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  1. OMG, I just spent an hour plus typing this up and it vanished. Guess I should have copied it to a Word doc before trying to post. What a pisser… In 2011 I was given a SC rating of 50% for occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity…. It was tied to a SC disability of degenerative spine disease of C5-C7. Since that time my neck has gotten worse and with more pain. My mood has turned pretty dark as I find my thoughts drifting off to being dead and therefore out of pain, now on a daily basis. So far the only thing that has kept me from doing anything drastic has been the stigma it would attach to my family. I fear my temper has deteriorated as well and I basically lost my last real friend a month or two ago. I was last seen (medically) at the VA in 2011 as well. Now that I want to return for counseling, they tell me that since greater than 2 years have gone by I need to reestablish myself and go through cattle call again…. That’s in mid-November. They also gave me a 0% SC for muscle tensions headaches. Looks like their biggest beef with my claim is that I did not use the term Prostrating Episode. I did however describe my 2-3 severe headaches a month that requited me to take Imitrex, NorCal, and lay down in a quiet dark room for 2-3 hours… was that not enough for a 30% rating here? Seems to me that I described a “prostrating episode”, but you tell me please. My headaches have increased in frequency to up to 5 a month – despite the occipital injections, and Botox shots (30+ per visit). Botox injections were so bad that I tensed up during the procedure and ended up with shooting neck pain. I quit the Botox after 2 tries. They weren’t very effective either. Other than sleeping them off in a quiet dark room for 2-3 hours, nothing helps much. In order to quell the neck pain, I have tried facet injections (helped some but lasted no more than a week) and on 30 June I had radio frequency nerve ablation in the C-spine. That hurt me so bad…. I had no idea how much pain I would be in as the nerves “died” until I read on why I was hurting so bad 2 weeks post procedure – turns out it’s real common. Pain went away after 7 whole weeks. See, though I have tried just about everything thrown I me. Now I am just tired of trying. BTW: I was rated at 20% for my neck issues… The crux of everything else I have, except Tinnitus. Something I have not, until now, wondered about is my sleep issues. I have been on sleeping meds for 5 years. Got off the Ambien to something less harsh. But I have trouble sleeping due to the pain I am in. Either falling asleep or staying asleep – or both. Is this something the VA would look at? All this had added up to me fearing for my job. I am a federal employee with 10 years in (post retirement from the USAF. I recently had to drop down 2 grades as previously a Contracting Officer (GS-1102) to something less in the critical thinking arena. Still, I have missed a ton of work over the past several years. I stayed up typing this as the sharp pain in my neck makes it impossible to sleep right now and I am on track to missing one more day of work. I fear I will lose my job due to absenteeism. The whole point of this post is my asking you all for “what you think” – I feel I may have left somethings on the table. It took me 5 years after I retired from the Air Force to file and that got me 80%. Another 5 has gone my and I feel much worse for the wear. I would appreciate to hear from you all. I have laid it all out there for you to see. My candor has never been an issue. Gratefully, Geo
  2. Hey Everybody, I'm new to this forum and I see that this site is better then any lawyer or VSO. So I will lay my case out and see if anyone can answer these questions. I have looked high and low and haven't found answers to these questions. I am service connected with Tension Headache at 30% from an accident I was in while I was on active duty. I am 50% combined as of now and wanted to increase my combined to 70% by getting an increase of my headaches to 50%. I am positive that raising the headaches to 50% would make the 70% margin using the combined rating calculator. After achieving the 70% I would then apply for TDIU as I know the 70% number is required. I filed for an increase of my tension type headaches back in November 2014 which were currently 30%.I am looking to get them raised to 50% which is plausable as I have medical documentation and all the "requirements" that would give me the 50%. I did not use any outside representation and laid out all the evidence that would help me using E benefits. I received my answer 7 months later this June 2015. The rating letter came back and surprisingly said in so many words "We granted an increase of your headaches to 50% from the time of the Compensation and Pension claim in November 2014 to the time of the Compensation and Pension exam in June. After the compensation exam you will pushed back down to 30%. We will give you back pay as a 50% recipient from the time the claim started but we are moving you back to 30% after the exam took place. Now I know that I didn't say anything wrong or stupid in that exam. The examiner must of put wrong information in the claim or something because up until that point and today my headaches are still just as bad as they were when I put the claim in 7 months ago. With that being said....Do I appeal it? or would that make them reopen up the files and maybe try to take away other ratings. They must see all the evidence I turned in as being 50% headaches and they even agreed with it but then changed it back on the date of the exam. I am very confident If I appeal it I will win back that 50% headache percentage. If I appeal it I will then get that 70% combined number which can than in turn make me eligible for TDIU. Should I appeal the headaches, get the 70% and then apply for TDIU by appealing the new 70% number? Or should I appeal the headaches 30% decision then start a whole new claim for TDIU after they grant me the 70% combined Or should I appeal this decision and try to get TDIU now? Can I do that? Or would the TDIU claim be started from the time I put in for that rather then back to that november day I originally put in for the increase. Should I try to get the highest schedular rating I can before jumping into the TDIU boat in case I am able to work in the future and then they would drop me back to the 70% instead of this 50%. Can I go to school using my Post 911 GI bill if I recieve TDIU? If I am going to school will the VA ask about that on the application for TDIU and do they look down on that? If they do I will hold off on going to school until the application has been turned in. Should I get a lawyer who generally takes 30% of the back pay as they have a 95% success rate or do I also do this myself again? The lawyer said he is confident he can get me P&T. If I get 100% TDIU and stay unemployed is it hard to keep? If I take the do it yourself approach how can I know which IME is best for me to use? and the proper steps to take in order? As I said I looked at a 7 month turn around time for my increase. Are you seeing appeals going faster now after the scandals or still 2-5 years.Would my 7 month turn around time be an indication that my appeal would go pretty quickly? It seems like appeals are harder to get then new claims. I am married and have 5 children. per TDIU On the "below the poverty line" does that mean for me personally or me with a household of 7. Because the numbers are significantly different. Myself is rooughly below $12,000 and 7 in the family is below $36,000 per the poverty line government website. Thanks So Much Joe USMC
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