsive decisions and behaviors; and affective instability. In the symptom list below antisocial personality disorder is responsible for impaired judgment, disturbance of motivation and mood, difficulty establishing and maintaining effective social/work relationships, difficulty adapting to stressful circumstances, and impaired impulse control. Opioid use disorder has been in institutional remission June 2018, and is not at this time contributing to the symptom picture. Substance use is well known to have deleterious effects on mood, cognition, and behavior. When active, however, these symptoms likely take a predominant role. PTSD is responsible for the remaining symptoms below, which include depressed mood, chronic sleep impairment, and flat affect. c. Does the Veteran have a diagnosed traumatic brain injury (TBI)? [ ] Yes [X] No [ ] Not shown in records reviewed 4. Occupational and social impairment ------------------------------------- a. Which of the following best summarizes the Veteran's level of occupational and social impairment with regards to all mental diagnoses? (Check only one) [X] Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks, although generally functioning satisfactorily, with normal routine behavior, self-care and conversation b. For the indicated occupational and social impairment, is it possible to differentiate which impairment is caused by each mental disorder? [X] Yes [ ] No [ ] Not Applicable (N/A) If yes, list which occupational and social impairment is attributable to each diagnosis: As noted above regarding symptoms, Antisocial personality disorder is primary and PTSD is secondary. c. If a diagnosis of TBI exists, is it possible to differentiate which occupational and social impairment indicated above is caused by the TBI? [ ] Yes [ ] No [X] Not Applicable (N/A) SECTION II: ----------- Clinical Findings: ------------------ 1. Evidence Review ------------------ Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder [X] CPRS 2. Recent History (since prior exam) ------------------------------------ a. Relevant social/marital/family history: The veteran last completed a PTSD review DBQ 06/20/17, and he reported that since that exam he has moved from Columbus to Marysville. The veteran currently is in residential programming at Chillicothe VA, hoping for placement in the DOM. The veteran denied his family situation since last exam. Socially, the veteran said he is getting along well with other residents here. His girlfriend and mother visited him here. He said he is made some acquaintances in the programming as well as a couple friends. b. Relevant occupational and educational history: The veteran denied changes in education since last exam. He has completed a GED and some college, and has a license to work with fuel and chemicals for shipping. The veteran denied employment since May 2017. He worked in landscaping prior and occasionally for his mother after that. His mother's business is sales of retail and bank machines. He said his mother arranged his hours to suit him. c. Relevant mental health history, to include prescribed medications and family mental health: The veteran denied pre-military and military mental health treatment. Specifically, he denied a history of hospitalization, suicide attempt, outpatient therapy, and prescription of psychotropic medications prior to about 2001. CPRS and VBMS were reviewed with the following relevant mental health entries. 06/20/17: PTSD review DBQ. MSE: Mood and affect depressed, otherwise normal. Examiner opined significant impairment. 06/14/18: Medical certificate. The veteran requested admission due to depression, suicidal ideation, overdose attempt on Seroquel and alcohol last evening, and hearing voices telling him to kill himself every day. UDS was positive for oxycodone, Suboxone, and cannabinoids. DX: Cocaine dependence; alcohol abuse; cannabis dependence; opioid dependence; PTSD. 06/19/18: Medical certificate. Veteran seen for change in programming. MSE: Normal except for dysphoric affect. d. Relevant legal and behavioral histor y: The veteran denied arrest since last exam, however, he has 3 years and 3 months left on parole. As a juvenile, the veteran was arrested for trespassing, DUI, domestic dispute. He denied being remanded to juvenile detention. During military, the veteran was arrested for underage consumption. He also received NJPs for being late to work (up to 10 hours), possession of pornography, disrespect to a commanding officer, and drinking while on duty. After service, the veteran has been arrested for domestic violence 2, aggravated robbery 3, and theft. He served 10 years in ODRC. While in prison, the veteran reported that he ran the inmate "store" providing drugs, contraband items, and running gambling schemes. He received over 50 tickets for institutional rules violations while in prison. He was released in September 2016. e. Relevant substance abuse history: The veteran reported that historically he has rarely used alcohol, perhaps 1-2 times per month and none since June 2018. The veteran denied use of illicit drugs since June 2018. In the period immediately prior he primarily used narcotics and heroin. f. Other, if any: Nothing further. 3. PTSD Diagnostic Criteria --------------------------- Please check criteria used for establishing the current PTSD diagnosis. The diagnostic criteria for PTSD, are from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-5). The stressful event can be due to combat, personal trauma, other life threatening situations (non- combat related stressors). Do NOT mark symptoms below that are clearly not attributable to the Criterion A stressor/PTSD. Instead, overlapping symptoms clearly attributable to other things should be noted under #6 - "Other symptoms". Criterion A: Exposure to actual or threatened a) death, b) serious injury, c) sexual violence, in one or more of the following ways: [X] Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s) Criterion B: Presence of (one or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred: [X] Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s). [X] Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s). Criterion C: Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic events(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following: [X] Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s). Criterion D: Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., "I am bad,: "No one can be trusted,: "The world is completely dangerous,: "My whole nervous system is permanently ruined"). [X] Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities. Criterion E: Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following: [X] Hypervigilance. [X] Exaggerated startle response. [X] Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep). Criterion F: [X] The duration of the symptoms described above in Criteria B, C, and D are more than 1 month. Criterion G: [X] The PTSD symptoms described above cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Criterion H: [X] The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical condition. 4. Symptoms ----------- For VA rating purposes, check all symptoms that actively apply to the Veteran's diagnoses: [X] Depressed mood [X] Chronic sleep impairment [X] Flattened affect [X] Impaired judgment [X] Disturbances of motivation and mood [X] Difficulty in establishing and maintaining effective work and social relationships [X] Difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances, including work or a worklike setting [X] Impaired impulse control, such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence 5. Behavioral observations -------------------------- The veteran presented as guarded. We were able to establish adequate rapport through time. He initiated conversation and elaborated on topics, often to highlight the frequency and severity of symptoms. He was easily re-directed, however. He was cooperative in that he answered all questions asked. The veteran's mood was neutral and stable. His affect was mildly flat and mildly irritable, with limited mobility in range and intensity. The veteran seldom smiled and laughed, and seldom responded to humor. He was not tearful. There was no hopelessness and helplessness evident in his comments. There was no objective evidence of facial flushing, vigilance, arousal, tremor, perspiration, or muscle tension. Speech, thought processes, orientation, attention, and memory all were within expectations. Psychomotor was remarkable for bouncing a leg. Given vocabulary, and educational, employment, and military history, I estimate his IQ in the average range. The veteran denied recent changes in sleep, noting he experiences nightmares about 70% of the time. He appeared alert and rested and did not report functional loss due to sleep problems. He said his appetite is unchanged with some weight increase with abstinence from drugs. Thought content was negative for objective signs of psychosis and the veteran denied same. He also denied suicidal and homicidal ideation, but added "They call it passive SI. I'm getting better at telling people about it." Given several opportunities, the veteran reported current symptoms of: Nightmares; not liking to think about the military event; staying away from crowds; inability to interact with people; increased stress with work; blaming himself for the event happening; being aware of his surroundings; isolating from others; not sleeping well; drug use. The veteran reported abilities indicating that he retains considerable cognitive capacity (physical capacity is not assessed here). When home, he enjoys gardening, growing roses, and mowing his sisters grass. He told that he can drive independently. The veteran said he can perform personal care independently. The veteran told that he can use a calendar, clock, calculator, telephone, and computer. He reported that he can manage money, appointments, and medications, as well as shop and pay bills. For enjoyment he watches TV on his laptop, works out, watches OSU football, and does some light reading. He had good social skills on exam. Socially, the veteran said he is getting along well with other residents here. His girlfriend and mother visited him here. He said he is made some acquaintances in the programming as well as a couple friends. 6. Other symptoms ----------------- Does the Veteran have any other symptoms attributable to PTSD (and other mental disorders) that are not listed above? [ ] Yes [X] No 7. Competency ------------- Is the Veteran capable of managing his or her financial affairs? [X] Yes [ ] No 8. Remarks, (including any testing results) if any: --------------------------------------------------- ****This forensic report is a legal document intended for the sole use of VBA in determining the veteran's eligibility for compensation and pension. This examination is very different from other psychological examinations, such as for treatment, with considerably different criteria and, thus, often with considerably different diagnoses and outcomes. As such, great caution is needed in interpreting this information and use of this report outside its intended purpose by VHA personnel, VSO, and/or the veteran is STRONGLY discouraged. This examination does not constitute a rating decision. Rating decisions are made solely by the Regional Office after all available data have been reviewed and verified. Note that "The examiner should not express an opinion regarding the merits of any claim or the percentage evaluation that should be assigned for a disability. Determination of service connection and disability ratings for VA benefits is exclusively a function of VBA" (VHA Directive 1046). Thus, any questions or concerns regarding rating decisions should be directed to the Regional Office or an Appeals Board.**** The veteran was seen today for this PTSD Review exam. I verbally provided the usual informed consent regarding: this being a VBA assessment, not treatment; the report becomes a legal document; the forensic role of VBA; the potential outcomes of a review exam; and limits to confidentiality. A written copy of Informed Consent was offered. Throughout the interview the veteran inserted nearly every symptom of PTSD listed in the DSM 5. He noted often that these symptoms are severe and prevent him from interacting with people and working with others. This was not particularly consistent with mental status and functional data. Some patterns of thought developed throughout the interview, such as when the veteran noted that when people try to enforce rules or consequences for his behavior he makes threats and blames them for causing him to use substances. He noted that all his criminal behavior and drug use is due to the military assault, even though he also reported that alcohol and drug use began at an early age, as did arrest. For example, the veteran said that the traumatic event in service caused and or heightened his drug use in response, but he also commented that "I figured out when I was younger that using drugs and alcohol makes problems like that go away." The veteran noted that he was found to have steroids in his jacket while at Bay Pines. He subsequently was discharged from the program. He then interpreted that as "people make me fail. That (being discharged from Bay Pines) put me in a bad place and made me attempt suicide. They deny my individual unemployability because they say I'll get better with treatment, then the treatment kicks me out and I'm worse now." This behavior and thinking is quite consistent with personality disorder. The veteran was diagnosed with PTSD in prior C&P exams, the diagnosis has been carried forward by treatment providers, and by his report continues with sufficient symptoms for the diagnosis. Thus the diagnosis of PTSD continues, as likely as not due to events in military service. Antisocial personality disorder was present well before military service, so it is less likely as not caused by military events, and there is no evidence that this disorder was exaggerated by military events. Also, alcohol and illicit drug use clearly was present prior to enrollment in military, so it is less likely as not caused by military service. There is no evidence that the veteran's substance use was due to events in military service nor has it progressed beyond the normal course for this disorder. Put another way, even if the military event had not occurred it is likely that the resulting pattern of substance use would have been present. Moreover, while there is some equivalence in the literature about the direction of causality when both mental disorder and substance use are present, DSM 5 does not acknowledge any substance use disorder as "due to mental illness," yet there are numerous "substance-induced" mental disorders. INDIVIDUAL UNEMPLOYABILITY The veteran retains considerable residual mental function (physical limitations, if any, are not assessed nor considered here). The veteran can perform personal care independently. He has a driver's license and drives independently. The veteran can use a calendar, clock, calculator, telephone, and computer. He can manage money, appointments, and medications, as well as pay bills. There is no mental disorder that prevents him from attending to, learning, and persisting to complete simple and complex tasks. There is no cognitive dysfunction that would prevent same. His performance on mental status in attention, concentration, memory, abstraction, and thought processes were within expectations for age. The veteran reported limited socialization. Yet, he dated, married, and maintains a current relationship (after divorcing). He maintains some contact with family. Moreover, the veteran was a quite bright, capable, pleasant, cooperative gentleman on exam, and his social skills here were excellent. He reported isolating at home, not liking to be around people, and having difficult relationships through time. The veteran is not a member of any clubs/organizations. Indeed, personality disorder is predictive of contentious interpersonal relationships and the affective instability and impulsive decisionmaking/behavior of the personality disorder may interfere with motivation and concentration.
  22. Tbird has very good info at the hadit Home page on IMOs. I reworked a topic I posted here some time ago.and maybe it can be found better now: Independent Medical Opinions can often be the only way a veteran or widow can succeed on a VA claim. VA plays a war game called the War of the Words. The proper wording of an IMO is critical to VA's acceptance of it, as probative evidence. Opinions obtained from private treating doctors are often free yet most independent medical opinions are needed from doctors with full expertise in the field of the disability and can be very costly. However an award can easily absorb this cost with a few comp checks or the increases in comp that the claimant might never obtain without an IMO. A Valid IMO must contain the following: The doctor must have all medical records available and refer to them directly in the opinion. In cases involving an in-service nexus- the doctor needs to read and refer to the SMRs. Also the doc needs to have all prior SOC decisions from VA ,particularly those referencing any VA medical opinions and a copy of the actual C & P results is even better. The SOC or SSOC could parse or manipulate critical statements in the actual C & P exam. The IMO doctor should define their medical expertise as to how their background makes their opinion valid. They should be willing to attach to the IMO their CV (Curriculum Vitae that contains their medical background and any other info pertinent ,such as any symposiums they attended, articles they had published etc etc,if possible, that show their expertise .) A psychiatrist cannot really opine on a cardiovascular disease. An internist cannot really opine on a depression claim. They need to have expertise in the field of the disability you have claimed to make their IMO valid. They should rule out any other potential etiology if they can-but for service as causing the disability. They should briefly quote from and cite any established medical principles or treatises that support their opinion. They should point out any discrepancies in any VA examiner’s opinion-such as the VA doctor not considering pertinent evidence of record in the veteran’s SMRs or Clinical record. They should fully provide medical rationale to rebutt anything that is not medically sound nor relevant or appropriate in the VA doctor’s opinion. They should then refer to specific medical evidence to support their conclusion. They must use these terms: (VA is familiar with these terms) "Is due to- 100% More likely than not- Greater than 50% At least as likely as not- 50% (Benefit of doubt goes to Vet) Not at least as likely as not- Less than 50% Is not due to- 0% from an post by carlie “ It helps considerably to identify pertinent documents in your SMRs and medical records with easily seen labels as well as to list and identify these specific documents in a cover letter that requests the medical opinion. A good IMO doctor reads everything you send but this makes it a little easier for them to prepare the IMO as to referencing specific records. Send the VA and your vet rep copies of the signed IMO. And make sure your rep sends them a 21-4138 in support of it- you also- can send this form (available at the VA web site) as a cover letter highlighting this evidence. PS- Mental disabilities- make sure the doctor states that you are competent to handle your own funds- otherwise, if a big retro award is due-the VA might attempt to declare you incompetent and it takes times to find and have the VA approve of a payee. (unfortunately many PTSD claims these days depend on a VA MH professionals diagnosis of PTSD and an IMO diagnosing PTSD will not be accepted by the VA. See our PTSD forum for the 2010 regs on that. I need to add here that a secondary condition to an established SC condition wold not need the IMO doctor to read all of the SMRs. They just have to state with medical rationale why the second claimed disabilty is due to (secondary to) the initial SC disability. IMO docs must avoid words like 'maybe', 'possibly', 'could ' or 'might' be related to, or any other wording that VA could construe as speculative and then disregard the IMO for that reason. On the other hand the IMO doc should look for any purely speculative statements in the C & P exam report or in the C & P and overcome those statements by stating they are mere speculation and have no medical basis. DIC claims IMOs are different and the IMO doctor needs the death certificate and any autopsy findings and any past C & Ps as well as the entire clinical record (to include SMRs in some cases) and copies of any and all private records. They need the rating info on the vet and what his or her SCs were for. If the immediate cause of death is NSC but a service connected disability substantially contributes to death, the VA should award DIC. Often this type of DIC claim definitely needs an IMO to clarify a substantial contribution to a NSC death. 1151 IMOs are different too. The IMO doctor must identify the exact nature of the negligence with direct referrals to the med recs. Then the IMO doctor must make a strong medical statement with a full medical rationale that the veteran has a documented disability that is directly due to the VA's negligence and give a full medical rational for that. It is a good idea for a 1151 IMO doc to also add abstracts or citations from known medical practices in the 'standard medical community' to bolster a 1151 claim. What I mean is showing the VA proof that non VA doctors (the standard medical community) would have taken different steps to diagnose and treat the veteran and the VA's “omission” of these proper medical steps caused the veteran's additional and documented disability. Hope this all helps someone.
  23. I just noticed that my claim for increase in rating went from Preparation for Notification back to Pending Decision Approval and the expected completion date has slipped a week. Should I be concerned ? Does this mean they can't make up their mind or is it just a work around to give them more time to work on the paperwork because they coudn't meet the first completion date ?
  24. I filed for PTSD in 1995 and was diagnosed at that time of the C&P with Dysthymia with prominent features of anxiety, so PTSD denied. I also was denied for "Memory loss" - Service connection for memory loss is denied because this disability is determined to result from a known clinical diagnosis of dysthymia, which neither occurred in nor was caused or aggravated by service. I did not appeal as I was very uneducated in the rules and regs for VA. After many years later and many problems later that arose from my issues I finally came back to VA for help. I recently was diagnosed by a VA psychologist for PTSD as I have been attending all visits as scheduled for a few months now.I am taking all meds as required as well. I will be starting the 12 week CPT program in a couple weeks to try to improve my problems in dealing with all this. My question is: Do I have a cue or is it just a reopen? Should I try to reopen or cue now or what is the next step for me? Thanks in advance.
  25. I was trying to get any first hand knowledge concerning MST/PTSD residential programs that accept men. If anyone reading this forum has been to any inpatient mens programs anywhere in the country I would greatly appreciate your experiences. I would like to know about any facilities good or bad. Also, was it a walk in or did you have to get a referral to go there?? Any help will be much appreciated!! Hopefully some of you have been to some good facilities... Chris P 100% IU
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