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Found 16 results

  1. Got an unofficial notification from the DAV about my DRO appeal stating that they were giving me an earlier date for my tinnitus (that baffled me) and that they were granting me 40% for my back (degenerative arthritis). My appeal was for secondary service connection for my knees, there was nothing about my knees in the "unofficial notification". So I went to the closest regional off and was finally seen. They looked up the "official" notification (SOC) from the VA and it stated nothing about my back but stated that they had denied me my secondary claim on my knees stating that the Dr couldn't find anything to connect my claim to either my back or the service (um, always thought knees went when back went, so secondary was almost a given, then again he did specialize in cardiology). In someways I am not that surprised, but I am wondering about the "unofficial" notice both the "unofficial" and "official" where dated the same (July 5th) I cannot believe in a matter of a few moments the VA totally changed their decision. So that has got me flummoxed. What makes this unique is that if the 40% for my back was based on the one medical entry that they didn't use for my initial claim back in 95/96. I was never able to get anybody to write me a nexus letter for this so I could "officially" reopen the case. If the "unofficial" letter holds true and I am just waiting on other paperwork to be finalized then they have all but argued CUE and handed me a win without even trying (I know the VA will never give up that easily). The entry stated scoliosis and that it was a recurring issue, their determination was based on an earlier entry and stated in black and white they could not find any other entries. Can you say "gotchya"? Getting a letter now for my knees should be easier since I have some indication that the VA does ("did") give some indication that they felt that my evidence did indicate connection to the service concerning my back. Can anyone possibly clue me into what might be going on? Did the DAV totally get it wrong? Or, is this just part of the whole overall process and I am only seeing part of it?
  2. OK, so here's my story. I was in Iraq in 2008-09, and started having chest pain. It was dismissed by the army doctors as probably just a strained muscle. Fast forward a few years, and I was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and stage one heart failure, both of which are ultimately fatal. I submitted a claim for these conditions, which was denied. I appealed this denial to the DRO in St. Louis, MO. The C&P doctor doesn't feel like I am still afflicted with heart failure, even though I have been seeing a cardiologist for it for years. I received a SOC for the heart failure and another contention for sleep apnea, which I filed the form 9, and continued the appeal on these issues. The contention for pulmonary hypertension has a pending rating decision in the system according to my VSO, of which they gave me a copy. Here's my issue. I am diagnosed with Pulmonary Hypertension, as well as other diseases. The doctor who did my C&P exam clearly stated that he believed that my PH was service connected. The pending rating states that I am granted service connection for PH. However, in the section that details the rating, it is rated at 30% as "Symptomatic, following resolution of acute pulmonary embolism." I have never been diagnosed with pulmonary embolism, only pulmonary hypertension. In the CFR 38 section 4.97, diagnosis code 6817, Non-tuberculosis diseases of the respiratory system, Pulmonary Hypertension is clearly listed as a 100% condition. I called the 1800 number to check on the rating decision, and I was informed that it was sent to the authorizer, who then sent it back to the rater, and it is now just waiting to be authorized again. Is it possible that the authorizer saw this, and felt that the " Symptomatic, following resolution of acute pulmonary embolism" was not an accurate representation of my diagnosis, and asked for it to be updated? Also, this decision was issued on the 12th of April, 2017, and it is now May 21, 2017. What could be taking so long in getting that decision finalized? Thanks in advance!
  3. I filed a NOD for being granted 0% for a foot condition on 3/07/2017 and opted to not have a disposition instead I provided medical evidence. I provided this evidence and was required to have a C&P exam. I went to this exam on 07/21/2017 and the doctor went through the DBQ. Today I check eBenifits to see that my appeal went from Appeal received to Appeal Pending - Statement of the Case (SOC) "VA has received your Form 9 and will begin completing final actions regarding your appeal before it is sent to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals." and I have now have an open claim that gives the status of Pending decision approval. I know SOCs are not always the best thing to get, am I getting denied again?
  4. Ok folks, In the midst of researching attorneys to replace my VSO, I got a call from the VSO who was working/not working on my claims. He wanted to get a few more details to work up his Form 646. After a week of speaking back and forth with him, he came to the conclusion that the VA had not reviewed several medical reports, including some of my active duty USAF medical records. (If the VSO would have woke up years ago, and saw that, maybe I would not have had to scream from the mountain tops for the past few years.) I know that it has been my fault all along though for keeping the VSO there. Meanwhile, I get a call from the Houston VARO, who wants to discuss a couple of my FOIA requests for the curriculum vitae of the C&P nurse practitioner and family practice doctor (who from a Google search is actually a Family Practice guy who specializes in collagen and beauty cream treatments in Florida.) They also wanted to discuss my FOIA request for the complete bloodwork lab results and x-ray reports from my last QTC C&P examination (with the collagen guy). The thing they wanted to "discuss" is that they can't seem to obtain the curriculum vitae for either medical practitioner, one from Veterans Evaluation Services and the other the QTC Collagen King. They also wanted to discuss that they can't seem to find the bloodwork lab results, nor the x-rays (and x-ray report), which were all done at the same QTC location near Fort Polk, Louisiana at the same time as the C&P, even though "some of the information" is actually described in the C&P report, which was half completed, with no "rationale" filled in, and excerpts of my time in the Army, although I have never served in the Army, and have always been USAF riff raff. Meanwhile, my VSO guy calls back and says that he will send me my Form 646, and recommended a DRO hearing, and that I request one in writing, so I did. I'm also still kicking myself for still riding this VSO wave, when I should have pulled the ripcord and hired an attorney early on as about 90% of you recommended (and I'm still looking into it). I send one to Janesville in writing. I wait. I wait. I wait. Then I take a chance and call the Houston VARO back and request an update on everything. They tell me they will call me back. I wait. I wait. Then, they do call back and let me know they are still having trouble retrieving records, but that they received my request for a DRO hearing, and that they will forward the request on, warning me that it could be a year or more, and that they are still having hearings from requests from cases filed in 2008. I tell them that I filed mine in 2010, but I'll keep riding the wave. While this is happening, I get a letter from the VA stating that they have addressed one outstanding NOD regarding my dependents, siding with me. So I go back to waiting on the DRO Hearing notice. I wait. I wait. I wait. Then I call back. They say that the hearing request has been submitted, but cautioned that the wait time is still tremendous, and that if I wanted to, I could let them know that I would waive the hearing, and they would get me back on track for the BVA certification, which is still forever away also. I thought it over for about 5 seconds, and said no, I think I'll stand by my DRO hearing request. They seemed disappointed, and once again cautioned it could take months to years. I said it's already been like six and a half, so let the dice keep rolling. We parted ways with them saying that they would let "them" know that I still wanted a hearing, and that I could call back in a few months to check out the status of the request. I said thanks, and they gave me the usual sigh and "Thank you for your service." Such a tender moment. Then three....yes, THREE days later, I get a letter from the VA stating that a VA DRO Hearing has been scheduled for June 6th. I called the MIA VSO to ask him about the hearing, and to see what I needed. He was surprised, pulled me up on the computer, and acknowledged that he saw it too, still surprised, and advised that I need to wear a tie and show up an hour early to visit with him. I plan to be there, and will bring my medical records (hopefully orderly), and see what happens. Any advice on what to do? What not to do? What a ride! Mark
  5. Hi I'm confused. I got my SOC couple days ago. 1. Is this the end of my appeal? 2. What is substantive appeal? 3. Purpose of the SOC? I am 100% disabled with SSD, one month before the VA gave me 10% disability for my back injury. I just need help with explanations of these steps/processes.
  6. OK Folks, Been a while since I posted on here, but I've been lurking and reading. After receiving my SOC on several conditions, and being informed by the Houston VARO that they will be sending an SSOC within the week, I think it's time that I hire somebody a good bit smarter than I am, and who can navigate the BVA system. I ran the gambit myself for the most part, obtaining all of my military medical and personnel records from NPRC when the VA said they couldn't find anything, getting an IME/IMO from Dr. Ellis in Oklahoma, an IMO from Dr David Anaise in Arizona, an IMO from my oncologist of the past 18 years, and a bundle and a half of my civilian treatment records. I fought with the help of Ted Ebert of the VA to get 95 pages of medical records that belonged to other veterans out of my C-File. (First denial and first SOC contained a ton of citations of these records, some of which were before I was even born.). I still have one record from some poor Airman whose name is nowhere close to mine, who has a rough condition that they still cannot seem to remove, but at least it's only one page now....I hope. I requested and received three copies of my C-File, gettting a different number of pages each time, and always something new from my military records that they couldn't find before when they did their first rating. I went through three C&P's, with an affirmative one in 2012, and two adverse ones in 2015 (after introducing Dr. Ellis' IME/IMO) and another in 2016 (after introducing Dr. Anaise's IMO). I started all this in June, 2010, and have to say that it has been a ride, bumpy, but educational. I've filed NOD's, Form 9 Appeals and all kinds of other junk, and have learned that eBenefits has a long way to go before being truly veteran friendly. (But it is better than the old VONAPP system that I used when I first started this mess.) When I receive my SSOC in the next few days, (It should have already arrived by now, but hey...it's the VA, right?), I'll do whatever needs to be done to keep the ball moving, but old Mark is ready to let somebody else navigate. I don't mind working, submitting to more exams, blood work, x-rays, etc, but I think I need an attorney to move on. My American Legion guys, who have been friendly, etc. through it all have only really served to help me eliminate the long waits on the 1-800 number, and that's about it. And of course, the VA finally has fixed that a bit and the waits are pretty small now. So, question is, who do you folks recommend to help me from here as I enter BVA land? Thanks again for the wealth of information so far, and I have to say that I would not have gotten the much-needed 20% that I received without your advice early on in this march. Have a great weekend, and I look forward to hearing from everyone who has had experience with good law firms, and warnings from those who have bad experiences from others. Mark
  7. OK So I filed a NOD for an earlier effective date on the claim of my service related claim of Asthma. I received a rating decision dated May 5, 2016, of established service connection for asthma from September 9. 2014. That was the date the VA received my claim. This was a reopened claim. Now they knew this. I had forgotten that back in 1984 soon after I was discharged I had filed a claim for Bronchial Asthma and was denied in 1985. I never appealed it, and there are far too many reason why to get into them at this point in time. But this rating decision in May gave me 60% right after I had a C&P exam done. I was rather surprised at the time how fast the claim was processed and approved which all the news about appeals and denials. Before this approval reached me I was told to go on line and join ebenefits because it was the best way to communicate with the VA and if my claim was approve I would be able to enter my banking information thereby making it possible to receive my benefits electronically. I did join ebenefits eventually found out that back in 1984 I had filed an initial claim for Bronchial Asthma it was denied in 1985. I had also signed the form for the DAV to represent me back then. SO this is where my claim starts to get really screwed up. In September of 2014 of course the VA didn’t know I had previously filed a claim for SR Bronchial Asthma, however by the time I was sent for the C&P exam they did know. Yet at that time they still were not referring to this claim as my reopened claim. Whenever I spoke with anyone regarding this claim it was always as if it was a new claim. It wasn’t referred to as a reopened claim until my memory was refreshed when they FINALLY decided to grant me the privilege (what was actually my right and I to have to demand) of providing me with a copy of all my military files!! And at that point the Gig was up!!! Whereas the individual at the Boston VA office when I finally got through to someone there told me I should speak with my representative (For several weeks I had left messages at a number which stated it was the DAV Boston) I told Nicole, who also happen to have been the person who had scheduled that HORRIBLE PTSD/MST C&P exam and so conveniently did not send or provide all the statements in support of my claim to the examiner. (NICE? Huh?) Anyway she told me I should be speaking with the DAV. I told her that I had been trying to reach them for several weeks, that I had left messages everyday but never got a call back. Nicole said she would make sure someone from the DAV called me. Funny how within an hour I did hear from the DAV. (Found out the Boston DAV is not only in the same building but on one of the same floors of the Boston Veterans Administration.) (Anyone thinking conflict of interest here??? Because that is what I have begun to think) Anyway if I don’t watch it I will go off subject and never get out the questions I have. So eventually I pushed for a 2nd PTSD C&P exam that was granted and in July I was awarded compensation at 100% which was a combined rating with the Asthma and the PTSD and the UE rating. But I had also filed the NOD for a EED on the Asthma. SO here is my first question. I know when I filed my NOD that I asked for a person to person hearing. I remember that being a choice and one that I did mark off. So I was rather curious why I wouln’d be granted one? I got the SOC on my NOD around the same time as the approval came and I called the DAV representative because there was a problem with the SOC and her attitude was really shocking to me and it really pissed me off to. I mean she got pissed at me because I asked if there was anyway to talk to the individual who had done the review and written up the SOC, because it was wrong!! At first she said don’t make waves that I should just let it be!?? But as I read it over again I was like NO WAY!!! This is WRONG!! SO I called her back and out right asked about speaking to the reviewer or possibly his supervisor? That is when she got all pissy with me!!! SO I sent her an email that basicly let her know that she hadn’t done any thing for me any way so what the hell I’ll come in to the Boston VA and ask to speak to someone there, myself. She sent me an email back that basically indicated she was no longer going to represent me. So I sent an email to the DAV main Boston Office asking them for the forms that I needed to get rid of them and find someone that actually wanted to represent me in this matter. I ended up getting an email from the 2nd in charge who said they were still my reps and that he would handle my case. Sounds good right??? NOPE it’s not. He is every bit as evasive as the last person was. The only reason the Boston VA issues a SSOC is because when it seemed after I was approved for the 100 percent the local VA was Fing with my case and no mater how many forms I gave them they kept pushing back the date that they would settle and send out the notification letter then start at least paying me the 100% monthly amount. The first date was the end of June then July some time, then the end of July then August, until it got moved all the way back to January 2017. So I had enough and wrote an email to Secretary McDonald. And believe it or not I got a response back from so one in Washington out of his office who said someone would contact me. A week later the 2nd in charge of the Boston VA called me and we had a long talk. He got the problem with the benefit taken care of like he said he would and I got the retroactive and pay by July. He also said he would talk to the people in the review office about what I saw as an error and he would have them take care of it. Unfortunately he was transferred before they took care of the whole issue so only part of that was taken care of. Hence the SSOC was issued. But it was issued on the same date that my appeal was certified and sent to the BVA. So my 2nd question I have is this. Does anyone know if my case could have been settled on a local level had I not filed the Form 9 if I have officially reopened the case instead of continuing on with what appears to be a new case filed in 2014? And my 3rd Question is, what exactly is a medical Nexus??? See I thought that was a connection between the in service condition and the current disability??? So below is a statement made by the VA Doctor who performed the last C&P exam that was requested by the individual who did the review and this Doctor I believe absolutely creates this so called Nexus!! SO if he has why didn’t they settle it and why would they deny their own Nexus??? Oh and part of this is the problem I found where there is a typo that the person who transcribed the Doctors notes left out ONE word in a sentence. However it is a vital word for the sentence and the whole paragraph to make sense. To date it still is NOT fixed!!! Tell me if you catch it. The word that is left out is “NOT”. SO the following is the VA doctors report PLEASE give an opinion or suggestion!! I think I am about to go MAD!!! Aileen M Dodge ACE and Evidence Review ----------------------- Indicate method used to obtain medical information to complete this document: [X] Review of available records (without in-person or video telehealth examination) using the Acceptable Clinical Evidence (ACE) process because the existing medical evidence provided sufficient information on which to prepare the DBQ and such an examination will likely provide no additional relevant evidence. Evidence Review Evidence reviewed (check all that apply): [X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA) MEDICAL OPINION SUMMARY RESTATEMENT OF REQUESTED OPINION: a. Opinion from general remarks: Active duty service dates: Branch: Navy EOD: 03/30/1980 RAD: 03/30/1984 Branch: Marine Corps EOD: 03/07/1978 RAD: 03/24/1978 OPINION: Direct service connection Does the Veteran have a diagnosis of (a) asthma that is at least as likely as not (50 percent or greater probability) incurred in or caused by (the) respiratory complaints during service? POTENTIALLY RELEVANT EVIDENCE: Tab TAB A (Veteran's statement in VBMS): Veteran's application for service connection dated 09/09/2014 Tab TAB E (STRs in VBMS): service treatment records show respiratory complaints to include bronchitis and asthma dated 01/16/2015 Tab TAB B (Outpatient treatment records in VBMS): VA respiratory DBQ dated 04/18/2015 Tab TABS F-K (Private treatment record in VBMS): Multiple records from Beverly Hospital showing treatment for respiratory condition dated 04/25/2015 Tab TAB C (Outpatient treatment records in VBMS): VA pulmonary function test dated 05/04/2015 Tab TAB D (Veteran's statement in VBMS): Veteran's statement dated 06/10/2016 b. Indicate type of exam for which opinion has been requested: respiratory TYPE OF MEDICAL OPINION PROVIDED: [ MEDICAL OPINION FOR DIRECT SERVICE CONNECTION ] a. The condition claimed was at least as likely as not (50% or greater probability) incurred in or caused by the claimed in-service injury, event or illness. c. Rationale: I have reviewed all relevant documentation in the claims file, with particular attention to the documents cited in the 2507 and tabbed. The period of service that seems relevant to this opinion is that of the veteran's second enlistment, from 1980 to 1984. Her enlistment examination dated 11JAN1980 makes no note of respiratory disease. In her separation examination dated 20MAR1984, veteran reports having asthma and shortness of breath. In the interval, the veteran compiled a substantial record of respiaratory signs and symptoms, beginning May 1980 and intensifying during June 1980. She was variously given diagnoses of asthma or bronchitis, and treated for both. Wheezing was heard on physical examination more than once. Chest radiographs were non-diagnostic, and were normal at time of separation. Pulmonary function testing was abnormal as early as 06/26/1980, with marked reductions of FEV1 and peak flow, both minimally responsive or unresponsive to inhaled bronchodilator. By 2013, her pulmonary function had deteriorated even farther, and chest imaging showed transient ground-glass opacities. Pulmonary function testing at VA Boston in 2015 showed additional deterioration, with no response to inhaled bronchodilator (I cannot determine whether she was already maximally bronchodilated from medication). This veteran has a pulmonary disorder characterized by asthma-like symptoms and by moderately severe airflow limitation with inconsistent response to bronchodilator. The correct diagnosis may not be asthma, but as a working diagnosis asthma is adequate. It is clear that the veteran's condition began shortly after her re-enlistment in 1980, and has worsened since then. The condition was noted on her entrance examination. In my opinion, this veteran has asthma or a similar chronic respiratory disorder that more likely than not was incurred in her military service from 1980 to 1984. *************************************************************************
  8. I came across this blog and it really helped me understand my NOD process.... http://www.blogs.va.gov/VAntage/25738/the-appeals-process-appeals-at-the-regional-office-level/
  9. When I filed my NOD in 2014, I specifically asked for a DRO review hearing on the NOD VA21-0958 form. I never received anything in the mail. After searching this site in January and the internet I found the following: "After the VA receives a NOD from a veteran, it will prepare the Statement of the Case (SOC) for all issues that were not granted service connection or the maximum rating. The SOC is an explanation of the decision, including a cover letter that gives instructions about the appeal process. Also included in the SOC is a list of the issues being decided in the claim, a summary of evidence, the pertinent laws and VA regulations that relate to the claim, and the decision and reasoning behind each issue. The SOC may include helpful information in order for the veteran to prepare his or her appeal, but the most important thing to remember about the SOC is that the veteran has 60 days from the date of the SOC cover letter to send in VA Form 9, which is the substantive appeal. Failure to respond to the SOC within 60 days by filing VA Form 9 may result in the appeal being closed and the decision becoming final." Fast forward to January 2016 when I inquired about my NOD, I found out that it sat "dormant" and that it "missed a step" in the processing of the NOD. I wound up having my DRO review hearing in February. My questions are: 1. Wasn't I supposed to receive the SOC? 2. Will I receive an SOC regardless of the outcome of my DRO hearing? 3. When I filed out the VA21-0958 one of the questions specifically asks the Veteran to list the service connection and % the Veteran feels warrants the service connection. Obvisously this is what I feel I deserve but is this actually something the DRO reviews and considers? 4. Since I never received the SOC is that any violation of my rights? Thank you
  10. A Veteran gave me permission to "Screencast" his Statement of the Case (SOC), so I could explain to y'all how to read and understand this form. Take a look at this Screencast video, and tell me if it is helpful - if so, I will make a ton more of them for y'all. Screencast Video: How to Read a VA Statement of the Case (SOC) Chris Attig Veterans Law Blog
  11. I was wondering if anyone who has received a Statment of Case for an unprotected (reduction of disability under 5 years old) would be willing to remove all personal and disability stuff and send it to me so that I could prepare appeal verbage for the "boiler plate" garbage. Or point me to one on the web? If so please forward it to: [Removed Personal Identifying Information - Please do not post personal identification information ask members to PM you on the board and if you chose then give them your email address] Thanks Gary
  12. Hi, I am a new member of HadIt. I've watched anonymously for years. I have an old claim that has been plodding through the system since 2008. There are 12 issues I am pursuing. In July, 2013 I had a face to face with a DRO. In September, 2013 (2 months later) I received a SOC from the DRO for one issue (entitlement date for depression/anxiety) that denied that claim. I subsequently filed a Form 9 for that issue. I have checked and double checked the SOC and it is only for the one issue. No mention of the other 11. I have not received a SOC for the other 11 issues. E-benefits shows that everything is awaiting processing for the VBA. I submitted an IRIS. I also called the 1-800 number and spoke to someone there. I also emailed the Director of Benefits at my VSO (co-located at the Regional Office with the DRO). The IRIS, the 1-800 number and the Director of Benefits are all saying that a Form 9 has been received for everything and that my file is awaiting processing for the VBA. I have been waiting a year thinking I was waiting for a SOC and decision on the other 11 issues. I thought maybe the DRO thought the effective date was perhaps clear-cut in her mind and so she quickly denied it while everything else needed a more thorough review. Is it possible I am still waiting for a DRO decision and SOC for the other 11 issues? Or is IRIS, the 1-800 number and the Director of Benefits from the VSO all correct in that my file is awaiting transfer to the VBA? I feel jipped if the DRO only reviewed and decided on one issue and then passed me off, ignoring the other 11 issues, and now my claim is moving to the VBA. Is there any chance the DRO may still be reviewing/deciding the other 11 issues and when the DRO is complete it will process to the VBA? Thanks, j-a-g
  13. i got called by my vso today that i was awarded my DRO NOD from 60% to 100% P&T woo hooo. Now i had 8 contentions but MH went from 50 to 100 and she said the others will be in a soc. Winston Salem is my office How long will i have to wait for Ebennies to show the AB* letter and most importantly will My monthly pay change for this month comming june 1 2014 to the 100 rate or do i have to wait for that as well. My vro said i will recieve Retro back to 2011 when filed but my Army pay was 1789 and va waiver was 1400 so i know they pay the army back will that hold up recieving my new monthly amount. not to worried about the retro right now just the new monthly. Thank you. this is ebenie Details about your BVA Appeal received on no date Local VA Office of Jurisdiction: Winston-Salem, NC Power of Attorney: A - American Legion Current Progress: no data Current Progress Description: Timeline of Your Appeal Date of Progress Progress Progress Office 06/13/2011 Local VA Office Decision RO 08/16/2011 Notice of Disagreement (NOD) RO 09/16/2011 Appeal Pending RO 05/14/2014 Statement of the Case (SOC) RO
  14. Greetings all: while doing some research I came accross this CRS report. You may find it handy due to the footnotes that cite the CFR, M21, other reports and VA publications ect. http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42609.pdf Best regards,
  15. I was recently sent an SOC raising my ptsd to 70% but denied effective date back to the date of NOD jan 2011. I went and got an IMO and a doc from an employer.
  16. I filed an appeal on 3/1/13 for the denial of a compensable claim which had been repeatedly refused numerous times since 2010. I have asked for a personal hearing in DC. Although the Appeal is dated by the VA as 6/12/13, the eBenefits shows the claim as "Appeal Pending" and "You have initiated an appeal, but at this point your case is still with the local VA office that made the decision on your case. If you have questions about your appeal, please contact that office or your representative, if you have one." Following telephone confirmation today, next week I will receive new medical evidence that supports my claim -- which adds additional objective detail to evidence already in VA possession (as listed in their SOC). 1. Should I just hold on to this new evidence until I have my face-to-face appeal hearing in DC? 2. Or should I send it into the VARO. i don't think I want to do anything that will delay my personal hearing longer or start the clock over, but then again, perhaps this could resolve the issue and result in an approval of the claim without the need to wait xxx days for the personal hearing. Any advice is, as always, appreciated. Cheers, Ray
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