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Found 8 results

  1. Hi All, Me again... another few questions that hopefully someone can shed some insight on. Over the last few months, as I've gotten deeper into the VA medical side, they have talked about a polytrauma referral, basically saying it could be helpful in me getting to a better place. I was involved in an incident and sustained a significant concussion. I agreed to the referral, and had an MRI that did not show any abnormalities other than something with sinuses. I'm now scheduled for a neuropsych exam. I'm not sure what all that entails, and I can't seem to find much "meat" of what polytrauma is about, other than kind of marketing info that it's "good". So the questions: Does anyone have any experience with poly-trauma, what it is, is it helpful etc? It is worth following up on and if not, are there any consequences to cancelling it out? Has anyone had any experience with poly-trauma evals affecting ratings? This may just be in my head (and probably is), but it's starting to feel like things with VA medical are just data collection for VA rating side, to look to show why a veteran is over-rated (rating is too high). I'm just not feeling good about how it seems the rating side of VA can access my medical records whenever they want. Thoughts from the group? *BTW... I am very thankful for everyone putting up with me, and continuing to hang in there with me.
  2. Hi All, Once again, hoping this is posted correctly. Not sure, but can't quite seem to get the hang of this particular version of a forum, so my apologies if I'm doing this wrong. Real quick background, I'm rated for PTSD/major depression/alcohol/TBI at 70%, kidneys 60%, bladder 10%, headaches 0%, and seems like something else I'm forgetting at the moment. Those were all completed about 13 months ago. Pending is a back issue, hypersomnia, hypertension, and heart disease. Total after VA math is 91% (maybe 92?). I was involved in a training in which another soldier died. Due to the hypersomnia claim, the VA has asked that I be reviewed for the PTSD and TBI. In preparing for those reviews, I've found various mistakes in both reports, some which seem immaterial, and some that may matter. For example: The report states I was cleared of charges at trial. That is inaccurate. I was cleared of charges during the investigation phase due to a malfunctioning piece of equipment. I was never charged (that I know of... 1st sarge got defense attorney involved pretty quick, so I kind of lost track of a lot of the process). I was in the brig for a while, and then on supervised house arrest until the investigation was over, which I told the examiner. Seems immaterial to the overall findings, but still not accurate. The report states that I was "dazed for 3-4 minutes". That is inaccurate. I was dazed for 3-4 days, not minutes. Depends on the clinical definition of dazed I suppose. I have zero recollection of the minutes following the incident (probably 3-4), and only wispy memories of the 3-4 days following the accident. Frankly, as I've thought about it over the past year, I'm not completely sure what is actual memory, and what is "recollection" based on what my squad members who were supervising me told me about the incident. I'd like to get those cleared up, but don't want to get tagged with a "veteran has changed his story" line somewhere. I guess the answer is they are inaccuracies, and I need to take them head on, but was interested in the thoughts of those who have more experience with this sort of thing. Should these inaccuracies be addressed in the these review exams, or is there a different and/or more appropriate process to challenge the inaccuracies?
  3. Hello all, I was wondering if the VA should automatically review a claim for TDIU once you hit 60% or more? I thought I heard on a Hill & Ponton video that that's the law. I was going through my old 60% VA award paperwork from 2001 and saw where they wrote that I was not qualified for unemployability yet. I had 40% on my lower back, but was only a total of 60% at that time. Therefore, not qualified. However, I looked at my 70% award paperwork from 2002 (my current rating) and didn't see any mention of consideration for unemployability, even though my percentage qualified me for it and still had my lower back rating at 40%. I'm getting ready to file TDIU paperwork and was just wondering about that. Thanks to everyone that replies.
  4. Request to Reinstallation for Sleep Apnea and Low back condition claims Back in January 2021, I received via mail a CD containing information to be used before the Board of Veteran Affairs for the MDD condition. I discovered VFW submitted a document on Jul/2011 where he withdraws the claims for Sleep Apnea and Low Back condition. This was the first time I learned about this document. For the claim of Sleep Apnea, I hand-delivered favorable IMO to the Hearing officer in 2010 and at the time they had also an IMO for the Low Back Condition(2008) along with a full medical report from the same doctor. After reviewing the CD and my paperwork, I asked the VA via phone on Feb/2021 about communications between July and September 2011. The VA representative emailed me a document dated 8/1/2011(attached) with multiple issues on it and an indication of; “We also withdrew all other issues on appeal as per your Veterans of Foreign Veterans letter dated and received July 2011". I kept working on the claims throughout the years; these were done in two different RO and to all effects VA indicated that they were working on these claims as presented in their communications on Feb/2012 and Jun/2012. Interestingly, for the latter communications, VA does not indicate a withdrawal of appeals nor that my claim is “reopened”. Finally, on Apr/2013, VA use different wording like “denied the reopening” since “Evidence no show event, Evidence not new. Claim not reopened. Not Substantive”. While still, VA did not evaluate IMO on the record. Out of frustration, I did not further pursue these claims; until I received the CD in January 2021, and realize that my claims for Sleep Apnea and Low back claims were withdrawn without my consent in 2011. Significantly, the VFW letter offers a conditional appeal, where indicates: (1) “As longer his appeals for increase in the other conditions…”, (2) “He would be satisfied with the decision made,” (3) “This withdraw does not mean…” Additionally, there’s an undated additional handwritten note in the printed proposal that indicated another “conversation” with the veteran. As I learned under Warren v. McDonald, docket no. 15-0641 (Sep 14, 2016) it is, held: An appellant or his/her representative may withdraw an appeal, but unless the withdrawal is on the record at, it must be in writing. A withdrawal “is only effective where withdrawal is explicit, unambiguous, and done with a full understanding of the consequences of such action on the part of the claimant.” I tried to get a hold of the VFW trough 12 emails (for 2 months) and multiples calls without success. I did change the VSO. Also, I wrote a letter detailing the events to the VA. Now the VA wants the request in a Form (20-0995). This form explicitly indicates that is to be used for “New and relevant evidence to submit for VA to consider”. I request that my claims of Sleep Apnea (2008) and Low back(2005) be reinstated at their original claim date since they were worked continuously since their inception and there was evidence that were not evaluated. As today My sleep apnea is worse indicated in a VA Study in 2019 and had Spinal Fusion in Kentucky (2015). I appreciate any help you can provide.
  5. Hi all, As i said in another post I am new here and looking for guidance, opinion, options that may be available to me. Without all the gory and boring details, I am currently rated SC 70% PTSD, 10% Tinnitus with a statement that my bilateral hearing loss is not service connected. This all comes from the same original claim in 2012. I found out last year, 2017, that in making the bilateral determination the doctor only looked at my second enlistment and did not review any records from my first enlistment. I found this out when going through my records which took years for the VA to "Find". In the records are audiology test records from the first enlistment which show the damage occurred in service. In my first enlistment I had 3 audiograms. 1 to enlist, 1 diagnosing problem, 1 to re-enlist. in my second enlistment I had exactly 1 audiogram which was when I completed my enlistment. In the record from the first enlistment is a piece of paper that says "rehabilitation plan complete." but no other information. When I took the 2nd test they told me to wear earplugs when i could. That was it. In the test results between enlistment and the 2nd test it shows the loss in both ears. The final test on discharge says hearing is the same as at re-enlistment which was after the damage. So here is my question on this: What are my options to challenge this decision? I did not discover that they did not look at both enlistments until last year, which is 5 years after they granted me my initial 70 & 10 percent ratings. Is there an option? Do i start it all over again? would I need to get a lawyer? any suggestions would be great Thanks
  6. I received the short from from Social Security and checked the box "In the last year, I have not discussed with my doctor whether I can work". This is because it is understood that I cannot, and my doctor and I don't discuss working (at least, I think) because its a given that it is permanent that I cannot. Anyhow, this seems to have triggered the long form from ssdi and I filled it out and sent it in asap. I put my psych dr's contact info and my therapist's. My question is: Should I contact my doctor or therapist in advance or just let them respond to what the SS office asks for? Thanks much!
  7. I received the paperwork for Social Security a month or so ago saying that my case was up for review. It had some paperwork to fill out, etc. I filled it out and also enclosed my 100% IU permanent and total letter when mailing it back. Yesterday I received a letter back saying that they weren't reviewing my case at this time and that I need to notify social security if anything changes. I have never had any doctor or medical appointment for my SSDI, just my VA records. Do I just sit back and wait for them to decide to review or does this mean they will look at it again in 3 years?
  8. Hello, I have been on SSDI for the last 3.5 years and got the long form in the mail last night. Obviously, I am very concerned that my SSDI benefits may be stopped. A bit about me. I am a veteran with a 50% rating for issues that are not mental health related but I do have open appeals for depression and anxiety with the VA that have been remanded from the BVA to my local office about 2 weeks ago after being on appeal since 2009. I was awarded a 10% increase in this remand for a physical issue and received back pay for it. The other mental health issues( depression and anxiety) are still on remandI was awarded SSDI for a combination of mental health and physical disabilities. I have been diagnosed by the VA since 2010 with depression not otherwise specified, Paranoid personality disorder, alcoholism in remission, anxiety and history of other psychotic disorder all this was pulled from the ebenefits website blue button thing.I take Zoloft and Buspar daily and Abilify sometimes and am mostly in compliance with the meds. It has stated in my medical records that I have been non compliant before and then things get worse and I report it to my doctors and I get back on the meds but if I have to give it a percentage I would say I am 80-90% compliant and take the meds. I have seen my treatment team at least every 2 months since 2010 and the team includes a pyschchiatrist and a physcologist although the pscycholgist recently left the VA a few months ago but I was transferred to another pscychologist on the same team.I have included a (scrubbed of personal data) one of my latest session notes from the new psychologistI see from just a few months agoLongstanding Hx of psych sxs , including depression and paranoid personality traits. Some interpersonal difficiulties and problems managing anger. Chronic, fleeting violent thoughts (baseline), but has not acted on them in a long time, stated that he is in control of his behavior. Had SI in the past, stated that he might get to that point again at some time in the future, but denied any current SI. No job. Protective factors: Social support (living with his wife, her daughter, and his son from a prior relationship, mentioned his wife to be supportive). Future-orientation . Interested in MH treatment. Pt denied any current suicidal ideation. Some positive coping skills. Pt seems committed to his son, stated that he is very protective of him. Stated that he is in control of his behavior. Offered to review MH Safety Plan, but pt declined, stated that he has the plan at home, agreed to adhere to it should he start feeling worse. Assessment: Pt is currently considered to be at lower risk for suicide given the above-mentioned factors.Pt denied any homicidal ideation, has chronic, fleeting violent thoughts, but is clearly aware of them, does not have plan or intent to hurt any specific person, has not acted on them in a long time, stated that he is in control of his behavior, agreed that this would go against his value of being a good father. Patient Education: Readiness to learn: Attended session, Appeared to listen attentively, Asked questions, Responded to other's questions Content: Behavioral strategies for managing depression and impulses. Patient Understanding: Verbalized comprehension of material, Asked questions for clarification, Demonstrated application of contentA - Active Problems Treated This Encounter: Paranoid Personality D/O (per chart). Unspecified Depressive D/O (double depression). Alcohol use d/o (dependence), in remissionMental Status: Grooming: Good Motor: tense Mood: mildly irritable and guarded Affect: Appropriate to content; limited range Speech: Overall Normal Thought Content: Normal Thought Processes: Overall Logical Suicidality: Absent Homicidality : Absent Hallucinations: Absent Delusions: Absent Oriented: Fully Oriented Judgement: Fair Insight: FairProgress Toward Goals: At the start of today's session, pt confirmed full Social Security number and DOB, and I discussed my scope of practice, documentation practices, confidentiality constraints, and mandatory reporting requirements. Pt orally consented to participate in psychotherapy sessions.Discussed pt's goals for treatment. He described his MH tx hx , described how he is dealing with violent thoughts. Agreed that those thoughts are not problematic as long as he is able to control his behavior, and he stated that he is able to do that. Explored what startegies help him with that, and he agreed that remembering his value of being a good father is helpful, and also thinking about possible consequences should he ever act out those thoughts. He also mentioned that not having to work has reduced his stress, which has also been helpful in controlling his behaviors. Briefly touched upon the concept of values (things that are meaningful to him) and Encouraged him to think about other aspects that might give his life more purpose and meaning. Pt did not mention any significant sxs of depression, but it seems that these issues at times contribute to pt feeling frutsrated and depressed. He also mentioned occasional urges to drink, but knows that the consequences would not be good, has overall been in control of this. Pt also mentioned some discord with his wife's grown-up daughter, wants to bring his wife for a collateral session next time.Reviewed MH crisis phone numbers and offered pt card with them, but he declined, stated that he has those numbers. P - 1. Ind. psychotherapy with this writer, once or twice/month (offered earlier session, but pt wanted to return in about a month) 2. Continue psych med mgmt with DR. Soo. 3. Consider supportive groups (if pt interested)This one here is my lastest one from my phvstiatrist that perscribes me pills at the VA IDENTIFICATION: ****is a 48-year old, married (and previously divorced), male Army veteran with a history of depressive symptoms, cluster B personality traits, paranoid ideation (of overvalued rather than delusional intensity), and recurrent problems with irritability and anger management. He was last seen by me on 10/23/15 and returns today for a 30-minute follow-up appointment. For further details related t the patient's present illness and other aspects of his history, please refer to the C&P exam note from 2/4/10, Dr. ###'s notes from 5/19/10 to 7/14/10, Dr. Erickson's note from 7/26/10, Dr. $$$'s therapy notes from 6/28/10 to 10/12/11, Dr. ###'s therapy notes, and my initial note from 9/2/10.CURRENT PSYCH MEDS:Zoloft 200 mg po qday (pt has been taking it on most days) Buspar 30 mg po bid (pt currently takes 40 mg a day)Abilify 30 mg po qday (pt is no longer taking the medication) PSYCHIATRIC MEDICATION HISTORY: Has been on Paxil "on and off" for several years but did not find it helpful. Dr. $$$ therefore switched him to Celexa on 5/19/10. Pt also tried Seroquel very briefly, in July 2010, but did not like its effects (felt "goofy" on the medication). The record also alludes to past trials of lithium. On 1/11/11, I started him on Abilify, to augment his antidepressant medication (which at that time was Celexa) and address intrusive, possibly obsessive thoughts. The medication seemed to help initially, but he decided to discontinue it because he did not think it was beneficial Because of sexual side effects, he called in on 3/30/11 with a request to D/C the Celexa, which I agreed to substitute with Wellbutrin. He eventually decompensated and stopped taking the medication. Following his admission to 1K in Aug 2011, he was not restarted on Wellbutrin but was prescribed Zoloft, which was continued when he was discharged to St. Cloud RRTP. Buspar was also added during his stay at St. Cloud, for anxiety. Abilify- started on in Aug 2012, as he was experiencing intrusive/obsessive paranoid thoughts that were worsening his anxiety and irritability. The medication helped. When he went off it months later, he had a resurgence of paranoia (believed that members of Hells Angels, with whom he had never encountered, were trying to harm him). He resumed the medication but stopped it again in mid-2013. This time, he did not experience a return of the aforementioned thoughts and elected to stay off it. I discontinued the medication on 8/30/13. As he began experiencing obsessive and intrusive suicidal ideation (with no clear trigger), I restarted him on the medication in mid-July 2014.Prazosin- started on 10/3/14, to address nightmares. Pt eventually stopped taking it as his dream subsided.INTERVAL HISTORY:Although he looks mildly anxious and pensive (per his baseline), **** has been feeling "pretty decent" overall. He is concerned, however, about two "attacks of paranoia" that he experienced recently, in the presence of his wife. Apparently, while lining up at Walmart, an African-American man, with a "teardrop" tatoo over his eye came up behind him. His proximity made **** extremely uncomfortable, so he moved away, at which point the other person moved closer. He subsequently moved to a different aisle and noticed that man peering at him, which evoked a lot of fear. %%%% thought that this individual was planning to kill him and initially considered confronting him aggressively. Instead, he called Dr. %%% and talked through the situation. He left the store without incident. Later, he had a terrifying moment at another store when a "Mexican" man, who looked like a "gang member", entered the same aisle as him. He again needed to restrain himself from attacking but, in the end, refrained form any provocative action. He now recognizes that his fears were exaggerated and that what he interpreted to be threatening actions may have actually been benign.He wonders why he would have such a reaction in the first place. Possibly, the ethnicity of the individuals involved may have been a trigger, especially when coupled with his chronic distrust and anxiety. To some degree, his wariness is not completely inappropriate, as many reasonable people might feel temporarily uncomfortable in the situations he described. However, the degree of fear he experienced and the assumptions to which he leapt require some modulation. I affirm that, ultimately, he was able to manage his fears appropriately. Since these incidents, he has begun taking a higher dose of Buspar (40 mg po qday instead of 30 mg po qday ). It is too soon to tell if this has had any effect. I note that, should he continue to experience such "paranoia" on a consistent basis, he could consider restarting Abilify ( twhich is still on his prescription list, even though he has not taken it for many months). He acknowledges this possibility.He is otherwise doing relatively well. He and his wife are still adjusting to the presence of his son, ###, but the transition is going a bit better than he expected (although some tensions between his wife and his son are present). MSE: Pt describes mood as "pretty decent" but affect remains pensive. At one point, he expresses irritation at a misunderstanding on my part. Thought process generally logical. No delusional thoughs noted. No hallucinations. Insight and judgment seem adequate at this time for maintaining safety.IMPRESSION: Other than for two recent episodes of anxiety and acute suspiciousness towards strangers, pt has been doing relatively well. He was able to handle the aformentioned situations appropriately and without resorting to violence. He is also adjusting to the presence of his son, ###. He has not had suicidal or homicidal thoughts and feels well supported by his wife.DSM-5 DIAGNOSES:Persistent depressive disorderETOH use disorder, in remission History of other psychotic disorderOther specified personality disorder (paranoid traits) PLAN:1) Continue Zoloft 200 mg po qday , Buspar 30 mg po bid, and Abilify 30 mg po qday . Pt not currently taking Abilify and is taking a smaller dose of Buspar. Will not change his existing prescriptions, so that he can return to his original regimen should anxiety worsen and paranoia return.2) He will continue to see Dr. ### for therapy.3) He can resume AA meetings as needed.4) He will return for follow-up in 2 months. We discussed my upcoming depature from the VA. While he is naturally quite concerned about this development, he seems to accept it overall. We spend some time processing some of his fears regarding the transition. Am I in danger of losing SSDI? Would you need more information to give me an idea? Anyone else been in this position?
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