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I thought I should finally share my story... I separated from the Navy in June of 2014. I started my first VA claim as a quick start ( I was still active duty) claim but it was anything but quick. I went through a rep at MCRD in San Diego who helped people separating the military file initial claims. I claimed/filed for migraines, TMJ, neck scar, lower back pain and shooting pains down left and right leg. I submitted copies of my AD medical records and went to all my CP exams. After waiting close to a year, I got my BBE that contained my claim award that I very much needed and expected a good outcome. I got a big fat 0%. Migraines- 0%, scar- 0%, Tmj 0% and denied completely on my lower back pain condition and shooting pains down left/right leg. I was so angered by my outcome that I lost all faith in the VA and threw my BBE in a drawer and decided to forget the VA and move on with my life. Fast forward to two years later something got me fired up again about the process/original outcome I received from the VA. I began to do my homework and stumbled across this site. The stories I read gave me hope and personal insight into others who had filed for the same conditions I did. I got smart and marched straight into the San Diego Regional office and joined a Veteran's Organization. I personally went with AMVETS as they were the first group to reach out to me and I like what the rep had to say. I could tell he was really there to help me with my claim. I filed for increases on Migraines, scar and TMJ. I also started a new claim for my lower back pain and shooting pains down left/right leg since I was past the one year mark to file an appeal. We also filed new claims for depression/anxiety, acne and tinnitus. I gave him all my medical records from AD and my separation physical that was missing from my original claim. To better my claim outcome my VO suggested I get DBQs filled out by my personal doctor and dentist for my Migraines and TMJ. I once again attended all CP exams the VA requested. My outcome this time was a small victory. I received: Migraines- 0%, Scar- 10% and TMJ 10% conditions for acne and my back had been deferred. From doing my homework I knew I was being low balled on my migraines and TMJ. My rep filed for a reconsideration on my Migraines and TMJ and resubmitted the DBQs from my personal doctors that had been overlooked by the VA ( they only considered the cp exam results). I then went for my next round of CP exams for my acne and lower back condition. My new rating came shortly after: Migraines: 50% TMJ- 20% Neck Scar- 10% Lower Back Pain- 10% Sciatica Left Leg- 20% Sciatica Right Leg- 10% Acne- 0% Allergic Rhintis- 0% Depression/Anxiety- Denied because doctor had stated it "resolved" in service. Tinnitus- Denied Combined Rating- 80% Without the help of Hadit.com I would have never been able to go through this process again and get this outcome! I went from 0% to 80% within 6 months. I'm so thankful to everyone who has posted here and I'm hoping I can help out another Vet by contributing! My fight with the VA is not over! I'm beginning the process to file a CUE claim on my lower back pain and left/right shooting pains down leg to get my effective date pushed back to my separation date. The VA originally denied my back claim stating that there was no medical evidence in my file. They were wrong. Best wishes to everyone and keep fighting!!!
angryemu posted a question in Eligibility - Veterans Compensation Benefit ClaimsHello, I am new to this site and am happy to see that there are a lot of folks on here who know the ins and outs of filing claims with the VA. Hopefully someone will be able to offer me advice on how I should proceed. I did not know until recently the issues I've been dealing with were covered by the VA, otherwise I would've started this years ago. I'll try to provide adequate detail. Background: Navy; Honorable discharge in 2003; Persian Gulf; did just about every job imaginable on the boat. Claims and questions: Scarring/pain: service medical record contains detailed record of surgery for removal of Basal Cell skin cancer on my face, including drawing, measurement and procedure details. The nexus seems very clear. Question: How does the VA actually measure scars, and what rating should apply? My t-shaped scar runs from the inside of my right eye down the side of my nose (about 2 inches), and across under my eye (about 1 inch). My right nostril is now asymmetrical as a result of the skin pulling and settling after the surgery, and there is a small scar "pocket" on the side of my nostril. Also, the skin changes color with hot/cold, becomes irritated by sweat, tingles/throbs and is prone to sores and infections. Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder: Nexus: Record contains one instance of gastroenteritis (vomiting/diarrhea), along with "sea sickness". I have civilian medical records for multiple gastro events after leaving service, including hospitalization and surgery (the doc mistakenly diagnosed appendicitis) for gastro and non-specific gastro problems. Not in my records is that I constantly have gastro issues including dyspepsia, frequent vomiting, and bouts of constipation and diarrhea. Also, I am by definition a Gulf War vet, and I understand that this condition falls under "Special Gulf War Rules" as a "Qualifying Chronic Disability". Question: Is this adequate for nexus, or do I need an IMO? How do "Special Gulf War Rules" come into play vs. a standard claim for gastro issues? And, what rating does this condition entail? Tinnitus/hearing loss: my service record contains evidence that I was qualified in multiple weapons, and was a sonar tech. The sonar I worked on was I believe one of the loudest man-made noises on earth, and I had my bell rung more than few times when that thing went active. Question: There is no mention of tinnitus in my medical records, but is there enough evidence to establish nexus? My ears ring 24/7 and it drives me nuts to be in silence. Question: Will the VA most likely require me to take more tests? What if I'm in good shape the day of the tests? Do they understand the "flare up" nature of certain illnesses? I've obtained copies of all of my military and civilian medical records (and made more copies), and plan to meet with a VSO before submitting. I hope I have enough documentation and evidence to satisfy what the VA is looking for. I have a few other claims as well, but didn't want to post too much. I greatly appreciate any feedback on the items above, as well as any other advice that can help make my claims as painless as possible. Thank you all for your service.